One of the biggest trending diets of 2014 was juice detoxes. This is one of those trends that should be left in 2014.
If you were thinking about a juice detox to rid your body of all the “toxins” that you stuffed in your body over the past few weeks, you may want to think again.
I want to start by saying that our bodies are pretty darn efficient of riding itself of any “toxins” via our liver and kidneys and are “detoxing” us all the time!
With this said, many of us feel bloated and may even see some tighter fitting clothes after all those holiday cookies and an all liquid diet does not sound like a bad idea. Juicing can provide a feeling of being “lighter” because you do not have the bulk feeling of food in your stomach. However, before you hit the juice isle at the grocery store, let’s take a quick step back and look at what some of your favorite juices are made from. Whether you choose orange juice or a blend of your favorite acai berries with pomegranate, most juices are predominately sugar (carbohydrate) and are lacking major nutrients such as protein. Carbohydrate is the most readably available source of energy for our bodies and can wear off quickly, leaving us feeling hungry much sooner than meals and snacks that contain a combination of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. This could lead to more calorie intake in your day.
When you juice fruits and vegetables through your own juicer at home, or grab a pricey one off the shelf at the grocery store, you strip away the fiber that this awesome produce provides. Also, when a juice diet is followed for an extended period of time, you can actually do more damage than good for yourself. Since juice is lacking protein your body can LOSE muscle mass (which most of us are looking to gain).
My recommendation if you want to get your bodies back on track (even before the first of the year) is to hit the basics. Incorporate more WHOLE fruits and vegetables in to your day, you will get the great nutrients that they provide while keeping the fiber. Strive for lean protein, heart healthy fats (like avocado, almonds, and olive oils). If you really want to drink your breakfast or your snack, my simple substitution would be to make a whole fruit and vegetable smoothie. This way you keep all of the fiber and can add some great nutrition. Check out the recipe below:
- ½ cup frozen berries
- 1 small banana
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup baby spinach
Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
Winter has officially started and on cold winter nights, there is nothing better (in my book) than a good cup of hot chocolate! One of my favorite simple substitutes for this classic is to ditch the prepackaged mix and make your own. It is super easy to do and uses items you most likely already have at home. Your homemade mix will have WAY less ingredients in it as well. A standard package of hot chocolate mix can contain hydrogenated coconut oil, carrageenan, artificial flavoring, corn syrup, and the list goes on. Homemade hot chocolate is an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and protein when made with milk and will contain the great natural antioxidants found in cocoa.
- 1 cup (8 ounces) 1% or skim milk (could substitute soy or almond milk here)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Dash of salt
Directions: Mix sugar, cocoa mix, and salt together, set aside. Warm milk (about 60-90 seconds in microwave), gradually mix the cocoa powder mixture in with the milk, stir in the vanilla last and enjoy! If you are looking to add a little holiday “cheer”, you can add 1 oz of marshmallow vodka, vanilla vodka, or butterscotch schnapps (enjoy responsibly).
Stay tuned to simple substitutions after the holidays for healthy ways to start your new year.
Organic. It’s a word that gets thrown around but many don’t know what it exactly means. The U.S. Agriculture Department, which oversees the U.S. National Organic Program, states, “Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.” The certified-organic label is not an indicator of nutritional superiority. (Washington Post)
Check out the full article from the Washington Post which delves in to the differences between organic and non-organic produce. http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/apples-to-peel-or-not-to-peel/2014/12/01/f9f97e9e-74d5-11e4-9d9b-86d397daad27_story.html
There is a list from The Environmental Working Group that ranks popular produce items from the highest containing pesticides to the lowest. The list is broken out to the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. The produce was tested after it was thoroughly washed and these results are based on the remaining pesticides. The complete list can be found at (http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list.php)
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Necterines (imported)
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Snap Peas
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas-Frozen
- Egg Plant
- Sweet Potatoes
- Honeydew Melon
My take away: Be sure that whether you are buying organic or conventional produce to thoroughly wash the produce under cool running water and dry with a clean paper towel. This can help reduce the amount of pesticides on your conventional produce and make sure that your organic produce is properly cleaned. I would also say it’s better for you to purchase conventional produce than no produce at all. The risks associated with not consuming enough fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of consuming produce that have been treated with pesticides. If you can afford it, try to purchase the dirty dozen fruits and veggies organic. Also, get to know your farmer. Many farmers have organic practices but cannot afford (or choose not) to be labeled organic. By getting to know your farmers, you can know more about the nutritious fruits and veggies you are consuming.
Bottom line: Strive for your 5 a day of fruits and veggies.
With Thanksgiving behind us and the holiday season ahead of us, a lot of times we find ourselves faced with the battle of the holiday party. Studies show that the average American gains 1-2 pounds during the holiday season. This may not seem like a lot, but for many of us, those are extra pounds that we don’t lose after the season has come and gone. Follow these simple substitutes to your usual holiday party routine.
- Don’t skip breakfast or lunch. This year, make sure that you are eating meals to prevent overeating at parties. Your meals should be loaded with nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. When you go long periods of time without eating, you can drive yourself to overeat at the party. Think of your metabolism as a fire that you need to keep burning all day. Just like feeding wood to a fire to keep it going, you need to feed yourself with nutritious foods to keep you going. When you skip meals you are keeping logs off the fire. You need to keep your metabolism going throughout the day by eating regular meals.
- Make ½ your plate fruits and veggies. Most holiday parties will have a veggie or fruit tray (usually the last thing to go). Try adding these to your plate along with some of your favorites to help bulk up your plate without bulking up your calories. Fruits and vegetables also provide an excellent source fiber which can help make you feel full to avoid overeating.
- Don’t skip the exercise. When we have extra things to do in the day, like holiday parties, it can be even harder to fit in a quick exercise. That being said, these parties are all the more reason to get an exercise in, even for 20 minutes! Every little bit helps. 20 minutes or vigorous exercise can help burn that extra cookie you threw in your mouth at the end of the night.
- Watch the cocktails. Cocktails can be a downfall to our waistlines if we are not careful. Many times we do not think of drinks having calories when in all actuality they can have more than the sweets sitting on the desert table. Eggnog can have upwards of 250 calories and 11 grams of fat. If this is one of your favorites, watch the portion size. Lighter holiday options could be 1 oz vodka with a splash of cranberry juice, a glass or red wine, or a light beer.
Have a great Holiday Season full of friends, family, good food, and good health. Keep posted to Simple Substitutions for more tips to get you through the holiday season feeling better than ever and ready to take on the New Year. Cheers!