Wellness

If you are wanting to transition to a more plant-based lifestyle – the one thing people struggle with most is finding good sources of protein – These are the best vegan and vegetarian protein options!

Whether you’re a strict vegan, a vegetarian, or you just want to avoid meat for a while the following information might help you navigate our 1234 Diet regardless of your reasons. You can eat the following as part of the protocol or simply as part of a diet of your own design. Please be aware that these options will provide slower weight loss on average and might stall weight loss as well. The items should be varied with each meal and each day. The below-serving sizes and calories are average amounts without listing specific brands for each item. Be sure to read all labels carefully and stay close to the serving size and calories listed.

Tofu:
Extra Firm 1 oz. 30 Cal.
Firm 1 oz. 28 Cal.
Regular (medium firm) 1 oz. 23 Cal.
Soft (silken) 1 oz. 20 Cal.
Meat substitutes 1 oz. 50 Cal. (Miso Soup w/Tofu & Spring Onions pre-pkgd.: 1 Cup = 95 Cal.)

Non-Dairy Milk: (select unsweetened varieties)
Almond Milk – plain/unsweetened 1 Cup 40 Cal. Vanilla 1 Cup 30 Cal.
Hemp Milk – plain/unsweetened 1 Cup 80 Cal. Vanilla 1 Cup 75 Cal.
Rice Milk – plain/unsweetened 1 Cup 120 Cal. Vanilla 1 Cup 130 Cal.
Coconut Milk – plain/unsweetened 1 Cup 45 Cal. Original 1 Cup 80 Cal. Vanilla 1 Cup 110 Cal.
Soy Milk – plain/unsweetened 1 Cup 90 Cal. Light original 1 Cup 70 Cal. Vanilla 1 Cup 100 Cal. Light vanilla 1 Cup 70 Cal.

Protein Powder: (select unsweetened varieties)
Flavored or Unflavored 20 – 30 grams 80 – 120 Cal. (grains, greens, hemp, rice, seeds, veggies, etc.) (AVOID: whey protein powder)

Tempeh: Plain (fermented soybeans) 1 oz. 60 Cal.

Seitan: Strips/Cubes – plain (wheat gluten) 3.5 oz. 130 Cal.
Ground/Crumbled – plain 3.5 oz. 117 Cal.

Peas:
Snow, Sugar Snap (in pods) – raw/whole 1 Cup 26 Cal.
Green Peas (out of pods) – raw 1 Cup 117 Cal.

Chickpeas:
Garbanzo Beans – canned ½ Cup 130 Cal.
Hummus 1 Tbl. 27 Cal.

Beans:
Green Beans (Snow, String) – raw (half-inch pieces) 1 Cup 40 Cal.
Edamame (in pods) – raw/steamed 10 pods 30 Cal. (out of the pods = too many calories/avoid)
Mung Bean Sprouts – raw 1 Cup 31 Cal.
Kidney Beans – raw/uncooked ¼ Cup 155 Cal.
Canned ½ Cup 108 Cal.
Black Beans – raw/uncooked ½ Cup 166 Cal.
Canned ½ Cup 110 Cal.
Pinto Beans – raw/uncooked ¼ Cup 168 Cal.
Canned ½ Cup 120 Cal.
Lentils – raw/uncooked ¼ Cup 170 Cal.

Seeds:
Sunflower Seed Kernels (with or without salt) 1 Tbl. 95 Cal.
Chia Seeds (raw) 1 Tbl. 70 Cal.
Flaxseeds (Linseeds) – raw 1 Tbl. 75 Cal.
Ground Meal 1 Tbl. 40 Cal.
Hemp Seeds – raw/shelled 1 Tbl. 55 Cal.
Sesame Seeds – whole/dried 1 Tbl. 30 Cal.
Sesame Butter (Tahini) 1 Tbl. 100 Cal.

Nuts: (high calories for minimal amount…use minimally and with caution for best results)
Almonds – raw (about 24 nuts) 1 oz. 164 Cal.
Walnuts – raw (about 14 halves) 1 oz. 195 Cal.
Cashews – raw (about 18 nuts) 1 oz. 165 Cal.
PistachioVegan & Vegetarian Protein Options

Whether you’re a strict vegan, a vegetarian, or you just want to avoid meat for a while the following information might help you navigate our 1234 Diet regardless of your reasons. You can eat the following as part of the protocol or simply as part of a diet of your own design. Please be aware that these options will provide slower weight loss on average and might stall weight loss as well. The items should be varied with each meal and each day. The below-serving sizes and calories are average amounts without listing specific brands for each item. Be sure to read all labels carefully and stay close to the serving size and calories listed.

 

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Summer is a great time to get outside and be active – how many calories do you burn doing the things you love to do?! Get out there and get active!

When the weather is nice and you get the urge to go out and enjoy it you aren’t necessarily thinking about how many calories you’re burning while having fun.  However, if you do happen to be paying attention to it then here are some activities and the calories they burn (on average) to help you keep track:

(These numbers are the average calories burned and are based on a 150-pound individual doing 1 hour of activity)

  • Outdoor Yoga: 175
  • Mowing the Lawn: 350
  • Surfing: 175
  • Swimming: 350
  • Frisbee: 200
  • Hiking: 375
  • Gardening: 250
  • Rollerblading: 400
  • Canoeing/Kayaking: 250
  • Paddle Boarding: 400
  • Golf (no cart): 250
  • Tennis: 500
  • Biking: 300
  • Soccer: 500
  • Beach Volleyball: 300
  • Rock Climbing: 550

 

These figures are meant to give you an idea of what the caloric burn can be…actual calories burned are based on several factors including weight and how long the activity is done.  

Here is a good calculator to look up different activities and the calories they can burn:  

https://www.myfitnesspal.com/exercise/lookup

Also, there are many great websites to look up the calories for certain types of foods (and their portions) so you can also calculate what you’re eating.  When used correctly these tools can not only let you see what calories you’re consuming but also know how much and what movement you need to incorporate to burn those calories (and then some) to see weight loss.

Here are just a few calorie calculators that might help:

 

  1. https://www.myfitnesspal.com/
  2. https://caloriecontrol.org/healthy-weight-tool-kit/food-calorie-calculator/
  3. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlatePlan

 

As always, please review everything with your health care provider to make sure you’re able to safely do any outdoor activity and take precautions to not overheat.  Have fun and enjoy the great outdoors!

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With temperatures rising it is important to know exactly how heat and humidity affect the body! Knowing and understanding this will help protect you and keep you safe!

Summer can be either dry or humid…or both…depending on where you live.  Either way, heat can negatively affect how the body functions if proper precautions aren’t taken.  Add humidity to the heat and the potential for dangerous results multiplies. Knowing how heat and humidity affect the body is critical to keeping you safe! 

Hot weather can obviously make you hot…that’s a given…but heat is also generated by the body when it’s active.  Three-Fourths of the energy we convert from physical activity turns into heat, only one-fourth into motion. When the body is active it usually generates more heat than it needs and has to release it somehow…this is when sweating occurs.  The body draws water from the bloodstream to make sweat that carries heat through pores and onto the skin surface where it evaporates and releases the heat…cooling the body. Staying hydrated is how this process works properly, cools you down, and keeps you safe when overheated.  

With temperatures rising it is important to know exactly how heat and humidity affect the body! Knowing and understanding this will help protect you and keep you safe!

Humidity is when there is an excessive amount of moisture in the air that prevents proper evaporation of sweat and keeps your body temperature high.  Once the air has too much moisture relative to the sweat you’re producing the sweat can’t evaporate and you remain too hot…along with being sticky. This is a dangerous situation that keeps your core temperature too hot and can lead to heat exhaustion.  You also lose water, salt, and electrolytes that the body needs to function.

So how can you combat heat and especially humidity so you aren’t suffering from the ill effects?  There are a few key things you can do if you notice you’re feeling overheated, fatigued, have a headache, increased pulse, and you can’t cool down:

  1. Seek shade and a cooler environment in extreme heat or overexertion  
  2. Go into a humidity controlled room (or one that’s cooled via central air) if humidity is leaving you feeling sticky and you can’t cool down
  3. ALWAYS drink plenty of water to stay properly hydrated (avoid alcohol and sugary juices)
  4. Use fans, cooling towels, wraps, clothing, etc. to maintain a proper core temperature
  5. Eat cool foods (cucumbers, watermelon, apples, etc.) and avoid warm or hot fare; eat vegetarian to avoid the energy expenditure that protein metabolism causes

 

Sometimes it’s not so easy to avoid overheating, but with a little bit of knowledge maybe you can avoid suffering when it does happen.  Always stay hydrated as the first line of defense against problems and plan ahead as much as possible to enjoy the warmer weather without issue.

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Nothing slows down summer fun more than the dreaded summer cold! There are a few things you can do to ward off and avoid a summer cold altogether!

Even with the warmer weather Summer brings, a cold can get you regardless of how hard you try to avoid it.  The sneezing, runny nose, congestion and itchy or a sore throat are standard cold symptoms, but they’re also indicators of allergies.  So how do you tell the difference? A cold will also include things like coughing, sweating, and fever with symptoms usually appearing one at a time.  With allergies, all of them typically come on all at once. Allergies also tend to linger longer than a cold, but on average a Winter cold lasts about a week while a Summer one lingers.  So, how can you avoid a Summer cold, begin with? Well, maybe I can help with that.

 

First, and most importantly for all illness…take care of your immune system!  There are many ways you can do this: eat nutritious foods, avoid stress, and even take supplements that contain immune-boosting ingredients.  An easy way to help your immune system stay strong and run properly is to take probiotics regularly. Since nearly 75% of your immune system is located in your gut, it’s important to take care to keep the beneficial bacteria at proper levels so the body can fight off cold-causing germs.

 

Other important preventative measures include getting plenty of sleep, washing your hands well, and avoiding people who are sick…whether they have a cold or allergies.  These might seem like common sense things but they really are the best ways to keep from getting sick or making any allergies you’re suffering from worse, causing your immune system to work harder than it needs to.

 

Speaking of causing your immune system to work harder…something that many people don’t think about in the Summer is how often they transition from air conditioning to warm outdoor climates and then back to cooler air.  This temperature fluctuation can weaken the immune system as it’s constantly trying to cool then heat then cool the body again and again throughout the day cause germs to have a greater chance to make us sick. While you can’t always avoid these temperature fluctuations keep in mind the toll they take on you and be sure to be as healthy as you can to compensate.

 

If you do happen to get a cold there are plenty of over-the-counter remedies available that do a good job of easing symptoms and allowing your body to recover.  There are also many natural remedies that work great too:

  • Neti Pot
  • Humidifier or Diffuser
  • Decongesting Foods
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Vitamin C
  • Echinacea
  • Ginger Turmeric
  • Stay Hydrated & Rest

It’s never fun having Summer plans interrupted for a cold, but with a little bit of forethought, you can hopefully avoid getting one…or at least lessen its impact a little bit.  

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Coconut Oil seems to be amongst the coolest of the superfoods, after reviewing the many health benefits it is no surprise as to why!

Coconut oil seems to be on the lips of just about everyone you meet these days.  It’s being touted as useful for everything from a healthier cooking oil option and a super healthy fat, to a great make-up remover, hair and face moisturizer…not to mention the multiple health elements and weight loss benefits.  Coconut oil is everywhere, but is it really all that it’s hyped up to be? Actually…yes it is!

The healthy aspect of the coconut oil lies in the medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s).  These are healthy saturated fats that aren’t stored in significant amounts in the body…but instead go straight to the liver where they’re used as a quick source of energy or turned into ketones.  Ketones are an energy source that provides improved hormone balance, lowered inflammation, brain benefits, and weight loss. These MCT’s are the key to what makes coconut oil such a miraculous superfood.

The main thing about coconut oil (whether in the jar or in a capsule) is to be sure to pay attention to HOW it’s made and that the product only contains coconut.  There are keywords/phrases to look for when buying coconut oil…here they are and what they mean:

  • Cold Pressed:  the oils are “pressed” out of the coconut flesh (or meat) and no heat is used…this preserves the healthy MCT’s in the coconut oil.
  • Unrefined:  no chemical processing has been done to the “meat” of the coconut so the nutrients are preserved; also known as “virgin” or “pure” coconut oil.
  • Virgin:  used along with “unrefined” and meaning the same thing…that it has no chemical processing so nutrients are preserved; “virgin” & “extra virgin” mean the same thing when it comes to coconut oil.
  • Non-GMO/GMO-Free:  a “Genetically Modified Organism” refers to plants, animals, or other organisms whose genetic material has been changed in ways that do not occur naturally; GMO-free means the ingredients have not been created in a lab…they are natural.

Here are some of the multiple health benefits of using coconut oil…whether having a tablespoon or two of the “meat” or oil each day, cooking with it or in supplement form:

  1. Healing:  helps repair damaged tissues, assists with healthy liver function, and helps repair kidney issues
  2. Immune System:  enhances the immune system and supports a healthy body; antibacterial and anti-fungal
  3. Digestion:  promotes nutrient absorption, enhances metabolism, improves beneficial gut bacteria levels, and helps burn fat which aids in weight loss
  4. Diabetes:  helps control blood sugar levels and boosts insulin secretion
  5. Heart:  promotes a healthy heart and healthy blood pressure levels
  6. Head:  aids in reducing mental fatigue and boosting brain function
  7. Skin:  helps reduce wrinkles, sagging and dry, flaking skin; can be used as a make-up remover and moisturizer
  8. Hair:  helps reduce protein loss from hair while promoting healthy hair and scalp
  9. Bones & Teeth:  boosts bone strength and dental health

There are still calories in coconut oil and although the fats are beneficial they are still fats…so please check with your doctor to see if it’s okay for you to use.  Have fun with the many uses of this superfood…Enjoy!

If you, like many people, struggle with finding ways to consume coconut oil – try our coconut oil supplements!! They come in an easy to swallow gel cap that makes it easier than ever to get your coconut oil in!

 

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Why Your Liver Is Important Your liver has a lot of responsibility and is in charge of helping your body rid itself of harmful toxins! Taking care of it and making sure it is working will go a long way in improving your overall health!

The liver plays a central role in all metabolic processes in the body.  Its main job is to filter blood coming from the digestive tract before passing it to the rest of the body, but there are several important functions the liver performs:

–  Bile production and excretion (an important digestive liquid)

–  Excretion of bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones, and drugs

–  Metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates

–  Enzyme activation

–  Storage of glycogen (energy in the form of a sugar), vitamins, and minerals

–  Synthesis of plasma proteins, such as albumin, and clotting factors

–  Blood detoxification and purification

The liver is also the only organ in the body that can grow cells and regenerate itself.  It can be removed from the body, split in half, and transplanted into two different recipients.  Plus, a living person can donate a portion of their liver while having both portions regrow and function.  A healthy liver is important for many reasons and there are several things you can do (and not do) to protect it from damage so it can keep your body functioning properly:

 

  1. Eat a high fiber diet, including fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains
  2. Load up on healthy protein (vital for fighting infections and healing a damaged liver); include low fat or fat-free dairy, lean meats, and plant-based sources like beans, legumes, and lentils
  3. Avoid trans fats found in processed foods; opt for healthy fats found in nuts, seeds, flaxseeds, avocados, olive oil, and fatty fish
  4. Stay well hydrated
  5. Avoid consuming high amounts of salty and sugary foods
  6. Control your weight…avoid obesity
  7. Limit alcohol consumption
  8. Don’t abuse over-the-counter medications (especially acetaminophen)

 

There are a few common symptoms you might notice if your liver isn’t working well:

–  Chronic fatigue

–  Gastrointestinal issues (upset stomach, nausea, vomiting)

–  Decreased appetite

–  Dark colored urine

–  Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)

A liver detoxification is sometimes all that’s needed to clean out this important, multi-functional organ and get things running smoothly again.  There are many liver detox products and recipes out there, and some might be a bit too harsh for the average person. We have our Liver Detox formula that’s gentle enough for almost everyone, yet gets the job done.  The all natural ingredients help to cleanse and protect the liver so it can properly take care of you. Please be sure to check with your healthcare professional about your personal health situation and any medications you might be taking just to make sure all is clear for you to do any type of liver detoxification.  

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With BBQ and grilling season upon us – there are some easy swaps and changes you can make for healthier BBQs!! With just a few small tweaks you can cut calories and help you stay on track!

With warmer weather just starting to arrive it’s time to uncover and clean off the barbecue and commence with grilling!  While it is a bit healthier to grill foods (usually not many fats are needed) the sauces that are used can increase the sugar content too much and make a healthy cooking option not so healthy after all.  Items like lean meats, chicken breast, fish, vegetables, and even fruit, all taste fantastic when grilled and sometimes the flavors of certain items are even enhanced when cooked over an open flame.

The way you cook on the grill is almost as important as what you cook.  Proteins (meat, chicken, and fish) sometimes stick when no fats (butter or oils) are used to a little bit of olive oil is fine…just a little bit though.  Olive oil is a healthy choice and a little goes a long way. There are now nonstick grilling mats and pans specifically made for the barbecue and these, of course, require no butter or oils to prevent sticking…making them a great healthy option.  You can also cook things in tinfoil “packets”…vegetables and fish are good options for this method…so as to keep items from falling through the grates of the grill. It also steams the food so you aren’t having to use anything on the items to prevent sticking.

 

Another pitfall for people looking to eat healthy and enjoy a barbecue are the sauces used to marinate the proteins.  Sugar is usually in large quantities in these sauces as it imparts a lot of flavors when it caramelizes. Even a healthy fish filet can be rendered unhealthy by a high-calorie sauce, so whenever possible use marinades and sauces sparingly and AFTER cooking to minimize damage to your diet.  Also, remove any visible fat from meat and the skin from chicken and turkey for the best option.

 

There are many healthy barbecue recipes to try with a variety of foods and depending on your preference, there are many variations.  Here are a few links to sites offering healthy barbecue recipes that you might want to try:

 

  1. https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/dinner/grilling-recipes/
  2. http://www.cookinglight.com/food/top-rated-recipes/five-star-grill-recipes
  3. https://www.delish.com/entertaining/g2167/healthy-grilling-recipes/
  4. https://www.bonappetit.com/gallery/healthy-grilling-recipes
  5. https://www.cookincanuck.com/15-healthy-barbecue-grilling-recipes/

 

Side Dishes are also an area where many people eat more calories than they realize and a diet can really be derailed due to a great side dish.  Potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw, and baked beans are the traditional sides at most barbecues, but they are loaded with fat and calories (and sugar as well) and aren’t on any weight loss program.  While they’re delicious, it’s best to avoid them and opt for things like grilled vegetables, a leafy green salad, bean and avocado salad, or even a baked potato cooked on the grill.

 

When it comes to dessert, a couple of good things to grill in the fruit category are pineapple slices and peaches.  The fruit sugars in these delicious items caramelize when grilled and they become very sweet. They are great options that are still healthy when it comes to barbecue fare.  Even small changes to your normal barbecue dining can mean positive results for your health and make eating better easier and easier every time you incorporate them.

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Apple Cider Vinegar has become all the rage, but why?? Is it worthy of all the buzz – here are 8 surprising benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar that you might not be aware of!

There has been a lot of mention lately about the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar and what all it can do for you…but why exactly is it so popular?  Just some of the many benefits include weight loss, possibly lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, stabilizing blood sugar, enhancing skin health, and relieving acid reflux symptoms.  But what exactly is apple cider vinegar and why is it so good for you?

Apple cider vinegar is a vinegar made from apples, sugar, and yeast.  ACV, as some call it, is the most popular type of vinegar in the natural health community and specifically when it contains “The Mother”…the sediment left in the vinegar when it’s unrefined, unpasteurized, and unfiltered.  This “mother” is a cloudy colony of beneficial bacteria that helps create vinegar through a secondary fermentation process. This makes a vinegar that is high in acetic acid, antioxidants, and probiotics and a better all-around choice for health than the traditional “clear” ACV.

There are many benefits of consuming apple cider vinegar due to its high potassium and enzyme levels.  Here are just a few of the ways to use ACV:

  1. Helps Stomach Troubles:  mix 1-2 Tbl. into water or juice and drink when needed.
  2. Soothes a Sore Throat:  mix equal parts ACV with warm water and gargle every hour.
  3. Prevents Indigestion:  mix 1 tsp. honey and 1 tsp. ACV into a glass of warm water and drink it 30 minutes before eating.
  4. Clears a Stuffy Nose:  mix 1 tsp. ACV into a glass of warm water and drink to help sinus drainage.
  5. Aids in Weight Loss:  the acetic acid suppresses appetite, increases metabolism, and reduces water retention so try taking about 2 oz. straight before meals.
  6. Reduces Nighttime Leg Cramps:  mix 2 Tbl. ACV and 1 tsp. honey into warm water and drink before going to bed.
  7. Helps Control Blood Sugar:  have 2 Tbl. of ACV before bed or mix equal parts ACV and water then drink before eating a high carbohydrate meal.
  8. Boosts Energy:  mix 1-2 Tbl. of ACV into a glass of chilled vegetable juice or water when you’re feeling tired.

There are also topical ways to use Apple Cider Vinegar that include getting rid of dandruff, clearing acne, fading bruises, whitening teeth, and banishing bad breath.  However, you choose to use Apple Cider Vinegar just know it’s more than something to use for dressings or to cook with. Apple Cider Vinegar is a multi-purpose player in your health regimen that has been used for centuries both internally and externally for health, wellness, beauty, and flavor!

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Molasses, whether it is pomegranate molasses, sorghum molasses or blackstrap molasses, is a healthy substitute for sugar. Believe it or not, molasses is a staple diet in America. Pilgrims brought molasses in the country when they first visited the continent centuries ago.

Some people find molasses too sour. Others find it too sweet. Meanwhile, there are those who think molasses is too rich or sugary. However different people’s opinions are, the fact is that molasses are difficult to acquire thus the need to find a good molasses substitute.

Molasses is a common ingredient used in pies, cookies, and cakes. Due to its high sugar content and the risk, this brings to one’s health, the following are a slew of molasses substitute you could use.

Molasses is a common ingredient used in pies, cookies and cakes. Due to its high sugar content and the risk this brings to one's health, the following are a slew of molasses substitute you could use.

Yogurt

Yogurt is a decent substitute for molasses in recipes. Though yogurt tastes differently from molasses, it possesses similar properties once it is utilized in cooking or baking.
Yogurt is also a good source of calcium as it contains healthy proteins. Yogurt is also ideal for vegetarians. When this molasses substitute is used in baking, make sure that it is properly strained. Proper straining requires that you put a cheesecloth over a bowl, pour the yogurt through the cheesecloth and allow it to strain overnight through the cloth. If you want to acquire the best and healthiest yogurt source, make sure you use brands, which indicate that the yogurt is made using nonfat or low-fat milk. Such yogurts not only help fight obesity, it also prevents chronic disease such as cancer or stroke.

Applesauce

Applesauce is another molasses substitute that serves as a healthy alternative. However, applesauce is not as sweet as molasses, its moisture and texture is similar. Plus, applesauce contains large amounts of critical minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. It also contains fiber essential to treat and prevent stroke, obesity and other cardiovascular diseases. As much as possible, use applesauce that is low in calories and sugar.

Feel free to make your own applesauce. All you have to do is combine sliced and peeled apples in a large pot. Add water, cinnamon, and sugar. Heat this mixture until it boils. Decrease the quantity until the sauce thickens. This applesauce will definitely be nutritious as much as it is delicious.

Honey

Honey is considered as the most healthy and popular substitute for molasses in recipes. This golden liquid is naturally produced by bees and was used for centuries as a preservative and sweetener. It is also a good antioxidant and possesses anti-bacterial properties, which boosts the immune system. Honey also helps prevent fatigue when exercising. The main reason why honey is a good molasses substitute is due to its good taste. While molasses could either be sweet, bittersweet or unpleasant, honey is always sweet and pleasantly delicious. The best-tasting honey is raw honey since it has not been treated after being removed from the beehive. Take note that pure or natural honey is not really natural or pure as it has been processed thus it is inferior to raw honey.

Barley Malt Extract

Barley malt – similar to honey – is gold in color, has a thick consistency and is sweet. It is utilized to improve and sweeten foods such as ice cream, bread, cereals, and bagels. It is also used to sweeten tonic beverages and is essential in brewing non-alcoholic and alcoholic beer. Barley malt is a molasses substitute in baking due to its aesthetic qualities and nutritional value. It is also rich in easy-to-digest protein. It is similarly high in vitamin B and amino acids. Barley malt is also used to soften stool and treat children’s constipation. Barley malt could also serve as a standalone supplement and critical substitute for molasses in recipes.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup is the preferred sweetener for numerous generations. It is essentially a molasses substitute that is usually used in porridge, pancakes, waffles, French toast, and oatmeal. Maple syrup is also healthy as it contains calcium that is essential for tooth and bone health.

Other equally effective and tasty molasses substitutes include brown rice syrup, golden syrup, corn syrup, Karo syrup and muscovado sugar. Brown rice syrup is amber-colored syrup that tastes half as sweet as actual sugar. Meanwhile, golden syrup is a classic syrup that is lighter in flavor compared to molasses. Corn syrup is a type of syrup that comes from maize starch. Karo syrup is also corn syrup that is available in light and dark varieties. Muscovado sugar tastes like molasses but is actually an unrefined version of brown sugar.

All in all, recipes which require molasses include pecan pie, gingerbread, and even barbecue sauce. Molasses are specified for these recipes due to its unique color and taste. Though molasses substitution is essential, these alternatives could not duplicate the unique taste of molasses.

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When it comes to eating fats these days the mantra has changed a bit from years past.  It used to be that “fat free” was the standard to follow if you wanted to lose weight…but not so much anymore.  Now we realize that “healthy fats” are an important part of losing weight…in moderation, of course. So what are the fats that we should be eating while trying to lose weight and exactly how much is okay?

There is a lot of misconception out there in regards to what healthy fats are, how much we actually need, and what is good for us (especially when trying to shed a few pounds).  First, let’s address what a “healthy fat” is and how much the average person needs. Healthy fats are found in many natural foods like fatty fish, avocados, nuts, seeds, beans, olive oil, eggs, etc. and the average person should have about 50 grams of “healthy fat” daily.  Now this varies depending on your size, dietary requirements and restrictions, and whether or not you’re trying to lose weight. It’s also expressed in a percentage in relationship to calories but 50 grams is on the lower end and a good average number.

There are so many different variations on the role of healthy fats In weight loss, it can be confusing and misleading in a lot of ways!

 

Now on to what you should be eating if you wish to shed a few pounds.  Many people think they have to completely cut out all fats in order to lose weight…not true.  What usually causes weight issues is actually too much sugar and starch (carbs) and not so many fats…unless you’re eating a lot of saturated (unhealthy) fats that is.  Healthy fats are essential for energy, for proper nerve and brain function, to support cell growth, and to help protect your organs. Fats also help the body absorb some nutrients and produce certain important hormones.  The key is to eat healthy fat options and NOT indulge in unhealthy ones.

So, what are some things to remember when trying to lose weight AND still eat healthy fats?  Here are a few tips and tricks for eating healthy fats while trying to lose weight:

  1. Not all oils are created equal:  Try using these oils for cooking and dressings…coconut, peanut, avocado, macadamia nut, walnut, olive, canola, and flaxseed.
  2. Natural fatty foods:   Use in moderation…avocados, whole eggs, fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna, etc.), nuts & nut butters (almond, cashew, walnut, peanut, etc.), seeds (flax, chia, pumpkin, etc.), beans & legumes (lentils, peas, etc.), coconut, full fat dairy (Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, feta, mozzarella, Swiss, etc.), beef, chicken, and dark chocolate.
  3. Moderation is the key:  As with most things health-related…moderation, moderation, moderation!  Don’t have too many “natural” fats as this can put on weight and might cause cholesterol issues.  Still select lean cuts of meat and poultry and balance fat intake with proper nutrition in other categories (vegetables, fruits, healthy grains, etc.).  And always incorporate exercise daily into your routine as a sedentary lifestyle not only puts on weight and keeps it there but the negative health effects are numerous.

Eating healthy fats isn’t a license to overindulge and certainly not meant to give the green light to too many burgers, fries, and pizza nights.  There are still calories in healthy fatty foods, so counting those calories is still a part of balancing what you eat with what you do to burn it off.  Hopefully, this information provides you with a head start on understanding ways to incorporate healthy fats into your diet and maybe lose some weight in the process.

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