4 Healthy and Protein Rich Eggless Breakfasts

4 Healthy and Protein Rich Eggless Breakfasts

Plant-based protein is becoming increasingly popular as more people recognize the potential health (and environmental) benefits of minimizing animal-derived foods.

If going vegan seems like a stretch, then start out simple with one of these four eggless breakfasts that are packed with protein and taste:

1. Chickpea Nomelette

Wonderfully versatile, chickpea nomelettes (a no-egg omelette) are easy to make and customize. Packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients, this simple dish is made partially on the stove top and partially in the oven.

Below is the basic recipe for a nomelette.  I suggest a totally delicious combination of mushroom, rosemary, and leeks for your first nomelette go-round!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black salt (kala namak  provide an eggy flavour)
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Olive oil to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 °F

  1. Mix chickpea flour with water, turmeric, black salt, stock cube, and nutritional yeast.
  2. Let mixture stand while you sauté your chosen vegetables in a cast iron skillet with a little olive oil.
  3. Add the chickpea flour mixture to the pan and make sure the vegetables are evenly spread and well covered.
  4. Remove pan from heat and place in the oven, cooking for 2530 minutes.
  5. Let the nomelette stand for 5 minutes before turning it out and serving with sautéed greens.

You can find chickpea (gram) flour at many grocery stores, often alongside lentils and curry spices. Kala namak is typically found in Asian grocery stores or at specialty markets.

Tofu Scramble 2. Tofu Scramble

A classic dish that is, again, easy to make and easy to customize. I like my scrams to be on the drier side, meaning that I use firm tofu instead of softer tofu. I also pile in the nutritional yeast to add vitamins, umami, and extra protein. One of my favorite ways to make tofu scramble is to add a tablespoon of homemade or store-bought vegan pesto just before serving. Sun dried tomato tapenade is also a great option for a quick, flavorful scramble.

Ingredients

  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Zucchini
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Kale
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Olive oil to taste
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 package of tofu
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Directions

  1. Sauté mushrooms, onions, and garlic in a little olive oil.
  2. Add tofu (scrunch it in the packet until there are no large chunks left) and fry until golden brown.
  3. Toss in diced zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes and cook until they soften.
  4. Add a handful of chopped kale and a dash of soy sauce and stir fry until the kale wilts.
  5. Remove from heat and add nutritional yeast.
  6. Serve with hash browns or whole grain toast.

3. Veg Benedict

If you’re missing Eggs Benny, we’ve got you covered. This tofu, cashew ricotta, Portobello Benedict with vegan hollandaise sauce should satisfy your craving, and it is packed with protein and other nutrients to boot!

To Make the Ricotta:

  1. Soak a cup of cashews overnight, then drain.
  2. Add to a food processor with the juice of half a lemon, 1 clove of garlic, 2/3 tsp salt, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 cup fresh basil, and 1/2 cup kale.
  3. Blitz until everything is well combined.
  4. Save half of the ricotta and use the rest to make the cashew hollandaise sauce.

To Make the Cashew Hollandaise Sauce:

  1. Using half the homemade ricotta, add 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, 2 tsps mustard, 1/4 cup coconut milk, and 1/4 cup water.
  2. Gently heat, and stir often to avoid burning.

To Make the Veg Benedict:

  1. Sauté sliced Portobello mushrooms.
  2. Pan-sear a 1/2-inch thick round of tofu (you can use a cookie cutter to get a round).
  3. Toast an English muffin and spread ricotta on both halves.
  4. Layer them with tofu and Portobellos.
  5. Drizzle cashew hollandaise sauce over the top and enjoy!

Savoury Oatmeal and Lentils 4. Savory Oatmeal and Lentils

If your morning walk, bike ride, or transit ride to work takes about 30 minutes, this next eggless breakfast idea is for you!

Savory oatmeal (using quick cooking oats) or split red lentils is made using a thermos, boiling water, and a little patience. Save time in the morning by preparing your breakfast mix in advance.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of oats or lentils
  • Dehydrated vegetables (or fruit) cut into small pieces
  • A dash of salt and pepper
  • 1/2  tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric

Directions

  1. Pour your dry mixture into a thermos.
  2. Add a cup of boiling water and stir quickly before sealing the thermos.
  3. By the time you arrive at work, your oats or lentils will be nicely cooked and ready to eat!

The 5 Worst Things You Can Do Post-Workout

The 5 Worst Things You Can Do Post-Workout

There’s nothing quite like hitting your fitness routine stride. The momentum is amazing, but it’s important to keep in mind how easily we can sabotage our progress without meaning to.

You’re done your workout, and you feel great. But now what? It’s important to remember that what you do after your workout can impact the lasting effects and progress of your exercise. Along with some healthy alternatives, here are the five worst things you can do post-workout:

1. Eat Unhealthy Foods

After a hard workout, your body is going to need to refuel. You’ve just burned calories, so you’re going to be hungry. As such, you may start to feel cravings for foods that your body doesn’t need, such as french fries, burgers, or chicken wings.

Instead of giving in to your cravings, focus on everything you’ve just accomplished and seek out a healthy and satisfying way to feed your hunger. Some great post-workout foods that are quick to make, healthy, and filling are:

  • Fruit salad with a side of greek yogurt
  • Salad with lots of fresh veggies with a helping of protein (chicken, tofu, beans, hard-boiled egg)
  • A smoothie with a scoop of protein powder
  • Sandwich on whole grain or gluten-free bread, complete with fresh toppings
  • A brown rice burrito bowl

Consume Alcohol 2. Consume Alcohol

After your workout, a friend rings you up to see if you want to meet up for a drink. How will alcohol affect your workout?

Put plainly and simply, alcohol contains a lot of calories and it’s an easy way to sabotage the workout you just shed sweat for. Also, alcohol has been linked to how your body stores glycogen, and it can cause you to feel fatigued quicker during your next cardio workout, especially if you consume more than a drink or two.

There’s no need to forego meeting up with your friends, though! Swap out your usual alcoholic beverage for a refreshing soda water with lemon instead. Your body will thank you for the extra hydration.

3. Skip Your Cool Down

Cooling down after a workout helps your breathing and heart rate return to resting levels at a gradual pace. It also helps ensure that you don’t suffer from dizziness or fainting due to blood pooling in the muscle areas. You may be in a hurry to head out the door after hitting it hard at the gym, but always take the time to engage in a proper cool-down.

Forget to Hydrate 4. Forget to Hydrate

When you’re exercising at the gym, you are perspiring which depletes your water storage. The only way to get it back is to hydrate during and after your workout. You may not feel thirsty, but make hydrating a regular part of your exercise routine.

Drinks that help with rehydrate the body include:

  • Water
  • Coconut Water
  • Smoothies

It’s also helpful to eat fruit and veggies that are hydrating such as watermelons, cucumbers, lettuce, and oranges.

5. Not Get Enough Sleep

If you’re tired when exercising, you are putting yourself at risk for injury. Getting adequate sleep has also been linked to eating habits. If you’re sleep deprived, it’s a lot easier to make unhealthy food choices, drink too much caffeine, and give in to a lack of energy.

If you give your body the rest that it needs, you’ll feel awake, rested, and ready to tackle the day’s work out!

5 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Add Protein to Your Diet

5 Surprisingly Easy Way to Add Protein to Your Diet

Do you want to add protein to your diet but are unsure where to start? Chances are you’re already getting some protein in your diet, but for beginners, here are five easy ways to add protein to your daily meals and snacks:

1. Go Beyond the Smoothie

PGX Satisfast Whey Protein Drink Mix and Vegan Protein are excellent ingredients for making high-protein smoothies, but don’t stop there. Protein powder can also be added to homemade bars, balls, and other energizing treats, such as this recipe for Four-Ingredient Protein Pancakes .

Whip in Eggwhites 2. Whip in Egg Whites

Whip your morning oatmeal into a fluffy, high-protein meal with egg whites!

By adding egg whites to your oatmeal, the combination of complex carbohydrates and lean protein will help sustain satisfaction and support steady blood sugar already within the normal range†.

Eggwhite Oatmeal

  1. Cook ¾ cups of rolled oats with 1½ cups of water on your stovetop
  2. Once the water is absorbed, add 4 whipped egg whites
  3. Whip vigorously until they are well incorporated
  4. Cook for 2–3 more minutes until oatmeal is fluffy, then enjoy

3. Red Lentils

Red lentils have a mild flavour and pack 9 g of protein per half cup cooked [1]. They are easy to incorporate into banana bread, muffins, pancakes, and casseroles. Add ½ cup of cooked, drained lentils to every 2 cups of flour called for in your recipe.

Substitute Greek Yogurt 4. Substitute Greek Yogurt

Creamy and full of protein! Most recipes that use regular yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, or mayonnaise will taste just as delicious when plain, low-fat Greek yogurt is substituted.

With as much as 17 g of protein per ¾ cup, Greek yogurt will make salad dressings, white pasta sauces, dips, and even frosting count towards your protein requirements [2].

5. Add Tofu

Meatless Monday will be chalked full of protein and variety when tofu is on the menu. Firm tofu contains about 12 g of complete protein per ¾ cup serving [3].

Layer thin slices of tofu into vegetarian lasagna, toss it cubed into chili, or crumble it onto Greek salad in place of feta. You can also blend silken tofu into smoothies, creamy soups, and mashed potatoes for extra staying power.

*Drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX.

†This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

References:

[1] USDA. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. Basic Report: 16070, Lentils, Mature Seeds, Cooked, Boiled, Without Salt. Web. 29 November 2016.

[2] USDA. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. Basic Report: 01287, Yogurt, Greek, Plain, Lowfat. Web. 29 November 2016.

[3] USDA. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. 45083841, Firm Tofu, UPC: 061954000232. Web. 29 November 2016.

3 Simple Moves for an Effective At-Home Workout

3 Simple Moves for an Effective At-Home Workout

Stepping outside the gym and working out at home can be a reinvigorating way to shake up your fitness routine. It can also be an easy solution for those struggling to find the time to get outside the house for their daily dose of exercise.

For an effective at-home workout, all you need are some free weights, a couple of resistance bands, a medicine/stability ball, and you’re set! Here are my top three moves for an amazing at-home workout:

1. Tricep Dips Utilizing Coffee Table

Your tricep muscle is the muscle on the back of your arm closest to your shoulder. You can assist your tricep dips by putting more pressure on your feet, therefore decreasing the weight bearing on your arms.

Start with your hands shoulder width apart, while sitting on the edge of the coffee table. Your legs should be bent at 90 degree angles. Slide off the table, keeping your back against the table as you lower yourself down and push your way back up. Complete three sets of 12-15 reps.

This video by LIVESTRONG  show how to perform proper tricep dips.

2. Band Pull Aparts

Resistance bands are an easy and cost-effective way to spice up your workout. They are also easy to store, allow you to do a full body workout, and are easy to travel with.

Start in a standing position, legs shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Grasp the resistance band a little wider than shoulder width and raise your arms till they are in line with your body. You’ll feel resistance as you pull the band apart. Practice 3 sets of 12 – 15 reps.

To make this exercise harder, hold the band less than shoulder width apart or double up on bands.

3. Chest Press on Stability Ball

This exercise uses a stability ball and two dumbbells. A stability ball is a great addition to your workout, as your core and legs will need to work harder to maintain your balance.

Sitting on the stability ball, holding two dumbbells. Slowly walk your way out until you are lying on the stability ball, with your upper/mid back resting comfortably. Ensure your neck is being supported on the ball as well. Keep your glutes contracted and your body as straight as possible as you push the dumbbells up and above your chest into a press. Slowly, bring your arms back to the starting point, and then repeat. Go through 3 sets of 8–12 reps.

This video by Jillian Michaels demonstrates how to perform this exercise properly.

How to Actually Stick to Your Goals

How to Actually Stick to Your Goals

The New Year offers us a great opportunity to embrace change. While around 50% of us make resolutions in January, barely any of us (a measly 8%!) maintain those changes for a year, let alone turn those changes into positive lifelong habits. Setting goals is admirable, but what does it take to actually stick to your goals?

Here are three big reasons why it can be hard to stick to your goals, along with some handy tips on how to set yourself up for success:

Making the Same Resolution Every Year 1. Making the Same Resolution Every Year

By making, and then breaking, the same goals over and over, you’re engaging in psychological sabotage. So if you find yourself stuck in a rut of making the same resolution every January 1st and not following through, it’s time for a change.

Take some time to think seriously about the change(s) you want to make and why. There’s no shame in admitting that some things just aren’t your priority and doing so can free up your mental energy to develop healthy habits that do work for you.

Alternative Approach

Does your typical new year resolution include fitness? Then think about what this really means to you. It’s likely to be different for everyone, and there are many ways to achieve this goal. For example:

  • Able to walk up stairs without feeling breathless
  • Run a 5 km charity race in under 45 minutes
  • Lift your own body weight at the gym
  • Able to keep up with the kids on their bikes while on vacation

Narrow in on a specific goal and use it to set a series of smaller, achievable targets, and create a plan to reach them. This is a great start to help enable you to stick to your goals!

2. Making Your Goals Too General

Nothing hampers success like a moving target, and most new year’s resolutions are vague and rather elusive. As noted above specificity is key, otherwise, how will you know when you’re on track or have achieved your goal?

Alternative Approach

SMART people know that acronyms can be a real help. As such, make sure your goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timeline

For example, instead of saying “I want to lose weight this year,” resolve to lose a realistic, achievable, safe amount of weight each week for the next 52 weeks. Better still, resolve to get your body fat percentage down by 10%.

Set up a way to measure your progress and figure out a plan to get you there. This could include cutting down portion sizes by a third, eating more plant foods to increase your fiber intake, or cutting out major sources of saturated fat and sugar.

3. Losing Track, and Motivation

Imagine your goal for the year is a town called “Happiness” far off in the distance. You can’t see the town’s lights yet, but you know it’s there and you want to find it. On January 1st you set off at full speed towards the horizon but you soon lose your way, forget where you started, grow dispirited, and end up snacking at a roadside fruit stand before heading back home.

Now, think about how you can develop a better (or any!) strategy to get to Happiness. Instead of just going full tilt without a plan, consult your map and lay out some goals. Get specific. Set up mile markers at reasonable points along that road and focus on those instead of the far off, and intimidating end goal. This works for fitness goals, spending goals, weight loss (or gain) goals, and also for career and relationship goals.

How to Set Specific Goals How to Set Specific Goals

As an example, if your dream goal is to run 15 km in less than 100 minutes in a November charity race, set yourself specific weekly running goals based on your current level of fitness† and a schedule you can stick to, such as the one outlined below.

By setting specific, realistic, achievable, measurable goals on a timeline, that 15 km charity run in under 100 minutes is totally doable, even for a novice runner.

Training Schedule for Novice Runner

For a novice runner, a training schedule needs to be detailed, such as the one below:

Weeks 1–10
  • Weeks 1 and 2: 1 km twice a week and 2 km on weekends
  • Weeks 3 and 4: 2 km twice a week and 3 km on weekends
  • Weeks 5 and 6: 3 km twice a week and 4 km on weekends
  • Weeks 7 and 8: 4 km twice a week and 5 km on weekends (celebrate your first 5 km run!)
  • Weeks 9 and 10: 5 km twice a week and 6 km on weekends
Weeks 11–21
  • Weeks 11 and 12: 6 km twice a week and 7 km on weekends
  • Week 13 (early April): 7 km twice a week and a 5 km charity race at the weekend
  • Week 14: 7 km twice a week and 8 km on weekends
  • Weeks 15 and 16: 8 km twice a week and 9 km on weekends
  • Weeks 17 and 18: 9 km twice a week and 10 km on weekends (celebrate your first 10 km run!)
  • Weeks 19, 20, and 21: 10 km twice a week and 11 km on weekends
Weeks 22–28
  • Week 22 (early June): 11 km twice a week and a 10 km charity run on the weekend
  • Weeks 23 and 24: 12 km twice a week and 13 km on the weekend
  • Weeks 25 and 26: 13 km twice a week and 14 km on the weekend
  • Weeks 27 and 28: 14 km twice a week and 15 km on the weekend (celebrate getting to 15 km!)
  • Weeks 29 and 30: 15 km twice a week and 16 km on the weekend
  • Weeks 31 to 36 (early September): 15 km three times a week (aim for a run-time of less than 140 minutes)
  • Weeks 37 to 42: 15 km three times a week (aim for a run-time of less than 120 minutes)
  • Weeks 43 to 45: 15 km three times a week (aim for a run-time of less than 100 minutes)
  • Week 46 (mid November): 15 km charity race (run time less than 100 minute).

You’re All Set!

The final thing to take note of is that getting fit and losing weight are two separate things. If you want to do both, tackle them as distinct goals with separate milestones and strategies. Also, be aware that getting fit means building muscle, which could mean you gain lean body weight. As such, a better goal pair would be to “run 10 km in under an hour’ and ‘decrease body fat by 10%.”

†Always consult with a qualified health professional if you are unsure before starting a new exercise program.

The BMI Debate: What to Know

The BMI Debate: What to Know

What do a svelte, health-conscious athlete and a sedentary person weighing 200 lbs have in common?  A high body mass index (or BMI).

This is no joke; athletes, fitness fanatics and those who are considered overweight or morbidly obese often have a similar BMI. You might find this surprising, but the real surprise should be that we’re still using this method to measure individual health.

The BMI debate rages on, so let’s find out what this calculation really measures and why we should take BMI with a pinch of (low-sodium) salt.

What Is BMI?

BMI was invented way back in the 19th Century by Adolphe Quetelet, a Belgian astronomer, mathematician, statistician, and sociologist. Quetelet wanted to devise a way to measure obesity in a population, and thus the body mass index was born.

The BMI is calculated by taking a person’s weight and comparing it to their height squared.  Like this:

  1. A person who is 5’10” and weighs 200 lbs has a BMI of 28.7
  2. A person who is 175 cm tall and weighs 65 kg has a BMI of 21.2.

These measurements put the first individual in the category of “overweight” and the second in the “normal” weight category.

Typically, BMI is classified into four groups:

  1. Underweight = <18.5
  2. Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
  3. Overweight = 25–29.9
  4. Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

Problems With the BMI Problems with the BMI

The measurement fails to account for the degree to which fat, bone mass, and muscle contribute to overall body mass. Bones and muscle are denser than fat, so a person with strong bones and a good amount of muscle mass may have a similar BMI to someone with more porous bones and a high degree of body fat.

The bluntness of this tool has been noted time and again by physicians and others working in public health. BMI can be useful for measuring population health as it is unlikely that a high average BMI can be attributed to an incredibly toned and muscular population with strong bones. When it comes to individuals, however, BMI is largely unhelpful, so why is it so popular?

The easy answer, of course, is that the calculation is relatively simple and easy to figure out.

Confused Logic and the BMI

The BMI is uni-directional. This means that a person with a lot of body fat will probably have a high BMI, but that a person with a high BMI does not necessarily have a lot of body fat. At best, the tool is descriptive of something you probably already know. At worst, it’s thoroughly misleading and lazy.

Again, a high BMI could mean that an individual is overweight or obese. It could also mean that a person is fit and healthy, with plenty of muscle mass, strong bones, and little fat. Conversely, a person could have a low BMI because they are largely sedentary, have low muscle and bone mass, and/or are sick, but have a fairly high proportion of body fat.

Even the best-intentioned health authorities fall prey to the twisted logic of the BMI. The US Centers for Disease Control noted that “the BMI is a reliable indicator of body fatness for people.

So, what can we use instead of BMI as a fairly robust and simple measure of health?

Alternative to the BMI Alternative to the BMI

A better option is waist measurement (because central adiposity is highly correlated with poor health) and your waist to height ratio. Recommended waist sizes are as follows (and will vary for people of European, Asian, Indian, and African-American descent):

  • No more than 39 or 40 inches for men
  • No more than 34 or 35 inches for women.

To measure your waist, place a tape measure around the top of your hip bones at your lower back and around to the belly button.

For waist to height ratio, the aim is to have a waist circumference that is less than half of your height (i.e., 0.5). For example: if a person is 177.8 cm tall (around 5’10”), weighs 200 lbs, and has a waist size of 80 cm (around 31.5″) their BMI would be 28.7 and put them at the upper end of the overweight category. However, their waist-to-height ratio would 0.45, which is under the recommended 0.5 ratio.

 

Why You Need to Give Jumping Rope a Try

Why You Need to Give Jumping Rope a Try If you’re looking for a fun way to boost your cardio and get your heart beating, look no further than jump roping! This exercise, known as play in our childhood, is wildly overlooked as an amazing form of fitness. And, adding jump rope into your fitness routine will cost you less than $20!

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to jump in!

Choosing the Right Jump Rope

Here are a few tips to select the jump rope that’s right for you:

  • Novice jump roper? Aim for a rope that is slightly heavier, like a beaded rope.
  • Avid jump roper? Pick a coated rope with light-weight handles.
  • For extra upper body resistance, select a rope with weighted handles.
  • Stand on the rope and make sure the handles reach all the way to your under arms. This ensures the rope is long enough for you to jump comfortably with.

3 Awesome Benefits of Jumping Rope

1. A Workout for Arms, Legs, and Your Upper Body

Jumping rope tones and tightens both your arms and legs, and the circular motion your arms go through the entire time you are jumping is great for your upper body.

2. Burns a Lot of Calories in a Short Amount of Time

Jumping rope is an aerobic workout that burns a ton of calories in a short amount of time.It’s unlikely you will be able to jump rope for longer than 15 minutes. As a general understanding, jumping rope for 5 minutes straight can be the equivalent of running over 3 miles, which is fantastic as it’s unlikely you’d be able to jump for more than 15 minutes.

3. Perfect for Traveling

A jump rope is perfect for travelling! It’s lightweight, can fit into any luggage compartment, and you can find somewhere to jump almost anywhere.

2 Different Jump Rope Styles to Try

There are a lot of other ways to jazz up your jump rope routine. Here are a two of my favorite ways to jump rope:

The Normal Way 1. The “Normal” Way

This way is exactly what you think of when jumping rope comes to mind. You stay in one place, feet together, jumping up and down. Some people prefer to interchange their legs instead of jumping with their feet together.

In the beginning, you’ll notice your heart rate will skyrocket as you jump. As your body gets used to the movement, you’ll notice that your heart rate won’t spike as high and will fall back to normal quicker during rest periods.

Jumping and Moving 2. Jumping and Moving

Who says that you need to stay in one spot while jumping rope? A fun way to spice things up is to move forward while jumping. Start in one spot, then with interchanging feet instead of jumping up – jump forward! You can move 5–10 hops forward on the same foot, then turn around and hop back on the opposite foot.

You can also try variations of hops like side-to-side hops and front-to-back hops.

Monitoring Your Heart Rate

As noted above, jumping rope is a highly aerobic exercise. As such, it’s a good idea to keep track of your heart rate during this exercise. Here’s how:

Take 220 minus your age to determine your maximum heart rate.  Take your pulse for 6 seconds and tack on a “0”. That is a general guideline for your heart rate at that moment. For example, if you take your pulse after jumping rope for 1 minute and it is 18, adding on a zero would be 180.

For more information on your heart rate and general age guidelines, visit The American Heart Association.

4 Simple Steps to Detoxify Your Kitchen

4 Simple Steps to Detoxify Your Kitchen Your body is not the only thing that needs a good detox once in awhile. When I mention detoxification, you probably think about something your body does to lose weight, support your liver, and generally feel and look better. Strange as it sounds, your kitchen could also use a good detox!

If you make your kitchen a safe zone, with only foods that nourish rather than harm, then you will automatically make the right choices. If you fill it with crap, you will eat crap, no matter how much willpower you have.

The first step to detoxify your kitchen, then, is not to load it with junk and clear out whatever junk currently is stocking your cupboards. If it’s not there you won’t eat it. It’s that simple.

I’ve created a four-step process to effectively detoxify your kitchen and restock it with healthy foods.

Step 1: Set aside an hour to purge your kitchen

Schedule it into your planner if you need to. This requires some detective work. Read food labels for added sugar and other junk ingredients that don’t belong in a healthy kitchen. Have a big garbage bag ready (better yet, recycle containers if you can) to dump the junk. It might take longer depending on how much hidden junk and toxic ingredients lurk in your cupboard or fridge.

Step 2: Scrutinize labels

Ideally, you’ll replace anything that is questionable with real fresh or whole foods without labels. A fresh avocado or a kiwi doesn’t come with a nutrition facts label, or a bar code or ingredient list. If you decide to keep foods with labels, follow these rules:

  • Focus on the ingredient list, not the “nutrition facts” that are mostly designed and developed under huge food industry lobby efforts to confuse and confound your efforts to eat healthy.
  • If you don’t recognize, can’t pronounce it, or it is in Latin or you don’t have it in your cupboard and you wouldn’t use it in a recipe, then don’t use it.
  • On every ingredient list, note that the most abundant ingredient is listed first. The others follow in descending order by weight.
  • Be conscious of ingredients that may not be on the list. Some ingredients may be exempt from labels. Get rid of these foods.
  • Beware of foods with health claims on the label. These claims usually signal a marketing ploy to make you think they’re good for you when they’re really just healthy pretenders. Things like sports beverages, energy bars, and even multigrain breads (which often contain high fructose corn syrup) fall into this category.

Now that you know what to look for, I’ll walk you through the process of determining what can stay and what needs to take a permanent vacation on your kitchen detox.

Step 3: Ditch These Foods

When you detoxify your body, you eliminate harmful toxins. Likewise, when you detoxify your kitchen you’ll want to get rid of any food that contains these harmful ingredients.

1. You probably know obvious sugar culprits, but be aware of hidden sugars that lurk in salad dressings, processed foods, drinks, and even “healthy” foods like cereals and wheat. Sugar goes by many aliases. Just as boys named Andrew often go by Andy or Drew, sugar might be called organic cane juice, honey, agave, maple syrup, cane syrup, or molasses. There are 257 names for sugar, most made from corn with names that you wouldn’t recognize. Look carefully at condiments like salad dressing, barbecue sauce, or ketchup, which are often high-fructose corn syrup traps.

2. Bad fats. Don’t be afraid of fat. Fat doesn’t make you fat, but the wrong fats can wreak serious metabolic havoc. Toss out any highly refined cooking oils such as corn and soy, fried foods you may have stored in your freezer, and margarine or shortening. These have dangerous trans fats that create inflammation. Scour labels for the words “hydrogenated fat” (another phrase for trans fat), which has finally been declared not safe for consumption by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

3. Artificial sweeteners. Throw out food with artificial sweeteners of all kinds (aspartame, NutraSweet, Splenda, sucralose, and sugar alcohols — any word that ends with “ol,” like sorbitol). Stevia may be better than aspartame but only whole plant extract, not Pure Via and Truvia, which are made by Pepsi and Coke and are chemical extracts of stevia. Use it sparingly. A new non-caloric sweetener that comes from monk fruit that is rich in antioxidants can also be used in small amounts. But remember, any sweetener can make you hungry, lower your metabolism, create gas, and store belly fat.

4. Anything with ingredients you can’t pronounce. If you purchase something with a nutrition label, there should be less than five ingredients on it and all things that a third grader would understand like “tomatoes, water, salt.” Focus on the ingredient list, not the “nutrition facts,” which are mostly designed and developed under huge food industry lobby efforts to confuse and confound your efforts to eat healthy.

5. Any potentially questionable food or ingredients. Seemingly safe foods like spices and seasonings can contain autolyzed yeast extract and even high fructose corn syrup that have no place in a healthy kitchen.

Step 4: Stock Up on These

Now that you’ve purged unhealthy foods, you want to replace kitchen cabinets and cupboards with fresh, healthy foods. These are the ones you’ll want to load your kitchen with:

1. Non-starchy veggies are freebies. Eat as many as you like! Limit fruits because they increase your insulin levels. Berries are your best bet. When possible, choose organic, seasonal, and local produce. When you can, avoid the most pesticide contaminated fruits and vegetables by consulting the Environmental Working Group’s  “Dirty Dozen” list and instead choose from the “Clean Fifteen” list featuring the least contaminated options. Just make sure you’re buying unseasoned or unsweetened varieties. Also check out your local farmers market or community supported agriculture (CSA).

2. Dry foods. These staple foods usually have a longer shelf life and include raw or lightly roasted nuts and seeds, legumes, quinoa, and gluten-free grains.

3. Herbs, spices, and seasonings. You’ll want to have a range of pantry ingredients, including seasonings and spices, on hand. Buy organic when you can. Because you only use a little of some of these, they tend to last a long time so you get a lot of value from them. Among my favorites include extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut butter, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and seasonings and spices. Just read your labels to ensure they don’t contain hidden sugar, gluten, or other problem additives.

4. Fresh foods. Get in the habit of keeping your fridge and freezer stocked with these items. When selecting beef or meat, choose grass-fed, hormone-free, or organic, whenever possible. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandates that all poultry is raised without hormones, so look for the terms “antibiotic free” or “organic” when buying poultry. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s “Meat Eater’s Guide” to choose meat that’s good for you and good for the planet. Optimal protein choices include:

  • Chicken and turkey breasts
  • Ground chicken and turkey
  • Grass-fed beef, lamb, and bison (buffalo) meat
  • Omega-3 enriched eggs
  • Whole forms of non-GMO soy food, like tofu, tempeh, and gluten-free miso (organic, when possible)
  • Wild or sustainably farmed, low-mercury seafood like sardines, salmon, herring, flounder, clams, crab, oyster, perch, pollock, shrimp, sole, squid, trout, whitefish etc.). Avoid those fish that are high in mercury such as tuna, swordfish, and Chilean sea bass. Refer to the National Resources Defense Council website to download their wallet guide to choosing the fish lowest in mercury.

Now, you might need some inspiration! It’s easy to just say, I’ll buy tons of veggies and some fruit and healthy meats and fats, but what are you going to do with all of that food?

Well, my new book, Eat Fat, Get Thin Cookbook not only goes through a step-by-step guide of how to makeover your kitchen, but it features over 175 mouth-watering recipes to help you get healthy and stay healthy. I’ve included breakfast dishes, smoothies, some vegan meals, plenty of options for lunch and dinner, and even desserts! Eating food that is good for you is not about feeling deprived. If you choose the right foods and the right recipes, you can reap the benefits of a healthy style without feeling deprived.

“If you choose to use only one supplement, PGX is the most important” ~ Mark Hyman, MD from his book, Eat Fat, Get Thin

Now you’re all set up for success!

Three Protein-Rich Desserts That Are Big on Taste

3 Protein Rich Desserts That Are Big on Taste

When you’re committed to a nutritious diet and sticking to healthy portion sizes, protein is a must for all meals and snacks – including dessert! Luckily, protein-rich desserts aren’t as difficult to create as you might think. In fact, we have three mouth-watering protein-rich desserts your whole family will love!

Sources of Protein for Dessert

Healthy sources of protein that are easy to incorporate into your desserts include:

  • Nuts, including whole, ground, and butters
  • Lentils and beans
  • *PGX Satisfast Vegan Protein
  • Tofu
  • Protein powder, including whey, soy, pea, and brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Egg whites

Protein makes food more satisfying, which makes it less tempting to overindulge. Keep your meals healthy and filling all the way through to dessert with the following three protein-filled recipes:

Chocolate Meringue Cookies 1. Chocolate Meringue Cookies

Who doesn’t love a sweet, crisp meringue! Break the rules of traditional meringues by ditching the white sugar and keeping the protein. These meringues have a very subtle sweetness and are best prepared on days with low humidity to achieve a crisp texture.

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites (room temperature)
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup (double this for extra sweetness)
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 x squares dark chocolate (60% cocoa)

Instructions:

  1. Set oven to 250 °F.
  2. In a clean glass bowl, combine egg whites and cream of tartar.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat on high until stiff peaks form, then set aside.
  4. In a small pot, warm maple syrup, vanilla, and chocolate on low heat until melted. Stir to combine.
  5. Carefully fold chocolate into egg whites until well incorporated.
  6. Spoon or pipe small portions onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake on middle rack until meringues are dry and crisp (about 1 hour).
  8. Enjoy right away!

2. Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Balls

These protein balls are quick to prepare for a satisfying anytime treat. For an alternate flavor, use almond butter instead of peanut butter.

Ingredients

  • 8 large dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened soy milk
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp chocolate protein powder of your choice
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder, dried coconut, or dark chocolate crumbs

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, process dates and soy milk into a grainy paste.
  2. Add peanut butter, vanilla, and protein powder, then process until well mixed.
  3. Using your hands, roll batter into one-inch balls.
  4. Roll balls in cocoa powder, dried coconut, or dark chocolate until evenly coated.
  5. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until firm, then enjoy!

3. Vanilla Soy Pudding

Silken tofu creates an appealing texture while contributing protein and soy isoflavones to your dessert.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack (about 12 oz) organic silken tofu, firm
  • 3 tbsp agave syrup or honey
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Drain tofu, pressing slightly to remove excess liquid.
  2. In a food processor, process tofu until smooth.
  3. In a small pot, warm agave and vanilla on low until runny.
  4. Add vanilla and honey to the tofu, then pulse until well combined.
  5. Transfer to serving dishes and chill until set (about one hour). Enjoy!

*Drink additional water (8 fl. oz) after ingesting PGX. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX.

How to Avoid the Dreaded Winter Workout Slump

How to Avoid the Dreaded Winter Workout Slump

It can be hard to gear ourselves up to work out in the winter. As the colder, shorter days begin, we cozy down, and the inspiration to get outside or head to the gym can dwindle. Before we know it, we often find ourselves in the midst of a winter workout slump.

Here’s a three-step plan to help you avoid the dreaded winter workout slump:

Set Yourself a Goal 1. Set Yourself a Goal

When it comes to motivation, setting goals can help keep you on track. The trick to achieving your goals is to set ones that are realistic and attainable.

Some examples of great starter goals are:

  • A complete workout for an hour every other day
  • Move your body for at least 30 minutes every day
  • Get up an hour early to get a workout in before the day starts (this is a great goal for people who know they are hard to motivate after work)

Here’s a trick to help ensure you keep working toward your goal once you’ve set it – post it everywhere! Write it on your bathroom mirror with a dry-erase pen. Write it on a piece of paper and tape it to your refrigerator. Set a daily reminder in your phone. This way, the goal you’re working toward will be right in front of you, every day, motivating you to stick to it.

There are many simple ways to help keep yourself motivated as you work toward achieving your goal. You may have to cycle through a few of them until you find the one that’s the perfect method for you. Here are some different forms you can try:

Make Yourself a Visual Reminder

Many people need to see themselves actually working toward their goal. A simple and effective way to do this is to get a calendar (the old fashion paper kind!) and mark every single day that you stick to your goal.

Reward Yourself

If you have something tangible to work toward – like a new pair of shoes, or a fancy dinner out – it can often be easier to keep yourself focused, as you may feel you’ll have something to physically show for your efforts. This is a great tool for people who have trouble feeling motived by goals they can’t touch or feel.

Find an Accountability Partner

Having someone who holds up accountable to our goals is almost always helpful. Find someone you can trust to periodically check in on your progress, and gently nudge you if you’re getting off track. Even better if you can reciprocate the favor and be their accountability partner too!

Try New Indoor Activities 2.Try New Indoor Activites

It’s not hard to understand why people don’t love to workout in the cold. But one of the overlooked benefits of winter is the ability to workout indoors and not feel like you’re missing out on a beautiful, warm, and sunny day. It’s the perfect time to try that spin class!

Here are some fun indoor activities:

  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Spin
  • Zumba

Track Your Progress 3. Track Your Progress

Motivation tends to come easily when you start seeing results. Now that you’re holding yourself accountable, and trying new activities, it’s time to start tracking your progress.

Keep in mind that it takes time to see changes in your body, but if you’re sticking to your goals, after four weeks you should begin to feel some changes. After eight weeks, people close to you, who see you often, are bound to start making comments on how great you look! But, most importantly – you will be feeling amazing, awake, and full of energy, even in the middle of winter!

Don’t let the winter slump suck you in! Stick to these tips and keep on moving throughout the cold months.