Diet Trends: Vegetarian diet

Vegetarian diet cookbooks

Photo courtesy of mriggen

I wanted to spend some time digging into our next diet trend centralized around no meat.  now this diet is often adopted for health reasons or due to certain religious beliefs, humanitarian beliefs, etc. . So eating strictly Vegetarian isn’t a “diet” per se it’s a way of life and I have no problem with that.  Basing ones diet around wholesome fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains is a great way to ensure your body is naturally flushing out toxins, your able to maintain a healthy weight etc.  It has a lot of positive benefits.

Let’s take a look into some of the proclaimed benefits of a Vegetarian based diet:

  • Supports weight loss
  • Increases longevity
  • Plant foods are rich in nutrients
  • Reduced risk of type-2 diabetes

Not so “pro”:

  • Can be difficult to meet daily protein requirements
  • Iron levels if not supplementing can plummet
  • Too much soy products has shown to increase changes of cancer especially in women
  • You can also gain weight if you choose to swap out meat for grilled cheese and fries on the reg 😉

All those pro’s sound great right?  Well, if you execute this diet correctly with ensuring you are getting enough sources of protein, iron and other essential vitamins and minerals then yes it’s a great healthy lifestyle to embrace.  However if you don’t know what you are doing and just cut out meat from your diet without backfilling your daily requirement things may not go exactly as planned.  Take it from my personal experience.

A couple of years back I decided to give up for Lent meat.  No biggie I thought, this is easy and good for me! So I cut out meat and filled my diet with veggies of all kinds, beans etc. Life was good.  Well a few weeks in I started feeling tired all of the time, my skin grew pale, rings under my eyes started to show and i just felt like crap.  I chalked it up to “I must be getting sick”.

Few weeks after I had to go in for blood work and my results showed something was funky in my bloodstream.  In fact so funky the doctor’s made me go to a Cancer Research center to get a deep look into what was going on in my blood cells.  That was scary!  Luckily all came back clean other than low nothing fishy going on there.  By this time Lent was just about over and my mom (who aside from being a nurse seems to know everything) mentioned that i was looking anemic and insisted that eating a steak would fix me.  And so I did, in fact I re-embraced all meat again.  And you know what?  It was like a freakin miracle, my bags disappeared, my energy levels returned and I just felt so much more, me.

Turns out I had depleted my body of the necessary amount of iron it needed to continue functioning correctly.  I hadn’t even thought about that!  In addition my energy levels returned as I increased the amount of protein and other vital minerals in my diet.

So why am I telling you this?  Well, I just want you to be cautious in your health decisions.  Not everything is right for everyone.  Being a vegetarian can be a wonderful thing, I know many people who do it well, but if you don’t know what you are doing it can hurt you as well.  This is true with any type of diet so if you try something and it doesn’t feel right or you don’t feel right stop and think about it.  Tae time to listen to your body and what it wants, needs, craves.  Bodies are so smart they know what we need and when we need it you just have to learn to listen.

Have you tried a Vegetarian based diet?  How did it work for you? What are some things you learned along the way that may help others looking to embrace this way of life?

 

 

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How Do You Define Hot?

strength training sweat session

Ah, the age-old quest for a rockin hot body. But have you ever stopped to think about what that means to you? Is a hot body one that is 365 bikini ready? Or maybe it means a healthy body or even more just being comfortable in your own skin. That’s hot right?

Well, whatever definition you choose, consider this: what does looking the way you want to take to achieve? How much time do you need to acquire that “killer body”? Is it daily workouts at the yoga studio or kickboxing boot camp or low carb diets? As you start to learn what your definition is its at that point you can take a look back and see how much that’s worth to you and frankly if it is realistic. Also what additional requirements are needed to help fit in the process? Is it costing you a fortune in online supplements or $98 “trendy” yoga pants?

Where am I going with this? Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to fit in a category we consider “elite” that we lose sight of those more important things in life-like family and friends. Even our already tight wallets take a hit. It is in recognizing this that we discover if there is a need to adjust our hot body definition.

As I am in wedding mode now, I am determined to keep up my daily routine and “your so conscious of your diet you make others want to gag” regime. But once the bells have rung I plan on re-evaluating my definition of healthy to fit into a working plan that can benefit me and at the same time allow me more flexibility to spend more time with family and friends.

I now realize that it is unrealistic to expect I will always be a size 2 and I am finally confident in saying I accept that. I know given my Virgo background and anal retentive ways I will also never slip on my size 12 clothes again..Its a balance that frees us , keeps us sane and helps take our focus off the less important things and put it back where it belongs on our loved ones.

What is your definition of a hot bod? What changes would you like to make in your own lives?  Please share below.

Written by Kimberly Evans

Portion Size Distortion

Portion sizes are one of the biggest contributors to the rapidly increasing average waistline sizes of Americans.  Did you know that in the 1970’s, 47% of people were obese or overweight?  Did you know that since then that rate has reached 66%?  (Divine Caroline 2013) Sadly, it’s become the norm to be overweight.

How many of you take your leftovers home from dining out?  How many of you eat what you can and just leave the rest?  Those with the latter choice, not only are you spending $8-$20 per meal but you’re leaving half of it!  So you’ve just wasted a whole other meal’s worth of hard-earned cash.  That’s not fair, and it’s not your fault.  Portion size in the US has grown tremendous in size over the years.  The best example of this is Italian pasta dishes.  Going to places like Maggiano’s you’re sure to be delivered 3-4 servings on one plate.  Well, no wonder America’s obese rates are skyrocketing!

This over portioned problem also infiltrates our homes when we attempt to prepare meals for ourselves and families. We have developed such warped views on what a portion size should look like that when we do see one it looks small and un-fulfilling. Did you know a serving size of meat is about the size of a deck of cards?  Sure 2 servings is fine if you’re just pairing it with vegetables but we’re not.  We’re adding condiments, bread, pasta or potatoes with butter and sour cream.  Do you see where I’m going with this?

What it comes down to, is it’s not all attributed to a lack of nutrition education.  The nutritional information is on the packaging, explanations for what the ingredients and amounts represent are getting easier to understand, and ultimately we do have a choice on how much we eat or don’t eat.  It’s the norm that is working against us in our expectations from a serving, just like the norm of being overweight as I mentioned in the beginning.  We’ve gotten ourselves used to such large portions of items that normal servings look like bird food!

So what are some things you can you do to avoid the portion distortion when out to dinner or even when cooking at home?

1. Use a smaller plate – don’t reach for the big fancy china dish but instead take the salad plate.  May look small at first but over time you’ll save a lot of calories and get used to it.

2. When at a restaurant immediately put 1/2 to go.  I do this all the time and it works.  It takes 20 minutes when eating to begin to feel full.  If you leave everything there you will be tempted to consume it before you even realize you’re full.  Now you’re too full!  Take it home and eat it tomorrow or give it to your child or pet for their next meal.

3. This is one that the critiques are out on, but is worth mentioning:  if given a choice eat your food on blue plates/bowls/cups etc.  Red apparently is a strong bold color and has shown in studies to increase your appetite (how deceiving!).  On the other hand blue is shown to have the opposite effect.  What colors are your plates in your kitchen?

4. Measure your serving sizes.  The method of “I’ll add a dash of this, a dab of that. scoop of this…”, is just not reliable.  That extra tablespoon or 1/2 cup could be over time what’s standing between you and that waistline especially when it comes to highly caloric items like cheeses, oils and peanut butter.

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Written by Kimberly Evans

New Year, New View

We are drawing upon the drop of the ball.  A time where we say goodbye to what this year has held for us and look on to what 2013 may hold for our future.  It’s a bright outlook where anything is possible.  What’s on your list?  I think my resolution this year will be around finding peace with myself.  If you’re like me your ever-busy, like to go nonstop, and never take a second to catch your breathe or admire the view.  My goal is to slow-down and invest more in those things in my life that bring me joy.

I found some pretty interesting stats from a site called Statistic Brain (www.statisticbrain.com) that I thought were worth sharing.  Did you know that over 45% of Americans will set New Year’s resolutions this year?  Furthermore a good 38% will be regarding weight and 34% regarding money?  I also discovered about 45% of new years resolutions are still alive and kicking after 6 months.  This means it’s totally possible to set a goal and keep it if you want it badly enough.  So what advice can I give you in terms of picking the right goal?  Here’s a few suggestions I came across in an article from a blog called Goal Setting guides (http://www.goal-setting-guide.com/statistics-facts-setting-years-resolutions) if you need a little help:

1. Make it specific – this gives you less opportunity to find wiggle room to wiggle out of it.

2. Make it realistic – winning the lotto, losing 40 pounds, or paying off your mortgage might be a little over ambitious… after all the last thing you want is to set yourself up for something you know is not going to happen.

3. Make it known – write it in a journal, tell family and friends.  What better than a support group that way it’s even more motivation to complete as you know your Aunt Kathy come Thanksgiving will wonder how your kickboxing classes or gluten-free blog is going.

4. Make it measurable by time – Now an exact date or hour can be anxiety producing but setting something like a in 3 weeks goal or an approximate date will give you something to work towards without causing panic.

5. Make it fun and rewarding- There is nothing more demotivating than a goal that’s a burdon.  Who wants to work toward achieving a goal if it’s viewed negatively?  Choose your resolution wisely and you’ll set yourself up for success.

I wish you the best of luck.  Here’s to you, your health, your goals, and a wonderful 2013!  Cheers!

 

Easy Moves To Help Stretch Tight Shoulders

Sitting at a desk job day over day ,week over week, and year after year take a large toll on your body and health.  Studies show that those who sit daily for over 40 hours a week have an increased risk for back pain, neck pain, stress injuries, obesity, carpal tunnel… to name a few.

I have already begun seeing some of these effects from bad posture at work.  For instance, my biggest problem like most desk professions are in my neck and shoulders.  Years of slouched, incorrect desk posture have begun having wrath on my body and my body is not liking it!

I recently went to a Chiropractor because of neck and shoulder pain.  My neck felt like it was on fire!  Turns out I had a slipped disc in my neck from hunched over posture at my desk!  Yes I hurt myself by just sitting at my desk for ungodly hours… crazy.

Thanks to her she cracked me in places in my neck and back I didn’t even know could crack and gave me some great exercises to do throughout the day to try and push my shoulders back.  this was something I was not used to.  I grew up a ballerina and had great posture.  In fact I would get comments on how I walked and stood tall… I should have noticed those comments over the years have faded and I’m guessing my slowing curving shoulders are to blame.

I was looking up daily news stories a few days ago and came across an article on Fit Sugar that had a few great yoga poses to hep relieve some pressure in your shoulders and stretch that overall area out. I’ve been trying them daily and have already begun to feel better, I suggest you give them a whirl too. Good luck to you and remember, standing tall with shoulders back and chest up makes you not only look taller but slimmer too!

Yoga Sequence For Tight Shoulders.

Daily Vitamins Overload, Proceed With Caution!

We all see those products that claim to have tons of additional vitamins or calcium or iron in them helping us meet our daily requirements.  Well, did you ever stop to think there may be too much of a good thing?  Here’s a great article I stumbled across from a fellow blogger and thought I’d share:

Daily Vitamins – don’t over do it – Women’s Health Magazine.

So granted this is great for those who don’t take any additional vitamins or supplements and are by default acquiring their daily fill but how about the half of us who do take packed vitamins and minerals already?  Could we be hurting ourselves instead?

What do you think?  Do you take a daily supplement?  Do you buy in to the boxes that say “a full day’s serving of fiber in one bite!”?

via Daily Vitamins – don’t over do it – Women’s Health Magazine.

What Are Your Fitness and Nutrition Goals?

honey crunched

I want to hear from you.  What are your biggest challenges in maintaining a healthy weight?  Is it motivation, time, stress?  What are your goals?

We can all work together through sharing information and different expertise.  We can share our successes and failures and in turn help motivate each other.  Remember what you might know might be the missing puzzle piece for someone else.  So share the wealth!