Weight loss

How to Optimize Protein Intake for Weight Loss or Mass Building Goals

How to Optimize Protein Intake for Mass Building Goals
We’ve been led to believe that higher protein intake is always better – it has to be better than carbs, or fat – right? Both carbohydrates and fat have been demonized in recent years as both boogeymen origins of inflammation and illness, but it is truly not that simplistic. As we’ve started to gain a better understanding as more research and studies come to light, we can now look at fat and recognize it depends on the quality and type of fat used, what it is being consumed with, and how it is being incorporated into a healthy diet. No longer is the emphasis on removing fat from the diet, only to replace it with things that are much worse and inflammation-promoting. The same applies to carbohydrates – refined sugars and refined grains lead to inflammation. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates from vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds can all be extremely antioxidant-rich, protecting against illness and disease. In most cases, a healthy diet is one that encompasses a variety of whole foods and nutrients – both micro, and macro. At the same time, the key importance is to avoid refined foods and grains, artificial sugars, vegetable oils, and red meats. While specific types of diets or lifestyles like the ‘ketogenic’ diet are a great tool for weight loss or managing medical conditions, they are not a ‘one size fits all' approach that will work for everyone. Many of these diets are not sustainable long-term. At the end of the day, they are simply that – a tool. How You Can Incorporate High-Protein into a Healthy Diet Protein plays an important role in many bodily processes and is essential to healthy growth, development, organ function, and mass. But can there be too much of a good thing? Most research seems to indicate that a higher protein intake, above the recommended daily amount, is not required to gain and may actually place more stress on the kidneys as opposed to improving health. The RDA recommendation is about 0.36 grams per pound, while for athletes or intensive trainers, it ranges up to ~0.86 grams per pound. On a 2500 calorie diet for someone weighing in at 160-175 pounds, this roughly equals ~70 grams of protein (or ~280 calories) for the average individual per day, which is easily attainable from either animal-based sources or plant-based sources. For those that are athletes, active, malnourished, or trying to lose weight: incorporating more protein into the diet also does not appear to do any harm, provided it is not a primary source of calories long-term, and the protein choices are smart ones. Getting most of those 2500 calories from healthy protein choices does not seem feasible, does it? Long-term, your kidneys would have a difficult time, and you’d likely smell of ammonia…    What healthy protein means is – reducing intake of red meats, processed meats, and conventional dairy, while instead opting for fish and seafood, eggs, plant-based protein like legumes, and vegetables. Is Plant-Based Protein Comparable to Animal Protein? It is a misunderstanding that plant-based foods are not comparable to animal-based proteins in terms of quality and benefit. While animal-based protein may seem to promote a stronger anabolic response for muscle mass building and utilization, plant-based protein can meet the same nutritional demands. While you would have to eat a much larger serving of vegetables to get the same amount of protein and amino acid profile as some beef, beef is also more difficult to eat more of and tends to promote an inflammatory response compared to foods with high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols, like vegetables. Further, most plant foods do in fact contain all the essential amino acids needed by the body – just in much smaller amounts, depending on the food. This is why high-quality plant-based sources like beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, etc. are combined together in meals to ensure these needs are met with ease. In one of the largest studies conducted on the matter, including 30 (!) years of data, the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and cancer were increased primarily with processed and unprocessed red meats (particularly pork) – but not from fish, seafood or poultry. Conversely, a higher intake of plant-based protein was associated with all lower mortality risks and better health. Selecting The Right Protein Powder for You Protein powders and protein supplements can play an important role in meeting daily protein needs, as an easy way to reach a high level of protein without cooking or stressing. This is especially true for bodybuilders or athletes that do not constantly have the time to be cooking and eat healthy, high-protein meals. The importance then lies in selecting a protein powder that meets your nutritional goals and dietary restrictions. It is essential to select one that is free from ...

Spring Chickpea Salad

Healthy Planet is back with @sabrinavirdee and dropping yet another healthy recipe for the family. The ultimate side dish or a stand alone star, the Spring Chickpea Salad can be used in any setting! Lunch, dinner or a snack, you choose! #livelifehealthy⁣ Spring Chickpea Salad⁣Serves 4-6⁣INGREDIENTS⁣1 can of Kidney Beans drained and rinsed⁣1 can Black Beans drained and rinsed⁣1 can Corn drained (fresh corn if possible)⁣1 can of Chickpeas drained and rinsed ⁣½  Red Bell Pepper diced⁣½  Orange Bell Pepper diced⁣½ medium Red Onion finely diced⁣½ cup fresh Cilantro finely chopped ⁣2 Jalapenos seeded and finely chopped  (optional⁣)1/8 cup Apple Cider Vinegar ⁣¼ cup Olive Oil ⁣½ tsp Sea Salt⁣¼ tsp ground Black Pepper⁣   ⁣DIRECTIONS⁣1. In a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients and toss to combine. Taste and adjust as necessary until the flavors really pop—I usually add another teaspoon or two of vinegar.2. Cover and chill to marry the flavors—preferably overnight or at least 2 hours. Serve in individual bowls as is, or with a protein of choice!⁣⁣OTHER FUN WAYS TO ENJOY! ⁣1. Top with avocado’s for some healthy fats ⁣2. Pile it onto nachos or serve it as black bean salsa with tortilla chips.⁣3. Use it as a filling for burritos or quesadillas (leaving as much of the liquid behind as possible)⁣   Recipe created by: @sabrinavirdee

Covid Curves: 6 Tips to Jump Start Spring

Over the past several months most of us have experienced a “Home Life” comparable to Groundhog Day.  In the beginning of CoVID, you may have felt the desire to kick-start a new healthy eating plan, or tackle those in home workouts with a vengeance.  However, as time has waged on, the motivation may have started to dissipate and your daily exercise consists of a multitude of trips to the fridge to check if the light is still working (FYI: It is.) Then throw in fashion consisting of daytime and nighttime stretchy pants with no buttons or zippers, and it is safe to say most of us are experiencing a CoVID 15lb weight gain. But it’s not all our fault. When we are faced with a stressful situation our bodies release the hormone called cortisol. This reaction causes our blood sugar levels to rise resulting in a craving for foods high in fat, sugar and salt in order to replenish the glucose. Yet now as we prepare to go back out into our “New Normal” we are finding our skinny jeans are not so skinny anymore; our shorts from last year must have shrunk and with little chance of a new wardrobe on the horizon, weight loss is something we may need to seriously consider for our healthiest selves. However, we know diets do not work, restriction leads to binging, and truthfully finding balance in an unbalanced world seems impossible. So what can we do right now that will get those buttons done up and bring some consistency back into our days?   Here are 6 Weight Loss Tips you can start implementing today to deal with the COVID 15lbs.  Tip #1: Make a Plan:We technically all know what we should be doing, drinking those 8-10 glasses of water a day, choosing lean protein, whole grains, healthy fats, high fibre, and nutrient dense foods. Start reading the ingredient profiles of the foods you buy, aim for food lower in sugar and refined carbs. Making choices that support your goals is essential. However, when faced with the plethora of tasty treats, we can often forget our commitment to removing the new curves we have adopted. So the next time you make a trip to the grocery store, be prepared and take a list. On that list write your health and wellness goals on the top and plan out your meals for the next couple days. Then if you hear the box of cookies calling your name you can remember your “Why.” And maybe instead of buying a box of 24 deluxe chocolate chip cookies, head to the bakery section and settle on one or two. Even better, pick yourself up an antioxidant rich, dark chocolate bar. As you cruise the store stay on the perimeter and avoid the inner aisle that mostly consists of packaged, processed foods. Remember, a healthy immune system relies on both the Macro (protein, fats and carbs) and Micro (vitamins and minerals) but we must make sure we choose the right kinds.   Tip #2: Am I Really Hungry?How many times have you caught yourself elbow deep in a bag of chips or pint of ice cream only to realize that you can’t remember when you started. Often when we find ourselves mindlessly eating it is important to stop and ask  “Am I REALLY hungry? Or am I bored, lonely, upset?” Finding comfort in food is common and refereed to as emotional eating. Given the current state of the unknown, food can easily become our comfort and friend. The best way to start connecting to your hunger cues is to start being mindful of when you are eating, why you are eating, and how your food tastes. Take the time to savour your food and enjoy each bite.  There is no prize for she/he who finishes first.  Another way to bring mindfulness to your hunger cues is first thing in the morning. If your morning schedule is to eat first thing, hold back a bit and wait until you feel a little hungry. Then enjoy your first meal.  The purpose behind this is to set the tone of the day by honouring what you need. Start the day by tuning in to what your body needs and then responding to it.  As the day progresses continue to pay attention if you are hungry or looking for comfort. This is not about restriction but about connecting.    Tip #3: Use Your Hands:Now, we all know our parents have told us to use our utensils when we eat so this concept may throw you off but one issue I have seen time and time again is portion control. And with serving sizes becoming increasingly larger it is no wonder our waistbands are following.  Make a point of serving your food on plates and dishes; stop snackin ...

Bust Stubborn Belly Fat & Balance Blood Sugar

Lovin’ Summer with GlucoSmart Although spring has been a little shy this year, warmer weather will soon be here in full force. You can finally dig out the shorts and light-weight tops from the back of your closet. After a long winter, however, it’s possible that your summer fashions may be a little more snug around the middle than you remember – even if your diet or exercise regimen hasn’t changed since last year. What gives? Hormone havoc It’s possible that your hormones have shifted. In fact, research shows a connection between changes in the hormone insulin and waist expansion. Insulin’s primary role is to transport blood glucose into our cells to be used for energy. When insulin is ignored by our cells in the case of insulin resistance, the hormone becomes elevated in the bloodstream. Excess insulin levels are associated with conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and can lead to serious health risks including high cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes and weight gain – particularly around the middle. You’ve got the power When it comes to improving insulin sensitivity, there is a lot you can do. Enjoy a high-fiber, plant-based diet and limit your intake of refined carbohydrates. Research also suggests that restricting eating to an 8-hour window each day can boost insulin sensitivity. Speak with your health care provider to determine if this is a good strategy for you. Exercise is also important to help reduce insulin levels, and a combination of both aerobic (raising heart rate) and resistance (muscle building) has the most positive impact. Using these strategies may also help you to lose 5-10% of your body weight, which can significantly improve insulin sensitivity. Natural support Key nutrients to support insulin sensitivity include chromium and inositol. Chromium is a trace mineral that helps the body metabolize fats and carbohydrates, while also amplifying insulin sensitivity. Deficiencies in chromium have been linked to decreased insulin sensitivity along with elevated triglycerides (blood fats). Look for the picolinate form of chromium for improved absorption. Inositols are known as the second messenger of insulin and can either be obtained directly from foods (fruits, beans, grains, and nuts) or synthesized in the body. The majority exist as myo-inositols, and these are converted to D-chiro-inositol in insulin-sensitive tissues (muscle, liver, adipose tissues). Insulin resistance is associated with abnormalities in inositol metabolism.  Research shows that inositol supplementation not only improves insulin sensitivity but is also associated with decreased total testosterone and increases in sex hormone-binding globulin in women with PCOS. Consider supplementing with D-chiro-inositol directly to by-pass any conversion problems you may have. Try GlucoSmart with Chirositol® Over 30 published studies have shown that Chirositol® is an effective form of D-chiro-inositol for insulin-resistant conditions including weight gain, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, as well as for excess androgen (male hormone)-related concerns such as PCOS. Also containing chromium picolinate, GlucoSmart may help to reduce sugar cravings, support healthy weight management – and even whittle your middle so you can easily zip up your favorite pair of shorts! POSSIBLE SIDEBAR Did you know? Risk of insulin resistance increases for people: Over age 45 With PCOS Who smoke Who do not get adequate sleep END SIDEBAR   Selected references: Dâmaso A., da Silveria Campos, R.M., Caranti, D.A., de Paino, A., Fisberg, M., Foschini D, de Lima Sanches, P., Tock L., Lederman, H.M., Tufik, S., & de Mello, M.T. (2014) Aerobic plus resistance training was more effective in improving the visceral adiposity, metabolic profile and inflammatory markers than aerobic training in obese adolescents. J Sports Sci. 2014;32(15):1435-45. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2014.900692.  Epub 2014 Apr 14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24730354 Sutton, E. Bey, R., Early, K., Cefalu, W., Ravussin, E., & Peterson, C. (2018). Time-Restricted Feeding Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Blood Pressure, and Oxidative Stress Even without Weight Loss in Men with Prediabetes. Cell Metabolism. Volume 27, Issue 6, 5 June 2018, Pages 1212-1221 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413118302535

Post Work Out Recovery & Protein Waffle Recipe

Nutritionist & Healthy Planet Ambassador Marissa Liana shares the importance of post work out meals and how it effects performance and recovery. Discover  what happens to muscles when you exercise, the 3 muscle building amino acids, how they work and what the body needs to repair itself for optimal muscle building. Learn what happens to the body when you don’t get the proper nutrition post workout. Marissa shares an easy to make and incredibly beneficial post workout recipe that not only goes down easy, but sets you up for the next session in the gym! Enjoy Marissa’s delicious Protein Waffle Recipe below with Genuine Health Vegan Protein     DRY INGREDIENTS: • 1 scoop vegan protein powder (I use VEGA, genuine health or sun warrior)  note: has to be plant based protein powder or the recipe/consistency will not work. • 30 g gluten free pancake mix (about 2 tbsp) • 1/2 tbsp Ceylon cinnamon if desired • 1/2 tsp of both baking soda and baking powder • Packet of stevia WET INGREDIENTS: • 1 whole egg • 1/3 cup egg whites • 2-3 tbsp almond milk   DIRECTIONS: • Mix wet and dry ingredients separately first and then add wet to dry. Mix until pudding-like consistency is formed. • Pour into waffle maker and let sit until steaming stops. • Top with your fav fruit/syrup and enjoy!    Tag us with your waffle creation @healthyplanet with #livelifehealthy. Enjoy!

Healthy Planet New Year Resolution

Tis the season to embrace your family and loved ones. Your time is occupied by holiday parties, friend's gathering and surrounding yourself with family. It’s a chance to immerse yourself into the holiday spirit and leave behind the stress of daily life and the issues that come with it. While we mask the not so positive parts of ourselves during the holidays to keep up a positive and festive mood around others, doing so can lead to increased stress and anxiety. This can make way for excessive eating and sometimes deepen an already depressed state of mind. Taking care of your mind and body during the holiday season is of utmost importance not just for you, but those around you as well. With the New Year quickly approaching, we all know what comes when the big hand strikes Midnight. A laundry list of how we are going to improve our Health and Wellness in the upcoming year. Resolutions like increased time in the gym, adapting to an organic diet or making a pact to spend more time with nature are popular with the health and wellness lifestyle. Healthy Planet is here to help assist you in being the best version of yourself.Here is a list of some of our favourite New Year Resolutions and how we can help reach your goals! Digestion Health: Change of Diet Resolution: We an all overindulge in food and sweets over the Holidays. Here are some of our favourite products that will help realign both your gut health and digestive health for the New Year. Genuine Health Probiotic Gut Health - Benefiting both skin health, digestive health and immunity. Start your New Year building a defense in your gut against bloating and weak digestion. New Roots Digestive Enzyme - Get more energy from your food while helping increase vitamin and mineral absorption from foods. Helping with digestion, boating and gas, give a little love to your Gut Health with the arrival of the New Year. Traditional Medicinals Eater's Digest Peppermint Tea- This Kosher, Non GMO, Organic, after dinner tea is perfect for occasional indigestion and soothing a full belly. Let’s be serious, who doesn’t love a cup of tea after dinner. Dry Winter Weather: Spend More TIme In Nature Resolution Spending more time in nature can bring a sense of calmness following the busy holiday season. Dedicating more time walking and exploring the outdoors can be a fun way to enter the New Year feeling invigorated and fresh. Earth's Care Dry and Cracked Skin Balm - Winter months can be harsh and cold. Increased time spent exploring outside will leave you cracked and dry. Absorb the benefits of Shea Butter, Arnica and Cajaput Oil. Dr. Bronner Lip Balm Peppermint - Keep your lips from getting chapped with a classic. Support proper moisturizing of your lips over the cold months into spring. All organic and all love, Dr. Bronner should be a staple for everyone this New Year. Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat Lemon Echinacea Tea - Heating up with a warm and comforting Tea after enjoying a walk in the park in the Winter months is the perfect treat. Organic, Non GMO, Kosher and Fair Trade. Gym Supplements: Joining Gym Resolution One of the top New Year Resolutions is joining the gym. We always promote self care and improving your body at Healthy Planet. Allmax ISONatural - Gluten free and formulated with probiotics to improve intestinal microflora, Allmax protein technology is a great addition to any training regiment. Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer - Go into your workout fully energized and ready to build your best self empire. Increase your endurance while raising your menta focus and recovery time. Amazing Grass Green SuperFood - Complete raw food with powerful antioxidants, Organic, Raw, Gluten Free, Natural, support your body while you train it to be the best it can be. Going Organic: Going Organic Resolution The Organic movement has made huge strides in the last few years. With the public understanding the importance of healthy and pesticide-free produce and products, trading in your processed foods and items for Organic will be an easy transition. Organic Traditions Sprouted Quinoa - Full of protein and incredibly versatile in the kitchen, quinoa is one of the easier proteins to fuel your body for the New Years challenges. Organic Traditions is one of our favourite Organic brands on the market. Prana Organic Cashews - Known to reduce inflammation, improve metabolism and lower the risk of diabetes, Prana Organic Cashews are some of the best Organic nuts on the market. Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts - An easy way to add omegas, protein and fibre straight into your diet, Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts are free of any additives or preservatives. A healthy and organic addition to your New Year Goals. Going Cruelty Free: Cruelty Free Beauty Self Care Resolution One of the most popular and fastly growing New Year Resolutions/Movements is jumping on board the Cruelty Free Cosmetics and Self Care. We are proud to carry all Cruelt ...

Vegan Lasagna Recipe

We think we have a Vegan Lasagna recipe good enough for even the toughest lasagna critics… Why do we think that? Well, simply….because it is. Follow this recipe and prepare yourself to hear all the ooooo’s and aaaaaaahhhh’s from family and friends.   Vegan lasagna can be tough to imagine for a lot of people.”Where does the cheese come into play?”. “What about the noodles, certainly those aren’t vegan”. We hear you and we are here to tell you….it is possible. Substitute the rich ricotta cheese your Aunt loves so much with a mind boggling Vegan Sunflower Seed version. What about the perfectly cooked Italian pasta sheets layered in between the sauce and cheese? Completely surprise them with long slices of zucchini in place of the pasta to keep the dish light, healthy and fresh without the heaviness of what boxed pasta’s brings to the table. Below we will give you a step by step and help you create what will surely jump up to the top of the list of your favourite meals to make for friends and family. What we always recommend is that you have an open space available and all your ingredients prepped and within arms reach. A clean and open space always produces the best results. Vegan Sunflower Seed Cheese: 1.Soak Sunflower Seeds for no less than 3 hours. Over night is ideal. 2. Set up your VitaMix 3. Drain Seeds and blend till you get a creamy consistency 4. Add your remaining ingredients and blend 5. Taste Cheese and feel free to add lemon juice for more of a zing, salt and pepper for taste or nutritional yeast for xtra cheesiness. We always encourage cooking from scratch, it is far more satisfying when you take your first bite and realize you created all this with your own hands. What we do realize is this takes time that not all of us have. We have offered some healthy, and delicious items you can pick up at your local Healthy Planet and use in place of the hand made versions.   Lasagna “Pasta Sheets”: 1. Thoroughly wash your Zucchini 2. Slice lengthwise with your favourite knife and or a Mandolin for perfect slices each time 3. Place inside fridge until you are ready to combine everything together to make your lasagna!   Building the Lasagna: 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F 2. Search through your baking pans and find the a 9/13 inch baking pan or something close to it 3. Start with enough red sauce to completely cover the bottom of the baking pan 4. Lay down a layer of baby spinach until covering the red sauce 5. Lay your “pasta” sheets (zucchini) and cover the spinach 6. Spread a healthy amount of pesto completely covering the zucchini 7. Lay down another layer of baby spinach 8. Lay down another layer of zucchini 9. Spread healthy amount of Vegan Ricotta completely covering zucchini (You can use half the amount that you made) 10. Repeat the same steps starting from the beginning 11. With your entire lasagna now covered in Vegan Ricotta place your sliced Roma Tomatoes on top (we love to place in a manner that represent square pieces, 1 piece representing 1 square slice) 12. Place Vegan Lasagna into the oven covered in Aluminium, after 45 min, remove cover and bake for another 15 min. Pull from oven when finished cook time and let sit for 15-20 min to set and cool. Now that the entire house has had a chance to smell the Lasagna cooking for the past hour, have the table ready, lay your favourite salad down along with your favourite Vegan Garlic Bread and then bring out the star of the evening, delicious, healthy, hearty, show stopping Vegan Lasagna. Soak up the the complements and watch the shock at how tasty this Vegan Meal is. Enjoy!   Vegan Cheese Ingredients: 3 cups raw Sunflower Seed rinsed 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast 1 medium lemon, juiced 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional // for flavor + richness) 1 tsp sea salt + pinch black pepper   Vegan Lasagna Ingredients: 1 14-ounce pesto 2 large bags Baby Spinach 1 ripe Roma Tomato (for topping) 3 medium zucchini squash thinly sliced with a mandolin or sliced by hand Sunflower Seed “RIcotta” Cheese 1 28-ounce jar tomato sauce How good is this Vegan Lasagna!?!? We knew you would love it and hope you share it with friends and family and continue a healthy and alternative way of feeding loved ones. Tag us at #Healthyplanet on Instagram and show us your Vegan Lasagna! Healthy Planet looks forward to sharing even more amazing recipes certain to put smiles on your loved ones faces. Enjoy!

Eating Like a Caveman: Controlling Insulin

Summer is the perfect time to give your diet a reboot and start thinking about the kinds of fresh foods and meats that our forefathers from wayyyyyy back ate, which is more of a Paleo Diet, which is becoming quite popular again, for obvious reasons. There’s lots of evidence to suggest that a back-to-basics approach to diet is the way to go for each and every system in our bodies. Today’s diet has too much sugar and it’s making us store our fat. It’s time to reclaim it. Use summer as the stepstone toward better health, with expert Brad King’s advice! Insulin has an especially dramatic influence on enzymes called lipases. Lipases are like little Pac Men who run around your body, releasing body fat from its cushy containers so it can be shuttled into muscle cells to get burned off (yeah!). When insulin levels are high, it hits the “off” switch on lipases, putting them into a holding pattern until further notice. In fact, the most prominent lipase involved in fat burning is called Hormone Sensitive Lipase, or HSL for short.[1] HSL is the premiere key holder that unlocks those fat storage containers which make you leaner. Unfortunately, the more insulin that’s present, the less HSL is available to release fat for energy and the end result is you become fatter (not so yeah!). As insulin is blocking fat burning it’s also creating an internal environment that is ripe for fat storage. It accomplishes this act through the aid of another lipase enzyme—this one’s called Lipoprotein lipase, or LPL for short, and it is so effective at bloating fat cells that some obesity researchers even call it ‘the Gatekeeper of Fat Storage’. It’s next to impossible for the body to store fat without a certain amount of insulin floating around. As you can see, insulin is something we need, but we don’t want too much of it. Otherwise, we end up with a body that acts as a 24/7 fat-storing factory (as too many people already experience)! Controlling Insulin Almost any food—including the mere thought of food—can cause insulin release, but carbohydrates are the primary driver to a flood of insulin. High-carb foods—especially the highly processed and refined variety—cause glucose levels in your blood to shoot way up.[2] However, the body doesn’t work very well when glucose gets too high, so it sends out a stream of insulin to control the rising tide of glucose. Gobs of insulin will definitely drive glucose down, but it will also turn the vast majority of that glucose into newly formed fat. On the other hand, when insulin levels are under control, the body swiftly transitions into fat burning mode. Normal insulin levels cause lipases to spring into action. Also, a hormone often viewed as insulin’s opposite, glucagon, starts to rise. Glucagon travels around the body, ordering fat cells to relax and let go of the fat they’re clinging to. It’s accurate to view eating and lifestyle as a hormonal event. In a primitive dietary world made up of fresh—and local—produce (including roots, shoots, seeds and nuts) and wild game meat, our hormones were never a problem – in other words there weren’t many, if any, obese cavemen or ladies . If a caveman was lucky enough to stumble upon a beehive filled with honey or a bush sprouting plump berries, insulin was there to process the carbohydrates properly. But for the most part, the diet that our pancreas was designed for, only called insulin into action on a part-time basis. Our modern-day fast food/processed/high glycemic diets forces our pancreas to work double or triple shifts! Our body was simply not designed to metabolize all these carbs. The real kicker is that, because of our ravenous appetite for insulin-stimulating processed foods, the weight we’ve been accumulating over the last few decades is pure, unadulterated fat, which isn’t just unsightly but brings with it a whole host of health issues to boot![3] Magré, J., et al. (1998) Human hormone-sensitive lipase: genetic mapping, identification of a new dinucleotide repeat, and association with obesity and NIDDM. Diabetes. 47:284-286 Ludwig, D. S. (2000) Dietary glycemic index and obesity. J. Nutr. 130:280S-283S. Due A, Larsen TM, Mu H, Hermansen K, Stender S, Astrup A: Comparison of 3 ad libitum diets for weight-loss maintenance, risk of cardiovascular disease, and diabetes: a 6-mo randomized, controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2008, 88(5):1232-1241  http://www.pno.ca/?p=1336&option=com_wordpress&Itemid=201


All right foodies, it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room: we need to eat less meat. It’s no secret that adopting a vegetarian diet can have numerous benefits to your health (including lower cholesterol, decreased risk for heart disease and cancer AND better moods), but did you know that eating a plant-based diet is much better for our planet as well? In addition to causing mass deforestation, pollution and contamination of water sources, livestock farming also accounts for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions (that’s more than transportation!). Growing fruits and vegetables is also a more efficient use of resources than livestock – it takes the same amount of land resources to feed 16-20 vegetarians as it does a single meat eater! What’s one of the easiest ways to cut down your carbon footprint? Go Veg!      We know that adopting changes to your diet can be a little intimidating, so we’ve put together these five helpful tips for you to keep in mind as you begin your plant-based journey.   STICK TO ORGANIC AND NON-GMO FOODS. While it’s well known that organic and non-GMO foods are better for our bodies, they have numerous environmental benefits as well. Organic farming enriches our soil, increases biodiversity, keeps toxic fertilizers and pesticides out of water sources and can even slow global warming by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air.(8) BUY LOCAL PRODUCE! In addition to supporting your local farmers and economy, buying local also cuts down drastically on transportation costs! Find a farmer’s market (or small community grocery store) near you and purchase seasonal, organic produce. Buying straight from the source ensures that your fruits and veggies are fresh and haven’t been frozen. If you have the space, grow your own food! Can’t find a product grown locally in your area? Purchase fair trade and organic alternatives (like Alter Eco’s fair trade quinoa!)! While fair trade certified companies are typically known for their advocacy for fair wages and ethical working conditions, many are deeply committed to protecting the environment as well(7). Do some research and support companies that meet rigorous environmental standards. HAVE FUN COOKING! It’s great when you find a great meatless dish at your favorite restaurant, but the only way to fully know what’s going into your meal is to make it yourself. If you’re new to cooking and don’t know where to start sign up for a vegetarian cooking class with a friend or family member! Don’t be afraid to experiment with different foods and flavors and you might just find your new favorite go-to dish (check out our plant-based recipes below)! PLAN YOUR WEEKLY MEALS AHEAD OF TIME. This is an important part of adopting any new diet! Avoid last-minute decisions by creating a weekly meal schedule to make sure you’re diversifying your diet and getting all the protein that you need (the recommended dosage is 40-60 grams of protein per day, depending on your body size). ALWAYS READ THE INGREDIENTS AND NUTRITION FACTS! Some products like to sneak in hidden animal products that could compromise your diet. Other products compensate with an unhealthy dose of sugar. When in doubt, speak to a professional! Reference: http://www.alterecofoods.com/5-tips-for-meatless-diet/