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7 Foods Healthy People Avoid

Cold weather is just around the corner again, and that means two things: longer nights cozied up by the fireplace, and heartier cooking to keep your body warm. With the cold weather and the holidays coming up, you might find yourself indulging more than usual. Read on for 7 foods you’ll want to avoid.

7. Foods marked as fat-free

Foods marked as “fat-free” usually contain significant amounts of sugar which is far worse. Generally speaking, fat gets an unnecessarily bad rep—while saturated fats are definitely something to be aware of, not all fat is bad and some fats are actually healthy.

6. Boxed meals

Boxed Mac and Cheese is still one of the ultimate comfort foods and one that should be consumed very rarely. Boxed pasta contain insane amounts of sodium and saturated fat, often more than a healthy adult should take in a full day.

5. Frozen meals

Frozen meals are over processed which means they often contain harmful, fat-causing chemicals. In addition, these meals are not very well balanced, and often contain more carbs than protein, which means you’ll end up hungry not long after consuming them.

4. Fiber bars

Clever marketing would have you believe that fiber bars are healthy but they’re actually heavily processed and loaded with sugar. While they do contain fiber and some other nutritious ingredients, living off these is about as bad as going on a candy bar diet. Which leads us to…

3. Candy bars

You probably knew this already, but it’s hard to fight that Snickers craving, isn’t it? A regular bar has about 35 grams of added sugar, which is the equivalent of 8 teaspoons of sugar, above the recommended daily amount. Not to mention the fact that one candy bar contains over 260 calories.

2. Flavored gelatin

While neutral gelatin can actually improve digestion and overall gut health, the popular Jell-O varieties are basically sugar bombs with color flavoring. Flavored gelatin is okay for an energy boost when you’re under the weather—Jell-O is, after all, the ultimate hospital food—but you should generally stay away from it.

1. Margarine

Recent research has shown margarine is just as bad or even worse than butter. Full of trans fat, this so-called healthy product increases “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and decreases “good” cholesterol (HDL).

Cutting the major “bad” foods from your diet can have drastic effects on your overall health and energy levels. When it comes to food choices, the simpler the better. It’s always best to stay away from processed foods which contain a long list of ingredients and instead opt for fresh veggies and fruits, and healthy grains.

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Zesty Key Lime Paleo Matcha Poke Cake

This desert is a delicious vision out of some kind of sugar-coated dream. A fluffy vanilla cake with matcha swirls, iced with a light, creamy topping. But THIS recipe is also paleo-friendly, so you can satisfy your sweet tooth and get your matcha fix without sacrificing your diet!

*Note you will need to make your keto condensed milk in advance.

Key Lime Matcha Poke Cake Recipe

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg whites
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ⅓ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp liquid stevia
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp lime zest

FOR THE FILLING:

FOR THE CREAM TOPPING:

  • 1 cup coconut milk (whipped into cream)
  • 1 drop of liquid stevia
  • Lime zest for the top

Directions

TO MAKE THE CAKE BASE:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C).
  2. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs, egg whites, coconut butter, coconut milk, and lime zest.
  4. In another mixing bowl, mix the almond flour, coconut flour, vanilla whey protein powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
  5. Pour these two mixtures together, add the stevia, and whisk until well combined.
  6. Pour into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden and the cake is set.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool.

*Note: Keep a careful eye on your timing—this cake can easily burn if left to bake too long due to the gluten-free flours.

TO MAKE THE FILLING:

  1. Mix in the matcha tea powder with the lime juice.
  2. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and place the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl.
  3. Mix the egg yolks with the matcha/lime juice, and add lime zest.
  4. Place the heatproof bowl in a double broiler, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Stir constantly for 8-10 minutes, or until the mixture starts to thicken—and then remove from heat.
  6. Add the butter, and mix until dissolved.
  7. Add your pre-made condensed milk and mix until completely combined.
  8. Poke several holes in the cooled cake using the (thin) handle of a wooden spoon.
  9. Pour the filling evenly over the cake until it’s completely covered and the holes are filled.
  10. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

TO MAKE THE CREAM TOPPING:

  1. Once the cake is ready, whip the whipped cream coconut milk with stevia until you get firm peaks.
  2. Spread this topping on the cake and sprinkle with lime zest.
  3. Refrigerate for another hour before serving.

Makes cake for 10

ORDER MATCHA NOW

* This post contains affiliate links. We (pure taste or organization) do receive a small percentage if you choose to purchase, but your price always remains the same. Thanks for supporting our growth!
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5 All-Natural Remedies For Thicker Longer Hair

Weakening hair over time is an unfortunate fact of life. Whether it’s because of sun exposure, over-treatment, genetics, improper care or any of the many health issues that can lead to thinning strands, your hair will change with age and often become weak or brittle. There are some things you can do to improve the quality of your hair and keep it shiny and healthy!

Before you spend a fortune on treatments with corrosive chemicals that could further damage your hair, check out some of the all-natural remedies below that will help you restore your locks and help you feel fabulous.

5. Oils

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Cooking oils can work wonders to condition and add shine to drab looking locks. Here are a few oils you should definitely add to your beauty routine:

Olive oil is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which makes it a great tool when it comes to keeping your hair at the top of its game. Keep a bottle in the bathroom to use on your hair and scalp once a week. Just massage your scalp with the oil and leave it on for at least 30 minutes before washing it off with your regular shampoo.

Castor oil is a natural antioxidant that’s also rich in minerals, omega-6 and 9 fatty acids, proteins and vitamin E, which makes it amazing for both hair and skin. Before bed, add a few drops to your damp hair and put on a shower cap to avoid a mess. Wash it out in the morning with natural shampoo.

Coconut oil is the latest life-saving, magical trend. It’s antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, plus it’s a great conditioning treatment for your hair, skin, and nails. When used on your hair, coconut oil can moisturize, prevent breakage and boost blood circulation. For best results, warm a bit of coconut oil and massage your scalp with it, then wrapping your hair up in a hot towel. Let it absorb for 30 minutes and then wash off with mild shampoo.

4. Eggs

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Eggs are basically pure protein so they’re great for strengthening your locks. You can use them as an all-natural hair mask by slathering your dry brushed hair with one or two beaten eggs. Let the eggs absorb into your hair for 10 to 25 minutes and wash with shampoo. You can also add some Aloe vera or olive oil to the egg mixture. Repeat this a couple of times a week for strong, thick hair.

3. Avocados

Avocados are not only delicious, they’re also rich in vitamins B and E, vitamins that have been linked to stimulating hair growth and the maintenance of healthy hair follicles. To use avocados on your hair, make a cream rinse by mashing a ripe avocado and adding water until the mix reaches conditioner-like consistency. Apply this mask to shampooed, wet hair and leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

2. Aloe vera

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Much like coconut oil, aloe vera gel has been known a super beauty ingredient for decades. In fact, you’ve probably been using Aloe vera-based products your whole life without noticing. Aloe vera contains proteolytic enzymes that repair dead skin cells on your scalp. It’s also a powerful all-natural conditioner that promotes hair growth and prevents itching and dandruff. To use it on your hair, add two teaspoons of Aloe vera gel to your roots and massage your scalp with this it for 2 to 5 minutes. Leave it on for about 20 minutes and rinse with warm water. Repeat this process twice a week. For even better results use Aloe straight from the plant! Read more here about how to use aloe vera to prevent hair loss.

1. Healthy diet

Your hair needs protein and vitamin B to look ravishing. While meat-eaters will generally get a good dose of both from beef, chicken, fish and cheese if you’re vegan, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating enough protein-packed plant-based foods and that you’re getting your vitamin B from fortified soy, nutritional yeast, or fortified cereals.

What are your favorite beauty secrets for long, strong, luscious hair? Tell us in the comments!

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8 Small Changes That Will Make a Huge Difference in Your Health

With so much information available to us at the click of a mouse, deciding which health advice to follow can seem overwhelming. But you don’t need to overhaul your whole life to make some positive changes towards overall better health.

Here are a few small changes you can make in your daily routine that will greatly impact your well-being!

Keep a Schedule

A hectic life is one of the main reasons people can’t seem to keep their health habits straight, and the best way to avoid this is by planning ahead. Once a week, set up a schedule including exercise times and meals, and allow as much leeway as possible so your schedule is something that helps you instead of something that just adds to your frustration. If you can, do your meal and snack prep ahead of time to avoid that last-minute making unhealthy choices in order to save time.

 

Make a Shopping List

How often do you go to the supermarket and end up buying a bunch of stuff you don’t need? Do you often buy sweets that end up calling your name at 10 pm long after you’ve finished dinner? To avoid this be mindful about grocery shopping. Make a list before you go to the market and stick with it: this will help you keep unhealthy foods out of your home and out of reach in moments of weakness. Pro tip: eat a healthy meal before you go shopping or you’ll most likely come home the proud owner of the snack aisle!

 

Don’t Skip Breakfast

For years, experts (and your mom) have insisted that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it really does determine the amount of energy you’ll be packing for the first half of the day. The best way to go about breakfast is to start your day with a lot of fiber, including foods like Greek yogurt, oatmeal or eggs with greens (such as spinach or broccoli).

 

Eat Often

It might seem counterintuitive, but a quick way to lose a few pounds is, in fact, eating more often. Instead of starving, try surrounding yourself with healthy snacks such as nuts, fruit, and cut veggies. Don’t eat your meals so far apart that you’re starving by the time you eat something; when you’re not desperate to eat you’re less likely to binge. Eating constantly can also help keep your blood sugar levels stable.

 

 

Mind Your Portions

Once you’ve embraced healthy snacking as part of your daily routine, it’s also important to keep in mind that part of the idea of snacking constantly is keeping portions to a minimum: the trick is to eat smaller portions, more often. A good rule to go by is the handful rule. Your portions should be roughly a handful.

 

Drink More Green Tea

Green tea (or better yet, matcha) is filled with antioxidants and also helps burn fat, which is great when you’re trying to lose a few pounds. It can also provide a healthier alternative to afternoon coffee, helping you stay alert during those long working hours and also providing a more natural and stable caffeine high that won’t experience the awful caffeine crash and crave another cup in a few hours.

 

Keep Moving

It might seem impossible to fit in gym time in your busy work life, but even the smallest bits of extra physical activity can make a huge difference in your health. When you’re at work, set your timer to every 20 minutes, and take it upon yourself to walk outside or even just walk around the office for 2 minutes. This way, you’re helping your body stay active!

 

Rest Up!

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, sleep is extremely important if you want to be at your best. Seven or eight hours of sleep each night can do wonders for your body, from increasing your energy and mood throughout the day to even accelerating your metabolism. Be careful not to oversleep, like everything else in life you balance is key.

You don’t need to make drastic changes to improve your health. The journey towards your health can start right now with a few small changes. You have the power to take control and build new habits that your body will thank you for!

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5 Reasons You Should Never Count Another Calorie

We use the word calorie to measure the amount of energy provided by each food and drink we consume. Many diets are based on balancing the number of calories consumed with the number of calories burned through physical activity.

Historically, we’ve based our diets on calorie intake, taking careful note of the calories we consume, and organizing our diets and “cheat meals” around the idea that calories, regardless of where they come from, have the ability to “make or break” fitness results.

Anyone who is or has ever been a calorie-counter knows the effort and time it takes to be vigilant, the pain of carefully portioning out 3 cashews or 2 m&ms when we want to reward ourselves.

The trouble is, often times these calorie deprivation diets don’t work, because they’re just not sustainable. Even though you’ll probably see some results when you obsess over your calorie intake, these results are usually temporary.

Here are 5 reasons why you should never count calories again:

5. Low in calories does not equal healthy:

The idea behind counting calories is that you’ll get the same amount of energy from a cookie or a carrot, provided they both have the same caloric content. While an unhealthy food and a healthy one can have the exact same amount of calories, that’s not the only thing your body takes into account during metabolism: bad quality calories do not provide the same nutrients or energy.

While a small portion of unhealthy foods (like potato chips) can have as many calories as a healthy snack (like baby carrots), they don’t provide nearly the same nutritional value. You might be staying well within your caloric allowance, but you’re also feeding your body with low-quality calories that won’t give you the necessary energy, and also will not keep you satisfied for very long. You’ll find yourself hungry again in no time.

4. Caloric absorption is not universal:

The body does not absorb every single calorie it consumes, and there are some foods that offer very little nutrients that your body can absorb. The amount of calories your body absorbs also depends greatly on your individual gut bacteria, and varies from person to person. Individual people have individual caloric needs and there is no universal “magic number” of calories one should consume.

3. You’re probably eating more calories than you think:

Food companies take a lot of liberties when it comes to estimating calorie content in their packages. Due to the fact that there are five different methods to do this calculation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) actually allows up to 20% inaccuracy when it comes to caloric count in products. In other words, if something is marked as having 150 calories, the true caloric content can be anywhere between 130 and 180 calories.

Calories vary when you cook foods, so that’s another change to take into account when obsessively looking at food labels. It’s always better to eat whole foods that have not been processed so you know the quantity and quality of calories you’re putting into your body.

2. Starving yourself won’t make you lose weight:

A lot of people looking to lose weight quickly end up going on crash diets with drastic calorie deprivation of as little as 1,000 calories a day. Not only will that leave you feeling hungry and without energy all day long, it will also send the wrong message to your body: needing sustenance, your body will look for it elsewhere, and burn muscle instead of fat. It will also slow down your metabolism and take up every last ounce of fat it can find in every bit of food you do eat, all while you’re feeling cranky and miserable. It’s just not worth it.

1. Your body is wiser than your calculator:

When you fill up with the right foods, such as leafy greens, grains, and even grass-fed beef, your body will feel full no matter the number of calories you consumed. The safest bet is listening to what your body is telling you instead of trying to maintain a rigid diet based on misguided assumptions about calorie intake. The healthiest approach to fitness is eating moderate portions of high-quality calories often, that way your blood sugar levels are steady and you don’t end up depriving yourself and then binging.

 

There’s more to calories than the number, and merely counting them won’t help you reach your long-term fitness goals. The best approach is to choose whole foods containing high-quality calories that will nourish you.

 

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The Surprising Effects of Meditation on Productivity

image showing Effects of Meditation

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.