Healthy Eating

How to eat a heart-healthy diet

Healthy eating is an important way to maintain heart health. Over the next few minutes, we’d like to share answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about heart healthy eating. I have high cholesterol. Should I stay away from high-cholesterol foods like eggs and shellfish? Cholesterol in your food actually has very little […]

Healthy Eating

Health Food

Health Food Health Food Every dieter wanders around aimlessly looking for healthy food when they really don’t know what they are looking for. It’s not because dieters are stupid, it is because there is so much mixed information out there. Even the people who make the foods we buy in the store seem to be […]

Fitness Nutrition Healthy Eating

Carnivore Diet: My Surprising Results From a Week of Eating Only Animal Products

No plants at all no veggies no fruit no grains and certainly no sugar that’s the carnivore diet crazy right I thought so too and then I decided to give it a try and I was absolutely blown away at how great I feel eating like this I honestly didn’t think I’d make it a […]

Fitness Healthy Eating

I'm a Millennial Who Moved Back Home—and I Don't See It As a Failure

Thirty used to seem so old. When we were in our early 20s, my friends and I used to fantasize about owning our own homes, having kids, being at the top of our chosen professions… we thought we’d have conquered life by 30.

But reality doesn’t work that way.

I’m now 32, and I feel like I have absolutely nothing figured out yet. I don’t own my own home. I’m not married. I don’t have kids—cats are enough for me, for the record. I’m not even close to where I want to be career-wise. And that’s OK. But it hasn’t been easy to internalize that.

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I was 12 or 13 when the term “millennial” began to be tossed around in the media, and with it, a set of expectations, academic demands, and the promise of a much brighter future than the Baby Boomers’. We’d inherited the earth, they told us. They just forgot to mention that it had gotten kind of… barren.

I lost my job in early July of last year. August came and went, and I had to answer some big questions. After “Where is my next rent check going to come from?” the most important was “What do I even want in life?”

I tried to figure it out, but of course, that’s a big, loaded question—and unsurprisingly, I didn’t get struck by a revelation about my life’s purpose all at once. Instead, one night I realized that I needed a clean break—from the city, my roommates, maybe even myself. That’s when I made the choice to move back home.

My future was hazy, and I knew moving home could be the opportunity I needed to replenish myself, give myself time to breathe, and pick up the pieces. I’m from a small, almost-secluded West Virginia town, nestled away in the Appalachian ridge—but there’s so much culture embedded in this area’s history. From the professional theater to countless art galleries, a Carnegie Hall, a dance troupe, a classically styled movie theater, and a local arts paper, the world was my oyster. This fresh chapter could open up new things for me… if I let it.

Unsurprisingly, I didn’t get struck by a revalation about my life’s purpose all at once.

My mother absolutely loved that I was moving back. We’ve always had a pretty strained relationship, and it had taken her a number of years to come to understand my career choices and that I had moved away. When I was younger, I didn’t want to be tied down, suffocated—as I imagined it—by a small-town way of living. When I visited, my mom would just shake her head, give me a hug, and send me on my way.

But in retrospect, I was seeing my hometown and our relationship through the perspective I had at 18, and I’ve lived a whole life since then. I didn’t have to perceive it the same way. Thirty-two-year-old me said, “Jason, just breathe. It’ll be alright. Let this turmoil inspire you.”

Of course, easier said than done, right? Of course, I risked falling back into old patterns, old relationships, and old ways of thinking. When I moved back home with my mom, I was bombarded with the usual string of questions from well-meaning family friends and extended family members: Why aren’t you married yet? When are you going to settle down? Why don’t you get a real job? Are you really moving again?

This line of questioning can be crushing, especially when it feels like your life is already in shambles. At times, I began to think that maybe I should pack it in, feel bad about myself, abandon ambition. I usually give snide answers to mask the stress these questions cause me.

But there have been so many upsides to moving back home. I’ve learned that wherever you may be in life and whatever dreams you might possess, bottoming out can give you some much-needed perspective. I finally came to realize moving home at 32 isn’t failure. I have since regrouped, found more work in my field (phew!), moved into a new apartment, adopted two adorable kittens (number of cats in my life: three), and felt more alive than I have in some time.

Moving home isn’t the end. Instead, it can be an opportunity to do all of the following:

1. Catch your breath financially.

Rent can be downright outrageous. It’s hit a high that we haven’t seen since the 1980s. Prices have risen 18 percent over the past five years, with the median rental rate reaching $864 by early 2017.

By not having to pay rent, a tremendous weight has lifted off my shoulders—I’ve actually been able to stash away a bit of cash. When I do get back on my feet again, I’ll have a safety net, something I didn’t have before. In an age when student debt is mounting and millennials are being blamed for the downfall of the economy, taking a breather at home could mean you can save up a bit—while you rediscover your passions.

2. Reclaim your emotional and physical health.

Moving home can be a way to reset yourself and clean out the cobwebs. You can learn to see this moment as an opportunity for a new beginning. Personally, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety my entire life, along with the other 16.2 million Americans who had at least one depressive episode in 2016.

Once I acknowledged the need to tend to my mental health, things became clearer. I actually now have time to work out, pray, meditate. I have the time to do things that make me happy. You’d be surprised how much exercising—whether that be going for a run, walk, or simply doing a bit of yoga (this Greatist piece is a perfect place to start, FYI)—can revitalize your sense of self.

In college, while studying acting at West Virginia University, my voice and movement teachers instilled in me the importance of understanding our bodies, including how we breathe, where we carry our stress, and the tools necessary to reconnect to ourselves.

The world can be an incredibly stressful place, so taking extra time to show yourself love is imperative. What I like to do is pull up a favorite album on Spotify, lie completely flat on the floor, and explore my breath. Breathe in. Breathe out. Let the things beyond your control go. Imagine the toxicity leaving your body as a color, maybe a dark blue or purple. It’s a symbolic act and can be liberating. Clean your mind of all the junk. I do this at least once a day, and by assigning the bad energy to something tangible, almost real, my mental slate is wiped clean.

3. Rediscover who you are, what you really want—and discover your next steps.

I spent so much time last year worrying that I forgot who I really am. Being home, I’ve been able to take some time to refocus. If you’ve become the latest victim in a long string of layoffs, see if you can use the downtime as an opportunity to take a step back, reassess your goals, re-establish who you are—and who you want to be.

Over the past six or seven months, I’ve laid out some goals for myself. I looked at my work history and stripped it down to the basic skills I’ve developed and realized that I have far more to offer than I let myself believe. In terms of my next career steps, I’ve been looking far beyond my usual line of work, expanding into other interests, and giving myself the freedom to play. I definitely recommend seeking outside perspectives—someone else’s experience often helps you make sense of your own.

I have also spent ample time looking ahead to the next five, 10, 15 years. It can be daunting, but you can try to break what you want into parts (like starting a family, owning a home, relocating to another city) and set goals for yourself that will help you get closer to these—actionable steps you can take on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed in this process, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Oh, and breathe, get some fresh air, take a walk, do something new—you’re great as you are, and there’s no point in stressing about being stressed.

Jason Scott is a writer based in West Virginia. Itching for creative freedom, he founded his own music-discovery site called B-Sides & Badlands, which specializes in long-form writing and cultural criticism. If you enjoy kitty pics and being woke, follow him on Twitter.

     

 

 

Fitness Nutrition Healthy Eating

Muscle Building Diet Mistake (EAT BIG | GET BIG!)

JEFF: What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. Today we’re talking nutrition. Specifically for hard gainers, and more importantly the mistakes that hard gainers make. And who would I bring into this video? No, not Charlie. He’s doing good with food. We’re talking about Jessie, our resident hard gainer. Who, by the way – hi Jessie! […]

Fitness Healthy Eating

What You've Always Wanted to Know About Supplements

Not a day goes by when I don’t see an article claiming some new supplement will change my life. Take this for better sleep! Try that for less anxiety! This is definitely missing from your morning routine. This little pill fixed that crazy-famous celebrity’s super-relatable problem. Trade in everything and try this single supplement superhero!

Is your head spinning yet? Mine is. And my pantry is overflowing with so many tinctures, powders, and cure-all pills that I could honestly open my own holistic pharmacy. From digestive aids to stress reducers to sleep inducers to who the heck knows what that is or what it’s for, there’s no shortage of supplements that can supposedly help with, well, everything.

While it’s important to get to know supplements and what they’re really good for (PSA: don’t believe everything you read), there’s another burning question that’s always on my mind: What’s the best way to take supplements in the first place?

Sure, popping pills is fast and convenient. And yes, mixing powders with smoothies certainly helps mask less than desirable flavors (cough cough, ashwagandha). But does the way I’m ingesting them really make a difference?

What Are Supplements?

For those who have yet to go buck wild adding every vitamin, mineral, adaptogen, protein powder, and magic elixir to your Amazon cart, supplements are products aimed at enhancing (also known as supplementing) your diet. From herbs to amino acids to enzymes to everything in-between, they come in various forms, like capsules, tablets, powders, and even energy bars.

Still not ringing a bell?

It’s likely someone recommended vitamin C or echinacea last time you had a cold, or suggested probiotics when you complained about your out-of-whack gut. Ever taken vitamin D when you were SAD? Or fish oil for that healthy heart? What about adding protein powder to your post-workout smoothie? Yep, all supplements.

Should I Be Taking Them?

In 2004, one in 10 adults reported taking herbal supplements. As of 2016, 71 percent of adults in the U.S.—more than 170 million!—reported taking dietary supplements. As people become increasingly interested in optimal health, curiosity about all-natural remedies, healing diets, and other holistic measures has piqued.

And while the best way to fuel your body is with a healthy diet, supplements can be a great way to give yourself a boost. (Read: Supplements should be complementary to a healthy lifestyle, not used as band-aids for not-so-healthy ones.) But the best way to figure out what you need isn’t surfing the internet.

“I recommend two things,” says Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., and founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com. “One, be an advocate for your own health. Do your research on any concerns or conditions you may have so that you understand what may help most.”

OK, maybe surfing the internet isn’t such a bad idea. Just make sure any “facts” you find are actually that—and that they’re backed by science.

“Second, I recommend working with a like-minded medical practitioner,” he says. “Your chosen professional should be able to understand the effectiveness and interactions of any supplements you may be (or want to start) taking, and will be able to examine your medical history, symptoms, and any relevant tests to custom-design a supplement program for you, should they suggest you could benefit from it.”

That said, consultations and tests don’t come cheap. So if you’re looking to keep things simple, Dr. Axe says that he’s seen positive results when people take the following supplement staples. But as always, check with your doctor first before filling your shopping cart:

Where Do I Buy Them?

If you’ve ever wandered down the aisles of health foods stores in search of a supplement, you know how overwhelming it can be. Tinctures, tablets, powders, capsules… all with varying doses, sold by countless brands, with prices all over the board, and mixed into so many combos that you end up cross-eyed. I often leave with several bottles and jars and more confused (and broke) than ever.

And it’s not just me. Even health professionals find picking the right supplement tricky.

“This is one of the hardest things to tackle,” says Tara Coleman, a clinical nutritionist who started her career as a chemist in the biopharmaceutical industry. “Supplement companies are regulated as food rather than drugs so they don’t follow the same rigorous testing and verification that our pharmaceuticals do.”

Case in point: A review done by Vox in 2016 showed that more than 850 dietary supplements contained illegal and/or hidden ingredients. Gulp. These included banned drugs, pharmaceuticals like anti-depressants, and other chemicals that have never been tested on humans. Double gulp.

While I’m not convinced we should abandon supplements entirely, I am convinced that buying them from a reputable company is the best way to ensure supplement safety—and effectiveness.

“Products that are available at reputable retail locations (Whole Foods, for example) will often go through a rigorous compliance review,” Dr. Axe says. “Products with outside certifications (like USDA certified organic) would also go through more testing. I like to give Whole Foods as a baseline because its standards for manufactured supplements are even stricter than the FDA’s.”

As for online shopping… not so much.

“I would be concerned about products available only online (either through the company’s own website or a marketplace reseller, such as Amazon) or late-night infomercial products,” Dr. Axe adds. “These tend to have the most issues with quality, compliance, and adulteration.”

Another pro tip: Look for third-party verification, which is a stamp of approval from a company with expertise in quality assessment that is not associated with the manufacturer. Good ones to look for include United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, and Consumer Lab.

“Companies that choose to put themselves through additional testing to prove the quality or potency do so at their own expense,” Coleman says. “Typically this is a sign of integrity and transparency and speaks highly of the company.”

As for the way we take them, that’s a little simpler—and less scary. (Phew.)

The Best Way to Take Supplements

I love adding powders to smoothies and lattes, will occasionally (and begrudgingly) down a tincture, and have been known to swallow up to 10 pills at once (don’t worry, just herbal). My choices have mostly been based on flavor and convenience and less so because I thought the way I consumed them actually mattered.

Does it?

“As a rule of thumb, the order of bioavailability (meaning your body can actually use it) typically goes liquid or tincture, powder, and then capsules,” Coleman says.

But there doesn’t seem to be a huge—or scientifically proven—difference.

“Many sources claim that a liquid-based supplement is the most ideal for absorption, but that type of assumption has yet to be proven,” Dr. Axe says. “Typically, how you take a supplement depends on how much your body may need or be able to use. For example, a protein powder scoop would typically have to be divided into 30+ capsules for you to get the same amount in one serving.”

Protein powder capsules? Maybe not such a great way to give your body what it needs. But for something like ashwagandha, which is often consumed in small servings (typically no more than a teaspoon) and doesn’t have the best taste, capsules are just fine. And considering many supplements require prolonged use to see the benefits, bioavailability may not actually be so important—depending on your needs.

As with most health-related things, it’s also about you assessing your own lifestyle and needs. Not everyone can stomach the bitter taste of tinctures, and similarly, not everyone wants to (or can) swallow numerous pills. In fact, some may not even be able to stomach pills.

“The downside to capsules is that there is a small percentage of people that may not react well to the material that the capsule is made from,” Coleman says.

And while the material of supplement capsules—and our ability to digest them—is widely contested, it’s something to watch out for (says someone who actually showed signs of inflammation in their stomach, which their gastroenterologist guessed was from all those supplements).

So yes, there are a few things to consider, but really it comes down to—surprise, surprise—you. And once you’ve picked your poison (slash method of choice), here are few supplemental tips to keep in mind:

  • To help break up clumps—which is a common frustration when using powders—use a blender, milk frother, or shaker bottle (like a Blender Bottle). They’re easy, fast, and (almost) lump-free.
  • Mix tinctures with eight ounces of water or a splash of juice to help subdue the flavor. That said, if you’re a ‘rip off the band-aid’ kind of person, there’s no harm in going straight down the hatch, Coleman says.
  • If you’re worried about the material capsules are made from, sprinkle the contents into liquid and drink them instead. (Though Dr. Axe says that modern supplement capsules are more easily digestible and break down within seconds.)
  • With some supplements, what you take them with actually matters. Fat-soluble vitamins, for example, need fat present to be fully absorbed. Vitamin C also helps iron absorb, so they should be taken together. Calcium, on the other hand, can compete with iron, so calcium supplements should be taken a few hours after an iron-rich meal.
  • Additionally, some supplements can negatively interact with medication, making them less effective, and in some cases, even dangerous.
  • Have I mentioned that consulting a health professional is really helpful?

The Takeaway

Unfortunately, supplements simply aren’t that simple. To get the most out of them, you need to understand what they can actually do and how to best integrate them into your life. And because each supplement is different, as is each individual taking it, it’s best to get guidance from a health professional as opposed to trusting the internet.

But I know that’s easier said than done. So when it comes to supplements, make sure to buy the good stuff—from the brands that make it well—and make sure to thoroughly investigate before popping any pills or sipping any super drinks.

     

 

 

Fitness Healthy Eating

Banana Nice Cream Protein Bites {Gluten-free, dairy-free}

These no-bake banana chocolate chip bites are a healthy sweet treat recipe you can make in one bowl in less than 10 minutes. They also have an added dose of protein! Try these out next time you want a healthy dessert option.

Hi friends! We’re livin’ the Disney cruise life – I’ll be sure to share some adventures + a recap soon! – but in the meantime, here’s a super quick and delicious recipe I threw together last week. I was looking to use up some groceries, and I saw a sad banana sitting in the fruit bowl.

Sad banana

I didn’t want him to go to waste, so I put some ingredients in a bowl,  poured the mix into muffin cups, froze,  said a prayer, and before we knew it, the girls and I were having some tasty banana nice cream chocolate chip bites. (I kind of hate calling it “nice cream” but it makes sense because it isn’t really ice cream, and there’s that whole SEO thing that I don’t really know anything about.) I ended up adding some collagen to the mix for a little protein, and I love the nutrition stats for these!

Banana nice cream protein bites 4

Just mix,

freeze for an hour or two,

These banana nice cream protein bites are a delicious and healthy no-bake dessert for summer! fitnessista.com

drizzle with melted chocolate,

These banana nice cream protein bites are a delicious and healthy no-bake dessert for summer! fitnessista.com

and eat!

So easy, and so, so good. P had one in each hand and was “mmmmm”-ing her way around the kitchen. 

Banana nice cream protein bites 5

I think you’re going to love these ones.

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a try!

These banana nice cream protein bites are a delicious and healthy no-bake dessert for summer! fitnessista.com

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Banana Nice Cream Protein Bites Gluten-free, dairy-free

These no-bake banana chocolate chip bites are a healthy sweet treat recipe you can make in one bowl in less than 10 minutes. They also have an added dose of protein! Try these out next time you want a healthy dessert option.

  • Author: Gina Harney // The Fitnessista
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

125g banana

1/4 cup nut butter of choice (I used Nuttzo)

1/3 cup almond meal

Lots of cinnamon

2 scoops of collagen

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (plus more for drizzling)

Instructions

In a large bowl, mash the banana.

Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Line 6 muffin tins and pout the mixture evenly into the muffin tins.

Place in the freezer to harder for about 2 hours.

Melt extra chocolate chips in a glass bowl, and drizzle over the bites. Serve immediately and store any leftovers (if you have them!) in the freezer for the next time you want a sweet bite.

Keywords: banana nice cream, healthy bites, no bake dessert, cold dessert options, banana nice cream bites, chocolate banana healthy dessert, gluten free dessert

These banana nice cream protein bites are a delicious and healthy no-bake dessert for summer! fitnessista.com

Makes 6 bites. Nutrition stats per bite: 150 kcal // 11.2g fat // 14.3g carbs // 5.3g protein

What’s your favorite healthier sweet option?

xo

Gina

More of my fave healthy desserts:

Pumpkin cheesecake

Crumble in a jar

Microwave chocolate mug cake

Double chocolate protein muffin

Chocolate avocado chia pudding

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