5 Alternative Healthy Snacks For Potato Chip Lovers

Potato chips are delicious, but they’re called “junk food” for a reason. A bag of potato chips adds significant calories, salt, fat and carbohydrate to your diet without contributing necessary protein, fiber, vitamins or minerals. For the same calorie intake as a bag of potato chips, there are alternative healthier snacks that provide better nutrition. The following snacks can satisfy your savory cravings while packing a nutritional punch:

Nuts or Seeds

IMG_0886Any nuts or seeds can substitute as a salty, savory snack in place of potato chips. The advantage to nuts and seeds is that they provide protein, minerals and healthier fats by comparison with potato chips. Sunflower seeds, cashews, macadamia nuts or peanuts all make a healthier alternative to potato chips. If you need to limit your sodium intake due to high blood pressure or another medical condition, choose unsalted nuts and your palette will soon adjust. If portion control is an issue, nuts that are sold in their shells will slow down the speed of your eating. In-shell pistachios or peanuts take longer to shell and eat, slowing down your calorie intake overall. Blue Diamond, for example, offers almonds in salt and vinegar, habanero BBQ, lime-chili and other flavors. An ounce of Blue Diamond salt-and-vinegar almonds provides 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and useful quantities of calcium and iron for 170 calories per serving. By comparison, an ounce of Lay’s salt and vinegar potato chips — at 160 calories per serving — contains only 2 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber and no calcium or iron. The carbohydrate content of potato chips is three times higher than that of flavored almonds, at 6 grams per ounce in chips versus 2 grams per ounce in the almonds.

Air-popped Popcorn

IMG_0890Popcorn is a salty, savory alternative to potato chips. Air-popped popcorn provides 110 calories per ounce. In terms of calorie content, popcorn therefore compares favorably with the 160 calories in an ounce of potato chips. Beware oil-popped popcorn, however, which is not really a healthier snack than potato chips. Air-popped popcorn is low in fat, and gives you that satisfying crunchy experience as you eat.

Vegetable Chips

Vegetable chips are generally much healthier than potato chips — this is especially true when veggie chips are baked rather than fried. A range of veggie chips can be bought in stores, or you can make your own at home by baking thinly sliced vegetables in heart-healthy olive oil. Thin, crunchy kale chips are a low-calorie food when baked, and unlike potato chips, they are low in sodium and fat. As an added bonus, kale chips are packed with iron, potassium and Vitamin A. Spinach chips are also low-calorie and provide iron, while beet chips provide the dietary fiber that is missing from potato chips.IMG_0889

Pretzels

Pretzels are high in carbohydrates and do not contribute significant protein, fiber or IMG_0888minerals to your diet. However, hard pretzels are very low in fat. This gives pretzels a major dietary advantage over potato chips, which are fried in oil and therefore have a high fat content. The low-fat content of hard pretzels reduces their calorie content by weight. An ounce of pretzels contains only 108 calories, while the same weight of potato chips contains around 160 calories. Additionally, hard pretzels take longer to chew than thin potato crisps, which is likely to slow your eating down.

Vegetables & Dip

If chips and dip are your weakness, any kind of veggies can be paired with dip for a
crunchy, satisfying snack. Carrots, celery, broccoli florets, and cherry tomatoes are classic dipping vegetables, but any vegetable can be dipped. Try dipping raw radishes for a peppery taste, or raw cauliflower florets for a satisfying but healthy treat.IMG_0887

Jason Kane is a professional blogger who is trying to be healthier this year. He currently writes for AEDs Today, a leading supplier of automatic external defibrillators.

Organic or All-Natural? Is There a Difference?

IMG_0882During the winter months, it is difficult to find locally grown produce, particularly if you live in the Midwestern United States or the East Coast. The option is to buy organic. Some foods you may not have to buy organic; however, there are foods that you absolutely must. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Tomatoes. During the peak season, many people buy tomatoes locally grown. Since the origin of these tomatoes is unknown during the winter, it is best to buy organic ones.
  2. Dairy products.  Ice cream, milk, and eggs fall in this category. When you buy ice cream, always read the product label. If you read the ingredients on an organic ice cream label, each ingredient is organic. Beware of words like “fat-free”, “sugar-free”, or “all-natural”. If ice cream does not contain sugar, then it has an unnatural sweetener, like sucralose, in addition to other chemical ingredients added to it. With milk, many cows are injected with the Recombinant Bovine Growth hormone (rBST) in order for them to increase milk production. When you buy eggs, they should be organic, cage-free, and from vegetable-fed hens. Some chickens are injected with antibiotics.
  3. Lettuce.  This covers spring mix (which contains spinach) and is a must since lettuce is sprayed with pesticides.
  4. Meats.  As was previously mentioned, beef and chicken are injected with hormones and antibiotics; organic is best. Certain farmers inject their chickens with antibiotics; they grow twice as fast in a given amount of time. Their breasts are so heavy that the chickens’ legs cannot support their bodies.
  5. Apples.  Apples should not be shiny or very large. When you buy locally grown or organic apples, they tend to be smaller and have a “dusty” appearance.

On the other hand, there are foods that you need to make sure are all natural, but not necessarily organic.IMG_0860

  1. Nut butters. The only ingredients that you should see listed are nuts and maybe salt if it’s salted nut butter.   Also, all-natural nut butters tend to be less viscous.
  2. Oranges.  Since we know that they typically come from California or Florida, you don’t need to buy organic.
  3. Coffee.  Buy a high-quality blend, like 100% Arabian.
  4. Bananas.  Since you don’t eat the peel, the actual fruit is less likely to be exposed to pesticides.
  5. Pineapples.  Again, the edible part is not exposed.

If there is any doubt about what to buy, always buy organic. Yes, it costs more, but we all know that it’s more expensive to eat healthy.

Vitamins C and B – Just like Magic Now

imageNow you have skin and face problems, now you don’t. Eggs, yeast, fish, beans, and milk form some of the ingredients of vitamin b, and therefore by default the ingredients of the finest vitamin B face serums. Vitamin C, on the other hand, is the strong antioxidant found in such fruits as mangoes, pineapples, lemons, and oranges among a myriad of others. Before we look in great detail at vitamin B serum for face and vitamin C serum Australia, we look to understand the ingredients that make up these wonderful vitamins and how they help our skin and face.

Vitamin B is useful in treating shallowness, Rosacea, acne (blackheads), bullous pemphigoid and granuloma annular (don’t worry about the terms used in the last two; they are both skin conditions which have bad manners). Vitamin B is also known for fading discoloration and age spots on the skin and is a great moisturizer.

In many cases, vitamin B is very good for people with sensitive and oily skin. There’s a wide variety of vitamin B, which means it pays to know most of them. Vitamin B2, for example, is likely to make your skin a little oily, and Vitamin B5 when taken in high doses works wonders for sufferers of acne, although it could have one or two side effects (especially diarrhea, so watching your diet is also advisable).

Vitamin C, as previously stated, is one hell of an antioxidant, with free radicals imageresistance yet to meet a match and anti-aging capabilities with few equals. In simple terms, if all the rest should fail in your quest to beat the decline of your skin, try vitamin C. Various research labs in Australia, including our affiliates, have gone to great pains to explain the usefulness of vitamin C, and therefore, serums with vitamin c ingredients. You should, at this point, know that Australia hosts some of the finest and complete research labs on the subject of aging, so usually when they say something, it helps to pay attention.

Humans, unlike many animals, are one of the few animals without the capability to synthesize their own vitamin C and must get it from the plethora of foods that produce them, some of which were mentioned earlier in this article. The urgency for vitamin C is best explained in its functions-synthesizing collagen, minimizing scar tissue, wound healing, prevention of fine lines and wrinkles, prevention of stress-related diseases, and blocks free radicals damage.

In the end, we need to have pretty skin and pretty faces. Without vitamin B and vitamin c serums, our skin loses their firmness and gives way to bacterial attacks. The result is that we age faster than we would like or would be normal. On the other hand, proper maintenance of our skin using the two vitamins makes us (almost) eternally youthful. And that, dear reader, is all you need to know about vitamin b serum for face and vitamin c serum Australia. All you need to do is go out there and make wise choices.

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5 “Healthy Foods” That May be Hindering Your Weight Loss

Sticking to New Year’s resolutions to get in better shape and stay healthy is difficult on its’ own – but when paired with trying to decipher what’s healthy, and what’s not? Forget it. With so many food items labeled as “health foods”, “low calorie”, or “low fat”, making healthy choices can seem overwhelming. Check out the products that typically fool us most into thinking they’re healthy, and some alternatives to set you on the right track.

  1. Granola Barsshutterstock_178189958-676x450

While some granola bars CAN be healthy, many popular granola bars are actually just a mine for sugar, calories, and high fructose corn syrup. In fact, some granola bars offer the same nutritional value as a candy bar when you compare their caloric values and ingredients. Want something satisfying and on the go? Reach for some almonds. Almonds are rich in omega fats (the good kind!) that will keep you feeling fuller, longer – without the added sugars and calories.

  1. Frozen Meals

Just because the product has words like “lean” or “healthy” in the title, doesn’t mean that it is so. In fact, despite the fact that caloric value may be below 400 calories, most of these frozen meals have more than a quarter of your daily recommended sodium intake! While frozen meals ARE convenient, packing your own meals helps to regulate what you’re taking in. Sticking with a lean protein, a veggie, and a complex carb, like brown rice or a sweet potato, will keep you satiated and help with that urge to snack mid-afternoon.

  1. Synthetic Butters/Margarines

While the jury is still out on this one, cutting calories by using synthetic butters may in fact be doing more harm than good. These synthetic oils became popular because of the myth that fats make you fat. If fats are bad, then fat free oils must be good, right? Wrong. The problem with these types of products is that many food companies hydrogenate these oils to help increase their shelf life, and keep the form in the container. This process makes the oil harder to digest, and is actually a main contributor to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. If you need to cook with oil, use healthy oils, such as coconut or olive oils, in moderation. Need something for your toast in the morning? Try almond butter for a dose of healthy fat.

  1. Wheat Bread

Speaking of toast, not all wheat breads are what they say they are. Many “wheat” breads available in stores do not contain pure, whole grains. Many also contain hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives in order to keep them fresh on the shelves longer. An important tip to consider when buying bread is to not rely on the labels. Instead, look up the nutrition facts and look for “whole grains” or “whole wheat” as one of the main ingredients.

  1. Fruit Juices

It’s made out of fruit, so it’s definitely healthy right? Not so much. Fruit juices DO contain vitamins, but the ratio of beneficial vitamins and nutrients to calories and sugars is just not worth it. In a serving of 9 ounces of grape juice, there are typically about 170 calories, 40 grams of sugar, and 42 grams of carbs. (For the record, this is more sugar and carbs then in a can of regular, non-diet soda). If you are a juice fanatic, consider juicing your own fruits and veggies at home to ensure no added ingredients. Even the “All natural” juice versions likely contain preservatives.

While making healthy choices can be difficult in a world of not so healthy foods, it is possible! Take the time to look up nutritional information of foods you are eating, rather than relying on the labels, and understand that many pre-packaged foods will have additives that do not necessarily help you to trim down, or stay healthy. Opt for whole foods prepared at home, and you are well on your way to meeting your goals.

Written by Claire Kaczmarek

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Squash: Soup or Sautéed

IMG_0047Yellow squash is rich in vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, fiber, folate, and phytonutrients. They are also high in water content. Butternut squash is also rich in fiber and carotenoids. While yellow squash is more of a summer vegetable and butternut squash a winter one, you can eat then all year long. I’ve included recipes for both types.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into wedges

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp. butter

4 cups chicken broth

Salt

White pepper

Nutmeg

In a large saucepan, add one chopped onion (sweet or yellow) and sauté in butter until translucent. Add chicken broth and squash. Simmer for 20 minutes. Using an immersion hand blender, mix until squash chunks are no longer visible and soup is creamy. Add salt, white pepper, and nutmeg to taste.

Sautéed Squash and Potatoes

2 yellow squash, sliced

2 white potatoes, peeled and sliced

1 onion, sliced

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. seasoning salt

1 tsp. Cajun seasoning

Kosher salt

Pepper

Canola oil

Using a mandoline or knife, slice squash, potatoes, and onion. Add a small amount of canola oil to a heated pan. Add squash, potatoes, onion, paprika, garlic and onion powder, seasoning salt, and Cajun seasoning. Stir, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

15 Foods that are Toddler Friendly

IMG_0858Most toddlers are very picky eaters, but there are foods that they will ask for and will not turn away. If you mix and match with lots of variety, you can have a happy and healthy child.

  1. Clementines. They are in season right now. They are also sweet, easy to peel and eat.
  2. Tuna fish. The albacore tuna is best. It contains omega-3, which is good for brain development. Add some chopped tomato or cucumber for color.
  3. Nut butters. Whether it peanut, almond, or cashew butter, they all taste great.
  4. Sweet potatoes. They’re naturally sweet and are higher in both vitamin C and vitamin A than white potatoes. Sweet potato fries are an alternative to regular ones.
  5. Chicken. Baked chicken makes a terrific meal. Chicken nuggets and strips are finger foods. Just make sure that they are made from REAL CHICKEN free of antibiotics, not the processed stuff.
  6. Turkey. There haven’t been any reports about turkeys being given antibiotics or hormones. Add a very small amount of gravy for extra flavor.
  7. Spinach. This is a green vegetable that most kids will eat. My son loves it. To cook fresh spinach, add some olive oil and a little garlic. Since spinach is mostly water, you won’t need to add much.
  8. Green beans. They are easy for small children to eat.
  9. Bananas.  They’re high in potassium and can be added to cereal or eaten in bites.
  10. Chocolate chip cookies. My son doesn’t eat junk food, but sometimes we let him eat chocolate chips cookies. Famous Amos cookies are bit size and do not contain high fructose corn syrup.
  11. Graham crackers. Excellent for snacks. Most brands are now being made without high fructose corn syrup.
  12. Popcorn.  A healthy way to eat this is to buy the gourmet kernel popcorn, like Orville Redenbacher, and use an air popper. Add olive oil and kosher salt. I was surprised at the taste of this combination.
  13. Watermelon.  It’s not in season right now, but very tasty and refreshing. Stay away from seedless watermelon. It’s genetically altered.
  14. Apples.  Whatever kind you prefer…Gala, Red Delicious, Granny Smith… cut them into slices for snacking.
  15. Yogurt.  A simple addition to a school lunch or for breakfast. Add fresh fruit for variety.

6 Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter

IMG_0854

Winter can bring about a whole host of problems and obstacles when it comes to staying healthy. It is, of course, cold and flu season.

Winter also brings about a lot of holidays and holiday parties, which can throw a wrench into any healthy eating regimen. Add alcohol at those gatherings, the stress of being extremely busy, holiday shopping where you’ll come across many people with a cold, and it’s a recipe for a health disaster.

And there’s no cure for the common cold. So how exactly can you keep yourself from having all your energy zapped out of you while ending up flat on your back on the couch for days, despite that mile long to do list?

So, you’re surrounded by sick people, your stress levels are high, you’re really busy, and your eating isn’t as healthy as it would be under normal circumstances. It doesn’t sound good!

But don’t worry. All is not lost! There are ways to stay healthy this winter!

  1. Get Your Sleep

No matter how busy you are or what you have to get done, getting enough sleep is absolutely crucial to a healthy body and mind! You can not skimp on sleep!

Your body needs time to rest and recover, even more so when stress levels are higher, which is definitely the case around the end of year holiday season.

You may also want to cut back on your workouts during the winter to make sure your body has time to recover. When your body is overworked and you aren’t getting enough sleep, it promotes an acidic environment, and this is a breeding ground for viruses and other nasty germs to have their way with you.

Get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Yes, even on weekends. And do your best to get up about the same time every day, seven days a week.

  1. Relax, Chill Out, Kick Back

Whatever you want to call it, you need to find time to take the proverbial chill pill. A 2012 study that was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that people who had to deal with a very stressful occurrence were twice as likely to end up with the common cold.

So find some down time, whether it’s yoga, meditation, or just sitting quietly listening to mellow music. Even fifteen minutes a day can work wonders.

  1. Get Spicy

Take some turmeric. It contains curcumin which is an immune system booster, exactly what you need during cold and flu system. You can get whole turmeric powder in tablets or capsules.

  1. Bad For Your Breath But Good For Your Health

Another great immune booster is garlic. A study published in Advances in Therapy showed that garlic can decrease the frequency of the common cold by as much as 64 percent!

But cooking can ruin the active ingredients, so be sure to mash it or chop it and put some in a salad or something.

  1. Drink Your Green Tea

Green tea has high levels of powerful anti-oxidants to help keep you healthy. It also has high levels of catechin, which can fight and maybe even prevent damage to your cells.

And here’s something to go with “Chill Out” to get rid of that stress! Green tea is high in theanine, which has been shown to have a calming effect and can help you to unwind and relax.

  1. Try Some Echinacea

This one is still up for debate, and there are many in the medical community on both sides of the argument.

However, a study done in 2010 in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that while taking echinacea won’t help prevent a cold, it could possibly shorten the time in which you have the cold. It can’t hurt, so if you feel a cold coming on, you might want to try some.

Nothing you do will guarantee you don’t succumb to a cold this winter, but if you follow these simple tips to stay healthy, you’ll give yourself a great chance of doing so.

Even if you succumb to a cold, chances are you could be healthier, have more energy and feel less stressed throughout the winter.

Author : Aria Meyer is a freelance writer and an active blogger. She writes mainly about fashion and technology, but she also writes about other topics too. She is currently working with several e-commerce websites to help them with content. Aria received her Bachelor’s Degree from Cal State Long Beach and is currently living in Walnut, CA. Right now, she is working closely with EMed Items to help them grow the marketing department.

Why Regular and Natural Detox is so Important For Your Body

The word “toxins” has sort of become the newest boogeyman in the world of health and wellness. People blame them for health disorders, stress, aging, and many other things, and there are many products meant to help you detox.

But why is it important to get rid of toxins? Does it even matter? Here are a few reasons you should detox regularly:

  1. Fight chronic disease — Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and many neurological diseases have been linked to toxic buildup in the human body, so detoxing can help to reduce your risk of developing these diseases. Toxins can also causes these diseases to worsen, which is why it’s a good idea to detox regularly if you suffer from a chronic illness.
  2. Promote weight loss –– Did you know that toxins stop you from losing weight? Toxic buildup in your body causes your metabolism to slow down, and it can even prevent our bodies from being able to burn fat properly. By detoxing, you get rid of the toxins that are stored in fat cells and which slow down your metabolism.
  3. Improve immune function –– Toxins are difficult for your body to get rid of, so your immune system is often called in to fight off these invading chemicals. This distracts it from its true threat–infections and bacteria–and it may cause you to get sick. Detoxing frees up your immune system to focus on keeping you healthy and free of disease.
  4. Reduce signs of aging — When you age, your skin, organs, hair, bones, and muscles degrade, and that degradation is only made worse by toxins. Toxins can cause free radicals to form, and those free radicals can cause the aging to worsen. By detoxing, you increase the amount of nutrients your body can absorb from the food you eat.
  5. Improve the health of your skin and hair –– When your skin begins to wrinkle, fade, and sag, it is often the result of toxins building up beneath the skin’s surface. Toxins stop your body from producing the collagen and elastin that keeps your skin looking great, so it’s important to detox for your skin and hair’s sake!
  6. Boost digestive health — When you have a lot of toxins built up in your body, your digestive system is unable to function properly. You’ll find that problems like IBS or leaky gut syndrome are often the result of toxic build-up in the intestines or stomach, so detoxing regularly can reduce the risk of digestive health issues.
  7. Improve quality of life — When you use detoxing products like detox foot patches or baths, you reduce the risk of toxins causing headaches, sleep problems, joint pains, digestive disorders, fatigue, and so many other problems that can reduce the quality of life.

Need any more reasons to detox? It’s so vital to your health that it’s hard to imagine a month going by without a natural detox!

Written by Chris Miller

Benefits of Maca Root

Until recently, I hadn’t heard of maca root.  I was working out with a friend. (Conveniently, she has exercise equipment in her basement). She showed me a bottle of powdered maca root that she had purchased from GNC; the label said that it was good for energy and libido. It actually dates back to ancient Incan history. I was intrigued. I tasted some of her grilled broccoli seasoned with maca powder; it was very flavorful, like stir-fry broccoli.

When I researched it further, I saw that it has lots of benefits for both men and women.

  1. Erectile Dysfunction and Fertility. As previously mentioned, maca root has been used historically to boost male libido. It improves sperm count, which improves fertility. One culprit of erectile dysfunction is heavy alcohol consumption; however there can be other factors such as chronic illnesses (i.e. diabetes), stress, medication, or injury.
  2. Endurance.  In addition to increasing testosterone, maca also increases endurance for athletes. As your energy levels increase, so does your endurance. (As an addition, I’m sure it will help your sexual stamina as well).
  3. Menopause and Menstruation. Whether we are childbearing or middle age, as women, we know that both of these can be a pain to bear (pun intended). Maca root helps to balance hormone levels and alleviate symptoms such as menopausal hot flashes, menstrual cramps, PMS, fatigue, and heavy or irregular cycles.
  4. Acne. Since most acne outbreaks are hormonal, it makes sense that maca would clear up this issue dramatically.
  5. Depression.  People that suffer from depression have low levels of serotonin in their bodies. Maca has been shown to increase these levels. Again, it all relates to energy. When you suffer from depression, you have little or no energy. It is difficult to get out of bed even if there is a reason to do so.

Maca is also called “Peruvian ginseng“. If you decide to try it, it is available in both capsules and powder form at any health food or vitamin store.

Natural Cures: Secrets “They” Don’t Want You to Know About – A Book Review

I am an avid reader, especially if it can positively impact your life. Kevin Trudeau is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About that he self-published in 2004. I read the updated 2014 version. It was very informative; I was very impressed with his personal story. Some concepts were new to me, and others I have put into practice as it relates to food.

The book includes natural cures for over 50 diseases and ailments. If you decide to read the book, don’t just read that chapter. Trudeau gives plenty of background information to help you having an understanding of the “real” truth. For instance, he discusses healthcare in America, the reasons people get sick, weight loss, and the reasons that people are overweight.

Whatever the case, you have to take charge of your own health. About 3 or 4 years ago, I started researching the quality of food and healthcare.  There are a lot of great resources in this book, but you’re not expected to follow everything. Eliminating one bad habit and replacing it with a smart one can make a big difference in your health.  The things that seem so simple and make sense are the most difficult to do. (I talk to people about eating green vegetables and they look at me strangely). I don’t get offended. I do it for MY HEALTH.   If you want to lose weight, feel better, and be healthy, your lifestyle needs to change.