Many people believe one of the best ways to shed weight is to eliminate carbohydrates from their diet. But carbs are not all bad. In fact, plenty of healthy foods like fruits and beans contain carbohydrates.
While cutting carbs from your diet can help you lose pounds, you should think twice before you go completely carb free. Eliminating all carbohydrates from your diet could jeopardize your health.
Simple Vs. Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates are often confused with simple carbs, the two are fairly different.
Foods like pastries, cookies, bagels, rolls, breads and pretzels contain simple carbohydrates. These carbs do nothing for your body but provide short-term energy. Cutting them out from your diet is safe, as they don't provide much nutritional benefit.
On the other hand, you shouldn't cut out all complex carbohydrates. These are the “good” carbohydrates, so to speak. Found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans, complex carbohydrates help maintain weight and also protect against cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. Examples of foods with complex carbohydrates include broccoli, quinoa, apples and kidney beans.
Side Effects Of A No-Carb Diet
Carbohydrates are an important macronutrient that the body requires in substantial amounts. If you cut all carbohydrates out of your body, you could become malnourished. According to the McKinley Health Center, the body requires more carbohydrates than any other type of macronutrient.
If you drastically reduce your carb intake or completely cut them out, you'll probably feel fatigued. You'll also crave carb-filled foods, especially foods with simple carbohydrates like cookies or french fries. You could also experience headaches, irritability, hot flashes and some dizziness.
The most dangerous consequence of not getting enough carbs is low blood glucose. Carbs are rapidly converted into glucose, the body's natural source of energy. The carbs that aren't used for glucose are stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. If you don't eat enough complex carbs, you could deplete your body of its glycogen stores. This causes low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, a serious condition that can result in debilitating problems and even death.
Carbs are also essential for regular bowel movements and healthy digestion. Fiber is critical to keeping your excretory system operating efficiently. It also helps clean your body of toxins, preventing other health problems.
Experiment With Carbohydrate Intake
The amount of carbs your body needs is different from that of your coworkers, friends and family. This number depends on factors like activity level, age, gender, genetic disposition and weight.
If you want eat fewer carbs to lose weight, try limiting your carb consumption to 20 percent of your diet. Pay attention to how you feel. If you start to feel ill or shaky, slowly add more complex carbs into your diet.
If you want to lose weight, cutting carbs is a great way to do it. Many carb-rich foods, like white bread, muffins and chips, are high in sugar but low in nutritional value. Additionally, these simple carbs are usually heavily processed and high in calories and sodium.
That being said, not all carbs are bad for you. Complex carbs are full of fiber and necessary for keeping your body running smoothly.
So feel free to drop the donuts, but you may want to think twice about cutting carbs altogether. Otherwise, you may cause your body more harm than good.
*Always consult with your physician before starting any dietary or weight loss plan. This information is for general use and is not intended to replace the advice and direction of licensed medical professionals.
If you're ready to lose weight this summer, try my summer slim-down workout package. It's free and easy to do, even at home.
As someone who lives in the Texas Panhandle, you know how hot it can get during the summer — especially in Palo Duro Canyon. Temperatures during the hottest months average around 90 degrees, and at times the heat can seem relentless.
It can also cause serious health issues — such as dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke — if you're not careful. Staying hydrated is a big part of staying healthy out in the heat.
Follow these steps to prevent heat stroke and other illnesses when you're out hiking in the sun.
1. Drink Before You're Thirsty
It's important to drink fluids even when you're not thirsty. When you do feel thirsty, your body is telling you that it's approaching dehydration. Replenish your fluids frequently rather than drinking simply to quench your thirst.
2. Water Is Best
While advertisements for sports drinks and other beverages may claim that they're the best way to stay hydrated, in the majority of cases, you're better off sticking with water.
Sports drinks provide certain electrolytes that are helpful for high-intensity training, but they usually contain high amounts of sugars (and calories) that you otherwise don't need.
The amount of water you should drink may vary depending on your age, weight, gender and activity level. Drinking water regularly throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated.
3. Drink Cool Fluids
There's nothing quite like a cold drink on a hot day, but experts advise drinking cool water because the body absorbs it faster than it does cold water. Cool fluids will also encourage you to drink more during activity in hot weather.
4. Keep A Water Bottle
At Your SideA reusable water bottle is a great investment. You should always keep one nearby. You can easily replenish it during the day, and having a water bottle on hand allows you to drink fluids regularly whether you're doing strenuous activity or not.
5. Eat The Right Foods
Drinking water is the easiest and fastest way to hydrate, but eating foods that have a high water content can also ward off dehydration. Foods with high water content include watermelon, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and celery.
Loose clothing that allows your sweat to evaporate and absorbs less heat will keep you from becoming overheated and dehydrated. If you're exercising outdoors, you should always wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
7. Avoid Alcohol
Few things sound better than a cold beer or other alcoholic beverage during a summer heat wave. But if hydration is your goal, alcohol isn't your friend. It acts as a diuretic and causes you to urinate more frequently — which leads to dehydration.
8. Watch The Clock
There's nothing wrong with exercising outside during the summer — as long as you do it during the appropriate time of day. Plan your workout for early in the morning or later in the evening when the sun isn't bearing down on you.
Get into shape this summer. Download my summer slim-down workout package.
If you're like a lot of health-conscious people, your daily diet includes a smoothie that's packed with nutrients to help keep your body running efficiently.
But not every smoothie is created equal. The fact is, smoothies may contribute to your weight gain if you're not careful about what ingredients you add to it (or leave out).
Here are eight ways that your smoothie may cause you to gain weight:
1. It's Too Big
Too much of a good thing is often unhealthy, and smoothies are no exception. Even a smoothie that's packed with healthy ingredients will add up to extra calories, carbs and sugar if you make it too big. Experts say that a smoothie should be no more than 8 to 10 ounces.
2. It Lacks Fiber
Fiber helps keep your hunger at bay and improves digestion. Make sure that your smoothie includes foods with high fiber content, such as avocado and kale.
3. It's Too High In Sugar
Buyer beware: many store-bought smoothies include almost as much sugar as soda. That much sugar isn't good for you no matter how many other health benefits the smoothie might include.
Your homemade smoothie should contain more vegetables than fruits, including sweet veggies such as carrots to replace berries that have a higher sugar content.
Too much sugar also leaves you feeling tired and hungry, which can make you eat even more.
4. There Isn't Enough Protein
Studies show that protein reduces your daily calorie intake while helping your body burn fat. Many smoothies are loaded with only carbohydrates and fats, so it's important to add high-protein foods such as plain Greek yogurt, beans, cottage cheese and nuts.
You should aim to add at least 10 grams of protein to your smoothie. It will help you sustain your energy while preventing you from indulging in high-calorie snacks.
But don't add excess protein powder to your smoothie. Many protein powders have artificial sweeteners and other unhealthy ingredients.
5. You've Added Sweeteners
Adding sweeteners like honey to your smoothie enhances the flavor, but take care not to add too much. One tablespoon of honey contains 60 calories. Instead, add sweet fruit, vegetables or Greek yogurt.
6. You Drink It At The Wrong Time Of Day
Your body processes and absorbs sugar better the more active you are, which means that your sugar levels won't spike as much and leave you tired and hungry hours later. That said, the best time for your smoothie is after your workout or another part of the day when you're physically active.
7. It's High Calorie
Even low-calories foods like fruits and vegetables can add up if you're not careful. But also beware of smoothies that include calorie-rich ingredients like nut butter and coconut oil. A good way to monitor your smoothie's calories is to measure out your ingredients and plug them into a calorie counter.
8. It's Always Made With The Same Ingredients
Using the same greens in your smoothie prevents you from getting a wide variety of nutrients. Replace and add a variety of greens every week to ensure that you're getting all the nutrients you need.
Want to eat healthier and lose weight? Check out my other blog posts on nutrition.
If you usually shop at grocery stores for your fruits and vegetables, you have probably grown tired of buying the same items over and over again. It is time to try something new.
Head out to a local farmers market and you'll find all sorts of tasty fruits and vegetables, many of which you can't find at nearby grocery stores.
The Best Foods To Buy At Farmers Markets
Farmers' markets specialize in fresh and delicious produce. The primary advantage of shopping at these markets is that they provide access to fruits and vegetables that were recently harvested at nearby farms. In some instances, farmers bring items from the farm to the market on the day they are sold. It doesn't get any fresher or healthier than that.
In terms of specific foods you will find at farmers markets, be on the lookout for bell peppers, onions, zucchini, green beans, okra, bread and jellies. Each farmer brings something unique and tasty to the table. You will likely find fruits and vegetables of different sizes, shapes and prices compared to those sold at traditional grocery stores.
So be adventurous! Give some new items a chance. Whether it is an organic version of your favorite fruit or an item you have never tried before, you just might find that it pleases your palate.
Farmers Markets In The Amarillo Area
Amarillo and Canyon have several regular farmers markets for you to give a try. Head on out to the Golden Spread Farmers Market at 15th and Pecos in the Sunset Center Parking Lot to find a variety of produce. The produce is picked within one or two days of reaching the tables for sale. The market is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. until items are sold out.
Located at 130 S. Grand St., Harold's Farmers Market is open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day of the week but for Sunday. It's smaller than Golden Spread but is usually less crowded.
The Amarillo Community Market at 1000 S. Polk St. features over 150 local vendors. They feature an assortment of vegetables, herbs, jams, jellies, baked goods, cut flowers and even some arts and crafts. The market is open from June 10th through October 14th. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Canyon Farmers Market is a mere 20-minute drive from the heart of Amarillo. This market is the largest in town, featuring over 40 vendors. Additionally, Amarillo's Zinnia bakery sales some of their gluten-free goods at the market. Located at the south side of the square in Canyon, the market is open every Saturday between 8 a.m. and Noon. It runs until October 8.
Ready To Eat Healthy This Summer?
Lose weight and feel better this summer by simply changing up your diet. What you eat has a huge impact on your overall wellbeing. Eating raw, organic veggies is a great place to start.
Cooking at home is a healthier alternative to fast food and allows you to control the menu. As you start learning how to cook clean, homemade meals, you’ll find that different recipes call for different kitchen gadgets. There are hundreds of tools and utensils out there, some more useful than others. Here’s a look at the top five kitchen gadgets you should always keep in your kitchen.
Weight loss is all about portion control. You’ll find that many healthy recipes call for very specific amounts of food, often in pounds or ounces. In many cases, the only way to accurately check these amounts is with a food scale. Accurately measuring out your recipe ingredients will ensure that you consume the right amount of calories. These scales are very affordable and small enough to fit into a drawer when not using them.
A blender is a must for anyone who wants to lose weight. You can make everything from delicious fruit smoothies and protein shakes to soups and dip and much more. Most blender recipes are so quick and easy that you’ll have no problem making a full portion to take with you on the go. And, since fruit is high in fiber, swapping out carb-stuffed breakfast meals with a simple smoothie can help you drop the pounds.
A food processor is ideal for anyone trying to lose weight. It can chop, mince, grind, blend and so much more. Using a food processor makes it easier and faster to make many of the healthy foods you love, such as homemade hummus, peanut butter, soups, pestos, and salsas. While a food processor will easily fit in your kitchen cupboard, you may find yourself using it so often that you just leave it on the counter.
Your local farmer’s market is a great place to purchase all your fruits and vegetables. Of course, we all know how quickly they start to rot. If you want them to last longer, a food dehydrator can help. The dehydrator removes most of the water content in the food. Dehydrator fruits, vegetables, and nuts are a great addition to trail mix, granola, and many other recipes. They’re also great to snack on between meals to keep your diet on track.
Too busy to cook your meals at home? A crock pot is the way to go. You can prepare all the ingredients for your meal the night before and pop it in the crock pot on low before you head to work. Then, when you get home, you’ll have a steaming meal ready for eating. Crock pots are also great on the nutrition side of things because they cook foods with lower heat, which means less nutrients are lost. Because they are sealed, any nutrients that do seep out of foods are trapped inside the broth or juices, so be sure to add plenty of that into your meals.
Eating healthy is a great first step to losing weight. Being active is the next. A personal trainer can help you create a customized workout plan to help you get fit. Amarillo personal trainer Ralph Roberts has years of experience helping clients meet their weight loss and fitness goals. Contact him today.
Not sure what to cook? Download my free Healthy Grocery List below and stock your fridge with healthy food for every meal.
The Easter Bunny is headed to town, and he's bringing plenty of anticipation along with him. This spring holiday is usually all about chocolate and candy, but it doesn’t have to be. While the kids are in the backyard hunting for hidden eggs, head into the kitchen and whip up a light and healthy brunch to celebrate the holiday and offset some of the candy that’s floating around.
These 4 meal ideas are just the right amount of festive for your Easter brunch, and they won't cause that extra holiday weight gain.
This Easter staple isn’t normally on the healthy menu, but a minor indulgence during the holiday season is fine. Ham does pack a good amount of protein, but those with sodium sensitivities will want to go easy. High in sodium (and occasionally high in fat), ham, spiraled or fresh, shouldn’t be on the daily menu, but a slice during the Easter season is a good way to enjoy the protein option.
Frittatas are a great addition to any Easter brunch because you can pack them full of vegetables and sub out some of the egg yolks in favor of lower fat egg whites. To make your spring-inspired frittata pop, add asparagus, peppers, spinach and some Feta cheese. This delicious frittata will taste rich and indulgent, all while providing vitamin-rich vegetables.
There is no better way to usher in the springtime with a super light and refreshing fruit salad. Include strawberries, pineapple, grapes and cantaloupe into the mix. You can also add blueberries, blackberries, and kiwi into the salad to give it a bit more bite and kick. Add a dash of lemon juice to prevent browning and serve up the salad cold. Fruit salads feel like a special treat because of the sweet nature of fruit, but you won’t have the added calories and fat from candy.
Granola and Yogurt
Whether you craft parfaits ahead of time or create a make your own bar, granola and yogurt should be a brunch staple, on Easter or any given Sunday. To make your own "parfait bar,” place granola, berries and several different yogurt options in bowls and platters. Then allow your guests to build a parfait in a mason jar. Honey can be used as a natural sweetener for plain yogurt.
If you want to learn more about getting fit and eating right when Easter is finally over, give me a call. I can help you clean up your workout and your diet, so next Easter you’ll look and feel amazing.
Bringing your lunch from home seems like a good way to save money, and cut out extra calories. After all, restaurant food is usually expensive and high in fat and other no-nos required for weight loss. Well, you’re right — and wrong.
The quality of your homemade lunch makes a big difference too, and your lunch box might be sabotaging your efforts! Don't panic just yet; we have a few lunchbox rehab tips that will ensure you are carrying a nutritious and calorically correct lunch to work with you every day.
Fill It With Fiber
Fiber helps to keep you feeling full longer because it takes longer to digest. It will also help to ensure your blood sugar stays level, which will help prevent those mid-day sugar cravings. Fiber based foods like split peas, lentils, and bran can be a perfect addition to your lunch box.
Don't Forget The Protein
Your lunchbox should contain at least 15 grams of protein. Protein is what gives you sustained energy to get through your day without feeling sluggish. Lean meats like turkey or chicken are a good source of protein, as are hard boiled eggs and (natural) nut butter.
Ditch The Sugar
When you were a kid, you probably opened your lunchbox to find a sweet surprise. Those days are gone, but that doesn't mean you have to give up the sweet taste entirely. Ditch the cookies or brownie in favor of fruit. Not only will the fruit give you the sweet kick you’re after but it packs in vitamins your body needs, too.
Do The Math
Weight loss is all about calories you consume versus calories you burn. To lose weight you have to do the math, there is no way around it. Lunch should contain 400-500 calories for the average person doing the average amount of physical activity. Before you even start packing, it is important to count the calories you plan on consuming to make sure you hit your target.
Packing your lunch just once a week isn't going to get the job done. In order for a packed lunch to make a difference on your weight loss journey, you need to do it consistently. Pack your lunch daily, and you'll see a huge difference in your weight and in your wallet, too.
Losing weight and getting fit isn't an easy task. Thankfully, there are things that will help you immensely along the way. Packing your lunch properly and avoiding the cafe temptations is a good start. Check out Ralph Roberts' healthy shopping checklist for food ideas.
Let's face it, eating healthy is easier if you do it at home. But there will always be occasions, whether social, business (or you just don’t feel like cooking!), when you have to dine out.
While today's typical restaurants have come a long way when it comes to offering healthy alternatives, you'll still have to make some obvious choices (the salad instead of fries) while using certain strategies (like the following hacks) to keep your healthy eating on track.
1. Scan the menu ahead of time
Take advantage of online restaurant menus by checking them out before you head out the door. You'll be able to make a clear-headed meal choice without feeling rushed.
2. Don't show up starved
You're more likely to make poor food choices if you show up too hungry. A healthy, 100-calorie snack will curb your hunger and help you make good dining decisions.
3. Know the lingo
When the menu has words like "fried," “crispy," "creamy," "cheesy," "battered," and so on, you're safe to assume that they're high-calorie dishes.
4. Drink a glass of water
Plenty of research touts the benefits of downing a tall glass of water before eating. For one, it makes you feel full and helps reduce your overall calorie intake.
5. Box half of your meal before it even gets to you
If you're like a lot of people, it's hard not to eat everything on your plate. But if you ask the waiter that half of your meal be boxed before it ever reaches the table, that temptation will be easier to resist.
6. Have beverages served with your meal
If you're going to drink soda, beer or cocktails with your meal, have it brought with your meal instead of while you wait. It's an easy way to save 150 calories.
7. Fill up on veggies
Filling your stomach with a lower-calorie, high-fiber side salad or vegetable will make you feel fuller and eat less when your main entree is in front of you.
8. Skip the refills
Free drink refills somehow end up on your table without you asking for them, especially if you're talking with others. Ask your server to skip the refills, or have them bring a calorie-free club soda instead.
9. Put salad dressing on your fork instead
Instead of drenching your salad with potentially high-calorie, high-fat salad dressing, dip your fork into the dressing before loading it up with salad.
Good nutrition is an important step in a healthy lifestyle, as is exercise. Work with personal trainer Ralph Roberts to meet your fitness goals.
Trying to eat in more than out? Download Ralph Roberts’ free Healthy Grocery Shopping List!
Nothing may be more tempting than free food at the office. The doughnuts, muffins, chips and crackers… Not only is it free, but it sits in the break room all day taunting you. To make matters worse, typical office food has little, if any, nutritional value and it can wreck havoc on your healthy eating goals.
Here are a few very effective tricks to help you refuse all that free, fattening office food!
Bring Healthy Foods Or Pack Your Own Lunch
If you know your coworkers are planning a party or that there will be free office food, plan ahead. If it’s a potluck party where everybody brings something, make a healthy dish to share. If your employer is providing the food, pack your own lunch that day.
Have Healthy Snacks Ready
Then, there are those surprise moments, like when one of your co-workers decides to bring in doughnuts for the office or your employer wants to treat the staff. You can be prepared for these unexpected days by always have a variety of healthy snacks in your desk.
Drink Plenty Of Water
A great way to minimize your cravings for sweets is to make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Studies show that drinking water can help to reduce cravings and appetite. You should always keep an extra bottle of water in your office for days like this.
Avoid The Break Room
If just the sight and smell of all that free food in the break room is just too much, avoid the break room altogether! You know the old phrase “Out of sight, out of mind” — it really can work in this case. This may mean going out of your way for water or to use the restroom, but at least it will minimize your temptation.
Enlist An Accountability Partner
It is always a smart idea to use the buddy system. Find a coworker that you can confide in and trust to hold you accountable. Ask them to remind you on those free food days of your commitment to not eat unhealthy foods. It is best to pair up with a coworker who also wants to avoid the free food options. This way you can hold each other accountable.
If you want to learn more healthy living tips and take the first step to creating a better you, contact personal trainer Ralph Roberts. He can help you create a personalized fitness program that is ideal for you and one that will help you meet your fitness goals.
Brussels sprouts have a bad rap. They are stereotyped as chewy, smelly and unfulfilling. Yet these little green vegetables actually taste quite good when cooked and prepared in the proper manner.
In fact, Brussels sprouts are currently trending upward. Brussels sprouts are loaded with nutrients and plenty of taste. People are coming up with extremely creative ways to prepare this nutritious vegetable.
Give Brussels sprouts a chance with the following recipes and you just might grow to love them.
1. Citrus Brussels Sprouts Salad
Pair Brussels sprouts with green onion, lemon vinaigrette, grilled shrimp and some seasonings and you will have a glorious salad. You can eat this wholesome salad as a meal or use it as a starter dish.
2. Garlic Parmesan Sprouts
Give garlic parmesan sprouts a chance and they just might become one of your go-to dishes. It takes about 10 minutes to prep and 25 minutes to cook. You'll need the sprouts, olive oil, salt, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Mix everything in a bowl, place the Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese before serving and you will never think of Brussels sprouts the same again!
3. Black Bean Salsa Sprout Wraps
It is time to switch up your wraps with the addition of Brussels sprouts. This delicious wrap features black beans, chopped kale, red onions, green peppers, corn, red wine vinegar and shaved or shredded sprouts. Use a spinach wrap instead of a plain old flower wrap to make it that much healthier. The beauty of this wrap is that it is light, tasty and can be made without turning on the stove. If you don't want to shave your own Brussels sprouts, you can buy a pre-made chopped kale and Brussels sprout kit from the grocery store.
4. Brussels Sprouts Fried Rice
Who doesn't love fried rice? A bowl of crispy fried rice with brussels sprouts and other veggies is one of the most satisfying dishes you can eat. It will take a mere 15 minutes to prepare. If you want to turn your Brussels sprouts fried rice into a full meal, add some shrimp or grilled chicken. You'll need shredded Brussels sprouts, minced garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, eggs, onion and rice. The end result is a tasty nutritional powerhouse with an abundance of vitamin C, vitamin A, iron and calcium.
5. Brussels Sprouts and Ricotta Pizza
Adding Brussels sprouts to pizza is hands-down the tastiest way to enjoy this nutritious vegetable. The Brussels sprouts on this pizza are sauteed with garlic and caramelized onions, making them that much more savory. The key is to pull the leaves off the sprouts and saute them rather than chopping them in half. This method makes it possible for the sprouts to soften and wilt. Opt for ricotta cheese over mozzarella for some extra creaminess. Don't forget to drizzle on a balsamic glaze at the very end. This is the final touch that makes the pie achieve the perfect balance between sweet and salty.
Get in Shape with Ralph Roberts Training
Eating right is only half the health and fitness battle. Exercising is just as important as diet. If you are not sure where to start, you are not alone! Most people struggle to pinpoint the perfect exercises and master the proper techniques. Ralph Roberts is here to help. Contact us today to coordinate an initial consultation where we can assess your physical fitness needs and develop a customized training program.
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