Five things you can do right now to make it easier to maintain a healthy weight

1, Reduce your coffee intake

Coffee contains a lot of caffeine which is a stimulant that affects your insulin response and therefore your blood sugar levels. High blood insulin leads to insulin resistance and weight gain. Caffeine is hard on your liver. When you’re losing weight, your liver has a lot of work to do converting fat into energy. Reducing your coffee intake takes some of the strain off your liver so it can convert fat into energy more easily. Be careful not to replace coffee with lots of tea. Tea also contains caffeine.  A cup of tea contains about a third of the amount of caffeine in a standard cup of coffee.

2, Try going wheat free

Wheat and wheat products can set up inflammatory responses in many people. When your body is inflamed it’s stressed.  When you’re any type of stress your body produces hormones to help you cope…the trouble is those hormones also help you store weight.

 

3, Avoid dairy products

Being sensitive or intolerant to dairy products is more common than you think. You may have been consuming cow’s milk based products for most of your life, so you mightn’t be aware of how they affect you. Leave dairy off the menu for a few weeks and see if you notice a difference. As inflammation reduces you should start to feel more energised! If the thought of giving up a particular food seems tortuous, it’s likely to be a problem food for you. We often crave the foods that are unhelpful!

4, Address stress

When you have a busy life, your stress hormones are ramped up and your digestion suffers. Excess stress hormones and poor digestion have many negative effects on the body including unwanted weight gain. Take a few moments to think of some ways you can reduce stress in your life. Any changes you make for the better will help.
When you’re happy and relaxed your body finds it far easier to digest your food and achieve a healthy weight.

5, Get more sleep

Constant tiredness is a major stressor, and as discussed above, stress hormones make it easier to store weight and harder to lose it (by slowing your metabolism).  Quality sleep is essential for a healthy metabolism. Eight hours per night is considered necessary for your body to perform well.  Interestingly, it’s the hours before midnight that are the most important, so it’s good to be asleep by 10 pm (or even earlier when you feel tired).  If you have difficultly achieving eight hours a night you may need some help to get back into a healthier sleep pattern. Mineral deficiency and hormone imbalance can play a part in sleep pattern problems. Talk to a natural health professional about what might help you.

Tomatoes Are Better For You When Cooked!

In keeping with my last few posts on cooked, nutrient dense foods I thought it was time to discuss the humble yet amazing tomato.

Tomatoes are far more than just a delicious fruit. Eating tomatoes may help lower your risk of stroke, improve male fertility, and protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease. This is likely due to the lycopene they contain.

Lycopene is a carotenoid – a family of pigments that give fruits and vegetables their brilliant red, orange, and yellow coloring and is especially concentrated in tomatoes. Lycopene is another example of a nutrient that is more bioavailable in cooked food than in fresh. Studies have shown that the Lycopene in cooked tomatoes is up to 4 times more available than in raw tomatoes. In fact any sort of processing including freezing helps break down the plant cell walls releasing more lycopene.

Your body can’t make lycopene so you need to obtain it from your diet. Winter is a great time to boost your lycopene intake with tomato soup, tomato based pasta sauces, adding tomatoes to casseroles and stews or simply serving cooked tomatoes as a vegetable. They certainly brighten up your plate as well as your taste buds!

Tomatoes are easy to grow in containers or directly in the garden over the summer months. Their pretty fern-like foliage and bright fruit make them a decorative addition to any part of your garden – not just a veggie patch, so don’t be put off if you’re short of veggie growing space.

One of the best things about growing your own tomatoes is they are easy to freeze for winter. There’s no need to muck around with removing skins or preserving them in jars. I just throw them into bags (not literally) and pop them in the freezer. As they freeze, the skins split, and they end up looking a bit like frozen worn out cricket balls.
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5 Essential Oils You Might Like To Try 

Lavender essential oil is very beneficial in giving you a deeply relaxing effect and known to decrease the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that makes you hold on to take the extra weight. In addition, its calming properties are extremely conducive to meditation.

How to use:

  • You can dab a few drops of lavender essential oil on a clean scarf and wear it while meditating.
  • Another option, you can also pour a few drops of this essential oil in a hot bath.
  • Or, put a little of this oil on your pillow to get a deep, peaceful sleep.

Grapefruit essential oil helps prevent bloating, water retention and help dissolve fat. It has been also shown to help with overeating, cellulite, weight loss, toning, stress, and uplifting the thoughts and mind. Grapefruit is considered as one of the great essential oils for weight loss because of the d-limonene found in grapefruit. This oil will help release the fatty acids that are in bloodstream where your body breaks them down & uses them for energy.

How to use:

  • Drink a glass of water with a few drops of grapefruit essential oil first thing in the morning to help flush out toxins.
  • Add some drops to any carrier oil such as olive oil and massage the skin area where fat accumulates about 30 minutes. Wash this oil off with water.
  • Add five drops of grapefruit essential oil into a warm bath
  • Combine with five drops of ginger, five drops of sandalwood, five drops of lemon oil, and five drops of orange for a cellulite reducing bath. Make sure that you disperse oils with hands well & soak for 30 minutes approximately.

Fennel essential oil. Some benefits of fennel essential oil are to induce better sleep, suppress appetite, prevent weight gain, and improve digestion.
Fennel essential oils are comprised of melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate the circadian rhythms. This will also regulate the sleep-wake cycles. Having a better sleep at night has proven to be very effective in both weight maintenance and overall mood and energy. Also, melatonin has shown to help to help your body in burning fat quickly, instead of storing it.

How to use:

  • Add a few drops into a bath filled with warm water and take a bath.
  • You can also add some drops to coconut oil or olive oil and then massage it on the area where fat accumulates for about 30 minutes. Finally, rinse off this oil with clean water.

Frankincense essential oil is considered as one of the best essential oils for weight loss because it contains deeply calming effects. These effects help to reduce the depression and anxiety that can result in overeating or continual snacking.

In addition, frankincense has always been known as a tonic because it is very beneficial for all the systems which operate in your body, including the respiratory, digestive, excretory, and nervous systems. It also helps to absorb various essential nutrients and strengthen your immune system.

Apart from speeding up the metabolism and the secretion of bile, gastric juices, and acids, frankincense oil also stimulates the peristaltic motion to help food to move correctly through your intestines. Therefore, this will lead to less stored fat as well as bacterial toxins.

How to use:

  • Add some drops to other types of carrier oil such as coconut oil or olive oil and massage into the soles of your feet, or onto any area on your body that is painful or aching.
  • Diffuse throughout the home or adding a dab to your shirt collar, or massage behind the ears.
  • Menstrual Discomfort Blend: Massage 2 drops Sandalwood and 2 drops Frankincense over the abdomen and lower back to ease discomfort. (Dilute as needed.)

Lemon oil has a detoxifying effect on the body, and it helps increase physical energy levels as well as address intestinal parasites & a wide range of digestive ailments. In addition, this oil can help your body get rid of toxins that are otherwise stored into fat cells. Like grapefruit oil, this oil also contains d-limonene & a wide range of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C. Using lemon essential oil can balance your metabolism and for those who are having difficulty managing portion control it can help control appetite.

How to use:

  • Add some drops to a cotton ball then slowly breathe in the vapors before you have a meal to reduce appetite and avoid overeating.
  • Add some drops into a carrier oil and massage the affected area where cellulite or fat accumulates. This may help the body eliminate toxins & waste materials that are stored in fat cells.
  • Add one or two drops into your morning water in order to help the body kick start digestion as well as eliminate more toxins.

Please Note: Always test for skin sensitivity prior to widespread use and use on the feet when possible. Excessive use of any oil can lead to skin sensitization. Keep out of eyes, ears, or nose. Not all oils are created equal, so test brands carefully, and never use an oil in a way not recommended by its maker. Make sure to purchase high quality essential oils for internal use.

 

Eat More Carrots And Pumpkin!

You may have heard about the benefits of raw foods, and all of that is still it true. But what is equally true is that some nutrients are more bioavailable when the food has been cooked.

Carotenoids are a good example of this. Carotenoids are a group of mainly yellow, orange, or red fat-soluble pigments, including carotene, which give colour to plant parts such as ripe tomatoes and autumn leaves. These pigments play an important role in both plant and human health.

Carotenoids act as antioxidants in the human body and they have strong cancer-fighting properties. Carotenoids also have anti-inflammatory, weight management and immune system benefits and are sometimes associated with cardiovascular disease prevention. Some carotenoids (the provitamin A group) are converted by the body to vitamin A (retinol), which is essential to vision and normal growth and development. Vitamin A is also an important component in the formation of  healthy mucus membranes and immunity and is therefore highly important in the winter.

Beta-carotene is the most easily converted into vitamin A and is the most widely studied of the carotenoids. Cantaloupe, mangoes, papaya, carrots, capsicum, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and pumpkin are good sources of beta-carotene,  Beta-carotene gives orange foods their color; in fact, the word carotene comes from the Latin word for carrot.

Unlike many other vitamins, beta-carotene is not easily destroyed by cooking, especially if you only cook your vegetables for a short time. In fact, cooking can actually help break down vegetables’ thick cell walls and effectively release beta-carotene, thereby making beta-carotene more readily available for your body to use.  In a study, published in the May 1998 issue of The Journal of Nutrition, women who ate cooked carrots absorbed three times as much beta-carotene as women who ate their carrots raw.

Beta-carotene may help lower the risk of metabolic syndrome, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition found. Metabolic syndrome is characterized by high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels and excess fat around the waist. The men with the most beta-carotene intake had the lowest risk of metabolic syndrome, as well as reduced waist circumference. Scientists suspect this is the result of beta-carotene’s antioxidant activities.

Whilst there have been some studies that have indicated possible risks with taking large doses of  beta-carotene in supplement form,  obtaining large amounts of beta-carotene from food, however, does not carry this risk; the worst that can happen is your skin may temporarily turn orange, according to the National Institutes of Health.