Dr. Laura’s Nut Cheese Recipe

Have you tried this? Dairy free, gluten free dreamy nut cheese. Made from raw cashews and nutritional yeast, herbs and spices, this is sure to be a holiday favourite.

A few of my patients came in to me and asked if I had tried nut cheese. I hadn’t. Until this past weekend. It’s much like the cashew basil pesto I made in the summer with lots of basil from the garden, garlic and cashews, but this is more like cheese. It’s the nutritional yeast that seems to give it that tangy cheese like flavour. You can buy it already made and I have found it at Stone Store in Guelph and Goodness Me!

Making nut cheese takes a little forward thinking, but it is not difficult. You can customize the flavour when you make it yourself. So you could do a cinnamon and cranberry, or a garlic and herb, or use crazy amount of basil.

Start with some raw unsalted cashews available at places like Costco, Bulk Barn or Goodness Me! The later two have nutritional yeast (Bob’s Red Mill brand) as well. You can get herbs and garlic, or other ingredients just about anywhere.

Some blogs on line suggest a food processor works better than a blender. I think if you have a high speed Vitamin or Blentec you might get a way with the blender and not have to make it too runny.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups (240 g) raw cashews
  • 1-2Tbsp minced garlic (depends on how strong your garlic is and how you like it)
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 lemons, juiced (1/4 cup or 60 ml)
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) water
  • 2 Tbsp (6 g) nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
FOR SERVING
  • press on dried parsley, dill or other dried garden herbs, as you like.
Instructions
  1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with cool water. I use a pyrex glass one with a fitted lid. Do it in the morning and leave on the counter for the day (12 hours).  If you can’t get to them right away, drain, place back in bowl, and store in refrigerator for up to 24-36 hours.
  2. Once soaked, drain cashews thoroughly and add to blender/food processor. Add minced garlic,  lemon zest, lemon juice, water, nutritional yeast, salt and olive oil.
  3. Process until very creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. It should look like the consistency of hummus. Then taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon zest for tartness, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, garlic for zing, or salt for flavour/balance.
  4. If it is a bit wet, scoop out the contents and drain a fine mesh strainer over a large mixing bowl. Discard any liquid.
  5. Otherwise you can directly lay down two layers of cheesecloth (or a clean, fine, absorbent towel) and place nut mix into the centre. Gather the corners and twist the top gently so you may form the cheese into a what looks like a gouda cheese round.  A twist tie or elastic might help hold it.
  6. Place the drained cheese round into a sealed glass container in refrigerator to set for at least 6 hours, preferably 12, or until excess moisture has been wicked away. It is ready if it holds its form when unwrapped from the cheesecloth.
  7. To serve, unwrap from cheesecloth and place onto a serving board. Gently pat a coat of chopped herbs on to the round.
  8. Enjoy chilled with crackers or vegetables. Cheese will hold its form for 1-2 hours out of the refrigerator, but best when chilled. I’ve also seen it whipped up with the herbs and placed in a dollop on the serving tray.
  9. Leftovers keep well for up to 5 days,  if covered in the refrigerator.

From the heart and kitchen of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Dr. Phil Shares: The 17 Scariest Halloween Candies

The 17 Scariest Halloween Candies
 

Everywhere you turn, there are bowls of Halloween candy that are full of spooky ingredients like sugar, fat, chocolate, soy lecithin, polyglycerol polyricinoleate, sodium metabisulfate, resinous glaze, and carnauba wax — yum!

OK, let’s be honest — a list of sketchy ingredients isn’t going to stop anyone from hoovering a handful of [insert favorite Halloween candy here]. We’re not here to rain on your candy parade; you can still enjoy the scary good sweet stuff — if you eat them in moderation and if you know which ones you really should avoid (or eat less of).

Use this guide to tally up your sugary treats and don’t let the “fun-size” options fool you: They may be smaller, but the calories, fat, and sugar content still pack a significant punch.

For reference, when it comes to added sugars, the American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons (25 grams) for women and kids aged 2 to 18, and no more than nine teaspoons (36 grams) for men. Per day.

 

The Worst Chocolate Halloween Candies

Whether they’re stuffed with caramel, nuts or coating delicious crispy wafers, chocolate candies are hard to resist. Chocolate taps into our deep-seated love for both sweets and fats. Sadly, it’s not the good kind of fat since most chocolate candies are made with partially hydrogenated fat or palm oil. Beware of these top 10 offenders:

1. Whoppers (1 tube): calories 32, fat 1.2 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated palm oil, whey (milk), cocoa; malted milk (barley malt; wheat flour; milk; salt; sodium bicarbonate), resinous glaze, sorbitan tristearate, lecithin, salt, natural & artificial flavors, calcium carbonate, tapioca dextrin.

2. Milky Way (1 mini-bar): calories 38, fat 1.6 g, sugar 1 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, skim milk, chocolate, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, artificial flavor), corn syrup, sugar, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, skim milk, less than 2 percent milkfat, cocoa powder processed w/alkali, malted barley, lactose, salt, egg whites, chocolate, artificial flavor.

3. M&Ms (1 fun-size pack): calories 67, fat 2.3 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate, sugar, cornstarch, less than 1 percent: corn syrup, dextrin, coloring (includes blue 1 lake, yellow 6, red 40, yellow 5, blue 1, red 40 lake, blue 2 lake, yellow 6 lake, yellow 5 lake, blue 2), gum acacia.

4. Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme (1 mini bar): calories 67, fat 4 g, sugar 1.6 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, vegetable oil, nonfat milk, corn syrup solids, enriched wheat flour, lactose, 2 percent or less of cocoa, whey high fructose corn syrup, chocolate, lecithin, baking soda, salt, natural flavor and artificial flavor, tocopherols, PGPR (polyglycerol polyricinoleate, a compound that reduces viscosity).

5. Kit Kat (1 fun size bar): calories 70, fat 3.7 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, wheat flour, nonfat milk, cocoa butter, chocolate, palm kernel oil, lactose, milk fat, contains 2 percent or less of: soy lecithin, PGPR, yeast, vanillin, artificial flavor, salt, sodium bicarbonate.

6. Snickers (1 fun size bar): calories 80, fat 4 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate, peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, milkfat, skim milk, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, lactose, salt, egg whites, chocolate, artificial flavor.

7. Twix (1 cookie): calories 80, fat 4 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (cocoa butter, chocolate, skim milk, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, PGPR, artificial flavors), sugar, enriched wheat flour, palm oil, corn syrup, skim milk, dextrose, less than 2 percent of food starch-modified, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda, soy lecithin, artificial flavor.

8. Almond Joy (1 snack size): calories 80, fat 4.5 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: corn syrup, milk chocolate, coconut, sugar, almonds, 2 percent or less of vegetable oil, cocoa, whey, salt, hydrolyzed milk protein, lecithin, sodium metabisulfite.

9. Butterfingers (1 fun-size bar): calories 85, fat 3.5 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Corn syrup, sugar, ground roasted peanuts, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, cocoa, molasses, and less than 1 percent of dairy product solids, confectioner’s corn flakes, nonfat milk, salt, soy lecithin, soybean oil, cornstarch, natural flavors, TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone, a preservative) and citric acid (to preserve freshness), annatto color.

10. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (1 cup): calories 67, fat 2.3 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, corn syrup solids, soy lecithin, PGPR, emulsifier), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, TBHQ.

 

The Worst Straight Sugar Halloween Candies

Straight sugar candies are mostly made with sugar, sugar, and more sugar, and dressed up with artificial flavors and dyes. These types of candy provide a quick sugar rush since they’re uninhibited by fat or protein, which can slow down their digestion.

11. Smarties (1 roll): calories 25, sugar 1.5 tsp
Ingredients: Dextrose, citric acid, calcium stearate, natural and artificial flavor, color (red 40 lake, yellow 5 lake, yellow 6 lake, blue 2 lake).

12. WarHeads Extreme Sour Hard Candy (4 pieces): calories 50, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Corn syrup sugar, microencapsulated malic acid (malic acid, hydrogenated palm oil), citric acid, gum acacia, deproteinized soybean oil, ascorbic acid, artificial flavors, carnauba wax, corn starch, blue 1, red 40, yellow 5.

13. Sour Patch Kids (1 treat-size bag): calories 55, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, invert sugar, corn syrup, modified cornstarch, tartaric acid, citric acid, natural and artificial flavoring, yellow 6, red 40, yellow 5, blue 1.

14. Airheads (1 bar): calories 60, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, maltodextrin, dextrose, modified food starch (corn), partially hydrogenated soybean oil, less than 2 percent of: citric acid, water, artificial flavors, artificial colors, red 40, blue 1, yellow 6, yellow 5.

15. Apple Pops (1 pop): calories 60, sugar 2.5 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, palm oil, skim milk, heavy cream, malic acid, whey, salt, artificial flavors, sodium caseinate, soy lecithin, artificial color (includes FD&C blue 1, FD&C red 40), turmeric coloring.

16. Skittles (1 small pack): calories 67, sugar 3 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, less than 2 percent of: citric acid, tapioca dextrin, modified corn starch, natural & artificial flavors, colors (red 40 lake, titanium dioxide, red 40, yellow 5 lake, yellow 5, yellow 6 lake, yellow 6, blue 2 lake, blue 1, sodium citrate, carnauba wax.

17. Candy corn (19 pieces): calories 140, sugar 7 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, confectioner’s glaze (shellac), salt, dextrose, gelatin, sesame oil, artificial flavor, honey, yellow 6, yellow 5, red 3.

The 17 Scariest Halloween Candies

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Phil Shares: How Cooking at Home Can Help You Lose Weight

Lose weight at home, weight loss, cooking for weight loss

But that convenience can come with a high-caloric cost. One simple — and usually less expensive —way to block those extra calories heading for your waistline? Cook at home.

Science backs it up, too: A 2014 study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition found that people who eat more meals at home consume 200 fewer calories at meals than those who eat out on the regular. And when these home cooks do eat out, they pick healthier options.

Find why firing up the stove can help you lose weight, and tips to make cooking at home easy and doable.

Lose weight at home, weight loss, cooking to lose weight

 Why Cooking at Home Can Help You Lose Weight

It’s not good enough to just eat at home, though — you have to make those meals, too. And remember: Just because you cooked something at home doesn’t automatically make it healthy. (Sorry, but those “homemade” double-chocolate fudge brownies don’t count.)

But if you stick with healthy recipes, then you’re definitely giving yourself the home advantage. “The bottom line is that eating at home is healthier for you because it gives you so much more control,” says Meg Hagar, M.S., R.D., and author of Little Book of Kitchen Wonders. You know exactly how much salt or fat or sugar is going into your dish; you also have the power to swap ingredients in (and out) to fit your nutritional and caloric goals.

And eating healthy at home doesn’t have to cost more: A study from researchers at the University of Washington found that home-cooked dinners were lower in fat, calories, and sugar — but not higher grocery bills. The study also found that people who eat at home are more likely to meet U.S. government guidelines for a healthy diet.

The control you get with cooking at home extends to other facets of your health as well: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in six Americans get sick from food-borne illness each year. Of course, food poisoning can happen anywhere, but when you’re preparing meals at home, you know exactly how food is being handled — and how clean the kitchen is.

Lose weight at home, weight loss, cooking to lose weight

Master the Art of Meal Prep

 One of the biggest reasons people eat out is for convenience. But that convenience comes at a hefty price: According to data from the USDA, Americans spend almost $3,000 a year eating out.

We get it: It’s easier to just pick something from a menu versus shopping, preparing, cooking, and cleaning, especially if you’re crazy busy. But if you arm yourself with some smart shopping tips and time-saving meal plans, you can lose pounds and gain some cold, hard cash.

“I’m a huge believer in batch cooking, or preparing multiple servings of a meal all at once,” says Hagar. “The best part is that I only have to cook a few times a week and I get to eat my own homemade meals all week!”

Sounds easy, but the reality of it can be overwhelming. Start slow, like cooking three dinners at home one week. Then, the following week, add two home-cooked breakfasts. Keep building on each subsequent week until it becomes a habit to cook at home, instead of eating out.

Pro tip: If you need a kick in the pants to get your healthy habits started, a fitness and nutrition program like 21 Day Fix can get you going.

How to Eat Healthy at Home

Restaurants use everything from color to music to influence what you eat — and how much you spend — at their establishments. Follow their lead by creating an environment at home that supports healthy eating and habits:

  • Put your meal on a plate before you sit down to eat; no eating out of bags or boxes of food.
  • Keep healthy foods like fruits and nuts easily accessible and tuck the less-healthy temptations in the pantry or cupboards.
  • Put away all electronics — be mindful of what you’re eating and how much. “At home, you can turn off distractions while eating, allowing you to really tune into our hunger signals and avoid overeating, ” says Hagar.
  • Use portion-control containers to make sure you’re eating a balanced meal. “Load up on veggies and lean proteins plus a small amount of complex carbohydrates to make your plate look more full of food,” she advises.

How to Eat Healthy While Eating Out

While we’re definitely fans of eating at home, that doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit who never enjoys a meal out. With a few tips and tricks in your back pocket, you can stay on track and eat out with friends and family with zero guilt:

  • Scope out the menu online beforehand to see which meals will fit your goals. Chain restaurants are required to list calorie counts and other nutritional info, making the search for the right dish a lot easier.
  • Read the fine print on the menu: Stay away from foods that are described as “crispy,” “pan-fried,” “buttered,” or “stuffed,” and stick with healthier preparations like “broiled,” “baked,” or “steamed.”
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions, or for dressings and sauces on the side — or not at all.

And don’t beat yourself up if you eat out more than you plan to. Just roll with the punches and know that making the switch to healthy cooking and eating, like with any new habit, takes time to master.

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Best Waffles Ever

Kale and collard greens, teff and eggs pack a punch of nutrition to start your day.

With all the rainy weather this summer, there is an upside – lots of dark leafy greens. My son is doing his masters in agriculture at Guelph and his hobby garden in our back yard is my paradise.

Dino (laminate) kale, red kale and curly kale, swiss chard and beet greens deck my plate at least three times a day, in some way.

This morning I though maybe I’d steam some greens and have them with my eggs, but I also really feel like have a warm waffle with a little maple syrup. Ideas merged and here is the recipe. It actually tastes pretty good (!), even if the waffles do look green.

GREEN WAFFLES 

Vitamix or blender – blend the following on high for about 2 minutes:

1c almond milk

3 eggs

1 c avocado oil

2c kale/collards/beet greens

In a medium mixing bowl combine well the dry ingredients:

1 cup teff grain

1/2c arrowroot flour

1c quinoa flour

1 tsp xanthum gum

1tsp baking soda

Pour wet with dry and stir well. Heat up waffle grill and oil it up (I used olive oil).

Pour some batter on and bake until waffles are crispy and slight brown on the outside.

Eat right away with a little maple syrup, or some fresh berries.

Sometimes I will mix a cup of thawed frozen blueberries  with 1tbsp or two of chia seeds and a 1/2c hot water and stir. Let it sit for a few minutes to gel up and it makes a lovely sugar free topping.

Store extra waffles in glass container in fridge or freezer for easy toaster warm up on another morning.

Teff is high in iron and calcium, dark leafy greens have iron, calcium and a ton of phytonutrients, almond milk has added calcium, eggs have B12 and protein (as does the quinoa flour).

From the heart and kitchen of Dr. Laura M, Brown, ND.

 

Homemade Lime Sorbet

Light and refreshing homemade lime sorbet. Dairy free and gluten free.

1/2 c freshly squeezed lime juice

1 Tbsp grated lime peel

1 1/2c of hot water

6 Tbsp sugar

1 egg white, lightly beaten

Combine juice and lime peel in medium bowl. Combine sugar into the hot water, stir to dissolve. Add sugar mixture and egg white to the juice mixture and pour into a shallow pan. Cover. Freeze until firm, stirring about once an hour to break up ice crystals. Scoop and garnish with mint leaves and fresh berries.

Great treat for those hot summer days!

Dr. Phil Shares: Is Excess Protein Making You Gain Weight?

 

Is-Excess-Protein-Making-You-Fat-header

A new study says so. But, here’s why you shouldn’t base your diet on certain headlines.

It used to be that fat made you fat. Then the culprit was carbs. Now, a team of researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia suggests that obesity could be caused by protein — specifically, meat.

For the study, titled, “Meat consumption providing a surplus energy in modern diet contributes to obesity prevalence: an ecological analysis,” anthropologists compared rates of meat availability with rates of obesity among 170 countries to determine that meat intake is responsible for 13 percent of the development of obesity in the countries examined.

“Our findings are likely to be controversial because they suggest that meat contributes to obesity prevalence worldwide at the same extent as sugar,” Maciej Henneberg, Ph.D., head of the Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Research Unit at the University of Adelaide, said in a press release. (He did not respond to our request for an interview.)

The findings certainly are sparking, with others in the scientific community calling them everything from “ignorant” to “irresponsible.”
[bb_height_spacer lines=”2″]

What the Study Actually Found

“This study never actually looked at meat consumption and, in that sense, even the title of the study is misleading,” explains D. Lee Hamilton, Ph.D., a health and exercise sciences expert at the University of Stirling in Scotland. “What the researchers assessed was the availability of meat in various countries and then they correlated this measure with the estimated rates of obesity in those countries. Not a single measure of consumption was made.

“However, they found a positive correlation suggesting that in countries where meat availability is high, so too is obesity. The assumption that if meat availability is high, then so too is consumption, is quite a big leap to make without actual assessments of meat intake,” says Hamilton.

foods that help you lose weight

Meanwhile, it’s important to note that there is a big difference between correlation and causation. “Every country that becomes developed increases its rates of obesity as well as its rates of meat consumption. But that doesn’t mean that meat is the reason,” says Donald K. Layman, Ph.D., professor emeritus of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois, and one of the world’s foremost protein researchers.

The study’s assertion that a correlation between meat availability and obesity means that one causes the other is not that different than saying that greater access to schools or lower levels of unemployment are responsible for obesity. After all, those are both consequences of development, too.

“If you set the bar low enough in your statistics, you can see any correlation you want,” says Layman. “The study authors say that they controlled for other weight-related factors like caloric intake and physical activity, but you can’t factor out total calories from the equation and then say that calories from meat cause obesity.”

Why Protein May Be a Type of Food That Can Help You Lose Weight

So how do the study researchers explain their assertion that eating meat makes you fat?

“Whether we like it or not, fats and carbohydrates in modern diets are supplying enough energy to meet our daily needs,” Wenpeng You, a Ph.D. student and the study’s lead author, said in the university’s press release. “Because meat protein is digested later than fats and carbohydrates, this makes the energy we receive from protein a surplus, which is then converted and stored as fat in the human body.”

Riiiight. “This frankly is one of the most irresponsible pieces of nutrition advice I’ve ever read. It is an absolutely stupid and irresponsible statement,” Layman says. “If I had a freshman in a nutrition class who said that, I would fail them on the spot.”

While it’s true that protein is slow to digest, that’s a good thing; it helps stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce insulin spikes, aid in satiety, and encourage weight loss, not gain. It’s a type of food that can help you lose weight if eaten in the right portions.

A review of several studies published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition revealed that it may be beneficial to partially replace refined carbohydrate with protein sources that are low in saturated fat because there’s convincing evidence that high-protein meals lead to reduced consumption, and increase thermogenesis (process of burning calories to generate body heat) and satiety. The Beachbody Portion Fix Eating Plan is a higher-protein diet that includes lean animal protein, such as 93–95 percent lean ground beef or turkey, reduced-fat turkey bacon, and 2-percent cottage cheese, as well as plant-based sources of protein as part of a healthy diet — and particularly for those who want to lose weight.

“The notion that because protein takes time to be digested [and] is therefore more likely to be converted to fat is completely unfounded and indicates the author’s ignorance on protein metabolism,” Lee says. “If anything, protein in the diet is less likely to be converted to fat. It has a greater stimulatory effect on your metabolism than do carbohydrates, and it has to go through a more convoluted pathway to get converted to fat than do carbohydrates.”

That’s why, as Layman notes, meat consumption has been inversely related to obesity in the U.S. The consumption of red meat has been on the decline since the mid-’70s. What’s more, data from the Netherlands Cohort study, which assessed meat consumption in about 4,000 men and women over the course of 14 years, found that those who consumed the most beef had the lowest increases in age-related weight gain.

But… Excess Calories = Excess Weight

“Any time you over-consume calories relative to your need, you are going to gain weight,” Layman says. “Protein can be a part of that.”

Interestingly, though, protein may be a very small part of that weight or, rather, fat gain. “Overeating a diet high in protein is more likely to lead to gains in muscle mass as well as fat mass, while an equivalent diet low in protein leads to weight gain purely in the form of body fat,” Lee says.

Case in point: In a 2012 Pennington Biomedical Research Center study of people consuming high-calorie diets for eight weeks, those who got 25 percent of their calories from protein stored 45 percent of the excess calories as muscle, while those who got only 5 percent of their calories from protein stored 95 percent of the excess calories as fat.

Still, over-consuming protein to begin with is probably harder than you might think — largely because protein is so slow to digest and satiating, Layman says.

foods that help you lose weight

After all, while current guidelines recommend that people consume between 10 and 35 percent of their daily calories from protein, research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that most Americans get between 13 and 16 percent of their calories from protein. Plus, even the top five percent of people who eat the most protein barely approach the 35-percent mark.

Meanwhile, although other national recommendations advise people to consume between 0.8 grams per kilogram of body mass per day, Lee notes that recent research consistently shows that double that (and therefore eating much closer to that 35-percent protein total) results in healthier muscle mass and more favorable body composition changes. A 2015 Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism review similarly suggests that consuming around 25–35 grams of protein during each meal promotes muscle health and plays a role in maintaining lean body mass with increasing age. A single 3.5-ounce skinless chicken breast will get you there — and help you hit your weight-loss goals.

Dr. Phil Shares: 5 Non-Scale Victories That Prove You’re Making Progress

 

5-Non-Scale-Victories-That-Prove-You're-Making-Progress-header

You’ve been trying to lose weight for weeks. You’re dieting. Working out. Making mindful choices about everything you do, from the amount of sugar you stir in your coffee to skipping that extra glass of wine at dinner. But then you step on the scale and your heart sinks: The number is the same as last week. Or maybe you’ve lost a couple of pounds, but you feel like you’ve worked so much harder than that. What gives?

When you’re on your weight-loss journey, it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers game. But there are plenty of non-scale victories indicating that your hard work is, well, working. So instead of focusing on that flashing number on the scale, look for signs that you’re moving in the right direction, even if the scale’s not budging.

“Chances are, positive changes are happening that you’re not noticing if you’re obsessively checking the scale,” says Devin Alexander, a weight loss coach, cookbook author, and chef for NBC’s The Biggest Loser. “There are other ways to see results.”

So how do you tell if you’re achieving those non-scale victories? When it comes to improving your health, the following five signs reveal that you might be doing better than you think.

Non-Scale Victory #1: You Feel Stronger

That endless set of stairs in the subway station that you dread climbing? Well, after a couple of weeks following the workout and eating plans, you’re walking up them with a lot less huffing and puffing. “If you feel less winded after exercise or have more energy as you go about your day, that means your heart is getting stronger,” says Alexander.

It’s also a sign that it may be time to up your fitness game even further. “Your body is amazing and has the ability to maximize performance and minimize energy expenditure,” says Dr. Ralph Esposito, a men’s health expert and functional medicine practitioner at Armonk Integrative Medicine in Armonk, New York.

The more you perform an exercise, workout, or fitness program, the more efficient your muscles and nervous system become at doing it. That’s why you might notice your progress start to stall if you always do the same workouts — and why you need to regularly switch things up to continue to adapt.

Non-Scale Victory #2: Your Clothes Fit Differently

That bodycon dress isn’t as, uh, revealing as it once was. Or maybe there’s a little more room in the waist of your jeans, or you notice they’re getting a bit saggy in the seat. If your clothes are looser or fit differently than they did a few weeks ago, that’s a non-scale victory.

If you want more concrete evidence that your efforts to lose weight are working, break out the measuring tape. Each week, measure your natural waistline (just above your navel). If you see that number shrinking, then you’re losing fat mass. “Sometimes instead of losing weight, we lose inches,” says Esposito. And those lost inches might not be reflected on the scale as dramatically as they are on the tape. The reason: You are gaining muscle as you lose fat, and muscle weighs more than fat by volume. So even if your dimensions are shrinking, your bodyweight might not follow suit as quickly.

Non-Scale Victory #3: You See More Muscle Definition

You might not have six-pack abs or bulging biceps, but look for clues that your muscles are more defined than before. A simple way to do this? Go into selfie mode. “Take pictures of yourself from week to week. Keep them in your phone so you can quickly compare each picture,” says Alexander, who suggests striking various poses, like flexed biceps, shots of your stomach, or profile views of your midsection and backside. “You should be able to see some subtle changes in the photos that you wouldn’t necessarily notice while you’re staring in the mirror.”

Non-Scale Victory #4: People Are Noticing

A couple of colleagues have mentioned that you look slimmer. And then you bump into a buddy who asks if you’ve been working out. Chances are, they’re not just being nice: They’re being honest. “Other people can often see subtle physical changes in you before you see them,” says Alexander. “If someone compliments you, embrace it. It’s a sign that you’re doing the right thing.”

Non-Scale Victory #5: You’re Happier

nonscale victories

We tend to focus solely on outside appearances, but there’s a lot to be said about the shape of your inner self, too. Take a step back and analyze how you feel as you go through your day. Is your mood lighter? Are you more confident? Are you getting better sleep? These factors are flashing indicators that positive changes are happening.

“When you get in the habit of making better, healthier choices, it becomes easier to replace all of that negativity you tend to pile on yourself with happier thoughts,” says Alexander. “Plus, the release of endorphins from exercise are a proven way to combat depression and stress.”

Your Health: More Than Just A Number

Sure, the weight you’ve lost is an obvious way to track success, but it’s not the only — or even the healthiest — way to measure progress. “What people usually forget is that you’re really only supposed to lose one to two pounds a week, which may seem insignificant. But that can add up to 52-plus pounds a year,” says Alexander. “Dropping 15 pounds a week is just not realistic in a normal setting.”

Instead, appreciate other milestones you reach along your journey, and celebrate the efforts you’re making to improve your overall health.

“Use the scale as a general guide, but don’t let that weight define you,” says Alexander. “There’s so much more to what makes us healthy than that number.”

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

By Sarah Wassner-Flynn @ Beachbody

Chocolate Brownie Recipe

Perfect for the chocolate fix and high in magnesium, fibre and prebiotics.

Gluten, dairy, egg free & dreamy!

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Convect bake. (Bake will work too, it just takes them a little longer.)

First step:

Melt the following in pan on low heat while stirring constantly. Takes less then 2 minutes.

1/2 c coconut oil

2/3c unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp almond milk

Set aside… or put directly in food process in next step:

In a food processor place the following ingredients:

The chocolate from above

1 cup *black beans (drained if using from can). See below on cooking idea.

1/2 c almond meal (I make my own by processing whole almonds)

4 pitted Medjool dates

2 tbsp ground flax seed OR chia seeds

1/8tsp ground sea salt

1/4c dark gluten free dairy free chocolate chips

Puree  in food processor until smooth. Takes about 3 min. You may have to scrape the edge to get it to all mix entirely.

Prepare 8×8 or similar size pan with parchment paper. Cut to size. Place contents and press into pan.

Bake for 15-18min or until edges appear dry. Sprinkle with sea salt while still warm.

Store baked brownies in fridge for up to 1 week.

* I like the less processed version of soaking the beans over night versus using the canned. Place a couple of cups of the black turtle beans in a casserole dish and fill with water. Change the water out a couple times during soaking if you can. Soak for 8-12 hours. Cook on stove in 3x as much water as beans.  Lightly boil for an hour or until tender. Rinse. This recipe uses 1 cup.  Extra beans are great to mix up with quinoa or brown rice for other meals. They can also be frozen for future use.

From the heart and kitchen of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Dr. Phil Shares: Make These 15 Small Changes to See Big Results

 

turkey sandwich

Whether you’re just getting started or just want to lose those last 10 pounds, scroll through these little changes that can have a big impact!

  • Swap Mayo for Avocado
    Making a sandwich? Avocado > butter or mayo. It’s full of healthy monounsaturated fat and fiber and contains more nutrients than those other two.
  • Refined Carbs
    Replace refined carbs (like white rice or enriched pasta) with whole grain versions. Whole grains have more fiber and more nutrients and absorb slower. The result is they won’t spike your blood sugar and will provide you with longer-lasting energy.
  • Rotate Playlist
    Rotate your playlist to keep your workout feeling fresh. And, while we love our trainers, if you need an extra push, don’t hesitate to put on your own soundtrack.
  • Swap Soda for Tea
    Swap soda with unsweetened, preferably fresh-brewed, iced tea. You’ll save hundreds of calories and won’t be drinking nasty chemicals. Just make sure not to drink “diet” tea or tea with weird preservatives or other chemicals.
  • television
    Watching TV? Do push-ups, crunches, squats, or stretch during commercials. You’ll burn extra calories, keep your brain active, and spend less time sitting (which is really bad for you in long stretches).
  • Reward Yourself
    Reward yourself with clothing or new fitness gear when you hit a milestone to give yourself something to look forward to and to train your brain to stop rewarding your body with food.
  • Divide Your Plate
    Dedicate 75% of your plate to vegetables and the remainder to whole grains and lean proteins. It will help you feel more full and will provide your body with necessary vitamins and minerals
  • Pedometer
    Wear a pedometer. You likely spend a lot of the day sitting. Blast belly fat by moving 10,000 steps per day, or approximately five miles
  • Olive Oil
    Cooking? Use light olive oil instead of butter. Why not extra virgin? When cooking over high heat, extra virgin’s lower smoke point can cause it to break down into dangerous byproducts.
  • Sign up for a competition
    Sign up for an athletic competition to keep yourself motivated. If your goal is “getting in shape,” it’s easy to lose steam! But, if you know you have to get—or stay—fit for an upcoming race, you’re more likely to stick with your workouts.
  • Ketchup
    Reach for mustard, hot sauce, and salsa instead of ketchup, mayo, or sour cream. Why? The former have fewer calories, more nutrients, and usually less sugar.
  • Plan Activity date
    Plan a fun activity date, like a snowball fight, a hike, or a game of tennis. Why? Novel activities and laughter are two proven ways to strengthen the bond between you and your partner.
  • Eat Slowly
    Eat slowly. It takes your body 20 minutes to realize it’s full. By eating slower, you’re less likely to overeat.
  • Sleep
    Get some Zs! Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep helps muscles recover faster, the brain work better, and makes you less likely to overeat.
  • Take the Stairs
    Take the stairs! Park farther from the entrance! The less time you spend sitting, the better it is for your body. And, if you’re trying to lose weight, every little bit counts!
  • Thanks for sharing Beachbody.com

 

Dr. Phil Shares: 3 Tricks to Manage Holiday Eating

If It’s In the Kitchen… It’s In My Belly.