December Fit-Mas Fundraising
Looking to give the gift of HOPE this Christmas? I am looking for as many people as I can to participate in my month long FIT-Mas Challenge. This will be a very worthwhile fitness challenge with an opportunity to help yourself (gift of health) while helping to raise money for Plan Canada. $60.00 to participate with $10 from each participant going to Plan Canada. Challenge will run from December 1-31.
There will be prizes awarded for the following:
- completing the entire months challenges
- referring the most number of people to participate
- first to complete the challenge of the day
- random draws for everyone that participates
Once payment has been received I will send you the Fit-Mas Challenge. What you are committing to is completing a quick daily challenge for the entire month of December. There will be three daily challenges of either a timed or rep exercise. You can do all 3 exercises at once or break it up over the day. The commitment will be to do each challenge over the course of the month. The benefits are two-fold in which you will be doing something active as well as helping to raise money for an amazing charity.
For more information on the incredible work that Plan Canada does please visit their website www.plancanada.ca/
Packed with immune-boosting pumpkins, it’ll help keep the colds at bay while also keeping bones strong. In fact, a mere half cup of pumpkin purée provides 25 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin K! But the best part isn’t the smoothie’s nutritional prowess, it’s that it tastes exactly like pumpkin pie.
What You’ll Need:
- 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin purée (or make your own!)
- 1/2 banana, sliced and frozen
- 1/4 cup pecans (plus more for topping)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (plus more for topping)
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup cashew milk
- 1 cup ice
- 1 tablespoon coconut nectar or other liquid sweetener (optional)
What to Do:
- Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor
- Blend until smooth
- Top with pecans and cinnamon
- Attempt to sip slowly
Make your own Pumpkin Puree
What You’ll Need:
- 1 sugar pie pumpkin (any size)*
Look for a pumpkin with a deep orange, smooth, even-colored exterior and fresh stem (which means it’s not rotting). The pumpkin should be firm with no soft spots.
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Cookie sheet
- Food processor or blender
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Wash the exterior of the pumpkin thoroughly to remove any dirt and grime. Slice off the top of the pumpkin to remove the stem.
3. Cut the pumpkin in half, from top to bottom.
4. Remove the seeds. Use a little elbow grease to get rid of all of the pulp. An ice cream scoop helps get the job done.
5. Place the pumpkin halves open side up on a cookie sheet or baking dish. Roast for 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is fork-tender (more time may be necessary depending on pumpkin size).
6. Once the pumpkin has cooled, peel the skin away from the pumpkin flesh. The skin softens in the oven and peels away pretty easily with just your hands or with the help of a large spoon.
7. Toss pumpkin flesh in a food processor or blender (cut it into smaller chunks for easier processing). Pulse the pumpkin until it’s completely smooth. If the pumpkin looks too dry (drier than apple sauce) add a little water, one tablespoon at a time. If the pumpkin looks too liquidy, place the puree in a cheesecloth-lined colander and let it drain into a bowl or the sink for an hour).
8. Use the fresh pumpkin puree immediately — store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for later use.
*Don’t have a sugar pumpkin? Butter nut squash works too!
Gluten Free Cranberry Walnut Breakfast Cookies
- ¾ cup old fashioned oats
- ½ cup shredded coconut flakes
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup cranberries
- 1½ bananas, mashed
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper.
- Combine the oats, coconut, salt, walnuts, and cranberries in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together mashed banana, honey, vanilla, and coconut oil. Add to dry ingredients and stir until completely combined.
- Line the lid of a quart size mason jar with saran wrap to use as a cookie mold. Fill will the cookie dough and flip over onto the prepared baking sheet. Lift off the mason jar lid, then the saran wrap. Repeat steps with remaining cookie dough to make 6 cookies. If you don’t have a mason jar lid, you can form the cookies by hand.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. If you aren’t using a silicon baking mat, keep an eye on the bottom of the cookies. Cool on baking sheet. Store loosely covered.
Protein Packed Monster Breakfast Cookies
Yields 16-20 cookies
1 tablespoon flax meal
3 tablespoons boiling water
1 cup Sunflower Seed Spread (Tahini)
1/3 cup palm sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup unsweetened & finely shredded coconut
1/3 cup hemp seed
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (or cacao nibs or carob chips)
1/3 cup desired seeds or raisins, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
- Stir together the flax meal and boiling water; set aside and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes.
- Using an electric mixer, cream the SunButter, palm sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Beat in the baking soda and sea salt, and then stir in all other remaining ingredients (don’t forget the flax meal slurry!).
- Roll the dough by heaping tablespoon into balls and place them on the baking sheets spaced about 3 inches apart. Using the tips of your fingers, gently flatten the dough until it is about 1/2 an inch thick.
- Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the cookies are turning golden brown at the edges. Leave cookies on the baking sheet to cool.
- When the cookies are cool and are firm, transfer them to plate lined with a paper towel (this will help draw out the excess oils from the SunButter. Store the cookies uncovered out on the counter (so the air can get to them). They will crunch up on the outside, but still remain soft on the inside. If you store them in an airtight container, they will retain too much moisture and crumble easily.
If you can tolerate nuts, you can substitute almond or cashew butter for the SunButter.
If you can tolerate eggs, 1 egg can be used in place of the flax meal.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie’s ‘n’ Milk Breakfast Cups.
PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 10 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 35 MINUTES
YIELD: 12 CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL COOKIE CUPS
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons ground flax-meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup real maple syrup (or honey, but I liked maple with these)
2 tablespoons tahini (or peanut butter or almond butter)*
1/4 cup coconut oil (may use canola or butter)
1 very ripe banana, mashed well
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-2 cups semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (I used 2 cups of course)
whole milk or coconut milk (yogurt is good too), for serving*
toasted nuts, chocolate chips, fresh berries and or sliced bananas, for serving
- In a large mixing bowl mix together the oats, ground flax and salt.
- In a medium glass bowl combine the maple syrup and peanut butter. Microwave on high for 1 minute or until the maple syrup is bubbling. Stir to combine the melted peanut butter (or whatever butter you are using) with the maple syrup. Add the coconut oil, mashed banana and vanilla. Mix the wet mixture with the dry oats until completely combined and the all the oats are moistened. Cover the mixing bowl and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to chill before adding the chocolate chips.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with butter, oil or cooking spray.
- Remove the dough from the freezer and fold in the chocolate chips. Divide the dough evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Starting in the middle, press down lightly with your fingers to form a bowl. Press from the bottom up to form the dough around the sides of the cups. If the dough is sticking to your hands try wetting them lightly, but I found just using my messy hands worked best.
- Bake the cups for 10-15 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden around the top. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes, then run a butter knife around the edges and carefully dump the cups out.
- Allow the cups to cool or eat warm (DO THIS!). Serve the cups IN A BOWL and pour in some thick milk. Do not use skim milk for this, whole milk or thick canned coconut milk is best. Garnish with fresh berries, chocolate chips and nuts. EAT!
Your skin is under extra duress during the hot months of summer, but it doesn’t have to be. By treating one of the biggest organs of detox from the inside-out with three must-have Ayurvedic herbs, you can support glowing, radiant, clear skin, even when pores clog from excess sweat. These can be used both externally and internally, so stock your herb pantry for great summer skin.
You may already have heard that turmeric, also known as haldi, can cure multiple forms of disease, from cancer to arthritis. But did you know that it is also a great summer-time skin treatment, known as a super beauty product in much of Asia and India? It is even applied in India as a paste to the bride and groom’s skin pre-wedding night to make it lavishly smooth and clear.
To brighten your skin on a hot day, try mixing turmeric powder and rice powder with raw milk and tomato juice, enough to form a paste, and apply it to your face and neck for 30 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water. You’ll end up with clear, glowing, refreshed skin. This is also a great remedy for slight sunburn. Here are some other turmeric uses to consider.
Also known as Chandan, sandalwood is one of Ayurvedic medicine’s best acne remedies. It also treats scrapes and rashes, as well as under-eye circles and dark skin pigmentations. When used in a paste, it can have a cooling property for agitated skin, and it definitely brightens up tired-looking skin with over-worked sebaceous glands. Sandalwood has antibiotic and anti-bacterial qualities, too, which will should protect the skin from blemishes caused by bacteria.
When you mix sandalwood with turmeric, the results are compounded. Make a sandalwood-turmeric paste by mixing 1 tbsp of sandalwood powder with ½ tbsp. of turmeric powder. You can mix it with about ¼ teaspoon of honey or raw milk. Apply a coat of this paste on your face and let it sit for about 20 minutes. The best part – sandalwood smells amazing!
3. Aloe Vera
Not only has Ayurvedic medicine turned to aloe, but so have the Polynesians. The Egyptians called it the ‘plant of immortality’ and the Native Americans call aloe ‘the wand of heaven.’ This super-plant has been known to heal all sorts of skin conditions, and it soothes sunburns like nobody’s business. Of course the health benefits of aloe vera don’t stop there – check it out.
Having at least half a dozen different organic antiseptics, aloe can also destroy fungus, bacteria, and viruses, while being a potential treatment for AIDS. You can use it on bug-bites, to treat acne, to soothe itching, dry skin, or to minimize damage from frostbite. It helps with pimples, psoriasis, eczema, can be used as a homemade burn anecdote, and helps to restore youthful skin.
Able to reduce hyper-pigmentation, or dark spots, aloe is also one of the most soothing herbal plants you can use in a massage. It can even be used as a shampoo or hair rinse to help with hair growth. Aloe vera is one of the best remedies for great skin - and a hundred other health concerns.
Incorporate these three herbs into your summer health regime in order to beat the summer heat, and look great doing it.
Now that the weather is blissful, I hope that you’re finding it a bit easier to get outside and be more active. If you are increasing your exercise and activity, that’s great; more physical activity will help your muscles, blood, heart and lungs – pretty much everything in your body. I find that getting outside to exercise is so much better than going to the gym. I go to the gym and I like it, but I really love running on trails. Think about running on the treadmill for an hour or going out and running trails for an hour.
(Dr. Greg Wells)
What’s amazing is that simply looking at pictures of nature can lower your blood pressure, stress and mental fatigue. That’s how powerful nature can be. So if you’re reading this at the office, change your desktop to a nature scene. And preferably a nature scene that includes water – research has shown that images containing water are more restorative than those without. See how this shot makes you feel.
But if you can get outside, by all means get out there. Here’s more about why this should be part of your health, energy and performance-enhancing life.
Exercising in nature has benefits that go above and beyond the benefits you gain by exercising indoors. Research has shown improvements in mental well-being, self-esteem and can even help with depression. This might be especially important for that moody teenager in your life, and it also explains why my wife kicks me out of the house to go on a trail run when I’m stressed out from a crazy day at work. I’ve found that trail-running seems to help me decompress much better than running on a treadmill or even on city streets, and the research backs this up as well. Being exposed to plants decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, decreases resting heart rate and also decreases blood pressure.
These studies are really interesting because we often think of exercise as only being good for our bodies. It turns out that exercise can be just as good for our brains and our minds, and that getting outside and exercising in nature might amplify the benefits.
One of the challenges that we are faced with is staying motivated to exercise. About half of people who join a gym don’t stick with it beyond the first year. But people who exercise outside tend to stick with their exercise programs more consistently than those who train indoors, according to a study done in 2004. So if you’re having trouble being consistent, consider adding an outdoor workout to your routine.
Another surprise benefit of getting outside and into nature is that exposure to plants like trees can improve your immune system. Scientists think that airborne chemicals that plants emit to protect themselves from fungus, bacteria and insects (these chemicals are called phytoncides) may also benefit humans. In a study published in 2007, people who took two-hour walks in a forest had a 50-per-cent increase in the levels of their natural killer cells. They sound scary, but they’re your cells that circulate through your body and kill bacteria, viruses, fungus and other invaders.
It also turns out that, if you prefer walking and light activity to running or more intense activities, you’re in luck. Walking in nature improves measures of revitalization, self-esteem, energy and pleasure, and decreases frustration, worry, confusion, depression, tension and tiredness far more than light activity indoors does, according to the latest evidence. Running outdoors, however, does not seem to have a greater impact on emotions or mood than running inside, maybe because running and more intense activities cause the release of endorphins that can cause feelings of elation and exhilaration, regardless of where you run.
So if you want to feel better, just get outside: Try gardening, heading to the beach or a lake on the weekend or going for a bike ride, and don’t worry about whether or not you walk or run.
Dr. Greg Wells is an assistant professor in kinesiology at the University of Toronto and an associate scientist in physiology and experimental medicine at The Hospital for Sick Children. He is a health and high performance expert who inspires better living through better nutrition and better fitness. You can follow him on Twitter at @drgregwells.
1. Black beans for flour
Swapping out flour for a can of back beans (drained and rinsed, of course) in brownies is a great way to cut out the gluten and fit in an extra dose of protein, Plus, they taste great. When baking, swap out 1 cup flour for 1 cup black bean puree (about a 15oz can).
2. Whole wheat flour for white flour
In virtually any baked good, replacing white flour with whole wheat can add a whole new dimension of nutrients, flavor, and texture. Because whole wheat includes the outer shell of the grain, it also provides an extra punch of fiber, which aids in digestion and can even lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease. For every cup of white flour, substitute 7/8 cup of whole-wheat.
3. Unsweetened applesauce for sugar
Using applesauce in place of sugar can give the necessary sweetness without the extra calories and, well, sugar. While one cup of unsweetened applesauce contains only about 100 calories, a cup of sugar can pack in more than 770 calories! This swap is perfect for oatmeal raisin cookies. Pro tip: You can sub sugar for apple sauce in a 1:1 ratio, but for every cup of applesauce you use, reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup.
4. Unsweetened applesauce for oil or butter
Don’t knock this one till you’ve tried it. The applesauce gives the right consistency and a hint of sweetness without all the fat of oil or butter. This works well in any sweet bread, like banana or zucchini, or in muffins (like in these low-fat blueberry muffins) — and even with pre-boxed mixes! On your first try, only try swapping out half the fat (so a recipe using 1 cup of oil would use 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce). If you can’t tell the difference with that swap, try swapping a bit more of the fat next time around.
5. Almond flour for wheat flour
This gluten-free switch gives any baked good a dose of protein, omega-3s, and a delicious nutty flavor. Check out these classic butter cookies for a simple example. A word of advice: almond flour is much heavier than other baking flours, so when subbing go 1/4 cup at a time (so 1 cup wheat flour would become 3/4 cup wheat flour and 1/4 cup almond flour). Or, if it’s all or nothing for your recipe, remember to increase the amount of rising agent (by about 1/2 teaspoon per cup of almond flour added) to account for the extra weight.
6. Avocado puree for butter
They’re both fats (albeit very different fats) and have nearly the same consistency at room temperature. The creaminess and subtle flavor of the avocado lends itself well to the texture of fudge brownies and dark chocolate flavorings. Check out this recipe for perfect proportion guidelines. It can take some experimenting to get this swap perfect, but generally, using 1 cup of avocado puree per cup of butter works.
7. Brown rice cereal with flax meal for Rice Crispies
Brown puffed rice has the same texture as conventional white rice, but with half the calories. The flax adds extra fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and phytochemicals to the mix without compromising flavor!
8. Marshmallow Fluff for frosting
Replacing the fat and sugar in frosting with marshmallow achieves the perfect consistency with many fewer calories. While two tablespoons of marshmallow has just 40 calories and 6 grams of sugar (and no fat!), the same amount of conventional frosting can pack up to 100 calories, 14 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of fat. Need we go on?
9. Natural peanut butter for reduced-fat peanut butter
While they may appear better than traditional Skippy or Jiff, reduced fat versions of peanut butter can actually have more sugar — and an extra-long list of artificial additives— than the classics. Natural peanut butter (preferably unsalted) provides the same sweetness without call the extra junk.
10. Vanilla for sugar
Cutting sugar in half and adding a teaspoon of vanilla as a replacement can give just as much flavor with significantly fewer calories. Assuming the recipe originally calls for one cup of sugar, that’s already almost 400 calories cut out! You can’t sub this one in equal ratios, but next time you’re whipping up some cookies, try cutting 2 tablespoons of sugar and adding an extra 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
11. Mashed bananas for fats
The creamy, thickening-power of mashed (ripe!) banana acts the same as avocado in terms of replacing fat in baking recipes. The consistency is ideal, and the bananas add nutrients like potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6. One cup of mashed banana works perfectly in place of 1 cup or butter or oil!
12. Nut flours for flour
A word of caution: Nut flours don’t rise the same way as wheat flour so an additional rising agent might be needed when replacing more than ¼ cup of wheat. Many gluten-free blogs detail how to streamline nut flour-based baking. And while these flours are typically higher in calories and fat, they also have more fiber and protein. Nut flours do tend to be heavier than classic wheat, so make sure to up the amount of baking powder and baking soda in the recipe so the dough can rise as normal. Another option is to replace only part of the flour in a recipe with nut flour!
13. Coconut flour for flour
High in fiber and low in carbohydrates, coconut flour is a great partial substitute for wheat flour in baking recipes. Be careful, though — using more than half a cup at a time could allow the flour’s bitterness to take over. Substitutes can be tricky in baking, so when using coconut flour, be sure to add an equal amount of extra liquid! In baked goods, you generally want to substitute only 1/4 to 1/3 cup of coconut flour for 1 cup of wheat flour. (Take a look at this easy-to-understandchart for more specific substitution instructions!)
14. Meringue for frosting
Made from just egg whites and sugar, meringue can be a great fat-free substitution for traditional frosting. Feel like going a step further? Take a torch to it. Lightly charring the edges of the meringue can add a nice caramelized flavor. (Not to mention a cool visual effect!)
15. Graham crackers for cookies (in pie crusts)
Who doesn’t love a fresh baked cookie-crust pie? Next time, refrain from the traditional sugar or Oreo cookie crust and grab the graham crackers. Reduced-fat graham crackers offer the same consistency and flavor with about half the calories of the conventional options.
16. Evaporated skim milk for cream
It’s the same consistency with a fraction of the fat. Evaporated milk tends to have a bit more sugar (only about 2 grams), but the major drop in fat content is well worth the switch. This substitute is an even swap, too (1 cup cream = 1 cup evaporated milk)!
17. Stevia for sugar
The natural sweetener stevia is lower in calories and up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. But watch the grocery bill — this fashionable sweetener can also cost up to 5 times as much as granulated sugar. Since it’s so much sweeter, swap with caution: A recipe calling for 1 cup of sugar should be swapped for 1 teaspoon liquid stevia (or about 2 tablespoons stevia powder).
18. Prunes for butter
In brownies and other dark baked goods, prune puree makes for a perfect butter substitute while cutting more than half the calories and fat. Combine 3/4 cup prunes with 1/4 cup boiling water, and puree to combine. Sub in equal amounts in most dark baked good recipes!
19. Cacao nibs for chocolate chips
News flash: Those chocolate chips actually start out as cacao nibs — the roasted bits of cocoa beans that then get ground down and turned in to chocolate. Opting for these unprocessed (or at least less processed) morsels cuts out the additives and added sugar in chocolate, while also delving out a healthy dose of antioxidants.
20. Chia seeds for butter
These funny lookin’ little seeds are good for more than just growing countertop pets. Combine 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 9 tablespoons water, let sit for 15 minutes, and you get a gel that’s the perfect consistency to stand in for fat in baking recipes. One word of caution: don’t try to cut out all the fat with this substitute — it works best when subbing an equal amount of this mixture for half of the fat in a recipe.
21. Chia seeds for eggs
Surprise! Combining 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 1 cup of water left to sit for 15 minutes yields a perfect 1-to-1 egg substitute for baking. (But we probably wouldn’t suggest subbing chia for butter and eggs in the same recipe!)
22. Flax meal for eggs
This one’s an old vegan trick. Mix 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds (aka flax meal) with 3 tablespoons of warm water and whisk with a fork to combine. Now let it sit in the fridge for 5-10 minutes before subbing for 1 egg in any baked recipe. Voila!
23. Brown rice for white rice
When white rice is processed, the “brown” bran layer gets stripped away, cutting out essential nutrients (like fiber). Opt for brown rice for a fuller nutritional profile.
24. Quinoa for couscous
While couscous is made from processed wheat flour, quinoa is a whole-grain superfood packed with protein and nutrients. Bonus points: They have almost the exact same texture.
25. Zucchini ribbons for pasta
Thin strips or ribbons of zucchini are a great stand in for carb-packed pastas. Plus, it’s one excuse to skip the boiling — simply sautee for a few minutes until soft.
26. Olive oil for butter
When cooking eggs, this simple switch is a great way to cut down on saturated fats while getting a healthy dose of essential omega-3 fatty acids.
27. Turnip mash for mashed potatoes
While one cup of mashed potatoes made with whole milk racks up about 180 calories (and that’s before the inevitable salt and butter), a cup of mashed turnip (which doesn’t need milk or butter to get that creamy consistency) has only 51 calories. Add some fresh herbs in place of the salt and it’s a much healthier stand-in for classic mash.
28. Grated steamed cauliflower for rice
Cut both calories and carbs with this simple switch. The texture is virtually the same, as is the taste.
29. Mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes
Just like the turnip mash, mashed cauliflower has only a fraction of the calories of potatoes and it’s nearly impossible to taste the difference. Got picky eaters at the table? Try mixing half potato, half cauliflower.
30. Rolled oats for breadcrumbs
While breadcrumbs can pack extra sodium, using rolled oats seasoned with herbs is a great way to sneak another whole grain into any meal.
31. Dry beans for canned beans
Canned beans are convenient, sure, but they also tend to have excess sodium and plenty of preservatives. Plus, even though the canned versions are dirt cheap, dried beans are even cheaper! It may take a little more work (just some simple soaking and boiling), but this switch is still well worth it.
32. Prosciutto or pancetta for bacon
Bacon is often the go-to for that smoky flavor in savory dishes (and even in some sweet ones). But opting for a few slices of prosciutto or pancetta can help cut both calories and fat. While bacon has about 70 calories and 6 grams of fat for two slices, prosciutto has just 30 calories and 4 grams in an equally weighted sample.
33. Two egg whites for one whole egg
One egg yolk holds more than half the recommended daily cholesterol for the average adult. Trading out the yolk for a second white will cut out the cholesterol while doubling the protein. If making a dish that requires more eggs, keep one to two yolks for their rich vitamins A, E, D, and K content, but consider swapping out the rest.
34. Whole wheat pasta for regular pasta
Just as with bread, whole wheat pasta beats regular with a higher fiber content and about 50 fewer calories per serving (depending on the brand).
35. Crushed flax or fiber cereal for bread crumbs
Crushing a fiber-rich cereal and mixing it with some herbs makes an easy lower-sodium substitution for traditional breadcrumbs.
36. White-meat, skinless poultry for dark-meat poultry
The biggest chicken debate to date: white meat vs. dark meat. And the white meat has it beat — lower in calories and fat, higher in protein and iron.
37. Olive oil spray for olive oil from the bottle
Oil glugs out of the bottle, leading to overly-greasy dishes. Using a spray bottle is a great way to cut down on oil while still getting the non-stick benefits. A little mist is all that’s needed!
38. Egg Beaters for egg yolks
A solid substitution for many egg dishes (like omelets or frittatas) — and even for something more complicated, like Hollandaise sauce.
39. Bison for beef
Higher in B vitamins and lower in fat, bison is a great substitute for the ol’ beefy standard. (When available, of course.)
40. Ground Turkey for ground beef
Ground turkey (or chicken) is a great substitute for ground beef to cut down on saturated fat and calories. Reminder: Because of the lower fat content, ground poultry often ends up drier than beef, but a few tablespoons of chicken stock can solve the problem in a snap!
41. Quinoa and ground turkey for rice and ground beef (in stuffed peppers)
More protein and antioxidants in the quinoa and less fat in the ground turkey make this an all-around healthier option for this popular side dish.
42. Coconut milk for cream
Coconut milk is a great substitute for heavy cream in soups and stews. And don’t be turned off by the word “coconut” — it doesn’t taste like the sweetened shredded kind!
43. Spaghetti squash for pasta
Roasted and pulled apart with a fork, spaghetti squash is a great low-carb and lower-calorie substitute for pasta. One squash will make between two and three servings.
44. Greek yogurt for sour cream
Half the fat and calories, yet the taste and texture are virtually identical. Plus, nonfat Greek yogurt offers an extra dose of lean protein.
45. Arugula, romaine, spinach, and/or kale for iceberg lettuce
46. Pita for bread
One 4-inch whole-wheat pita runs around 80 calories and only 1 gram of fat (though there is some variation from brand to brand). Two slices of whole-wheat bread typically comes in at around 138 calories!
47. Greek yogurt for mayo (in tuna/chicken salad)
Add some herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice, and they’ll taste almost identical. Plus, this swap will save on calories and fat, and provide an extra dose of protein.
48. Plain yogurt with fresh fruit for flavored yogurt
Pre-flavored yogurts often come packed with extra sugar. To skip the sugar rush without sacrificing flavor, opt for plain yogurt (or better yet, plain Greek yogurt) and add fresh fruit and/or honey or agave for a hint of sweetness.
49. Nutritional yeast for cheese
The taste and texture are a little bit different, but the creamy gooiness is pretty comparable. Instead of topping that taco with cheddar, try a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavoring with much less fat.
50. Lettuce leaves for tortilla wraps
It’s not a perfect swap, but forgoing the carbs for fresh lettuce is a fun (and easy) switch that can lighten up any wrap or taco dish.
51. Corn tortilla for flour tortilla
Half the calories and fat. ‘Nuff said.
52. Nuts for croutons (in salads)
Every salad needs that extra crunch. But rather than getting the extra carbs (and often fat and sodium) that come with croutons, try some lightly toasted slivered almonds, pecans, or walnuts.
53. Whole wheat bread for white bread
You’ve heard it all before, but it’s just that important! Whole-grain wheat beats out processed white with a complete nutrition profile and better flavor and texture.
54. Avocado mash for mayo
Half a mashed avocado is a great substitute for mayo on any sandwich. Both give some moisture, but avocado packs a big dose of vitamin E and cholesterol-checking monosaturated fat. And while a typical two-tablespoon serving of mayonnaise has about 206 calories and 24 grams of fat, half an avocado has only 114 calories and 10.5 grams of fat.
55. Sliced tomatoes for tomato sauce (on pizza)
Cut out the extra sodium, sugar, and preservatives by replacing jarred tomato sauce with fresh sliced tomatoes. The texture is a bit different, but the flavor is much more vibrant and fresh!
56. Frozen or Fresh Fruits for canned fruit
Cut down on excess sugar and preservatives by choosing fresh or flash-frozen varieties
57. Veggies for pita (as a dipping tool)
Forget the pita. Fresh veggies work as killer dippers with hummus and contain both fewer carbs and more vitamins.
58. Cauliflower puree for egg yolks (in deviled eggs)
For that devilish Southern favorite — deviled eggs — try replacing half the yolks in the filling with cauliflower puree. The taste remains the same, as does the texture, but without the extra dose of cholesterol.
59. Quinoa for oatmeal
Cooked with milk (cow, almond, hemp — whatever’s on hand) and some cinnamon, quinoa makes a perfect protein-packed hot breakfast.
60. Edamame hummus for regular hummus
While hummus might look innocent from the sidelines, it’s on our list of potential dangerfoods, packed with more than 50 calories in two tablespoons. That’s why switching to an edamame-based hummus can help reduce the danger (read: fat and calories) while still providing a delicious dip.
61. Kale chips for potato chips
Who would’ve guessed that a leafy green could make such delicious chips? When lightly tossed in olive oil and some seasoning (salt and pepper, paprika, or chili powder work well) and baked, these curly greens turn into a delightfully delicate crunchy snack with less fat than the classic fried potato chip.
62. Dark chocolate for M&Ms (in trail mix)
The problem with most trail mixes? They pack in the sugar-filled, candy-coated chocolate and dried fruit. Instead, make your own trail mix with unsalted nuts and dark chocolate bits (lower in sugar), which are high in free-radical-fighting flavonoids — a benefit that completely outweighs that candy-coated sweetness.
63. Popcorn for potato chips
Lower in calories and fat, natural popcorn without pre-flavored seasonings is a great snack alternative to replace those oily, super-salty potato chips. Try made-at-home flavors by adding cinnamon, chili powder, or Parmesan.
64. Steel-cut oatmeal for instant oatmeal
Chewy and a little crunchy, these guys are nothing like their instant oatmeal cousins. While rolled oats are — literally — rolled into a flat grain, steel cut oats are diced whole grains that maintain more of their fiber-rich shell. Rich in B vitamins, calcium, and protein, steel-cut oats also lack the added sugar that often comes with instant varieties.
65. Banana ice cream for ice cream
No milk, no cream, no sugar… but the same, delicious consistency. It’s simple: freeze bananas, then puree.
66. Sweet potato fries for French fries
Opting for sweet potatoes rather than the traditional white adds an extra dose offiber, and vitamins A, C, and B6. Plus, it cuts out roughly 20 grams of carbohydrates per one-cup serving. Just don’t overdo it!
67. Frozen Yogurt for Ice Cream
Picking frozen yogurt over ice cream can help cut down fat content!
68. Low-fat cottage cheese for sour cream
They both add a creamy texture to many dishes, but sour cream is packed with fat while low-fat cottage cheese is packed with protein.
69. Pureed fruit for syrup
Both sweeten flapjacks or a nice whole-wheat waffle, but pureed fruit warmed on the stovetop with a bit of honey packs much less sugar than classic maple. Plus, it provides an extra dose of antioxidants and vitamins.
70. Herbs or citrus juice for salt
You heard it here first: Food doesn’t need to be salted to taste good! Fresh herbs and citrus juice can provide just as much flavor without the added risks of excess sodium intake.
71. Garlic powder for salt
Just like fresh herbs, garlic powder can provide a flavorful-punch without adding sodium. A word of warning, though: don’t mistake garlic powder for garlic salt.
72. Low-sodium soy sauce for standard soy sauce
The taste is virtually the same, but choosing a low- or reduced-sodium variety can cut down sodium intake by nearly half.
73. Homemade salad dressing for bottled dressing
By making dressing from scratch at home, it’s easy to cut out the added sugar, sodium, and preservatives typically found in pre-made dressings. Try mixing vinegar or lemon juice and oil in a 2:1 ratio and flavoring with spices like rosemary, thyme, oregano, and pepper!
75. Seltzer water with citrus slice instead of soda
Instead of sugary sodas, opt for a glass of sparkling water with a few slices of citrus — grapefruit, lime, orange, and lemon all work well — for a little extra flavor.
75. Skim milk for whole or 2% milk
Fewer calories and fat with the same amount of protein makes this switch well worth it.
76. Cinnamon for cream and sugar (in coffee)
77. Unsweetened iced tea for juice or bottled teas
While delicious and convenient, bottled teas, juices, and sports drinks are packed with sugar and calories. When in the mood for something icy with a little flavor, opt for a home-brewed, unsweetened iced tea.
78. Americano for latte
Just by cutting the milk out of that daily latte in favor of hot water, the calorie count drops by more than 150. It’s a smart switch, especially by the fourth or fifth cup.
79. Red wine for white wine
While white wine is usually lower in calories, red offers health benefitsunmatched by the white stuff, including cancer-fighting compounds and natural cholesterol checks.
80. Soda water for juice (as a mixer)
Rum and coke. Cranberry and vodka. Sure, these sugary mixers take care of the inner sweet tooth. But try mixing liquor with soda water and a slice of fruit (or even just a splash of juice) and down goes the sugar (and calorie) count. Not inventive enough? Check out these 60 healthier cocktails.
81. Soda water for tonic water
Yes, it’s clear and bubbly, just like soda water, but tonic water is actually full of sugar. Adding plain soda water and a pinch of lime gives almost the same taste with 32 grams less sugar per 12 ounces.
82. Oven or pan-frying for deep frying
Yes, those chicken tenders are deliciously greasy, but by foregoing the oil bath for just a misting of oil in a pan or oven, it’s easy to cut fat without sacrificing flavor.
83. Steaming for boiling
While both are great options for meats and veggies, steaming is king because it removes fewer nutrients from vegetables. While boiling can leech out some of the better nutrients (hence why water turns green after boiling broccoli), steaming keeps all that green goodness inside the veggies.
Your belly is bloated, your stomach is full of gas, and frankly, you find it really hard to have a peaceful poop.
Big turkey dinners and carbalicious burgers can make our bodies sluggish, gassy and bloated but there are even some vegetables, fibre supplements and legumes that do the same damage.
“Bloating often occurs when there is an excess amount of gas and or water in our bodies,” says Rosanna Lee, a nutrition educator and community health promoter based in Toronto.
But bloating can also happen when you chow down your meal too quickly or overeat on a regular basis. It also differs for individuals — while some people will always feel bloated after eating a large meal, others can suffer from more serious side effects like swelling of the abdomen, excessive gas or distension.
Sure, you can avoid “bloating” food altogether but watching your sodium intake and adding water to your diet also helps, Lee says. “Drinking more water can help you flush the sodium out of your system and bloating will eventually decrease.”
According to Health Canada, people should eat at least 1,500 mg of sodium a day and not exceed 2,300 mg.
You can also make simple diet changes like chewing slowly and avoid air-ingesting habits like using straws or chewing gum.
And while processed food accounts for 77% of the sodium we eat, here are other foods to avoid (and enjoy) when you’re bloated.
This is a diet that is based on very new research but has had many accounts of improvement to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colitis and Crohn’s Disease sufferers symptoms. The diet can help address the following symptoms that sufferers suffer from:
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
- Wind and flatulence
- Changes in bowel habit e.g. diarrhoea to constipation or viceversa)
Research shows that some carbohydrates can cause irritation to the bowels and contribute to these symptoms. The carbohydrates are called Fermantable Oligo-saccharides Di-saccharides Mono-saccharides and Polyols – otherwise known as FODMAP.
This carbohydrate is poorly absorbed so restricting all foods with these in them will be of benefit to most people who exhibit symptoms of IBS. Sources of this carbohydate include:
- Beans, peas and pulses
- Some vegetables – particularly onion
- Inulin and FOS (fructooligosaccharides). these are processed food additives
The main form of di-saccharide is lactose found in animal milk such as cow and goat’s milk. It can be malabsorbed by certain ethnic populations. While a small amount of lactose is tolerable to most people including IBS sufferers, a complete avoidance is not usually necessary. Sources of this carbohydrate include:
- Milk – all types including skimmed etc. Keep to 50mls or less
The main contributors to mono-saccharides are fructose. This carbohydrate is a sugar and is present in many fruits naturally as well as honey. When the amount of fructose exceeds the amount of glucose problems start to occur. Sources include:
- Sugar snap peas
Polyols are sugar alcohols which can be found in various diet and sugar free foods to lower their calorific content. Examples of polyols are sorbitol and xylotol. They can also be found naturally in stone fruits and some vegetables. Sources of polyols include:
- Sugar free sweets
What happens if I don’t get enough magnesium?
A chronic lack of magnesium in the body yields many consequences – including low energy levels. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include fatigue, weakness, anxiety, and irritability.
Research on red blood cells has shown that lower levels of magnesium can make the cells more fragile – leading to a decrease in available red blood cells. Red blood cells are vital for increasing your energy levels because they deliver needed oxygen to tissues.
A 2002 study also revealed that low magnesium levels disrupt the body’s efficiency for using energy stores. The researchers assessed the effects of dietary magnesium restriction during exercise in postmenopausal women. They found low magnesium levels led to higher oxygen use and higher heart rates during exercise.
This suggests magnesium helps to optimize the use of oxygen in order to burn calories and feel more energized, and a lower level of magnesium hinders that process.
Overall what you eat before and after your work out is secondary to what you eat and drink all the time. If you are diligent about what you eat before a workout, but don’t bother to make good choices for the rest of the day, this is not going to achieve the results you are looking for.
Pre-work out nutrition
When eating before your work out the type of food, digestion requirements and intensity of your work out should be considered. Food high in fat, protein and fiber are more difficult and take longer to digest than a carbohydrate dense meal. The size of the meal will also affect digestions time. As a general guide, having a meal should occur about 3 – 4 hours before exercise and a light snack 1-2 hours before exercise. Food eaten should generally provide some energy, be low in fat, moderate in fiber and easy to digest.
Meal suggestions for 3-4 hours before exercise are:
• Baked potato, cottage cheese and a glass of milk
• Breakfast cereal with reduced fat milk
• Fruit salad with yogurt
• Pasta or rice with a tomato based sauce
Snack suggestions for 1-2 hours before exercise are:
• Breakfast Cereal Bar
• Milk shake or fruit smoothie
Post work out nutrition After a work out it is important to both refuel and re-hydrate your body.
• The average requirement for water intake per day is 2 liters, but this may vary depending on how much activity you are doing.
• Make sure you have your water bottle with you when exercising and that you finish it before you conclude your workout.
• Drinking plenty of fluid after exercise will also prevent you from over eating straight after your workout and give you an opportunity to choose wisely.
Timing of post workout meals is less crucial but you should still consider the size of the meal and effect on digestion. It’s suggested a light snack within half an hour of training, and a meal 1-2 hours post training. Try to avoid fruit and dairy 2 hours post workout. (simple carbohydrates. You want to choose food that will refuel your system without bogging you down. You want to reward your body for the good work it’s done, and you want fuel that makes you feel good. As a general principle you want to combine some form of protein, fat and complex carbohydrate in your meal (protein to rebuild muscle, carbohydrate to restore energy).
Some examples of post work out meals are:
o Tuna wrap with salad o Salmon and avocado sushi rolls
o Chicken and vegetable stir fry with rice
o Protein shake mixed with water
o Plain Greek yogurt with almonds and veggies with hummus
o Chicken breast, broccoli and sweet potato
o Top round steak, green beans, quinoa