This newly popularized Asian fruit can jack up your nutrition.

It looks alien-like and can grow as massive as 100 pounds, but the nutritious jackfruit can play a starring role in both sweet and savory dishes. The two most common forms available are ripe jackfruit, with a sweeter flavor perfect for desserts and smoothies, and young “green” jackfruit with a firmer, more neutral taste, making it a great meat substitute. Here are five ways to use this ultra-versatile tropical treat to boost your health.

1. As Ab-Slimming Tacos 

At a mere 45 calories per cup, underripe young jackfruit can serve as a calorie-stingy meat substitute for your next taco night. And research shows that people who nosh on more fruit gain less flab in the first place.

Pulled Jackfruit Tacos: Drain 1 can green (young) jackfruit, pat dry and shred. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add jackfruit and saute 5 minutes. Add ¾ cup low-sugar barbecue sauce, 1½ tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon paprika. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, pulling jackfruit apart as it becomes tender. Divide mixture between 4 corn tortillas and top each with ½ cup baby spinach, ¼ cup pineapple chunks, 1/3 cup shredded carrots and dollops of sour cream.

2. As a Heart-Healthy Smoothie 

Jackfruit is a good source of vitamin C, a nutrient linked to lower blood pressure and better heart health because of its antioxidant properties.

Tropical Jackfruit Smoothie: Blend together 1 cup coconut milk, 1 cup jackfruit (fresh or canned), 1 scoop plain or vanilla protein powder, 1 tablespoon cashew butter, 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon fresh ginger and 1 small frozen chopped banana.

3. As a Good-Gut Curry 

An investigation in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that higher intakes of fiber — like that found in unripe jackfruit — acts as a prebiotic, nourishing and bolstering those beneficial gut bacteria.

Curry in a Hurry: Add 1 chopped onion, ½ teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons oil to a large pan and cook over medium heat until soft. Add 1 can green jackfruit (drained and chopped), 3 chopped garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon chopped ginger; heat 1 minute. Add 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, ½ teaspoon cayenne and ½ teaspoon black pepper and stir. Add ¾ cup coconut milk and 1 cup pureed tomatoes, and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in juice of ½ lime and serve topped with chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.

4. As Craving-Crushing Pops 

Since ripe jackfruit is so sweet, you can use it to tame a sweet tooth minus the pitfalls that come with eating too many refined sugars, including an increased risk for mental conditions like depression.

Jackfruit Pops: Blend together 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1½ cups ripe jackfruit, 1 tablespoon honey, zest of 1 lime, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and pinch of salt until smooth. Evenly distribute mixture among popsicle molds, insert sticks and freeze 8 hours.

5. As an Energizing Vegan Salad 

Jackfruit contains riboflavin, an important component of the coenzymes involved in the breakdown of food into energy.

Jackfruit “Tuna” Salad: Drain and rinse 1 can of young (green) jackfruit and pulse in a food processor until chopped into small pieces. Mix with ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise, 1 chopped celery stalk, ½ cup chopped red onions, 1 diced and seeded plum tomato, 1/3 cup chopped parsley, juice of ½ lemon, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Serve on bread or large lettuce leaves. 

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This nutrient might be the answer to your anti-aging woes.

Most of us have never heard of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD+. But that doesn’t stop it from being an active champion for your cellular health.

NAD+ is a coenzyme that plays a major role in metabolism. The problem? Levels tend to decrease with age — and in reaction to the stressors of everyday life. But there’s a nature-identical supplement that might help get your levels back on track. We talked with biochemist and NAD+ expert Charles Brenner, PhD, to get the scoop on how it all works.

Oxygen: Our bodies make less NAD+ as we age. Why?

Charles Brenner: Over time, we experience more metabolic stressors, like exposure to free radicals in the environment and even alcohol consumption or overeating. These things cause NAD+ levels to decline.

Oxygen: How do low NAD+ levels affect us as we age?

CB: NAD+ plays an important role in metabolism. Producing less of it can make it harder for cells to convert food into energy, make hormones like androgens and estrogens, and maintain healthy DNA.

Oxygen: Supplementing with nicotinamide riboside (NR) can replenish NAD+. What exactly is NR, and how does it work?

CB: Nicotinamide riboside is a form of vitamin B3 that’s a precursor to NAD+. It’s an important building block that cells can take up and use to rebuild their NAD+ supplies.

Oxygen: How does boosting NAD+ production help slow the effects of aging?

CB: It helps maintain your cellular health and resiliency. This means your cells are better equipped to handle the effects of common fluctuations in energy associated with an active lifestyle.

Oxygen: Are there other potential benefits of taking NR?

CB: It’s nothing short of remarkable. We’ve assessed the ability of NR as an oral supplement to boost people’s NAD+ safely, and it does that. Now that we have safety data and promising preliminary results, there are between 25 and 30 human clinical trials testing NR’s effect on a variety of health outcomes .

Oxygen: Who would benefit from supplementing with NR?

CB: All of us experience metabolic stress, and NR is a way to replenish NAD+ stores that are under attack from those stressors and support people’s resiliency at the cellular level. Busy professionals, people that are concerned with their performance, or those who have noticed that they’re in a little bit of decline and don’t want to be that way—they could all benefit.

Oxygen: NR is a form of vitamin B3 that’s found in milk. Couldn’t you just get your fill from dairy foods?

CB: You’d have to have hundreds of liters of milk, so that’s the case for taking a supplement. (The NR technology is exclusively licensed by ChromaDex.)

Oxygen: How long would you need to supplement with NR to notice a difference?

CB: Some people feel something in as little as two or three weeks. It kind of works in the background like an antivirus operating system, maintaining your NAD+ levels so you don’t have a disruption.

Oxygen: Are there any downsides to taking NR?

CB: NR is generally recognized as safe and we haven’t seen any negative side effects from the human clinical trials. Of course like with taking any supplement, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor first.

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Love margaritas but not all that sugar? This festive cocktail takes the edge off without derailing your efforts in the gym.

Who doesn’t like to unwind after a long week with a margarita? The problem is, they are loaded with sugar and could clock in around 600 calories each. I knew there had to be a way to have my cake and eat it too, so I created the cocktail I lovingly refer to as the “Amberita.” Enjoy the recipe below guilt-free — you deserve it!

Amberita

1.5 limes, squeezed half lemon, squeezed .5 oz. Triple Sec 1 oz. Silver Tequila 1 packet of Truvia Salt rim with Tajin Seasoning

Yield: one serving

Calories: 129 Carbs: 9 Fat: 0 Protein: 0

Now in its fifth year, The Oxygen Challenge has helped thousands of participants all over the world transform their bodies and their lives. This summer, we are bringing you two of the most badass coaches of all time: lifetime athlete and CrossFit Games champion Camille Leblanc-Bazinet and All-American track competitor and body-positive trainer Amber Dodzweit Riposta.

So what are you waiting for? Start transforming your life and body now with this 90-day training and nutrition program designed exclusively for Oxygen — it’s guaranteed to awaken your inner athlete, buoy your spirit and empower your life! Join the Challenge today.

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Use these seven strategies to kick the calorie-counting habit once and for all.

When it comes to trimming down, counting your calories used to be the go-to plan. Thankfully, a new era of research has been steadily pounding nails into this antiquated calorie-counting coffin. Case in point: A study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that people who cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while eating more whole foods without worrying about counting calories or limiting portion sizes lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year. And a New England Journal of Medicine investigation showed that people whose diets included more servings of junk food, potato-sweetened drinks and red/processed meats gained weight during four-year intervals while those who ate more vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and yogurt were protected from creeping weight gain — regardless of calorie intake.

This is not to say that calories don’t matter in the battle of the bulge; they do. But those 100 calories from bologna are not the same as 100 calories from broccoli, and the number of calories in a food absolutely does not indicate its healthfulness. “People would be better served by shifting their priorities away from counting calories and toward improving diet quality and eating habits,” says Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim: 30 Days to Permanent Weight Loss One Portion at a Time (Center Street, 2019). “Not only can calorie counting be tedious and inaccurate, it doesn’t give the full picture.”  

Dump those tired calorie-counting apps and instead use these body-benefiting metrics to get your fit on.

1. Focus on Fiber

Your Goal: 25-plus grams per day

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that simply focusing on eating a higher-fiber diet is just as effective for weight loss as following a set diet plan. “Fiber is found in foods that are relatively low in calories,” Young says. “It also fills you up, so it’s a weight-loss win-win.”

More reason to rough it: An investigation in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that consuming more fiber improves your microbiome — for example, the levels of beneficial bacteria in your gut — and a robust microbiome has been linked to everything from better digestion to improved mental health. Yet despite these results, dietary surveys show that more than 90 percent of American adults don’t get enough daily fiber.

If you’re among the fiber-fraught, look into some legumes: Just 1 cup of beans offers 15 grams of fiber, which brings you more than halfway toward your daily goal of 25 grams. Other fiber-friendly foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

2. The Chew

Your Goal: 20 to 30 percent fewer bites

It sounds too simple to be legit, but a Brigham Young University study found that people who counted their daily food bites and sips of non-water liquid and then committed to taking 20 to 30 percent fewer food bites and sips were successful at shedding several pounds over the course of a month — without making any other changes to their diet or exercise routine. “Counting bites slows down your food intake, which helps you eat more mindfully and better notice your body’s satiety signals,” Young notes. In other words, you’re less likely to eat and drink more than you actually need if you monitor how often you bring fork to mouth.

Want to try it? Simply count the number of bites of food or gulps of liquid other than water you take over the period of a week. Take the average and reduce that number by 20 to 30 percent per day to hit your goal. For example, if you average 120 bites/sips a day, you’d reduce that to 100 bites/sips daily.

3. Pumped-Up Protein

Your Goal: 20 to 30 grams per meal

The recommended amount of protein for active women is roughly 1.5 grams for every kilogram of bodyweight to support the repair and creation of muscles while keeping your appetite in check. The latest science also indicates that when you eat it is as important as how much you eat: Instead of consuming your daily protein quota at a single meal, distribute it more evenly throughout the day. A study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showed that muscle protein synthesis increased when people consumed 30 grams of protein in a meal (about 5 ounces of chicken breast) and that taking in more than that didn’t bring about bigger gains. Remember that additional calories of any kind — protein, fat or carbs — will be stored as body fat.

To cover the spread, look over your weekly meal plan and include a protein with each and every meal and snack. Chicken, fish, Greek yogurt, legumes and eggs are all great options.

4. Don’t Dine Out

Your Goal: 3 or fewer meals per away from home per week

An American Journal of Preventive Medicine study found that adults who ate out more frequently consumed less nutritious diets and had higher food expenses, and a Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study showed that women who ate lunch out at least once a week lost an average of 5 fewer pounds over the course of a year than those who brown-bagged it more often. Furthermore, women who consume lots of fast food may be more likely to experience infertility than women who rarely, if ever, eat fast-food meals, suggest researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia.

“While it’s hard to eat healthy if you’re always eating out, it’s also difficult to eat poorly if you’re cooking for yourself using mostly whole-food ingredients,” Young explains.

To reduce your weekly dining-out habit, plan a week’s worth of healthy meals and snacks, and then carve out some time to batch-cook your fare. Takeout is way less tempting when you’ve got a tasty homemade meal to nosh.

5. Volumize Your Vegetables

Your Goal: 3 cups daily

Most nutrition maxims come and go, but the push to eat more veggies will never wane. Beyond reducing the risk for nearly every disease under the sun, a large review of studies published in the journal Nutrients showed that women who eat more daily servings of vegetables tend to have slimmer waistlines and do a better job at staving off weight creep.

“When you eat more veggies, it tends to crowd out other higher-calorie foods in your diet to help with weight management,” says Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, author of Essential Sports Nutrition: A Guide to Optimal Performance for Every Active Person (Rockridge Press, 2018). “And their added fiber will slow down digestion, which promotes satiety to help put the brakes on overeating.” Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, only 1 in 10 Americans are eating the daily recommended 2 to 3 cups of vegetables.

Infuse all your meals and snacks with veggies to ensure you hit your optimal intake: Add shredded carrots to your morning oatmeal, dig into a big green salad for lunch and toss around a veggie-laden stir-fry for dinner. Frozen vegetables are a convenient and budget-friendly way to work more into everything from soups to smoothies.

6. Slash Added Sugar

Your Goal: Less than 40 grams (10 teaspoons) daily

Studies show that people who eat too much added sugar (extra sweet stuff added in as opposed to that naturally present) face an increased risk for conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease — not to mention unwanted belly flab — and those sugar spikes and crashes can leave you feeling haggard. “There’s a very different reaction in the body when foods with naturally occurring sugar are consumed like fruit and dairy as compared to foods such as cookies that are heavily processed with added sugar,” Sumbal says.

Chances are you’re overloading on sugar without even knowing it; various sugar aliases are pumped into nearly everything, from ketchup to salad dressing to almond butter. And so-called “natural sugars” such as added honey and coconut sugar do not get a free pass: They too count toward your daily added sugar allotment.

Thankfully, a new nutrition label calls out the grams of added sugar, making it way easier to keep tabs on your intake of the sweet stuff. Limit your intake to less than 6 to 12 teaspoons (24 to 48 grams) per day. Swap out products that list higher amounts of added sugar like flavored yogurt and granola with low- to no-sugar-added alternatives, such as plain yogurt and unsweetened muesli.

7. Beware of the Booze

Your Goal: Fewer than 3 drinks per week

The research against alcohol is bulletproof: A 2018 study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing found that people who abstained from alcohol were more successful at dropping pounds during a four-year lifestyle intervention program. And a report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that women who drink heavily when they’re younger have a higher risk of becoming overweight as they age. What’s more, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that consuming one to two alcoholic drinks more than three times a week raises the risk for dying earlier — especially from cancer — by about 20 percent because alcohol is broken down in the body into the carcinogenic compound acetaldehyde.

“When you drink, the liver is forced to metabolize the alcohol instead of fat, which may increase fat accumulation around the midsection,” Sumbal says. She adds that people often overlook the calories in booze (and sweet mixers), which can really add up over the course of a week. Factor in the lowered inhibitions when you get your buzz on, which make you more likely to mindlessly munch, and you could be in deep doo-doo.

You don’t have to totally swear off cheering in the weekend with your gal pals, but be smarter about imbibing: Trim a drink or two from your weekly routine, pour yourself smaller servings, and order cocktails made with soda water and wedges of whole fruit.

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Reduce bloating, boost energy and banish starvation cleanses forever with this two-week plan that leverages real food as your internal detergent.

Cleanses sound appealing, we’ll give you that. But while the thought of rapid weight loss and ridding your body of circulating toxins seems magical and healing, fact is you may be doing more harm than good. Here’s why.

Society has done a great job of convincing us that we are walking toxic dumps — our systems replete with scary elements from non-organic foods, environmental pollution, artificial additives and sundry chemical compounds. These undesirable toxins wreak havoc on our health, bodyweight and energy levels, and the only definitive solution for expelling them is a cleanse. Right? Meh – not so much. 

To date, there is no scientific research that supports the efficacy of a purging cleanse, and moreover there’s no data that reveals that these supposed lawless “toxins” even exist. True, a cleanse may help some people feel better initially — especially if their diet was filled with processed, high-calorie foods — and some people may experience a rapid drop in scale weight, but both these benefits are temporary.

Most cleanses or detox diets essentially starve your body of the essential nutrients and calories it needs, eliminating nearly all food groups and relegating you to handfuls of supplements, oddball drinks, laxative teas or even enemas. But no matter who you are, after a few days of severe calorie restriction, your energy will tank and fatigue will set in.

As for the weight loss, sorry to say it’s all water: When you eliminate carbs from your diet, your body releases the intercellular water that is used to metabolize those calories, hence you drop a few pounds. However, continued calorie restriction means eventual catabolism — in which your body uses your muscles for fuel — so while you might finish a cleanse weighing less, you’re probably still carrying around the same amount of body fat but now have less muscle, causing a drop in metabolism.

Au Naturel

Fortunately, these kinds of cleanses are an unnecessary experience because you were born with two corporeal cleansing tools — your liver and your kidneys. Your liver converts toxins like alcohol, heavy metals and medications into harmless substances. Those substances then travel to your kidneys, which filter your blood, remove wastes and expel them as urine. Frequent urination means you’re effectively detoxing yourself on the reg — no nasty beverages required.

That being said, you can help your organs function at their best, and a number of foods, herbs and spices have been shown to assist your liver and kidneys in doing their jobs. This two-week meal plan is replete with these foodstuffs, and these purifying recipes will make you feel lighter, healthier and more energetic than ever.

Turmeric Chicken Farro Soup

Makes 8 servings (1 serving = 1.5 cups)

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, diced
4 large carrots, peeled and cubed
4 large celery stalks, diced
4 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped or shredded
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1½ cups kale, roughly chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 cup dry farro
½ tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tsp salt, or to taste

Directions

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and season with salt and pepper. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except farro, and bring to a boil. Rinse farro, then add to soup and return to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until farro is tender, about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper (to taste) and serve.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 356, fat 8 g, protein

42 g, sodium 176 mg, carbs 27 g, fiber 6 g, sugar 3 g

Grapefruit Turmeric Smoothie

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

1 grapefruit, peeled and seeded
½ tsp turmeric
½ cup frozen mango
1 (5.6 ounce) container plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tsp honey
½ cup nonfat milk of choice, more if needed

Directions

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Nutrition Facts: calories 310, fat 1 g, protein 25 g, sodium 118 mg, carbs 54 g, fiber 5 g, sugar 42 g

Grilled Artichokes

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

2 large artichokes
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Trim ends off artichokes and then slice in half lengthwise. Fill a large bowl with cold water and add lemon juice. Place artichokes in water to prevent browning. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat the grill. Add artichokes to boiling water and cook 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Brush artichokes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper (to taste). Place artichokes facedown on grill and cook until lightly charred, 5 to 10 minutes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 141, fat 7 g, protein 5 g, sodium 447 mg, carbs 18 g, fiber 9 g, sugar 2 g

Crunchy Kale Detox Salad

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

4 cups kale, chopped
2 cups broccoli, chopped
2 medium celery stalks, diced
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1 cup carrots, shredded
¼ cup sliced almonds
1 cup cauliflower, chopped
½ avocado, diced
½ apple, cored and diced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper

Directions

Toss all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 420, fat 27 g, protein 14 g, sodium 767 mg, carbs 42 g, fiber 16 g, sugar 16 g

Pineapple-Cranberry Hibiscus Detox Smoothie

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

¾ cup water
1 bag Lipton berry hibiscus tea
½ cup frozen cranberries
½ cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 (5.6 oz ) container plain nonfat Greek yogurt
handful ice

Directions

Steep tea 3 minutes in boiling water. Allow tea to cool to room temperature. Add tea and all remaining ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Nutrition Facts: calories 158, fat 1 g, protein 17 g, sodium 59 mg, carbs 23 g, fiber 3 g, sugar 15 g

Superstar Sustenance

Help your system function at its best by including these food items in your daily regimen.

Apples | Pectin, a soluble fiber found in apple peels, indirectly promotes positive kidney health by helping control blood sugar; high blood sugar can have damaging effects on the kidneys. Whole, raw organic apples with untainted peels are your best bet.

Artichokes | Two flavonoids found in artichokes are liver superstars: Cynarin stimulates bile production, aiding in the digestion of fats and absorption of vitamins and minerals, while silymarin protects the liver from free-radical damage.

Avocado | Not only do the healthy fats in avocados help increase bile production and improve waste removal, but their high levels of potassium also helps combat fatty liver disease and allows your kidneys to maintain your electrolyte and acid-base balance.

Cranberry Juice | Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, powerful antioxidants preventing bacteria from attaching to your digestive tract, protecting your kidneys from infection. Eight ounces of juice daily is all you need to reap the benefits.

Cruciferous Veggies | Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates, compounds that enhance the body’s ability to neutralize carcinogens, helping prevent cancer. Eat plenty of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage or Brussels sprouts to combat the big C.

Grapefruit | Naringin, a powerful flavonoid in grapefruit, may help control inflammation in the body, and a study published in the journal Life Sciences found that naringin helps regulate alcohol metabolism to assist with liver health. It is also high in pectin, a fiber which sort of “sticks” to toxins in the blood and eliminates them through urine.

Hibiscus | A study published in the journal Food & Function found that subjects treated with hibiscus extract for 12 weeks had reduced body fat, lower bodyweight, reduced body mass index and improved liver steatosis (accumulation of fatty tissue in the liver).

Kale | Kale is packed with glucosinolates, which aid in your body’s natural detox processes. A recent study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research also found that isothiocyanates help increase urinary excretion of metabolites of the toxic chemicals found in tobacco – great news for smokers or those subjected to secondhand smoke.

Nuts | Nuts contain HDL cholesterol, which your liver uses to remove the bad cholesterol (LDL) from your system and reduce inflammation. Bonus: A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who eat nuts regularly tend to have lower bodyweight and lower risk of obesity.

Parsley | Studies show that parsley may help reduce the formation of kidney stones by decreasing the amount of calcium in urine, increasing urinary pH and reducing urinary protein excretion. Sprinkle parsley overtop any protein, grain or veggie.

Turmeric | The antioxidant capabilities of turmeric help the liver process metabolic wastes and protects it from toxins. It helps promote digestion, relieving gas by acting as an antispasmodic and reducing inflammation in the digestive tract. The curcumin in turmeric also stimulates the gallbladder to make bile, in turn improving liver function.

Water | Your kidneys are reliant on water to eliminate wastes, so drink plenty of water every day. Keep an eye on your urine color throughout the day to gauge your intake: Colorless to light yellow means you’re doing a great job; darker yellow means you need to step it up.

Toxic Foods

While most foods reported to be toxic generally lack the scientific research to back those claims, there are harmful substances lurking in your fridge and pantry. Here are some of the top contenders.

Added Sugar | Not only are added sugars empty calories, but they also contribute to obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and even heart disease. Aim for foods with single-digit sugars on food labels and no added sugar in the ingredient list.

Mercury | Mercury is a naturally occurring metal. However, large fish can absorb it into their bodies where it converts to methylmercury, a highly toxic substance. Avoid fish that are high in mercury content like tuna, mackerel, shark, swordfish and tilefish.

Refined Oils | Oils made from corn, sunflowers, safflowers, soybeans and cottonseed are high in omega-6 fatty acids, and while you do need some omega-6s in your diet, too many can cause inflammation and increase your risk of cancer and heart disease.

Trans Fats | These man-made fats have been shown to increase the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure by increasing bad cholesterol (LDL) and reducing good cholesterol (HDL). The good news is that the Food and Drug Administration no longer includes trans fats as a food “generally recognized as safe” and food manufacturers have pretty much phased them out. 

Alcohol | When you drink alcohol, your liver stops everything it’s doing to process it, including fat metabolism. Alcohol also causes dehydration, putting a strain on your kidneys and limiting your ability to eliminate toxins. 

The 14-Day Food Detox Meal Plan: Week 1
The 14-Day Food Detox Meal Plan: Week 2

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Honor National Nutrition Month by adding these macronutrients and micronutrients into your favorite dishes.

Are you getting tired of eating the same ol’ nutrient powerhouses every day? Could your favorite meals use a little nutrient boost? Are you searching for fresh ideas to help give your kitchen a spring-clean makeover? Then start by celebrating National Nutrition Month with Alexandra Catalano, a holistic nutritionist and creator of the popular lifestyle brand Eat Cute. She’s sharing five ingredients that might not be on your radar currently but pack an important punch when it comes to nutrition.

1. Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is a beautiful, high-quality fat packed with a bevy of health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, improving nutrient absorption, and nourishing your skin and hair,” Catalano says. “It’s high in monounsaturated oleic acid, which is why it is so perfect for helping reduce bad cholesterol.” Because it has a medium smoke point, which makes it ideal for using on lower-heat cooking or on uncooked foods — try using avocado oil in salad recipes instead of your go-to olive oil. When purchasing avocado oil, look for labels that state it’s organic, unrefined, cold-pressed and extra-virgin.

2. Hempseeds

Hempseeds or hemp hearts are the seeds of a hemp plant — their nutty flavor profile not only tastes delicious but also serves as a wonderful source of fiber, fat and protein. “Hempseeds are rich in fiber and can keep you feeling fuller longer and aid in digestive health,” says Catalano, noting that 1 ounce of hempseeds contains 9.2 grams of protein. “I love adding hemp seeds to my morning smoothies or enjoying hemp milk in my coffee or in baking.” She recommends buying organic and storing them in your fridge in an airtight jar or container because they are sensitive to heat and light. 

3. Spirulina

It’s no wonder spirulina is one of Catalano’s favorite superfoods — this blue-green algae contains protein and is packed with antioxidants. “Some major benefits include helping fight off candida because of its anti-microbial properties, boosting energy and pulling heavy metals out of the body,” she says. Try adding spirulina to smoothies or homemade protein bites, or simply add a small spoonful to water or juice. (The sweetness from the latter will help offset its earthy taste.) Choose brands that are organic and non-GMO, and Catalano recommend steering clear of spirulina coming from India and China because of their higher amounts of heavy metals. Store open containers in the fridge, and consume within a few months of opening.

4. Jackfruit

Not familiar with jackfruit? You may have seen it at the grocery store and wondered what the heck it was — it’s one of the largest fruits in the world, reaching up to 100 pounds. “Jackfruit is becoming incredibly popular as a meat substitute, is packed with antioxidants and is rich in magnesium,” says Catalano, describing the highly versatile fruit as having a banana-like flavor with a meat-like texture. “Jackfruit is also wonderful for improving digestion because its seeds are rich in fiber.” If you choose canned jackfruit over fresh, avoid products that contain additives like sugar, soy or chemicals. What makes jackfruit ideal for cooking is its ability to take on whatever flavoring you season it with — Catalano likes jackfruit grilled with sugar-free barbecue sauce and veggies, but you also can use it in soups, baked goods, chips and jams.

5. Camu Camu

Found in the rainforests of the Amazon in Peru and Brazil, camu camu is made from the berries grown on this shrub. “It’s the perfect superfood to enjoy year-round because of its incredible vitamin C content,” Catalano says. “This powerful berry is also rich in manganese and carotenoids that help fight off disease, and it’s wonderful for boosting the immune system and helping block free radicals.” You can find camu camu in powder form at your local health food store, and simply add it to beverages. Since its taste is very tart, it also pairs well with desserts, such as homemade coconut ice cream. Look for camu camu that is organic, non-GMO and is free of synthetic additives like soy, corn and chemicals.

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This berry-filled recipe — perfect morning, noon or night — is packed with antioxidants, protein and micronutrients

I try to keep my macros at 30 percent protein, 30 percent fat and 40 percent carbs because it helps keep my blood sugar level — and that’s why I developed this vanilla raspberry smoothie. The raspberries are high in vitamin C, the acai berry powder is a superfood that is high in antioxidants and fiber, the spinach is jampacked with iron and calcium, and the almonds are rich in healthy fats, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. I whip up this smoothie anytime I need a satisfying and delicious snack.

Vanilla Raspberry Smoothie

1 scoop low-carb vanilla protein powder

1 cup frozen raspberries (The trick is to unfreeze them 80 percent of the way.)

1 tbsp acai berry powder

handful of spinach

10 almonds

water (to reach desired consistency)

Now in its fifth year, The Oxygen Challenge has helped thousands of participants all over the world transform their bodies and their lives. This summer, we are bringing you two of the most badass coaches of all time: lifetime athlete and CrossFit Games champion Camille Leblanc-Bazinet and All-American track competitor and body-positive trainer Amber Dodzweit Riposta.

So what are you waiting for? Start transforming your life and body now with this 90-day training and nutrition program designed exclusively for Oxygen — it’s guaranteed to awaken your inner athlete, buoy your spirit and empower your life! Join the Challenge today.

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This tropical recipe will brighten your day and give you a nutritional boost.

This recipe is one of my all-time favorites, thanks to its refreshing ingredients and vacation-like vibe. The pineapple is rich in vitamin C to boost your immune system, the avocado gives you a dose of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, the coconut milk provides calcium and vitamin D to support your bones, and the protein feeds your muscles. Blend the ingredients up and you’ll immediately be transported to the beach. Enjoy!

Piña Colada Smoothie

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

6 oz coconut milk (fat-free postworkout; full fat at night)

½ cup frozen pineapple chunks

¼ avocado (optional)

ice

Nutrition Facts: calories 241, protein 27 g, carbs 15 g, fats 9 g

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Your eating style and workout routine may be supporting your sweet tooth.

There’s more to food — and your relationship with food — than calories and macros. From my perspective as a health coach, traditional nutrient facts are only the tip of the “food iceberg.”

Have you heard of the concept “the polarity of food,” coined by professional chef and author Annemarie Colbin? It’s pretty straightforward. The premise: Everything has two extremes — or two “polarities.”

For example, hot and cold are extremes of the pole temperature, whereas loud and quiet are the extremes of the pole noise. In its essence, when you find one thing, you’ll also find the potential for its opposite.

So how does this apply to what we eat?

Food is more than just fuel. It has energetic qualities that go beyond the science and mechanics of calories, fat grams and other nutrient values.

Have you noticed how some foods naturally leave you feeling lifted and light, while others leave you tense or weighed down? Imagine how you feel when you eat a sugar-loaded treat (wired, antsy, “high”?) versus a savory comfort food (cozy, groggy, tired?).

This is an example of the polarity of food.

Everything in life — including food — can be viewed as expansive or contractive. I’m not saying you’re literally expanding or contracting, but this concept can change how you use and create energy.

So what does this polarity spectrum look like, and how might it contribute to your cravings?

Imagine a pendulum swinging left to right. On the far right are the “expansive” foods, and on the far left are the “contractive” foods. If the pendulum swings too far in either direction, the momentum will bring it back with equal force to the opposite side.

Examples of expansive foods are alcohol, caffeine and sugar. (You can find a more comprehensive list here.) The energy of these foods can make you feel relaxed and happy — blissful! But when you eat too many “bliss” foods, you may feel spacey, foggy or forgetful.

Examples of “contractive” foods are salt, eggs, red meat and other animal products. These foods can make you feel grounded and focused, but when you eat too many, you may feel tight, agitated and even angry.

How does this relate to sugar cravings?

Life is a balancing act. You navigate circumstances and confront obstacles that have an effect on you every day. So if life is full of opposites and your body is the pendulum always trying to find its center point, what do you think happens if you’re eating too many contractive foods?

What does your body crave in order to balance itself out? The opposite of contractive foods: sweet, expansive bliss foods!

The challenge lies in recognizing where and when you’re indulging in too many contractive foods, which may be contributing to your sugar cravings without you even realizing it. All the back and forth is signaling to your body that it needs something to re-center itself.

Let’s take it a step further and look at other daily activities through the lens of polarity.

Certain aspects of life are naturally contractive (which create more tension) or expansive (which encourage relaxation).

Examples of contractive activities are overexercising, overworking, partying and staying up late. When you partake in too many contractive activities, you will likely crave more expansive foods because you need relaxation and release.

When you don’t allow yourself to relax, you may find yourself bingeing on wine, chocolate and bread — rather than giving your body a break with sleep, reading, meditation, walking or a hot bath.

If you’ve been hitting it hard in the gym, constantly trying to increase your PR, or being strict with your meal planning, what do you crave? Sweets, bread, a martini? Expansive foods. Your body is craving a readjustment to find its center.

When I’m working with clients to deconstruct their cravings, we look at the foods they’re eating and their lifestyle. This constant swinging back and forth is taxing on the body and will lead to burnout. Your body wants to exist in the center, swinging gently over a short distance.

In my practice, I’ve noticed this cycle is habitual and can leave people thinking there’s something wrong with them for not having the willpower to create lasting change. Developing a lifestyle that works for you isn’t about willpower. It’s about shifting habits and growing into the best version of yourself.

What if you were able to break your bad habits, understand what’s really going on and then make better choices?

This isn’t about worrying about what foods are right or wrong or giving up all sweets. It’s about learning what needs in your life aren’t being met and understanding what’s going on with you on a deeper level so you can change your behavior long term.

If you would like to uncover which of your needs is not being met, learn more about working with Rebecca Pfanner here and sign up for a free 45-minute one-on-one coaching session.

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Make meals that have less impact on the environment in six easy steps.

You’ve already made recycling a lifelong habit, you proudly reject single-use plastic straws and bottles on the daily, and you carpool or take public transportation whenever possible — if Earth could talk, it would thank you profusely for doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint, prevent global warming and save our oceans. But is there even more you could be doing to help? Yes, and it starts with your food choices.

Choose Your Ingredients Wisely

Fueling your body and brain with the best nutrients possible doesn’t have to take a back seat to a mission of sustainability. In fact, these two initiatives easily go hand in hand. And unlike abs, which we all know begin in the kitchen, sustainably sourced ingredients actually start in the fields.

“Over the last 100 years, our food system has gone through a significant transformation from small local farms to a large industrial system,” explains Margie Saidel, MPH, RD, LDN, vice president of nutrition and sustainability at Chartwells K12. “As our lifestyles have evolved, so have our eating habits. We now demand a large variety of inexpensive foods, at all times of the year, which are heavily processed and preserved. It turns out that the way we’ve all enjoyed eating for so long is damaging our environment and planet. Unfortunately, the result is the onset of climate change and the impending struggle to feed our growing global population.”

Thankfully, it’s not all gloom and doom. Saidel says we can all do our part to eat more sustainably, and one by one, we can create change — starting with the following:

1. Put plants first. It’s healthiest to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables because plants can provide the protein your body needs, along with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals to maintain health and protection from disease. But this isn’t limited to leafy greens — don’t forget about legumes, lentils, tofu, tempeh and seitan, which are a few examples of excellent plant protein sources.

2. Focus on seasonal and local. Have you grown accustomed to having a wide variety of fresh produce available at your supermarkets at all times of the year? “As a result of our global economy, we import fruits and vegetables from around the globe to make them available to us even when they are out of season locally,” Saidel says. “Eating seasonally means that you eat produce when it is grown in your local area.” This approach puts more emphasis on supporting local farmers and reduces the time and distance between harvest and market. Look for farmers markets and community-supported agriculture in your area. You’ll enjoy fresh products that were grown in your community or nearby that taste great — and if there are certain items you crave year-round, you can preserve them by canning or freezing.

3. Select sustainable seafood. Choose seafood that is either caught or farmed in a way that protects the harvested species and other species, as well as the ocean itself. It’s a lot easier than you might think to determine how sustainable your seafood is — the renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch helps you make sustainable choices with a free mobile app that classifies fish in “best,” “good” or “avoid” categories for a healthy ocean.

4. Eat whole food. Whole foods mean as close to their natural form as possible (read: less processed). Some easy substitutions to ease you in include mixing half whole-wheat flour with half white flour the next time you make cookies (the kids won’t notice!) or mixing half brown and half white rice with your favorite meal. In addition, Saidel says fresh produce, seeds and nuts in their natural form are fantastic choices to provide the widest variety of nutrients possible to maintain your health and prevent disease.

5. Reduce animal protein. “Many people don’t realize that animal food production has a devastating impact on the environment because of greenhouse gas emissions, land used for livestock feed instead of food to feed humans, and the vast water requirements of animal food production,” Saidel explains. “This doesn’t mean you need to give up eating meat — but there are a number of things you can do to play your part in protecting the planet.” She says that eggs, dairy, poultry and pork have a lower environmental impact than red meat, so switch up your animal protein sources to eat fewer hamburgers, steaks and roasts. You also can reduce your usual portion size of animal protein by combining both plant and animal sources (e.g., blend your burger with mushrooms or legumes or have a beef and bean burrito). You also can experiment with recipes such as a plant-focused stir-fry, salad, grain bowl or pasta dish in which animal protein is not the star of the show but plays a more supporting role. Finally, when you do purchase meat, always choose grass-fed, pasture-raised organic meats.

6. Reduce food waste. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that a whopping 30 to 40 percent of the food we buy ends up in landfills. “You can do your part to reduce food waste starting in your own home with a few changes to your routine,” Saidel says. “Start with planning meals for the week and take your ingredient list to the grocery store. Even better, plan your meals with the intent of utilizing the food that is in your refrigerator or pantry. You also can freeze leftovers to use another day.” Finally, store food correctly to extend its life by using the free FoodKeeper mobile app from Foodsafety.gov.

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