Tag Archives: Be Healthy

How to Choose the Best Drinks for a Successful Diet

Choosing the Wrong Drinks Adds Extra Empty Calories

Adapted with permission from the original article published on HVMN by Ryan Rodal.

You are starting your weight loss journey. You’ve been through your kitchen and thrown all the junk food into the trash. A diet plan has been chosen and you’ve taken those awkward “before” selfies.

What is the one thing you may have missed?

Frappacinos not healthy living
Credit – domtree_m

Have you made the common mistake of underestimating the caloric content of your favorite drinks?

The majority of beverages consumed by the American public each day are packed with hidden calories. The drinks you gulp down could be responsible for weight loss plateaus or lack of progress toward your weight loss goals.

Examples of Non-Healthy Drink Choices

  • The “healthy” smoothie from the organic store? It contains more calories than a double cheeseburger (a large Strawberry Surf Rider from Jamba Juice has 640 calories; a McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger has 440 calories).
  • Heavily sweetened coffee on your morning commute?  A Venti Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino has 550 calories, while two Dunkin Donuts Glazed Donut have 520 calories.
  • Having a beer with dinner? That’s more calories than a candy bar (a Lagunita’s IPA has 220 calories, while a Hershey bar has 214 calories).

This is not a suggestion to replace empty-calorie drinks with empty-calorie fast foods or sweets – it was for comparison only.

Beverages Can Add 100s of Calories Each Day

Whether it it a juice drink, flavored coffees, sodas, beers, popular “healthy” smoothies made commercially, they all contain high amounts of empty calories.

Instead of changing your diet, try rethinking your lifestyle.

Don’t count calories, make calories count!

Every calorie you choose to eat should be filled with nutrients (including beverages). Make them count. They should satisfy your hunger and help you reach your weight loss goals. The next post will discuss the best drinks to help you get there.

Beverages Are Not as Satisfying as Nutrient-Rich Foods

The first step is to be aware of the number of liquid calories you’re consuming each day, which often have little nutritional value. They may satisfy your sweet tooth; but they do not satisfy your hunger.

Studies have shown that meals with solid foods provide better sensations of fullness compared to liquid meal replacements alone.1

When you limit your daily calorie intake to kick-start weight loss, it is important to maximize the nutritional value of every calorie.

Every Calorie Counts When Committing to a Healthy Diet

  • A typical 16 oz bottle of soda has around 200 calories; that’s approximately equal to six ounces of chicken breast.
  • An average juice smoothie from a national chain has around 300 calories; that’s the equivalent to four whole eggs.
  • Most beer has at least 150 calories, equivalent to five pieces of turkey bacon.

Choosing the non-beverage option in each of these scenarios will not only provide more nutritional value but will also help you feel full.

The soda manufacturers have taken advantage of the “diet mentality” that is a big factor in drink choices. They have provided an alternative to “sugared drinks” in the form of diet or zero-calorie drinks. The problem is they remove the sugar and add artificial sweeteners – neither one is good for your health. Bottom line: sodas are not healthy drinks.

Potential Side Effects of Sweeteners

Studies have shown body weight, fat mass, and blood pressure may all be negatively affected by the consumption of sweeteners.

Two of the most commonly added artificial sweeteners are aspartame and saccharin.2 Another is sucralose. All three carry a potential risk of adverse metabolic effects and type 2 diabetes.3

Be careful. Limit your intake of artificial sweeteners. They can be harmful to your health.

The best choice is always a natural, non-processed drink that contains minimal sugar and minimal artificial sweeteners to be safe. We will discuss those in the next posting.

Starting today….every time you have a craving to buy your favorite beverage. Stop and ask yourself some simple questions. 

  • What is in this drink? (Learn to read labels or look it up on the Internet.)
  • How many calories does it contain?
  • Are they healthy, nutritional calories – or empty?
  • Do I really need this, or should I eat something solid instead?

Treating your self occasionally with a favorite drink is OK, but don’t make it a habit that takes the place of real food.

Awareness and making smart food choices are the first steps to a successful diet.

See you next time for the second post in the series,Seven Healthy Drink Options for a Healthy Diet.”


Note:  This was a long article originally that I am posting in segments for easier reading. If you want more information on the research, click on the numbered links in the posting. They will take you to the references in the original article. 


3 Reasons to Start Eating Clean

Who doesn’t love pizza, cake, cookies, chips, and ice cream? Giving up your favorite junk food is not easy, which can make clean eating a challenge. As a rule, everyone who thinks about eating clean needs a little extra motivation to finally make the switch.

There are three very good reasons to start eating clean.

1. You Feel Better

Image by iphoto
Image by iphoto

This is a no-brainer. The basic premise of clean eating is to eat only close-to-nature, un-processed foods that are good for you, which means NOT EATING empty-calorie, additive-filled, high-fat and sugary foods (fast foods and junk food).

It is definitely not easy, especially if you have been eating badly for a long time. BUT- I guarantee you will see results almost immediately if you are truly committed to the process.

In a short time you will start to feel better and have a lot more energy all day long. Plus, there is a good chance you will start sleeping better and waking up rested. It won’t be long until you no longer have  to rely on those three cups of coffee to get you going each morning.

The reason is simple – you will be giving your body the nutrients it needs to run efficiently and effectively as it was meant to do. Instead of creating a sugar and/or caffeine high and being forced to deal with the subsequent crash, you will be getting what you need to feel great and have as much energy as that Energizer Bunny all day long.

2. You Look Better

Image by Dmitriy Shironosov
Image by Dmitriy Shironosov

Real, fresh food without additives provides the vitamins, minerals and other micro nutrients than are required for good health and great physical appearance. You may be surprised to see thicker, shinier hair and clearer, firmer skin in just a few months.

Processed foods are designed to trigger eating habits that far exceed what our bodies need (so people overeat). Plus, many of the nutrients have been stripped and your body remains undernourished – and feeling hungry.  It is no wonder that many people in the United States and other First-World countries are overweight.

Returning to our roots and establishing a more natural way of eating will help you lose the extra pounds you have been carrying around. You will look better, feel better and become much healthier all at the same time. The last point being the most important.

3. You Set an Example for Others

When you eat well and feel well, everyone around you benefits – especially those you love.

When you eat well and keep good, healthy foods in your pantry and fridge, it is much easier for your spouse and children to do the same. They are much more likely to grab a healthy snack when you lead by example.

Think about the amazing impact you can have on your family. You will not only benefit yourself and ensure that you stay healthy and with them for a long time to come, you will also be influencing them to make healthy choices now and over the long-haul.

That should be a powerful motivator for you to begin your clean-eating diet now – and continue it for the rest of  your life.

Start today and enjoy the benefits for yourself and your loved ones. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is and how great real food tastes.


Time Table for Body Cleanse from Smoking

Natural Body Cleanse from Smoking

The human body is miraculous in its capacity to repair and heal, even when if it has been misused and abused. One of the most common forms of abuse is smoking – an unbelievably powerful addiction that hurts the body with every puff of a cigarette.  BUT . . . because of its resiliency, in just a few days after your final cigarette, your body will begin to repair itself. It is truly magical!

This is true regardless of the number of years you have been a smoker, the body can recover from the abuse and you will begin to feel better and better with time. Barring any long-term disease or chronic condition that may have developed, you can move forward confidently with the knowledge that you can return to good health. That knowledge will help keep you strong when you hit the rough spots – and there will be rough spots.

This is a brief overview of what will happen within your body when you quit smoking. (It is actually quite exciting).

After your last cigarette, the body begins to cleanse itself:

– Less than 1 hour – your heart rate and blood pressure drop to non-smoker levels.

– Around 8 hours – nicotine level drop by 93%

– From 2 to 7 days – the cravings will be intense – they will peak – then start to diminish

  • The lungs begin to repair themselves
  •  Breathing gets easier
  •  Lung capacity begins to expand

– Within 10 days – the withdrawal symptoms will ease – the body has cleansed itself and adjusted to the absence of nicotine

– Within the first few months – the body flushes all remaining nicotine

– Within 2-3 months –  the body is nicotine free

– During the rest of the first year – the lung cilia grows back and respiratory problems subside

You have probably figured out that the 2 to 7-day stretch in the beginning will be difficult. You must stay focused and resist the temptation to give in and grab a smoke.  It does get better, I promise.  By the 10th or 11th day the cravings will drop to a couple of cravings per day and they will only last for a short time (30 seconds – give or take). Of course, the number of cravings per day and the length will vary from person to person.

As you read through the time table, it sounds quite simple; but, do not be fooled. During the withdrawal phase it will be extremely hard to resist the temptation to smoke. Cravings will hit you at all times of the day; and the more you smoked the more severe the withdrawal symptoms will be.  They can be quite intense.

There are many options when it comes to Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to help you manage some of the symptoms. Many people find the nicotine patch helpful in relieving severe physical symptoms. NRT has proven to be quite successful. The different products vary in price and availability (some are only available by prescription). My recommendation is that you discuss this method with your doctor.

There are a number of natural techniques you can use to combat cravings, such as exercise, deep breathing, and meditation. Hopefully, you know yourself well and are aware of your triggers. If you do, it will help you say no to the insistent internal voice that is telling you it is time for a cigarette. Controlling the triggers and your automatic response will help a lot.

It is not easy to stop smoking for good – but people do it all the time – and so can you!