Tag Archives: diet

Here’s How to Follow the Blended Foods Diet the Correct Way

blended-foods-diet

The world is awash with fad diets, and they’ve all got their dedicated practitioners. They’re our associates at the office, relatives at Thanksgiving, and friends on Facebook. However, just because a diet is trendy doesn’t mean it can’t also be effective. At their core, all popular diets are centered around caloric restriction and good nutritional intake.

The blended foods diet is much the same. Blended food living is about drinking tasty, easily consumable smoothies that you can enjoy multiple times a day. At the same time, you should be meeting your caloric, fiber, vitamin, and mineral needs. Blended foods are typically easy to digest since blending helps to break down the solids. They also don’t require much in the way of cooking prowess or knife skills. All you need are your ingredients, a blender, and a liquid of choice. Drink on schedule each day, and you should start to see results in the weeks to come.

But how do we go the distance with blended foods? And how do we make sure that we enjoy ourselves along the way? Success with a blended foods diet all comes down to planning, knowledge, and follow-through. Here’s how to pull it off!

Get the Right Stuff

If you want blended foods and smoothies to do the heavy lifting in your diet, you need to cover all of your dietary bases. You’ll need protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and micronutrients to feel satiated. Missing one or two essentials can leave you feeling low-energy, shaky, or could even result in a nutritional deficiency.

If you aren’t feeling super confident about blended foods, you can consider a nutritional supplement from MegaFood to help fill those gaps. Their Daily Multi Powder Iron Free supplement is a good example of produce that you may want to try. Now isn’t the time to be stingy. You’re doing this diet to improve your nutrition and health, so make sure you have the high quality products on deck that will give you the best results in the shortest amount of time.

Make Sure You Have Variety

When it comes to smoothies, variety is imperative. This is because, in a nutritional sense, variety helps to cover any deficiencies or oversights in our diet. In another sense, variety provides the novelty that keeps us interested enough to keep following our chosen diet. This is why you’ll definitely want to have several different sources for all of your macronutrients. Choose different sources of protein and carbs, greens and nuts, and for all of the supplements in your blended food pantry. NOW Foods Better Steveia Glycerate and Raw Energy Nut Mix are good places to start if you’re looking for novel sweeteners or nut blends.

Follow a Reasonable Schedule

Another important factor in sticking to the blended food diet is planning a reasonable schedule. To enjoy the most benefits of this diet, you’ll want to drink at least one high quality smoothie per day. However, you don’t want to be so enthusiastic and optimistic at the beginning of your diet that you create a schedule you can’t maintain. Choose a plan that you can perform fairly quickly, and a time of day that you can hit each day. Consistency is key, and a realistic plan will be the best way to achieve this.

We hope you have good luck with the blended food diet, and that this way of eating clicks with you and helps you to achieve your health goals.

The Non-Diet Diet

The Non-DietSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

Come January first, many resolve to lose weight and exercise more days than not. For some, even the thought of dieting is depressing, especially those who have felt the effects of caloric deprivation in the past while diligently striving for permanent weight loss. But what if you could reach your body’s ideal or “set point” weight without feeling stressed, obsessed, deprived or excessively hungry? Could a better approach to weight management actually be a non-diet? What if we stopped all-consuming thoughts of what we can and cannot eat, and instead ate what we wanted when we wanted without guilt or shame? If that sounds like a radical concept, think of it as a healthy approach to eating based on intuitive eating principles. In other words, making peace with both your food and your body so you can stop obsessing and once again enjoy your food.

While not actually a new approach, intuitive eating may be particularly useful to chronic dieters, individuals whose dietary restrictions eventually lead to increased binging, an unhealthy relationship with food, lower self-esteem and ultimately, weight regain over time. It appears that weight regain is the typical long-term response to dieting rather than the exception. Yes, self-control matters, but not as much as one might expect. While willpower or self-control may play only a small role, there are theories as to why we regain the weight we struggled so hard to lose. One explanation holds that the body physiologically defends a genetically-based set weight. There is evidence for the idea that there is biological control of body weight at any given time. In our world of abundance, an intuitive lifestyle and mindfulness are preconditions for effective biological control and stable body weight.

We do know that calorie deprivation leads to changes in metabolism and hunger hormone regulation that can last for years, making it difficult to keep weight off. As well, caloric restriction can result in changes in cognitive and attentional functions that can lead dieters to become primarily focused on food. As compared to non-dieters, dieters feel hungrier due to a progressively more efficient metabolism, requiring a need to further reduce daily calories to continue to lose weight. Dieting is a common practice, especially among individuals who are persistently overconcerned with body shape and weight, and therefore restrict their food choices to achieve weight loss without success, or with temporary success and weight regain.

What is intuitive eating exactly? Basically, an intuitive eating approach consciously rejects the dieting mentality, allowing for a healthier, more authentic relationship with food. Some may think of this as a holistic approach that respects both physical and psychological wellbeing. Intuitive eating allows unconditional permission to eat and enjoy food, rejects the burden of chronic dieting, and advises listening to inner cues regarding hunger, satiety and satisfaction. Intuitive eating puts the spotlight on enjoying your food while tuning into your body’s health cues. While intuitive eating suggests you can eat what you like, it assumes that you respect your health and won’t see this as a green light to eat mainly non-nutritive processed and fast foods.

Although the intuitive eating approach doesn’t condemn any foods, those who eat mindfully know that the best way to support good health, fulfill hunger and maintain a feeling of satiety between meals is to eat whole foods containing fiber and protein. Ultra-processed foods high in unhealthy fats and added sugars should be eaten sparingly, but still without shame, to not overpower the normal hormone-driven fullness signals. Intuitive eating is meant to relieve the stress and guilt that often accompanies weight management. It rejects the diet mentality and honors hunger, fullness and health, allowing an intuitive eater to think of food as nourishment rather than the means to an end.

Those who truly progress toward better relationship with food find other ways to comfort and nurture themselves without appeasing their anxiety, boredom or loneliness by overeating. Leaving behind a preoccupation with thoughts of food, as well as an obsession with thinness, may be a difficult adjustment for some. After a few months of eating intuitively, many find they reach their natural set point weight, which may be higher or lower than imagined. Those who continue to take a respectful approach to nourishment tend to be less critical of their bodies, even with an increase in weight. Intuitive eaters report higher levels of overall satisfaction, as well as enhanced feelings of wellbeing and self-esteem.

An intuitive lifestyle means engaging in healthy behaviors yet having the freedom to enjoy that occasional slice of cheesecake without monitoring calories. The freedom to choose a natural healthy weight means that weight is most likely to be maintained. One does not need a perfect body to feel well, nor have a perfect diet to be healthy. Additionally, being physically active and taking note of how it good it feels to move the body shifts the focus towards the health benefits of exercise and away from the calorie burning effects. Minimizing weight loss as a motivating factor, encourages daily exercise simply for the energizing, strengthening and health benefits of movement. It appears that mindfulness and consistency over time are what really matter to long-term physical health and psychological wellbeing.

References:
Why do dieters regain weight? https://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2018/05/calorie-deprivation.aspx
The big diet this year could be no diet at all. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/food-and-wine/article-the-big-diet-this-year-could-be-no-diet-at-all/
What Is Intuitive Eating? https://benourished.org/intuitive-eating/
10 Principle of Intuitive Eating. https://www.intuitiveeating.org/10-principles-of-intuitive-eating/
A Point of References: Weight and the Concept of Set Point. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-gravity-weight/201506/point-reference-weight-and-the-concept-set-point
Metabolic assessment of female chronic dieters with either normal or low resting energy expenditures. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/71/6/1413/4729378
Is there evidence for a set point that regulates human body weight? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2990627/

Can Alzheimer’s Be Prevented?

AlzheimersPreventedJacquie Eubanks RN BSNPresently, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) tops five million. Unless an effective treatment is developed that number is expected to increase exponentially as the population ages. Increasing age is still the primary risk factor, and according to statistics, by the age of 82, the prevalence rises to 42 percent. Signs of late-onset AD often appear in a person’s mid-60’s, although researchers believe that damage to brain heath begins years earlier. AD is characterized by the accumulation of two types of protein in the brain, known as tangles, or tau, and amyloid-beta plaques. As well, there is also a loss of connections between brain nerve cells, known as neurons, that transmit messages within the brain, and from the brain to muscles and organs.

With AD, once healthy neurons stop functioning, brains cells begin to die off, and eventually the brain shrinks in size. While tangles and plaques are closely associated with AD, family history, genetics, inflammation, and vascular disease, as well as environmental and lifestyle factors may contribute. As with other chronic debilitating diseases, lifestyle habits are seen to play a major role in both contribution and prevention. Are there healthy lifestyle habits you can adopt to stave off or ameliorate Alzheimer’s Disease? Although science has yet to discover the cause or cure for AD, the National Institutes of Health suggests that modifiable risk factors may help protect cognition and mental activity.

Modifiable risk factors that appear to protect against AD are many and varied. These include mental activity to increase cognitive reserve, lifelong learning, physical activity, social engagement, wellness activities, healthy sleep, nutritious diet, omega-3 intake, mindfulness, optimism, and purpose in life. Risk factor prevention should target diabetes, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome; as well as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and coronary heart and renal disease. Additional factors include systemic inflammation, sleep-disordered breathing, traumatic brain injury, and alcohol or tobacco use.

Sleep – Since many of us don’t prioritize sleep, most of us are just not getting enough of it. The perfect amount of sleep varies with age and by individual. However, seven to eight hours of sleep nightly appears to be sufficient to wake refreshed and energetic. Insufficient sleep is linked to chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression and cognitive decline. A recent study by Washington University researchers showed an association between disrupted sleep and higher levels of two AD associated proteins. Researchers found that just one night of disturbed sleep led to a 10 percent increase in amyloid beta. A full week of insufficient sleep showed an increase in the tau protein. While no one can confirm that regular quality sleep reduces AD risks, it does appear that those who are chronically sleep deprived may have increased levels of proteins associated with AD. The good news is that the negative effects of an occasional night of restless sleep may be reversed with good sleep habits.

Exercise – Convincing evidence shows that 30 minutes of moderately vigorous exercise three to four days each week may help prevent AD, or slow the progression in people who have symptoms. According to a recent UW-Madison study, those at a high genetic risk of AD who perform moderate-intensity activity, such as a brisk walk or run, are more likely to have healthy patterns of brain glucose metabolism. Dependent upon the type of exercise and its intensity, physical activity may lower AD risk by up to 65 percent by addressing underlying mechanisms, such as improved pulmonary function, increased cell survival and a proper inflammatory response.

Diet – While the Mediterranean diet and the MIND diet are often recommended for overall good health, a low carb, high fat, no sugar, no starch ketogenic diet has been shown to be of benefit in neurodegenerative disorders. A ketogenic diet, along with consumption of ketone-producing medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s), fights brain insulin resistance (type 3 diabetes) by helping to control blood glucose, calming inflammation, and enhancing insulin sensitivity. The diet helps to maintain energy levels by fueling the brain with ketones, a more concentrated and efficient energy source.

Diabetes – Those with diabetes and insulin resistance are at a higher risk of developing AD and other neurogenerative diseases. The relationship between diabetes and AD is so close that AD is now recognized as another form of diabetes referred to as type 3. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to produce sufficient insulin to properly regulate blood glucose. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas can produce a normal amount of insulin, but the cells have become resistant or unresponsive to its action, resulting in insulin resistance. In type 3 diabetes, the brain has insulin deficiency, as in type 1, plus insulin resistance, as in type 2. Dysregulation of insulin results in an increased risk for cognitive impairment. The good news is that diabetes type 2 can often be reversed with weight loss, regular exercise and a proper diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids – Found in fish, algae, some plants, nut oils and supplements, omega-3’s play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. Highly concentrated in the brain, research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and appear to be important for cognitive and behavioral function. Studies show an association between reduced intake of omega-3 fatty acids and an increased risk of age-related cognitive decline or dementia.

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References:
Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep. http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/dont_underestimate_the_importance_of_sleep
Bad Sleep Found to Increase Alzheimer’s Related Brain Proteins. https://www.sciencealert.com/bad-sleep-may-increase-your-alzheimer-s-risk
Alzheimer’s disease study links brain health, physical activity. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170622103818.htm
What can you do to avoid Alzheimer’s disease? https://www.health.harvard.edu/alzheimers-and-dementia/what-can-you-do-to-avoid-alzheimers-disease
Alzheimer’s Prevention: A Summary of What We Know. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/884615
Ketones to combat Alzheimer’s disease. http://blogs.plos.org/neuro/2016/07/16/ketones-to-combat-alzheimers-disease/
Can omega-3 help prevent Alzheimer’s disease? Brain SPECT imaging shows possible link. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170519124034.htm
Omega-3 fatty acids. http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids