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Weight loss: 7 Common Mistakes You’re Making

Tips for weight loss

If you’re having trouble achieving your weight loss goals, it might be because of these 7 common mistakes you’re making.

Achieving your weight loss goals can be tricky, even when you’re regularly crushing it at the gym and (thinking that you’re) eating healthy. Many health experts cite the 80/20 rule for diet and exercise, meaning that 80% of success is directly related to diet and only 20% is related to exercise. If you’ve ever heard someone say “fitness starts in the kitchen” that is what they mean. 

In addition to not following the 80/20 rule, it turns out there’s a whole bunch of stuff you could be doing that’s preventing you from achieving your weight loss goals. Stuff like eating too much, eating too little, eating the wrong stuff, counting calories, doing the same workout every day, doing too much cardio, or not sleeping enough. Frankly, it can get a little confusing trying to keep your fitness goals on track.

If you feel like you’re doing everything right and not getting the results you want, there is a chance you’re making one (or a few) of the fundamental mistakes below.

1. Eating no Carbs & Too Much Protein

Balance protein with veggies

The early 2000s was the birth of the Great Carbohydrate Panic. Fad Diets like the Atkins Diet trained us all to fear carbs and overload on the proteins. While the “no-carb” approach may initially work, there are critical reasons why a low-carb/ high-fat diet is not the best approach for weight loss or sustainable health. You should always be wary of any diet that puts no limit on fat intake.

It’s important to remember there are plenty of healthy (non-fattening) sources of carbohydrates, like fruits, nuts, oatmeal, and lentils. These foods provide sustainable energy because they don’t create a spike in your blood sugar levels like simple carbs do. Much like calories, not all carbohydrates are created equal, so it’s best to focus on the quality of carbs you’re putting in your body, rather that to fixate on the number of grams.

2. Forgetting your Veggies

Shedding excess fat is as much about what you DO eat as what you DON’T. Research shows that depriving yourself and drastically cutting back on calories can actually make your body store more fat in the long run. If you want to lose weight, it’s not enough to just count calories, you need to up your intake of good calories.

Increasing your daily intake of veggies is a great way to get quality calories. Vegetables are packed with nutrients and loaded with water, so they provide energy and keep your body hydrated, which are both super-important when you’re trying to get in shape. Just make sure you’re choosing unprocessed fruits and vegetables, and when it comes to fruits  and vegetables, raw is always better.

3. Skipping Breakfast

Healthy scrambled eggs

There is some debate about whether or not skipping breakfast will prevent weight loss. Again, the biggest factor is what you are eating for breakfast. Skipping breakfast can make you hungrier later in the day, which might lead to you making less than ideal food choices, but choosing refined or processed carbohydrates in the morning can cause your blood sugar to spike which will also leave you hungrier later in the day.

Instead of cereal, bagels, or toast, try to start your day with protein-packed foods, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Scrambled eggs with greens is a great way to start the day. And sprinkling some pumpkin or flax seeds on top will energize you by adding some of those healthy carbs we talked about above.

4. Losing Sleep

Hunger hormones are very much influenced by how much sleep you get. Many factors cause our hormones levels to change, and it turns out that how much sleep you get directly affects leptin levels, a hormone that is directly tied to weight loss.

Leptin is the “hunger hormone” responsible for telling your brain you are full. Sleep deprivation can cause leptin resistance in your body, which can result in constant hunger and overeating. The hormone balance in your body depends on many factors and sleep is not the only thing that affects Leptin levels. But not getting enough shut-eye not only causes leptin resistance, it can also leave you feeling too exhausted to exercise, placing unnecessary obstacles in the way of your weight loss goals.

5. Binging After Workouts

God, I want this pizza

It’s natural to feel hungry after working out, but an hour at the gym shouldn’t be a precursor to a large cheese pizza. Time Magazine’s John Cloud explored why we tend to overeat after working out in his article Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin. Among the many reasons he cited was something he calls calorie compensation.

Basically, we tend to overindulge after the gym for 2 reasons: because we’re hungry from exertion, and because we want to reward ourselves. But the food/ exercise equation is deceiving because while it may take an hour at the gym to burn 500 calories, it only takes 5 minutes to eat them again.

This idea of “compensation” can also work against you in terms of physical activity. The same study that Cloud explores in his article also found that we tend to compensate for extra physical activity by being less active when we’re not at the gym.

6. Doing The Same Workout Every Day

Experts agree that for the best results you have to vary the frequency, intensity, and time of your workouts. Switching up your workouts is the best way to challenge your body, and get better results. Your body will adapt to any exercise that you do repeatedly, and repetition will make the workout less effective. It can also get pretty boring which can throw a wrench in your motivation.

Instead of repeating the same exercises every day, use a split routine (where you focus on specific muscle groups each day), and switch up the types of exercises you do to train those muscles. Also, switching up the machines you use for cardio can keep your body burning calories at a higher rate. A lot of people stick to the same machines every day, but doing the same cardio every day conditions your body to the stress of that specific range of motion.

Your body will adapt to whatever you put it through, and when you’re not challenging yourself you’re not going to get the best results. The good news is, even small changes can make a big difference. Small modifications like changing the weight you’re lifting or the reps you’re doing can trick your body into producing better results.

7. Too Much Cardio & Not Enough Weights

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There is a common misconception that you have to do a ton of cardio to lose weight, when in fact, too much cardio can actually slow down your results. To get the best results from your cardio try high-intensity interval training, alternating between shorter bursts of high-intensity activity and slower “recovery” periods.

You also need to balance your cardio with weight training, because the more muscle you have the more fat you will burn. Many women fear that lifting will add bulk to their bodies, but weight training isn’t necessarily going to make you “ripped,” you just need to figure out what kind of weight training is best for what you are trying to achieve.  

Now Go Forth And Be Fit

Achieving your fitness goals is challenging. No one said it would be easy (and if they did, they lied). But making small lifestyle changes like the ones above can yield awesome results in less time. So if you’re working out like crazy and not losing weight, reassess the basics above and see if there is some small mistake that is standing in your way. There is no “miracle weight loss remedy,” but you can set yourself up for success with a balanced diet, plenty of sleep, a diverse workout regime, and some self-control.

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Matcha Lattes and Smoothies Keep it Exciting

matcha lattes and smoothies

Switch it up with matcha lattes and smoothies, for the win! My day is not the same without my morning matcha. I crave it like I once craved my 8 am Starbucks triple cappuccino. Matcha switches me on, I’m instantly sharper, more focused, and super motivated for my morning workout. I am a matcha addict! But, despite my unwavering allegiance to matcha, I sometimes get bored and need to shake things up a little.

I personally love the distinct taste of matcha but sometimes, I’m just not feeling it. This poses a problem because I still want all of the benefits. In fact, I need them to be the most productive version of myself.

If you’re looking for ways to spice up your everyday routine, read on for some tips on how to switch it up with matcha lattes and smoothies and rekindle your matcha romance.

Matcha Lattes

Matcha Latte

Mixing matcha with milk or a nondairy alternative will add a delicious creaminess to your matcha. You can use soy or almond milk, or my personal favorite, coconut milk. Matcha has a tendency to clump if not properly mixed, so I like to blend my lattes (hot or cold) with my little handheld mixer.

Delicious additions

Try adding a little sweetness to your latte with honey, stevia, agave, or maple syrup. The sweet notes taste delicious combined with the distinct “umami” of matcha.

Add a hint of vanilla to your latte for a lovely pairing. You can use vanilla powder or a couple of drops of vanilla extract. This combination is truly a match made in heaven.

Make it fancy with some whipped cream. You can use regular whipped cream or a whipped cream alternative (matcha whipped cream on my espresso? Yes please!). I opt for coconut because I love coconut flavored anything, but you can experiment to find your favorite flavor.

Tasty Matcha Smoothies

Add berries

I prefer my morning matcha hot, but in the afternoon, a smoothie hits the spot perfectly, like this Kiwi Matcha Tea Smoothie Recipe by GreenBlender. The best thing about matcha smoothies is that you can pretty much throw anything into the mix. Frozen fruit is great because it works like ice and makes your smoothie really cold. I like to throw in something that will give it a creamy texture, like a banana, coconut milk, or plain unsweetened yogurt. If you have a juicer you can also experiment by adding cold pressed juices.

Delicious additions

Vanilla powder is my secret weapon for my very greenest smoothies. If you don’t have vanilla powder a couple of drops of vanilla extract will also do the trick (although the powder is tastier).

I find the fruit will do the sweetening in a smoothie so I don’t add a sweetener to my fruit smoothies. I do like a drop of raw honey in my super green smoothies (the ones containing juiced veggies and no fruit).

Make it fancy with some green tea coconut ice cream. This recipe by Minimalist Baker is the absolute bomb. You can make a batch and add a scoop to the top of your smoothie for a weekend treat. You can also opt for regular or nondairy whipped cream.

The Right Tools For The Job

Matcha Ice Cream

For matcha lattes, I like using my hand blender or magic bullet, and for smoothies, I use my magic bullet or a regular sized blender. It’s easiest to use a regular blender if you’re adding a lot of ingredients to your smoothies, but for simple smoothies the magic bullet is extremely convenient.

It’s important to remember that matcha is an amazingly versatile ingredient, you can use it for far more than matcha lattes and smoothies. You can find a way to add it to virtually anything, so don’t fret if you’re getting bored of your straight up matcha and water beverage. There is a whole world of matcha goodness explore.

How do you keep your relationship with matcha fresh and exciting? Leave a comment and let me know.

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5 Ways to Stay Fit on Vacation

stay fit on vacation

We’re here to save the day with 5 ways to stay fit on vacation! It’s natural to overindulge when you’re on vacation, but while you’re taking a break from your routine bad health and fitness choices can add up and leave you feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation. Sometimes the things we leave behind when we go on vacation are the things that are helping keep us healthy and balanced. Read on for 5 ways to stay fit on vacation.

Stay Fit on Vacation in 5 Easy Steps

Fit in a workout when/where you can

I try to book accommodations that have a gym on the premises, but that isn’t always possible. If you don’t have access to a gym, there are other ways to get your workout in. Explore your surroundings and stay active on vacation. Walking is a great way to get your exercise while you’re away from home. You can also experience some culture by joining in a local activity. If you’re in India sign up for a yoga class, if you’re in Argentina try a tango lesson. Participating can be a great way to stay on track.

Be mindful of your eating

Vacation is a wonderful excuse to indulge a bit. Of course, you want to try as much of the local cuisine as possible, so being mindful of how many calories you’re consuming can go a long way when you’re trying to stay on track with your fitness goals. Be selective of the foods you want to try (don’t eat McDonalds in Italy, for example), and eat smaller portions so you can sample more! Try applying the 80/20 rule: eat 20 percent of your calories on the foods of your choice and then stick to healthy choices 80 percent of the time.

Keep Hydrated

Drink water every chance you get. It’s easy to throw your body off balance while traveling. Being cooped up in a dry airplane cabin for hours, not eating enough vegetables, and consuming too much sugar can all lead to dehydration. When your body is dehydrated it can’t perform as well as it should. It’s easy to forget you’re thirsty so set an alarm to remind you if you need to. Water is your friend!

Don’t drink your calories

Alcohol is not only loaded with calories, it also lowers your inhibitions when it comes to overeating. I mean, who among us hasn’t eaten a double cheese pizza in the middle of the night only to wake up full of regrets? Consuming alcohol also prevents your metabolism from burning food. When it comes to cocktails, the simpler the better. Try to avoid sugary drinks with lots of ingredients and opt for a glass of wine or a martini instead. And don’t forget, moderation is the key.

Stay on your feet during flight connections

Long flights can wipe you out but staying on your feet between connection can help burn some calories and get your blood flowing. Use the time between your flights to do some simple stretches and walk around a bit. Flying can be extremely uncomfortable, and the dry cabin air can take a toll on you as well, so be sure you also drink plenty of water and stand up to stretch your legs every hour or so if possible.

Vacations are a great way to unwind and reboot, but the change of routine can also throw you off track. What are some of the things you do to stay fit on vacation? Tell us in the comments below!

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Try These DIY Green Tea Face Masks

DIY green tea face masks

Anyone who knows me can vouch for my obsession with green tea. Since discovering matcha, I never miss an opportunity to sprinkle it over whatever I’m whipping up, savory or sweet. I consider tea one of nature’s most awesome gifts and I’m always up for trying new ways to consume it! When it comes to green tea, I am a lover, a user, and a pusher. Therefore, I’ve expanded my horizons beyond drinking it and I’ve started using it as part of my skin cleansing regime. I’ve been experimenting with DIY green tea face masks and cleansers, and I want to share some of my favorite finds with you.

Green tea is loaded with antioxidants that are not only good for your insides, they’re also great for your skin. As one of the most natural remedies for brighter, clearer skin, DIY green tea face masks are a great chemical free option for unclogging pores, calming redness, reducing puffiness, and improving elasticity. 

DIY Green Tea Face Masks

Hydrate, soothe and cleanse your face with this Matcha Yogurt Mask

Ingredients
3 teaspoons KissMeOrganics Culinary Grade matcha powder
5 teaspoons plain unsweetened yogurt
2 teaspoons 100% honey

Directions
Mix all the ingredients together and spread over your face. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes, and rinse. Pat dry and take a few minutes to admire your glowing skin.

Deep clean and exfoliate with this Matcha Exfoliating Mask

Ingredients
3 teaspoons KissMeOrganics Culinary Grade matcha powder
1 teaspoon filtered water
1 teaspoon 100% honey

Directions
Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix them into a paste. Apply the paste to your face and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. Wet your fingertips with warm water and gently massage the paste on your face. Rinse, pat dry and snap a selfie of that fresh face.

Rehydrate super dry skin with this Matcha Coconut Oil Mask

Ingredients
2 teaspoons KissMeOrganics Culinary Grade matcha
½ teaspoon organic coconut oil
3 drops filtered water

Directions
Add matcha and coconut oil to a bowl and mix until matcha forms a thick paste. Add enough water to make the paste spreadable (one drop at a time). Spread over your face and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Wipe off with cotton to reveal your glowing face.

Try this Honey Green Tea Leaf Mask instead of throwing out your used tea bags

Ingredients
2 Green Tea bags
2 teaspoons 100% honey

Directions
Empty the contents of your used green tea bags into a bowl. Add honey and mix into a paste. Apply the paste to your face and leave on for 10 minutes. Wet fingertips with warm water and gently massage the mask into your skin. Rinse, pat dry, and make sure there aren’t any tea leaves stuck to your face!

Rejuvenate and wake up with this Green Tea Facial Splash

Ingredients
1 Green Tea Bag
2 cups filtered water

Directions
Boil water and add to a medium-sized bowl. Add green tea bag to the bowl of boiling water and leave it to steep. Once the bowl has cooled, stand over the sink and splash your face with the green tea repeatedly until it’s gone. Rinse, pat dry, and glow get ‘em!

Open up with this Green Tea Steam

Ingredients
2 green tea bags
A liter of filtered water

Directions
Boil water in a large pot and transfer to a large bowl. Add the tea bags to the boiling water and allow to cool enough so you won’t scald your face. Lean over the bowl of tea, draping a towel over the back of your head to trap the steam. Breathe, relax, and enjoy!

Applying green tea directly to your skin can help clear up acne, reduce rosacea, and improve elasticity, plus it’s all natural and the catechins offer some UV protection. Will you be trying one of these DIY green tea face masks? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be sipping on a matcha latte and trying to figure out how to steep a green tea bag in my humidifier, while slathering matcha paste all over my skin.

 

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5 of Our Favorite Healthy Recipes

image showing favorite healthy recipes

We’re all about a healthy lifestyle here at KissMeOrganics, which is why we’re always updating our Facebook fan page with delicious recipes for you to try. Here are 5 of our favorite healthy recipes from the last month:

Check Out Our Favorite Healthy Recipes:

Guacamole Deviled Eggs

guacamole

Ingredients
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Gourmet Garden Garlic (or 1 tsp minced garlic)
2 tsp Gourmet Garden Cilantro (or 2 tsp finely chopped cilantro)
Smoked Paprika

Instructions
Remove egg yolks from the halved eggs and place in a small bowl. Add the ripe avocado, lime juice, salt, onion powder, garlic, and cilantro.
Use a fork to mash the guacamole mixture until smooth.
Spoon (or use a frosting bag to pipe) the mixture into the halved eggs. Sprinkle with a dash of smoked paprika.
Keep stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

 

Caprese Stack Salad

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Ingredients
1 large, fresh mozzarella ball
1 large tomato
Basil to taste
Balsamic vinaigrette to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
Cut the mozzarella ball and the tomato into thick slices
Stack tomatoes, some mozzarella cheese, basil and drizzle with some balsamic vinaigrette.
Enjoy!

 

Black Bean Burgers With Sweet Corn Salsa

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Ingredients
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted
2/3 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup snipped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
2 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup canned diced green chile peppers, drained
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 fresh ears corn (with husks)
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 fresh jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped*
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 English muffins, split

Instructions
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine walnuts, the 2/3 cup onion, the 2/3 cup cilantro, the cumin, garlic, oregano, and basil.
Cover and process with several on-off turns just until combined.
Add black beans and green chile peppers. Cover and process with several on-off turns just until combined.
Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir in eggs, bread crumbs, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Using damp hands, shape mixture into six 3/4-inch-thick patties.
Place patties on a baking sheet, cover, and chill until ready to grill.
Carefully peel back corn husks, but do not remove.
Using a stiff brush or your fingers, remove corn silks, and fold husks back around corn.
If necessary, tie husk tops with 100-percent-cotton kitchen string.
Soak corn in enough water to cover for at least 1 hour.
While corn soaks, start preparing salsa.
In a medium bowl, combine tomato, the 1/4 cup onion, the 1/4 cup cilantro, the lime peel, lime juice, 1 tablespoon of the oil, the jalapeno pepper, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Cover and chill until needed.
Drain corn; shake to remove excess water, and brush corn with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
For a charcoal grill, place corn (with husks) on the rack of a grill with a cover directly over medium coals.
Cover and grill for 25 to 30 minutes or until corn kernels are tender, turning corn several times.
For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place corn (with husks) on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above.
Carefully remove string and husks. Cut the corn kernels off cobs. Stir corn into salsa.
For a charcoal grill, place patties on the grill rack directly over medium coals. Grill, uncovered, for 12 to 14 minutes or until done (160 degrees F), turning once halfway through grilling.
Toast English muffins on the grill.
For a gas grill, place patties, then English muffins on grill rack over medium heat. Cover and grill as above.
Serve burgers between English muffin halves with salsa.
Makes 6 servings.

Recipe courtesy of:
Better Homes and Gardens

 

Lemon Matcha Balls

Lemin Matcha Balls
Lemin Matcha Balls

Ingredients
1 ½ cups unsweetened flaked coconut
1 cup ground almonds
4 tbsp. melted coconut oil
4 tbsp. honey (or preferred sweetener)
Zest of 1 ½ lemons
Juice of 1 – 2 lemons (depending on taste)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt (fine)

For Coating
½ cup unsweetened flaked coconut (optional)
¼ cup lemon/lime zest (optional)
2-4 tbsp. KissMeOrganics Culinary Matcha

Instructions
Add all the ingredients to a food processor
Blend everything for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture starts to mix together like a dough.
Remove mixture from the food processor and form small balls, using clean hands.
In a separate bowl, add the extra coconut, matcha and zest.  
Roll the balls until well-coated then transfer to a lined baking tray, or plate.
Place in the fridge for at least half an hour to set.
The truffles can be kept at room temperature, but you may find that they are best kept in the fridge.

Yields about 20 – 24 balls.
Recipe courtesy a matcha-loving customer.

 

Bento-Style Matcha Salad

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The Japanese Bento Box is traditionally a single-portion lunch box comprised of protein vegetables and carbs, all of which are separated by dividers. Preparation ranges from simple to elaborate and the final result is intended to be both healthy and pleasing to the eye.

For the salad
½ cup Red Cabbage, chiffonade   
A few Romaine lettuce leaves, chiffonade
3 medium radishes, grated
Half an Avocado, thinly sliced
½ cup extra firm tofu (drained and pressed with paper towel, cubed, placed in a single layer on a baking sheet and baked at 350 F for 25-45 minutes–tossing every 10 mins)
1 cup butternut squash, cubed and “healthy sautéed”* (so that they are cooked but firm–About 5-7 minutes, depending on the size of the cubes)

For the dressing
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
11/2 tsp Kiss Me Organic Culinary Matcha
11/2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Instructions
Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, matcha and lemon juice.
Arrange the cabbage, romaine leaves, radishes, avocado, butternut squash and baked tofu in sections on a plate.
Serve the dressing on the side.

*To “healthy sauté” your squash: add about ¼ cup of water and the chopped butternut squash to a large saucepan, place covered on high heat for 5-7 minutes, until you can easily put your fork through one of the cubes but they remain firm.

We hope you have fun experimenting with our favorite healthy recipes. What are some of your go-to favorites when you’re craving a healthy meal? Tell us in the comments below.

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Life Hacks For Better Health

image showing Life Hacks and Better Health

We all know fad diets never work. If you’re cutting out entire food groups or depriving yourself in order to lose weight, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Simply put, dieting is not sustainable. If you want to get fit and be healthy, you’ll have to change your habits permanently. The good news is that you can drastically improve your health through some small changes. Here are some super simple life hacks for better health that will help you feel your best.

Read on For Some Easy Life Hacks For Better Health

Choose water instead of soda.

Sugary soft drinks are linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes, plus they’re loaded with empty calories and, often, chemicals. A couple of glasses of coca cola and a caramel macchiato can easily push the limits of your recommended daily calorie intake. Reach for water instead and you’d be surprised how many calories you can cut from your daily intake.

Reduce your alcohol consumption.

This is a biggie. Not only does booze have loads of calories, it also prevents your liver from processing fat properly. Also, you probably may have noticed a tendency to make poor eating decisions under the influence. Therefore, reducing your alcohol consumption to a couple of drinks a week is a life hack for better health that will get you closer to your fitness goals, faster.

Don’t complicate things.

Steer clear of diets that come with complex lists of what you can and cannot eat. Instead, keep it simple by eating real, whole foods. Make sure you’re eating mostly plants and lean proteins like chicken or fish. Keep your carbs complex by choosing sweet potatoes, quinoa or brown rice, and stick to healthy fats like avocado, nuts and seeds.

Understand that fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat.

If you’re opting for “low fat” but loaded with synthetic ingredients (like a lot of the prepackaged “diet food” available), you might be doing more harm than good. Snack on healthy fats, like almonds, avocados, and full-fat (unsweetened yogurt).

Limit your access to unhealthy snacks.

Plenty of studies have identified sugar as being extremely addictive. That also applies to simple carbohydrates that immediately turn to glucose in your body. So if you’re trying to create healthier habits, it’s probably not a great idea to keep sweets at home. Studies also suggest that our cravings for starch and sugar increase at night so don’t set yourself up for failure with a pantry full of potato chips and chocolate pudding!

Instead, Prep healthy snacks and keep them around for when hunger strikes.

Fruit, unsweetened yogurt, nuts and seeds, cut veggies and homemade hummus are great options. Prep your healthy snacks in advance so they’re ready to eat as soon as you’re hungry.

Increase your H20 intake.

Keeping yourself properly hydrated can change your life. It can help burn fat and boost energy levels. Plus, studies have revealed that hunger and thirst trigger the same kinds of signals in your brain, so more water might help curb hunger. This is one of the simplest life hacks for better health you can incorporate into your lifestyle. Try to keep a water bottle with you throughout the day, and if you’re having trouble remembering to drink enough, you can always set an alarm to remind you. Most health professionals recommend about 2 liters of water a day.

Get enough sleep.

Studies show that sleep deprivation and obesity are closely linked. Other studies have found that insufficient sleep causes an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. Giving yourself eight hours of sleep a night will decrease your cravings for unhealthy food and help keep your hormones and blood sugar levels balanced.

What are your favorite life hacks for better health? What habits do you follow to help you make healthier choices? Tell us in the comments below.

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10 Reasons You Should Start Yoga Practice

image showing Yoga Practice

Anything that requires work to attain is usually extremely rewarding and yoga is no exception. I don’t know first-hand what it’s like to be “really good” at yoga, but my instructor assures me it’s not about that, it’s about patience. I’m the girl at the back of the class “walking” my downward dog, forgetting to breathe, and letting my mind wander to the person in the front row, who seems to defy the limits of the human body. Needless to say, I am not an expert on the mat, but I am learning to love my yoga practice for the journey. I know that my skills will develop as I continue my yoga practice, and that’s nice. I imagine the discipline it will take will give me a great sense of accomplishment, and that’s nice too. But I also feel good each time I finish a practice, and here’s why:

10 Ways Yoga Practice Is Great For Your Physical & Mental Health

10. Your flexibility will improve:

It’s one of the most obvious benefits of yoga. Your first attempts at yoga will probably be challenging, especially if you have limited flexibility. Over time, though, you’ll be able to deepen your stretch and release all kinds of tension hiding in your joints and muscles. Better flexibility also means that aches and pains will lessen. Tight muscles can put a strain on your joints, and cause poor posture which can cause all kinds of problems in the long run.

9. Your muscles will be strong:

Strong muscles protect us from arthritis and chronic back pain, they also help make us sturdier as we age. Yoga is great for building muscle strength because it builds flexibility at the same time. Often when we weight train for muscle strength, it comes at the price of our flexibility. Yoga practice is great because, on a physical level, it’s all about building strength with flexibility.

8. You’ll be protecting your cartilage & joints:

It’s good to keep your joints moving to prevent them from stiffening. Stiff joints can lead to injury and permanent damage. When you practice yoga, you put your joints through a full range of motion which can also help prevent arthritis. It can help make sure your joints are receiving nutrients, and prevent them from deteriorating.  

7. You’ll get your blood flowing:

Yoga helps your circulation, especially in your extremities. It also increases the flow of oxygen to your cells, helping them function better. Those twist poses that feel so good are said to release the venous blood from internal organs. Inverted poses are said to help blood from the legs and pelvis to flow to the heart. Because yoga gets your blood flowing, it also helps reduce swelling.

6. You’ll feel happier:

There is evidence that a consistent yoga practice can help with anxiety and depression through interoception. Interoception is described as a mindful awareness of the body intended to bring us closer to our physical experience. In addition, practicing yoga has been found to increase serotonin levels, the neurotransmitter connected to feelings of happiness and wellbeing.  

5. You’ll be more focused:

Yoga practice is all about being in the present. Making time for practice allows you to refocus your energies so you don’t become overwhelmed. Some studies have also found that regular yoga practice can improve your coordination, memory, and it might actually make you smarter. This may be due to the fact that yoga practice can help clear your mind of the thoughts and conversations that are on an endless loop inside your head.

4. You’ll have better balance as you age:

Proprioception is your unconscious perception of your body’s movement and spatial orientation. Having bad proprioception means you have bad balance, which means you are likely to have bad posture. As mentioned above, poor posture can lead to joint problems and back pain. Regular yoga practice will increase your strength and balance, which can mean fewer falls as you get older.

3. You’ll develop greater inner strength:

Yoga helps teach discipline. The discipline you develop through regular practice will extend to the rest of your life and fuel change. Many people find that practicing self-discipline affects change in all areas of their lives, helping them eat better, exercise more, and quit unhealthy lifestyle choices.

2. You’ll have better relationships:

Because yoga helps you to be more mindful, it also helps develop your compassion for others. Many of the things you practice in yoga (setting intentions, clearing your mind, developing patience) can work towards strengthening  your relationships with others. You’ll probably find better relationships and a strengthened sense of community are side effects of your growing inner peace.

1. You’ll have less pain:

Yoga can help relieve chronic pain, which can improve your mood, and keep you active. If you’re happy and active you won’t need as much medication to manage pain. According to studies, yoga can help reduce the pain of arthritis, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic back pain, and other chronic conditions.

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10 Herbs and Spices That Will Keep You Healthy

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We’ve put together a list of 10 super healing herbs and spices that will keep you healthy. Adding one or more of these herbs and spices to your recipes can have huge benefits to your health and overall well-being. 

Here’s our list of 10 herbs and spices that will keep you healthy:

Turmeric

Turmeric is packed with curcuminoids and antioxidants, and can be useful in the treatment of a range of health problems. It’s also an anti-inflammatory that is useful for the treatment of aches and pains caused by inflammation. Some of the most notable uses of turmeric are wound treatment, treatment of anxiety and depression, treatment of arthritis, and treatment and prevention of stomach ulcers.  

Cinnamon

The majority of cinnamon’s powerful healing properties come from cinnamaldehyde, an organic compound which gives cinnamon its flavor and odor. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, and some studies suggest it may be used to treat neurological disorders. Other studies found cinnamon to have significant antidiabetic and antioxidant activity.

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort has antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiviral properties. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties, which make it useful for healing wounds and burns. Some studies suggest St. John’s wort may help treat mild depression with fewer side effects than prescription drugs.

Garlic

Garlic contains allicin, a compound that is formed when a garlic clove is crushed, chopped, or chewed. Roasted garlic is delicious, but it will lose much of its medicinal properties when heated or cooked. Raw garlic is great for strengthening the immune system and preventing the common cold and flu, reducing hypertension and high blood pressure, plus it contains antioxidants that help protect your body from oxidative damage (age-related disease).

Sage

Sage has anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Studies have shown that this powerful herb can kill bacteria and prevent fungal infections. In addition, some studies suggest that sage oil can help enhance memory and may be effective in the prevention of Alzheimer’s and dementia. This may be due to its ability to enhance acetylcholinesterase levels in the brain, which can help to improve concentration and aid in the treatment of memory loss.

Cayenne Pepper

Capsaicin is what gives cayenne pepper its spicy taste, and it’s also the active ingredient in many muscle and joint pain relief creams. But it’s not only good for muscle and joint pain, it’s also a great calorie burner and appetite suppressant. Drinking a little cayenne pepper and warm lemon juice every day also works as a great liver cleanse.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek contains saponins, which studies suggest can strengthen the immune system and protect the human body against cancers, and high cholesterol. Fenugreek also has a high fiber content, which can help relieve constipation. This herb has also been used for centuries by breastfeeding mothers to help promote a healthy milk supply.

Lemon Balm

A member of the mint family, this herb is rich in antioxidants. Studies also suggest that lemon balm can be used to reduce anxiety and promote restful sleep. Topical ointments including lemon balm may be used in the effective treatment of herpes lesions, and the herb has shown promising results in reducing the effects of eczema outbreaks. Some preliminary studies have also shown some activity against HIV infection.

Dandelion

From the roots to the leaves, dandelions have a long list of health benefits from improving digestion to treating skin cancer. The leaves contain high levels of antioxidants, which help protect against free radicals. Dandelion root is a natural diuretic with anti-inflammatory properties that can help cleanse and protect the liver from toxins.  

Calendula

The calendula flower can be used for a range of medicinal purposes. As an ointment or wash, the calendula flower can help heal burns, bruises, and cuts by increasing blood flow and promoting new skin growth. Some studies suggest that calendula may be used to effectively treat dermatitis and other skin inflammation. When brewed, calendula tea helps strengthen the immune system and relieve pain and discomfort caused by menstruation.

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The Surprising Effects of Meditation on Productivity

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It’s Monday morning and you have a million things to do. You’ve got meetings, deadlines, and a full inbox you’ve got to get through. Meditation is probably the last thing on your mind. If you’re not sold on the positive effects of meditation, and you’re already overwhelmed by tasks, then it might be hard for you to justify committing 20 minutes a day to sitting in silence and thinking about nothing.

With a million things to think about, who has time to sit around thinking about nothing?

It’s counterintuitive for many people, but committing at least 20 minutes a day to meditation can actually save you time. Studies have revealed the many healthy effects of meditation, including less anxiety, stress, and depression but meditation also has a big effect on work productivity.  Meditation saves time and increases productivity by allowing you to procrastinate less, improving your quality of sleep, “defragmenting” your mind, and helping you to refocus your energy on the important things. When you take the time to clear your mind, you help to create a space of clarity. You waste less time fighting through hundreds of thoughts that are competing for your attention at any given time. With a clear mind, you are less distracted and more able to focus on tasks at hand.

It turns out meditation is not just a “state of mind.” Neuroimaging studies have shown an increase in cerebral blood flow during meditation. Quite literally, meditation changes your mind. If our imagination can change our perception of reality, then reducing stress levels through meditation can help you create a more peaceful, more productive reality. Meditation can have a profound and lasting effect on the way we think and how we experience events and that may be one of the most valuable health benefits of meditation.

The Effects of Meditation on Productivity

It’s becoming a more common business practice to implement meditation into the work day. Companies that have done so have discovered that meditative practice not only makes employees more compassionate and less stressed, it also increases productivity. Research shows our brains are not built for multitasking, despite our endless efforts to do more than one thing at a time. The most productive people are those who can switch between tasks quickly, shifting focus without becoming distracted. If you’re trying to do too much at once, you will most likely accomplish very little. One of the effects of meditation is the ability to shut out distractions and concentrate on one thing at a time.  

What About the Effects of Meditation on Relationships?

Meditation can be great for increasing work productivity, but it also helps you build strong professional and personal relationships. Another valuable effect of meditation is that it helps you learn to resist urges, and having good impulse control can greatly improve your relationships. When you learn to resist urges you make better, more thoughtful decisions and you’re more likely to approach others with compassion. When you meditate, you practice impulse control, which has the added benefit of training your brain in the ability to change bad habits. This means that through meditation, you can rewire your brain for new habits, like tackling each challenge with a positive attitude as opposed to lashing out at co-workers and family members in times of stress. 

There is no shortage of successful people who meditate, all of whom attribute a large part of their success to regular meditation. Not only does meditation help you to make thoughtful decisions with a clear mind, it also helps increase your emotional intelligence and social connections, which can be invaluable to people in leadership roles. Leading with compassion can create an environment where creativity thrives, and creativity is paramount in good problem-solving skills. Meditation also helps you rise above negative interactions with coworkers and strengthen your relationships within the workplace.

Historically, our culture tends to place value on “getting things done” at any cost. The cult of the busy values those who appear constantly stressed out and busy, more than those who take a mindful approach to their work. Fortunately, new evidence is shedding light on the myth that busy equals good. More CEOs and leaders are now incorporating meditative practices into their work day and cultivating a work environment that is more compassionate, creative and in turn, productive.