Easter is going to turn up, whether you like it or not. Chocolate and hot cross buns are all around; in every shop and TV commercial. It’s enough to melt away your good intentions and, with this much pressure, binging feels almost inevitable.
Of course, chocolate is available all year round. The trouble seems to come when there’s too much chocolate, as is the case at this time of year, which leads to too much temptation, eating too much in one go, then feeling miserable because you over indulged. The worst parts of a binge are the feelings of guilt and failure that you feel afterwards. So let’s fix that.
Let’s accept that Easter will mean chocolate indulgence on one level or another. Here’s how to make the best of it.
- Try to discourage family and friends from buying chocolate for you. This puts you back in control of how much you have.
- Ideally, you’ll want to choose the darker chocolate eggs or chocolate selection. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the less room there is for sugar. Aim for over 70%.
- Quality is important. Darker eggs from higher quality suppliers, like Green & Black’s, have less sugar, so won’t throw out your blood sugar as much.
- Don’t to eat too much in one go with the intention of getting ‘rid’ of the chocolate sooner. Eating a whole egg will lead to an energy crash later on, not to mention, for many, feelings of disappointment in yourself that you ’gave in’ or ‘failed’ with your diet.
- It’s healthier all round, both for your body and mindset so have a small amount of chocolate more regularly and try to cancel out the sugar rush by eating a small handful of nuts at the same time (protein slows the speed at which sugar enters the bloodstream).
- Save Easter eggs for pudding. Eating chocolate on an empty stomach spikes blood sugar levels. Have yours after a protein and veg-based meal.
Plan so you can make the right choices. Don’t give yourself the excuse that there was nothing else to eat. Ensure you have plenty of your usual healthy foods to hand.
Make sure your decision to eat chocolate is a conscious one. “Some chocolate would be nice, but I choose not to have one right now”. Don’t take orders from an Easter egg! Choosing puts you back in control. Remember, the responsibility is yours. You are the one who puts food in your mouth, even if it sometimes feels as though it is out of your control, it never is.
If the Easter egg (and everything that goes with it) genuinely plays a big part in your family’s tradition, consider doing something a bit different this year. Here are some great alternatives to the traditional Easter egg hunt https://www.parenthub.com.au/education/easter-egg-hunt-alternatives/.
Consider that even the healthiest people over indulge – but they don’t beat themselves up about it. They just go back to eating normally.
Even after an Easter indulgence, you can still rescue the situation and stop it turning into a binge, sabotaging all your good work. Say: “It’s done, it’s in the past and I choose to move on”. Easter is ONE DAY, that’s all. Don’t be on the rollercoaster for the rest of the month.
But most of all, enjoy the chocolate you do have and you know that the only way you can feel good in body and soul about it is to eat consciously. Don’t forget that small amounts of the best quality, dark chocolate has the following benefits: anti ageing, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, is packed with antioxidants and important minerals like iron, potassium, zinc and selenium. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine; the same chemical your brain creates when you’re falling in love …
PS If you are the kind of person who KNOWS you will have a problem with the Easter binge because this kind of bingeing and self sabotage is what you do or you need some help to get healthy
What are your mornings like?
Do you cherish your mornings? Are you always rushing to get things done? Do you have any good morning habits that you follow?
Did you know that having good morning habits that you follow can help improve your day?
So, what is a habit?
A habit can be defined as a regular practice or routine or pattern done on a daily basis.
One of the features of a habit is that it is automatic, you may not always recognize habits in your behaviour. What you continually do becomes a part of you.
Studies published in 2014 in the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Journal show that about 40 percent of people’s day to day activities are performed each day in almost the same situation. Good habits were found to be beneficial (1)
Here are 5 good morning habits to help improve your day…
1) Drink Water
Drinking water first thing in the morning when you wake up is one of the good morning habits to help improve your day. It can help stimulate your liver to flush out toxins, cleanse your intestines and help keep your digestive system healthy.
Water is vital for your continual existence.
You can survive with no food for months but without consuming water after a few days, you will not survive.
Consuming water before breakfast can reduce the number of calories consumed during your meal and help with weight control. A study published in 2008 in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that in middle-aged and older individuals, drinking water before breakfast reduced the total number of calories consumed during the meal by 13% (2)
TIP: Aim to drink 2 glasses of warm water immediately you wake up.
Meditation is also one of the good morning habits to help you improve your day.
It will help you purposeful take a break from the thoughts that are continually flowing in and out of your mind, you will feel relaxed, find inner peace and ready to start your day.
Scientific evidence published in 2015 in the David Lynch Foundation Journal showed that meditation had powerful long-lasting reductions in stress and continuous improvements in health (3).
Meditation can also help to keep your blood pressure healthy.
A randomized control trial published in 2009 in the American Journal of Hypertension showed that a meditation program decreased the blood pressure of university students with decreased psychological distress and helped them to cope better (4).
TIP: Find somewhere quiet to meditate for about 5 to 20 minutes every morning to help relax your thoughts.
3) If you are having breakfast… make sure you have a protein rich breakfast
Having a protein rich breakfast is one of the good morning habits to help you improve your day. It will help to keep your blood sugar stable.
Consuming refined foods such as cereals, muffins and bread will spike your blood sugar and increase your insulin level and leave you feeling hungry and you will keep eating more…
A study published in 2013 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that the consumption of a protein-rich breakfast can make you really full and reduce snacking (5).
Some protein-rich foods to have for breakfast are eggs, fish, nut butters and a good quality protein shake.
4) Get up at the same time every morning
Getting up at the same time every morning is also one of the good morning habits to help improve your day. It will help to stabilize your body clock.
Your body clock controls a large amount of your body’s normal functions including your sleep, behaviour, activities and hormones.
To get up at the same time every morning, it is also important to go to bed at the same time every day.
5) Set your goals and review your tasks for the day
Setting your goals and reviewing your tasks for the day is one of the good morning habits to improve your day. It will help you set your focus and give you direction for the rest of your day.
TIP: Take at least 10-15 minutes to set your goals and review your tasks for the day.
In conclusion, it is important for you to have good morning habits. Focus on what really makes your mornings better.
- Society for Personality and Social Psychology, “How we form habits, change existing ones“. ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2014
- Davy B M, Dennis E A, Dengo A L, Wilson K L, Davy K P (2008) Water consumption reduces energy intake at a breakfast meal in obese older adults. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108: 1236-1239. PUBMED.
- David Lynch Foundation, Research – Scientific evidence that Transcendental Meditation works, 2015.
4) Nidich S I, Rainforth M V, Haaga D A, hagelin J, Salerno J W, Travis F, Tanner M, Gaylord-King C, Grosswail S, Schneider R H (2009) A randomized controlled trial on effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on blood pressure, psychological distress, and coping in young adults. American Journal of Hypertension, 22: 1326-1331. PUBMED
5. Leidy H J, Ortinau L C, Douglas S M, Hoertel H A (2013) Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal and neural signals controlling energyintake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 97: 677-688. PUBMED.
More and more people are now avoiding gluten and as a result the sale of gluten free food is also on the rise. So, are there any benefits of going gluten free? Let’s take a look…
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains like rye, wheat and barley. Gluten is also regularly hidden in a majority of processed foods such as low fat and fat-free products, refined grains (pizza, pasta, spaghetti, bread, biscuits, cakes and pastries), soups, sauces, sweets and various ready-made foods.
About 1 in 100 people have celiac disease.
For individuals with celiac disease, the consumption of gluten triggers an immune response that damages the microvilli of the small intestine, disrupting their digestion and preventing the absorption of nutrients.
A study published in 2008 in the Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology Journal stated that celiac disease is a disorder caused by the ingestion of gluten and this causes inflammation (1).
People with celiac disease would benefit from a gluten free diet. A majority of people without celiac disease are also deciding from a lifestyle perspective to adopt a gluten free diet.
So, what are the benefits of gluten free? Here are 3 benefits of gluten free…
1) Gluten free can help you lose weight
Helping you lose weight is one of the benefits of gluten free. Majority of refined carbohydrates such as bread, pizza, pasta, spaghetti, pastries etc. contain gluten. When you consume these refined carbohydrates, it causes a quick rise in your blood sugar level.
This sugar is stored in your liver and muscles and the rest is stored as fat. Constantly eating these refined foods will keep your blood sugar level elevated, causing you to store more fat.
A study published in 2005 in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that there was a link between eating refined carbohydrates and being overweight. The study also found that overweight individuals were more prone to eating excess refined carbohydrates (2).
The type of carbohydrate you eat is important.
Good carbohydrates such as vegetables and some fruit will not cause a quick rise in your blood sugar, preventing you from storing fat but bear in mind that it is important to eat more vegetables and less fruit.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2716″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]2) Gluten free can help keep your brain healthy
Helping to keep your brain healthy is one of the benefits of gluten free. Foods that contain gluten promote inflammation.
Chronic inflammation anywhere in your body can cause destruction on your brain.
A research published in the Oxford Journals suggested that food proteins like gluten contain opiod peptides that may go from your gut to your brain and cause symptoms of various brain disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease (3).
3) Gluten free can help to keep your thyroid glands healthy
Helping to keep your thyroid glands healthy is one of the benefits of gluten free. The structure of gliadin, the protein part of gluten is strongly similar to that of your thyroid gland. When you eat foods containing gluten, gliadin triggers an immune response that causes damage to the lining of your small intestine and disrupts your digestion. The antibodies also cause your immune system to attack your thyroid glands.
A study published in the Hepatogastroenterology Journal found a link between thyroid disease and gluten intolerance, it stated that if you have an autoimmune thyroid disease and you consume foods with gluten, your immune system attacks your thyroid glands (4)
There are numerous benefits to going gluten free but it is important to bear in mind that, because a food is labelled gluten free, it does not automatically make it healthy.
You should still always read the labels of gluten free foods.
- Quaka-Kchaou A, Ennaifer R, elloumi H, Gargouri D, Hefaiedh R, KochIef A, Romani M, Kharrat J, Ghorbel A (2008) Autoimmune Diseases in Coeliac Disease: Effect of Gluten Exposure. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, 1: 169-172 PUBMED.
- Ma Y, Olendzki B, Chiriboga D, Hebert J R, Li Y, Li W, Campbell M, Gendreau K, Ockene I S (2005) Association between Dietary Carbohydrates and Body Weight. American Journal of Epidemiology, 161: 359-367. OXFORD JOURNALS.
- Dohan F C (1988) Genetic Hypothesis of Idiopathic Schizophrenia: Its Exorphin Connection. Oxford Journals Schizophreniabulletin, 14: 489-494.
- Akcay M N, Akcay G (2003) The presence of the antigliadin antibodies in autoimmune thyroid disease. Hepatogastroenterology, 50 Suppl2:cclxxix-ccixxx
Do you experience ongoing hunger even if you have eaten so much? Did you know that what you actually eat controls how full you feel? Let’s take a look…
A study published in the Nutrition Research Review 2013 found that there are certain foods that you can eat that will fill you up, avoid the hunger and make you eat less.
Here are three tips to stay full for longer.
1. Eat Protein With Every Meal
Eating foods high in protein with every meal is one of the tips to stay full for longer. Protein is one of three main macro-nutrients required by the human body.
It is broken down into amino acids which your body needs for building muscles, balancing your hormones, neurological and mood support, digestion and many more. Protein helps to keep your body going.
It is the macro-nutrient that fills you up the most.
Your body needs twenty amino acids. It can create 11 of them but you need to get the other nine, which are called essential amino acids, from your food.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2008 found that protein increases fullness to a greater extent than carbohydrate or fat and makes it easier for you to eat less.
Food sources high in protein include:
– Wild fish – salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc.
– Free-range eggs
– Free-range/organic chicken or turkey
– Whey protein/pea protein
– Yogurt – Raw milk[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2708″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]
2. Eat foods high in dietary fiber
Eating foods high in dietary fiber are one of the tips to stay full for longer. Dietary fiber is a complex carbohydrate which your body cannot digest; it passes through your digestive system and helps to keep it healthy.
There are two types of dietary fiber: insoluble and soluble.
The two types of dietary fibre in your diet provide bulk; they take longer to move through your digestive system so it will keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition 2000 found that dietary fiber has unique physical and chemical properties that provide early and prolonged signals of fullness and satisfaction.
It is very essential to make sure you are drinking enough water when you are including fiber in your diet. Fiber absorbs water so if you are not drinking enough water you can get constipated.
Food sources high in dietary fiber include:
– Vegetables: broccoli, lettuce, carrot, peas, cucumber, kale etc.
– Fruits: Berries, apple, avocado, etc.
– Legumes: beans, lentils, etc.
– Oats[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2709″ img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]
3. Eat Foods With A High Water Content
Eating foods with a high water content are one of the tips to stay full for longer. Nearly all foods contain some water but some foods such as whole, unprocessed foods contain more water for example vegetables and fruits are made up of about 80-98% of water.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999 examined the effects of water combined with food such as soups on fullness. It found out that eating food that has high water content effectively increased fullness and reduced the need for more food.
Healthy homemade soups made with lots of vegetables and good quality protein is an excellent food that is high in water.
The Bottom Line
Foods that are not processed are generally more filling than foods that are processed. Always include protein and dietary fiber with all your meals to help you stay full for longer.
Hetherington M M, Cunningham K, Dye L, Gibson E L, Gregersen N T, Halford J C, Lawton C L, Lluch A, Mela D J, Van Trip H C (2013) Potential benefits of satiety to the consumer: scientific considerations. Nutrition Research Review, 26: 22-38.
Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes R D, Wolfe R R, Astrup A, Westerterp-Plantenga M (2008) Protein, weight management, and satiety. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87: 1558S-1561S.
Burton-Freeman B (2000) Dietary fiber and energy regulation. Journal of Nutrition, 130: 272S-275S.
Rolls B J, Bell E, Thorwart M L (1999) Water incorporated into a food but not served with a food decreases energy intake in lean women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 70: 448-455
Achieving long-term health and energy is a balancing act. Quite simply, what you put into your mind may have as much of an impact as the food and supplements you feed your body.
Many studies have been conducted on the mind-body connection. What we know for sure is that a positive attitude works – when we remember to nurture it.
Wholesome food, avoiding sugar and toxins are obvious tools for great health but how should you deal with the consequences of negative thinking and stress?
Experts rate exercise, sufficient sleep, controlling negative thoughts and building a strong social support as some of the best ways to decrease stress and boost immunity – so paying attention to your feelings and needs is as vital as drinking enough water and avoiding junk food.
Here Are 5 Winning Ways to Promote Good Mind-Body Health
The release of endorphins during exercise promotes a sense of wellbeing, which has the added benefit of boosting your immune system.
During exercise, the lymphatic system – a network of tissues and organs that helps your body to eliminate toxins and waste – is mobilised. Its main role is to transport lymph fluid, which contains infection-fighting white blood cells. Unlike the blood, which is transported by the heart, lymph fluid only moves if you do.
A recent study from a North Carolina university showed that people who exercised for five or more days weekly experienced 43% fewer days of upper respiratory infections.
Walking, running or any other muscle-moving activity also dramatically reduces stress by ‘working off steam’ when you are upset or angry. With the release of endorphins, your body receives a natural mood boost, resulting in reduced stress levels, which in turn puts less pressure on your immune system.
- GET ENOUGH SLEEP
According to an American Psychological Association study, stress is what keeps more than 40% of adults awake at night. To aim for the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night, avoid caffeine, digital screens and try to turn in at the same time each evening.
- FOCUS ON SELF-CARE
Make an effort to do something nice for yourself every day. Neglecting your own needs adds unnecessary stress to the system, resulting in increased vulnerability to illness.
Women, in particular, tend to put their own needs last, especially if they’re caring for children and/or elderly parents. If you battle with guilt when you take an hour off to read, go for a manicure or have a coffee with a friend, remind yourself that if your bucket is empty, you’ll have nothing left to give anyone else. Simple, but effective.
You cut in half the chances of catching a cold by meditating. A University of Wisconsin study showed that people who practised mindfulness – a type of meditation or mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, while accepting feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations – noted 13 fewer illnesses and took 51 fewer sick days. Researchers concluded that this reduced the physical effects of stress, which is known to weaken the immune system.
- IT TAKES A VILLAGE…
Building strong social connections has proven psychological and physiological benefits. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, having a ‘support group’ – no matter how big or small – boosts immunity by creating ‘stress buffers’.
Being able to share stress or concerns with close family or friends provides an opportunity for outside support and advice, which alleviates a sense of being alone in your situation.
Ongoing stress is also a contributing factor to many chronic diseases, and is seriously not helpful if you are trying to lose weight.
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” – Jack Kornfield, American author and Buddhist mindfulness pioneer.
THE BOTTOM LINE
It is important for you to master your thoughts. Your emotions does affect your health so be more mindful and aware of your thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Do you turn to food for comfort whenever you are upset, angry, stressed, bored, exhausted or lonely? There is a difference between mouth hunger and stomach hunger. Your emotions have an unbelievable power to influence your food choice.