How to think about food like a Success Story
If you struggle with making good food decisions, here's a little insight into the thought processes of people who become Success Stories:
They don't use will power much. In fact, they don't think about food very much, especially when it gets close to mealtime.
On-the-fly food decisions are the enemy.
People who have successfully changed their eating habits use routines, habits, environmental engineering and personal policies to cut down on the number of food decisions they make each day. This is smart because research proves that will power wanes when you get hungry, distracted, stressed or tired.
So here's how (and when) they think about food:
With plans and policies like these, there is no need for major decision-making, which only invites will power battles.
So take a little time this week to start thinking about next week's meals like a person who is a Success Story. See if you eat healthier AND ditch the mental burden of on-the-fly food decisions.
Taste more sugar while using less
Read this before your next ice cream cone: The temperature of your sweet food affects the strength of the taste.
Sweet flavors taste sweeter when eaten hot, and taste less sweet when cold.
A classic example is that when people make homemade jam, the warm cooked fruit needs to taste super overly-sweet, so that when it cools off it will taste just right. The sugar content is the same; it just tastes much sweeter when warm.
How can you use this to eat healthier? You probably already guessed it: If you must have sweets, favor warmer ones. Ice cream needs extra sugar to taste as sweet as hot cocoa. An iced tea needs more sugar to taste as sweet as a hot tea. Cold pie tastes less sweet than warm pie. ...one more reason to swear off Frappucinos.
Use this to cut your sugar consumption this summer without even sacrificing any flavor!
P.s. Interestingly, bitter flavor is the opposite. It's stronger when cold.
Chewing boosts cognitive function
Just chewing more can improve your life in several different interesting ways.
You probably already know that chewing promotes good digestion, better nutrient absorption, and helps you eat more slowly so that you don't overeat. But research also suggests that chewing more can improve cognitive function. Chewing food or gum has been shown to...
All that from chewing more?!
Yes, it appears that chewing promotes better circulation to the brain, so maybe it's no surprise that executive function improves.
You can read the details in the study links below. In the meantime, happy chewing!
If you love crackers, but not inflammation, here are some options made with sprouted seeds instead of baked flour:
Flackers, made from sprouted flax seeds, apple cider vinegar, herbs and salt. 5 different flavors.
Go Raw, made from sprouted sunflower and other seeds, with various savory herbs and spices. Our favorite flavor is pizza.
Jilz Crackers*, made from sprouted sesame seeds and herbs. 3 different flavors, some with amazing herb combos.
Livin’ Spoonful, made from a variety of sprouted seeds, lemon juice, dates (adding 2g sugar) and herbs. Our favorite flavor is pesto pumpkin seed.
There are many more brands, but these are among the easiest to find. They aren’t cheap, but they are much healthier than conventional crackers, and you can always make your own in a food dehydrator if you like, as online recipes abound.
Signs you should slow down your weight loss
We know...there’s lots of pressure to have a beach body ASAP. But here are some signs that you may be pushing your body or brain too hard to lose weight--and are at risk for sabotaging your long-term results or health.
Your mood, memory, creativity, sense of humor and general brain function are very sensitive to your blood sugar, which is the brain's main fuel. It can suffer when that fuel gets too low. Getting dizzy is dangerous--especially while driving!--so have a small carbohydrate snack, like a few crackers, if that ever starts to happen.
Injuries, constant soreness or lethargy might mean you are undernourished or undereating. Burning fat (which requires lower blood sugar) while remaining energetic (which can be tough with lower blood sugar) is admittedly tricky, so come talk to us if you are struggling.
Losing too much muscle is bad for health and long-term results because muscle boosts metabolism, strength, immunity, and blood sugar control. Muscle is always good weight. Slower weight loss helps preserve it.
Here's why: Burning fat inevitably involves lowering blood sugar, but if your blood sugar goes too low for too long, your will power suffers. Research suggests you may "blow it" and eat back more calories than you suffered to burn in the first place.
If any of these sounds like you, don't worry. Just slow down a bit. Even losing 1/4 pound of fat per week is a whole stick of butter off your body!
Broccoli sprouts for air pollution
With recent news of Hawaiian volcano smog and spring air quality alerts, I'm reminded that nature has generously provided us with a partial antidote to harm from air pollution: Broccoli sprouts!
Studies involving diesel emissions and highly polluted parts of China suggest that consuming broccoli sprouts may help to prevent long-term health damage from air pollution. To quote researchers, "intervention with broccoli sprouts enhances the detoxication of some airborne pollutants and may provide a frugal means to attenuate their associated long-term health risks."
You can buy broccoli sprouts in the produce section or easily grow them yourself in mason jars. They have numerous health and anti-aging properties, so enjoy them anytime, but air quality alerts are my reminder to stock up.
Here are links to two research studies, if you'd like more details:
Affordable family meal ideas
Need new ideas for yummy, affordable, family-friendly meals or snacks? Check out this lovely website created by a local eighth-grader who wants to help fight childhood obesity: https://mkenny22.wixsite.com/healthyhabits
Scrape that avocado!
Quick tip: The avocados are AMAZING right now, so don't miss out on the most nutritious part, which is the dark green part next to the peel. Scrape it good and be rewarded with over 10x the nutrients of the part closer to the pit.
That's all. Enjoy!
4 ways to save money while eating better
If you just finished your taxes, you may be thinking about how to spend less money this year. Here are four ways that also help you eat healthier:
Community supported agriculture (CSA) programs mean that you buy shares in a family farm and get a weekly delivery of goodies. You typically pay less than at the store, because there is no middleman. It also benefits farmers. A Google search can tell you about options near you.
Most Americans overeat animal protein, and conventional methods (i.e., concentrated animal feeding operations) use hormones, antibiotics, high-pesticide feed, and other cost-cutting measures that appear increasingly terrible for human health. Plus, researchers at the USC Longevity Institute report that reducing protein intake, especially from animal foods, is healthy in numerous ways that promote slower and healthier aging.
I know, I know… Researchers have done a complete 180 on this one. But skipping a meal now and then is currently believed to be good for gut health, and most people do not grossly overeat afterwards, as previously thought. In fact, research suggests that people only eat about 110% at the meal following a short fast.
You’ve probably been seeing the depressing headlines about how any benefits from alcohol have been overhyped. Some studies about the benefits of resveratrol were even fraudulent and retracted. Bummer! ... but a good opportunity to save money and get healthier.
What else do you do to eat healthier and save money? We’d love to hear about it!
15 ways to promote good gut health
Growing evidence suggests that gut health is all health. In other words, many health conditions either originate in the gut (e.g., autoimmune conditions), or are made better when gut health improves. This goes for mental health as well as physical.
So here’s a handy list of 15 ways to promote better gut health:
The research keeps pouring in, suggesting that Americans have severely underestimated the importance of gut health in the past, especially for people living with chronic inflammation, autoimmune disorders, mental health issues or neurological problems. So it’s time to re-evaluate our diets from our guts’ point of view, and maybe to learn to love sauerkraut (...we’re struggling with that one, too!).