Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing. From the holiday office parties, family gatherings and then...New Year's Eve parties.
And it's not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance.
It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.
But it doesn't always stop there.
Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or All. The. Time.
Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.
(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)
Tip #1: Start with some water
When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it's too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.
But did you know that it's possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger? Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.
Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten. And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (...just sayin').
Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.
Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”
You've heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?
This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.
Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.
Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.
This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less.
When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.
So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.
Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.
Tip #3: Start with the salad
You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.
But don't start there.
(Don't worry, you can have some...just after you've eaten your salad).
Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they're full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.
Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller. They're “satiating”.
And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you're about to indulge in a large meal.
Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.
Recipe (Water): Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Water Ideas
If you're not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:
Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning. They're already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.
It's snowing outside, and I was craving something warming and nutritious. I am not usually a fan of "creamy" soups as I avoid dairy, so I decided to transform this traditional comfort soup making it vegan and gluten free.
It far exceeded my taste buds expectations, and I hope you enjoy this as much as I. Oh, and guess what, I made this in 5 minutes using my blender! Yup, super quick and simple. Gotta love that!
Cream of Broccoli Soup
Serves 4. Vegan, Gluten Free, Yeast Free.
Wash and chop broccoli and cauliflower into florets if using fresh. I used frozen and simply steamed these along with the celery until fork tender.
Heat vegetable stock on stove if using store bought (or your own homemade). I used HarvestSun Organic Vegetable Bouillon Cubes, which are vegan, gluten and yeast free. Add 2 cups boiled water to a blender along with 1 bouillon cube.
Add in cooked vegetables and MCT oil, seal lid tightly. This is going to be hot, so trust me you want to make sure the lid is on good and hold the top down while you blend. Mix well until smooth on soup setting if using a Blend-Tec or simply pulse to desired texture. You could also use a food processor for this. Emulsion blender is not recommended as it will not make it smooth and you risk splashing hot soup all over.
Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste. Garnish with a TSP of hemp hearts. Enjoy!
There you have it, simple and delicious - and gone! Yup, I just couldn't resist.
Confession, I ate up all 4 servings over the course of the day and drank fresh vegetable juice in between my soups to give my digestive system a bit of a break. I am not much of a calorie counter, but rather encourage eating whole unprocessed foods, easy to digest protein, healthy fats, and plenty of fiber. This prevents over eating and therefore, reduces overall caloric intake supporting digestion and body metabolism.
Do you enjoy soup as much as I do? Please let me know how this one turns out for you or if you have a favourite of your own.
Deep orange in color, sweet potatoes provide and excellent source of beta-carotene. A native of peru, sweet potatoes are often mistakenly called "yams," and belong to the morning glory plant family. This is good news to those avoiding the nightshade family of foods, to which the white potato belong. Nightshades contain solanine, a glycoalkaloid naturally occuring in tomatoes, eggplant, paprika, and peppers. When consumed in large amounts on regular basis, some individuals run the risk of developing arthritis-like symptoms.
Sweet potatoes not only contain beta-carotene, but also copper, zinc, B6, vitamin C and superoxide dismutase or SOD. Easy to prepare, simply baking until soft and serving with a pat of butter and pinch of sea salt or cinnamon, these tubers are healthy and yummy for the whole family.
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
Flax Egg Instructions:
Maple Oat Muffin Instructions:
Maple Crumble Ingredients:
My 3 year daughter and I love baking together. We were in the mood for muffins and came up with this one together. A fun activity with toddlers who love to get a little messy and work with their hands. These vegan muffins are moist and delicious as a breakfast with a cup of herbal tea or as an anytime snack.
Does your toddler love to bake? If so, I would love to hear what kind.
This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.
You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight. But what exactly does this all mean?
Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body. It's how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.
Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive. And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.
Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:
So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.
Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”.
This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).
The calories you eat can go to one of three places:
As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.
There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate. One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you're not being physically active.
The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.
What affects your metabolic rate?
In a nutshell: a lot!
The first thing you may think of is your thyroid. This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism. Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you'll burn.
But that's not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.
How big you are counts too!
Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial!
As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does. So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be. Even when you're not working out.
This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program. Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you.
The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don't want to happen. So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.
Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they're doing “work”.
The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!
Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food. This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).
You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently.
Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%. By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.
Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow. By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.
And don't forget the mind-body connection. There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.
Recipe (Lean Protein): Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts
2 lemons, sliced
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
dash salt & pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive old
Preheat oven to 425F. Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.
Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper. Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with a lid or foil.
Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!
Healthy Zucchini Fritters (Gluten Free, Grain Free)
By Nancy Este, RNCP
2 large zucchini, grated
2 TBSP coconut flour
¼ cup purple onion, finely diced
¼ TSP pink himalayan sea salt
1/8 TSP fresh black pepper
3 TBSP Coconut oil for cooking
This kid-friendly jam is absolutely delicious and so simple to make.
Thick, gooey and sweet raw honey provides an abundance of health benefits. Raw honey is honey that has not been heated, pasteurized or processed in any way. While commercial honey has been heated and pasteurized and has fewer benefits.
In its natural state, raw unpasteurized honey retains all its natural vitamins, enzymes and phytonutrients. It can be purchased in a liquid form or creamed.
Raw honey is not suitable for children under the age of 1 due to risk of botulism (Clostrium botulinum). Once a child reaches 1 year of age, their digestive is able to kill off any botulism germs.
Honey Lemon Cough Syrup
In a small saucepan over medium low heat, warm all ingredients until coconut oil is melted. Allow to cool slightly and take warm syrup by the teaspoon as needed. I like to add this to my chamomile tea and drink before bed.
Once the mixture has cooled, it will harden due to the coconut oil. Simply reheat on low to melt and take by spoonful or add straight into hot water or hot herbal tea.
No matter what age, ear infections can be painful. Whenever our 2 year old has a cold with a stuffy or runny nose an ear infection will likely follow. A trip to our paediatrician or ER is in order to check her ear drums for fluid and ensure they are intact. We generally leave with a prescription for yet another round of antibiotics. But, are they really necessary?
Children between 6 months and 2 years of age are at the greatest risk of developing an ear infection due to underdeveloped immune systems and the shape and size of their Eustachian tubes. Daycare and group settings also increase their risk as does bottle fed babies who drink lying down vs those who are breast fed. Most ear infections can resolve without antibiotics as many are caused by a virus. Determining what is best for you or your child depends on many factors including age and symptoms.
For us, as difficult as it was to see our child suffering with an ear infection we weren’t comfortable repeating a 3rd round of antibiotics in as little as 2 months (yes, we actually did that). While I feel there is a place for them, I just knew I had to explore natural remedies and avoid overuse of antibiotics.
You will need:
Besides looking super cute, we found this helped resolve our daughters cough, chest congestion and ear pain in less than 1 day. You may need to repeat or leave on for a full 24 hours or until symptoms have completely resolved. If your child is not keen on wearing this, trying playing a game of pirates and have everyone wear a bandana or hat.
If symptoms persist, be sure to seek medical attention immediately. I am not a doctor and cannot provide medical advice and you should always consult with your primary healthcare practitioner or MD.
It is important to talk to your primary health care practitioner about the benefits and risks of antibiotics and determine what is best for you and your family.
Nancy Este is a Registered Yoga Teacher and Certified Nutritional Practitioner. She is here to share with you over 17 years of experience in the Alternative Health field. It is her hope to help save you time, money and stress when it comes to regaining your balance in life.