Healthy Lifestyle

Breaking the YoYo Diet Cycle: Two Transformative Tips for a Wholesome Lifestyle!

The relentless cycle of Yo-Yo dieting is a struggle many of us are familiar with. We embark on a stringent diet, see initial success, only to fall back into old habits and regain the lost weight, perpetuating a frustrating cycle. But what if we shifted our focus from diets to embracing a wholesome lifestyle? By making sustainable changes and shifting our mindset, we can break free from this cycle for good. Here are two transformative tips to help you on your journey towards a healthier, happier life.

Healthy LifestyleTip 1. Shift your mindset from Diet to Lifestyle

The most important tip to break the Yo-Yo diet cycle is to shift the mindset from a temporary diet mentality to a long-term lifestyle approach. Rather than viewing health and wellness as a short-term goal, one should strive to make sustainable changes that become ingrained in daily lives.

Instead of focusing solely on weight loss, one should prioritize overall well-being and vitality as well. This means setting realistic goals that go beyond the number on the scale, such as improving energy levels, enhancing mood, or reducing stress. By shifting focus to holistic health, one can create a more fulfilling and sustainable lifestyle.

It’s essential to recognize that lasting change takes time and patience. Rather than seeking quick fixes or instant results, one should commit to gradual, sustainable progress. This might involve making small, incremental changes to habits and routines, rather than attempting drastic overhauls overnight.

Building a support system can also be instrumental in shifting mindset towards a healthier lifestyle. Surrounding ourselves with like-minded individuals who support and encourage our goals can provide accountability and motivation. Whether it’s joining a fitness class, finding a workout buddy, or connecting with online communities, having a support network can make all the difference in staying committed to our health journey.

Furthermore, practicing self-compassion is essential on this journey. We’re all human, and slip-ups are inevitable. Instead of berating ourselves for perceived failures, we

should approach setbacks with kindness and understanding. Each day is an opportunity to make positive choices that align with our values and goals.

By shifting our mindset from dieting to embracing a holistic lifestyle, we can break free from the Yo-Yo diet cycle once and for all. By prioritizing wholesome eating habits and adopting a long-term approach to health and wellness, we can cultivate a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life. Remember, it’s not about perfection, but progress. So, embrace the journey, celebrate your successes, and keep moving forward towards a life of vitality and well-being.

Tip 2. Embrace wholesome eating habits:

Wholesome Diet

 

The second step in breaking the Yo-Yo diet cycle is to shift our focus from restrictive diets to wholesome eating habits. Instead of viewing food as the enemy or restricting ourselves to certain foods, we should aim to nourish our bodies with wholesome, nutrient-dense foods. This means incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other high quality carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats into our diet.

One approach to wholesome eating is to adopt the 80/20 rule, where 80% of our diet consists of nutritious, whole foods, and the remaining 20% is reserved for treats. This allows for flexibility and enjoyment while still prioritizing nutrient-rich foods. Rather than depriving ourselves of the foods we love, we can focus on moderation and balance.

Meal planning and preparation are key components of wholesome eating. By planning and preparing meals ahead of time, we can avoid impulsive food choices and ensure that we have nutritious options readily available. This not only saves time and money but also helps us stay on track with our health goals.

Moreover, mindful eating practices can help us develop a healthier relationship with food. Taking the time to savor and appreciate each bite allows us to tune into our body’s hunger and fullness cues, preventing overeating and promoting satisfaction.

By embracing wholesome eating habits, we can nourish our bodies, improve our overall health, and break free from the restrictive mindset of traditional diets.

If you want more guidance on nutrition and what you need to do to break free from Yo-Yo dieting or establish a healthy eating pattern, email Jalpa to set up a consultation!

 

Jalpa is a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Health & Nutrition from Brooklyn College, CUNY in New York. She also holds a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management through the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, CDR.

 

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Calories Counting

Calories Counting: Looking beyond numbers

In the realm of dieting and weight management, calorie counting has long been used as a go to strategy. The concept seems straightforward: consume fewer calories than you burn, and you’ll shed those unwanted pounds. However, as many of us have come to realize that the reality is far more complex. Is calorie counting truly an effective method for achieving sustainable weight loss, or is it merely a numbers game that overlooks the crucial role of nutrients? In this blog, we delve into the debate surrounding calorie counting, exploring its limitations and advocating for a more holistic approach to nutrition. 

Calorie Counting

The Pitfalls of Calorie Counting:

One of the primary pitfalls of calorie counting is its disregard for nutrient density. Not all calories are created equal; a 100-calorie serving of broccoli provides vastly different nutritional benefits than a 100-calorie serving of soda. Focusing solely on calorie intake can lead to a diet devoid of essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, ultimately compromising overall health.

Moreover, calorie counting can foster an unhealthy relationship with food, promoting a mindset of restriction and deprivation. Individuals may become fixated on arbitrary calorie targets, ignoring hunger cues and denying themselves the nourishment their bodies truly need. This restrictive approach often leads to feelings of guilt and failure when calorie goals are inevitably exceeded, perpetuating a cycle of yo-yo dieting and disordered eating behaviors.

The Role of Nutrient Rich Foods:

In contrast to calorie counting, which emphasizes quantity over quality, prioritizing nutrient-rich foods offers a more sustainable path to health and wellness. Nutrient density refers to the concentration of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients in a given food relative to its calorie content. Foods that are high in nutrient density provide a wealth of health benefits without excess calories, making them ideal choices for promoting overall well-being.

Nutrient Dense Foods

Fruits and vegetables are prime examples of nutrient-rich foods that should form the foundation of a healthy diet. These plant-based foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, all of which play key roles in supporting immune function, preventing chronic disease, and promoting digestive health. Incorporating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables into meals and snacks can help ensure a diverse array of nutrients and maximize health benefits.

Whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats are also essential components of a nutrient-rich diet. Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats provide complex carbohydrates for sustained energy, along with fiber to support digestive health. Lean proteins, including poultry, fish, tofu, and legumes, are rich in essential amino acids necessary for muscle repair and growth. Healthy fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil are vital for brain function, hormone production, and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

Beware of Empty Calories

In contrast to nutrient-rich foods, empty calories offer little to no nutritional value and can contribute to weight gain and poor health outcomes. Common sources of empty calories include sugary beverages, refined carbohydrates, processed snacks, and fried foods. These calorie-dense but nutrient-poor foods provide quick energy spikes followed by crashes, leading to fluctuations in blood sugar levels and increased cravings.

Empty Calories

Furthermore, consuming a diet high in empty calories can displace nutrient-rich foods, leaving individuals deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. This nutritional imbalance can contribute to a host of health issues, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and weakened immune function. By prioritizing nutrient-dense choices over empty calories, individuals can optimize their health and well-being while maintaining a healthy weight.

 

For more guidance on successful weight loss, email Jalpa to set up a consultation!  

 

Jalpa is a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Health & Nutrition from Brooklyn College, CUNY in New York. She also holds a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management through the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, CDR.

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Healthy Beverages for a Healthy you!

In today’s fast-paced world, as people become more conscious of their well-being, the demand for healthy beverage options has soared. From traditional favorites to modern concoctions, the healthy beverage landscape has witnessed a shift towards drinks that not only quench thirst but also provide a myriad of health benefits. Let’s explore these trendy and health-packed beverages that are taking the world by storm.

  1. Turmeric Latte:
    • One such rising star in the world of wellness beverages is the Turmeric Latte. Turmeric lattes, also known as “golden milk,” have gained immense popularity for their vibrant color and numerous health benefits. The key ingredient, turmeric, contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. This beverage is not only delicious but also known for its potential to boost immunity and promote overall well-being.
  1. Matcha Madness:
    • Matcha, finely ground green tea powder, has become a staple in many health enthusiasts’ routines. Packed with antioxidants, matcha offers a sustained energy boost without the jitters associated with coffee. Its vibrant green color and earthy flavor make it a trendy choice for those seeking a balance of taste and health benefits.
  1. Kombucha Craze:
    • Kombucha is a fermented tea that has taken the beverage world by storm. This effervescent drink is rich in probiotics, promoting gut health and aiding digestion. With various flavors and a slightly tangy taste, kombucha has become a favorite among those looking to incorporate more probiotics into their diet.
  1. Infused Water:
    • While not a new concept, infused water has evolved beyond a simple lemon slice in recent years. From cucumber and mint to berries and herbs, infused water offers a refreshing twist to staying hydrated. These combinations not only make water more palatable but also provide a burst of vitamins and antioxidants.
  1. Adaptogenic Elixirs: Stress-Busting Beverages
    • Adaptogens, herbs known for their stress-relieving properties, have found their way into various beverages. Adaptogenic elixirs combine these herbs with other beneficial ingredients to create calming drinks. Ingredients like ashwagandha and holy basil are believed to help the body adapt to stress and maintain balance.

 

The world of healthy beverages has expanded far beyond traditional options. From the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric lattes to the probiotic richness of kombucha, there’s a wellness drink for every taste bud. As the trend towards healthier living continues, these beverages not only provide hydration but also serve as a delightful way to support overall well-being. So, why not sip your way to wellness and embrace the goodness that these trendy beverages have to offer? Cheers to a healthier, happier you!

 

If you want more guidance on nutrition and what you need to do to manage your health, email Jalpa to set up a consultation!  

 

Jalpa is a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Health & Nutrition from Brooklyn College, CUNY in New York. She also holds a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management through the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, CDR.

 

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Processed foods

Processed Foods: The dangers of it and 4 Ways to Make Healthier Choices

In today’s fast-paced world, processed foods have become a convenient option for many. However, their popularity comes at a cost – the potential harm they can cause to our health. Processed foods are often loaded with unhealthy additives, preservatives, and excessive amounts of salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Consuming these foods regularly can lead to a wide range of health problems, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. The good news is that by making a few simple changes to our eating habits, we can make healthier choices and safeguard our well-being. 

Processed foods

What are processed foods? 

There are two different types of processed foods. Mechanically processed foods- such as cooked food – is not the unhealthy foods we are talking about. Examples of mechanically processed foods are ground beef and steamed vegetables. These foods have been “processed’ because they have been cooked. 

Chemically processed foods are the ones we are concerned with. They have chemically been altered by the addition of sweeteners, flavoring agents, and colors. Examples of these are: 

  • Candy
  • Baked goods – like Little Debbies and frozen pizza
  • Packaged breads and cereals
  • Crackers and chips
  • Sausage and chicken nuggets – any meat that has been reconstituted
  • Sodas or other sweet drinks
  • Fast food

Chemically processed foods are severely lacking in nutrients, high in sugar (which makes them addictive), and are very quick calories. Meaning, it doesn’t take much to chew it up and eat it. This allows you to consume a large amount of calories very quickly. 

Junk foods

What are the health risks of processed food? 

Processed food may not seem dangerous, but it kills more people each year than cigarette smoking. A new study states that 71% of Americans are obese- that’s about 100 million people. This same study shows that continually consuming excess calories can shorten your lifespan. When your body has to carry excess weight, it ages much more quickly and is at a higher risk of disease and illness. 

The reason processed foods are so dangerous is because of the amount eaten. They are filled with sodium, sugar and saturated fat. At high amounts, these substances are detrimental. Because processed foods are so easy and quick to eat, regulating portions is very hard. If your diet is made up of over 50% of processed foods, you’re putting your health at major risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. 

Here are 4 ways to lower your processed food intake and make healthier choices: 

It doesn’t have to be as drastic as you think. A small caloric deficit of 50-100 calories a day (not enough to really notice!) can help you maintain your weight and lower your risk of obesity-related disease. 

1. Read Labels and Choose Whole Foods. 

When grocery shopping, taking the time to read labels is crucial. Processed foods often contain a long list of unfamiliar ingredients, many of which can have negative effects on our health. Look for foods with short ingredient lists that contain recognizable, whole-food ingredients. Opt for fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and legumes. These unprocessed foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other essential nutrients, making them excellent choices for a balanced diet.

2. Limit Added Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners.

One of the main culprits in processed foods is added sugars. These sugars not only contribute to weight gain but also increase the risk of developing chronic diseases. They hide in various forms, such as high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and brown rice syrup. Be vigilant when purchasing packaged foods like cereals, snacks, and beverages, as they often contain significant amounts of added sugars. Instead, satisfy your sweet tooth with natural sugars found in fruits or opt for products with no added sugars. Be cautious with artificial sweeteners, as they may have their own set of health concerns. Moderation is key in everything. 

3. Reduce Sodium Intake.

Processed foods tend to be high in sodium, which can lead to elevated blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease. Canned soups, frozen meals, and snack foods are common culprits. To make healthier choices, opt for low-sodium or no-salt-added versions of these products. Whenever possible, prepare meals at home using fresh ingredients, herbs, and spices for flavor instead of relying on processed seasonings or sauces. By gradually reducing your sodium intake, you can protect your cardiovascular health and improve your overall well-being. Drinking a lot of water throughout the day can also help you offset high sodium levels. A good goal to aim for is half your body weight in ounces. 

4. Prepare Meals at Home and Plan Ahead.

Cooking meals at home gives you control over the ingredients you use and allows you to make healthier choices. When you eat out or order takeout, you have limited control over the quality and nutritional value of the food. By planning your meals ahead of time and preparing them at home, you can ensure that your meals are balanced, nutritious, and free from unhealthy additives. Cooking at home can be a fun and creative experience, allowing you to experiment with different flavors and ingredients.

The dangers of processed foods are real, but by implementing a few key strategies, we can make healthier choices and protect our well-being. Reading labels, choosing whole foods, limiting added sugars, reducing sodium intake, and preparing meals at home are all effective ways to improve our diet. Remember, small changes can significantly impact our health in the long run. By prioritizing whole, unprocessed foods and making conscious decisions about what we consume, we can take control of our health and enjoy a vibrant, energetic life.

 

If you want more guidance on nutrition and what you need to do to manage your health, email Jalpa to set up a consultation!  

 

Jalpa is a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Health & Nutrition from Brooklyn College, CUNY in New York. She also holds a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management through the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, CDR.

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Health & Disease Prevention

Role of Diet and Exercise in Disease Prevention

In our fast-paced world, health has become a precious commodity. Chronic diseases increase as a result of various stressors, sedentary lifestyles, and unhealthy eating habits. However, the good news is that we possess the power to take control of our health and reduce the risk of many diseases through two fundamental pillars: diet and exercise. Let’s delve into the significance of using a balanced diet and regular exercise routine for disease prevention, and explore their transformative impact on overall well-being.

Health & Disease Prevention

Understanding the Role of Diet in Preventing Disease

1. The Power of a Nutrient-Dense Diet

A nutrient-dense diet is the cornerstone of good health. By choosing whole, natural foods over processed ones, we provide our bodies with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These elements are crucial for supporting our immune system, combating inflammation, and warding off chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Studies have shown that nutrition can be directly linked to diseases such as obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and more. What we consume either increases our health or decreases it, and we make those choices every single day. 

 

2. Reducing the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

The leading cause of death worldwide, cardiovascular diseases, can often be prevented by making healthier dietary choices. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, and maintain a healthy weight, all of which significantly contribute to heart health. Unfortunately, we are plagued with advertisements from the food industry, constantly selling us products with little to no nutritional value. In order to lead a heart-healthy life, we have to put down the processed boxes of food and make room for more whole, fresh ingredients. 

Diet & Disease Prevention3. Controlling Diabetes through Diet

Type 2 diabetes, a growing global concern, is closely linked to poor eating habits and obesity. By embracing a diet that includes complex carbohydrates, high lean protein, healthy fats, and limited sugar intake, we can manage blood glucose levels and decrease the risk of developing this metabolic disorder. 

4. Cancer Prevention and Dietary Choices

Research has shown that certain foods, such as cruciferous vegetables, berries, and oily fish, contain compounds that may help protect against cancer. By incorporating these foods into our diet, we can potentially reduce the risk of cancer and enhance our body’s ability to fight off abnormal cell growth.

The Vital Role of Exercise in Disease Prevention

1. Strengthening the Immune System

Regular physical activity has been linked to a strengthened immune system, making us more resilient to infections and illnesses. As we engage in exercise, the body produces more white blood cells, which are critical for combating harmful pathogens and maintaining overall health. Rather than take a pill or supplement to improve the immune system, the answer is as easy as moving your body more. 

2. Improving Cardiovascular Health

Just like diet, exercise plays a central role in preventing cardiovascular diseases. By engaging in a consistent exercise regimen, we increase heart’s efficiency, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. You can start small and build up gradually as your body gets acclimatized. 

Exercise & Disease Prevention3. Weight Management and Exercise

Obesity is a significant risk factor for various diseases. Exercise helps us burn calories and build lean muscle mass, making it an essential tool for weight management. When combined with a healthy diet, regular physical activity becomes even more effective in preventing and managing obesity. Muscle has been shown to increase longevity. If we have a good base of muscle, daily tasks throughout life are much easier to handle. Things like getting on the floor with your kids, carrying a heavy bag of dog food, or putting items overhead to store them in the attic all require muscle. Without muscle, we don’t have healthy movement, and we’re prone to injury and chronic pain.

4. Mental Health and Exercise

Apart from its physical benefits, exercise is a powerful mood booster. Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, which can alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression. Stress and negative emotions can weaken the immune system and contribute to various diseases, so maintaining good mental health is crucial for disease prevention.

 

The Synergy between Diet and Exercise

1. Achieving Optimal Health through a Holistic Approach

While diet and exercise are potent tools for disease prevention on their own, their synergy is even more powerful. When combined, they create a virtuous cycle, enhancing each other’s benefits and maximizing their impact on overall health. You will feel better, look better, and not constantly have to worry about chronic disease if you implement both of these components into your lifestyle. 

2. Building Healthy Habits for Life

The key to empowering our health through diet and exercise is consistency and sustainability. Rather than embarking on short-lived fad diets or extreme workout routines, adopting long-term, realistic changes is crucial. Creating healthy habits is a journey, and small, incremental steps can lead to significant improvements over time. 

 

Health is our most valuable asset, and we have the power to protect it through simple yet powerful lifestyle choices. By embracing a nutrient-dense diet and incorporating regular exercise into our daily routine, we can significantly reduce the risk of chronic diseases and enhance our overall well-being. Empower yourself today by taking charge of your health through the transformative combination of diet and exercise, and experience the life-changing benefits of disease prevention and longevity.

 

If you want more guidance on nutrition and what you need to do to manage your health, email Jalpa to set up a consultation!  

 

Jalpa is a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Health & Nutrition from Brooklyn College, CUNY in New York. She also holds a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management through the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, CDR.

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Food labeling

Understanding Food Labels: What’s Hiding In Your Food?

Making healthy and informed food choices is essential for maintaining overall well-being. It’s important for us to know what’s in our food. It’s typically labeled on the package, but it can be confusing and hard to read. As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” Understanding food labels is a crucial step in ensuring you’re nourishing your body with the right nutrients and avoiding hidden additives that may negatively impact your health. Let’s delve into the importance of deciphering food labels and using valuable tips on how to make informed choices to truly know what’s hiding in your food.

Food labeling

The Importance of Food Labels

Food labels are like a window into the contents of packaged foods, providing valuable information about their nutritional composition and ingredients. They empower you to make choices aligned with your dietary preferences and health goals if you know how to read it! By reading and understanding food labels, you can:

  • Control Nutrient Intake: Food labels list essential nutrients such as calories, fats, sugars, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. This information helps you maintain a balanced diet and manage calorie intake.
  • Avoid Allergens: If you have food allergies or sensitivities, labels can help you identify potential allergens and make safe choices.
  • Identify Hidden Ingredients: Labels reveal the presence of hidden ingredients like additives, artificial flavors, and colorings that may impact your health over time.
  • Compare Products: Food Labels allow you to compare different products and choose the one that best aligns with your dietary needs.
  • Make Informed Decisions: By understanding food labels, you can make informed decisions that contribute to your overall health and well-being.

Food labelsDeciphering Food Labels: What to Look For

  • Serving Size: Begin by checking the serving size, as all nutritional information on the label is based on this. A serving size isn’t meant to tell you only to eat that amount. It is there to tell you the amount of food that applies to the nutrition. Be mindful of portion sizes to accurately assess your nutrient intake.
  • Calories and Macronutrients: Pay attention to the calorie count and the amounts of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins per serving. Choose foods that align with your dietary goals.
  • Nutrient Content: Look for key nutrients such as fiber, vitamins (like Vitamin A, C, and D), and minerals (like calcium and iron) that are beneficial for your health.
  • Ingredients List: The ingredients list provides insight into what’s actually in the food. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight, so the first few ingredients make up the bulk of the product. Avoid items with lengthy lists of unfamiliar or overly processed ingredients.
  • Additives and Preservatives: Be wary of additives, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives. Some additives may have potential health risks, so opt for products with minimal or no additives.
  • Sodium and Sugar: Excessive sodium and added sugars can contribute to health issues. Choose products with lower sodium and sugar content.
  • Allergens: If you have allergies, carefully read the label for any potential allergens or cross-contamination warnings. Allergens are listed in bold under the ingredient list. 
  • % Daily Value: This percentage helps you understand how a serving of the food contributes to your daily nutrient intake based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Aim for products with higher percentages of essential nutrients.

In general, you want to look for labels that are lower in saturated fat (specifically trans fat), added sugars, and sodium

Food labels

. All of these have been linked to heart disease and chronic obesity when consumed in high amounts. The items that you want more of are fiber, vitamin D, iron, calcium, and potassium. A diet high in fiber helps lower cholesterol, keeps blood glucose level, reduces calorie intake, and promotes a healthy digestive tract.

What’s Hidden? 

There are several common food additives in food today. Research 

has shown that many have detrimental health affects while others can actually be good for you? An example of a good one is Guar gum. It’s added to food to bind or thicken products. Guar gum is high in fiber and can help increase the feeling of fullness, so you intake less calories. An example of a detrimental additive is high fructose corn syrup. It sweetens food, but in high amounts has been linked to obesity and diabetes.

Misleading Food Labels

Marketing can be a powerful tool, especially when it comes to food. However, a good bit of labels that are promoted as “healthy” are just buzz words. Without knowing exactly what they mean, you could be buying a product thinking that it’s organic and healthy, when really it’s the opposite of what you need. Here are some common marketing food labels and what they really mean. 

  • All Natural: there are no artificial ingredients or colors. It does not mean that the animal or product lives/was grown outdoors. 
  • Humanely Raised: common on animal products, but there is no legal definition for it. It can be put on products even in places where animals are raised in confinement systems. 
  • No Hormones or Steroids: It’s actually illegal to use hormones or steroids in all chicken products so whether it has this label or not, you’re getting the same product. 
  • Fresh: this just means that the meant never went below 26 degrees. Which is not always a good thing! 
  • Vegetarian Diet: Marketers can put this on a food label without it being true. There are no legal checks on farms to determine what is fed to the animals. 
  • Cage Free: one of the biggest misleading labels! All chickens raised for meat are cage free. So don’t buy the more expensive package just because it has this label. 

In a world saturated with packaged foods, being a conscious consumer is a powerful way to take control of your health. Learning how to read and interpret food labels empowers you to make informed choices, allowing you to understand exactly what’s hiding in your food. By paying attention to serving sizes, calories, nutrients, ingredients, and certifications, you can make dietary decisions that align with your well-being goals. Remember, the more you know about your food, the better equipped you are to nourish your body and enjoy a healthier, happier life.

 

For guidance on nutrition and what you need to do to manage your health, email Jalpa to set up a consultation!  

 

Jalpa is a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Health & Nutrition from Brooklyn College, CUNY in New York. She also holds a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management through the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, CDR.

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Weight loss

5 Strategies for Successful Weight Loss

Weight loss

If you’ve dieted before, you’re more than likely familiar with the yo-yo dieting cycle of losing 10 pounds, gaining 15, losing 10 then gaining another 10. It can be a vicious cycle and it’s hard to know how to lose the weight and keep it off.  Weight loss journeys are not easy and no two are alike. However, the methods to successfully lose weight are all very similar. These five strategies for successful weight loss are the most important tips you can implement to get you to your goal. 

Tip 1: Plan Ahead 

If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. A very popular saying that is so true. If you leave your food choices up to the moment when you’re very hungry or even emotional, you’re not always going to make the best choices. It is hard to choose the right foods when you’re extremely hungry or tired. You’ll just grab something quick, even if it doesn’t fit into your weight loss plan. 

Instead, plan out your food so you’re making sound decisions while you’re not hungry. If you’re going out to dinner with friends, look at the menu ahead of time so you’re prepared to order something that fits within your plan. Another great tip is to order first! That way, there’s no peer pressure to order the delicious fried entree everyone else is getting. Who knows, by ordering first, you may influence others to make a healthy choice as well. 

Tip 2: Eat Filling Foods

Like I talked about in my blog about aggressive fat loss, the type of food you choose matters. If you are constantly trying to fit in high-sugar, processed foods, you’re going to be left feeling hungry and lethargic. Both of which can cause cravings and binges. To prevent a restrict-binge cycle, work on choosing foods that are going to keep you satisfied for hours. 

Foods for Weight Loss

A nutritionally balanced diet will do just that. Focusing on putting a right amount of  protein source at your main meals along side high-fiber carbs as well as fruits & vegetables will help with satiety. 

Tip 3: Get More Sleep

When you’re tired, willpower is way down. Sleep is the closest thing we have to a “magic weight loss pill”. Sleep is when the body recovers. If your body recovers well, it will easily burn more calories throughout the day and you’ll be able to think more clearly. 

Quality sleep regulates our hunger hormones. The hormone Leptin reduces the feelings of hunger and the hormone Ghrelin increases appetite and fat production. Both hormones are important for the body to have, but they don’t work well when the body doesn’t get its needed sleep. You’ll find yourself extra hungry if you don’t get sleep, making it harder to stay in a calorie deficit to lose weight. Lack of sleep will also make you chronically tired and less active. And we all know activity is important for weight loss. It all starts with a good night’s sleep! 

Tip 4: Increase Your NEAT 

As stated above, activity is crucial for weight loss. We have to burn calories right?! NEAT is non-exercise activity thermogenesis. Fancy words just meaning any activity you do in your daily life that is outside of the gym or a workout. This includes things like walking, hiking, or even heading up the stairs. NEAT is important because a workout is maybe 60 minutes of your day, 2-3 times a week. Calories burned during that workout are such a small portion compared to the calories burned daily from walking or just moving around. 

Weight loss

By increasing your NEAT, you can easily burn more calories throughout the day, which helps keep you in a calorie deficit for your weight loss journey. You can increase NEAT by taking a walk after dinner every day or by getting a treadmill with a desk so you can walk while you work. Things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking in the very back of the parking lot to walk into the store are small changes that can add up quickly. Other ideas for increasing NEAT are pacing the sidelines at a kid’s game, pacing while talking on the phone, or walking to a co-worker’s desk instead of emailing them. Whatever you choose, increasing NEAT is an easy way (that doesn’t take up extra time) to burn more calories and increase your fat loss. 

Tip 5: Be Flexible With Food 

If you focus on just one tip, make it this one. Flexibility within your diet is crucial for long-term success with weight loss. If all you do is restrict all foods, it won’t last. There has to be a balance of healthy foods and fun foods that you enjoy. There are a few different ways to make sure you’re following the 80/20 rule. 

For 5–6 days out of the week, make sure you’re eating well-rounded, healthy meals for your daily eats. Then, that 7th day can be the fun, intuitive eating day. Go out with friends and have fun but remember the healthy habits you’ve been instilling throughout the week. Choose an appetizer, drink, OR dessert at a restaurant. Having all three plus an entree quickly adds up in calories. But choosing to have one of the three will allow you to enjoy fun food without completely dismissing your weight loss goals. 

Another way to enjoy the 80/20 rule is to have the 20% of fun food be lightened-up versions of your favorite dishes. There are a plethora of low-calorie dessert options that taste great if you search Pinterest. Having a nightly dessert can help you stay on track mentally. And making that nightly dessert a little bit healthier for you keeps you on track physically. 

 

Start with one of these tips, and work on instilling it into your daily habits. Then add a tip every 1-2 weeks, until all 5 are easy and part of your healthy lifestyle. 

 

For more guidance on successful weight loss, email Jalpa to set up a consultation!  

 

Jalpa is a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Health & Nutrition from Brooklyn College, CUNY in New York. She also holds a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management through the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, CDR.

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Foods on a budget

Three Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget

Healthy eating on a budget can seem complicated, but it is possible. That is often the excuse we give – healthy eating is so expensive! And it sometimes can be. The cost of healthy eating can be astronomical unless you know where to look, what to cook, and how to make it work for you. These three tips will help you make healthy eating on a budget a reality- in any situation. 

Foods on a budget

Healthy Eating on a Budget Tip #1: Focus on The Three Macronutrients. 

Scouring Pinterest for healthy recipes can be fun, but more often than not, those recipes have a large list of ingredients. If you don’t already have a well stocked kitchen, you’re going to spend a fortune buying 10 ingredients all for one recipe. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated or include tons of ingredients. If you plan your meals around the three macronutrients – protein, carbs, and fat – you’re going to save time and money. 

Healthy foods on a budgetSo, make a list of a few protein sources you like, a few carb sources, and a few fat sources. Use these to piece meals together. You can even bulk prep, and save time as well. For example, prepare a large batch of shredded chicken and ground turkey. Don’t season it until you’re ready to eat – that way, you can change the seasonings or sauce for each meal and not have to eat the exact same thing every day. Next, prep a large batch of rice or sweet potatoes, and have some tortillas on hand. For your fat sources, you could use olive oil and avocados. Now that all of these macronutrients are prepped, you can throw dinner or lunch together in a matter of minutes. And you can mix and match so that you’re not getting bored with what you’re eating. One day can be ground turkey tacos with avocado, one day can be shredded chicken tacos, and one day can be ground turkey rice bowls with any veggies that you like. If you stick to bulk prepping the three main macronutrients, you can eat very healthily on a budget. 

Healthy Eating on a Budget Tip #2: Cook at Home More Often

As you know, eating out and trying to eat healthy can be very expensive. Salads or food that isn’t fried can be some of the most expensive items on the menu. It can be very frustrating when a salad is $20, but a burger and fries is $7. That’s a hard choice to make! Cooking at home not only saves you money, but it saves you calories as well. With how food is made in restaurants, it’s often very high in fat and very low in nutrients. You’ll end up with a small amount of food that costs you quite a bit of your calories for the day. 

Healthy eating on a budgetBy buying food in bulk, and cooking it at home, you’ll be able to stick to your budget but still enjoy healthy food. With the plan listed out in tip #1, cooking at home doesn’t have to be time consuming or even hard. You don’t need master cooking skills to bulk prep rice and meat. The key is making food you like, and making it taste good. Keep the base ingredients simple – protein, carbs, and veggies – and then spice up each meal with different low calorie sauces or spices. Making it flavorful will keep you from getting bored with eating at home, which in turn, keeps your budget in check. 

Healthy Eating on a Budget Tip #3: Eat Less Processed Foods 

Unhealthy processed foods can be very tempting and can look like they are less expensive than healthy foods. However, you need to take a closer look at the price per serving. Let’s pick on a box of Cheez-Its. A box of Cheeze-Its at Walmart will cost you around $4, and a regular box has 12 servings. That’s about 0.33 cents per serving. Now, let’s look at bananas. Bananas are typically .19 cents each. Not only is a banana cheaper per serving, but it will also keep you fuller for longer. Cheeze-Its and other highly processed snack food is designed to make you want more and more. When is the last time you had just one serving of chips or crackers? It’s not likely, because it’s made to be addictive. So you end up eating more, which in turn will cost you more money. But no one over eats on bananas. 

To get the best bang for your buck, you need to watch out for buzz words when it comes to processed foods. Snack items that are advertised as healthy because they are gluten-free or organic can definitely be more expensive than their regular counterparts. That is why it is important to just stick with less processed foods overall. All fruit and vegetables are naturally gluten-free so you don’t need a fancy, highly processed snack if you are working towards a gluten-free diet. A good rule of thumb when grocery shopping is to keep to the perimeter of the store. Look for fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and dairy to make balanced meals and snacks. You won’t be buying based on cravings, which keeps you on a tight budget. 

Healthy eating on a budget can be accomplished by sticking to these tips. Make a plan, stick to it, and you’ll save money and feel good about your eating. For more guidance on how to eat healthy on a budget, email Jalpa for personal coaching. 

 

Jalpa is a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Health & Nutrition from Brooklyn College, CUNY in New York. She also holds a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management through the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, CDR.

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Macronutrients

The Macros and How To Eat Them to Get the Most Out of It

Macronutrients

You may have heard of “macros” if you’ve looked into any sort of dieting. Counting macros has become very popular these last few years – and for good reason. But it can also be confusing and overwhelming if you don’t understand what macros really are. 

In this blog, I will detail (in an easy way) exactly what macros are and why they are essential. Let’s make it make sense! 

What are macronutrients? 

There are three macronutrients and any food you can think of (any food in the world!) will be in one of these three categories. The three macros are protein, carbohydrates​​, and fats. You have more than likely heard of these. Each macro has an essential role for the body, and you’ll be happy to find out, you need all of them – even carbs! 

What makes a food a certain macronutrient is what it breaks down to in the body. Protein breaks down into tiny chains of amino acids. Carbohydrates break down into glucose molecules, and fats break down into fatty acid molecules. Each of these tiny molecules has different functions in the body. 

Protein and Its Role in the Body

Protein is mainly known for growing muscle and aiding recovery after exercise. But it has so many other important roles in the body, that you should be getting a good amount every day even if you don’t exercise.  

Macronutrient- ProteinProtein transports nutrients throughout the body, regulates fluid balance, and carries enzymes that are essential for bodily functions such as digestion and blood clotting. Important, right?! A huge role protein has is acting as a messenger for hormone function. Protein amino acids tell the body when to uptake sugar into the cell (insulin), and when to build more tissue, including bone (human growth hormone). 

The sources listed below are mainly animal protein, and that is because that is where you will find all the essential amino acids that you have to get through your diet. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you can still get the protein you need through plants, you just have to mix and match in order to get all the amino acids needed. 

Protein Sources: 

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Pork
  • Tofu
  • Seafood and Shellfish
  • Eggs 
  • Egg Whites 

Carbohydrates and Their Role as Macronutrient

A carb’s main purpose in the body is to create energy. Your body takes in carbs, breaks them down into glucose molecules, then sends those glucose molecules through the Krebs cycle to create ATP (which is energy). Ever feel sluggish in the afternoon? Try eating some fruit or whole wheat toast for an energy boost instead of drinking caffeine. You’ll be surprised at the energy it can give you. 

The body can take fat or protein and turn it into energy, but it’s hard for the body to do. Carbs are the preferred source of fuel. In addition to creating energy, carbs also help spare protein so it can perform how it needs to. Fiber – a very healthy part of carbohydrates – is important for digestive health, controlling cholesterol levels, and keeping you full. 

Macronutrient - CarbohydratesCarbohydrates often get a bad rap for making people gain weight. But that is only true if they are overconsumed. If you are an athlete or have a very active job such as a nurse or construction worker, carbs will fuel the energy you need to perform well. Focus on high fiber, unprocessed carbs for the best results. 

Carbohydrate Sources: 

  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Cereal
  • Popcorn 
  • Fruit 
  • Vegetables 
  • Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes 
  • Juice
  • Sugar
  • Most drinks like tea and soda, unless it’s diet 

Fat and Its Role as Macronutrient

Just like carbs, fat sometimes gets a bad rap for causing weight gain. Fat does not make you fat unless you overeat it. Fat is very calorie dense, but it’s not a bad thing as long as you’re aware. Fat is essential for brain health, cell protection, insulating organs, and storing backup energy. Fats also aid protein in hormone health. It’s what makes food taste good. Deep fry anything and it’s automatically going to be more scrumptious. That’s because fat is satiating and pleasing to the tongue. It’s also why it’s so easy to overeat. Anything packaged, processed, or fried is going to be higher in fat than its unprocessed counterpart. Consider using whole food fat sources rather than packaged or deep-fried food items to reap the health benefits fat can offer. 

Fat Sources: 

  • Oil
  • Butter
  • Nuts
  • Nut Butter
  • Seeds
  • Avocado 

Macronutrient - Fat

One of the biggest misconceptions is that peanut butter is a protein source. Just because the label says it has protein in it, does not mean it’s a good protein source. It breaks down in the body as fat- it is a fat source. This is one reason it’s imperative to know what macronutrients are and what foods to eat to get them. Don’t let front labels do the work for you- turn it to the back and look at what the food item is actually made of. All nutrition labels have a protein, carb, and fat count on the back. 

There are some foods that can fit into several of the categories such as dairy. Milk, yogurt, and cheese can have a good amount of all three – protein, carbs, and fat. All food offers different health benefits through the vitamins and minerals it has, so a varied diet should be considered. 

Any diet that completely eliminates one or more macros – like all carbs or all fats – is not a healthy diet. It may allow you to drop some water weight quickly, but it will not aid in overall health or long-term fat loss. 

Now that you know what macronutrients are, it’s time to learn exactly how much you need in order to fuel your body well. For that guidance on nutrition and what you need to do to manage your health, email Jalpa to set up a consultation!  

 

Jalpa is a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Health & Nutrition from Brooklyn College, CUNY in New York. She also holds a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management through the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, CDR.

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Fat Loss

Aggressive Fat Loss: The Power of Quality Food and Daily Movements

Fat Loss

If you’re entering a fat loss phase – also known as a diet or a cut – you may be tempted to take some drastic measures. We tend to slash calories to the bare minimum, avoid whole food groups, or even take supplements or medications to speed up the process. Unfortunately, quick fixes are never the answer. They leave you in a place where you never feel satisfied, get easily irritated at the scale, and quickly give into “cheat days”. 

Just because drastic measures usually backfire, it doesn’t mean you can’t be aggressive with your fat loss phase. In this blog, we’ll discuss two ways you can be aggressive with your fat loss without setting yourself up for failure. By focusing on these two things, you can take care of your overall health and stay consistent on your weight loss journey. 

The Power of Quality Food Choices to Enhance Body Fat Loss

The food we consume plays a vital role in our overall health and body composition. When it comes to aggressive fat loss, the quality of your diet becomes even more important. In a fat-loss phase, you do need to cut calories so that you’re not taking in more than you burn. However, choosing nutrient-dense foods can help in several ways. Being satisfied with your meals is a game-changer. 

When you cut calories, but still eat processed food or fast food, this is going to do two things. It will leave you hungry and craving more – which in turn can lead to bingeing. It’s also going to leave you feeling tired and sluggish. Focusing on the quality of your food will allow you to get the nutrients your body needs to function well. If you’re still getting in healthy fats, you’re going to be much less tempted by chocolate or other sweets. High protein choices will keep you satiated. And high fiber carbs keep the gut healthy and give you energy. You’ll sleep better and wake up energized. You’ll feel good about your food and your body.

Three Ways to Choose Quality Food for your weight loss journey

1. Prioritize Whole, Nutrient-Dense Foods:

To get aggressive with your fat loss, focus on nutrient-dense foods for your three main meals. Choose lean meats for ⅓ of your plate – this can be anything like tofu, chicken breast, ground turkey, pork loin, or sirloin. A high-fiber carb also needs to be about ⅓ of your plate. Sweet potatoes, potatoes, quinoa, beans, and rice are all very nutrient dense for the amount of calories they provide. You’ll get essential vitamins and minerals through these foods. Fill the rest of your plate with vegetables to help increase the volume without adding a ton of calories. You also need a fat – oil or nut butter – about the size of your thumb to finish off a well-rounded meal. 

2. Mindful Eating and Portion Control:

Portion control is huge when it comes to aggressive fat loss because calories matter. If you’re constantly overeating, even by just a little, your weight isn’t going to drop like you want it. Take time to measure your food and use smaller plates. Definitely avoid mindless snacking by having your meals and snacks planned out for the day. Slow down while eating and start paying attention to hunger cues. 

3. Hydration:

Don’t underestimate the power of staying hydrated. Drinking an adequate amount of water not only helps maintain proper bodily functions but can also aid in fat loss. Water boosts metabolism, reduces appetite, and promotes better digestion. Aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day. Stop drinking liquid calories – they will give you a sugar crash and leave you hungry. Opt for water every time instead and watch the pounds just come right off. 

Exercise for Fat lossThe Power of Exercise Routine

Our bodies were made to move. A sedentary lifestyle does nothing for us except help the body decay faster. Getting in daily movement- not even a full workout each day – can greatly increase your chances of fat loss. It is true that you do need rest days- an intense workout every single day will just burn you out and cause inflammation. But you can still stay active on rest days by going on walks or playing in the yard with your kids. Daily movement is crucial to dropping fat and keeping it off. 

Three Ways to Make Exercise as a Healthy Part of Your Life during your fat loss journey

  1. Combine Cardiovascular and Resistance Training:

To maximize fat loss, it’s crucial to engage in a well-rounded exercise program that combines cardiovascular activities with strength training. Cardio exercises like running, cycling, or swimming elevate your heart rate and burn calories, while resistance training, such as weightlifting helps build lean muscle mass. Muscle is metabolically active, meaning it burns more calories even at rest. By increasing your muscle mass, you won’t have to cut so many calories to lose body fat. And remember, muscle is lean, and fat is bulky. So you don’t have to worry about “bulking up” when strength training. It will do the opposite- make you lean and toned. Incorporate both types of exercises into your routine for optimal results.

2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):

When it comes to fat loss, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be highly effective. HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief recovery periods. This type of workout elevates your heart rate, burns a significant number of calories, and stimulates your metabolism even after the workout. These are most fun with a fitness class, so find one you like and work it in two times a week. You’ll find community this way too, and support and accountability can drastically help a fat loss journey. 

  1. Stay Consistent:

Consistency for months is key to achieving aggressive fat loss goals. So you need to make sure you find something you like- otherwise, you won’t be consistent with it. Prioritize it in your schedule. Make it a non-negotiable meeting with yourself. But book yourself for different classes until you find what you really like. Try new activities, and challenge your body in different ways. This not only keeps your workouts enjoyable but also helps prevent burnout. 

 

If you want more guidance on nutrition and what you need to do to manage your health, email Jalpa to set up a consultation!  

Jalpa is a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Health & Nutrition from Brooklyn College, CUNY in New York. She also holds a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management through the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, CDR.

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