Coast Lifestyle

INTERMITTENT FASTING: THE SCIENCE OF GOING WITHOUT

Intermittent Fasting: Feature Photo

If you’ve recently had a conversation about dieting and weight management, then you’ve probably heard talk of intermittent fasting. But what is intermittent fasting? And is it healthy? Currently, this is quite an under-researched topic, with limited research in humans.

In other words, the answer is a little complicated, but let’s break it down together.

The Science of Going Without

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It’s a way to manage your weight and promote overall health, not by limiting what you eat, but by limiting when you eat.

There are several different intermittent fasting methods, such as:

  • Daily intermittent fasting: 16-hour fast followed by an eight-hour eating period each day.
  • Alternate day intermittent fasting: Cycle between 24-hour periods of eating and fasting.
  • The 5-2 method, eat regularly for five days during the week and restrict food during 2 days to about 500 to 600 calories during the fasting days.

How does intermittent fasting work? To put it simply, when your body is digesting food, it’s in the “fed state.” This typically lasts three to five hours after your last meal. During this state, your body doesn’t burn fat as efficiently because your insulin levels are high and you are getting needed energy from food.

But if you don’t eat for around eight to 12 hours after your last meal, your body will enter the “fasted state.” Your insulin levels are low because your body has stopped absorbing food and, as a result, your body burns stored food energy (fat) more easily.Intermittent Fasting: Scale

The Pros and Cons

So we know what intermittent fasting is and what it does, but the real questions are—is it healthy? Is it safe? Is it something you should do?

Your body is unique. And so is everyone else’s. Many people have tried intermittent fasting with great results, and they happily want to share their success with others.

But for many people, intermittent fasting is not the answer they’re looking for. For some people, it could even be a danger to their long-term health.

Let’s look at just a few of the many possible pros and cons of incorporating intermittent fasting into your daily life.

Pros:

  • Promotes health and weight management. Some studies show intermittent fasting may be a promising way to lose weight and improve metabolic health.
  • No calorie counting. With intermittent fasting, you don’t have to change what you eat in order to stay under your daily calories. By controlling when you eat, you have the freedom to eat what you want.
  • It’s simple. Intermittent fasting makes your day simpler. When on a fasting program, you plan for and cook less meals. Some people find this simplicity liberating, as they have more time to devote to other activities they love.

Cons:

  • Dropout rate is high. Recent studies show people may be more likely to quit an intermittent fasting routine before it can provide any real benefit to their health.
  • You could develop bad eating habits. Intermittent fasting can be very stressful for some people. This, coupled with a lack of satisfaction, means they end up eating much more than they should during non-fasting periods.
  • Dangerous for people with certain conditions. While safe for most people, intermittent fasting can have negative effects if you have diabetes, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or take certain medications. Make sure to always consult your physician before introducing any fasting routine or change in diet as part of your everyday life.

The Choice Is Yours

Intermittent Fasting: Plate

At the end of the day, there is not yet enough scientific evidence to prove or disprove intermittent fasting as superior to traditional dieting, nor to prove or disprove it promotes long-term health better than counting calories. On the flip side, there also isn’t any strong evidence it’s harmful to average adults, either.

If you have the willpower for an intermittent fasting routine, then more power to you. If not, there’s nothing wrong with a more traditional method of weight management.

Research is ongoing and, hopefully, we’ll soon know the benefit of intermittent fasting. Until then, the best diet is one you can maintain consistently—along with plenty of exercise.

 

Click here for more fun and useful articles on proper nutrition and healthy dieting.

Coast Lifestyle

Intermittent Fasting: The Science of Going Without

Intermittent Fasting: Feature Photo

If you’ve recently had a conversation about dieting and weight management, then you’ve probably heard talk of intermittent fasting. But what is intermittent fasting? And is it healthy? Currently, this is quite an under-researched topic, with limited research in humans.

In other words, the answer is a little complicated, but let’s break it down together.

The Science of Going Without

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It’s a way to manage your weight and promote overall health, not by limiting what you eat, but by limiting when you eat.

There are several different intermittent fasting methods, such as:

  • Daily intermittent fasting: 16-hour fast followed by an eight-hour eating period each day.
  • Alternate day intermittent fasting: Cycle between 24-hour periods of eating and fasting.
  • The 5-2 method, eat regularly for five days during the week and restrict food during 2 days to about 500 to 600 calories during the fasting days.

How does intermittent fasting work? To put it simply, when your body is digesting food, it’s in the “fed state.” This typically lasts three to five hours after your last meal. During this state, your body doesn’t burn fat as efficiently because your insulin levels are high and you are getting needed energy from food.

But if you don’t eat for around eight to 12 hours after your last meal, your body will enter the “fasted state.” Your insulin levels are low because your body has stopped absorbing food and, as a result, your body burns stored food energy (fat) more easily.Intermittent Fasting: Scale

The Pros and Cons

So we know what intermittent fasting is and what it does, but the real questions are—is it healthy? Is it safe? Is it something you should do?

Your body is unique. And so is everyone else’s. Many people have tried intermittent fasting with great results, and they happily want to share their success with others.

But for many people, intermittent fasting is not the answer they’re looking for. For some people, it could even be a danger to their long-term health.

Let’s look at just a few of the many possible pros and cons of incorporating intermittent fasting into your daily life.

Pros:

  • Promotes health and weight management. Some studies show intermittent fasting may be a promising way to lose weight and improve metabolic health.
  • No calorie counting. With intermittent fasting, you don’t have to change what you eat in order to stay under your daily calories. By controlling when you eat, you have the freedom to eat what you want.
  • It’s simple. Intermittent fasting makes your day simpler. When on a fasting program, you plan for and cook less meals. Some people find this simplicity liberating, as they have more time to devote to other activities they love.

Cons:

  • Dropout rate is high. Recent studies show people may be more likely to quit an intermittent fasting routine before it can provide any real benefit to their health.
  • You could develop bad eating habits. Intermittent fasting can be very stressful for some people. This, coupled with a lack of satisfaction, means they end up eating much more than they should during non-fasting periods.
  • Dangerous for people with certain conditions. While safe for most people, intermittent fasting can have negative effects if you have diabetes, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or take certain medications. Make sure to always consult your physician before introducing any fasting routine or change in diet as part of your everyday life.

The Choice Is Yours

Intermittent Fasting: Plate

At the end of the day, there is not yet enough scientific evidence to prove or disprove intermittent fasting as superior to traditional dieting, nor to prove or disprove it promotes long-term health better than counting calories. On the flip side, there also isn’t any strong evidence it’s harmful to average adults, either.

If you have the willpower for an intermittent fasting routine, then more power to you. If not, there’s nothing wrong with a more traditional method of weight management.

 

Research is ongoing and, hopefully, we’ll soon know the benefit of intermittent fasting. Until then, the best diet is one you can maintain consistently—along with plenty of exercise.

Healthy Cove

Nutrition is King: Supporting Healthy Brain Function

healthy brain function

 What You Need To Know

You probably are aware that there is a lot of information on how to support healthy brain function via what you eat.

Well, rest at ease, because this guidebook is intended to do some of the heavy lifting for you.

Here you will find a quick snapshot of the top 5 posts that show up on Google results for boosting brain power with nutrition.

First, I have gone through and done a thematic analysis and compiled the easy-to-read results for you. I’ll explain which foods or nutrients, in particular, were common in each of the posts.

Second, I also provide the list of foods that were only mentioned once in only one of the articles to give a more extensive list of options to make sure you find something valuable to your personal lifestyle.

Finally, I expound on the findings and provide a little spin with the easy list on other items that may aid you in your endeavor to keep your brain healthy.

nutrition is king superfoods

By the end, you will not only be an expert in the ways of eating healthy for powerful brain function, but you will also be given easy tips that you can do today to help you support healthy brain function.

I’m not going to tell you that reading this post will change your life in a very important way, but I will go as far to say that there are tips here that will support the health of your brain quickly and easily.

Some of the tips are so easy you won’t have to think twice about including them in your diet.

Articles Included

The superfoods and nutrients below have been compiled from the following posts. We have deemed these posts as the winners of invaluable information on this topic as chosen by popularity, readability, as well as valuable content.

  1. MindBodyGreen’s 20 Foods To Naturally Increase Your Brain Power by Dr. David Perlmutter
  2. BBC Good Food’s 10 foods to boost your brainpower by Jo Lewin- Associate nutritionist
  3. Forbes’ 12 Best Foods To Boost Brain Power by Jennifer Cohen
  4. Mercola’s Top 7 Foods for Your Brain by Dr. Mercola
  5. Health Connect’s Boost Your Brain Power With Nutrition By Nathan Drendel

Popular Superfoods

The following foods have been compiled from the posts in the order of popularity. Keep in mind, just because a food was mentioned in each post does not make it more or less valuable than another that may be mentioned in only one.

One might say that the more popular options serve as more available or with higher utility, but no such claims are made here. Each food or source from each post had a clear description of its value, and some were backed by additional researched sources.

Walnuts health

1. Nuts

All five articles mentioned some source of vitamin E. Four of the articles mentioned nuts in general. Of those, three of them said walnuts specifically. Vitamin E, as specified in several of the above sources, is an antioxidant that serves the purpose of protecting the cells from oxidative damage. In turn this antioxidant process helps defend the brain from normal cognitive decline.

 

Salmon health

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

All five articles mentioned a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Three of the articles specified wild salmon, one said oily fish in general, and one specified chia seeds.

According to these articles, Omega-3 fats serve several purposes for the brain, let alone throughout the body. According to “Boost Your Brain Power With Nutrition”, Omega-3 fatty acids are “critical in brain development in all ages, as they are the building blocks for the brain.”

“10 foods to boost your brainpower” says that omega-3s offer increased levels of DHA and that that fight against normal loss of cognitive function and memory loss.Coconut Oil health

3. Coconut Oil

Three of the articles mentioned coconut oil (20 Foods, Top 7, 12 Best) Without getting too in-depth on the chemistry and anatomy of coconut oil and our brains, our brain needs fuel to function properly. Coconut oil helps provide the good fats “medium-chain triglycerides (MCT)” to help fuel the brain properly.

 

Blueberries health

4. Blueberries

Three of the articles said blueberries (20 Foods, 10 Foods, Top 7). Blueberries are another great source of antioxidants while also being relatively low in fructose.

 

Turmeric health benefits

5. Turmeric

Three said Turmeric (20 Foods, Top 7, 12 Best) Turmeric is a spice often found in curry and supports healthy brain function.

 

Broccoli benefits

6. Broccoli

Three said broccoli (20 Foods, 10 Foods, Top 7). According to the articles, broccoli is a great source of vitamin k and choline, both of which are known to support healthy brain development.

Pumpkin Seeds

7. Pumpkin Seeds

Three said pumpkin seeds (20 Foods, 10 Foods, 12 Best). Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc which has shown to help support memory and thinking.

Dark Chocolate Benefits

8. Dark Chocolate

Two said dark chocolate (20 Foods, 12 Best). Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids supporting normal/healthy blood vessel function and in turn supporting healthy blood flow to the brain aiding in proper cognitive function and memory.

Flavonoids may not be the easiest to get if you aren’t a fan of dark chocolate or do not drink red wine. Because of their vital importance, USANA has a supplement that not only helps you get all the benefits from the flavonoids, but do so with a yummy grape flavored coding. Proflavanol® C100 may be a supplement worth looking into! To learn more, check out the product here.

 

Spinach

9. Spinach

Two said spinach (20 Foods, 12 Best). This is an additional source of many vitamins including vitamin K and some B vitamins acting as “brain-protecting antioxidants.”

 

Exercise

10. Exercise

Two mentioned exercise *even though these are food posts (20 Foods, 10 Foods *as a note afterword). I only include it here on my own synopsis because good, consistent exercise is not only imperative to support healthy brain function, but serves so many invaluable purposes for our overall health. Plus, this is a comprehensive list compiling allthat these articles said, so . . .voila! Here it is.

More Foods For Thought

The rest are foods that were only stated once by only one of the articles, and I will not be going into their value further as much of it overlaps with the sources already mentioned.

If you would like further information on any of the following items, feel free to go right to the source abbreviated on the side of each item. You can find links to each article listed in the “Articles Included” section above.

Olive Oil (20 Foods)

Eggs (20 Foods)

Dandelion Greens (20 Foods)

Kimchi (20 Foods)

Jicmaca (20 Foods)

Avocado (20 Foods)

Red Wine (20 Foods)

Almonds (20 Foods)

Whole Grains (10 Foods)

Tomatoes (10 Foods)

B6, B12, B9 (Folic Acid) Specifically (10 Foods)

Blackcurrant Boost (10 Foods)

Sage (10 Foods)

Anthocyanin (Berries, Eggplant, Red Cabbage) (Boost Your)

Bee Pollen (12 Best)

Bone Broth (12 Best)

Beets (12 Best)

Maca (12 Best)

The Easy List

I hope the above comprehensive list will help you with options and ideas to include in your diet. However, while all of these foods contribute to some function of our brain, there is value in ease and utility. Our lives are busy, and there are many components to our bodies that we need to pay attention.

In the name of simplicity and reality, I’ve provided you with an easier list to digest. Below are three options/ideas that if you only chose to include one of in your daily routine, you’ll be contributing to the health of your brain right now, and may even see noticeable change within a short period of time.

1. The two birds with one stone approach.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a triple threat. Or more for that matter. Choose foods and routines that kill two or more birds with one stone (don’t go kill any birds).

Omega-3 fatty acids aren’t hard to get anymore, even if you don’t like fish. If you’re going to be focusing on your health at all, let alone specifically your brain function, don’t hesitate to start including Omega-3s in your diet now.

Fortunately, the science on the Omega-3 supplement has come a long way. USANA is one supplement provider you may want to look into if you know you’re not getting enough of this important nutrient.

Do you hate fish so much that you’re afraid of even the smell or aftertaste? Me too. This is not a problem with USANA’s product. Infused with lemon oil, all you get when you swallow this easy capsule are light and refreshing lemony reminders you’ve been healthy today. Click here to find out more and get yours today!

BIOMEGA™

2. Keep it simple.

Go nuts for nuts. Again, while there are many foods and nutrients out there that help our brain function properly and support overall health, the more we can accomplish with less, the more likely we’ll be to do it, and to keep doing it.

When in doubt, snack on nuts. Eating nuts will do a variety of good for supporting a healthy brain function as well as supplying the nutrients necessary for healthy cells as they decrease the antioxidants on a cellular level.

If you have some extra time, and you’re not familiar with nutrition on the cellular level, watch this video that goes into the science of having healthy cells. So, you’re interested in learning more or buying USANA’s CellSentials™? Click here for additional information.

CellSentials™

3. Easy help.

Sometimes the best approach when trying to begin a new healthy habit is to take the thought out of it. Be well informed and research your products, but after you’ve done so and committed to the new product, make the action as easy to keep doing as possible.

Sometimes we don’t want to think about what to cook for dinner that will not only be yummy and different, but will also get us the nutrients we lacked in the day.

For tired nights and long days when you tend to just “make what you have,” or heat up leftovers, and so many other times that we simply aren’t getting all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients we need, adding supplements to your meals are one great answer.

USANA Health Sciences’ product Ginkgo-PS™ is a specific supplement designed to aid healthy brain function.

For centuries, many cultures have supplemented with Ginkgo biloba to promote mental acuity. USANA took the highest quality Ginkgo extract and paired it with phosphatidylserine, another unique ingredient with an important role specific to brain function.

This advanced formula helps you stay on top of your game. From remembering where you parked to focusing on that big project, make brainwaves with Ginkgo-PS. Click here to learn more and get yours today!

Ginkgo-PS™

 

Remember

To recap, there are many nutrients you can take to help support healthy brain function. We believe that when you simplify, you are more likely to add something to your daily routine or diet.

The more likely you are to add a superfood or supplement to your daily routine and diet, the more likely you are to make it a habit. In turn, the more likely you form a healthy habit, the more likely you are to see quick and dramatic changes.

The three steps we’ve provided above are ways you can make a change in your health today and see results quickly. These steps coupled with the compiled list of five top sources on boosting brain power via nutrition gives you a complete guide on changes you can make today to boost your brain power.

If you wish to shop for other supplements please click here

Healthy Cove

Living a Healthy Lifestyle Is Actually Doable

Healthy Lifestyle

Raise your hand if you’ve ever struggled to live a healthy lifestyle. I know I sure have. And it can be super easy to feel down on yourself every time you skip the gym or choose drive-thru for dinner. Especially when you see all the moms on Instagram who post videos of their insane home workouts and healthy meals (while somehow still managing to raise their kiddos), or the pics of the shirtless guys by the pool with abs for days.

If we’re comparing ourselves to some perfect image of health, it’s no wonder living a healthy lifestyle can seem so daunting.

But maybe it doesn’t have to be so hard.

Here are three small ways you can get started living a healthy lifestyle today.

1: Drink Up

If you think about it, water is pretty darn important. About 71 percent of the earth’s surface is covered in water, and about 60 percent of the adult human body is made of water. So if you thought you were a meat suit running around, think again. You’re really more of a mermaid. YAS!

Here’s just a few of the benefits that come from drinking water:

  • Can help increase energy and relieve fatigue
  • Helps to flush out toxins
  • May improve your skin complexion
  • Aids in circulation and digestion
  • Transports nutrients
  • Helps maintain body temperature and absorption

Water You Waiting For?

Make it a habit to keep a water bottle on hand. Keep one at your desk, throw in one your gym bag, and even keep a glass on your kitchen table—wherever you need a visual reminder to drink up.

When was the last time you took a drink of water? (Take a swig now.)

2: Meal Prep

Unfortunately, it’s true what they say—beach bods are made in the kitchen. If your goal is to lose fat or build more muscle, eating healthy meals is a must. Fortunately, this is where meal prepping can be extremely helpful. Not only will this prevent the McDonald’s employees from knowing you on a first-name basis, but you’ll save on money and time as well. Think about it—buying food in bulk to prepare healthy meals will be much cheaper than grabbing fast food every night.

Meal prepping will also help you to stay on track with your healthy eating when you’re busy, because you’ll already be prepared with ready-made meals.

From Apples to Zucchinis

The premise for meal prep is simple. Start by setting aside one day a week for prepping, and decide how many meals you’d like to prepare.

For example, let’s say that every Sunday afternoon, you will prepare dinners to last Monday through Friday. To start, select a few healthy recipes beforehand to try out and be sure to have all your necessary ingredients on hand. From there, cook up enough food and chop enough fruits/veggies to last a week.

Rubbermaid offers a pretty good selection of cool containers that work great for separating your meals into convenient servings so they are good to go whenever you need them. Check out some other comparison brands for convenient storage ideas. You can even use something as simple as plastic baggies to store your veggies or snacks.

Cook Up Some Health

If cooking is your jam and you love trying new recipes, try switching things up each week with different healthy recipes like savory chicken stir fry, zesty taco quinoa casserole, or even grill up some healthy Hawaiian BBQ salmon burgers.

If you prefer an easier, healthy meal each day and you’re okay with something simple like chicken with a baked sweet potato or veggies, it can still taste anything but boring. You can cook up boneless, skinless chicken breasts beforehand, and then season them the day of. Monday could be a nice lemon pepper seasoning, Tuesday, drizzle your chicken in Buffalo sauce, make Wednesday’s chicken Cajun-style, and so on. You can also toss in a delicious and easy-to-make black bean, corn, and quinoa salad for an extra kick of flavor.

Git ’Er Done

Meal prepping is also great for multitasking. Listen to a podcast or audiobook while you cook, or get caught up on your favorite guilty-pleasure show. You can even start a load of laundry while you’re at it.

As an added perk, you’ll probably discover that you are actually cutting down on time spent in the kitchen. After preparing dinners for the week, you may find yourself throwing together the next day’s breakfast or lunch before cleaning up.

It’s a great way to get a lot done all at once.

3: Work Out a New Workout Program

Exercising is another way you can live a healthy lifestyle, and there are tons of great health benefits associated with regular exercise like weight loss and improved boosts in energy.

The great news is, there are so many interesting exercise options to choose from. So if you’re not a fan of running or lifting weights at the gym, don’t do it. Instead, pick something you really like.

Here’s a few fun options:

  • Dancing—Bollywood dancing, ballet, ballroom—the list goes on and on with dance options. You could even take a twerkout or Zumba dance class at a local gym, or play an hour of Just Dance on your Xbox Kinect or Dance Dance Revolution on the Wii.
  • Hiking—If you’re a nature lover, hiking totally counts as exercise. You could also go for long daily walks, try rock-climbing, or get into mountain biking.
  • Yoga—There are so many different kinds of yoga classes you could try. If you don’t mind the heat, go with hot yoga. If you’re an acrobat at heart, give acroyoga a try. There’s even a thing called goat yoga with baby goats and it looks delightful. Seriously, look it up.
  • The Sky’s the Limit—This is your chance to get really creative. Try hula-hooping, jump roping, unicycling, water aerobics, or even larping. (Stands for live action role-playing. Think of mock sword fighting in your favorite Zelda costume.)
  • The C’s—Try a home calisthenics program or CrossFit class at the gym. These kinds of workouts will really build your overall muscular strength and endurance. And okay, it doesn’t start with a “C,” but let’s add karate to the list for kicks.
  • DIY Workout—Invent your own mini workouts to do throughout the day. Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Do calf raises when unloading the dishwasher. Get down and plank while waiting for your tea kettle to boil. Do tricep dips on your couch during TV commercials. Taking these little extra steps can definitely add up in a good way.

When All Is Said and Done

When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, there isn’t a magical cure-all. But by taking little steps such as these every day, you really can improve your overall health, and by doing so, improve the quality of your life.

How do you live a healthy lifestyle? Comment below with your favorite examples.

HealthyLifestyle-Checklist

Healthy Cove

5 Ways to Feel More Self-Love

Self-Love: heart

Let’s face it—feeling self-love is much easier said than done. Especially when we live in a society obsessed with Snapchat-filter perfection. We constantly see others obtaining status, owning the latest and greatest technologies, going on dream vacations, and living in a big house on a hill with the perfect family.

It’s no wonder we often feel like we don’t measure up.

Even worse, we begin to tell ourselves lies. We start to think that we’re weird, poor, ugly, awkward, not smart enough, or even too smart. In short, we feel like we’re never enough.

But what if we’re wrong?

What if you were good enough, just the way you are? In this very moment?

When it comes to love, it’s often easier to give it to others. But showing yourself love is just as important, maybe even more so. Here are five ways you can start showing yourself some much-needed love today.

1–Make a List of Your Positive Attributes

How often do we take the time to praise ourselves? If the answer is “rarely” or “I don’t even know what self-praise is,” let’s fix that, pronto. Try writing out a list of your positive attributes and take time to reflect on it every day.

When putting together your list, instead of being super generic in your attributes, try to be specific and have a little fun with this. (And then get really wild and add one or two new attributes to the list every week.)

For example: “I always give genuine compliments to others.” Or: “I’m non-judgmental and I always try to see things from another person’s point of view.” Or: “I have a nice singing voice and my husband/wife/next-door neighbor/puppy (woof!) loves it when I sing loudly when doing the dishes.”

Self-Love: Gratitude

Another tip? Along with the positive attributes list, try making a list of the things you are grateful for. Showing gratitude can go a long way into helping you out of self-defeating and negative thinking patterns.

2–Take Time for Yourself

Maybe you’re a super busy mom with adorable but rambunctious children. Or maybe you’re a hard-working sales rep putting in 60 hours+ of work each week. Your time can start to feel like it doesn’t belong to you anymore, and far too often you may feel like stretched taffy pulled too thin.

But how can you fully give to your children or to your job if you haven’t given anything to yourself?

This may mean taking extra time for yourself to meditate. It could mean curling up with a good murder mystery for a half hour before bed or indulging in the latest episode of your favorite guilty pleasure (if you love The Bachelor, I’m right there with you). It could mean making it to your daily CrossFit class or going to a weekly yoga class. It could even mean making a delicious snack for yourself and not sharing it with your kids!

Self-Love: Reading

The bottom line: fill your own cup first before you share with others. And don’t feel guilty about it. Just do it.

3–No More Negative Self-Talk

Another way to show love for yourself is to quit with the negative self-talk.

Seriously, stop. When you call yourself a name or criticize yourself, you are shrinking yourself from a human being of value down to a single element of yourself that you don’t like.

This can be a hard habit to quell, but it’s one that can have truly astonishing results. Think about it. You wouldn’t tell a 5-year-old that their crayon drawings look terrible. You wouldn’t tell your bestie that they’re hopeless for not knowing how to do their taxes online. And you certainly wouldn’t tell your loveable Grandma that she’s a basket case every time she smears pink lipstick on her teeth. (At least let’s hope you’d never do this.)

Yet how often do we berate ourselves and think negative thoughts like “I’m so stupid” or “I never get anything right”?

Instead of thinking of yourself as a total dumb-bat, rephrase the way you think about things. Try this instead: “Okay, so I don’t know how to relight the pilot light on my furnace. But there are YouTube videos that can probably teach me how to do this.”

4–Don’t Compare Apples to Oranges

Everybody is different. You don’t look the same, act the same, speak the same, or have exactly the same mind and heart and experiences as anybody else. You are a unique individual. Embrace it.

Self-Love: Apples and oranges

This is one I can certainly work on. For instance, I know that I’m kinda weird. I have a bizarre and irrational fear of birds (I’d never survive at Hogwarts with all the owls), I secretly cling to the hope that aliens and mermaids are real, and I’m addicted to reading young adult fiction that teenage girls obsess over, even though I’m a 32-year-old man. It’s like I’m becoming a crazy cat lady, but with books instead of cats. But I’m slowly learning that it’s okay to embrace your quirks. It’s okay to be different. Be weirdly you and own it and love it. And remember that no one is perfect, and perfect is boring anyway. Be flaw-some instead.

To make my point, let’s look at fruit. Say you are an orange. You are tangy-sweet, smell like a citrus-flavored candle, and are round with a thick skin. As an orange, why would you compare yourself to an apple? Or if you’re a strawberry, why look at a kiwi and think you’re somehow less? Every fruit has a little something to bring to the fruit salad. Likewise, we all have something unique to bring to the table.

5–Leave the Past in the Past

If we’re being real, life isn’t always hunky-dory and chances are you might have some old emotional wounds or negative memories lingering on the surface in the present moment. If you find yourself dwelling on an old memory you’re not too fond of, catch yourself and say, “I’m not that person anymore.” Because truthfully, you aren’t. You don’t have to be defined by mistakes or incidents from the past.

Another thought—try accepting where you are right now, in the moment. Sometimes we give ourselves a hard time simply because we are feeling emotional. We feel like we need to be stronger. But it’s okay if you might be feeling a little down about something. Instead of beating yourself up for feeling down or emotional, give yourself permission to feel the feels for a bit. And then let it go and move on to greener pastures.

Allow Self-Love into Your Life

Self-Love: Love yourself

Self-love isn’t something you arrive at overnight. But by taking small, daily steps, you can begin to truly appreciate your uniqueness. You absolutely can love yourself just the way you are (and I sincerely hope you will).

After all, you’re pretty flaw-some.

Healthy Cove

WHEN IT COMES TO WEIGHT LOSS, DIET IS MOST IMPORTANT

Image may contain: food

Exercise has a huge upside for overall health and can improve outcomes for cardiovascular and circulatory diseases, diabetes, neurological diseases, and depression, among many other conditions. Unfortunately, that tremendous upside doesn’t necessary apply to weight loss.

If weight loss is your goal, exercise is great. And you should exercise rregularly. But reducing food (calorie) intake is far more effective, especially in the short-term. Keep exercising if you are already (and congratulations!), but if you aren’t making the progress you want with weight loss, you may need to look closer at your diet.

On the other hand, regular exercise and physical activity is absolutely essential to long-term weight maintenance for most people. You may not be able to exercise your weight off, but maintaining a weight loss is extremely difficult without regular exercise. The habit of exercise will provide you huge benefits, and will likely extend your health span. Just don’t depend on it entirely for weight loss.

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Naughty or Nice Cream

Nice Cream: Feature Image

If you’re worried about staying off the naughty list this year with your health coach but want to indulge in some holiday treats, add a bowl of nice cream to your menu. Nice cream revamps the idea of store-bought ice cream and recreates this delicious chilly treat by giving you a nutrition solution that will leave you sweetly satisfied. Plug in your blender and think in threes: base, milk, and flavor. Then you’ll have a nice cream that’s at the top of everyone’s gift list.

Nice cream is taking over foodie social feeds, especially those vegan food bloggers who love their sweet tooth. I’ve been adding it to my movie night menu and testing it out on my friends.

Go Bananas

The best solution for scrumptious nice cream is frozen bananas. These icy bananas will give your nice cream that thick and creamy texture without the extra fat of real cream and sugar. Don’t let your skepticism scare you away from this idea. Bananas are a fantastic source of potassium and really do mimic that hand-churned texture. Even if you don’t love the flavor of bananas, creating nice cream from them is well worth keeping your balanced snacking plan on track.

Nice Cream: ExampleCall the Milk Man

If you’re looking to make this craving health conscious, and especially if you’re keeping this vegan, a non-dairy milk will work wonderfully. Most nice cream recipes call for about two cups of milk. To stay calorie conscious, use unsweetened almond milk. There are plenty of other non-dairy milks to choose from as well, like cashew, coconut, soy, and even hazelnut. If you’re partial to dairy, shoot for skim or low-fat milk.

Festive Flavors

Nice Cream: BerriesBerries are also a wonderful way to add tangy, sweet, or subtle flavor profiles to a scoop of nice cream. Strawberries and blueberries and nice, but don’t be afraid to mix things up with pomegranate, pineapple, or cherry. You can use frozen or fresh, just pick your thickness. The more frozen ingredients you add to your blender, the thicker your cream will be. If you get in a bind, just add a few tablespoons of milk to even things out again.

If you’re looking for an extra boost of flavor and nutrients, add avocado. I was a little nervous the first time I tossed some avocado in my blender, but it created a marvelously creamy texture that even my roommate loved. Not only will this make your nice cream a festive, creamy green for Christmas, but it will also add a dose of healthy fats. When your taste buds and your body are both happy, that’s the perfect nutrition solution in my book.

If you’re searching for a way to refuel after a workout, but are craving something sweet, nice cream will hit the spot. Adding a scoop of your favorite protein powder to a blender of nice cream this treat a more balanced nutrition profile.

Just be sure you don’t overpower the natural flavors of the fruit you’ve already added to your mixture. If you’re wanting to keep a raspberry tang, stay original with banana, or keep things fresh with avocado and mint, choose a vanilla-flavored protein powder. For something a bit richer, try adding a chocolate-flavored protein powder—just pay attention to the sugar content. Remember, strive for balance in your exercise and nice cream bowls.

12 Days of Nice Cream Toppings

Take some inspiration from an old-fashioned sundae bar and finish off this balanced snacking solution with these tasty toppings:

  1. Crushed peppermint
  2. Muddled mint leaves
  3. Cacao nibs (check these out if your wanting a vegan chocolate fix)
  4. Fresh, sliced berries
  5. Slivered almonds
  6. Crushed unsalted cashews
  7. Cinnamon
  8. Nutmeg
  9. Shredded coconut flakes — let it snow!
  10. Chopped dates or figs
  11. Chia or poppy seeds
  12. Nut Butter—heat this up and it’s even better.

The next time you’re craving a trip to the ice cream parlor, or planning a fun get together with friends, remember that some treats are nicer than others. Nice cream is certainly at the top of my wish list.

Share this article on your social feeds and give your friends a sweet and health conscious treat for the holidays.

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Fitness Through the Holidays with Erin Oprea

Editor’s note: The following was written by USANA Fitness Ambassador Erin Oprea. 

The holidays can be a crazy time of year. From huge family gatherings to office parties and even colder weather, there are a lot of excuses floating around that can ruin your diet and fitness plans. But these aren’t reasons to lose hope and fall into lasting bad habits.

With the right plan in place, you can absolutely enjoy yourself while sticking to your healthy lifestyle.

Here are a few tips to help limit the impact the holiday season may have on your fitness.

Keep Fitness Fun and Family Oriented

The holidays are a great time to get your family involved in fun fitness activities. Grab your family and find a local 5K to get everyone out, moving, and enjoying the season together. My family and I run a 5K every holiday. It’s good bonding and it’s a great way to burn some calories before we eat a bunch of food. And holiday runs are just a fun environment.

Obviously not all family members are going to be at the same level of fitness—it’s just a matter of going out there together and enjoying the festivities. Some people are going to walk and some are going to run, and some might not finish. But the important thing is knowing you all got out there, got fresh air, and enjoyed it together.

If running isn’t your thing, nothing beats a good old-fashioned jump rope. When there’s no snow or ice on the ground, that’s my go-to favorite thing to do outside because it’s such a versatile piece of equipment. It’s something you can do anywhere. And you can easily do it in short bursts in a Tabata workout to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping.

I love Tabata so much that I gave it an entire section in my book, The 4 x 4 Diet. Tabata is 20 seconds of high-intensity moves followed by 10 seconds of rest, done for eight rounds—a total of four minutes. There are lots of free Tabate time apps. Take a few minutes to look around and pick the one that works best for you.

After you have your timer, grab your friends and family, bundle up, head outside for some fresh air, hit start, and get some work done. Make a game out of it.

It’s OK to Enjoy Holiday Treats, Just Plan Ahead

Eating well during the holidays can be hard, but it’s possible. It’s all about planning ahead and picking and choosing.

Here are my favorite tricks.

  • Take something healthy to share at holiday parties.

This means you’ll have at least one healthier option. And then just have little bits of all the other goodies. Enjoy a little bit in moderation, but have something you feel good about eating.

  • Don’t stand next to the food table.

I have to repeat this one: Don’t park yourself right next to the food table. Those temptations are endless and you’re doomed for failure.

  • Eat before you go to parties.

Never go to a party hungry. This isn’t just for the holiday season; this is a rule I live by. If you’re not starving when you go out, you can have enough to satisfy you and not feel like you have to eat everything. Food always looks better when you’re hungry.

  • If you drink, drink in moderation.

Alcohol is not our friend, especially sugary, high-caloric drinks. Drink in moderation. Have a cocktail and then have a full glass of water before you go on to your next one. That will slow you down quite a bit.

Make Fitness Goals, Not Resolutions

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions this year, set small, attainable goals.

If you make a goal to lose 50 pounds but only see two pounds come off the first week—even though that is healthy weight loss—you’re going to think 50 pounds is forever away and that there’s no way you’re going to get there. That kind of negativity will just lead to failure.

But if you make small, attainable goals, such as focusing on drinking more water and less soda, you have something to build on the next week. Over time, those small, accomplished goals add up to huge results. And then when you attain those goals, you reward yourself. But not with food.

To me, the best reward is new workout clothes. But I’m not most people. I have clients who set weekly goals and put $5 in a jar when they hit them. And when they hit a monthly goal, they go out and buy something big with it.

But the most important trick about keeping up with your fitness goals through the holidays is to plan ahead. You have to plan out your activity. You have to plan out your food. You even have to pick and choose what days you’re going to be bad. That way, you’ll know in advance what days you’re going to be good.

And then all you have to worry about is having a fun, safe, and fit holiday.

Happy Holidays from East Coast Life Solutions!

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8 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays Without the Weight Gain

The holiday season is here and with it comes time spent with family and friends eating delicious food. Mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, pie, cookies, and cocktails are staples at every celebration and party. Indulging in these seasonal treats is fun, but this time of merriment can quickly add up on the bathroom scale.

Your physical fitness doesn’t need to suffer this year, though. There are several reliable ways to avoid packing on extra pounds this holiday season. And none of them require depriving yourself of the splendid holiday treats you enjoy so much.

Proper Portions

It’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of the season and lose track of what, and how much, you’ve eaten throughout the day. Overeating during the holidays can lead to weight gain in even the healthiest individuals. Overweight or obese persons are even more likely to gain weight during this time of year. And while you should celebrate and enjoy yourself, there are ways to do it safely.

Dishing up proper serving sizes at a holiday meal makes overeating harder to do. Choosing a half-cup of stuffing—instead of half-a-plate—allows you to enjoy the taste of comfort food while leaving room for more nutritious dishes. And when in doubt, choose vegetables, fruits, and protein over starchy, refined grains, and sugar.

Aim for Quality

Holidays Without the Weight Gain: Veggies

Next time you’re in line at the dinner buffet, pick up nutrient-dense foods first. At holiday parties, these take the shape of green salads, roasted vegetables, and turkey. Choosing vegetables and protein first will fill your stomach with quality food and leave less room for tempting filler foods (potatoes, stuffing, dinner rolls, etc.).

Another great way to balance your holiday meal is by adding whole fruit to your plate. Apples, oranges, and pomegranates are in season this time of year. These fruits are full of fiber and vitamins that support healthy digestion and immunity. And they’re naturally sweet and delicious.

Watch Out for High Calorie Filler Foods

Starchy foods—like potatoes and dinner rolls—sugary cocktails, and cookies let you eat a lot and not feel full. That’s because these foods are low in fiber and high in sugar. Your body digests them quickly and the resulting blood sugar highs and lows make it difficult to listen to what your body needs.

Conversely, high fiber side dishes with lots of fruits and vegetables sustain you longer and make your more aware of when your stomach is actually full. There are easy ways to substitute nutrient poor dishes for more wholesome options. Whole-grain dinner rolls and sweet potatoes are healthier alternatives to mashed potatoes and white bread. A conservative glass of red wine has valuable antioxidants not found in other beverages. Fruit salad instead of cookies provides the sweetness you and your guests crave without the calories.

Eat Well Throughout the Day

One of the easiest ways to sabotage your diet is to skip meals in anticipation of eating large ones later. So don’t fast all day in preparation for a special family dinner. Instead, eat a balanced breakfast and choose a lunch that will keep you full and sustained until the evening.

Fiber-rich foods and snacks with fruits, veggies, and protein increase satiety and help keep cravings at bay. Fruits and vegetables provide the fiber to fill your stomach. Protein slows digestion and helps keep you full for longer.

Build your pre-party meal with these facts in mind. A salad for lunch (size: approximately three cups) can help reduce the calorie intake at your next meal by nearly 12 percent. Fueling your body well before a holiday get-together will help you make better eating choices and quiet the urge to overeat.

Make It Yourself

Holidays Without the Weight Gain: Drinks

Worried about what you should eat at a party? Provide a calorie conscious dish at the next potluck. Preparing refreshments yourself allows you to control sugar and fat content. And it ensures there will be something available for you to eat. Odds are you won’t be the only party-goer looking for a healthier option.

Another way to promote healthy holiday eating is hosting a party of your own. Serving nutritious snacks and beverages and enjoying the company of friends and family will sustain the holiday spirit and provide a healthy evening.

Socialize

Holidays Without the Weight Gain: Socialize

Good conversation with loved ones is calorie-free and a terrific way to spread holiday cheer. Focus on the people at the party, rather than the food. If you need extra motivation to stick to healthy-eating goals, aim to talk to three different people before partaking in the holiday spread. Meet two new people before going back for seconds.

Reward Good Behavior

Making healthy choices this holiday season doesn’t require self-deprivation. You’ll feel confident after a day of proper portions and nutritious meals. Reward yourself with a slice of pie or cake. These treats shouldn’t come after every meal, but they’re well deserved after you have provided your body with proper nutrition.

Withholding tempting foods can backfire and lead to binges that will set you back on your journey to holiday health. So treat yourself appropriately and remember to eat all things in moderation.

Make Exercise a Group Activity

Regular exercise is one of the hardest habits to maintain during holiday celebrations. But exercise is necessary to combat weight gain during this time of year. The average holiday meal amounts to more than 2,000 calories consumed in a single sitting. That’s a staggering number, but there are plenty of ways to knock off those excess calories with friends and family.

Plan activities together that take advantage of the season. A long walk after dinner can help aid in digestion. Snowshoeing, skiing, playing football, and charity races are excellent ways to spend time together and burn those holiday calories. Maintaining your physical fitness this holiday season doesn’t have to be a solo effort. This year, you and your loved ones can grow closer and stronger by making physical activity a fun way to spend time together.

Don’t Wait for January to Make a Change

For most people, the holidays are followed by the reckoning—a month of diets, commitments, and resolutions. But if you want to make a change in your health, now is the best time. With the tips you just read, you can enjoy your holiday season and get a jump on your 2018 goals.

Good Health is a Lifestyle! Follow East Coast Life Solutions to keep up to date with trending topics.

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Pro Tips for a High Plant-Based Protein Diet

High Plant Based Protein Diet

I think it’s safe to say, most everyone knows how crucial protein is in your diet. In the body, proteins break down amino acids that promote cell growth and repair. An added benefit: they take longer to digest than carbs, which means you feel fuller for longer and on fewer calories. Whether you are a body builder or keep up a casual exercise regimen, no one can deny the power of protein.

So, how much protein do you need? It’s suggested that men eat between 1 and 1.5 grams and women eat between 0.5 and 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. Depending on the intensity of your exercise and training, you may need to eat closer to 2 grams.

I also think it’s safe to say that if asked, most of us would be pretty quick to say that most animal products (meat, eggs, dairy) are great sources of protein. But what if you don’t eat any animal products? Do you have to give up on your high-protein dreams? Absolutely not.

Thankfully, there are several high-protein options for those who choose a plant-based diet.

Legumes

High Plant-Based Protein Diet: Legumes

Foods in the legume family (green peas, lentils) are a great source of vegetarian protein. One cup contains 7.9 grams—about the same as a cup of milk. If you don’t like these foods as a side dish, try blending them into a pesto. a pesto or hummus.

Quinoa

High Plant-Based Protein Diet: Quinoa

Quinoa is my favorite grain and not just because I love the nutty taste! It contains 8 grams per cup as well as ALL NINE essential amino acids the body needs for growth and repair. You can eat it on its own or add it to soup. I sometimes swap out my morning oatmeal for quinoa—delicious!

Nuts and Nut Butter

High Plant-Based Protein Diet: Nut Butter

All nuts contain healthy fats and protein, making them the perfect addition to a plant-based diet. It’s always best to choose varieties that are raw or dry roasted. If you’re selecting a nut butter, make sure to check the label to see if it has added ingredients. Manufacturers love to sneak in added sugars. Choose a brand with only salt or no additives.

Beans

High Plant-Based Protein Diet: Beans

With so many different varieties, it’s easy to find one you’ll love. While they all taste different, they have one thing in common: lots of protein. Two cups of beans contain about 26 grams! The best part? You don’t have to make them from scratch to reap the benefits. Simply rinse and heat canned beans and you’ve got yourself a high-protein dish!

Chia Seeds

High Plant-Based Protein Diet: Chia

You probably recognize the name from the famed Chia Pets, and yes, it’s the same plant! These seeds are delicious and contain 4.7 grams per two tablespoons. I love adding them to green smoothies, oatmeal, or even making chia seed pudding.

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

I’m not going to argue with getting protein from chocolate! Unsweetened cocoa powder contains about 1 gram of protein per tablespoon and is the perfect thing to add to your protein shake or smoothie. Try it out with banana, peanut butter, and your favorite protein powder.