Cinnamon for Weight Loss

Cinnamon is one of those spices that has many health benefits:

cinnamon

  • Helps prevent breast cancer
  • Has a high thermic effect on the body
  • Helps in prolonging the digestion process in the stomach
  • Relieves diarrhea and nausea
  • Aids in peripheral circulation
  • Enhances digestion
  • Promotes the metabolism of fats

Recent studies have shown that cinnamon also affects blood glucose levels. It does this by prolonging the digestion process of the stomach, which helps to reduce spikes in insulin levels after eating a meal.

This effect it has on blood sugar levels helps in weight loss as you feel fuller longer, so you’re less likely to give into food cravings and you won’t feel so hungry all the time. It also boosts your metabolism and helps to control blood sugar levels.

I use cinnamon on my oatmeal in the morning and on top of yogurt or in my protein shake. I often make a Chai Tea with almond milk and will add a cinnamon stick just for fun and flavor. All you need is just 6 g of cinnamon a day to improve overall health.

 

Calorie-Pinching Pizza

When you decide to live a healthier lifestyle, one of the hardest things to do is giving up your favorite foods.

pizzaWho doesn’t love pizza? Some families make a night of it – a special event to be shared by the whole family and maybe a movie to go with it. Who wants to give up on all that fun?

With a little innovation, you can still enjoy your favorite foods without sacrificing on flavor. Whenever I crave pizza, I throw some of my favorite ingredients together on a tortilla shell and slide it under the grill. Not only is it super quick and easy to make, it’s healthier and I’m not clutching my bloated belly and reaching for the Tums about half an hour afterwards.

Ingredients

  • 1 wholewheat tortilla shell
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 oz black olives
  • 1 oz skim milk mozzarella cheese
  • 1 sprig of fresh basil – sliced (chiffonade)

Preparation

Place your tortilla shell on an oven-proof pie dish or plate. Slice the tomatoes and spread out evenly on your tortilla shell. Top with black olives, basil and cheese and throw under the grill until the cheese has melted.

There are so many ways to prepare this pizza. Sometimes I make a sauce or sometimes I will mix the herbs with a little olive oil and fry that up with thick slices of tomato just for a few minutes to get them started or if I’m using lots of different vegetables, as the cheese will melt faster than they take to cook.

This recipe is the super-slimmed-down version. So go ahead and experiment and don’t let the black olives put you off if that isn’t your thing. Choose your favorite ingredients and if you’re a meat-loving pizza connoisseur, try substituting grilled chicken breast for pepperoni.

This baby, if you can finish it all, weighs in at about 330 calories, which leaves you lots of room to add more cheese if you wish. Considering your average pizza joint pie will set you back by as much as 1000 calories, this is a much more pleasing option.

Eating Stress-Free Burns more Calories

Having trouble losing weight and can’t figure out why? You might be engaging in stressed-out eating.

eating on the runWhat is stressed-out eating?

If you eat on-the-go while you’re in a hurry or running between meetings or classes, then you’re setting yourself up for extra poundage. The slower you eat, the faster you metabolize the foods you ingest.

It’s time to slow things down, relax and enjoy your food.

Monitoring your eating speed can also help you identify your relationship to food and emotional eating. This is where diet journaling comes in handy. By keeping a journal of your eating habits, you can help re-establish a healthy relationship with food.

You’ve seen those people who just wolf down their food without even tasting it or perhaps, even chewing it. Well, not only do you put an incredible drain on your digestive system and lose some of the nutrients from your food, but you set yourself up for weight gain.

In the 1800s in England, there was a man who developed a dieting system that required its participants to chew each mouthful of food for 40 times before swallowing. Now, this is the extreme, but by chewing your food slowly and thoroughly, you start the digestive process and relax the stomach to receive the food. This helps in the breakdown of the food and ensures you’re getting all the nutrients you can from your meals.

It’s important to be relaxed when you’re eating, because when you’re stressed out, you stimulate the hormone cortisol which is responsible for unsightly and unhealthy midriff weight gain. To your body, stress is stress and when it senses something is wrong, it will secrete cortisol hormone, which slows down your metabolism and tends to store what you’re eating as fat. It senses danger and that means famine. Digestion can even come to a complete stop, resulting in bloating, discomfort and constipation.

Here are some pointers from the book Slow Down Diet from Marc David:

  • Worrying about fat increases fat. Anxiety about weight loss causes your body to put fat on and retain it.
  • Slow down, relax your mind! This will burn food more efficiently if you breathe in more oxygen. So relax and take deep breaths while eating.

Here are some additional tips to help you get in the mood for food:

  • Take a look at the French, who have turned dining into an art form and whose lunches usually last for hours and hours.
  • Try reading a book or sharing your meals with family and friends with some relaxed conversation.
  • Create a comfortable atmosphere by lighting candles, laying the table and maybe even placing a vase of flowers on the table to instil calm.
  • You don’t have to dine out at a fancy restaurant to create the ideal mood for dining, just a few simple things like lighting and music can make all the difference.
  • Avoid eating in front of the TV or computer. If you’re watching an intense show, that stress will transfer to your body and it will sense that stress and your metabolism will slow down.
  • Breathe and savor each morsel.

By employing a few of these tips, you will re-establish a healthy relationship towards food and develop healthy habits towards eating.

Combatting Diet Crabbiness

Dieting can wreck havoc on your nerves and cause mood swings, especially in those in-between-meal moments.

diet crabbinessThat is why eating several small meals spread out throughout the day is a good idea to help manage these mood swings and keep your blood sugars level.

Mood swings are caused by fluctuations in serotonin levels in the brain, which often occur when someone hasn’t eaten or is stressed out. Research out of the University of Cambridge is now showing that these same regions of the brain affected by serotonin levels are the same regions of the brain that control anger.

Although reduced serotonin levels have previously been implicated in aggression, this is the first study to show how this chemical helps regulate behavior in the brain as well as why some individuals may be more prone to aggression. The research findings were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Researchers altered the diets of the people participating in this study from serotonin-depleted days with no tryptophan to placebo days with normal amounts of tryptophan. This protein, tryptophan, is needed for the production of serotonin. Reactions to this manipulated diet were scanned via MRI images and notes were taken on behavioral changes, particularly in facial expressions.

“Using the fMRI, they were able to measure how different brain regions reacted and communicated with one another when the volunteers viewed angry faces, as opposed to sad or neutral faces.”

The MRI showed regions of the brain that were affected by low serotonin levels to experience weaker signals that control emotional responses to anger.

The subjects of this study were pre-screened to determine their normal response to anger and aggression. Those who exhibited higher levels of anger were affected worse by the lower levels of serotonin and the absence of tryptophan in their diets.

Dr Molly Crockett, co-first author who worked on the research while a PhD student at Cambridge’s Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience Institute (and currently based at the University of Zurich) said:

“We’ve known for decades that serotonin plays a key role in aggression, but it’s only very recently that we’ve had the technology to look into the brain and examine just how serotonin helps us regulate our emotional impulses. By combining a long tradition in behavioral research with new technology, we were finally able to uncover a mechanism for how serotonin might influence aggression.”

Best Fruits and Vegetables for Healthy Weight Loss

Limiting the amount of fructose you eat is one trick that will help you reach your weight loss goal.

Best fruits and vegetables for weight lossAs well as limiting fructose in the form of fruits and fruit juices, it is important to limit your carbohydrate intake and pay particular attention to the source of these carbs. All carbs in the form of sugar and grains promote insulin resistance and this can be harmful to your health and lead to diseases like diabetes.

You should keep your fructose intake between 15 and 25 grams

People who eat clean diets will use fresh vegetables for their optimum source of carbohydrates and will eat an abundance of fresh, leafy greens. However, that doesn’t include all vegetables. Obviously, starchy veg like potatoes and squash should be limited and sugary veg like carrots and beets should also be restricted for their high sugar content.

There are lots of fruits that are low in fructose like raspberries, cantaloupe, plums, apricots, passion fruit, limes and lemons.

Recommended vegetables include:

Best Fruits and Vegetables for Healthy Weight Loss

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Beet greens
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chicory
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Chives
  • Cucumbers
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Fennel
  • Green and red cabbage
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • All kind of lettuce and spring greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini

A healthy diet is one that is low in carbohydrates and high in protein. To make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet, include a whey protein isolate shake first thing in the morning and again immediately following your workout. You’ll notice more energy, better muscle tone and fewer food cravings.