Lose your unwanted belly fat with coconut oil!

Coconut oil is one of the most weight loss-friendly fats in the world. Rich in a combination of fatty acids, it promotes optimal metabolism function which ultimately helps with weight loss!

Several studies show that by simply adding coconut oil to your diet, you can lose fat – especially the “dangerous” fat in your abdominal area, which has been linked to chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

To learn more about how coconut oil can help you lose weight and belly fat, keep reading!

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Four ways that coconut oil helps with fat loss

#1: Coconut oil boosts your energy levels

Coconut oil is comprised mainly of medium-chain triglycerides AKA MCTs and lauric acid. This essential fatty acid metabolises differently in comparison to other saturated fats, such as those you find in dairy and meat products.

Your body doesn’t store MCTs as fat, but instead transports them directly to your liver, where they’re quickly converted into energy. So what does this mean for your weight loss efforts?

By adding two or three tablespoons to your daily dietary regimen, you’ll boost your energy levels by an average of 5% for a full 24-hour period! I find that adding coconut oil to my morning smoothie is the best way to get my energy kick for the day.

#2: Coconut oil decreases hunger and curbs pesky cravings

You already know that MCTs go directly to your liver during digestion. Not only does this provide your body with a natural energy boost, the processing of MCTs also forms keytone bodies, which have the added benefit of reducing hunger and curbing cravings.

I recommend enjoying two to three tablespoons of coconut oil each day to feel fuller for longer and to kick the habit of snacking on unhealthy foods between meals. You can enjoy the oil in tea, coffee, smoothies or directly from the jar!

#3: Coconut oil burns fat amazingly fast

Are you looking to reduce your daily caloric intake and lose weight faster without compromising your health? Well, then, you’re in the right place. Coconut oil enhances your body’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients so that you can eat less without feeling unsatisfied, tired or weak all the time.

Plus, because coconut oil is a natural mood enhancer, eating it daily will help you reduce your stress levels and feel more motivated to partake in heart-healthy activities, which will only help you burn off persistent fat stores even faster – bonus!

Consuming coconut oil regularly will power up your body’s fat-burning potential – especially for losing stubborn belly fat. It will also regulate your appetite, improve digestion and just make you feel great!

#4: Coconut oil helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels

Because your body absorbs coconut oil easily without the need for digestive enzymes, your pancreas is less stressed and able to produce insulin more effectively. Plus, as a saturated fat, coconut oil makes it easier for your cells to bind with insulin during digestion.

When your body has the required amounts of insulin, your cells get the glucose (or blood sugar) that they need to fuel your daily activities. So how exactly does this translate into belly fat loss?

A daily serving or two of coconut oil will help your body maintain healthy blood sugar levels by promoting the efficient use and production of insulin. As a result this will provide your cells with more glucose to give you energy and help you lose fat.

PS: Just remember – coconut oil is high in calories, so it’s important that you use it in moderation. I recommend limiting your intake to one or two tablespoons a day to avoid unwittingly sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Good luck!

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Cutting back on sugar? Then these are your best booze options

When I first started cutting back on sugar, I treated it as an intervention to try out a new way of living. You know, just to see how it went.

 

However, what started out as an experiment became something more. Now, one of the most common questions my friends ask me when they’re contemplating quitting sugar is this: “What about alcohol? Am I allowed to drink it?”

 

The assumption, of course, is that booze is loaded with sugar. And that’s correct. Sort of. But there’s good news here for those of who you like the occasional drink…

 

Here’s the dirt on some of your favourite drinks.

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Low-sugar drinks

  • Wine: Wine contains minimal fructose. It’s the fructose in the grapes that ferments to become alcohol, leaving wine low in sugar. Red wine is even lower in fructose than white wine and is therefore your best option.
  • Spirits: Dry spirits like vodka, gin and whisky are very low in fructose, and are therefore generally good options. Just keep in mind that mixers are loaded with sugar, which is why my go-to drink would either be a gin and tonic or a whisky, lime and water.
  • Beer: Beer contains no fructose at all. The sugar in beer and stout is maltose, which your body metabolises well.

High-sugar drinks

  • Sparkling wine and champagne: Sparkling wine and champagne both tend to retain quite a bit of fructose and therefore aren’t great options.
  • Dessert wine: A lot of sugar remains unfermented in dessert wine. Steer clear of this stuff!

Things to keep in mind about drinking alcohol while watching your sugar intake

  • For minimal sugar intake, drink spirits neat or with seltzer only. Mixers like tonic water are full of sugar, with about eight teaspoons in one tall glass.
  • Your liver will take strain as you start eliminating sugar due to the detoxifying your body will be doing. Drinking more than one glass of alcohol with a meal per day will tax your system.
  • You’ll probably find that your alcohol tolerance will lower after you cut out sugar.
  • Although alcohol is low in sugar, it’s still very high in empty calories.
  • A beer is equivalent to a pastry. It might not be loaded with sugar, but it packs a serious calorie punch.

Twenty healthy alternatives to white flour

White flour is a big part of most people’s day – from pancakes and bagels to sandwiches and cookies. Don’t get me wrong – I love my white flour, but the popular ingredient isn’t good for your bodies, which is why I steer clear of it.

 

The good news, however, is that there are many healthy alternatives to white flour. Here’s a list of my favourite ones!

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Twenty great white flour substitutes

#1: Whole wheat flour

Be sure to choose whole wheat flour and not wheat flour.

#2: White whole wheat flour

This type of flour is made of white wheat berries. It’s more mild-tasting than regular whole wheat.

#3: Brown rice flour

This flour has a slightly nutty flavour and can be used to thicken up soups.

#4: Coconut flour

High in fibre, low in carbohydrates and a good source of protein, this flour has a lovely natural sweetness to it. Perfect for baking!

#5: Soy flour

This flour has more protein and adds a subtle, nutty flavour to recipes.

#6: Teff flour

This flour has more protein and nutrients than wheat flour.

#7: Buckwheat flour

A healthy herbal plant. This flour is perfect for pancakes and flapjacks!

#8: Oat flour

When you use this flour in recipes, you need to add more liquid as it’s rather thick.

#9: Rye flour

This flour is darker than most other types of flour.

#10: Banana flour

This delicious flour can replace any plain or self-rising flour.

#11: Tapioca flour

For subtle sweetness and chewiness, add this flour to baked goods.

#12: Almond flour

This flour is made from ground almonds.

#13: Pumpkin seed meal

You can use this flour alternative to add a nutty taste to recipes or to thicken soups.

#14: Sesame seed meal

This flour is made from ground sesame seeds.

#15: Sunflower seed meal

This flour is made from ground sunflower seeds.

#16: Chia seed meal

This flour, made from ground chia seeds, is great for cooking and baking.

#17:  Hemp flour

This flour is made from ground hemp seeds. I’m a big fan of its mild, nutty flavour.

#18: Quinoa flour

One of the most nutritious flours out there!

#19: Corn starch

A flour-like substance made from wheat or corn that makes for a great thickening agent.

#20: Xanthan gum

This complex carbohydrate adds volume and viscosity in recipes, which usually comes from gluten.

Ten unique strategies to help you beat your chocolate cravings (yes, really!)

Halloween is only a few days away – will you be able to stop yourself from reaching for the sweet treats? Here’s a dose of reality that might have some effect on you: Studies show that people gain 2.5 kg or more during the holidays, and that they hold onto that weight…

 

Though the “holiday season” typically applies to the festive season, many people start indulging when the pumpkins come out – and don’t stop until the 1st of January! So, allow me to become the voice of reason right now: Those few minutes of sugary, gooey bliss aren’t worth the inevitable toll on your health, waistline and sanity.

 

These unique battle-tested tips will help you crush your cravings and avoid holiday weight gain!

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Ten effective ways to curb your chocolate cravings

#1: Keep the enemy out of the house!

This is rule number one. Know your enemy, which is chocolate in this case, and keep it out of your house, car, glove compartment, desk and anywhere else it will be a temptation.

#2: Pinch your nose or earlobes for ten seconds

This is an ancient acupuncture secret. Acupuncturists believe that pressure points restore balance in your energy, as imbalances and blockage of energy cause cravings.

#3: Use brighter bulbs in your dining room

Dim lights lower your inhibitions and let you feel better about eating more. 100 watt bulbs work well – just be sure your fixtures can handle them.

#4: Add vinegar to your diet

Apple cider or organic red wine fit the bill. Vinegar improves digestion by keeping food in your stomach longer, reducing the hunger hormone known as ghrelin. The result? You’ll feel fuller for longer!

#5: Up your magnesium levels

Intense chocolate cravings can be signs of magnesium deficiency. Eat more leafy green vegetables – they’re packed with this mineral. Otherwise, consider a magnesium supplement.

#6: Light a vanilla-scented candle

There’s a theory that the scent of vanilla reduces sugar and chocolate cravings, as immersing yourself in a scent all day will desensitise you. Reader’s Digest called it the “Christmas Dinner Syndrome” – when the person who’s been cooking doesn’t eat as much as their guests because they’ve been smelling dinner all day.

#7: Brush your teeth

Minty toothpaste cleanses your palate and will kill the taste of anything you crave. You’re fat less likely to snack if you’ve just brushed your teeth – anything you try will taste awful!

#8: Cut out sweeteners in your coffee

Sweeteners spike your insulin levels, which leave you with a huge drop later, causing you to crave more. If you must use a sweetener, try stevia.

#9: Eat balanced meals

You have cravings when you’re malnourished or stressed. If you’re nutritionally satisfied, your less likely to suffer intense cravings in the first place. Eat protein with every meal, and you’ll find yourself craving less unhealthy stuff throughout the day.

#10: Wait ten minutes

All – yes, all – cravings pass. If you can distract yourself for 10-15 minutes with a short burst of exercise, you’ll burn calories and release some endorphins while forgetting about that chocolaty treat! Try a brisk walk around the block, do 20 push-ups, or climb a few flights of stairs.

Here’s to a slimmer waistline this holiday season!

Five interesting benefits of natural sugar

Sugar gets a bad rap in the health and wellness industry, but did you know that there’s a very big difference between refined and unrefined (or natural) sugar? Here are a few reasons why natural sugar is actually pretty good for you.

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Five reasons why natural sugar is great for your health

#1: Tt keeps your energy levels sky-high

Unrefined sugars retain the nutritional value of healthy salts and minerals that help keep your blood sugar levels stabilised. You know how after you indulge in a big slice of chocolate cake, your energy levels just crash? That doesn’t happen with natural sugar – instead, its natural ingredients give you the energy you need to sail through the day!

#2: It doesn’t contain chemicals or additives

Unlike refined sugar, natural sugar isn’t dyed, sweetened or preserved, meaning it contains no preservatives or additives. And an added bonus? It’s not bleached or put through and irradiation process, which can further increase the harmful substances in refined sugar.

#3: Some types can actually improve your health

Unrefined sugars that are made with dark brown muscovado have a high molasses content, and molasses has been shown to promote weight loss by blocking calorie absorption, redue iron deficiency in women during menstrual cycles, and boost men’s sexual performance and reproductive health.

#4: It can help treat lung and throat infections

In India, ayurvedic practitioners argue that unrefined sugar can naturally and effectively treat lung and throat infections without resorting to the potentially dangerous chemicals found in many medicines. How interesting!

#5: It packs a great flavour punch

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it’s not advisable to eat more than six teaspoons of sugar a day. With natural sugar, the intense flavour means you can use less and still feel satisfied. In fact, professional chefs all over the world swear by its rich taste!

Go here for a list of my favourite natural alternatives to refined sugar.

Five healthy hacks to beat your sugar cravings

Do you often crave sugary foods? Then I’m sure you know how easy it is to slide into momentary high-sugar-impact bliss!  But not to worry – I’ve developed an arsenal of tactics to conquer them that I’m going to share with you today!

 

Taking control of your sugar cravings will promote good health and make sure you don’t pile on unwanted weight. So, the next time those dreaded cravings hit, try these strategies. They’ve helped me stay on track – and I think they could help you, too!

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Five ways to take control of sugar cravings

#1: Take a glutamine supplement

Meet glutamine – the rock star amino acid that helps balance blood sugar and reduce your sugar cravings! You can purchase this multitasking amino acid in capsules or powder (which you can blend into protein shakes, smoothies or water).

#2: Opt for sour over sweet

When you retrain your taste buds, you become way more sugar-sensitive and also start to appreciate other flavours, like sour foods. Sour foods can help reduce your sugar cravings and provide your body with probiotics, which support digestive health.

#3: Focus on savoury foods

Focus on salty or spicy flavoured foods instead of sugary ones. For example: Mineral-rich salts and fresh basil. One of my favourites is slow-roasted almonds with rosemary and sea salt. Crunchy decadence can knock out the most die-hard sweet tooth!

#4: Add cinnamon to your coffee

Cinnamon reduces blood glucose levels because it slows down stomach emptying and makes you feel fuller faster. You’ll only need about a teaspoon per day to do the trick. I sprinkle mine into bulletproof coffee and it tastes divine! Make sure the cinnamon you use is fresh since its polyphenols and active ingredients degrade overtime.

#5: Always stay hydrated

Does that half-eaten tub of ice-cream in your freezer become your siren call at 10pm? Don’t even let the enemy into your house – but if it strikes anyway, be armed! One study at the University of Washington found that just 250 ml of water completely curbed nighttime cravings for everyone. Try it!

Sugar cravings can derail your best dietary efforts. Let’s band together and fight them!

Four reasons why you need to start eating more protein

One of the fastest ways to calm down your sugar cravings and hunger levels is by eating protein. I’m sure you already know that protein is great for keeping your body satisfied, but did you know that it can also decrease your cravings?

 

That’s right! And it’s because protein puts the brakes on your neuronal reward system; the brain chemicals that make you feel good and motivate you to get more food, even when you know you aren’t hungry. When you’re low on protein, cravings take over and crack the whip in search of an often sugary quick-fix. Here’s how you can get rid of those cravings!

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Five ways to combat your cravings with protein

#1: Realise that sometimes your body cries out for protein through sugar cravings

When you’re low on protein, your system knows it needs energy, so you crave foods that’ll give you fuel fast. Unfortunately, though, those high-sugar impact foods that you’re in the mood for will only raise your blood sugar and trigger an insulin response, which shuts off fat burning.

Instead of reaching for a chocolate bar, fill up on a handful of almonds of low-fat plain yoghurt. That way, you’ll curb cravings for sweet things by giving your body the kind of sustained energy it actually needs.

#2: Start making breakfasts that are rich in protein

One study found that a high-protein breakfast can suppress ghrelin, your hunger hormone, far better than a high-carb breakfast. Another found that a moderate- or high-protein breakfast can curb cravings in overweight people.

So, instead of having a carb-rich breakfast like oatmeal or cereal, that’ll leave you hungry a couple of hours later, try a protein shake. Protein in the morning will keep you full and focused for much longer!

#3: Have a sufficient amount of protein in all your meals

How much protein should you eat daily to get those sugar-crushing benefits, you ask? One meta-analysis concluded 25 g to 30 g of protein at each meal benefits weight loss, appetite and other health factors.

These numbers aren’t set in stone, though. Your weight and body composition will largely influence the amount of protein you need. Those needs increase if you’re healing, under stress, or doing some heavy resistance training.

#4: Find the right protein sources to fit your diet

The best sources of protein are high-quality animal protein, like grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and wild-caught fish. And, if you’re not intolerant, eggs.

Vegetarians and vegans sometimes find meeting their protein quota challenging, but there are plenty of great plant-based high-protein foods out there, like legumes, quinoa, nuts and seeds.

Whether you’re short on time or don’t have much of an appetite, a protein shake becomes the ideal higher-protein meal that takes only a few minutes to prepare.

#5: Don’t rush through any of your meals!

Even if you’re consuming enough protein, you may not be assimilating it well. Speed eating, drinking too much fluid with your meals, not chewing enough, or low stomach acid can all interfere with food absorption.

Your goal, then, becomes not only eating enough protein, but also digesting it well.