Supplement Savvy: Probiotics

Looking for better digestion in a bottle? Here are some important tips to keep in mind when shopping for probiotic supplements.

What Are Probiotics?
Everyone’s gut is populated with bacteria. Some of these microorganisms have the potential to be harmful, but many of them are beneficial and help protect the digestive tract. The benefits of these “bugs” extend beyond digestion, contributing to healthy skin, blood and immunity as well. Probiotics can be found in supplement form as well as naturally existing in cultured and fermented foods. Common food sources of probiotics include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and other fermented items. Probiotic supplements are most often available in capsule form but can also be found in liquid tinctures. More and more foods are being fortified with probiotics, including chocolate bars, beverages and breakfast cereals.

5 Tips for Buying Probiotics
The supplement industry remains poorly regulated, so it’s up to consumers to choose wisely. Since you can’t rely simply on what’s on the label, here are some tips.

1) Look for additional ingredients.
Many supplements contain more than just probiotics, and consumers should be mindful of other ingredients in case of allergies and to avoid experiencing interactions with medications or taking in toxic doses of nutrients they are already getting enough of.

2) Store probiotics properly.
Some require refrigeration, and those that can be stored at room temp must be kept clear of heat, as it can destroy the bacteria.

3) Check expiration dates.
Many products will be less effective past a certain date.

4) Be aware of side effects.
When first taken, probiotics can cause gas and bloating … which may be the symptoms some folks are trying to alleviate by taking a probiotic.

5) Get your doctor’s advice if you have a weakened immune system.
Probiotics may be harmful to those with weakened immune systems; consult your doctor before taking a probiotic supplement.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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How to Build a Healthy Meal-Sized Salad

Learn how to build a healthy salad that’s delicious, satisfying and large enough to enjoy as a meal.

The 10 Day Salad Challenge starts today!! Is it bad that I’m already day-dreaming about having the black bean fiesta salad for lunch? Can’t wait.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but I want to give a little salad background for those that are new around here. It’s no secret that I love salads. I try to eat at least one a day and I often suggest the idea of a daily meal-sized salad to my health coaching clients as well. I could spout off a variety of nutritional benefits of eating one large salad a day, but we’re all pretty much aware of the that eating lots of veggies is healthy, right? So what I want to talk about today is HOW to build healthy salad. One that is delicious, satisfying and large enough to constitute a full meal.

How to build main course, meal-sized salads that are healthy, delicious and satisfying.

There are few important components to think about when building a meal-sized salad. The first is making sure the salad is filling — both in size and nutrition. You can’t eat a small bowl of lettuce, tomatoes and carrots and expect to feel satisfied or full an hour later.

If you’re having salad as a meal it’s need to be substantial in size (size definitely matters, especially for volume eaters) and you’ll also want to make sure the salad has enough calories to constitute a meal. Around 500-600 is a good place to start.

The second piece of the puzzle is making sure the salad is satisfying. To do this you want to make sure you have a good mix of macronutrients — protein, healthy fat and smart carbs — as well as a variety of flavors and textures. I find that the toppings make all the difference. I love adding something crunchy along with something semi-sweet. These two additions make salads really satisfying to me. Find out what toppings make salad satisfying to YOU and roll with it.

Of course, salads can easily turn into a unhealthy meal if you’re not careful with the toppings. Restaurants are the worst about this! Just be mindful about what you add and the portions. It can be helpful to measure some of the more caloric items (like cheese and nuts) just so you don’t overdo it.

Here’s my basic recipe for how to build a healthy salad. You can use this little guide when you’re building salads at home, but also when you’re at a salad bar or ordering from a restaurant menu.

Start With a Base of Fresh Greens 

There are a ton of different leafy greens to choose from. Here a few favorites:

  • Arugula
  • Baby spinach
  • Butter lettuce
  • Chard
  • Kale
  • Mixed greens
  • Mico greens
  • Romaine

Add at Least 2-3 Veggies

Your options are endless with this one. Feel free to load your plate up and the more colorful the veggies, the better. Raw vegetables are great and add a nice crunch, but if you want to add a variety of flavor and make the salad extra satisfying I recommend adding some cooked vegetables as well. Grilled or roasted veggies add a nice charred, caramelized flavor while steamed or blanched veggies add a variety in texture.

Pickled veggies are great for adding a hint of sweet/sour flavor while fermented veggies, like sauerkraut and kimchi, give you added probiotic benefits. Although not necessarily a veggie, fresh herbs are a great way to boost the nutrition and flavor of a salad as well. Try adding chopped basil, dill, parsley or other fresh herbs into your salad mix.

Add a Protein

This one is easy! Pick your favorite healthy protein option and load up. The serving should be about the size of your palm. Some options include:

  • Grilled chicken or turkey
  • Tuna
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon or other fish
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Edamame
  • Cottage cheese
  • Beans

Add Smart Carbs

Don’t fear carbs! Skip the processed carbs and load your salad up with a serving of whole grain, real food carbs. Aim for 1/3 – 1/2 cup serving. 

  • Beans (they count as both protein and carbs)
  • Grains (rice, quinoa, millet, freekah, barley, etc)
  • Starchy veggies like sweet potato or winter squash (I highly recommend sweet potato croutons)
  • Fruit (berries, grapes and chopped apples are great, but any type of fruit works)

Toppings to Add Extra Flavor + Texture 

This is where the healthy fats come in and there are so many options. The serving should be anywhere from 2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup.

  • Avocado
  • Cheese (I recommend crumbed feta, gorgonzola and goat cheese)
  • Hummus
  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.)
  • Seeds (sunflower, hemp, chia, flax, etc.)

Dress it Up

Homemade dressing is so easy and it’s really the best option when building a healthy salad. If you don’t have time to make a dressing, simply stick with something simple. Maybe a little oil, vinegar or citrus juice, salt and pepper.  You can also use things like salsa or hummus as a dressing of sorts.

If you’re going to go with store-bought dressing look for one without a ton of sodium, preservatives, sugar and fat. If I buy store-bought dressings I look for those in the produce section that have a short ingredient list, less than 50 calories per serving (which is typically 2 Tablespoons) and under 5g of sugar and fat.


Read Related Article → 5 Tips to Build a Healthier Salad

Read Full Article → How to Build a Healthy Meal-Sized Salad

7 Scrumptious Foods You Never Knew Were So Healthy

Eating healthy is never fun. Unless you counted dipping something in hot chocolate as healthy, I had no intention of going that road anytime soon. But guess what? I did and only because I found a whole new range of healthy food that are yummy too! Now, I’m totally the type of person to gloat about my new healthy lifestyle (like many of you out there). So here’s presenting my list of yummy food that’s also healthy!

1. Popcorn


This was one of the best revelation that I have made along the way. A movie date night can never be complete without popcorn and lucky for us, popcorn is a whole grain and that makes for a pretty healthy snack. All you need to do is replace the salt and butter in the popcorn with some olive oil and spices for an even healthier alternative.

2. Overnight Oats Smoothies


They are yummy and healthy as hell. The best part is you can get or make them in a range of flavors like cinnamon apple, raspberry, berry blast and even chocolate. Packed with enough fiber to keep you going throughout the day, these smoothies make the perfect breakfast recipe.

3. Baked Potatoes with Dip


Potato is assumed to be a fatty, starchy vegetable with no health benefits, all thanks to its unhealthy variations like french fries and mashed potatoes. What many people don’t know is that potato is actually good for your health if it’s baked or roasted. So don’t feel guilty if you see yourself reaching out for that baked potato for lunch!

4. Dark Chocolate


This one’s my favorite from the list! As long as it is dark chocolate and contains about 70% of cocoa, it’s healthy for you to have a bit of chocolate. Chocolate is high in antioxidants, fiber and also contains iron. According to some studies, dark chocolate can even help lower your cholesterol and even improve your skin.

5. Peanut Butter Banana Cups


These delicious cups are made of pure dark chocolate (rich in antioxidants), peanut butter (rich source of protein) and banana (antioxidants again). These healthy bites are perfect to kill those unhealthy cravings.

6. Watermelon Sorbet


What’s a sorbet? It’s nothing but a yummy dessert made of frozen water and a watermelon sorbet is probably the most healthy dessert option. It is made of frozen chunks of watermelon that contains enough water to keep you hydrated and is rich in vitamins A, C and B6.

7. Yakult


This yummy probiotic fermented milk drink is made of skimmed milk powder, sugar, glucose, natural identical flavor, water and exclusive probiotic LcS. Yakult helps to improve your digestive system and makes you more immune to harmful bacteria and prepares you for all seasons! Free from preservatives & colorings, it is the perfect choice for health conscious people . So, have a yummy bottle of Yakult daily with your family and stay healthy to be monsoon ready.

I’m headed to stock on my healthy yummy cravings, what are you waiting for?


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Read Full Article → 7 Scrumptious Foods You Never Knew Were So Healthy

How To Prepare Healthy Food

Healthy eating is one key to good health. You will be able to curb obesity and major illnesses like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol etc. just by eating a healthy diet. You don’t need to stay away from the food you love – you can eat healthy and indulge in the foods you like whenever you want to by learning how to make healthy food. It all depends on how you cook and what ingredients you use for your cooking. For instance, there’s hardly anyone who doesn’t love his/her pizza, but at over 300-400 calories per slice, it’s not something that you can consider for your diet regularly.

However, if you make a few alterations and adjustments to the ingredients, pizza can be a well-balanced diet. It’s just a matter of implementing healthy cooking methods! Instead of the refined flour, you can use whole-wheat flour for the base; you can also control your oil and salt when you make your sauce.

What is the healthiest fast food?

Fast foods are always loaded with fats, refined carbs and calories. They are the complete opposite to what a healthy diet should be. So, you might be thinking how can fast food ever be healthy? What is the healthiest fast food? Well, the key to the healthiest fast food is eating right and watching the portion size.

However, there are a few options that you can consider and choose the best healthy fast food. They include:

  • Grilled chicken sandwich. You can pick whole wheat bread with a lot of salads.
  • Turkey breast sandwich with multi-grain wheat bread.
  • Thin crust pizza with prawns and vegetable toppings.
  • A six-inch whole wheat bread sub loaded with fresh vegetables and lean meat.
  • Grilled fish taco with avocado. Ensure that you opt for a soft shell, as the hard shell is fried.

How to cook healthy food?

Eating home-cooked food is the best way to stay healthy. When you cook your own food, you know what goes in your preparation and you can also use alternatives to healthy cooking. So, how to prepare healthy food? Here are a few secrets to healthy cooking methods:

  • Use unsaturated fats like olive oil, canola oil etc.
  • Use minimum salt. Use alternative seasonings like pepper, vinegar, spices, mustard or lemon juice.
  • Opt for whole grains or multi-grains instead of refined grains when you make your bread or chapatti.
  • Avoid refined sugar when you bake. Use fresh fruits or dry fruits instead.
  • Include fibre by using 4-5 variety of vegetables every day.
  • Replace whole milk with skimmed milk or low-fat yogurt while cooking.
  • Remove the fat and skin from meat before cooking.
  • Use low-fat yogurt when you make salads instead of mayonnaise.
  • Flavour your vegetables with herbs and spices instead of butter or oil.
  • Keep a tab on the amount of oil or dairy products you use while cooking.

How to prepare meals for the week?

When you are hard pressed for time, you tend to get a take away for your lunch or dinner, tossing aside healthy eating. But even if you are very busy, you can eat healthy by preparing your food in advance. Here are a few tips on how to prepare meals for the week:

  • Prepare a plan as to what you will cook for each day of the week.
  • Get your groceries and vegetables.
  • Keep containers ready and make space in your fridge.
  • Prepare your meals and put them in the containers.
  • Let them cool and store in the freezer.

There are various tips and tricks that you can read up online on how to prepare healthy meals at home. But if you are keen on knowing about core nutrition, you can take up Shaw Academy’s Nutrition course and start learning today!


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How to Reset Your Relationship with Food

Healthy eating efforts can often end up looking like a pendulum swinging from one extreme to the other, passing through the middle ground with staggering force. Oftentimes, deprivation and bingeing happen in a cyclical pattern. Like a pendulum, these absolute behaviors ultimately lead us to overcompensate, with a powerful force that sends us flying off to the other extreme.

If your relationship with food resembles a swinging pendulum — meaning you’ve tried diets that leave you feeling deprived and find yourself overeating, feeling like a total failure and like you have to start all over again — you’re not alone.

Developing a healthy relationship with food is hard, but finding that equilibrium between extremes is a journey worth embarking on. By practicing these eight behaviors, over time you will be able to reset your relationship with food and find that comfortable resting point where you feel at peace and in balance.

  1. Forget the fads. Going on a fad diet is tempting because you may want the quick and easy results such diets so often promise. You may not realize or account for the reality that although you may lose weight with the fad diet, you will likely suffer consequences as you transition back into normal life. Fad diets can lead the pendulum to swing toward overeating and bingeing and can demolish your relationship with food in the process.
  2. Look inward. Rather than looking to the next diet to dictate your eating pattern or behavior, starting looking inward for cues of when, how much and what to eat. Let eating be guided by internal cues of hunger and fullness most of the time rather than looking for outward rules or restrictions of what your eating should look like.
  3. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself. It’s not about perfection; it’s about progress. If you eat a doughnut in the morning and wish you hadn’t, fill the rest of your day with foods that help you feel and function your best. A doughnut (or two) in the beginning of the day should not inevitably lead to an entire package of cookies, bag of chips or a gallon of ice cream. When you catch yourself engaging in all-or-nothing thinking, practice compassion, and hit the reset button instead.
  4. Reframe setbacks. When (not if) you get offtrack with your healthy eating efforts, try to learn from those setbacks rather than using them as an excuse to give up. The process of developing a healthy relationship with food involves triumphs and tribulations. Looking at every experience as a learning opportunity is so much more productive than wallowing in failure.
  5. Enjoy your food. If your mind is full of clutter while you eat, try practicing mindfulness. Steer your thoughts away from phrases like, “This is so bad for me!” or “Why am I eating this food?” or “This is going to make me fat!” and just enjoy what is on your plate. Whether you’re eating a kale and quinoa salad or indulging in your favorite ice cream, experience the flavor, smell, feel and taste of the food. Appreciate and enjoy it.
  6. Live in the present moment. Rather than stressing about what you did yesterday or where you might end up eating in two days from now, focus on where you are right now and the choices you have in front of you today. We are really only in control of this very moment, after all.
  7. Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. We naturally gravitate toward foods (and things in general) that are forbidden. When we say “no more sugar ever,” what usually ensues is a sugar binge. Ironically, true unconditional permission to eat leads to healthier choices, while restriction tends to lead to bingeing. Adjust your mindset toward a more food-neutral approach, and see how it changes the content of your eating.
  8. Have gratitude. Rather than getting hung up on the negatives, practice feeling grateful for the things you have and the things that are going well. Learn to appreciate food and to see the good in it. Make an effort to be grateful for the body you have and the health you enjoy. Find ways to acknowledge your gratitude for your food, and consider where it comes from and what it does to enhance your life.

Find ways to bring the pendulum toward equilibrium and rest. Make efforts toward healing your relationship with food by practicing these tips. Find a place where you feel you’re in a comfortable balance between undereating and overeating, and learn to make peace with food in a way that’s right for you. Your body and mind will thank you!


Read Related Article → 4 Ways to Cure an Unhealthy Relationship With Food

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35 healthy versions of your favourite foods

35  healthy versions of your favourite foods

There are many alternatives to eating ‘everyday common’ food. So you don’t have to ‘go without’, instead you can just change your habits and switch to a healthier alternative.

Below is a list of common foods with their alternative and we’ve also included some easy, healthy recipes for you to try.

      1. Soy sauce > Coconut aminos or tamari
      2. Pasta noodles > Vegetable noodles (made from zucchini, sweet potato or carrot), kelp seaweed noodles, mung beans noodles, rice noodles or spaghetti squash
      3. Bread > Homemade GF breads
      4. Wraps > Coconut wraps, large lettuce leaves, large silver beet leaves, lightly steamed large cabbage leaves or homemade GF wraps orflat breads
      5. Bread crumbs > Nut or seed meals, homemade GF bread crumbs, quinoa flakes or Changing Habits Shredded Coconut
      6. Polenta > Mashed/ pureed cauliflower or cauliflower rice, quinoa, rice or millet
      7. Pancakes > GF homemade pancakes
      8. Cereal > GF homemade muesli, CADA or chia puddingSummer_Chia_Pudding
      9. Crackers > GF homemade crackers
      10. Muffins, cakes, cheesecake and slices > GF homemade muffins, cakes, cheesecakes and slicesRaw_berry_cheesecake - Copy
      11. Wheat flour > almond, hazelnut or sunflower seed meal, coconut flour, banana flour, tapioca, buckwheat or arrowroot flour
      12. Store-bought chocolate > Homemade Chocolate or Changing Habits Cacao Melts
      13. Refined and artificial sugars > Raw honey, Changing Habits Rapadura Sugar, Coconut Sugar, Pure Maple Syrup, Liquid Stevia or ripe fruits such as banana, berries, mango, apple, pears etc.
      14. Refined Salt > Changing Habits Seaweed Salt
      15. Dairy milk (if intolerant) > Coconut milk or nut or seed milks
      16. Dairy cheese (if intolerant) > cashew cheese (or try goats cheese which is easier to digest compare to cow’s)
      17. Dairy yoghurt (if intolerant) > coconut kefir or coconut yoghurt
      18. Soft drinks > Kombucha, coconut water kefir, soda water with fruit, smoothies or fresh juicesCoconut_Water_Kefir1W - Copy
      19. Margarine and refined vegetable oils > Butter, ghee, Changing Habits Coconut Oil, Cold pressed oils such as olive, avocado, macadamia, walnut and Changing Habits Inca Inchi Oil, animal fats such as duck, tallow, lard, goose fat etc.
      20. Store-bought mayonnaise > Homemade mayonnaise
      21. Store-bought pesto > Homemade pestoBasil_Pepita_Pesto - Copy
      22. Tomato and BBQ sauce > Homemade tomato and BBQ Sauce
      23. Store-bought salad dressing > Olive oil or a cold-pressed oil mixed with lemon juice or homemade dressings
      24. Potato chips > Homemade Sweet potato chips, kale chips, dehydrated veggies chips or roasted root vegetable chips
      25. Store-bought guacamole > Homemade guacamole
      26. Store-bought dips and salsas > Homemade dips and salsas
      27. Store-bought ice-cream > Homemade nice-cream or ice-creampeanut_butter_ripple_icecream - Copy
      28. Store-bought stock cubes > Homemade stock or broth or Changing Habits Broth (Beef, Naked Beef, Chicken flavours)
      29. Cornstarch > Arrowroot or tapioca flour
      30. Chocolate chips or sprinkles > Changing Habits Cacao Melts (chopped)
      31. Store-bought dried fruits > Homemade dehydrated fruits or dried fruit with no additives, sugars or refined oils
      32. Shredded cheese (often contains additives like cellulose) > A block of cheese grated yourself
      33. Hot chocolate (with refined ingredients) > Homemade hot chocolate
      34. Nutella > Homemade choc hazelnut spread


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Read Full Article → 35 healthy versions of your favourite foods