Iced Tea? Yes Please!

Good afternoon!! The weekend is upon us!!

We all enjoy summer BBQ’s and get togethers… well if you’re thinking of sitting back and relaxing this weekend, why not whip this drink up – it’s quite delicious!!

It’s a drink that Dr. Oz recommends thanks to the many health benefits of green tea.  We all know the benefits, right?  Well, green tea purifies your body and maintains vitality – and it’s GREAT for your metabolism.  Green tea accelerates your metabolism by 12%, it regulates your blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of a heart attack and various forms of cancer. It also strengthens your immunity and improves your mood.

Find the recipe below – enjoy! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 litre water
  • 5 green tea bags
  • 1 orange
  • A handful of fresh mint

In boiling water add 5 bags of green tea. Allow to stand for 5 minutes and leave the tea to cool. Orange cut into wedges. Put the tea in a large jar and add the orange slices and mint. Close the jar and leave overnight. The next day drink the tea. Dr. Oz recommends one cup of this drink in the mornings on empty stomach, before meals, and rest to drink at night before going to bed.

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Danielle

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10 Questions You’ve Always Had about Water

You’ve heard it over and over; water is key to a variety of health benefits, including beautiful skin, proper muscle and joint function, and improved mood.  How many of the statements you’ve heard are actually true though? Here are 10 common questions surrounding water, and whether they’re popular answers are fact or fiction. See how many you thought you knew!

1- Does everyone need 8 cups of water a day?

Drinking 8 glasses a day is not a rule set in stone. The truth is that fluid needs vary from person to person. Factors like weight, exercise levels, climate, and the quantity of water-rich foods you eat (usually food provides about 20% of your hydration needs) all play a role. Divide your body weight in pounds by two for a general estimate of the amount of ounces you should drink per day. For cups, divide that number by 8. 

2- Is plain water the perfect source of hydration?

While plain water is a smart choice for hydration, it is not the only option you have. Most fluids like flavoured water, tea, green tea, coffee, fruit and vegetable juices, sports drinks and hydrating foods like cucumbers and melons count too! Note that not all fluids hydrate. Alcohol, for example, dehydrates you (dehydration is one of the symptoms of a hangover) and is calorie-dense and usually nutrient-empty, as are most pops and sugary beverages.

While water is calorie-free and and has no additives, depending on your needs the other options provide benefits as well. Sports drinks, for example, are helpful to athletes exercising for prolonged periods of time. Tea and coffee may provide the caffeine jolt you need to curb a headache. Flavoured water is a simple way to add antioxidants from fruit to otherwise plain water. Choose the best option for you.

3- Will drinking water help me lose weight?

This statement is true, but probably not for the reasons you think. Water itself does not cause weight loss, but replacing calorie-rich fluids like pop and juices with water decreases calorie intake, which does cause weight loss. Sipping on water instead of snacking helps save calories as well.

4- Should I drink before or after a meal?

As a child, I was constantly told not to drink with my meals because then I wouldn’t be hungry. Some also believe that water dissolves the stomach’s digestive juices, resulting in poorly digested food. In reality, water actually aids in digestion, and while it is true that it fills you up, this is beneficial for those of us trying to eat less. Moderation is key, of course. Instead of guzzling down glass after glass throughout a meal, take small sips to slow down your eating pace, help avoid overeating, break down food, and aid in digestion. Water consumption is particularly important when consuming a fiber-rich meal too, as it will help avoid constipation!

5- Will water make me gain weight?

On the opposite side of the spectrum, most of us experience weight gain with increased water intake. Luckily, weight fluctuations due to water (and food!) are natural and the water weight (not fat!) gained will eventually be lost. Water also reduces bloating, which can reflect a drop on the scale too.  Avoid scale induced frustration by weighing yourself on the same scale at the same time each week.

6- Does lemon water help burn more calories?

Speeding up your metabolism is one way to burn more calories, but a glass of water with squeezed lemon won’t do the trick. While the vitamin C content may benefit your immune system, your metabolism won’t be directly affected as it is by thermogenic foods. Enjoy lemon water as a flavorful alternative to plain water, but don’t count on it  as a primary way to shed pounds!

7- Can I drink too much water?

Believe it or not, you can, although this occurrence is very rare. It is known as water intoxication and characterized by excess fluid in the body’s cells. The excess causes sodium to be diluted and your homeostatic concentration gradient to be thrown off. The average person should not worry about water intoxication as long as they don’t consume large volumes all at once. At risk are infants who drink too much for their kidneys to process, athletes who drink too much water after sweating out electrolytes, and people with health conditions like high blood pressure, edema, and kidney problems.

8- Is bottled water the safest to drink

A bottled water craze has taken storm in developing and first-world countries alike due to concern for contaminants. The concern is justified when you’re using the water for everything from washing your hands to cooking a meal. The safety of tap water does depend on where you live though. Canadian drinking water is among the safest in the world, and any contaminants (like lead) are quickly detected through close monitoring of supplies. If you’re still concerned, a simple water filter may help (and save you money!).

9- Will I know when I’m dehydrated?

Yes. Thirst is an early sign of possible dehydration, but it does not mean that you are already dehydrated. You feel thirst (and can sometimes mistake it for hunger) when your water balance is anywhere from 1 to 5 percent off homeostasis levels. Consciously sipping on fluids throughout the day should be enough to avoid this and other progressive signs of dehydration like feeling cranky, tired, or having a headache. This is especially important for older adults, as their sense of thirst may be dulled.

10- Does water cleanse and hydrate my body from the inside?

Vibrant skin and inner cleansing are two perceived benefits surrounding water intake that are not completely unfounded. Sufficient water does aid the kidneys in their function of cleansing toxins and expelling them through urine. The more often you drink, the more often toxins will be expelled. This cleansing effect may also contribute to youthful skin, but outside factors like climate, quantity of oil glands, and moisturizing play a bigger role.

 

Should you eat before a workout?

MYTH: Never Eat Before a Workout

The Truth: You should always eat something before exercising so your body has enough fuel to power through your workout.

The rationale behind this widely accepted myth is that forgoing food before exercise will force your body to burn more fat during your workout. This is a big, fat lie: Starving yourself before exercising can actually be detrimental to your body. Let’s get to the bottom of this fitness myth once and for all.

You need sugar to exert energy. Your body needs a certain amount of sugar for fuel when training. When that blood sugar is not there, your body will convert your own muscle tissue into energy. A recent study published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal looked at cyclists who ate before they trained versus those who fasted before they trained. The amount of fat burn was the same for both groups, but those who had trained without eating first had 10 percent of their calorie burn come from protein — including their own muscle mass. You’re trying to buildmuscle, not eat away at it!

Your body needs energy to perform at a high intensity.You know I’m always saying that I want you to work out as hard as you can for as long as you can. How can you do that if you haven’t properly fueled your body? Think about it this way: Would you drive a car without gas? Use your iPhone without charging it? Nope and nope. If you haven’t eaten anything, your workout won’t be as intense as if you’d fueled up beforehand, not to mention that you’ll likely suffer from low blood sugar, which will make you dizzy and sluggish.

You don’t need to gorge yourself; a healthy snack will do the trick. I suggest you eat something 45 minutes to an hour before training — you’ll have more energy and endurance to work harder, burn more calories, and improve your muscle tone. Aim for something with carbohydrates and protein. Here are a few quick, healthy ideas: a whey shake, low-fat yogurt with berries, or a banana or apple slices with natural almond butter.

The Bottom Line:

You should always eat something before a workout. I’m not suggesting you pig out. A small, healthy snack consisting of carbohydrates and protein will properly fuel your body for a killer workout.

How to get started!

How do you get started? It looks like you already have. The simple fact is that you can change your life by changing your mind. Nothing is impossible for the willing mind! We all have the power to gain control of our lives, reach our goals, and live our dreams. The challenge is locating, nurturing, and believing in your ability to do so.

You’ve worked out before, and you have some experience with eating right. But now you’re ready to take things up a notch and get the body you’ve always wanted. Here’s what you should do:

1. Clean the crap out of your cupboards.So you think you know how to eat healthfully? Let’s see…how many boxes of crackers and bags of chips do you have lying around? How often do you cook white rice or refined pasta? Processed foods contain more endocrine disruptors (Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in humans) than you can shake a stick at, and youwant them out of your life.

2. Replace it with whole foods. Fresh, whole foods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains should be the focus of your diet.

3. Get on board with strength training. Let me guess: Whenever you’ve tried to lose weight in the past, you’ve done cardio…and more cardio, and more cardio. Cardio is great (in fact, I encourage it as “extra credit” toward weight loss), but it doesn’t help you maintain metabolism-boosting muscle and it doesn’t burn as many calories as circuit-training.

4. Know your target heart rate. To get the maximum calorie burn in the shortest possible time, I recommend exercising at a high intensity — 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.  To find out your target heart rate just visit this site:

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/healthtool-target-heart-rate-calculator

5. Keep track of what you eat. The formula for weight loss is simple: You need to burn more calories than you eat. That means you need to be aware of how many calories you put into your body so you can stay on track. I personally keep a food diary.  I record everything that goes in my mouth.  Pretty much if you eat it, record it.  I like the old fashion way, just writing it in a food journal, but I know many people who use Apps on their smart phones.  Apps such as “My Fitness Pal” and “Lose It”  Both these apps have thousands of foods that have already been added with their nutrition information.

6. Evaluate your habits. If you’ve tried to lose weight before but weren’t successful, ask yourself what was standing in your way. Are you an emotional eater? Do you take an all-or-nothing approach that sets you up for failure?  What I’ve done in the past is keep record of when you eat when NOT hungry.  I mean, if you get stressed out and find that you’re turning to food, write it down.  Write down the date/time and how you’re currently feeling.  This will help you realize how you’re feeling when you turn to food.  It’ll help evaluate if you’re actually hungry or if you’re hunger is triggered by something else.

The first thing you need to understand is how your emotions and your behaviors affect your weight. You need to commit all your mental resources toward change. Learn how to take control of negative self-image and poor self-esteem through journaling, positive affirmations, visualization, and behavior-modification techniques. It’s also important to build a support system and communicate with your family and friends so they know what you need and how best to support you. Identify temptations and “trigger foods” (foods that you have a hard time controlling) in your life so you can modify your daily routine and behavior. Next, you must learn how and what to eat. Learn how to make healthier choices and find out what the right types of foods are for your individual metabolism. Then educate yourself about calories. How many is your body burning daily? How many are in the foods you are eating? How many do you burn when you exercise? Starting to get the picture? Weight loss is simple math. A pound is 3,500 calories — so to lose a pound you will need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in. It’s “calories in” versus “calories out.”

This is where the exercise comes in. Exercise is the best way to get those “calories out” and burn fat. Get yourself acquainted with exercise. Find out the most effective ways to work out in order to burn the most calories. It’s also important to learn where your heart rate should be when doing resistance training and cardio, the proper form and purpose for each exercise you perform, and how to modify and progress your fitness routine to prevent plateau.

15 of the WORST “Diet Tips”

Came across this article on the MSN website.  Found it pretty interesting, thought I’d share.

Here are 15 of the worst diet tips you can believe:

1. Fat makes you fat!!: Fats in chips, cookies, and greasy foods can increase cholesterol and your risk for certain diseases. But good fats, like nuts, avocados, and salmon, protect your heart and support your overall health

2. Stop snacking to lose weight. Eating in small, frequent amounts is a great way to curb hunger, control portion sizes, and make better nutritional choices, says Mike Clancy, CDN, a personal trainer at David Barton’s Gym in New York City. ‘Smarter snacks like nuts, fruits, and yogurt will keep your energy levels high throughout the day.’

3. A calorie is a calorie—and you should count them. ‘Not all calories are the same,’ says Clancy. ‘The type of calories, the timing of the calories, and the quality of the calories can significantly alter the effect of the calories on the body,’ he says. ‘Food creates reactions within our bodies and the type of food you eat is an important component in diets.’

For example, 50 calories of an apple will cause a different internal reaction than 50 calories of cheesecake, says Clancy. ‘The quality of the calories is also important because the chemicals, hormones, and general byproducts that are found within processed food effects the absorption of real nutrients.’ Quality calories are nutrient dense, like spinach. Calories that don’t contain any nutrients—also known as ’empty’ calories—are like the ones found in French fries.

Bottom line: Calories are important for understanding portion control, but they’re not the only factor in good nutrition, says Clancy.

4. Load up on protein.

Why that’s BS: Sorry, caveman lovers: eating lots of protein is not the key to healthy weight loss. Why? The body needs three macronutrients: Protein, carbohydrates, and fat, says Rania Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist and author of the forthcoming The One One One Diet (published by Rodale, which also publishes Prevention), and focusing exclusively on protein for weight loss makes no sense. ‘You not only deprive your body of fibre and other antioxidants found in healthy carbohydrates—whole grains, fruits, and veggies—but you also run the risk of eating too much fat in your diet which can lead to high cholesterol and triglycerides.”

5. You burn more calories working out on an empty stomach.

Why that’s BS: Working out with or without food in your stomach doesn’t affect calorie burn—but skipping meals before sweat sessions may result in muscle loss, finds a study published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal. And before you settle for a sports drink, know this: While a quick sip of sugar energizes your muscles, the drink’s other artificial additives can be harmful to your health, says Sanda Moldovan, DDS, MS, CNS, a diplomat of the American Academy of Periodontology.

Instead, go for naturally sweet fruit, like bananas, peaches, and mangos before your sweat session. Or try an ounce of dark chocolate for the same caffeine fix you get from a half cup of coffee. ‘Chocolate also contains feel-good substances, called neurotransmitters, which are the same release during a ‘runner’s high,’ ‘ says Moldova

6. Eat every 2 hours to rev your metabolism.

Why that’s BS: Going four or five (or even eight!) hours between normally-sized meals will not make your metabolism slow down, says Monica Reinagel, MS, a nutritionist based in Baltimore. ‘Eating more frequently may help stave off hunger, which can help you fight temptation. But if you want to do this, you have to be careful to keep your meals and snacks really small,’ she says. ‘Otherwise, eating every 2 hours can simply lead to taking in too many calories over the course of the day.’

7. Swear off forbidden foods.

Why that’s BS: ‘We tend to be in ‘all or nothing’ mode when we diet and never seem to find a middle ground,’ says Batayneh. ‘You have to realize that you can’t have pizza, French fries, and chocolate cake all in the same day, but—with careful planning—you can enjoy these foods when they are presented to you. Just don’t go for seconds and share if you can.’ In fact, research shows that moderately indulging in ‘forbidden foods’ is what keeps people from bingeing on the stuff.

8. Drink your fruits and veggies.

Why that’s BS: While shoving five servings of fruits and vegetables into a juicer seems like a simple and efficient way to get the daily recommended amounts, it comes at a cost, says Batayneh. ‘Unfortunately, juicing fruits and vegetables removes one of their most valuable components: fibre. Found in the pulp, skin and seeds, fibre’s list of benefits ranges from filling you up to maintaining stable blood sugar levels.’ If you’re juicing more sweet stuff (fruit and carrots) than green stuff you’re also going to seriously spike your sugar. (Some juicers allow you to keep in the pulp, so that’s another option.)

9. Eat as few calories as possible.

Why that’s BS: ‘Ugh, awful tip,’ says Chrissy Carroll, MPH, RD, founder of Inspired Wellness Solutions, LLC. ‘When you cut your calories too low, your body acts as if it’s going into starvation mode and your metabolism slows down.’ But a reasonable goal, adds Carroll, is to cut approximately 500 calories each day through diet and exercise, which will lead to a healthy rate of weight loss of one pound per week

10. Say no to nuts.

Why that’s BS: Yes, nuts are calorie dense, but that doesn’t mean they can’t—or shouldn’t—easily be incorporated into a healthy diet when eaten in proper portions, says Carroll. A 2011 study in the Journal of The American College of Nutrition backs this up, with researchers finding that nut consumers, especially tree-nut consumers (think almonds, pecans and pistachios) had a lower BMI and smaller waist circumference compared to non-consumers.

Your move: remove a less nutrient-dense food from your meal plan and incorporate heart-healthy nuts instead.

11. Schedule regular detoxes.

Why that’s BS: ‘Your digestive system, kidneys, and liver are all actually fairly amazing at ‘detoxing’ your body on a regular basis,’ says Carroll. ‘There’s no need for special cleanses or juices.”

12. Eschew fatty egg yolks.

Why that’s BS: Let’s crack this case for good: A study from the University of Connecticut found that eating dietary cholesterol through egg yolks can actually boost a person’s HDL, or ‘good,’ cholesterol. ‘Compared to egg whites, which offer nothing more than protein, the egg yolk contains 100% of the carotenoids, essential fatty acids, vitamins A, E, D, and K,’ says Batayneh. ‘They also contain choline, which boosts brain and liver health, as well as reduces inflammation.’

In a way, eggs are the perfect food, says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, manager of wellness nutrition services for the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. ‘Enjoying them in moderation—less than 4 to 6 per week—is a perfectly healthy option.’

13. Your burn more calories eating your food raw.

Why that’s BS: ‘Many studies show that cooking method—heating, grilling, and microwaving, etc—makes a nutritional difference,’ says Kirkpatrick. ‘So while some food may be best eaten raw, that’s not the case for all foods.’

Oh, and if the whole myth about ‘negative calories’ (you know, the dubious idea that just the act of eating certain foods burns more calories then you actually take in from those foods) draws you to raw foods, think again. ‘Some foods do require more energy to digest than others, but to live on these so called ‘negative calorie foods’ results in unsustainable weight loss and can also slow your metabolism down, as well as break down muscle,’ says Batayneh

14. Too much sugary fruit makes you fat.

Why that’s BS: The sugar in fruit is not what makes you fat, since it’s unprocessed sugar found in its most natural state, says Psota. ‘Also, cutting fruit out of your diet is a poor choice because of all the fibre that you would be missing. Fibre keeps you full and the nutrients in the fruit nourish your body, which far outweighs the concern of natural sugar that you are consuming when eating, say, an apple.’

15. Chew mint gum to eat less.

Why that’s BS: Not to burst your bubble, but the lingering taste of mint can actually reduce the palatability of healthy food, finds researchers from the University of Buffalo. That means that when you spit the gum out and go for a snack, that candy bar’s likely to look—and taste—a lot more appealing than a carrot.