Tag Archives: Healthy Eating

Bread and pasta

Change Up Your Diet By Avoiding Bread, Pasta, and Chocolate

For many of us, the idea of avoiding bread, pasta, and chocolate is akin to depriving ourselves of air, food, and water. In fact, if most of us were told that were suddenly required to eliminate these three things from our diets, a good percentage of us would probably find our meals shrunk to half the size, leaving a large chunk of the population both clueless and dinner less. And that definitely puts the kibosh on the chocolate spaghetti you were thinking of making for dessert tonight.

Carbohydrates are a vital part of a nutrient-rich diet. They’re naturally occurring sugars that supply our bodies with energy and help with glucose production. However, when it comes to carbohydrates, as with everything else, its all about making the right choices.

Simple and Complex Carbs
Our bodies need carbohydrates to keep healthy there are two types. Complex carbs take our bodies a reasonable amount of time to digest, and, as a result, glucose is released at a reasonable rate. Simple carbohydrates release the sugar at a much higher rate, causing sugar levels to spike and, bring on hunger, increasing food cravings, and

Bread
Bread, namely white bread, is the most commonly consumed carbohydrate, and, fortunately, it is also the one easiest to remove. Here are a few replacement ideas.

Lettuce Wraps
If you’re new to the lettuce wrap, romaine is the best flatbread replacement while radicchio and butter lettuce are excellent alternatives to sandwich bread. Just fold the lettuce around your favorite filling or use two pieces, one on top, one under.

Whole Grains
If you can’t envision life without bread, go for the whole grains, enriched with germ intact, if possible.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms
A veg with some substance, portobello mushrooms can be a great and delicious substitute for a sandwich bun, and are also a great source of vitamin D.

Pasta
Like bread, pasta is a processed grain and is best when consumed in a whole grain variety. If you’re thinking of kicking pasta off the shopping list, here are some backup ideas.

Veggies
Zucchini sliced into long ribbons can serve as a substitute for fettuccine noodles and lasagna, and broccoli slaw and spaghetti squash can replace spaghetti noodles when blanched lightly.

Quinoa
You may not be sure of how to pronounce it, but quinoa (“keen-waa”) is a low carb, high protein grain that can be a great pasta replacement in salads and soups.

Shirataki Noodles
These carb-less, low-calorie Japanese noodles owe their consistency to yam starch. That said, you may find a difference in texture from your typical wheat noodles, but shirataki noodles are a healthy pasta alternative.

Shirataki Noodles

Chocolate
Although you may have heard of dark chocolate as an antioxidant superfood, chocolate in large quantities is not a recommended source of nutrition. It provides only simple carbohydrates and is bad for teeth and digestion. For an alternative source of sweetness try:

Fruit
Try keeping a Tupperware container full of fruit for when the sweet cravings hit.

Cocoa powder
Try making chocolate pudding with cocoa powder, skim milk and a sugar substitute.

Get the good stuff
If you must eat chocolate, go for quality over quantity. Chocolate with high cacao content and low sugar contain a high antioxidant level and is good for you in small quantities. Try to avoid “candy chocolate” that is more likely to contain artificial flavoring and colorings.

Let us know how you manage to survive without pasta, bread, and chocolate. What are your favorite go-to substitutes?

Alternatives To Stress Eating

If you want to see the most dire examples of stress eating, you need look no further than the 1980 classic, “Fatso.” Fatso documents the tale of Dominic DiNapoli, played by the late, great Dom DeLuise who is brought up by a mother who offers him comfort by feeding him whenever he becomes upset. To say Dominic grows up with a love of food would be an understatement.

Woman eating junk food If all this sounds like normal behavior to you, you may be looking to find alternatives to padlocking your refrigerator. Well, before you go to Home Depot, you may want to read further.

Emotional Eating
Emotional eating is usually used as a way to soothe or suppress negative emotions caused by anything from major life changes to the hassles of day to day life. They can include work, financial pressures, and relationship, and health problems among others. Eating can serve as a distraction to take the focus off a painful situation, or it a may be more of a reflexive response to strong emotions, resulting in an impulse binge, wolfing down food without enjoyment. However, whatever the cause of your emotional eating, it is almost never a satisfying solution, with emotions returning along with added guilt over your recent calorie intake.

Preventing Emotional Eating

1. Start keeping a food diary. Keep track of what you eat, how hungry you are, how much you eat, and how you feel after eating it. You will begin to see how your mood is connected with your food intake.

2. Lower stress. If stress is a big factor in your overeating, try to manage it with techniques like mediation, yoga, and deep breathing.

3. Check your hunger. If you ate recently, your hunger is probably more emotional than physical. if your stomach’s not rumbling, give yourself some time before eating to see if your craving passes.

Woman eating sweets
4. Avoid temptation. If you don’t keep the ‘go to’ comfort foods in your house, you are less likely to need to padlock the fridge. Also, avoid emotional food shopping and save grocery store expeditions for less temperamental periods.

5. Try not to deprive yourself. If you limit your calories too severely, you may just increase your cravings. Try instead to make healthier choices, eating more satisfying portions of lower calorie foods, allowing for the occasional treat.

6. Prevent boredom. Overeating is often a side effect of lack of stimulation. Try to distract yourself with things besides food, like a book, a movie, or the computer.

Or, you can always distract yourself by writing to us! Tell us how your feeling and what you’re eating or trying not to eat. We love to hear it!

Battling Adult Acne

  Women examining acne on her face.

Most of us talk about how we would like to turn back the clock.  Sure, we would all like to look a bit  younger, but there are definitely some things about youth that we are happy to see the back of that denim jacket with the heavy metal patches on it that you wore until it rotted, the self-administered buzz cut, the experiments with green hair dye, and acne.  Yes, if there is anything to be glad about when it comes to aging, it would have to be the end of acne.  But, what if you find yourself having graduated to  adulthood when……THEY’RE BACK! Just when you thought you zapped, squeezed and hid your last pimple, white or black head, they’re back and badder than ever.

Why?

Hormones
Teens are not the only ones whose hormones are aflutter.  According to dermatologist Julia Tzu, MD of Wall Street Dermatology says,”Fluctuation in hormones, such as before one’s menstrual cycle, is the main cause.” Hormonal acne is identifiable by a painful outbreak around the chin neck and back and may occur before your menstrual cycle. High-stress levels can also contribute to hormonal imbalance.  When the stress hormone, cortisol, is released by the body, it is often accompanied by testosterone, a male hormone which leads to the production of more oil, ultimately resulting in more outbreaks.

Using the Wrong Products
If you are prone to breakouts, you should be using products that will not clog your pores. DR. Neal Schultz, of Beauty RX Skincare, suggest looking  for  the words “oil-free”, “non-comedogenic” or “water -based” on the label.

Overcleansing
 Dr.  Rebecca Kazin, MD of the John Hopkins Department of Dermatology says cleansing more than twice a day is too much and can just dry out skin “which can cause it to produce more oil to overcompensate.  Grainy and gritty cleansers  that rub your skin can similarly promote acne.    Try switching to a gentle detoxifying gel cleanser and two is the magic number.

Food
Many of us have heard that there is a direct relationship between chocolate, greasy food and acne, but. before you put down that Hershey’s bar, there is no statistic proof of any of this.  However, you would be well advised to avoid iodine, found in shellfish and greens like kelp and spinach.  Sugary food can also be a culprit.  By raising your insulin level, sugary foods can boost oil- triggering hormones, like testosterone.

Treatment Ingredients

Salicylic Acid
Also known as beta hydroxy acid, salicylic acid exfoliates gently to unclog pores.  It is go-to in anti-acne products and can be found in most OTC cleansers and spot treatments and is mild enough to use on your whole face.

Benzoyl Peroxide
This stuff kills acne bacteria whole exfoliating the pores but stick to spot treatment for this one.  It has been known to make skin irritated and should not be used all over the face.

Glycolic Acid
If you are facing the acne meets wrinkles stages, this may be just the thing. It removes dead skin cells on the surface and stimulates the collagen and  hyaluronic acid, improving skin’s texture on the whole.

Retinol
Another godsend for the acne meets wrinkles crowd.  It is one of the most effective treatments for acne and also has collagen building properties, but , be aware, can be too harsh for those with sensitive skin so try testing it on  a small spot on your skin before you commit to it.

Exfoliate
Probably the best thing you can do to fight acne is exfoliated and the best way to so it is with glycol acid.  A glycol cleanser is helpful, but exfoliating pads and serums that really soak your skin are more effective.

Keep Spot Treatment on Hand
As soon as you feel that zit waiting to burst our, zap it with some benzoyl peroxide to start killing bacteria immediately.  Try to look for a gentle formula with soothing ingredients  for adult skin.

In closing, while these treatments are all effective, keep in mind that hormones are some pretty powerful players.  If topical treatment isn’t enough, talk to your doctor.  He may have the best advice on the best course of action.

Cooking Healthy: Butter VS Coconut Oil

To keep yourself at your healthiest and happiest, it is important to eat a balanced and nutritious diet. Maintaining a healthy eating plan can seem a bit overwhelming. Maybe you know what to look for in the produce aisle or the dairy section, but you aren’t sure what to do with it when you get home. The way in which you prepare your meals is as important as the ingredients you select. Both butter and coconut oil are popular cooking substances, but which one is the healthier option? Vine Vera did a bit of research to help you decide whether you should be cooking with butter or with coconut oil.

Nutritional Information
In a one tablespoon serving, coconut oil has 117 calories, 14 grams of total fat and 12 grams of saturated fat. A one tablespoon serving of unsalted butter contains 102 calories, 12 grams of total fat and 7 grams of saturated fats. The percentage of fat from saturated fat in coconut oil is 86% whereas the percentage of fat from saturated fat in butter is 58%.

Based on the numbers alone, it appears that butter would be the healthier choice when it comes to cooking. However, there are more factors to consider when deciding on whether to cook with coconut oil or butter.

Butter and coconut oil for cooking

Benefits of Coconut Oil and Butter
Saturated fats are composed of building blocks known as saturated fatty acids. Lauric, stearic, palmitic and myristic acids are all types of saturated fatty acids. Some of the saturated fatty acids in both butter and coconut oil are medium-chain fatty acids, which may be less likely to be stored in the body as fat tissue than other types of fatty acids. Because medium-chain fatty acids are broken down differently in the body, they may even help you lose weight when used in moderation.

The main saturated fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid, which boosts level of HDL (the good) cholesterol and that may help neutralize the risk of having heart disease. Although lauric acid raises helpful HDL levels, it also does raise the levels of LDL (the bad) cholesterol as well.

The primary saturated fatty acid in butter palmitic acid, but it also contains a small amount conjugated linoleic acid. Linoleic  acid is thought to help revitalize your metabolism and may have other health benefits. Butter also contains a good amount of vitamins A, D and K2. Vitamin K2 is a heart-friendly vitamin that is associated with a lower level of plaque buildup in the arteries.

Which One is Healthier for Cooking?
When it comes to whether one is better than the other for cooking, the answer is neither. While both coconut oil and butter have positive benefits and potentially negative aspects, neither are particularly harmful or helpful. Canola or olive oils are a healthier choice for cooking, but when used in moderation coconut oil and butter are tasty ways to prepare your foods.

As with all things, moderation really is the key. While neither butter nor coconut oil is particularly healthy as a cooking agent, neither of them are things to completely avoid in the kitchen. Use coconut oil in dishes with bold and exotic flavors, such as a Thai curry or use unsalted butter to make a tasty omelet for breakfast. Used sparingly, both coconut oil and butter can be a part of a healthy and balanced diet.