Dr Akilah El – Celestial Healing Wellness Center

The Natural Health and Holistic World According to Dr Akilah El

Category Archives: Diet

7 Skinny Foods You Should Add to Your Diet

Eat_skinny_foodsBy Lisa Montgomery 

According to a 2008 article in The Sun newspaper, eating diet foods can actually lead to weight gain. This is because many diet foods are likely to contain no fiber, which is essential to keeping you full. Low-fat foods are often full of sugar to make up for the loss of taste that occurs when you remove fats. Instead of choosing diet foods that contain no nutrients and offer few benefits, stick to a more natural, basic diet that takes advantage of natural “skinny foods.”

Hummus and Veggies 
The Middle Eastern chickpea spread is an easy, protein-rich snack that fights hunger and balances blood sugar levels — and a little goes a long way. Baked pita chips aren’t the worst thing you can eat, but substituting some veggies can make a bigger impact than you think. “Hummus boosts energy because it contains iron, and red bell pepper slices are high in vitamin C, which helps to utilize and absorb the iron from the hummus,” says holistic nutritionist Peggy Kotsopoulos, author of Must Have Been Something I Ate. Follow her easy recipe for plain hummus by throwing 1 can of chickpeas in a blender with a dash of ground cumin, sea salt, extra virgin olive oil, and splash of lemon juice. Keep a few batches in the freezer so all you have to do is thaw. 

Salsa 
When not paired with greasy fried tortilla chips and margaritas, salsa is surprisingly low in calories. Kotsopoulos suggests buying yours from the refrigerated section of the grocery store where it’s the freshest. Make an easy low-cal substitute for nacho layer dip by putting hummus on the bottom of a dish, layering with salsa, and then topping with olives or lettuce. Instead of chips, try Mary’s Gone Crackers, which are made of brown rice, flax, and sesame seeds 

Raw Almonds and Almond Butter 
While peanut butter is packed with protein, almonds are better quality nuts that are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that counteracts free-radical damage. Not only are almonds good for your hair and skin, they’re also rich in magnesium and vitamin B2, which help calm nerves and combat stress. “When you’re stressed out, cortisol is released in the body and causes weight gain. The B2 vitamin in almonds helps with that while boosting your energy levels,” says Kotsopoulos. 

Chia Seeds
 

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and iron, chia seeds are great for weight loss because they act like a sponge, absorbing sugar and stabilizing blood sugar levels, says Kotsopoulos. Because of their high fiber content, the tiny seeds can hold up to twenty times their weight in water, so when they’re mixed with liquid they plump up and absorb excess moisture. Add them to your oatmeal or put them in a bowl with unsweetened chocolate almond milk-they will absorb the liquid and gelatinize, similar to the consistency of a rice pudding. 

Quinoa
 

This gluten-free grain can be made in bulk and keeps in the fridge for up to five days. Eat it plain or with just about anything — veggies, a midday salad. Or for breakfast, try Kotsopoulos’s favorite meal: A bowl of quinoa with shredded coconut or almond flakes, banana, and cinnamon plus a little vanilla. “Buy the plain kind, just like you would rice,” she advises. “Only eating a bowl of white rice is like eating a bowl of sugar, because that’s what it turns into.” Quinoa is a complete protein source because it has amino acids, as well as stress-busting B vitamins. 

Sprouted Grain Bread 
Both Kotsopoulos and Frankel keep this in their kitchens at home. Kotsopoulos uses it for sandwiches with apple or almond butter, while Frankel prefers hummus or soy cheese on hers. “When the grains are sprouted, the nutrient profile increases, which makes your body assimilate the nutrients better,” Kotsopoulos says. Look for it in the freezer section at your grocery store. 

Greek Yogurt
 

A top belly-flattening favorite, yogurt is stacked with probiotics, bacteria that may help reduce the amount of fat your body absorbs. Pick a Greek yogurt over the regular kind, says Kara Lydon, a registered dietitian at Chobani. Greek nonfat or low-fat versions contain only half as much sodium as regular yogurt — and no artificial sweeteners or preservatives. 

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7 Ways to Get Rid of the Refined Sugar Habit

By 

Increased consumption of sugar has been linked to some serious health issues such as heart diseases and cancer besides the obvious weight issues. It is also believed that our brain releases dopamine which helps to keep our body happy. However, the fact is that every person has unique physical needs. For example, many people do not prefer consuming sweets even in moderation because they don’t feel the urge to have them. However, contrarily, other people constantly nibble on sweet food because their bodies want so.

The dangers of consuming excessive sugar cannot be overlooked which is why we bring for you some incredible ways to get rid of consuming refined sugar:

1. Stop Drinking Sodas and Sweetened Drinks

All soft drinks contain huge quantities of sugar content in them. You consume around 10 teaspoons of sugar in a 12 ounce can. If you can stop drinking these soft drinks you can easily lose a lot of fat. Also, try getting rid of candies and cakes, as these contain the highest amount of sugar and carbohydrates both of which are dangerous for your health.

2. Avoid Consuming or Buying Packaged Foods

All sorts of organic packaged food are rich in sugar content. It is much better to prepare your own snacks such as homemade popcorns over the stovetop. You can even consume raw fruits and vegetables as snacks.

3. Choose Wisely When Eating Out

Whenever you choose to eat out, avoid desserts that are prepared using sugar. Instead, go for desserts prepared using fresh fruit and natural sweeteners such as honey. Prefer fruit smoothies, fruit salads, and other salads prepared using less sugar content and healthy dressings.

4. Try Going Sugar-Free At Least for a Week

This could be the best way to know how much sugar content your body needs on average. Go sugar-free for at least a week so your body starts adapting to the dietary change. This will help you gain a lot of confidence as well.

5. Deal with Sugar Cravings

Succumbing to sugar cravings is the major reason why people collect so much fat around their bodies. You can deal with sugar cravings by opting for foods that have natural sources of sugar. Consume fresh fruit when you wish to eat a bar of chocolate, for example.

6. Restrict You Daily Sugar Intake

You can control a lot of sugar intake by restricting your consumption to up to 2 teaspoons of sugar each day. You can either consume these two teaspoons of sugar at breakfast, during lunch or with snacks at any other time of the day.

7. Enjoy Other Food That You Like

Prepare meals that you like as a substitute for sugar laden food. You can always have healthy yet tasty meals every day. For example, roasted portobello mushrooms  toast nuts, roast squash, prepare dish salad, cook soups and stews, etc. There are several other foods that you can enjoy as well. 

 

 

 

 

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Foods That Lower Diabetes Risk

By Erin Palinski RD

November is American Diabetes Month, which brings our attention to Type 2 diabetes — a devastating disease that is rising exponentially. Even children are now being diagnosed with what was thought to be only an “adult disease”.

For those of us who want to prevent diabetes, how can we eat in a way cut the risk and also whittle our middle? What if there were just a few easy superfoods that we can incorporate each day to not only drastically reduce our risk of diabetes, but shrink our waistline in the process? The good news is these foods do exist- and they even taste great!

In my newly released book, Belly Fat Diet for Dummies, I focus on specific foods, seasonings, and spices that have been shown in recent research to target the most dangerous of all fats — belly fat. The great news is that many of these superfoods not only burn up stubborn belly fat, they can actually help decrease insulin-resistance and lower blood sugar, helping to prevent and control diabetes!

FIRST, STOCK UP ON BLUEBERRIES 

A University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study found that when rats consumed just 2% of their calories from blueberries over a 90-day period, they significantly reduced their percentage of belly fat! And this tasty fruit has also been shown to reduce food cravings. This same study also showed a significant increase in insulin sensitivity as well as a decrease in triglyceride levels. 

SECOND, BUY MORE BEANS 

Beans are another great source, especially cannellini beans, since these contain one of the highest levels of resistance-starch (a fiber that resists digestion). This means your body has to work harder, and in turn burn more calories, to digest these, helping promote weight loss. In addition, the low glycemic index of these beans means they have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. Add these into meals in replacement of higher glycemic index foods, like white rice, for better blood sugar control.

THIRD, GET NUTS

Out of all nuts, walnuts may just be the most effective at burning up belly fat and controlling diabetes. Walnuts are one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are not only strong anti-inflammatory nutrients, but they also help to regulate stress hormones such as cortisol. When stress hormones are elevated in your body, it causes your body to store more fat- specifically belly fat. Consuming a high level of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet can help prevent stress hormones from peaking, meaning less of these hormones are circulating in your body, and therefore you start to store less belly fat. In addition, walnuts can have a significant impact on reducing blood sugar. A recent study found that consuming nuts daily reduced A1c levels by as much as 8%. Another study found that walnuts helped to reduce fasting insulin levels. So sprinkle walnuts onto your salads, yogurt, or just snack on a handful a day for a smaller waist and improved blood sugar control. 

FOURTH, GRAB HOT PEPPERS 

If you like spicy foods, stock up on hot peppers! Rich in capsaicin, these peppers have a thermogenic effect on the body, boosting metabolism and calorie burn, helping to shed unwanted pounds, especially around the midsection. But that’s not their only benefit! A study found that consuming an increased amount of capsaicin for 10 weeks lowered obesity-induced insulin resistance in mice. So add these to everything from salads to chili. You can even use the ground or flaked form to season foods.

 

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6 Healthier Alternatives to Potato Chips

These veggie-filled recipes are loaded with nutrients and are baked instead of fried.

Coconut Chips

Ingredients
1 coconut
Coarse salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Test each of the three eyes at the stem end of the coconut to see which is the softest. Then use an ice pick (or a screwdriver) and a hammer to pierce two of the eyes. Strain water through a fine sieve into a bowl; reserve for another use or discard.
Place coconut on a rimmed baking sheet; bake for 30 minutes, or until coconut shell begins to crack. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
Wrap coconut in a clean kitchen towel; holding coconut with one hand, hit it with a hammer in the same place several times to crack the outer shell and split the coconut into several large pieces.
Separate coconut flesh from shell, and use a vegetable peeler to remove the dark outer skin, if desired. Rinse and dry coconut. Using a mandoline or a vegetable peeler, remove strips from edges.
Divide coconut strips between 2 rimmed baking sheets in a single layer; season with salt. Bake until toasted, about 10 minutes.

Apple Peel Twigs

Ingredients
12 organic apples
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar

Directions
Combine cinnamon and sugar then peel apples. Toss peels from apples with cinnamon sugar; sprinkling peels with a few drops of water will help the mixture stick. Spread in a single layer on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, and bake in a preheated 250-degree oven until peels are curled and crisp, about 2.5 hours, rotating halfway through. Let cool before serving.

Baked Plantain Chips

Ingredients
2 pounds plantains or green bananas, scored, peeled, and thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Divide plantains between two rimmed baking sheets. Toss with oil, then arrange in a single layer on sheets. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden and crisp, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating sheets and flipping plantains halfway through. Drain plantains on paper towels.

Carrot and Parsnip Fries

Ingredients
5 medium carrots
3 medium parsnips
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

Directions 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center of the oven.
Peel carrots and parsnips and halve crosswise. Slice lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick planks. Slice lengthwise again to make 1/4-inch-thick fries.
Place on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with oil, salt, and red-pepper flakes. Spread into a single layer and roast, turning veggies once, until crisp and golden brown in places, about 20 minutes.

Beet Chips

Ingredients
2 medium beets
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Peel beets and slice 1/16 inch thick with a mandoline. In a large bowl, toss beets with extra-virgin olive oil.
On two rimmed baking sheets (or use one sheet and bake in two batches), arrange beets in a single layer. Stack another rimmed baking sheet on top of each. Bake until edges of beets begin to dry out, about 20 minutes. Uncover and rotate sheets. Bake 10 to 20 minutes, removing chips as they become lightened in color. Transfer to a wire rack; chips will crisp up as they cool.

Kale Chips

Ingredients
2 large bunches of kale, rinsed well, dried, and torn into 1- to 2-inch pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons coarse salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place kale pieces in a single even layer on baking sheets; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.
Transfer to oven and bake until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve.

 

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15 Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism

Whether you’re trying to shed some lbs or just stay fit, these tricks to increase your metabolism from Heather Bauer, RD,CDN, will help you reach the finish line even faster. 

1. Keep Hydrated I’m sure the general population thinks dieticians sound like a broken record when it comes to the whole water thing, but it really is important. Drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day will help your body function at peak performance levels. 

2. Ditch the Drinks Happy hours and late night cocktails can do a number on your metabolism the next day. Research shows that the day after a night of drinking, there is a significant dip in your metabolic rate. Combine this with hangover cravings, and you’ve got a double disaster. 

3. Destress Yourself Stress raises the amount of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is a hormone that tells the body to hold onto fat in case of a stressful situation (think more natural disaster-level stress, not a bad day at work-level). Experiment with yoga or meditation as ways to lower stress levels and clear your mind. 

4. Decrease Diet Soda Although it’s low in calories and seems like an easy swap for high calorie beverages, diet soda may actually have adverse effects on your metabolism. Water and seltzer are better options.. 

5. Don’t Forget Your ZZZ’s Getting a least seven to eight hours of sleep every night is crucial to a healthy metabolism. Anything less can adversely affect your body’s ability to burn calories. Surprisingly, excess sleep may do the same thing. It’s best to keep a consistent bedtime and wake up close to the same time every morning 

6. Soak Up the Sun Research shows that when a person spends long periods of time in a darkened, dull environment, it stimulates the same physiological functions in the body as gaining weight and sleep. The best daylight hours are between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., so make it a point to get up from your desk and take a brisk walk outside. Aside from soaking up rays, you’ll rev up your heart rate and benefit from the fresh air. 

7. Work Out in the Cold Doing any type of cardio exercise in the cold can increase the ability of brown fat in the body to work at maximum capacity. Newly published research indicates that brown fat helps efficiently burn the white fat in your body, which is the considered that “bad fat.” 

8. Drink Kombucha Tea This tea, which is made from the Kombucha black mushroom, has racked up accolades in almost every health area-claims range from easing arthritis to detoxifying the liver. The detoxifying nature of this beverage may help your body function at an optimal level, which means a healthy metabolism. 

9. Increase Weight-Bearing Exercises One pound of muscle burns 35 to 50 calories, while one pound of fat burns a measly 5 to 10 calories. Turning fat into muscle can increase your body’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) by up to 40%. There’s no need to hit the weights hard, either, simply using light weights at high repetition has been proven to tone muscle and burn fat 

10. Up Your Vitamin C Vitamin C and calcium are partners in crime when it comes to your metabolic rate. Calcium speeds up metabolism, while vitamin C helps the body absorb this mineral, creating an overall win-win situation. 

11. Vitamin B is Key Getting in all over your vitamin B, which you can do by incorporating small amounts of nuts, seeds, lean chicken, beef, and fish into your diet, helps maintain a healthy metabolism. Legumes are also a great source of B vitamins; plus they’re chock-full of fiber. 

12. Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup It’s one of the most controversial issues in nutrition: Studies show that HFCS can make the body insulin-resistant. Also, when given the choice, the body stores fructose as fat before it does glucose. 

13. Try Interval Training Aside from curing workout boredom, interval training allows you to burn more calories in less time. This is a great way for busy people with less time to get in a maximum workout. 

14. Spicy Peppers Take your pick: Jalapenos, chili, cayenne, habanero, etc.. These fiery little guys contain capsaicin, which is why you get a burning sensation in your mouth when you eat them. This same effect is created internally, causing a calorie burn for about 30 minutes afterward. 

15. Go Ginger The latest craze is to add ginger shots to juice, but if you’re not into juicing, it also pairs nicely with veggies in a stir-fry. In addition to aiding digestion, it can speed up the body’s digestion process by as much as twenty percent. 

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