Tag Archives | healthy eating

Tell Fat to Fork Off-Diet-Proof Your Kitchen

Tell Fat to Fork Off

You can only overeat unhealthy foods if you stock them in your kitchen. But old habits are hard to break; you buy what you buy at the store because it’s what you’re used to, or what your family likes. Until you give your kitchen an overhaul, though, and diet-proof your pantry, weight loss and healthy eating habits are going to remain elusive.

It’s important to admit your weaknesses regarding diet – we all have them, and those who understand them are the ones who are more likely to implement healthy habits and shun the bad ones. For instance, if you know you can’t eat just one or two potato chips, then it’s probably a good idea not to have them in your house.

So what do you do? How can you diet-proof your kitchen? Here are some tips that may help, starting with a list of foods to avoid buying. Keep this list in mind when you make your grocery list…because you are making a list, aren’t you? That’s one of the keys to beginning the diet-proofing of your kitchen!

Foods to Avoid Buying

This is only a partial list which is meant to act as a springboard – listing all unhealthy foods not to buy would take volumes! This list focuses on foods that tend to be “go to” foods when you have a craving, or foods you may just be buying for their convenience or out of habit.

1. Peanut butter that’s been highly processed with added fat and sugar
2. Toaster pastries
3. Potato chips
4. Ice cream (especially rich, fatty ice cream with lots of added ingredients)
5. Candy
6. Packaged cakes (such as those individually wrapped ones)
7. Shortening or lard (if you don’t have it on hand, you can’t reach for it to bake an impromptu batch of midnight cookies)
8. Foods that contain high fructose corn syrup
9. Sugary drinks (colas)
10. Sugary cereals
11. Fatty cuts of meat, such as ground chuck or “marbled” beef roast or stew meat
12. Fatty dips, spreads, and salad dressings

Foods to Stock Up On

Here is a partial list of foods to have on hand:

1. Cut-up vegetables with low-calorie dip
2. Whole wheat tortillas
3. Fresh fruit (frozen grapes are especially good for sweet cravings)
4. Nuts (raw without added fat)
5. Healthy oils
6. No-sugar-added condiments like jelly and jam
7. Whole wheat bagels
8. Low-fat cream cheese
9. Low-fat yogurt
10. Granola
11. Fresh garlic
12. Flavorful, low-calorie condiments, herbs and spices, such as mustard, hot sauce, salt-free spice mixes, etc.
13. Frozen fish fillets

We all know that fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a healthy diet. The vitamins and nutrients from them helps make the body stronger and can boost the immune system. Each fruit and vegetable has its own natural properties that are beneficial. For instance, a tomato has antioxidant properties that help cleanse the body of toxins and free radicals. It is great for preventing cancer too.

You can easily find fruits and vegetables in the grocery store.  But how do you choose the good ones from the bad ones? Read on for some great tips.

Tips for Finding Good Produce:

Fruits

Oranges– Good oranges are firm, heavy and have a smooth texture. Do not buy oranges that are lightweight, dull, spongy, and have a rough texture.

Peaches– Good peaches are firm and plump. It should be white or yellow in color with a red blush. Do not buy peaches that are very cushiony or shriveled.

Grapes- Good grapes are tender, plump, firmly attached to the stems and have a slight amber blush (green grapes). Bad grapes are brown in color, have a wrinkled surface and brittle stems.

Apricots– Good apricots have a uniform golden color and they are firm. Do not buy apricots that have a pale yellow or greenish color. Bad apricots can be very soft or very hard.

Cherry– Good cherries have new looking stems and a smooth and shiny surface. Bad cherries have dried steams and dull surfaces.
Cantaloupe- Good cantaloupes have a delicate aroma, yellowish skin and a thick texture on the rind. Do not buy cantaloupes with a sweet and pungent aroma as well as those with a soft rind.

Watermelon– Good watermelons are symmetrical in shape and have a cream-colored underside. Do not buy watermelons with cushiony spots.

Vegetables

Broccoli– Good broccoli is firm, have closed florets and have a deep green color. Do not buy broccoli that are yellow in color, with open florets and water-soaked spots.

Asparagus- Good asparagus have closed tips and straight green stalks. Bad asparagus have open tips and the stalks are curved.
Bell Pepper- Good bell peppers have bright and glossy skin. They are firm and thick while bad bell peppers have soft spots and shriveled surfaces.

Carrots– Good carrots are firm and have a bright orange color. Bad carrots have a rough texture, soft and have green roots.

Tomato– Good tomatoes are plump, smooth and have a rich red color. Bad tomatoes look shriveled and have blemishes.

Now that you know how to choose good produce, you will spend your money wisely. Do not rush choosing good produce though, take your time and make sure you buy the best, it will be worth it.

Tell Fat to Fork Off-Adding a Rainbow of Color to your Diet

Health Benefits of a Colorful Diet

Professional chefs will tell you there’s a visual element to food, and they work on their presentation as much as the food’s flavor. Given this human tendency, it’s interesting that some of nature’s most visually appealing foods are also the healthiest.

However, in our modern culture of artificially-colored foods, many of us have lost the sensitivity to foods’ natural colors, and we may think of brightly-colored foods as unhealthy (in the case of artificial colors, this may be true!). It’s time to look at nature’s food rainbow and point out the health benefits!

Red

Red-colored foods tend to be high in lycopene, which acts as an antioxidant and possible cancer preventative. Lycopene (sometimes called anthocyanins) is actually the pigment that makes red foods red, and has also been implicated in promoting heart health. In addition, red foods are often high in Vitamin C and other important nutrients. Here is a list of some healthy red foods:

Tell fat to fork off

* Pink grapefruit
* Watermelon
* Tomatoes (particularly cooked or canned tomatoes – this processing seems to help the lycopene be absorbed by the body)
* Raspberries
* Strawberries
* Rhubarb
* Cherries
* Beets
* Red/Purple cabbage
* Red bell peppers

Yellow and Orange

Tell Fat to Fork off

Yellow and orange foods are usually lumped together in the same category, all getting their color from carotenoids. Carotenoids, or beta-carotene, are converted to Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is said to be an important nutrient for eye health and hormone regulation (especially in women). Studies have also shown beta-carotene to promote heart health. Here are some yellow and orange foods to include in your diet:

* Cantaloupe
* Sweet potatoes
* Yellow and orange bell peppers
* Carrots
* Peaches and apricots
* Yellow corn (note that white corn does not contain as many carotenoids)
* Oranges
* Papayas
* “White” grapefruit
* Pineapple

Blue and Purple

Tell Fat to Fork off

Again with anthocyanins – blue and purple foods contain these antioxidants which are reputed to protect against a host of diseases, including cancer, heart disease and stroke. Blue and purple foods are also said to help prevent memory loss. Here are some to try:

* Purple grapes
* Blueberries
* Eggplant
* Raisins
* Plums
* Blackberries
* Prunes

Green

Tell Fat to Fork off

When you think of vegetables, this is probably the color you think of first. The darker the green, the healthier the food, say multiple sources. The green pigment is due to chlorophyll, the plant chemical that makes all green plants green, from broccoli to oak trees. Some dark leafy greens contain lutein, another eye-healthy nutrient; others, like broccoli, contain indoles which are said to protect against cancer. Go green by adding some of these foods into your diet:

* Brussels sprouts
* Spinach
* Kale
* Lettuce (leaf varieties)
* Cucumbers
* Green bell peppers
* Kiwi fruit
* Asparagus
* Green cabbage
* Peas

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recently reviewed more than 1,300 books on anti-inflammatory diets. While the books offered variety of ideas, the basic concept of an anti-inflammatory diet matches the Mediterranean style of eating that I often advocate. This plan, which is also heart-healthy, says:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables, at least four cups a day. Enjoy bright-colored berries and cherries. Eat a variety of vegetables, including leafy greens such as spinach, kale and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts.
  • Consume good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, such as salmon, whitefish, trout, tuna or walnuts, canola oil and flaxseed. Two to five servings a week is a good insurance plan.
  • Turn to more plant-based proteins, such as beans, nuts and seeds. Limit red meat, processed meats and high-fat dairy products.
  • Choose whole grains instead of refined ones to get more anti-oxidants. Look for the whole grain symbol on packages of breads, crackers, cereals, rice and pasta.
  • Use the monounsaturated “good” fats found in olive oil, nut butters, avocados and seeds that lubricate blood vessels. Avoid trans fats and saturated fats that clog arteries.
  • Avoid refined foods and processed foods, which fuel inflammation. Limit baked and boxed goods.
  • Add herbs and spices, especially ginger, turmeric, curry and garlic. They pack a flavorful and anti-oxidant-rich punch.

Remember, diet is only one risk factor. Smoking, excess alcohol use and excess calories that cause weight gain boost chronic inflammation. The best way to decrease inflammation is to lose weight because fat cells release inflammatory signals, explains Dr. Walter Willet, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Getting adequate sleep and regular physical exercise can also help.

 

 

Tell Fat to Fork Off-Simple Hacks To Help You Build New Habits

Tell Fat to Fork Off
Creating new habits isn’t easy. The past few posts in the Tell Fat to Fork off series has revealed just that. At 51 years-young, changing my habits isn’t as seamless as it used to be…but I am still trying 🙂

SO, for those of you who are following along and floundering a tad like me, you might appreciate these six simple hacks that will make CHANGE little easier. Use them until you’ve internalized the new habit and don’t need them anymore.

Schedule It And Put It On The To-Do List

Sometimes we forget to do that new thing we were trying. Maybe we forget that we’re supposed to be having eggs for breakfast instead of a stack of waffles, or that we need to get that daily walk in.

Schedule your new habits or make them part of your daily to-do list until they become something you do automatically. I have a Bullet Journal system that I use everyday and at the top of every page (in big, black letters) is “Do the 3 W’s.” This reminder on something eyeball everyday is a wonderful reminder of what I need to do to continue to Tell Fat to Fork Off.

My “4 W’s” are:

  • Water
  • Walk
  • Weigh

 

Make It Public and Be Accountable

Let family and friends know what new habits you’re trying to establish. They will call you out if you don’t stick to your plan and get you back on track.

You may even go as far as sharing it publicly on Facebook or write a blog about your new journey. Knowing that others read it and know about it might be just enough to keep you going when you feel like throwing in the towel.

Piggyback On A Habit You Already Have

Whenever possible, add the new habit to one you already have. For example, if you fix a cup of tea or coffee at 4pm, and you want to get in the habit of taking a daily walk, make the new ritual to go for your walk and then come back and enjoy your tea.

It’s much easier to amend an existing habit or ritual than creating an entirely new one.

Make Slipups Costly

Here’s a fun idea. Put a jar on the kitchen counter and each time you slip back into your bad habit or forget to stick to the new one you have to put five dollars in the jar. It will quickly help you remember to skip that sugary food and motivate you to go out for that walk. For extra motivation donate the money to charity at the end of the month or hand it over to your spouse to go spend on him or herself.

Find A Partner and Help Each Other Along

Find someone with the same or similar goal. This could be a workout partner or a diet buddy. Keep tabs on each other and encourage each other to keep going. It’s much harder to skip a walk if you know someone else is depending on you being there.

Make It A Group Challenge

If one accountability partner is good, a whole group is even better. And they don’t even need to be local. Find a supportive group online and challenge each other to stick to your new habit for the next 30 days or so. Not wanting to be the first one to give up will keep all of you going until you establish that new habit.

Give these simple little hacks a try. Keep using the ones that you find helpful until you have made new habits you can stick with without the help of any tools

Tell Fat to Fork Off-How Long Does It Really Take To Create A New Habit?

Tell Fat to Fork Off

How Long Does It Really Take To Create A New Habit?

They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. That’s kind of a weird idea though, isn’t it? It doesn’t take that long to form a bad habit. And sometimes no matter how hard we try it takes us a lot longer to form a new habit.

So how long does it really take to create a new habit? The answer is that it depends. It depends on your mindset and it depends on how big of a change it is from what you are doing now. If it is your habit to eat a bowl of ice cream at night and you switch from regular ice cream to a low sugar frozen yogurt version, it’s probably not going to take you very long to make that new habit. Giving up ice cream altogether though or cutting out all sugar on the other hand might take a lot longer.

When we ask that question, what we really want to know is how long do we have to tough it out before it gets easier. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel where we don’t have to try so hard anymore? In other words, when will this new behavior become automatic?

While it will be different from one person to the next and even from one habit to the next, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Tell Fat to Fork Off

It’s easier to make a new habit than get rid of an old one. Be prepared to work a lot harder to give up checking your email every 2 minutes or snacking late at night. Whenever possible, try to replace an old habit with a new one. For example if you’re wanting to give up coffee, brew a cup of herbal tea in the morning and throughout the day when you would usually reach for your cup of Joe.

Habits will form faster if you stick to the same time and environment each day. Instead of going for a walk whenever, keep your sneakers next to the door and schedule your walk every day at 6pm, right after dinner for example.

A constant reminder of why you’re trying to change your behavior is also helpful. Remind yourself every day that you’re exercising so your body stays strong and you can go play with the kids or grandkids in the yard.

Or put up a picture to remind you that you’re making frugal habits so you can one day purchase your dream home.

Keep your reason why you’re changing front and center and then be prepared to stick it out. Yes it will take some time to make new habits and replace old ones. But it will be well worth it in the end.

 

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