In a new study published in JAMA, it's been discovered that people who cut back on highly processed foods, refined grains and added sugar and replaced them with nutrient rich foods like salmon, olive oil, brown rice and barley, lost weight faster than people who simply count calories. If you’ve taken my classes, then you already know this. It’s one of the main reasons I’ve decided to teach people how to cook healthy meals at home as a tool for losing or maintaining a healthy weight.
What’s even more amazing about this study is that portion control was out of the window and not even a consideration in the results. As long as the participants consumed healthy foods and reduced added sugar over time, they lost significant amounts of weight.
Many believe that their body type matters. The study is observed to show that it actually does not. A diet that is high quality, low in fat and low in carbs goes a lot further in helping you achieve your weight loss goals versus simply cutting 500 calories from an unhealthy diet.
What You Can Do Instead of Calorie Counting
Adjust Your Diet
One of the hardest lifestyle changes is changing up your diet. Often times, we are so used to our style of consumption, that we fall into dangerous patterns that harbor weight and excess water. By adjusting our diets for the better, we can begin to introduce our bodies to whole, nutrient dense foods into our system, paving the way for a healthier lifestyle.
First, a great way to begin your new lifestyle shift is to eliminate unhealthy foods from the kitchen, your office, or anywhere else that you have food easily accessible. For more information on ridding your space of unhealthy foods, check out my other blog here.
Finally, we must find alternatives to the unhealthy foods we love. Below, I've compiled a short guide to help you ease into these changes.
The kinds of foods that are up for elimination cover a huge portion of the standard American diet. These include processed foods, diet foods, and further adulterated foods. These do not break down as well in the body - as naturally, we are not meant to process artificial and processed matter.
Foods to eliminate:
● So called “low-fat foods” like chips, brownies and cakes. Unfortunately, they are still chips, brownies and cake.
● Zero –calorie drinks, sodas and sugary juices
● Refined sugars and flours (white bread, bagels, etc)
● White rice
● Muffins - A huge culprit. Pastries are full of sugar and fat.
● Processed foods + snacks (i.e. chips, chocolate bars, gummies)
Now that we’ve covered foods to eliminate, we can begin to dive into foods we can consume as alternatives and replacements. These foods are whole, nutrient dense foods that offer us nourishment and keep us satiated longer.
Foods to replace:
● Dark leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, etc.
● Wild salmon and other fish high in Omega 3s
● Pasture raised, grass fed animal foods
● Olive oil
● Brown rice
● Steel cut oats
● Lentils, chickpeas, beans
Additional Tips to Keep Your Health Up and the Weight Off
● Read the Labels:
I encourage you to read labels of the foods you purchase, like yogurt, for instance. The low fat version, may have more added sugar than the whole milk versions. Ensure that you are taking the time to truly understand what you’re eating, because buzz words like “100-calorie-pack” and “0 carbs” can often hide other nutrient deficient or unhealthy culprits.
● Get Your Sweat On:
Keep your body moving. A great rule of thumb is to exercise at least 3 to 4 times per week. This includes walking! If you’re not particularly active, easy ways to sneak in some exercise can include:
○ Parking your car further away from your destinations so you’ll have to walk further to and from your car.
○ Using work breaks to take walks.
○ Take the stairs.
○ Walk your pets often, take the longer route.
○ Enlist a workout buddy to hold you accountable.
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As I write this, I am bleary eyed. I definitely didn't get enough sleep last night and here I am writing about getting enough sleep! With that said, today’s demands on working families in this day and age of technology, only 60% of us are getting more than 8 hours of sleep. The other 40% who get less than seven hours of sleep tend to gain more weight over time, find it difficult to shed the weight and are, in general, heavier.
In my house, lights out at 10pm doesn’t always work (my husband is a night owl!) but getting myself into bed by 10 and winding down seems to be a more attainable goal-most nights (last night wasn't one of them!)
Overall, sleep is one of the most potent habits you can have to improve your health and lose unhealthy fat, faster. For those of you who need a little more inspiration for getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, see below for some real encouragement!
Many thanks to everyone who came out to the Healthy On You and Salkexcellerators event. We had a great turn out of both Healthy On You and the Salk community to learn about the latest research on oncology, the micro biome and healthy lifestyle trends. Salk research scientists Amy Rommel and Shiela Rao joined me on a panel to discuss how food impacts our health through what we eat including sugar, gluten and other inflammatory causing agents in our diets.
What was really amazing was listening to Sheila explain her research on gut health, probiotics and the latest cures that take place in the intestinal tract. Amy, picked up where she left off describing her research on cancer cell which behave in a similar fashion as stem-cells. While finding a cure for cancer is not likely, figuring out a way to have cancer cells behave less like stem cells is the key to managing the growth of these cells. The reason: stem cells tend to grow their own blood supplies and when the blood supply is cut off, the generate a new blood vessels to feed themselves. Fascinating stuff.
Regarding healthy research trends, they all agreed with me that researching new anti-inflammatory ingredients is one of the next big health trends. Many companies today are looking into spices like turmeric, ginger, peppers and host of other anti inflammatory foods that they will incorporate into new products in the years to some. Starbucks is already doing it-some markets have a cayenne pepper inspired drink called the Chile Mocha!
You can wait on that research or just incorporate more spices into your cooking with Healthy on You Organic Spice Blends!
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Yum it up!!! If you haven't read my previous post about Juicing vs. Blended Smoothies, you should read it for some context when trying this recipe. This is one of my favorite healthy recipes-so simple and delicious, anyone can do it. All you need is a few minutes and a good blender. If you have a high powered blender like a Vitamix, all the better. If not, use what you have and remember, don't strain the juice after your process it. You want to retain as much of the fiber from the fruits and vegetables as possible. Make enough for a few days and sip between meals for a healthy snack to stave of hunger and get vital nutrients your body needs. Enjoy!
2 cups kale with stems (any variety)
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
3 cups coconut water (I buy in bulk at Costcos)
1 inch fresh unpeeled ginger
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 whole orange peeled and cut in 1/2
Put all ingredients in the blender and blend on high for 2-3 minutes liquid and no chunks of fruit or vegetables remain. Substitutions are many-try with spinach and chard greens or frozen mango chunks instead of pineapples. I know you will enjoy this one as much as I do.
Healthy on You will provide you techniques to manage your stress on a daily basis and give you the tools to refresh your body and mind! Health Coaching, cooking classes and more! Contact me below for your free consultation, Gift Certificates also available.
'It's All About Your Food!" event sponsored by Healthy On You & The Salk Institute last Wednesday at our home. Amy Rommel, the Salkexcellerator research fellow discussed her research on the deadliest form of brain cancer, glioblastoma. She also discussed food and its relationship to cancer and gave her final word on GMOs in our food supply. Great evening with the Salk and the Healthy On You community, learning about health and healthy eating!
People are still taking about how much they learned about our food supply and so-called healthy foods. Amy was able to deliver valuable advice about avoiding fat-free foods (yogurt, milk etc.,) sugar-free substitutes (stevia, truvia etc.) and limiting your sugar intake, especially high fructose corn syrup. She stated that in her lab, when she is growing cancer cells for research, she feeds the media sugar because it promotes cell growth. Say no more!
Another interesting point she makes is that eating GMO produced food is not always bad. Its already in so many products we currently consume such as cotton and those delicious tomatoes we love that stay fresh longer. I learned that most tomatoes have been genetically modified with the addition of Vitamin A because as a population we are deficient.
So, not all GMOs are bad, but it would be great to know when the foods you eat are genetically modified in some way. She states, "the only real way to avoid genetically modified foods is to buy 100% Organic, Certified Organic, and USDA Organic-labeled products."
Look out for some clips from her talk here on my blog.
Healthy On You Recipes and cooking tips by Samantha Binkley. Many of these recipes use Samantha's 100% Organic Spice Blends that take the guess work out of cooking.