The research continues to stack up against our biggest dietary enemy…refined sugar. Processed sugar is the cause of many modern diseases and plays a hefty role in several major health problems including fatty liver disease, obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and asthma.
20 Reasons Why Refined Sugar Is Bad For Your Health
Can you guess America’s number one New Year’s Resolution year after year? If you guessed losing weight you’re 100% correct!
So what is the best way to lose weight and keep it off?
Many believe the key to weight-loss is burning more calories than you eat. But many times it is not so simple. Sure, this works for some people, but often there are other factors to consider, including toxins, motivation, time, health, lifestyle, genetics, and thyroid problems.
Additionally, the quality and types of food we eat can affect whether our bodies tend to shed extra weight or hold on to those last 10 pounds.
I can relate to the weight loss ups and downs because I’ve experienced them at different seasons in my life.
After four pregnancies in six years time, with all the weight changes that come with pregnancy, plus breastfeeding all four babies, my body went through many transformations.
But being a full-time mama to four kiddos under the age of six didn’t leave time for anything outside of prepping and cleaning up after meals, changing diapers, reading to, cuddling and playing with the babies and caring for their needs 24/7.
And I would do it all over again because our children are precious to me and I cherish those times we spent together when they were little.
Being intentional about fitness and eating right was easier when we had our first two babies, but after that it became such a juggling act that most days I was happy to get a shower and brush my teeth. Maybe you can relate? And a good night’s sleep did not come until later.
I would try to fit in the occasional walk or run and eat healthy as much as possible. But it was a challenge. Some days more than others.
But my story is just one of many examples of challenges we face in life that can make it harder to stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight.
Sometimes we simply need tools to help us meet our goals. If you’re trying to lose weight and have plateaued or just need a boost along your weight loss journey here are some tips that can help accelerate your weight loss.
18 Ways To Lose Weight Faster:
1. Drink a glass of water before each meal.
Our bodies function more efficiently with plenty of purified water. Drinking water helps with the digestion process. The general recommendation is to drink 8 8-ounce glasses per day, or 2 liters, but depending on your size and activity level you might need a slightly different amount. Also, adding lemon to your water can give you some pretty amazing health benefits. To learn more about lemon water you may want to read: 9 Surprising Benefits Of Lemon Water.
2. Include protein with your meals and snacks.
Protein can help you lose weight naturally by reducing hunger pangs and boosting your metabolism.
3. Fill up on fiber-rich vegetables, fruits and other foods.
Eating plenty of fiber fills you and may cut your appetite. Examples of high-fiber foods include:
Did you know that not getting enough sleep can cause you to gain weight? Sleep deprivation disturbs your body’s balance of the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which regulate hunger and fullness.
If you have trouble winding down at night, try taking a hot bath or shower. How much sleep should you be getting? The average adult needs 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.
5. Only buy healthy whole food.
Stay away from pre-packaged foods that have a long list of ingredients. A long ingredient list usually indicates many artificial additives, preservatives and other harmful chemicals which can wreak havoc on our bodies.
Nuts are a great on-the-go snack and fill you up. The healthy fats in nuts keep you satiated. My personal favorite is pecans. They’re so rich and delicious! Other healthy options include walnuts, almonds and pistachios.
9. Drink whey protein.
It has many health benefits and keeps you feeling full for a long time. Just make sure it is all-natural and does not contain harmful sweeteners, like Splenda or Aspartame.
They can fire up your metabolism, causing you to burn more calories.
Salsa, curry, peppers, horseradish and many Asian stir fry recipes contain plenty of heat to spice up your taste buds.
11. Chew your food well before swallowing.
We’ve all heard this before but it works, so it’s worth repeating. Chewing your food well takes more time which gives your brain time to process feeling full. This allows you to eat what you need but not more.
12. Eat your meals on a small salad plate instead of a typical dinner plate.
If you’re like most Americans, including myself, you tend to fill your plate with food. So if your plate is smaller, it makes sense that you’ll be eating less.
13. Keep a food diary.
Writing down everything you eat makes you more aware of your caloric intake, as well as whether you’re eating enough fiber, protein, and essential vitamins.
My favorite way to keep track of what I eat each day is myfitnesspal.com. I use the app on my phone. I also love that it syncs with my Fitbit so I don’t miss anything important.
14. Avoid white foods, such as white flour, white sugar, white bread and white rice.
They can dramatically alter your blood sugar and cause weight gain (which, of course, is the opposite of weight loss).
15. Drink green tea.
It has substances that cause fat cells to release fat, especially with exercise. How cool is that? Plus, green tea is so refreshing and delicious! I have a cup each afternoon.
Also, Kombucha is fermented green tea. I just learned how to make it and am loving this flavorful, probiotic-rich tea!
16. Include full-fat foods in your diet.
This includes grass-fed beef, nuts, coconut, eggs and avocados.
And don’t worry, studies have proven that (despite what we may have been told for years) eating saturated fat does not make us fat and does not cause heart disease (1).
In case you haven’t heard a low-fat, high-carb diet is bad for you and has been repeatedly proved ineffective (2, 3).
17. Drink coffee!
It speeds up your metabolism and causes you to burn more calories (4).
When I was little girl I loved going to my beloved Nanny’s house to make and eat baked goods with her. People admired her for her kindness, for teaching home economics for over 30 years and baking the best desserts west of the Mississippi. Just ask her favorite (okay, only) granddaughter.
Baking is definitely an art and she was an artist.
She taught me how to bake cookies and cakes, pies and fudge, all so deliciously rich and delightfully sweet.
However, eating the sweet treats truly did not compare to the time we spent smiling, laughing and playing the occasional practical joke on my unsuspecting Papaw. She made me feel special and I treasured our times together.
What About Sugar?
In the 80’s people weren’t concerned with sugar.
Back then fat was (erroneously) considered the dietary evil. I’m glad the horrible myths about fat have been cleared up, because (grass-fed) butter does make everything better. 😉
Processed sugar may end up being the worst culprit to the American diet despite earlier beliefs of its innocence.
Now that we know the dangers sugar presents to our health we can look to a healthy alternative for the sweetness we crave.
What Is Stevia?
Stevia is an all-natural sugar substitute belonging to the Asteraceae family. This herb is an extract taken from a plant originally grown in South America. It is super sweet, 100 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. So, as you might have guessed, a little goes a long way.
Based on a 1 gram serving, it has zero calories and does not raise blood glucose levels, something that could be an issue for those with diabetes.
You can use it in baking. It is also stable in a freezer and heat. But because it is so sweet you’ll have to make some
Here are some basic conversions to help you when baking:
1 teaspoon sugar = 1/2 packet, or 1/8 teaspoon powdered stevia or 5 drops liquid
one tablespoon sugar = 1 .5 packets, or 1/3 teaspoon powdered stevia or 15 drops liquid stevia
1 cup sugar = 24 packets, or 2 tablespoons powdered stevia or 2 teaspoons liquid stevia
Two compounds in stevia make the leaves sweet:
You may have also heard of Truvia, which is a highly processed form of stevia.
Is Stevia Safe To Use?
Generally speaking, most people do fine consuming stevia, especially in its purest form. But, it is essential to understand the different forms of stevia because some are more processed than others. Also as we know, the more processed foods are, the less healthy, and more harmful our health they are.
The green leaf stevia is the all-natural plant form you can grow. The leaves can be dried and ground to a powder. This is the healthiest form.
Highly processed stevia (such as Truvia) is not recommended. It runs through 42 different processes, including the addition of harmful chemical solvents and GMO corn products. Consequently, at the end of all this processing it barely resembles natural stevia at all. (You can read more about Truvia here.)
Stevia is an excellent all-natural alternative to sugar, as long as you use the more natural forms and avoid the highly processed ones, such as Truvia. Not only can stevia sweeten your morning coffee or tea, but it can also offer some pretty impressive health benefits.
The quality and purity levels of different stevia brands can vary drastically. It’s essential to do a little investigating before purchasing stevia to make sure you get a quality product.
Living with a chronic illness is a struggle, all the more so when the illness is not physically evident. Some people assume you’re perfectly healthy when, in fact, seemingly mundane tasks are hard to fulfill.
People living with chronic illnesses (known casually as ‘spoonies’ in a term coined by lupus sufferer Christine Miserandino, who established the Spoon Theory to communicate an understanding of what her life is like) will draw upon medically prescribed treatments to help with their condition.
The Best Superfoods for Spoonies
They may also seek natural remedies, such as superfoods. These superfoods such as garlic, turmeric, ginger and salmon can provide much-welcome relief to symptoms of chronic illnesses.
Most of them contain anti-inflammatory ingredients which relieve pain and help to prevent cancer, while some are beneficial in terms of stabilizing cholesterol levels.Indeed, the consumption of salmon can even help to fight against feelings of depression. Depression is a hidden illness which can often be experienced by people suffering from other chronic illnesses.
The infographic below from Burning Nightsidentifies seven of the best superfoods for spoonies and deals specifically with five common hidden illnesses, highlighting the best and worst foods for those concerned.
A person living with a chronic illness is likely to grasp at any remedy which can relieve feelings of pain. Consequently, these superfoods could make their condition easier to endure.
Read below to find out more.
I want to express a big thank you to Victoria Abbott-Fleming who is the founder of the chronic pain charity, Burning Nights, for sharing this excellent information and the visual featured above. Also, you can visit her website at Burning Nights.
Eating superfoods such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, berries and grapes, olive oil, hot peppers and salmon can have amazing healing benefits for people with chronic illness. As a result, the best superfoods are an excellent substitute to pharmaceutical drugs for anyone who favors natural remedies and solutions to chronic pain.
Consequently, I can tell you from personal experience these superfoods really work!
Along with other healthy choices a few months ago I started taking turmeric curcumin daily. As a result, I’ve been able to stop taking two medications I was taking daily for chronic pain from chronic Lyme disease symptoms.
Please note, don’t ever stop taking medications without talking to your doctor first.
Do you or someone you love have a chronic illness? Have you tried any of these superfoods? Please share your comments in the comment section below. I love hearing from you!