Meal Prep Containers – A Helpful Way to Manage Portion Sizes

When it comes to getting fit and losing weight, your journey begins in the kitchen.

Our diet determines how much weight we are able to lose and also gives us the ability to maintain a healthy weight.

For years meal prep containers have been the standard used by fitness enthusiasts.

Have you ever heard of the saying "Six pack abs start in the kitchen"?

Continue reading "Meal Prep Containers – A Helpful Way to Manage Portion Sizes"

Cacao Nibs Health Benefits – My New Favorite Superfood

cacao beans

We've had cacao nibs in our cabinet for awhile and I've eaten them sprinkled on top of my oatmeal in the morning. I know they have health benefits, but I never took the time to find out what they were. After doing a little bit of research, I was quite amazed at how awesome they really are. You may be surprised as well at how much nutrition is packed into 1-ounce of cacao nibs.

If you are not familiar with cacao nibs, they are cacao beans which are roasted, removed from their husks, and broken into smaller pieces. Essentially, you are eating raw chocolate! However, unlike the processed chocolate that we are used to, cacao nibs are bitter in taste.

You can use them to top your oatmeal, desserts, or blend them into your smoothies. You can bake with them as well as eat them right from the bag. They make a great snack mixed in with some trail mix. Whatever way you can get in 1 - 2 ounces of this superfood will work.


Viva Labs Organic Raw Cacao Nibs, 1 lb/16 oz
Viva Labs Organic Raw Cacao Nibs, 1 lb/16 oz

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Cacao Nibs Health Benefits

I was blown away at some of the health benefits of cacao nibs. So much so that I am now making it a point to consume at least one ounce a day. Let's take a look at some of these awesome benefits below.

Antioxidants

One ounce of cacao nibs has 40 times more antioxidants than blueberries. Antioxidants fight off free radicals that can damage our cells. This damage can lead to premature aging as well as diseases such as cancer. Blueberries are well known for their high levels of antioxidants so having 40 times more in cacao nibs is really amazing!

Potassium

A diet low in potassium can lead to health issues such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Don't fear because a one-ounce serving of cacao nibs contains 183 mg of potassium. What an easy way to increase your potassium intake.

Fiber

If you are not getting enough fiber in your diet, you can start with eating cacao nibs. One serving has 9 grams of fiber. That is 36% of the daily recommendation.

Calcium

Would you believe that cacao has more calcium than cow's milk? That is great for those who do not like drinking cow's milk but are concerned about their calcium intake.

These are some of the health benefits of cacao. There are many more and another huge plus are the cardiovascular health benefits which are due to compounds called polyphenols. Polyphenols serve as antioxidants. They provide cardiovascular health benefits by inhibiting blood platelets from clotting. They may even reduce LDL or "bad" cholesterol and increase HDL or "good" cholesterol.

Are you ready to jump on the cacao nibs bandwagon? Are you already on board? How do you use them?

Avoid Weight Gain on a Cruise Ship

i-pizzaI have always wanted to experience the fun of being on a cruise ship and stopping at various ports of call. Family members of mine have been on cruises and besides all of the cool places they've visited, the second most talked about topic was the food!

Cruise ships appear to me to be a giant city on a ship. They have all types of restaurants, some being buffets, and some open 24/7! There is no shortage of food on a cruise.

That is why the average weight gain for many people during a cruise is 7 to 10 pounds! Being surrounded by food galore, including high-calorie beverages (soda, coffee drinks, cocktails, etc.) can seriously add on the pounds if you're not careful.

If you are about to vacation on a cruise ship in the near future, here are some tips to keep weight gain at bay while still enjoying yourself at every meal.

First, Let's Take a Look at Cruise Ship Life

Cruise ships look awesome! First off, they are huge. They have all sorts of activities to keep you busy between stops. Stopping at ports of call look amazing as well. I can imagine leaving the ship and visiting someplace new and exploring.

I came across this cool cruise ship video by Joshua Tongol (I subscribe to his channel on YouTube) and his wife taking a cruise on a Carnival cruise line.

They did a great job at capturing what it's like to vacation on a ship:

Besides all of the things to do, have you noticed all of the food available? All of their meals looked scrumptious and a bulk of the video features them enjoying a lot of delicious looking food.

There is even one part of the video in which they mention a restaurant offering pizza 24 hours a day! Pizza is one of my favorite junk foods. How difficult would it be to resist 24 hours of pizza while you're vacationing on a cruise ship?

There never seems to be a time on a cruise ship where food isn't readily available!


Cruise Luggage Tags Holders 8 Pc for Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruise Ships (8 - Version 2 with Steel Loops)

How to Pace Yourself During Meal Time

Being on a cruise can be so much fun and part of the enjoyment are the meal times. You will be bombarded by all types of food and it is no wonder that many people leave the cruise 7 to 10 pounds heavier than when they arrived.

There is no reason not to enjoy the variety of food available. You'll simply need a plan before diving in. These suggestions are from the viewpoint of eating buffet style meals. However, you can still adapt it to meals you order off of a menu.

salad

First Course - Make Salad Your First Meal

People often make the mistake of going for the heavy carb-filled food first like breads and pasta. If you start off with such items, you're sure to have eaten way more than you should.

Instead, grab a plate and head directly for the salad bar. I can almost guarantee that the salad area will have the shortest line. Fill your plate with lots of leafy greens and other vegetables. Don't fill your salad with cheese and heavy dressing. Choose a lighter dressing option like a vinaigrette.

If ordering from a menu, keep the same idea. A house salad is typically a safe bet so long as you stick to a light dressing.

Second Course - Lean Protein

If you're a meat eater, now it's time to select your protein. This should be easy as most buffets/restaurants offer grilled versions of most protein. Opt for grilled fish or chicken. Avoid obvious poor choices like battered, deep fried meat or greasy fast-food burgers.

Be mindful of your sides as well. Always search out the healthier options. For example, sweet potatoes (not fried), whole wheat pasta/bread, etc.

Third Course - Dessert

By this point, you should feel pretty full. Yet, there are those of us who have what I jokingly refer to as "the dessert stomach" - an extra area in the stomach where there's always room for dessert.

Needless to say, that is a silly notion, but if you feel like dessert then fruit is an obvious healthier option. If you want something more tempting, then look for desserts that are served in smaller portions. Most buffets serve desserts like cake and cookies in smaller serving sizes which is great.

Burn Calories on the Cruise

stationary-bike

What is awesome about cruise ships is that they have gyms on board.  I've even seen some that offer cardio classes, yoga classes, and more. There are lots of things to do to burn calories on the ship.

Take the time every day of your vacation to get in at least 30 minutes of intense movement. You don't necessarily need the gym to workout. You can find enough space to perform bodyweight exercises and do 3 rounds of a bodyweight circuit.

Burning calories can help balance out what you may eat on the cruise. If you end up eating more at one meal than you had hoped, do some extra physical activity later in the day or first thing in the morning.

Physical Fitness on a Cruise Ship

A Carnival Cruise offers some of the following fitness related features:

  • Jogging track
  • Fitness center (gym)
  • Fitness classes
  • SkyFitness (gym on top of the cruise ship)
  • Pools
  • WaterWorks (water park)
  • Dodgeball
  • SkyCourse (obstacle course in the sky)

Other Helpful Tips to Avoid Cruise Ship Weight Gain

Portion Control

When it comes down to it, portion control will serve you well on a cruise ship. Realize that you won't be deprived of anything when it comes to meal time. Portion your meals and you can still enjoy many of the delights aboard the cruise.

Bring Along Your Favorite Nutritional Supplement or Meal Replacement

If you're going to pack a healthy meal replacement shake in your luggage, might I recommend Shakeology? It can be used as a meal replacement but also as a healthy snack in between meals that may help you from feeling starved and overeating at your next meal.

They come in convenient travel sized packets and you don't need a blender to mix them up. Any blender bottle will do.


meal replacement shake
Shakeology
Shakeology is your daily dose of dense nutrition. It's simply the most delicious, superfood-packed protein shake on the planet. Shakeology contains more than 70 super-nutritious ingredients: Proteins, Vitamins, and Minerals to help reduce hunger and food cravings. Antioxidants and Phytonutrients to help detoxify and protect the body against free radical damage.

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Your Turn

Are you a cruise ship veteran? Do you have any advice on how to keep the extra pounds off on a cruise ship vacation?

Lose the Sweet Tooth – 5 Ways for Getting Rid of Your Sugar Eating Addiction

jellybeans
© Photographer: Daniel Gilbey | Agency: Dreamstime.com

We’ve become a nation addicted to sugars. Sugars, plural, include high-fructose corn syrup, table sugar (sucrose), glucose and fructose and the synonyms for all these: grape sugar, cane sugar and the rest. All provide four empty calories per gram, leading, as most believe, to the current obesity epidemic.

What makes getting rid of sugar consumption so difficult is that most people don’t have the slightest idea on the amounts of sugar they consume day-to-day. Fortunately, here are a few things you need to do to lose the sweet and get your health back without much hassle.



Keep hydrated

The fastest and most efficient nutritional change you can make right now is proper hydration. As you may know, dehydration halts performance in the gym and the office, leading to serious health troubles – research shows that 5 percent dehydration can decrease function up to 30 percent.

Furthermore, it can also negatively change the way your body stores fat and refurbish muscle mass.

Therefore, make sure to get plenty of water throughout the day. Drink it as soon as you wake up in the morning and keep your body well –hydrated throughout the day – carry a bottle of water if you have to.

Eat low G.I food

The first step toward sugar-free recovery is taking control over blood sugar levels. And the best way to do so is via following the glycemic index (G.I.) diet. According to research, foods ranking low on the glycemic index increase blood sugar levels by a smaller amount over a prolonged period. On the hand, foods with high rankings (think: sugars, processed foods, sodas, etc), immediately boost blood sugar levels, leading to hunger pangs and cravings for more sweets and unhealthy eating.

Therefore, get a glycemic index list and use it to plan your meals. If you’re looking to lose weight, aim for foods ranking below 60 for the best results.

Make the right food swaps

For most people, opting for a sugar-free diet is tricky. Nowadays, sugar is process and “disguised” in most of the foods we eat. But good nutrition is not about sacrificing good eats. You can still eat plenty of delicious meals while keeping your blood sugar at bay, even losing weight in the process.

Here are a few food swaps you need to consider:

  • Fruits juice. Instead of opting for the typical glass of fruit juice (25g of sugar load), try eating whole fruit, at least you’ll be getting a bulky dose of fiber with the fructose.
  • Bread. White bread is a big no-no when it comes to keeping blood sugar levels at bay.
  • Therefore, try instead sourdough, which is low on sugars and still first-rate toasted with a poached egg.
  • Cereals. Don’t let the labels fool you, even the healthy cereals options, such as muesli and flakes, score high on sugars. Instead, eat porridge which is soaring in vitamins B and E and low on sugars.

Start the day right

Protein is key for muscle growth and recovery, but it can also help you regulate blood sugar levels, thus ward off the sweet tooth. According to many studies, consuming protein with a meal leaves you feeling fuller for longer—especially breakfast as it’s the most important meal of the day.

Therefore, instead of opting for the traditional high-carb breakfast, such as cereal and fruit juice, try eating a nutritious meal high on protein like eggs, nut butters and protein shakes.

Go heavy on vegs. You can’t eat too much vegs, period. Vegetables are the staple of healthy diet – especially vegetables grown above ground. These types are packed with vitamins, photochemical and fiber, and will help you feel fuller for longer without boosting your calorie intake.

As a results, make sure your plates are half-full of vegs at every meal. Get plenty of cruciferous vegetables such as kale, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and spinach. Go moderate on fruits as their high fructose nature can lead to blood sugar boosts and weight gain. By making these right choices, you’ll definitely slim down and get the healthiest body ever.

Here you have it! Now it’s your turn to take into action what you’ve just learned. The mere of reading an article on the internet but not implementing what you’ve learned into real life is futile.

It’s when you start practicing the above guidelines that real change starts to take place. Therefore, start now; think baby steps. And as you gradually progress forward, you’ll be amazed with the results you’ll definitely get.

About the author:
David DACK is a runner and an established author on weight loss, motivation and fitness.

If you want more free tips from David DACK, then go to http://runnersblueprint.com/weightlossrunning.html to download his 30-Pages "Weight Loss By Running" FREE eBook.

Carb Cycling Works? – What it is and How to Do it

Do you want to know what carb cycling is about and if it is right for you? I have heard the term before and wanted to understand what it means and how it works. Surprisingly, I learned that it is a practice which is used among bodybuilders, fitness models, athletes, or anyone who is trying to reduce their body fat to a very low percentage in order to achieve the "ripped" look.

A basic definition of carb cycling is below [source: Wikipedia]

A cyclic ketogenic diet (or carb-cycling) is a low-carbohydrate diet with intermittent periods of high or moderate carbohydrate consumption. This is a form of the general Ketogenic diet that is used by bodybuilders and fitness athletes in general, as a way to maximize fat loss while maintaining the ability to perform high-intensity exercise.

Why Carb Cycling May Not Be for You

The purpose of cycling with carbs is to burn fat while performing high-intensity exercise, all without sacrificing muscle mass. If you are not needing to have a very low body fat percentage, chances are this method is unnecessary and should even be avoided. Most people who practice this method are already in great shape and good health. They also already have a low body fat percentage and typically have a ripped physique. Thus, the reason it is more commonly used amongst bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness models.

It requires discipline as there are no "cheat days" allowed. The way the cycling works is to perform it in a four or five day routine. The four day cycle is usually three days of low-carbs followed by one day of high-carbs. The five day cycle is typically three days of low-carbs and two days of high-carbs.

Any Old Carbs Won't Do

Those who do use this method are not consuming what we often refer to as "bad carbs." Bad carbs are simple carbohydrates, for example: bread, refined sugar, cake, cookies, etc. The good carbs (or clean carbs) are the complex carbohydrates which include food items such as brown rice, yams, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal.

After reading up on this topic, it seems to me that this is an advanced method of dieting and when done properly, it helps to achieve a very low body fat percentage without losing muscle. It doesn't appear to be a necessity for the average health enthusiast but may be worth looking into if you are wanting the fitness model type of physique. I recommend doing more research and speaking with a professional before attempting it.

Carb Cycle
Carb Cycle

Sale Price: $12.99