snacks

The Soy Debate – Is It Good For You Or Not?

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The Soy Debate – Is It Good For You Or Not?

The soy controversy is highly debated these days among nutritionists. On the one hand, soy has become extremely popular, and on the other hand, the potential health risks have also become widely recognized. So, is it healthy or not so healthy to consume soy products?

The known benefits to soy:

  1. It can be prepared in many different ways as an alternative to meat products.
  2. It’s a source of protein for vegans and vegetarians.
  3. Soy milk is a common alternative to cow’s milk for people who are lactose sensitive or lactose intolerant.
  4. Some studies have shown that consuming soy is helpful in increasing HDL (our good cholesterol) and possibly it has antioxidants that protect an increase in our LDL levels (the bad cholesterol).
  5. Even more recently, there have been some studies done on the isoflavones found in soy. Their estrogen like properties can support bone strength and improve the symptoms of women going through menopause.

The potential health risks to soy:

  1. Soy that is grown in America is genetically modified and usually not labeled as such.
  2. There are recent studies showing that soy contains phytoestrogens. If you consume too much soy in your diet you can actually produce too much estrogen in the body, which is especially unhealthy for young children and males. In women, this can lead to an increased chance of developing breast cancer or uterine fibroids.
  3. Soy phytoestrogens can also cause thyroid disease and an increased risk of autoimmune disease, especially in babies or young children. It’s a very popular alternative formula for infants when they can’t tolerate regular cow’s milk products.
  4. Many of the meat replacement soy products, such as soy burgers, are highly processed containing unnatural toxins and can contain high levels of unhealthy preservatives and high levels of sodium.
  5. Some people have an allergic reaction to soy and don’t feel well after consuming it or even develop hives or general itching. You may not realize it is the culprit because soy is hidden in a lot of processed foods.

The best you can do is educate yourself so you can make your own informed decision on whether or not soy is good for you and your family. If you do choose to consume soy, edamame is a good choice because it is not processed, as well as fermented tofu.

How Important Is Consuming Protein?

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How Important Is Consuming Protein?

Everyone knows what protein is, in general, but most people don’t have a deeper concept of just how vital it is to our body. It is so important to consume enough healthy protein in our diet and from a healthy source. Opinions vary, but it is recommended that it is healthy to consume anywhere from 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily. A bodybuilder’s protein intake recommendations may be higher in order to add the desired muscle mass.

So What Are Proteins?

Proteins are the macronutrients that form the foundation of our diet. Proteins help to build new cells and regulate the metabolism. They actually help all of your cells communicate and shuttle oxygen throughout the body in the form of hemoglobin. They also have the ability to build muscle.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. It is absolutely essential that we consume these daily and in the right way. Our DNA directs the body to join various combinations of amino acids into a variety of sequences, each serving a unique function and feeding our bodies exactly what it needs.

We can store fats and carbohydrates to draw on when needed, but we do not have a storage pool of amino acids. We need to add to it each day in order to build the body proteins that we need. If we are missing a particular amino acid to form the protein it needs, it will pull that amino acid by breaking down existing muscle protein. Consistently lacking certain amino acids means we will lose muscle weight, energy and, eventually, fundamental body functions.

The Main Sources Of Daily Protein:

  • Meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and fish are complete sources of protein. They contain all of the essential amino acids.
  • Nuts, seeds, beans, peas, and whole grains. However, in order to consume all of the essential amino acids, plant foods must be used to complement each other with their amino acid profiles. Beans tend to be low in one amino acid that grains have plenty of, so combining these foods forms a complete protein, like beans and rice.

Be sure and consume your daily healthy protein and remember that centering on a protein diet promotes energy, healthy muscles and even weight loss!

Avocados And Many Of Their Amazing Health Benefits

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Avocados And Many Of Their Amazing Health Benefits

Avocados have a high fat content, but it is a super healthy fat. They were once put on the bad foods list for this fact and yet now they are one of the most popular foods because of their wonderful nutritional value. They are literally packed with the healthy monounsaturated fat, lutein, potassium, folate and numerous other vitamins and nutrients. Avocados support your entire body, from your heart to your eyes.

What are some specific things avocados can do for you?

  • Heart protection – the high amounts of potassium regulates blood pressure, which helps to prevent heart disease and strokes, and even lower cholesterol. The folate in them also contributes to lowering your chances of getting heart disease and heart attacks.
  • Your vision – A fabulous ingredient in avocados is lutein, numerous antioxidants and zeaxanthin……all that protect your eyes from macular degeneration and even improve your eyesight.
  • Cancer prevention – The numerous antioxidants in avocados are a great cancer prevention. Oleic acid that is prevalent is known protection against breast cancer.
  • Great source of fiber – Consuming healthy amounts of fiber is a major component in the prevention of chronic disease. Avocados are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers.
  • Low glycemic index – This helps to control your blood sugar levels, preventing the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Rich in Vitamin K – This great vitamin plays an important role in our ability to have functional blood clotting and wound healing. It is also very important to help build strong bones.
  • Rich in Vitamin B6 – This directly supports your nervous system, your teeth and gums and your numerous red blood cells and can reduce morning sickness.
  • A stronger immune system – The high amount of antioxidants directly supports the immune system.
  • Lose weight – The high amounts of monounsaturated fats in avocados actually speeds up your metabolic rate which can help with weight loss.
  • Prevent halitosis – Believe it or not, but avocados can get rid of bad breath! It is able to effectively remove intestinal putrefaction and decomposition which is the actual cause of bad breath and a coated tongue.
  • A protein source – They provide ALL 18 essential amino acids we need for our bodies to form a complete protein, that is just amazing! Also, the protein in an avocado is easy to digest and readily absorbed due to their fiber content.

We all love a delicious guacamole, but adding a little avocado to your daily meals can benefit your health tremendously! Add it to a burger, a salad, slice it up on the side with a little salt and pepper or use it as a condiment.

 

They are delicious and so good for you!

The Way To Maximize Your Metabolism

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The Way To Maximize Your Metabolism

What exactly is your metabolism? It is the process of how we burn our calories we eat and how quickly or easily we gain and lose weight. Age and genetics play a role, and there’s nothing we can do about that, but there are other ways to speed it up if you want to.

First, a key piece of advice, is to get your thyroid checked by a qualified practitioner (they are hard to find). If your thyroid is under active then boosting your metabolism will be a real challenge.

A key way to boost your metabolism is to eat breakfast! This can boost it by as much as 10%. Eating a healthy protein is the best choice for sure and this gets the digestion process going to start your metabolism burning.

Eating protein is a great way to support and boost your metabolism, by as much as 25%! It requires more energy to digest protein which burns more calories and it sustains you for longer.

Regular exercise is key, especially earlier in the day. If you can even take a brisk walk first thing in the morning this will get your motor going and burn more calories throughout the day. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so don’t forget to include some anaerobic activities in your work out routine (stretching, weight lifting and resistance exercises).

Get your fiber! Having a diet rich in fiber is very helpful. It makes you feel fuller longer which helps with weight management and keep you regular.

Try just a few of these and see what happens! These are easy changes that will have dramatic effects on your metabolism.

A List Of Paleo Foods For Beginners

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A List Of Paleo Foods For Beginners

What is the Paleo Diet? It is eating like they did during the Paleolithic Period, or that’s the idea behind it….imagining what was eaten…WAY back in the day. This means anything we could hunt or find – meats, fish, nuts, leafy greens, regional veggies, and seeds. The idea is to focus on protein and vegetables that are from whole and natural sources, plus a little bit of healthy fats and very few carbs.

We all have to start somewhere and sometimes having ideas or a list really helps! On the Paleo Diet you can’t have dairy, grains, starches, wheat or legumes….but what CAN you have? It can be a challenge to make these changes, so here’s some specific ideas on what to put on your shopping list.

Healthy meats of all kinds and fish, plus fruits and veggies are a winner. Everyone knows fruit is healthy but too much is not good for you because many of them are high in sugar, which spikes your blood sugar. So what are the approved fruits and veggies, oils, nuts and seeds? Here’s some great ideas for you….

Suggestions for healthy vegetables:

  • Asparagus
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Cabbage
  • Peppers
  • Cauliflower
  • Parsley
  • Eggplant
  • Green Onions

Suggestions for healthy fruits:

  • Apple
  • Bananas (but limited)
  • Avocado
  • Blackberries
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Mango
  • Lychee
  • Blueberries
  • Lemon
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Lime
  • Raspberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Oranges

Suggestions for healthy nuts and seeds:

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pecans
  • Pine Nuts
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Macadamia Nut
  • Walnuts

Suggestions for healthy oils:

  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Macadamia Oil

I always love something I can print out and take to the grocery store with me. I hope this helps you follow your new lifestyle changes on the fantastic Paleo Diet!

The Highest Foods In Fiber

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The Highest Foods In Fiber

We all need our roughage and here is a great list of high fiber foods to incorporate into your diet. But first, why do we need fiber in the first place? It is an essential nutrient that we all need for the proper digestion of our foods. We also need it for the general function of our intestinal and digestive tract and it also helps us feel full (aiding in weight loss)! Without it we will ultimately end up constipated, develop hemorrhoids, possibly elevated cholesterol levels and even elevated sugar levels in the blood. None of these are good or fun to deal with. Too much fiber is not a good thing either, causing diarrhea, possible dehydration and even a bowel obstruction.

When you are adding more fiber to your diet, you need to be mindful of adding more fluids as well….so be sure and drink lots of water! This is good for you anyway, but essential in a high fiber diet.

Here is a short list of some great high fiber foods to think of adding each day:

  • Oranges
  • Prunes
  • Mushrooms
  • Rye
  • Raw Cabbage
  • Nuts and seeds
  • All kinds of berries
  • Pumpkins
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Leafy greens
  • Oatmeal
  • Beans and legumes
  • Artichokes
  • Peas
  • Different types of squash
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Broccoli and cauliflower
  • Avocado
  • Bran Flakes
  • Pears


These are all everyday easy high fiber foods and by adding in enough to your diet will create a happier you ( :

Suggestions For Great Protein Filled Snacks

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Suggestions For Great Protein Filled Snacks

Being prepared with a healthy snack on hand is always a great idea. It will help keep you fuller longer, as well as keeping your metabolism burning throughout the day (improving weight loss if desired), and all the while avoiding an eventual energy crash without it. Plus you’ll skip the unhealthy snacks!

Here are 11 great suggestions that are easy to eat at almost any time:

1)  Protein Smoothie. Great for on the go and if you refrigerate them, they are the simplest and easiest way to get everything you need in an instant.

2)  Nuts and Seeds. 1 ounce (a handful) contains approximately 6 grams of protein and almost 10 grams of healthy monounsatured fat. And they are so easy to carry with you!

3)  Quinoa. It cooks up like a grain, yet has the same type of muscle building protein in it similar to meat or eggs. A half a cup uncooked has 12 grams of protein in it, it’s high in potassium and rich in magnesium, iron and vitamin b-6, plus a little healthy fat.

4) Cottage Cheese. A half a cup has approximately 16 grams of protein and it is very low in fat (unlike most cheese). It’s also wonderful to add to fruit to for a chilled sweet snack.

5)  Black beans. These are packed with protein and fiber. A cup has 15 grams of protein and tastes delicious.

6) Beef or Turkey Jerky. This is an old classic and yummy to gnaw on when you’re feeling a lull and needing something to satisfy your taste buds and give you that little protein boost. Just 3 ounces packs with approximately 24-30 grams of protein and talk about an easy snack!

7)  Salmon. It’s easy to eat and is a power protein that is also a top source of the healthy and much needed omega-3 fats lacking in our diets. A 3.5 ounce serving has 22 grams of protein in it.

8) Eggs. One of the world’s perfect foods. 1 egg has approximately 6 grams of protein in it. It’s cooked in a million ways and hard boiling them allows you to easily transport them for a quick protein filled snack.

9)  Oatmeal. A half a cup has about 5 grams of protein in it, a little bit of dietary fiber and iron, plus you can add a healthy fat to it to round it out for your snack. I love putting some healthy fruit on top, especially berries. Avoid the instant packets because they tend to be loaded with sugar.

10) Tuna. It’s an easy and great source of protein with approximately 25 grams per can. There are so many ways to mix up tuna for a delicious snack.

11)  Deli meats. Lunch meat isn’t just for sandwiches; it makes a tasty protein roll-up snack as well. Two slices of deli meat turkey has approximately 7 grams of protein, 2 slices of lean chicken breast has approximately 10 grams, and roast beef about 10 to 12 grams of protein in 2 slices. It’s so easy to make a great snack with these!

Incorporating a healthy protein snack into your day will give you more energy and stamina to keep you going through your busy day! Try it! You’ll be amazed at the changes in how you feel.

Enjoy!