The Secret to Gorgeous Abs

 Ever heard the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen”?  Well it’s true, seriously!  Abdominal definition goes beyond doing a billion crunches or even just “eating healthy”.   Don’t get me wrong your abs and body very much do need at LEAST the minimum amount of daily/weekly activity recommended BUT the biggest change you can make when you are not working out is in your diet way of life.
 healthy foods
Photo via Flickr by Aria Ziai
It’s not about the amount of food you eat (within reason of course).  Nor is it about starving yourself with just smoothies or salads to reach your target weight.  Do you have a plan for after you hit that number?  How will you sustain?  This is how the vicious cycle of lose some, gain more is achieved.  To really make a difference you need to create a workable way of life that you will stick with long after bikini season comes to a close.
One of the biggest areas of impact you can have in the kitchen is the quality of food going in your mouth.  Don’t be shy, raise your hands… how many of you look at labels for the items you buy BEFORE you buy them?  That’s what I thought… the fact is most people don’t nor do they know when they do what they are looking for.  Below are just a few basic guidelines to help you avoid those bloating, artificial junk foods that call your name loudly when you are perusing the grocery aisles at your  local Target or Mariano’s etc:
Mantra in life and while grocery shopping: I have standards!
Rule 1. If it has more than 5 ingredients do NOT buy it
Rule 2. if the first 3 ingredients aren’t even related to what the items it’s a big NO (ex tomato sauce should not have #1 ingredient sugar it should be tomato, water, salt that’s about it maybe some seasoning).
Rule 3. NO yellow #5 (aka Kraft mac and cheese… switch to Annie’s brand or another alternative).  Yes may cost your family $.15 more sense but the health benefits outweigh that price.  Simple put, yellow #5 is crap and it’s been known to cause hyperactivity in children.  Yellow #5 is even in goldfish!  So not kid friendly…
Rule 4. Corn syrup, palm oil, high fructose corn syrup -is you see these ingredients ditch it they are just garbage.
Rule 5. enriched white enriched wheat enriched anything NO (this one is least of all but is a reason for belly bloat).  I think this is the hardest one as it’s really in everything.
Look for cane sugar, honey, agave as sweeteners. Corn is good too so cornmeal, corn chips, tortillas if corn not flour all good.  All natural ingredients skip the sugary enriched crap.  Lots of veggies quinoa, brown rice, lots of protein but not modified protein.
Here’s some of my favorite brands you can go to as alternatives to what you are using today:
  • Ezekiel bread products
  • Amy’s Brand
  • Annie’s
  • Rudi’s
  • Skinny Pop or Angie’s
  • Skinny Sticks (great flavors)
  • Trader Joe lentil chips…yum. Actually trader joe is a fantastic inexpensive way to eat healthy on a reasonable budget.
  • Applegate
  • Boar’s Head Natural
  • Most Kashi
  • Honest

 

These are just a few of the brands I like.  Some of your favorite brands can be still enjoyable as a lot of these companies do have less evil alternatives to the foods you love it just takes quick research in the aisle initially.  Once you find your favorites it should be easy weekly just to pick these up and add into the mix.  You and your family’s health is worth it!

 

By Kimberly Hale

 

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4 Healthy Junk Food Ideas

woman eating junk foodMore often than not, I crave some deliciously bad-for-you goodness. I have learned that little slip-ups add up more quickly than I can burn them off. An extra 100 calories is about 15 minutes on the treadmill for me, and with most yummy junk food, that means only a bite or two! Fear not, I have compiled a list of better-for-you goodies!

Here’s a list of four tasty treats that have healthful silver linings:

1) Cheez Whiz (nope, not kidding)

This go-to steak topper is full of Natural Trans Fats (aka Cancer-fighting CLA’s). After related research findings were released, “Kraft Foods must have had a field day pointing out that this pasteurized spread was no junk food, but a more concentrated source of a… cancer-fighting compound than any of the [other] cheeses analyzed.” Fat can be soooo good! (Just don’t forget that little note about moderation…at 90 calories and 7 grams of that good-fat per dollop, the cons can quickly outweigh the pros here.)

2) Evol Frozen Foods 

We love these Evol options at my gluten-free house! The free-range, hormone-free chicken, humanely raised beef, house-made salsa and organic beans only boost our love of Evol (which happens to be love spelled backwards). Evol’s website is chock full of information about their products and ingredient sources.

3) Quinn Popcorn

Most people think microwave popcorn is a healthy choice for snacking, but many don’t know about the hazardous chemical coatings inside the bags. Quinn has no need for such chemical coatings, and their delectable Parmesan & Rosemary and Hickory Smoked Cheddar flavors amp up your snack time. Nutritional Info for each flavor can be found on their website.

4) Home-made Spinach Dip

If you use reduced-fat cream cheese, nonfat yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese, you save 84 calories and 10 grams of fat per serving!!

Lightly sauté:

  • Splash of olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, peeled
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed

Mix above ingredients with:

  • 1 5-ounce can water chestnuts, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchâtel)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-public/trans-fat-vindicated

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/slideshow/3272709/297376/?icid=hp_home_gallery

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/creamy_spinach_dip.html

Contributing Writer, HoneyCrunched Kate Milde

2013 Top Nutrition Trends

2013 Top Nutrition Trends

I came across this article when searching the web for fad diets and other interesting evolutions to expect this year.  Of course I’m sure as the year progresses another “ancient” roots diet may resurface in those looking to be closer to our original stomping grounds when life first began (think Paleo diet) in an attempt to solve that ever tricky puzzle of the right balance between exercise and diet.  My opinion?  Well first I think there’s no one “ultimate” solution.  Just like clothes there are different solutions for everyone. I choose to pick a one two punch kind of mentality. I live a healthy lifestyle (90 percent healthy diet plus regular exercise) and track my activity/foods so I can’t lie to myself.  The verdict is it got me in shape 8 years ago when I had spiraled out of control, and kept me in shape despite having a child and continues to ever since.

How about you?  Which diet are you following and why?  Are you hard core organic, gluten free, vegetarian, or one of those folk who likes jumping onboard the latest diet trend?

Body Fat: Good vs Bad

body fat percent

We all know that body fat is not good for us.  Those cute, little (or big) squeezable love handles can be both hurting or helping us.  However with all the information out there and with little time to research what are you going to do?

Take a deep breath, let’s dig in to body fat a little further.  Here’s what we know, body fat can be good or bad.  There are five main types of body fat: white, brown, subcutaneous, visceral and belly fat. Let’s look into them briefly:

White Body Fat – Stores energy and produces hormones into the bloodstream.  The larger we get the slower this production goes upping our chances of heart disease and diabetes.

Brown Body Fat – Recent studies show brown fat is now more related to muscle than it is to white fat (good thing).  In turn brown fat even burns white fat (Hooray!)

Subcutaneous Fat – This is the fat directly under your skin.  It’s what’s most often measured when getting the “pinch test” for body fat.  This fat in low doses is not great however it’s not as bad as visceral or belly fat.

Visceral Fat – This stuff is what covers your organs.  Not a good fat and having it severely ups your chances for health problems down the line.

Belly Fat – Is actually visceral and subcutaneous combined.  At this point doctors don’t have a 100% sure way to tell which is which, irregardless a big belly or hips (unless pregnant) is never a good sign!

I recently came across some stats in Marie Claire that diced up exercise and fat %’s in terms of fertility. To summarize, they said that women who spent five hours a week moderately exercising were 18% more likely to conceive than those who spent less than an hour a week exercising.  However on the opposite side, those who spent over five hours a week were decreasing their fertility chances by up to 42%!  So we know exercise is essential to helping rid the unhealthy body fat but there is an exercise sweet spot. Five hours a week is key. Even aside from fertility reasoning, over five hours a week, unless training for a marathon is still unnecessary and potentially harmful to your body by over conditioning.

So using the knowledge on body fat, how can you find out what yours is?  Here’s a great article I found in Shape Magazine online that discusses the normal to overboard ways you can try to determine your actual body fat %.  After all weighing in on a scale is great to get a ballpark figure and looking at your body in the mirror (without blindfolds) is great too, however it doesn’t differentiate how much of your weight is water, muscle, or body fat.

Body Fat Testing: What You Need to Know – Shape Magazine.

Other sources:  WebMD,Marie Claire