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Be the real food hero at potlucks and parties with recipes that taste amazing and won't break the bank! Last year in May I did the perfect series for January, so I thought I’d run some excerpts this week for those of you who missed it or just need a little refresher to inspire you.
Rather than figure out your body mass index and do all sorts of calculations, I prefer the measuring stick mentioned by one reader in a comment on Facebook: Do your pants fit? Obviously that doesn’t count if you bought new pants, but I think ideal weight is something you can peg within a few pounds just by guessing, if you’re honest with yourself. If you’ve got a few pounds or more that you’d like to see hitting the pavement instead of your middle, let’s make a goal today. For the rest of the mission with tips for success plus the events in our household that inspired the series, click HERE. I always want to say that when you eat real foods, whole and in their natural form, there aren’t taboo foods like when you go on a “low fat” or “low carb” sort of diet. In a real food diet, your taboo foods end up being things like trans fat, corn and soybean oil, white sugar, refined grains, and other junk that is just not food, at least not in its whole form. Unlike other diets, you won’t have to avoid eggs, salad dressing, or cheese or buy low-fat everything. If you’re currently eating a Standard American Diet of processed foods, white flour bread (or even whole grain bread at every meal), and sugary goodies, just switching to eating whole foods – things that grow in the ground or animals that eat things that grow in the ground – in their whole form – will do loads of good for your health. This alone, especially when it’s a change in dietary habits (notice I didn’t say “diet,” because it’s not), often causes extra pounds to peel away. Real food doesn’t have MSGs to make you want more food all the time or addictive and harmful artificial sweeteners or artificial colors. Many people find that skipping the “diets” and simply changing their diets results in weight loss automatically. For the other 4 keys plus three reader stories of weight loss success, including the awesome transformation pictured above, click HERE. If the temptations of social or other obligatory-feeling junk food consumption are a struggle for you, click HERE to read the post. The fourth post in the real food weight loss series was a review of Weightless: Making Peace with your Body by Kate Wicker. Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post including the the bundle pack, and I will make commission from them.
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TCM is right; Dijon mustard generally holds it together for at least a few seconds for the pour! I’ve been eating whole foods (almost everything made from scratch) for several years but I continued to be overweight. The other problem with going for a quick fix or skipping meals altogether is that it throws the delicate hormone balance out of whack. With this list of 10 Real Food Snacks, you will have the tools to navigate snack time with ease. Kashi Bar: Even thought they didn’t have a cashew bar, they did have the Honey Almond Flax bar, which I found to be similar in look. You might be surprised to hear that women outside of western countries experience less symptoms of menopause.
Yes, for most of us, menopause is not only the end of menstruation but also the beginning of a whole host of uncomfortable and irritating symptoms. There are several obvious hormones at play in the menopausal years, known as the primary sex hormones: estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. During the childbearing years, estrogen rises in the first half of the menstrual cycle and peaks at ovulation. During the second half of the menstrual cycle, progesterone rises as the body prepares a comfortable place for the baby to grow and peaks with ovulation. Estrogen naturally regulates cortisol; the stress hormone, so when estrogen begins to drop during the menopausal years, the adrenal glands can’t keep up and cortisol levels are no longer regulated. While sleeping, a hormone know as growth hormone (GH), is busy at work helping form healthy bones, skin and hair, it is also regulating the body’s proportions of fat and lean muscle mass. The truth of the matter is that it isn’t necessarily the fact that you are ingesting copious amounts of food throughout the day, it is more about the type of food and how it is ingested that matters. Did you know that there are foods that cause systemic inflammation by damaging the lining of our intestines? Summer sun, a picnic table, friends and food…that is what comes to mind when I think of potlucks. Usually at an outdoor potluck, either the host will provide the mains – veggie burgers, wings, shish kabobs – or if it is at a park you are looking at BYOB – bring your own BBQ items.
Although still considered a potato salad, this one is bursting with anti-oxidants and vitamins. By now everyone has heard of this healthy ancient grain – but in reality it isn’t a grain at all – it is a seed.
This is a yummy adaptation to the traditional Caesar salad, but can be served on a hot day without spoiling because it doesn’t have raw eggs or wilty lettuce. With these quick recipes under your belt you are sure to wow your friends when you tell them how easy and healthy they are.
With a little extra planning, and to the delight of your guests, you can have all the flavors of a traditional birthday with half the fat, salt and calories.
Take 2 inches of peeled cucumber, thinly sliced, 1 inch of fresh rosemary, the juice from ? a lime and 1 ounce of gin. You’ll need a powerful blender, like the Vitamix: 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1-1 ? cups of water, 1 tablespoon flaxseeds, 1 teaspoon coconut oil and a teaspoon of bee pollen. Place a teabag of your choice, either earl grey, orange pekoe or green, in a large stainless steel bowl. Make mine alcoholic: For a take on the Long Island iced tea, you can add 1 ounce of vodka to the mix. Get out your high-powered blender and add 2 cups organic pineapple (skin removed, but keep the core), 1-inch fresh ginger root (peeled), ? cup mint leaves, 1 teaspoon spirulina powder, 1 teaspoon coconut oil and 1 cup water. Barbeque season is now in full swing and the aroma of meat grilling in the breeze is a welcome delight. What we are looking to avoid are chemicals that are caused when meats are cooked at high temperatures. Tryptophan: Think of the turkey coma at Christmas – you can get the sleep inducing effects from many foods such as walnuts, dates and pumpkin seeds. Melatonin: Regulates circadian rhythm of the body that it used to distinguish night from day. Long weekends are a great way to decompress and de-stress – by following these steps, you might be able to keep that nice relaxed feeling beyond Monday morning! When you wake up in the morning insulin levels are naturally low because its production has not been stimulated with the intake of carbohydrates. When you wake up in the morning, first thing drink a glass of water (with lemon if you prefer). If you are diligent with bringing healthy snacks with you, not only will you have a more pleasant day, you also won’t feel so tempted when the ice cream truck pulls up.
Get Instant Access To Our Weekly Nutrition And Weight Loss E-Newsletter Filled With Free Tips, Tricks And Yummy Whole Food Recipes. The weight gain during pregnancy is a normal and healthy occurrence, providing the nutrients the baby needs in order to grow. This circuit involves only five exercises, you perform five repetitions and then repeat the circuit until you have completed it through five times. You should always perform a suitable 5 – 10 minute warm up before starting these exercises.
To really achieve amazing results ever faster, it is advised that you also choose 1 or 2 other days per week where you perform 20 minutes of continuous cardio exercise for instance a fast walk or jog, stairs, jump rope, march on spot, cardio machines (like treadmill or cross-trainer) whatever you enjoy. Your goal is to not plateau, so to encourage a body challenge , each week try to progress as suggested below.
Wake up your muscular structure, activate your accessory muscles, pull-in your larger muscles, and shift your shape into something you never knew you could – using your body weight only and a mat! To really achieve amazing results ever faster, it is advised that you also choose two other days per week where you perform 20 minutes of continuous cardio exercise, for instance a fast walk or jog, stairs, jump rope, march on spot, cardio machines (like treadmill or cross-trainer) whatever you enjoy. The goal is to not experience a plateau in muscle toning, so we need encourage and challenge the muscles. Anon lost 7 pounds in two months – don’t forget that muscle weighs more than fat! Today I’ll share the first three posts with you, and the others will come over the next few days.
I believe that God calls us to be good stewards of all His gifts as we work to feed our families: time, finances, the good green earth, and of course, our healthy bodies. On the contrary, it means keeping yourself full of delicious and nutritious food so that you don’t have those out of control cravings for sugar, salt and carbs. Quick fix snacks, or those that are high in calories yet low in nutrition, have a negative effect on the hormone leptin.
Insulin increases the storage of fat in fat cells and prevents the cells from releasing it for energy.
Ideally a snack will incorporate fresh fruit and vegetables, but realistically snack time needs to be either sweet or savory.
When perimenopause hits estrogen levels naturally decrease as the body no longer requires estrogen in the same amount. It continues to rise if conception happens, but if normal menses happens, progesterone levels come down. This simple guide of 5 Flat Belly Foods can help you reduce swelling, inflammation and the need to undo that top button on your pants! The first thing that comes to mind is air – not necessarily flatulence – gas is generally the end product. Food that sticks around longer than 24 hours in the digestive tract will definitely cause bloating, discomfort and possibly constipation.
Our body, especially as it ages, makes less enzymes, bile and stomach acid – this makes it harder to digest certain foods causing our system to become intolerant to them, making it harder to digest and increasing the bloat. This creates problems for the delicate ecosystem that resides there – causing an imbalance of “good” to “bad” bacteria. The other thing that comes to mind is the dreaded, “WHAT AM I GOING TO BRING!?!” Don’t panic – here is your guide to stress free, delicious potluck favorites, with a healthful twist. Sweet potatoes are highest in beta-carotene which gets converted into vitamin A in the body.

In a medium roasting pan toss together with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and ? teaspoon of sea salt: 8 whole garlic cloves, 2 carrots (peeled and thinly sliced), 1 red pepper (coarsely chopped) and a zucchini (cut into ?-inch rounds). Cucumber – Cool and refreshing and grown close to home, cucumber is a perfect summer vegetable. Strawberries – Local strawberries abound in the month of July and it is quite easy to freeze them fresh and use them in a daiquiri- like smoothie. Ginger – After indulging at the BBQ, ginger can come to the rescue to soothe bloating and gas. Pineapple – Bromelain, the active ingredient in pineapple stems, is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties and aids digestion with active enzymes. Blend everything together for 1 minute and enjoy right away while enzymatic activity is at its peak. You might have heard that BBQ meats can cause cancer…well this is somewhat true, but so can a myriad of other things too. When you are done cooking and before you get started on the next meal, scrape down the racks to get rid of the carcinogenic residue that can stick between the cracks. It only takes as little as 30 minutes to do the trick and the moisture will reduce the HCAs from 57-88% depending on the type of marinade. Sometimes your carefully planned Caribbean kebabs will get overdone and the meat will be “charbroiled”. Good sources are walnuts and cherries, which makes it easy because you are already having them. When you wake up the level dips a bit, but it is still higher than at any other time of day when you are awake. Long days at the park, impromptu day trips to the beach, the local splash pad and picnics by the lake.
Criss is a casino card dealer, with intentions of returning to school for English or Public Relations soon. Most people who fail at weight loss do so because they saw their weight loss as a result of a diet. Even if you are overweight and become pregnant, you will still need to gain some weight; your body and developing child have specific nutritional needs that requires to be met. For example, you might perform a set of squats followed by a set of upright rows followed by curls and so on. If you don’t want to use either of those, find a step in your house or even the gutter on the road.
You will be doing two sets of each exercise thus you would end up doing two sets of 10 of each exercise. In the world in which we live, that doesn’t really work out, because there are so many things sold as “food” that just aren’t food. And your body can recognize and knows what to do with all the parts, unlike trans fats, which ravage your arteries like a bull in a china shop. I also had to greatly reduce my sugar but that was pretty easy once I got rid of the grains and legumes.
Leptin controls how full we feel and also once full, it triggers the brain to start metabolizing, or breaking down food. When meals are skipped, the body goes into starvation mode and wants to hold onto fat to help with long-term lack of food. With a little know how you can combat cravings and soon you will be eating your way to healthy weight loss!
One of the easiest ways to balance blood sugar is to have a snack that combines fiber and fat with carbohydrates.
Prunes aren’t just for old grannies, they are a natural way to stay regular and keep food from getting stagnant in the gut. Sticking with the salty snacks for a moment a nice cracker that is gluten free can do the trick. Maca is a great hormone balancer and the flaxseeds in this recipe will help you feel fuller longer. Granola bars fall into a category that is part convenience food and part nutrient dense food. In places like Japan menopause is not treated as the end of the young and fertile years but rather as a gentle transformation towards maturity and with it comes an increase in respect and honor. But with a little understanding of which hormones are rolling (twisting, turning, loop-de-looping), symptoms can be controlled and minimized – without turning to HRT (hormone replacement therapy)! There are also several other lesser known hormones that interact with the primary sex hormones during menopause and increase the all too familiar symptoms like hot flashes, weight gain and brain fog.
During fertile years, testosterone levels increase dramatically during ovulation and again right before we get our periods. Usually leptin has the ability to shut down your appetite and increase your calorie-burning ability. Flaxseeds contain a compound called phytoestrogens, a dietary estrogen that mimics estrogen by binding to the same sites. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower and cabbage, contain glucosinolates that modulate estrogens by reducing testosterone. Swiss chard falls into the “leafy green” category, which means it is high in both calcium and magnesium. The reason I say you should have a variety of seeds is because they are all slightly different yet have similar characteristics. It can be caused by large meals, not enough fiber or foods that are high in fat and animal protein.
Too much water will dilute your stomach acid and reduce the effectiveness of enzymes as well as decrease the output of bile, as a result, your digestion will suffer. This will help control blood sugar and manage your hunger, causing less cravings for “inflammatory foods” like fries and burgers. Chewing is an essential step in breaking down food, activating enzymes and reducing the burden on the stomach and intestines.
Because fats are harder to breakdown, they overwhelm the stomach and cause oxidative stress. Fruits, especially melon, are difficult to digest when they are piled on top of a large meal.
Humans are the only mammals that consume milk after weaning – so it shouldn’t be a surprise that for most of us our ability to breakdown milk ended when we weaned. This super dense animal protein doesn’t need to be completely removed from the plate, the plate just needs to be reimagined. By now everyone has heard of a gluten free diet – one thing you might not know is that by cutting out wheat – especially white flour – you reduce inflammation.
A staple cold water fish from the North Atlantic, cod is bursting with omega 3 essential fatty acids. The wonderful thing about pineapple is that it actually boosts the amount of enzymes that are available to aid in breaking down protein. Even though quinoa is versatile enough to act as a grain it is actually a seed – this means that it is gluten free, reducing the risk of irritating the intestines. If you are used to the zing that mayo can impart, try to boil your potatoes with about a tablespoon of pickle juice in the water. Vitamin A promotes glowing summer skin while at the same time reducing the harsh effects of the sun. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees F, tossing every 15 minutes for 30-45 minutes or until soft.
I am saying that it is okay to replace the high-fat and sugar-laden treats at a birthday party, just don’t tell anyone.
Strawberries have a lot going for them, they are high in vitamin C, flavonoids and phytosterols. Kombucha is a fermented drink that has the fizzy quality of soda pop but the health benefits of yogurt.
Once it has cooled, add about ? a mug’s worth to each cup, add a squeeze of lemon and fill the cup with ice.
Pineapples are also high in vitamin C, fiber and manganese, a trace mineral that is needed for proper fat metabolism.
At those temperatures two carcinogens, HCAs (heterocyclic amines) and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), are created, and these chemicals can cause changes to DNA and ultimately lead to cancer. In this case, just trim off the black part, and the next time turn the heat down and flip more often.
To avoid a hangover, drink one glass of water between each alcoholic drink, as this will reduce dehydration and headaches. The long nights by the campfire singing “Kumbaya” can definitely make it difficult to get back into the workweek groove. Fasted walking uses your hormone levels that are unique to this time of day to increase your body’s ability to burn fat effectively. Having low blood sugar forces the body to draw on fat reserves because there is not enough glucose to give you energy to workout.
Nothing is going to knock the fun out of your day faster than cranky kids and “hangry” adults.
In a resealable bag add 1 cup almonds, 1 cup shelled sunflower seeds, ? cup cashews, 1 cup raisins and ? cup of another dried fruit (apricots, dates or dried cranberries). Power balls are basically trail mix all mashed up and can be made by placing nuts, seeds, dried fruit and honey in the blender. These can be made by tossing cooked chickpeas in oil and spices and roasting them on medium heat until they are crunchy. A trick to packing perishable items, like hummus, is to freeze a drink box the night before and use it like an ice pack with the snacks. However, I’ve known people who have lost weight during their pregnancies because of better eating habits. Often people only consider weightlifting type exercises as part of circuit training, but other aerobic work can be included. You will be doing two sets of each exercise, thus you would end up doing two sets of 10 of each exercise. Has the number on the scale (if you have a scale) been generally holding steady or moving in an upward direction the past five years? So, now I just eat lots of vegetables, pastured meat (same amount as before), and some fruits and nuts and a bit of cheese (on my salads). When a lot of poor quality food is consumed there is a tendency to overindulge, which tricks your brain into thinking it needs more and leptin can’t do its job to turn off the appetite. This means that if you are constantly skipping meals your brain is tricked into thinking that it should hold onto fat for the duration of the famine.

Apples have pectin, a type of fiber that promotes weight loss by making you feel fuller faster. Avocados are considered to be a healthy fat – it has anti-inflammatory properties and helps our digestive tract transport fat molecules. Not only does this make you feel fuller, it gets the digestive juices flowing and sets you up for optimal energy use. Simply by having this stress-free attitude, women coast through perimenopause and menopause cool as cucumbers.
Estrogen is needed to keep the skin smooth and moist, and the body’s internal thermostat operating properly. Turns out progesterone levels, though low post menopause, have a calming effect on the brain and helps with mood swings and anxiety. Without the usual monthly rhythm, testosterone levels fall and your sex life might suffer as a result. If your adrenals are functioning optimally symptoms of menopause will be greatly reduced if not non-existent.
Magnesium promotes better sleep, which is beneficial for growth hormones to function properly.
This little known Peruvian root powder has the ability to adapt to the body’s needs for different hormones. My theory was that when you wake up, your stomach has emptied out overnight and is therefore flat, and then over the course of the day you are filling up your belly and the subsequent result is a rounded abdomen, coupled with some potential pain and gas.
Fizzy drinks, chewing gum and gulping down food are all culprits in increasing digestive pressure. Omega 3 reduces inflammation in a complicated sequence of events brought on by a group of hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins. Bromelain, the enzyme that is most dense in the pineapple core, can help reduce indigestion, cutting down on gas and bloating.
This little wonder seed actually balances blood sugar – this means that you will feel fuller longer and end up eating less on a daily basis.
The high amount of fiber in the quinoa seed is also very useful to regulate bowel movements. Spinach falls into the category with other dark leafy greens like kale and chard, but is a lot easier on the digestive process.
To make this potato salad, steam two large sweet potatoes for about 7 minutes until still firm but cooked through. Place on hot coals in the fire pit for 15-30 minutes, turning them occasionally to ensure thorough cooking. I thought about recommending artfully cut watermelon in the shape of a cake – but that is not very realistic. Fill each glass with a cup of ice and then pour 1 ounce of white rum and ? a cup of sparkling water overtop.
To get the desired health effects from ginger beer the ingredient list must include ginger root or ground ginger, not ginger oil or extract.
This can be done by replacing the synthetic sugar from cakes and candy with something naturally sweet that just happens to be in season: cherries. One quick tip for improving your digestion is drinking a teaspoon of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar in a little warm water before your next meal. The night before you have to wake up to your alarm try eating foods that promote a restful sleep.
Any type of cardio will work, but walking is the easiest – all you have to do is put on comfortable shoes and head out the door. Criss said that the most important thing about weight loss, and also the key to your success, is how you see it. Some sites have a pregnancy meal plan so that you get the right nutrition and don’t gain unnecessary weight.
Exercises are often performed with little or no rest between them;  however this should vary on the type of circuit you are completing.
I’ve lost almost 20 lbs since mid-October without much exercise (although I do exercise but not crazy amounts).
Often times those products have to use strange binders and fillers to make the product palatable and as for sugar free – quite a few health issues are now being linked to artificial sweeteners.
The best way to keep your brain and hormones happy is to feed them a consistent supply of nutrient dense food. The natural sugars in apples is balanced by the fat in the almond butter…just be sure to get one that has no extra added sugar. Fruit drinks or even fruit juice might be refreshing but they just spike your blood sugar for a short-term energy boost. Plain yogurt is high in beneficial probiotics – which are vital to good digestion and weight loss.
They are a lower fat alternative to regular potato chips and by eating them instead of their high fat counterpart a few times a week you can drop up to 7 lbs. By combining them with hummus, the natural sweetness of the carrot is balanced by the fats from tahini and olive oil. A lot of the bars lining the grocery store shelves are actually crammed with sugar, fat and strange additives – putting them on the no snack list.
But we don’t live there…we are over here in Canada and the United States just trying not to melt with another “tropical moment”. Flaxseeds must be ground to have an optimal effect, as the body is not actually able to break down the hard seed shell. Every cell of steroid hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, use fat as a component in its membrane – meaning that fat is essential to healthy hormones. TIP: Sometimes raw cruciferous vegetables can be hard to digest and can interfere with thyroid function. This means that if you are low in estrogen, Maca will jumpstart estrogen production or if your libido is lacking, you will see an increase in testosterone production.
TIP: Because the core of the pineapple is too tough to chew, it can be chopped up and blended into smoothies.
Balanced blood sugar is excellent for fighting insulin resistance, which has been linked to an increase in abdominal fat.
Cut into cubes and toss with raisins, pecans and a vinaigrette made from maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and a little bit of olive oil. It is key to create a buffet that is colorful and appealing to kids and adults, having fruits, veggies and flowers…eating begins with the eyes. For a regular 1 inch piece of chocolate cake there is 23 g of fat, 50 mg of sodium and 280 calories.
You can drink ginger beer on its own or combined with spiced rum and a twist of lime for a delightful cocktail.
A little indulgence is okay once in a while, like the old adage goes “everything in moderation, including moderation”. Cherries are made up of 75% water so they give you hydration, fiber and a bit of sugar to smooth out any sugar cravings.
Following a good meal plan, you will be able to gain only the pregnancy weight (baby, extra fluid, placenta, breast tissue increase) that usually is lost right away after birth. I still have 90 lbs to go and so I figure that it will take me 2 years to get to my recommended weight range.
Smoothies combine the whole fruit, fiber and all, with other add-ins like nuts, veggies and coconut oil. So, declining estrogen is a contributing factor to changes in skin (inside and out), hot flashes, and osteoporosis. To avoid this problem just steam your broccoli for about 5 minutes, or until still bright green. TIP: Add finely chopped Swiss chard to an oiled pan with garlic before pouring in some scrambled egg for an easy dinner omelette.
Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, a mineral and antioxidant that is key to maintaining moist skin. With continued use (1-3 teaspoons daily), for up to 3 months in a row, Maca will improve symptoms of menopause: hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, fatigue, breast tenderness, brain fog and low sex drive.
TIP: Chia needs to be hydrated before you eat them or they will remove water from the digestive tract actually slowing digestion.
Have a nice log of grass fed butter to roll them around in and a sprinkling of sea salt to finish them off. I am suggesting chevre instead with some nice roasted veggies like asparagus and red peppers.
I did find it interesting that it would have 42% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C though. In the mini cupcake there is 7 grams of fat, 24 mg of sodium and only 120 calories (and they are gluten free to boot!).
If you want a sugar free version, the solution is to really smash up the leaves to get the oils out. Add a couple unpeeled slices of cucumber and a 2-inch sprig of rosemary into each glass as a garnish. Here are a few awesome tips to get yourself back on track, after your wagon comes off the rails. And lastly take everything down to the basement right away when you get home to reduce the clutter in the front hall. So to stay on top of the good times it is key to have a nice variety of snack food available – and don’t forget the water. A lesser known fact is that decreased estrogen is a contributing factor to abdominal fat, which tends to increase in our 40s and 50s.
They are all high in fiber, which is key to getting old estrogen out of the body so that there is a better balance of hormones.
For the sweet potato and broccoli salad there are 4.5 g of fat, 350 mg of sodium and about 30 calories.
Just having a clear space will give you a clearer mind, until you have a chance to put everything away. TIP: Try to incorporate seeds everyday by sprinkling them on your salad or snacking on them throughout the day.

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