Saturday, September 15, 2018

Easy Keto Meal Prep Ideas

The keto diet has been gaining a lot of attention recently, and for good reasons - it is a simple, satisfying, effective style of eating (that allows for a lot of eggs and cheese!)

At its core, the keto diet aims to push you into a state of ketosis, making you use ketones for energy. This happens because you’re drastically reducing your carb intake (below 10% of total calories) which also depletes your glycogen stores.

To some of you, this might sound counterproductive, but the keto diet is just a variation of the ‘if it fits your macros (IIFYM)’ style of eating. The main difference is that on the keto diet, you eat very few carbs and your fat intake is increased. This gives your body a steady stream of energy throughout the day (there are no energy highs and crashes, commonly seen in carb-rich diets) and each meal is more satisfying and more filling (both protein and fats take longer for the body to break down into usable energy).

With that said, if you want to ensure that you stay on track with your diet and goals, you need to plan. This is where keto meal prep comes to the rescue.

Today, we’ll take a look at four easy keto meal prep ideas to include in your diet.

​1. Low-Carb Egg Muffins

Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • ½ onion, sliced

  • ¾ cup red bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 8 medium eggs

  • ¼ cup milk

  • Salt & black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ° F (175 ° C) and oil up a muffin tin.

  2. Put the eggs in a large bowl along with the salt, pepper, and milk. Whisk well.

  3. Add the onions and bell pepper and continue to whisk until everything is well mixed.

  4. Pour the mixture evenly into the tin. It should be enough for 12 muffins.

  5. Bake for 16-20 minutes. Take out and let them cool for a bit.

  6.  Enjoy!

​2. Keto Bread

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 ¼ cup almond flour

  • 5 tbsp psyllium husk powder

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 3 egg whites

  • 2 tsp cider vinegar

  • 1 cup hot water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ° F (175 ° C) and mix dry ingredients in a bowl.

  2. Add the hot water, egg whites, and vinegar to the mix while beating with a mixer for 30-40 seconds.

  3. Moisten your hands and make 1-6 pieces of dough (personal preference).

  4. Place each piece on a greased baking sheet and pop in the oven for 50-60 minutes.

  5. Enjoy as a side of a meal or with nut butter!

​3. Veggie Omelette


  • 3-4 whole eggs

  • 1 tbsp olive oil or cooking spray

  • 2 oz cooked chicken, ham, or sausage, chopped

  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped

  • 2 oz cheese, chopped


  1. Oil up a pan and set on medium heat.

  2. Meanwhile, add eggs, chicken, bell pepper, and cheese in a bowl.

  3. Whisk for a minute, pour the mixture in the heated pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  4. Once the bottom is cooked, gently fold in half and cook for 1-2 minutes more.

  5. Let it cool a bit and enjoy!

​4. Low-Carb Meat Pie

What you’ll need:

  • ½ onion, chopped

  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 20 oz ground beef, pork, or lamb

  • 4 tbsp tomato paste

  • Salt & pepper

  • ½ cup water

​For the crust:

  • ¾ cup almond flour

  • 4 tbsp coconut flour

  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk powder

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 egg

  • 4 tbsp water

  • Pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ° F (175 ° C).

  2. Fry the onion and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes. Add ground meat, salt, and pepper.

  3. Add tomato paste and water. Lower heat and leave to simmer for 18-20 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, mix crust ingredients in a food processor for a few minutes until thick consistency forms.

  5. Spread the dough in a deep-dish pie pan and along the sides. Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes.

  6. Take it out of the oven and place the meaty middle in the crust. Put a layer of shredded or diced cheese on top and pop in the oven for 30-40 minutes.

  7. The pie is done once the top turns golden brown.

  8.  Let it cool and enjoy!

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Saturday, September 8, 2018

What Should I Eat on the Keto Diet?

Everyone’s talking about the keto diet right now. People ask us all the time if it’s really different than IIFYM… and it’s not.

It has a different macro ratio split, but ultimately you are still tracking your macros and eating the foods you want to eat inside those ratios.

How do you calculate keto macros?

It varies from person to person (and expert to expert), but usually the macro ratio falls within the following range:

  • 60-80% of calories from fat
  • 15-30% of calories from protein
  • 5-10% of calories from net carbs (net carbs are your grams of carbs minus the grams of fiber… so you can still eat lots of veggies!)

Regardless of the ketogenic macro ratio you use, your goal should be to eat as few carbs as possible, and the carbs you do eat should be high in fiber.

Why should you consider a ketogenic diet?

Your body uses carbohydrates (sugar) as fuel. By strictly limiting your carbohydrate intake you can force your body to burn fat instead.

This new energy will come from a high fat diet, but also from your stores of body fat! Simply put, a ketogenic (or keto) diet is one which converts your body from burning sugar to burning fat.

What are ketones?

Once your body begins to burn fat as fuel it will produce ketones as a byproduct. Your body is then said to be in a ketogenic state.

Ketones promote brain function, and as an added bonus, excess ketones are not stored by your body, but excreted in your urine.

Ketogenic diet and insulin levels

A ketogenic diet also controls insulin levels and eliminates insulin swings.​

Insulin moves sugar (glucose) through your bloodstream and into your muscles and eventually to your liver to be stored as glycogen. Unfortunately, once your muscles and liver are “full” insulin promotes the storage of excess carbs as body fat.​

Controlling your insulin levels through a strict, low carbohydrate diet can keep your body in fat burning mode… though it can be really hard to maintain that low level of carbs, which can make the ketogenic diet hard to maintain.

What to Eat on a Keto Diet:

keto diet meat

Meat and Poultry

Meat and poultry form the base of any ketogenic pyramid. Choose grass fed and free range beef, pork, chicken, turkey and wild game whenever possible.


One large egg contains less than 1 gram of carbohydrate and 6 grams of protein, the ideal food for any ketogenic diet.​

Eat the entire egg, many of an egg's nutrients are found in the yolk.


Fish and shellfish are also ketogenic foods. Salmon, catfish, sardines, mackerel and similar fatty fish are very high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Shrimp and crab contain little to no carbs, while clams and mussels are relatively high in carbs.


Cheese is nutritious, delicious, low in carbs and high in fat… perfect for a ketogenic diet.

Greek Yogurt and Cottage Cheese

Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are natural, high-protein foods that do contain carbs, but can be included in your ketogenic diet. Both decrease appetite and promote the feeling of fullness and can be easily flavored with cinnamon and nuts.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are healthy, high-fat, high-fiber and low-carb foods.

Low-Carb Vegetables

Non-starchy, fibrous vegetables are low in calories and carbs while being high in fiber. Choose fresh or frozen asparagus, bean sprouts, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip), peppers, radishes and salad greens (endive, escarole, lettuce, romaine, spinach, arugula, radicchio, watercress).



Avocados contain only 2 grams of net carbs per serving (half of a medium avocado) and are high in fiber and healthy omega-3 fatty acids.


Most fruits are much too high in carbs to include in your ketogenic diet, but berries are the exception.

Raspberries and blackberries contain more fiber than carbs and are loaded with antioxidants. Choose blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.

If you're interested in the ketogenic diet, it can be a great way to kick off your fat loss journey.

The stricter rules of the keto diet can help people break some of their food habits (especially if high carb treats like cookies or cake are your vices) before moving to a more balanced If It Fits Your Macros ratio that includes carbs and is more sustainable.

The post What Should I Eat on the Keto Diet? appeared first on IIFYM.

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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Top 9 Foods For Healthy Weight Loss During Menopause

During menopause, as a your body completes its fertile years, your hormone levels will start to fluctuate and you may experience symptoms like mood swings, hot flashes and weight gain. Your estrogen levels begin to drop and eventually reach an all-time low and stay there for the rest of your life. Low estrogen levels greatly increase your risk for health conditions like osteoporosis and heart disease.

Many of these symptoms can be addressed by making some simple changes to your eating habits and you might be able to ease a lot of the discomfort while keeping your body healthier as you age. Start with the most direct approach – reduce calories and focus on low-calorie, nutrient dense foods.

While this may seem like the hardest part, that’s actually where a macros-based diet shines. Committing to an IIFYM diet can help you succeed at losing weight during menopause, because counting your macros and planning your “treats” like pre-packaged junk foods, fried foods, alcohol and sugar, can help you eat them in moderation without feeling like you’re missing out.

And there are additional health benefits to focusing on lean proteins, fruits and vegetables as you get older… these foods can help reduce your risk of heart disease and improve cognitive brain function as you age.

Here are nine foods you should eat to improve your health and lose weight during menopause:

1. Dairy

​Your diet is probably low in calcium, even before menopause. Eat or drink two to four servings of dairy products or other calcium-rich foods a day. Calcium is found in foods like dairy products, fortified almond milk, fish with bones (sardines and canned salmon), broccoli, and legumes. Choose low-fat or skim dairy to receive the beneficial calcium without the calories.

2. Broccoli

​Broccoli is an often-overlooked source of usable calcium to boost your bone health. Pro tip: If you are concerned that broccoli will make you bloat, increase your Vitamin D intake to reduce the bloating.

3. Whole Grains

​Hormone fluctuation affects brain chemistry and the production of serotonin causing mild depression and cravings. Low serotonin levels lead to mood swings, but a carbohydrate-rich healthy snack like half of a toasted 100% whole grain bagel could be all it takes to boost serotonin levels and mood.

​4. Lean Proteins

​Iron-rich foods like grass fed red meat (or leafy green vegetables) are important as menopausal women are at risk for anemia and should be concerned about getting enough iron-rich foods. The B Vitamins provided by proteins also provide energy and regulate mood swings, while helping to stabilize blood sugar. Choose foods that are both high in B vitamins and lean protein.

5. Kale

​Iron-rich foods including kale and similar leafy green vegetables are also rich sources of iron and ideal for menopausal women who are at risk for anemia and are concerned about getting enough iron-rich foods without adding unnecessary calories.

6. Salmon

​Salmon and similar oily fish provide omega-3 fatty acids that help battle the mood swings many women experience during menopause. Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and cod also help provide energy and healthy fats while lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and thereby lowering the risk of heart disease. Omega-3 has also been shown to reduce the frequency of hot flashes in menopausal women.

cognitive memory

7. Blueberries

​Blueberries and berries in general can protect your brain by improving memory and possibly lowering the risk of Alzheimer's and dementia. Berries are a rich source of antioxidants including lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been shown to protect vision, brain function and memory. Berries also provide natural sweetness as an alternative to high calorie foods with added sugars.

8. Almonds

​Almonds (in moderation) are a healthy snack that provides protein, fats and trace minerals like manganese and copper. They are a great source of healthy omega-3 fats which help to counter the drying effects of diminishing estrogen levels. Almonds are high in magnesium, Vitamin E and riboflavin which support vascular health.

​9. Flaxseed

​Flaxseeds are packed with fiber, great for preventing heart disease and constipation. Flaxseeds also contain estrogen mimicking compounds that can help temper hormonal changes.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Top 10 Foods For Healthy Weight Loss With PCOS

Though it doesn’t get talked about as much as it should, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a relatively common hormonal disorder in women of childbearing years that, if left untreated, can lead to problems with fertility.

Women who suffer from PCOS have increased levels of androgens, or male hormones, but are also "insulin-resistant," meaning their cells no longer respond to insulin acting as the “key” to allowing glucose into the cell to be used as fuel.
This glucose remains in the bloodstream, increasing the risk of diabetes, and is eventually converted to stored fat, resulting in obesity.

Losing as little as 10% of your body weight can greatly relieve symptoms of PCOS while also improving insulin sensitivity, allowing for additional weight loss. In general, a high fiber, anti inflammatory IIFYM diet rich in fruits and vegetables and complex carbohydrates will promote healthy weight loss.

​Here are ten foods that can help you lose weight with PCOS:

1. Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Brussels Sprouts

Cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower act as estrogen detoxifiers and will help reduce the glycemic load of any meal you pair them with. They balance the sugar load of the meal, allowing available insulin to do its job and convert sugar to energy, not fat.

​2. Leafy Green Vegetables

​Green vegetables like kale, spinach, lettuce and chard are excellent low-calorie, high fiber, low glycemic index foods packed with essential vitamins and minerals. They improve digestion and nutrient absorption, but most importantly improve glucose regulation and endocrine function.

3. Beans and Lentils

​Beans provide fiber, plant-based protein and iron in as little as one cup. Choose black beans, pinto beans or chickpeas and use them in soups, wraps, or to top your salads.

​4. Sweet Potatoes

White potatoes, especially fried potatoes, are carbohydrate dense and should be avoided on an PCOS diet. Choose sweet potatoes instead as they are higher in fiber, lower in sugar, and have a lower glycemic index.

5. Blueberries and Strawberries

​Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and cranberries are rich sources of immune boosting, cancer-preventing, heart-protecting antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavonoids, and other phytonutrients that fight inflammation.

​6. Tomatoes

​Tomatoes (and brightly colored bell peppers) are low calorie and also loaded with antioxidant phytonutrients plus a rich assortment of vitamins and minerals. Tomatoes contain carotenoid or lycopene, shown to combat PCOS. Tomatoes provide more lycopene when processed or cooked, as lycopene is released from the tomato’s cell walls.

7. ​Almonds and Walnuts

Nuts provide protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and are a satisfying snack any time of the day. Nuts also supply plant sterols and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats to help lower cholesterol. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that nuts improve insulin, androgens, and cholesterol levels in women with PCOS. When eaten with sweet fruits or other high glycemic foods, nuts and seeds may help lower their glycemic index and improve glucose-insulin response.

​8. Eggs

Eggs are an excellent low-calorie protein to include with meals and snacks and provide a variety of nutrients that improve PCOS. The majority of the protein is in egg whites, but don’t discard the yolk as it provides omega 3 fatty acids, iron, folate, thiamin, and essential vitamins. Eggs are also rich in choline, an essential nutrient for pregnancy.

​9. Fatty Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can help to improve cholesterol and insulin levels in PCOS. Choose fish wisely, though… while high in heart and brain-boosting omega 3 fatty acids, many fatty fish also contain unacceptable levels of mercury. Your best options include sardines and anchovies, herring, mackerel, Pacific salmon and freshwater trout.

​10. Olive Oil

Olive oil contains many antioxidants that can lower symptoms of PCOS, especially heart-damaging LDL “bad” cholesterol, without adversely affecting your HDL “good” cholesterol. There is some research that suggests these cholesterol-lowering effects are greater if you choose extra-virgin olive oil. Extra virgin oil is more natural, less processed and contains more heart-healthy antioxidants.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

5 Best and 5 Worst Foods For Weight Loss If You Have Hashimoto’s

Food plays a vital role in the health of our thyroid, even more so if you have an autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s.

Here are five foods you should include and five foods you should avoid to maintain a healthy weight and support thyroid function if you have Hashimoto’s or another autoimmune disease.

​5 Best Foods If you Have Hashimoto's Disease:

​1. Seaweed

​Seaweed contains more iodine than any other food, and iodine is essential for thyroid function. Seaweed is also a great source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals while low in calories. The most widely used seaweed varieties include kombu kelp, wakame and nori, and are used in soups and sushi.

If you are already getting a lot of iodine from elsewhere, though, be sure you aren’t eating too much seaweed. It can be confusing, but too much iodine can be just as detrimental to thyroid health as too little iodine.

​2. Iodized Salt

While not technically a “food”, iodized salt can support healthy thyroid function and flavor your food with zero calories… as long as you are not sodium sensitive or on a sodium restricted diet due to high blood pressure. One half teaspoon of iodized salt each day provides enough iodine to prevent deficiency.

​3. Eggs

Eggs are a low calorie (about 100 calories each) protein source that contain healthy fats as well as both iodine and selenium. Iodine supports thyroid hormone production while selenium helps your body activate those hormones so that your body can use them. The majority of these vital nutrients are found in the yolk, as egg whites alone contain no iodine… so make sure you’re eating the whole egg!

​4. Prunes

​Dried plums (prunes) are an excellent vegan source of iodine. Best known for helping relieve constipation, prunes have a high fiber content and sorbitol plus Vitamin K, Vitamin A, potassium and iron. Great taste, low in calories and a great source of iodine and fiber, prunes should be a part of your Hashimoto’s diet.

​5. Lentils and Beans

Beans are a relatively low-calorie source of fiber, magnesium, zinc and folate, making them a heart-healthy choice that supports thyroid function. Like selenium, zinc also helps the body activate thyroid hormones.

​5 Worst Foods If You Have Hashimoto's Disease:

​1. Cruciferous Vegetables

Mustard, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower contain glucosinolates, sulfur-containing compounds also known as goitrogens that block the production of thyroid hormones. Goitrogens block iodine, which is essential to thyroid health.

The health benefits of these veggies outside of their iodine blocking properties is high, though, so if you choose to eat these cruciferous vegetables anyway, cook them first as these vegetables are not as problematic cooked as they are raw. Cooking or fermenting the veggies deactivates the glucosinolates.

​2. Soy

​Soy is also a goitrogen. Soy may not affect the thyroid in people with normal thyroid function and adequate iodine levels, however, soy can interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medication, especially in Hashimoto’s patients. Soy contains harmful levels of goitrogens raw or cooked.

​3. Vegetable Oils

Canola, corn, soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, and peanut oils are highly processed and chemically refined. They contain polyunsaturated fats that impair and slow thyroid function. The only way to avoid inflammation and thyroid suppression from vegetable oils is to avoid them completely. Learn to read labels as most processed foods like salad dressings, mayonnaise and margarine contain these vegetable oils.

​4. Gluten

Processed wheat and white flour, cornmeal, pasta, even white rice contain gluten which feeds inflammation. Hashimoto’s increases your sensitivity to gluten.

Studies show that removing gluten from your diet can reduce inflammation allowing an increase in the absorption of many nutrients. If you suffer from leaky gut syndrome, eliminate gluten, then repair the damaged intestinal wall with hydrolyzed collagen peptides.

​5. Sugar

To maintain a healthy thyroid, your blood sugar must be stable… which is often difficult in our sugar-filled world. Consuming sugar requires insulin to lower spikes in blood glucose that these sugars cause. Eventually this leads to insulin resistance, a condition when insulin becomes less effective and more insulin is required as the blood sugar becomes higher and higher.

Hyperglycemia and insulin resistance are precursors to diabetes which comes back to hormones. When your blood sugar is swinging from higher highs and lower lows, so are your hormones, creating a vicious cycle. Your body becomes stressed causing your adrenals to secrete the stress hormone cortisol which blocks thyroid function.

If you have Hashimoto’s Disease, eating too much sugar not only throws your blood sugar out of balance, but can also increase inflammation and provoke an autoimmune response in your thyroid. Minimizing or eliminating sugar, refined carbs and processed foods from your diet will help keep your thyroid function healthy.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

6 Best Carb Sources for People with Diabetes

We’re pretty well known around here for boldly proclaiming that sugar is not evil (and we stand by it!), but when you have diabetes, carbs really can seem like the devil.

As a diabetic, you’ve probably been told that a lower carbohydrate diet is your best option… and depending on your source, what “low carb” means varies widely.

Low-carb and Keto diets have come under the spotlight recently and have been recommended in a lot of diet spaces as good options for people with type 2 diabetes.

But, a recent study suggests that low-carb dieting is only effective in the short term and doesn’t provide any value over a high-carb diet in the long run.

While this new research doesn’t mean you should run out and eat a package of Oreos, there are a wide variety of carbohydrates that can be a part of a healthy diet that keeps your blood sugar in check.

Now, when it comes to choosing your carb sources, you need to be careful as some foods are inherently better than others.

But which carbs are better than others? The key to this distinction is the glycemic index.

​The Glycemic Index

Foods that contain carbohydrates have a glycemic index. This is the measure of how that individual food impacts your blood sugar levels two hours after ingestion.

The glycemic index can’t 100% accurately predict how a given food is going to impact a person, but it’s a valuable tool to give general recommendations, as well as assess the insulin response burden of a given food across a sample of people.

A carb source with a low glycemic index takes your body more time to break down, so your blood sugar levels will rise and fall gradually.

On the other hand, certain foods have a very high glycemic index. They force a great insulin response from your body, get broken down quickly and usually result in a spike of energy levels, followed by a crash.

The research here is a bit scarce, but the research that is available agrees that eating foods with low to moderate GI is much better for general health and management of diabetes (1, 2, 3).

Without further ado, here are the six best carb sources for people with diabetes.

1. Plain Greek Yogurt

We are starting off easy. Although Greek yogurt doesn’t contain tons of carbs, it’s one of the best dairy choices for people with diabetes.

It has been shown to help manage blood sugar levels (1, 2) and some research even suggests that it can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (1, 2).

Furthermore, Greek yogurt has been shown to have promising effects on hunger control and body composition (1, 2).

Not only does it provide you with much-needed calcium, but it also contains lots of protein, which helps with satiety and calorie control. Also, each serving of Greek yogurt contains as little as 6 grams of digestible carbs.

2. Squash

Squash is one of the healthiest fruits out there.

(Or is it a vegetable? I’ll have to get back to you on that.)

It comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. There are two main varieties:

Winter squash: it has a hard shell and includes butternut squash, spaghetti squash, acorn squash and pumpkin.

Summer squash: it has a soft shell that can be eaten and includes green and yellow zucchini, yellow squash, and pattypan squash.

Both varieties are very healthy and are filled with antioxidants. And although the human research is a bit limited so far, animal research is very promising.

In this rodent study, squash extract elicited anti-obesity effects through inhibition of lipid synthesis and acceleration of fatty acid breakdown.

In this human study, the subjects (people with type 2 diabetes) were given an extract of the winter squash Cucurbita Ficifolia experienced a significant decrease in blood glucose levels.

It’s worth pointing out that winter squash generally contains more carbs than summer squash and you need to keep that in mind when adjusting your portions.

3. Strawberries

Strawberries make a great snack. They are delicious, low on calories, and jam-packed with nutrients.

A serving of strawberries contains 50 calories and only 11 grams of carbs (3 of which are fiber).

They are filled with antioxidants called anthocyanins (which also give them their red color). These antioxidants have been shown to keep blood sugar levels stable and to reduce the risk of heart disease in patients with type 2 diabetes (1, 2, 3).

4. Oatmeal

To be clear:

When I say ‘oatmeal,’ I mean the old-fashioned, steel-cut version without the added sugars that are found in the instant packets.

Oatmeal delivers a good amount of fiber, slow-digesting carbs, and protein, making for a great carb source for people with diabetes.

Some research also suggests that oatmeal can lower bad (LDL) cholesterol, reduce blood sugar and insulin response after a meal, reduce the risk of coronary disease, and ward against the development of cancer and atherosclerosis (1, 2).

Here’s an idea for preparing tasty oatmeal:

Mix your oats with some water, berries, and cinnamon in a microwave-friendly bowl. Stir it up nicely and cook in the microwave until the oats soak up the water (usually between 1.5 and 3 minutes).

Take the oatmeal out, let it cool for two to three minutes, add some greek yogurt and stir again before eating.

5. Sweet Potatoes

Although sweet potatoes don’t differ that much from the white variety, they are digested more slowly which leads to a more gradual rise and a decline in blood sugar levels.

This means that you won’t experience sudden spikes and crashes in energy levels throughout the day.

Sweet potatoes also pack a good amount of fiber in each serving: 4 grams.

But it doesn’t stop there: not only are sweet potatoes tasty and slow-digesting, but they are also jam-packed with vitamin A, vitamin B5, B6, niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin.

Vitamin A is often referred to as an ‘antioxidant powerhouse’ with benefits linked to slower aging, cancer prevention, and good eyesight.

B6 vitamins help break down homocysteine, a substance that has been shown to contribute to the hardening of arteries and blood vessels.

Their orange color comes from the fact that sweet potatoes are high in carotenoids, which have been shown to have beneficial effects on eyesight and lower oxidative stress (1, 2).

6. Nuts

Nuts are some of the most nutritious and balanced foods out there. They are filled with fiber, healthy fats, protein, and most have low to moderate amounts of carbs in each serving.

They are also delicious, take longer for the body to break down and absorb, and are excellent for hunger control and weight loss.

Now, people with diabetes (type 2, in particular) are often shown to have chronically elevated levels of insulin. This is not only linked to obesity but is believed to also contribute to the development of other serious diseases such as Alzheimer’s and even cancer (1, 2).

And this is where nuts come in to save the day:

Research has shown that regular consumption of nuts can reduce inflammation, keep blood sugar levels in check and lower bad cholesterol levels (​1, ​2, ​3).


Don’t fall into the low-carb trap just because you heard it might be beneficial for managing your diabetes… make sure you do your research first.

Different carbohydrate sources provide numerous health benefits, you just need to think about what you are eating and note how it affects your body and your blood sugar.

With a little practice, the IIFYM lifestyle can not only help you take control of your nutrition and eating habits, it can also help you manage your diabetes through conscious food choices.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

7 Best Macro-Friendly Vegan Protein Sources

So you’re rummaging your cabinets, flipping through recipe books, googling all the words and calling up your grandma wondering what you can do to get more protein in your diet.

We get it and we’re here to help.

Protein is important for optimal health, it is vital for muscle growth, muscle strength, weight loss, and it is critical in many of your body’s biochemical functions. When people think protein they tend to think meat, but there’s a whole universe of other vegetarian and vegan protein sources out there that can be excellent to help keep you full, build muscle and help with weight loss.

Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, proud meat eater, or anywhere in the middle, these seven healthy and delicious vegan protein sources can help spice up your kitchen and keep your protein macros on point.

​Seitan / Wheat Meat (pictured above)

Vegetarians and vegans cherish this plant-based meat substitute. Seitan comes from gluten, a protein found in abundance in wheat, rye, and others crops of that family. Cooked seitan is often referred to as “wheat meat” due to how striking the resemblance in texture and appearance is to animal meat.

You can get up to 24.8 grams of protein in every 100 grams of seitan, making it one of the richest sources of plant-based protein. It’s also rich in selenium as well as small amounts of phosphorus, calcium, and iron. Seitan can be bought at most health food stores or homemade using wheat gluten.

If you’re looking for the look and feel of meat, seitan is for you. However, seitan is not suitable for people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

Macros per 100 grams: 24.8 g protein, 4.4 g carbs, 1.8 g fat


This plant is gluten-free and is a complete protein providing all nine essential amino acids, unlike some nut and bean protein sources. Quinoa is a pseudo-cereal of the amaranth family which flowers… unlike grasses that bear other cereal grains.

A cooked cup of quinoa delivers 8.1 grams of protein. In addition to protein, it also provides complex carbs, fiber, magnesium, manganese, iron, and phosphorus. In fact, scientists are trying to grow quinoa in space because of the high amount of protein and other nutrients it delivers.

Macros per cup: 8.1 g protein, 39.4 g carbs, 3.6 g fat


Soy is protein made from the soybean that has been adapted into many common foods like soy milk and tofu.

Soy milk is a popular substitute for cow's milk and provides 7 grams of protein per cup. It can also deliver adequate amounts of vitamin D, vitamin B12, and calcium if you buy the fortified brand. Soy milk can also be used to cook and bake a wide range of recipes.

Tofu is often used to provide texture and nutrients, and is best marinated, seasoned, or cooked into the flavor of the dish. Tofu can provide 10.1 grams of protein for every 100 grams and contains calcium, potassium, and iron.

Keep an eye out for other soy protein sources at the grocery store. Other common ​uses of soy protein include: soy protein powder in smoothies, mixing soy nuts into a trail mix, and soy-based cheese alternatives.

Macros per cup (243g) of soy milk: 7 g protein, 4 g carbs, 4 g fat

Macros per 100 grams tofu: 10.1 g protein, 2.5 g carbs, 5.1 g fat

Green Peas

Green peas deliver much more than protein. A cooked cup provides about eight grams of protein as well as vitamins A, C, K, folate, manganese, and thiamine… plus over 25 percent of the recommended daily fiber requirement.

Green peas are also rich in copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. They are delicious added to salads, soups, stir fry, or as a simple side with a variety of meals.

Macros per cup (150g): 7.9 g protein, 21 g carbs, .6 g fat


Lentils are also an excellent source of protein as a cooked cup provides 17.9 grams of protein and about 50 percent of your daily requirement of fiber.

Lentils are packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals that enhance overall health and are also high in folate, iron, and manganese. They are often used in soups and stews, but consider adding them to a salad or puree into lentil hummus. If that still didn’t sell you, research suggests that lentils may help protect against some types of cancer and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Macros per cooked cup (75g): 17.9 g protein, 39.9 g carbs, .8 g fat


Did you know that each cup of kidney beans contains about 14 grams of protein?

All varieties of beans are rich in protein, including white, black, kidney and pinto beans. They are also rich in complex carbs, fiber, folate, iron, potassium, manganese, and several health-benefitting plant compounds.

Can you think of a savory meal that wouldn’t benefit from having beans? We love them in and on all sorts of tacos, stews, soups, salads, dips, and whatever else we’re making. Research has linked diets high in beans and other legumes with lower blood pressure, reduced belly fat, and decreased cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Macros per cup of kidney beans (177g): 14 g protein, 42 g carbs, 1 g fat

Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Also coming in at 14 grams of protein per cup, chickpeas are deliciously found in a variety of foods including hummus, falafel, curries, and even popped like popcorn. This Mediterranean legume can come in a variety of colors allowing you to brighten up your meal’s color palette while offering calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, and iron.

They’re also excellent at helping you feel full… the 22 grams of fiber per cup in chickpeas will keep you satisfied until your next mealtime comes around.

Macros per cup (165g): 14 g protein, 40 g carbs, 2 g fat

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