2018 Resolution To Lose Weight And Gain Muscle

The New Year arrives with much expectation. Many of us will be writing our New Year resolutions with some trepidation. Others write with great motivation. Are New Year resolutions meant to be broken? For some, yes, but most people will give it a shot.

For those whose resolution is to keep fit and healthy and enjoy life looking and feeling fantastic, then this article is for you and to motivate you to keep to your resolution successfully.

Different people exercise and workout for different reasons. Some want to be macho looking hunks, some want their fitness to be at their peak, some to lose weight and body fat and most people just want to gain muscle to have a well toned and attractive body. But whether you workout in a gym for general health and fitness purpose or to lose body fat and gain muscle to look attractively desirable, you will reap tons of fitness and health benefits whether you workout in a gym, at home or in a park. In fact unless you want to gain big muscle, it is not necessary to join a gym to reap the benefit of having a great workout. This will save you the hefty gym fees too.

For all those of you who workout regularly, you will be glad to know whatever reasons that compel you to workout, there are many more reasons for you to continue doing so.
For those of you who don’t exercise at all, hey folks, these benefits are what you have been missing out.

• Better blood circulation will add a glow to your skin and hair. Not only will you be fit and healthy will have a glowing complexion. Where do you think the saying “Glowing with Health” came from?

• Lose weight or more accurately, to lose body fat. Yes, losing weight and losing fat although being used interchangeably to mean the same thing, it is not. By saying lose weight, it could mean you are loosing water, waste, and worse of all, you your muscle. Losing body fat merely meant what it says, fat loss. That will give you an attractive physical appearance.

• Exercise are excellent stress reliever. This is because when you workout and when your exercises are intensive enough, you will produce endorphin. Many call this a happy hormone.

• Increases bone density and therefore keeping osteoporosis a bone disease afflicting most women as they age at bay. Your bone will be wasting away along with your muscles. Therefore you must exercise to build strong bones and retain your muscle mass.

• When you exercise, your muscles get stronger and grow. The more muscle fiber you have, the higher is your body metabolism. The higher your body metabolism, the more body fat you will burn. That is why to lose weight permanently, you have to gain muscle.

• Gain strength and endurance. That flight of stairs will no longer be as daunting. The football game you play will be a breeze. Why? Because as your fitness level builds up, day to day chores become easier and you will enjoy whatever you do without tiring so easily because of the increased physical fitness gained through regular exercise.

• Reducing your chances of getting heart diseases, stroke and certain types of cancers which are the top killer diseases. There are many other diseases which exercises will cut down the risks of them afflicting you.

• Reduce triglycerides and bad cholesterol, raising the level of good cholesterol. Again this will protect you from diseases caused by bad cholesterol.

• Protects you against injuries as you are fitter and more nimble. You are also more flexible and will discover a new gait in your movement. Boy, it sure feels good to be in good health isn’t it?

• Improve immunity. Save your doctor’s bills! This means putting more money in your pocket!

• Hmmm… enhance sexual desire and performance. Remember we talked about endorphin, the happy hormone earlier? You also produce this hormone when you are having sex. Getting more interesting isn’t it?

• Lower resting heart rate and high blood pressure. That means your general cardiovascular or heart health will improve.

• Improve coordination and balance. Ask the lady for a dance, will ya?

• Regulate insulin sensitivity thus prevention of type 2 diabetes. Thus you will not put on weight so easily and in fact may even lose weight.

• Increase confidence and self esteem. Of course you can walk tall and proud because you will have improved your posture holding up your new found musculature, glowing with health and a sexily toned body to the boot!

So get into your running shoes now and head for the gym now! Go ahead, lose weight and gain muscle for the New Year. Break this New Year resolution at your own peril.

2018 Diet Resolution Tips

For many people, the coming New Year will involve resolutions to get on a diet and lose weight. While slimming down is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, it’s alot easier said than done. Making the switch from the calorie and fat laden temptations that lure us during the six week long holiday fest can be quite difficult. If you’re planning to start your new year off with a pledge to lose weight, keep these tips in mind to help you ease into your resolution the healthy way.

Cutting everything out cold turkey is one of the most common techniques for approaching a diet; however, doing so may well spell disaster for a good intentioned diet. Instead of putting yourself on such a restrictive diet right after the holidays, consider options that will allow you to ease into a healthy eating regimen. This will increase your chances of sticking with your diet resolution and achieving success.

Start by opting for foods that are grilled, roasted, baked or broiled instead of fried. This one technique will allow you to cut out a large amount of calories as well as fat. If you don’t care for the somewhat blander taste of grilled or roasted meats, don’t be afraid to add a little zing with some low-fat or fat-free sauces. Herbs and spices can also go a long way toward livening up grilled and roasted foods.

Most people do not eat nearly as much fruits and vegetables as they should. Besides the fact that fruits and veggies are rich in healthy vitamins, minerals and fiber; they are also a good way to fill up without loading up with calories and fat. Look for ways that you can incorporate fruits and vegetables into your eating regimen. Vegetable soups make a great dinner or lunch solution on a cold wintry day. Salads are easy and quick to pack for lunch with a low-cal dressing. Top it with some grilled chicken and you’ve got a quick dinner solution as well.

After indulging in holiday sweets, cutting out the treats may be one of the most difficult aspects of starting a new diet. Increase your chances of sticking with it by substituting fresh fruit for calorie rich treats. Stock up on plenty of apples, oranges, berries and whatever other type of fresh fruit strikes your fancy. This is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without sabotaging your diet.

Finally, resist the temptation to reach for a cup of coffee, tea or even a diet cola and grab a bottle of water instead. Even if you’re using an artificial sweetener with your beverage, your diet and your body will respond much better if you opt for plain water. This much needed essential nutrient helps your body to flush out toxins; and in the end, it can help you to lose more weight faster.

By easing your way into your new diet instead of torturing yourself with an overly restrictive or fad diet, you’ll find that you’re more likely to stick with your resolution and by next New Year’s Eve will be ready to show off your slim new shape.

Health Benefits Of Drinking Wine

It is a proven fact that wine has beneficial side effects on the heart, having some role in preventing heart disease. There have also been recent discoveries that indicate that drinking wine during pregnancy might not be as damaging to a growing fetus as previously believed. Some studies have also found that drinking wine in moderation also helped alleviate the damage caused by higher cholesterol levels. However, a newer study has also found that there may be even more side effects to wine drinking, particularly for women. A recent study conducted in Spain has found that wine can help lower the inflammation of blood vessels in women.

A Spanish research team, headed by Dr. Emilio Sacanella, reported his findings to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study found that wine was capable of lowering levels of the various chemicals that cause the inflammation of blood vessels and arteries, which then have the effect of lowering the risk of heart disease. This is apart from the already-documented effects that red wine has. The study found that both white and red wine had this effect, though most tests reflected that red wine had a much more appreciable effect than white in the same period, given the same amounts.

A variety of studies have already found that heart disease risks are lowered by regularly drinking certain amounts of wine. The length and amount of wine varies, with some taking place over an extended period while others were more focused on the immediate effects. The Spanish research team conducted their study over a period of four weeks, with each test subject taking four glasses of wine per day. The results were observed and recorded over that period, though there was no indication of any effort being made to eliminate lifestyle factors. There were no test subjects taking heart medication during or prior to the test period, however.

However, Sacanella was quick to add that just because they had better heart health, it does not mean wine was the only factor in the results. The researchers have not yet eliminated other potential factors. Among these factors are exercise, diet, and habits. According to the study, any of them could have had as much of an effect on the results as the wine theoretically could have. Further study has been proposed to eliminate all possible factors to determine what, specifically, caused the benefits to occur.

Should wine prove to be the key to the results, there are already some theories as to how it came about. One of them involves the number of polyphenols in wine, which are known to have effects similar to the ones that have been observed by various studies. Theoretically, that would also explain why red wine has a more appreciable and noticeable effect than white, due to the higher polyphenol count and concentration in red wine as opposed to white. However, this is merely speculation at this point and researchers agree that further conjecture is not going to be of much use until it can be determined whether or not the decreased inflammation was caused by the wine, or by other factors.

Paleo 5 Day Action Plan – Day 4

Day Four: Create Your Grocery List

Another way to set yourself up for success when it comes to this way of eating is by creating a grocery list full of foods that will become new staples in your diet. And when you go shopping, actually stick to your list!

Here is a list of important Paleo friendly foods that should be put on your grocery list. Keep in mind this isn’t an exhaustive list. In fact, this is just a handful of food suggestions for each category. It’s meant to give you an idea of things to purchase so you’re not left wondering what to shop for.

Vegetables  

Asparagus
Celery
Kale
Beets
Tomatoes
Eggplant
Cauliflower
Broccoli
Carrots
Spinach
Cucumber
Bell peppers – yellow, red, green, orange
Avocado
Sweet potatoes
Yams
Green beans – there is some controversy around whether or not green beans are Paleo friendly. Technically they’re a legume & those aren’t allowed, but many people say they eat them while doing this WOE. Use your own judgment here.

Fruits
(keep in mind, you don’t want to eat a ton of fruit because of its sugar content but a couple servings a day is ok.)

Strawberries
Raspberries
Bananas
Grapes
Oranges
Cantaloupe
Watermelon

Nuts and seeds

Almonds (raw)
Cashews (raw)

Meats

Venison
Pork
Chicken
Beef (should be grass-fed if possible)
Steak
Turkey
Pork chops
Lamb rack
Bison
All lean meats are acceptable

Fish

Cod
Tuna
Halibut
Tilapia
Sardines
Mackerel
Mahi
Perch
Shrimp

Dairy

Organic eggs (free-range)
Butter

Oils

Sesame seed oil
Olive oil (extra virgin)
Walnut oil
Almond oil

Flavors & Spices

Vanilla
Honey (raw)
Stevia extract
Cinnamon
Thyme
Cilantro
Garlic
Onion powder
Chili powder
Salt (sea salt)
Pepper (ground black pepper)
Cayenne pepper

Miscellaneous

Dark chocolate
Trust me on this one, make sure you have some readily available. It’ll help curb chocolate cravings. Also make sure when shopping for some that you purchase something with 70% or more cacao.

Most of these foods are easy enough that you can grab them as a quick snack or use in a simple meal.

This list gives you a great starting point for creating your shopping list. But there are five more food items that are so important they most definitely should make it onto your grocery list! They’re known as super foods (and of course they’re Paleo friendly). Here they are:

Blueberries
Coconut Oil
Salmon
Parsley
Artichoke

These super foods are not only full of vitamins and minerals, but they’re great antioxidant sources. Eating these on a regular basis will boost your immune system and help keep you healthy.

One last thing, when shopping you should always purchase organic if at all possible! Supermarkets will cost more when purchasing these types of items so I recommend checking any local farmers’ markets in your area – they usually have a better selection and are healthier options (don’t have all the chemicals) than what’s found on the shelves of supermarkets.

Why You Need To Cut Down on Processed Foods

Why Are Processed Foods Bad for You?

 

Do you love fast food burgers, baked goods and delivery pizza? If so, you are eating processed foods. When you take a bite out of an apple or eat banana, you are enjoying a food that is free of processing (as long as the apple is not dipped in caramel, and the banana is not found in banana cream pie). As far as your health is concerned, you should limit the amount of processed foods you eat.

 

What Is a Processed Food?

 

The International Food Information Council Foundation defines processed food as:

 

“Any deliberate change in a food that occurs before it’s

available for us to eat.”

 

In that definition, simply chopping up vegetables before you eat them qualifies for the processed definition. In most cases however, processed food means “any food other than a raw agricultural commodity and includes any raw agricultural commodity that has been subject to processing, such as canning, cooking, freezing, dehydration, or milling.”

 

That is the definition from the United States Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. So simply by cooking your food, you are technically processing it. The more processes your food goes through before it gets into your body, the less nutrition it provides.

 

What Makes Processed Food so Bad?

 

Looking at the above definitions, you can see that foods you eat at restaurants, baked goods, sodas and many of the “ready-to-eat” meals you purchase at your grocer are heavily processed. Food manufacturers use refined sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, preservatives, steroids, trans fats and other unhealthy additives to extend the shelf life of the products they sell.

 

Unfortunately, most heavily processed foods deliver little nutritional value.

 

The more things you do to a natural ingredient like a fruit or vegetable, the further you strip it of its nutrients, minerals and vitamins. When all the nutritionally poor ingredients mentioned above are added to that product, it becomes even unhealthier still.

 

This leads to what are called “empty calories”. That is why you can eat an overabundance of processed foods, and your brain will still send a hunger signal. It notices you have received little or no nutrition, so it tells you to eat more. Since processed food in many cases is extremely addictive, you reach out for the nutrient-poor food you just ate, and create an unhealthy eating cycle.

 

Chemicals like sugar and salt, found in extremely high quantities in processed foods, lead to heart conditions, overweight and obesity, diabetes and other health problems. This is the danger of addictive processed foods. They deliver next to no nutrition, and trade naturally healthy ingredients with unhealthy chemicals and compounds. Eat more raw foods, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables with little processing and you can avoid the unhealthy negative side effects of processed food.

5 Day Paleo Action Plan – Day 2

Day Two: Clean Out Your Pantry, Refrigerator & Freezer

I can’t stress the importance of this one enough. The best way to be successful when it comes to eating this way is to set yourself up for success. By this I mean take the time to clean out your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Remove the items that will be a temptation and which aren’t allowed. The most common pantry foods to get rid of are potato chips, cookies, pasta, rice, cereal, etc. But don’t forget to say bye bye to things like legumes, vegetable oils and other baking items like flour and sugar, beans, and lentils just to name a few.

When it comes to your refrigerator, get rid of items such as lunchmeat, pickles, salad dressings, ketchup, mustard, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and anything else not allowed. Things to ditch in your freezer include ice cream, pot pies, pizza rolls, frozen burritos, etc.

The rule of thumb to keep in mind when going through things is to throw away anything if it has gluten in it, if it’s a processed food, if it is a grain – rice, pasta, etc. – if it’s a dairy product (except eggs) or has soy in it. And keep anything if it’s a real food, grain free or gluten-free (all the ingredients need to be grain free or gluten free).

Some people have a mental roadblock when it comes to this part of the process. I’ve heard the excuse “I’ve spent so much money on all this food I currently have in my house. I need to use it first and then I’ll jump into the Paleo way of eating.”  But it’s easy to blast through that roadblock!

Sure, you’ve spent a lot of money on all that stuff. But don’t let yourself use that excuse. Don’t delay starting this journey because the longer you wait, the harder it will be to start. If you’re really concerned about “throwing” away all that money, why not put it to good use and donate to a local food pantry or ask a local church if they know of a family in need that could use some food?

If you don’t get rid of all the non-paleo items, it’s a sure way to self-sabotage yourself. It’s easy to think you have willpower and can resist the temptation to eat those things. But trust me, in the moment of a craving (and there are sure to be some!) it’s not so easy to resist if those foods are in your home and readily available. So do yourself a favor and make this process as easy as possible and just get rid of the temptations!

Once you’ve cleared out the foods that aren’t Paleo friendly, things are going to probably look pretty bare. Don’t worry, we’ll get to the grocery shopping soon.

But first let’s talk about modifying how you cook at home and how to handle eating out.

Early pickings” by dollen is licensed under CC BY

7 Top Reasons to grow your own organic vegetable garden

During the last decades there has been a change towards mechanization and homogenization of farming, which uses pesticides, additives, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers and mass-production techniques. All this is clearly affecting mankind’s health, and new diseases are spreading rapidly amongst humans and animals (bird’s flu being the most recent one).

The World Health Organization produces reports to show how the use of chemicals and other products on food, coupled with the manufacturing processes involved, are actually a threat for our health.

If you have space for a few pots or even a small piece of land, it is a wise decision to grow your own organic vegetable garden. Today I’m presenting you with seven reasons for doing this:

1. You will have no additives in your vegetables. Research by organic food associations has shown that additives in our food can cause heart diseases, osteoporosis, migraines and hyperactivity.

2. There will be no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers used. These chemical products are applied to obtain crops all the time regardless plagues or weather conditions, and affect the quality of the vegetables. Besides, pesticides are usually poisonous to humans.

3. Your vegetables will not be genetically modified (GM). Antibiotics, drugs and hormones are used on vegetables to grow more and larger ones. One of the consequences of this practice are vegetables which look all the same and are usually tasteless. Besides, we end up consuming the hormones that have been used on the vegetables, with the potential risks for our health.

4. Eating your own organic vegetables will be much more healthy for you. They will not contain any of the products or chemicals named above, and they will be much more natural than any ones you would find at the supermarket. Your health will not be at risk because you will then know that nothing has been added to your vegetables.

5. Your own organic vegetables will be much more tasty. The use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, hormones and antibiotics make vegetables grow unnaturally and take the taste away from them. With organic vegetables, your cooking will be enhanced as their flavour will show fully.

6. Organic farming is friendly to the environment. Because you won’t use pesticides or other equally harming products on your vegetables, you will not damage the soil or the air with the chemical components.

7. When you grow your own organic vegetables you are contributing to your own self-sustainability and the sustainability of the planet. Small communities have been founded where members exchange products that they grow naturally, thus contributing to create a friendly and better place for us all.
In the end, eating organic products only means that we do not add anything else to them than they would naturally have. As you can guess, additives, fertilizers, pesticides or hormones are not components of naturally grown food. To better care for your health, grown your own organic vegetables -and a few pots is all you need.

The Top 55 Foods for a Lean-Body

In most of my newsletters, I like to provide a healthy snack or meal recipe that not only is delicious, but also helps to get you closer to that hard-body appearance that everyone is looking for. In this article, I’d like to give you healthy food ideas in a different way. This time, I figured I’d just give you some ideas of what I stock my fridge and cabinets with. Remember, if you don’t have junk around the house, you’re less likely to eat junk. If all you have is healthy food around the house, you’re forced to make smart choices. Basically, it all starts with making smart choices and avoiding temptations when you make your grocery store trip. Now these are just some of my personal preferences, but perhaps they will give you some good ideas that you’ll enjoy.

Alright, so let’s start with the fridge. Each week, I try to make sure I’m loaded up with lots of varieties of fresh vegetables. During the growing season, I only get local produce, but obviously in winter, I have to resort to the produce at the grocery store. Most of the time, I make sure I have plenty of vegetables like zucchini, onions, fresh mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, red peppers, etc. to use in my morning eggs. I also like to dice up some lean chicken or turkey sausage into the eggs, along with some swiss, jack, or goat cheeses. Coconut milk is another staple in my fridge. I like to use it to mix in with smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt for a rich, creamy taste. Not only does coconut milk add a rich, creamy taste to lots of dishes, but it’s also full of healthy saturated fats. Yeah, you heard me…I said healthy saturated fats! Healthy saturated fats like medium chain triglycerides, specifically an MCT called lauric acid. If the idea of healthy saturated fats is foreign to you, there are several articles covering this topic at my site below.

Back to the fridge, some other staples:

• Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and yogurt – I like to mix cottage or ricotta cheese and yogurt together with chopped nuts and berries for a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon meal.

• Chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds – delicious and great sources of healthy fats.

• Whole flax seeds – I grind these in a mini coffee grinder and add to yogurt or salads. Always grind them fresh because the omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable and prone to oxidation, creating high levels of free radicals in pre-ground flax.

• Eggs – one of natures richest sources of nutrients (and remember, they increase your GOOD cholesterol).

• Nut butters – Plain old peanut butter has gotten a little old for me, so I get creative and mix together almond butter with sesame seed butter, or even cashew butter with macadamia butter…delicious and unbeatable nutrition!

• Salsa – I try to get creative and try some of the exotic varieties of salsas.

• Butter – don’t believe the naysayers; butter adds great flavor to anything and can be part of a healthy diet (just keep the quantity small because it is calorie dense…and NEVER use margarine, unless you want to assure yourself a heart attack).

• Avocados – love them…plus a great source of healthy fats, fiber, and other nutrients. Try adding them to wraps, salads, or sandwiches.

• Whole grain wraps and whole grain bread (look for wraps and bread with at least 3-4 grams of fiber per 20 grams of total carbs).

• Rice bran and wheat germ – these may sound way too healthy for some, but they actually add a nice little nutty, crunchy taste to yogurt or smoothies, or can be added when baking muffins or breads to add nutrients and fiber.

• Leaf lettuce and spinach along with shredded carrots – for salads with dinner.

• Home-made salad dressing – using balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and Udo’s Choice oil blend. This is much better than store bought salad dressing which mostly use highly refined soybean oil (full of inflammation-causing free radicals).

Some of the staples in the freezer:

• Frozen fish – I like to try a couple different kinds of fish each week. There are so many varieties out there, you never have to get bored.

• Frozen berries – during the local growing season, I only get fresh berries, but during the other 10 months of the year, I always keep a supply of frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, etc. to add to high fiber cereal, oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt, or smoothies

• Frozen veggies – again, when the growing season is over and I can no longer get local fresh produce, frozen veggies are the best option, since they often have higher nutrient contents compared to the fresh produce that has been shipped thousands of miles, sitting around for weeks before making it to your dinner table.

• Frozen chicken breasts – very convenient to nuke up for a quick addition to wraps or chicken sandwiches for quick meals.

• Frozen buffalo, ostrich, venison, and other “exotic” lean meats – Yeah, I know…I’m weird, but I can tell you that these are some of the healthiest meats around, and if you’re serious about a lean healthy body, these types of meats are much better for you than the mass produced, hormone-pumped beef and pork that’s sold at most grocery stores.

Alright, now the staples in my cabinets:

• Oat bran and steel cut oats – higher fiber than those little packs of instant oats.

• Cans of coconut milk – to be transferred to a container in the fridge after opening.

• Various antioxidant rich teas – green, oolong, white, rooibos are some of the best.

• Stevia – a natural non-caloric sweetener, which is an excellent alternative to the nasty chemical-laden artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharine, and sucralose.

• Organic maple syrup – none of that high fructose corn syrup Aunt Jemima crap…only real maple syrup can be considered real food. The only time I really use this (because of the high sugar load) is added to my post-workout smoothies to sweeten things up and also elicit an insulin surge to push nutrients into your muscles.

• Raw honey – better than processed honey…higher quantities of beneficial nutrients and enzymes. Honey has even been proven in studies to improve glucose metabolism (how you process carbs). I use a teaspoon or so every morning in my teas.

• Whole wheat or whole grain spelt pasta – much higher fiber than normal pastas

• Brown rice and other higher fiber rice – NEVER white rice

• Cans of black or kidney beans – I like to add a couple scoops to my Mexican wraps for the fiber and high nutrition content. Also, beans are surprisingly one of the best sources of youth promoting antioxidants!

• Tomato sauces – delicious, and as I’m sure you’ve heard a million times, they are a great source of lycopene. Just watch out for the brands that are loaded with nasty high fructose corn syrup.

• Dark chocolate (as dark as possible) – This is one of my treats that satisfies my sweet tooth, plus provides loads of antioxidants at the same time. It’s still calorie dense, so I keep it to just a couple squares; but that is enough to do the trick, so I don’t feel like I need to go out and get cake and ice cream to satisfy my dessert urges.

• Organic unsweetened cocoa powder – I like to mix this into my smoothies for an extra jolt of antioxidants or make my own low-sugar hot cocoa by mixing cocoa powder into hot milk with stevia and a couple melted dark chocolate chunks.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this special look into my favorite lean body meals and how I stock my cabinets and fridge. Your tastes are probably quite different than mine, but hopefully this gave you some good ideas you can use next time you’re at the grocery store looking to stock up a healthy and delicious pile of groceries.

Eat a variety of veggies for a healthier you

The new food guidelines issued by the United States government recommend that all Americans eat between five and nine servings of fruits and vegetables each and every day. When you first hear that number, it may seem like a lot, but it is actually much easier than you think to fit that many servings of fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. For one thing, the shelves of the grocery stores are fairly bursting with fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, vegetables and fruits are some of the least expensive, most nutrient rich, foods in the supermarket. With all these fruits and vegetables to choose from, it is very easy to make these nutritious, delicious foods part of your daily meals and snacks.

When you take into account how much a serving really is, it is actually quite easy to get five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day. For instance, the recommended daily amount actually equates to a quite reasonable two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables every day. When you consider how many fruits and vegetables are available, and how low the prices usually are, it is easy to see how easy to reach this daily goal really is.

One great way to get the nutrients you need from fruits and vegetables every day is to take full advantage of the variety of these foods available. Eating the same thing every day quickly becomes boring, so why not pick a variety of fruits and vegetables, in every color of the rainbow and in every conceivable shape, size and texture, to give yourself a varied diet every day.

When shopping for fruits and vegetables, it is important to choose a variety of different colors. This is for more than purely artistic reasons. Different color fruits and vegetables have different types of nutrients, and choosing a variety of colors will help ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need each and every day.

Finding new recipes is another great way to ensure you get those five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Everyone likes to try out new recipes, and these new recipes may just provide the impetus you need to eat all those fruits and veggies.

New recipes can also provide you the important opportunity to try out some fruits and vegetables you have never tried before. For instance, everyone has eaten oranges, but have you tried kiwi fruit or mangoes? How about spinach or kale? Trying new things is a great way to find new favorites while getting the best nutrition available.

Many people mistakenly think that they do not need to eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day if they just take a vitamin supplement. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. That is because fruits and vegetables contain far more than the micronutrients identified by science and synthesized in vitamin pills. While these micronutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E are important to good health, so too are the hundreds of other elements that are contained in healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. These elements are not available in any pill, they must be ingested through a healthy, balanced diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables.

In addition, fruits and vegetables are much less costly than vitamin pills. Fruits and vegetables are very inexpensive, especially when purchased in season and grown locally. In the long run, getting the nutrition you need from the food you eat is much less expensive, and much better for you, than popping those vitamin pills every day.

So don’t forget to get your five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day. It may seem like a lot, but you can meet this quite reasonable goal simply by including fruits and vegetables as snacks, as garnishes, as side dishes and as meals.

Fat Loss and Metabolism Explained

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If you know someone that has been trying to lose weight and get into shape, you have probably heard words such as, “I just eat one meal a day to lose weight” or “I’m afraid if I eat, I’ll gain weight” but sadly, this misnomer is why so many people are in the “battle of the bulge”. People all over the world still believe that eating breakfast, or even three meals a day will cause them to gain weight. In truth, as long as they are eating the right types of foods and exercising, then three normal meals or six small meals a day will actually work better with their metabolism than eating the wrong quantities or not eating often enough.

With more than half of Americans over the age of 20 now being considered “overweight”, now more than ever, we need to understand how metabolism works in relation to losing weight. Why risk having a heart attack, a stroke, developing cancer, or diabetes when all you have to do is make a few minor changes and live a healthy life? First, a person’s metabolic rate is determined by the number and size of respiring cells that compromise the body’s tissue, and the intensity of the metabolism in these cells. These two factors combined are what makeup the physiological foundation of the amount of energy (calories) in which a body uses.

Keep in mind that energy cannot be created or destroyed, just changed. As we know, potential energy comes from the foods we eat. When talking about weight loss, there are three components of balanced energy, which include calorie intake, calories stored, and calories expended. The way it works is that if the amount of calories taken in equals the amount of calories being expended (burned), then there is balance and the body’s weight is stable.

On the other hand, if the balance becomes positive, caused by more food being eaten than is burned, energy is destroyed or in better terms, stored as body fat. It is important to remember that you can be eating a diet considered low-fat and still gain weight. The reason is that most dietary fat is stored while the body is burning carbohydrates and proteins for energy. The problem is the when a person gains weight, the increased level of fat becomes stored energy until the calorie balance is negative. For that to happen, the amount of calories burned needs to exceed the number of calories being consumed, no matter what the macronutrient content.

Metabolism is the rate at which the body uses energy to support the basic functions essential to sustain life. This metabolism is comprised of three parts, which include physical activity (20%), Thermic Effect of Food, also called TEF (10%), and Resting Metabolism Rate or REM (70%). Physical activity is the amount of energy your body burns up during normal, daily activities to include housework, recreation, work, exercise, and so on. Obviously, someone that is physically active will burn more energy than a sedentary person will. TEF accounts for the energy used in digesting and absorbing nutrients, which would vary depending on the meal’s composition. When a person overeats, TEF is increased because more food must be digested. Here is where metabolism becomes very interesting and what causes so much confusion.

One pound is equal to 3,500 calories, so let us say a person consumes 3,500 more calories than normal. That individual would not gain one pound because the TED is accounted for but if 3,500 calories were cut trying to lose weight, then TEF decreases since there would be fewer nutrients to process. The result is that with energy expenditure would decrease, meaning that the individual would lose less than one pound in weight. In other words, by cutting out too much food, TEF cannot work as it was designed to do. Now keep in mind that you cannot go around eating a bunch of junk food. After all, the calories you do consume need to be healthy foods but what this does mean is that when you do not eat, you are actually working against your body in fighting weight gain, not the other way around.

Finally, the RMR refers to the number of calories the body needs to run its essential functions, as well as chemical reactions while in a rested state. This aspect of metabolism accounts for the greatest number of calories burned every day. What happens is that if lean weight should be lost because of increased protein metabolism, then RMR decreases. Typically, you would see this happen when a person goes on a very strict diet. In this situation, the body is forced into a negative nitrogen balance, which means a greater amount of protein is lost than what is replaced because of less protein/energy intake. When this imbalance occurs, there is a gradual loss of lean weight, which then lowers RMR.

What happens many times is that dieters will limit the amount of lean weight loss with intense exercise for the muscles to develop a need to maintain more protein. When this happens, the body is forced to use more energy from stored fats. If you want to put your metabolism to work for you, some simple steps can be taken:

* By adding a few extra pounds of lean muscle, the metabolic rate can be increased by up to 200% each day * Remember that lean weight can burn as much as 20 times more calories than fat weight * Regular exercise is one of the best ways to boost metabolism * By eating smaller meals and more often, you can boost your metabolism rate

While you need to eat healthy foods, studies prove that what matters most is how much of a person’s body weight is attributed to fat. Remember, excess fat is what links to major health problems. Therefore, it is important that you maintain a healthy weight but more crucial that you monitor the fat-to-muscle ratio.

For example, a woman standing 5’5″ might weigh only 125 pounds but have a 27% body fat ratio, which is not good. This individual worked hard to diet, while staying involved with aerobics. However, much of what she lost was not fat, but muscle. Even though this weight would be considered ideal for her height, her body fat to muscle ratio is too high.

An excellent way to optimize your fat-to-muscle ratio is by getting involved with weight training in addition to the nutrition and cardio. As you will see with the tools provided at www.comptracker.com, you can analyze the thickness of the subcutaneous fat at various areas of the body. The benefit is that you know exactly what your ratios are so you can achieve a healthy fat-to-muscle ratio as well as body weight.

Remember, you are in control and need to make the decision to do something good for yourself. Therefore, now is the time to take that control and fight to live a lean and healthy lifestyle.