Protein! Why it’s important:

  • Helps with weight loss - Protein helps you stay fuller for longer.
  • Amino acid source - Your body can’t produce some essential amino acids, so you need to get them through your diet (via protein!)

Sources

Vegan Options:

  • Tofu - Low in calories and fat. High in protein.
  • Beans - Quinoa (“keen-wah”) and edamame higher in protein than say, kidney beans (more on beans and their protein content here). Beans are a great alternative to meat, especially because they’re so much lower in fat.
  • Tempeh -  If you don’t know what tempeh is, it’s basically soy in a cake-like form. It has a different flavor and texture from tofu. It’s high in calcium and protein. 
  • Almonds - almonds alone aren’t enough protein for your diet, but they’re great for snacks.

Other Options:

  • Beef - Grass-fed beef has more fatty acids and nutrients. It’s also healthier to eat than factory-raised beef. Stick with a lean beef.
  • Pork Tenderloin - Much lower in fat than beef.
  • Chicken - Organic chicken is extremely lean and has more essential fatty acids than factory raised chicken.
  • Wild salmon - Eat only wild salmon. Farm-raised salmon can be diseased, contain high levels of toxins and mercury, and are not as rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Tuna fish
  • Eggs - Although egg whites are leaner, whole eggs are great for you too! Eating whole eggs are as natural as eggs come and are high in nutrients.
  • Non-fat Greek Yogurt - Stay away from the flavored ones/regular yogurt. They’re extremely high in sugar. Greek yogurt is really high protein and good fats. It also has much less sugar/carbohydrates. Eat them with  pureed/mashed fruit instead of the fruit mix-ins that might come with it.
  • Milk - Skim, soy, and almond milk are high in protein and low in fat. Milk can also be a great source of calcium.

All this information came from Mark’s Daily Apple. It’s a great site for info on fitness and eating clean.

Check out Eatmoreof for more tips on how to get healthy foods into your diet!

The most effective way to losing weight or becoming leaner is to EAT CLEAN. That’s made the biggest difference in losing fat and becoming more toned for me. It’s more effective (faster and longer-lasting results!) to eat healthier than to simply cut back on calories in numbers alone.

What I mean by “eating healthily” is eating whole, natural foods—as close to their pure, natural state as you can get. That means no preservatives, hormones, or pesticides added to your food; organic protein and produce, and nothing “white” (sugar and flour). For me, this means sticking pretty closely to the Paleo Diet, but I still eat some whole grains and (non-fat) dairy. Lately I’ve also been trying to eat more lean protein, lots of veggies and fiber, less carbs, and less fat and drink lots and lots of water. I do try to keep a balanced diet still though. This is just my personal take on “eating clean” that works for me. Everyone has their own preferences—but remember, eating healthier in general is KEY to losing fat and becoming leaner!

Check out Eatmoreof for more GIFs and tips on making easy changes for a healthier lifestyle!

How much calcium do you need a day?

9-18 years old: 1300 mg

19-50 years old: 1000 mg 

Sources of Calcium:

Dairy

  • Yogurt  (450 mg/cup)
  • Milk (300 mg/cup)
  • Soy Milk (200-400 mg/cup)
  • Swiss or Gruyere Cheese (270 mg/cup)
  • Sour Cream (250 mg/cup)

Vegetables

  • Spinach (240 mg/cup)
  • Broccoli (180 mg/cup)
  • Arugula (125 mg/cup)
  • Chard or Okra (100 mg/cup)

Fruit

  • Figs, dried and uncooked (300 mg/cup)
  • Orange Juice, calcium fortified (300 mg/8 oz)
  • Tofu, firm (250-750/4 oz)
  • Tofu, soft (120-390/4 oz)

Grains

  • Cereal (250-1000 mg/cup)
  • Bread, calcium fortified (150-200 mg/slice)
  • Oatmeal (100-150 mg/cup)
  • Tortillas (85 mg/2 tortillas)

Nuts and Seeds

  • Sesame Seeds (280 mg/oz)
  • Sesame Tahini (130 mg/2 tbsp)
  • Almonds (80 mg/oz)

Fish

  • Sardines (370 mg/3oz)
  • Mackerel, canned (250 mg/3 oz)
  • Salmon, canned (170-210 mg/oz)

(Source: UCSF Medical Center)

With the new year, I know everyone is on the fast track to eating healthier, exercising, losing weight, etc. including myself!

I find it hard to stick to healthy eating, especially when I’m in a rush. Having quick and easy healthy snacks really helps to keep me satisfied and nourished until my next meal. Sometimes it helps to just keep snacks on hand in case you get hungry (an “emergency meal”), otherwise you might experience a blood pressure drop, feel nervous, and overeat at your next meal. 

Here are some healthy snack ideas!:

Fresh Foods (snacks that need refrigeration or should be eaten fresh)

  • baby carrots
  • celery and cheese
  • easy-to-eat fruit with skin like: apples, bananas, peaches, pears
  • no-mess fruits like: grapes, blueberries
  • frozen fruit (peeled and chopped bananas or grapes are great frozen)
  • cheese (cut your own slices, string cheese sticks, or mini-wheels)
  • boiled eggs
  • edamame (high in protein)

Drinks (pour into a bottle or thermos and you’re ready to go!)

  • smoothies (you can freeze chopped fruit for a quick blend and add leafy veggies for fiber and added nutrients)
  • milk (I personally like a small cup of 2% to hold me over between dinner and bedtime)
  • fresh fruit juice
  • tea/water (sometimes when you’re hungry you’re actually just thirsty! Check out my "Why Water is AWESOME" post :) )

Dry Foods

  • nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachio, etc)
  • seeds
  • dry fruit (try to limit because it has a lot of sugar!)
  • rice cakes/crackers
  • dried seaweed
  • kale/spinach/sweet potato chips
  • popcorn

Try not to over-do it on the carbs—but as with everything else, moderation is key :)

Check out Eatmoreof.tumblr.com for more tips on getting healthy foods into your diet!

Why you need fiber:

  • Promotes healthy bowel movements; prevents and relieves constipation
  • Good for your heart: lowers cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation (soluable fibers such as oats, beans, some fruits, and flax seed)
  • Helps with weight loss by making you feel fuller for longer

Sources of Fiber

  1. Beans - Make 3 bean salad, bean puree soups, or add cooked beans to anything (salads, as a side on meals, etc). They taste like potatoes. Try Gracious Pantry’s black bean soup recipe.
  2. Whole grains - replace white bread and regular pasta with whole grain versions.
  3. Brown rice - replace white rice with brown rice.
  4. Popcorn - cut back on the butter and salt!
  5. Nuts - Plain roasted almonds or walnuts are great for late night snacks—or any snacks in general! 
  6. Potato skins - It’s the skins that are full of fiber!
  7. Berries - check out my post on fruits.
  8. Bran Cereal - replace sugary cereals with bran cereal.
  9. Oatmeal - oatmeal is delicious with a little bit of brown sugar and low-fat milk. It’s really best eaten plain though. You can use it as a substitute in savory meals as well! Use it to replace rice, bread, etc!
  10. Vegetables - see my post on veggies

(Sources: Mayoclinic and WebMD)

Check out Eatmoreof for more tips on getting healthy foods into your diet!

Why water is AWESOME:

  • ZERO calories!
  • Inexpensive (don’t waste money buying sugary drinks like soda and juice)
  • Helps your body remove toxins
  • Speeds up metabolism and helps digestion
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Keeps your skin looking great by hydrating it and preventing pimples (I swear after one day of keeping consistently hydrated, my skin looked so much better!)
  • So many more! 

How to get more water into your diet:

  1. We get a lot of water simply by the foods we eat every day (but don’t rely on food for your main source of water)
  2. Oftentimes we mistake thirst for hunger. Drink a glass before and after each meal.
  3. Carry around a water bottle with you everywhere. I prefer a 16-24 oz bottle with a screw-top lid, so it’s not too heavy and won’t spill in my bag.
  4. Make it a goal to drink a certain amount every day (eg. 8 glasses, or 2-3 water bottles, 50-60 oz, etc.)
  5. Replace soda, juice, and other flavored drinks with plain water. Start healthy habits: make it a point to only drink water. 
  6. If you get tired of water, try drinking tea. (Drink it cold if you don’t like hot drinks.)

*Don’t force yourself to drink when you’re not thirsty! That’s not effective and you’ll just feel sick and possibly put yourself at risk for water poisoning (only for extreme water intake, but it’s still possible).

Check out Eatmoreof for more tips on getting healthy foods into your diet!

Why you need iron:

  • Needed to make oxygen-carrying blood cells. 
  • Lack of iron can lead to anemia. Anemia has side effects such as fatigue, shortness of breath, lower immunity, and abdominal pains.

There are 2 kinds of iron: Heme and Non-heme. Non-heme is not readily absorbed by the body and should be ingested with Vitamin C or a heme-source food. They should NOT be taken at the same time as high-calcium food, with tea or coffee, or high fiber (lowers absorption).

Heme Sources:

  • Liver (beef or chicken) - Chicken liver has the highest amount of iron at 12.8 g per serving!
  • Beef 
  • Clams
  • Oysters
  • Poultry (chicken, turkey)
  • Shrimp
  • Fish (tuna, salmon, cod, flounder)

Non-Heme Sources:

  • Vegetables: spinach, broccoli, kale
  • Dried Fruit: dates, raisins, apricots, 
  • Legumes: black beans, kidney beans, soy beans, lentils, navy beans
  • Oatmeal
  • Bagels
  • Bread
  • Rice
  • Tofu
  • Molasses

Information from McKinley Health Center. It has a list of iron sources and the amount of iron per serving. 

Check out Eatmoreof for more tips on getting healthy foods into your diet! Previous Posts:
Protein | Vegetables | Omega-3 | Fruit | Fiber | Water

Strength training: I’ve been really wanting to make a post to encourage girls do lift or do more strength training versus cardio all the time. Cardio is great because it helps burn fat and calories. But it’s important to build up your muscles first so your body isn’t also burning the muscle for energy during cardio workouts. Having muscle alone requires more calories to maintain, so you’ll burn more energy just by being alive. If you build up muscle first, you’ll burn more unhealthy fat faster. Running alone can’t do this for you. You’ll build muscle if you run everyday, but you can build the same amount of muscle lifting heavy weights as you would running or lifting small weights (and doing many reps) over long periods of time.

Lifting weights (like heavy lifting) will NOT make you bulk up. I know I used to hear this all the time, but I never really believed it or wanted to do it. But girls do not have the hormones to bulk up and become “manly” as men do. The intensely “bulky” women you see are probably that way because they take extra supplements to become bigger…otherwise it’s just genetically impossible. It took real girls, real inspiration for me to realize that strength training is the most effective way to reach that toned, lean body many of us are after.

Real girls, Real Inspiration: The girls in the picture above are inspirations to me because they’re not just “skinny,” they’re fit and lean too. From left to right they are: MC Barao (check out her tumblr, Now Watch Me Work! She’s very sweet and answers questions), Savannah Rose Neveux (Check out her tumblr, Muffin Top-less), and Marisa Miller (great example of a model who’s not unreasonably thin, but fit and toned).

My experience: After six years of running (I used to do cross country for 4 years), I still gained a lot of weight (ie. body fat). I tried COUNTLESS times to to run and restrict my diet, but all that did was gain even more body fat, after I couldn’t keep up (it’s too hard to force your body into that kind of unhealthy lifestyle. It just naturally rebels), and let my muscle get used up for energy. My body fat proportion grew significantly while my muscles became weaker. It took me a while to say, “After all these years of trying restriction and cardio, nothing has changed. Obviously I’m not doing something right.” 

The biggest realizations I made were that 1. building and maintaining muscle and 2. eating CLEAN (I swear it’s not how much you eat, but rather what you eat) make the hugest differences. Not only will you lose body fat, but you’ll feel healthier—which is why it’s so much easier to stick to for a long time. This is the longest I’ve ever stuck to any kind of “diet” or weight loss strategy. Mainly because I feel great when I’m doing it. I’m also already seeing results after just a few weeks. I’m getting stronger, building visible muscle, and am less “squishy.” 

TL;DR - 1. EAT CLEAN 2. Lift weights/build muscle 2. Cardio AFTER you’ve built muscle = HEALTHY, LONG-LASTING LIFESTYLE :)

This isn’t supposed to be a scientific article or anything. This is just me rambling from my own experiences. But if you want support or have questions about my experiences, feel free to message me. I’m no expert, but I’d love to do whatever I can to encourage others to make healthier choices :)

Easy and Healthy Recipes!

I’m starting a series of easy recipes—fast, inexpensive (“cheap” even), easy to put together, and CLEAN! These are recipes I use myself. I’m a poor college student who has no options really except to pull together my resources and find cheap, creative ways of eating healthy. Soo, here goes! (all photos unless stated otherwise are mine)

This is a simple yogurt recipe (if you can even really call it a “recipe”)

Consists of:

  1. Fruit (I used strawberries and blueberries) - Fiber and nutrients; plus it makes your bowl look pretty! ;)
  2. Non-fat Greek yogurt (I like Fage) - great source of protein
  3. Almonds (crushed with mortar and pestle; unnecessary though. You can eat them whole, or leave them out entirely) - healthy fats and protein

I’ve become a fan of mixing chopped/mashed bananas into my yogurt. Delicious!

a little about me + coming soon!

About my current lifestyle changes:

I started doing the LiveFit Trainer program about 3 weeks ago (inspired by my biggest fitness role model, MC Barao, who did it herself). This includes lifting everyday and eating clean (cardio is added later on in the program). For me, this means basically eating food as whole and natural as possible and trying to choose lean protein over carb-y foods. 

I made the mistake of believing that running and cutting back on my intake alone would help me lose body fat and keep it off. This CAN work, but imo building muscle by lifting is so much more effective (6 years of on-off cutting back on intake, plus running, never really stuck or worked—which is why I am here now). Building muscle speeds up your metabolism and will help you get rid of unhealthy fat (more on this in upcoming posts!) 

So far I’ve been loving this program. It feels great to be making my body healthier and stronger everyday! The change may seem huge (and daunting) at first, but you’ll gradually get used to working out and eating more and more clean/healthy. In fact, your overall well-being will improve and you’ll learn to truly love and appreciate this lifestyle.

What I have in store for future posts!:

  • I’ve been hearing Tumblr-ers say that eating healthy is hard because whole foods and produce are expensive. This can be true, but it really really doesn’t have to be. I’m preparing a post on how and why eating healthier is not expensive at all and can be cheaper too!
  • Clean and DELICIOUS recipes (black bean & sweet potato patties, smoothies, and more!)
  • More GIFs on awesome, healthy foods
  • Why lifting/building muscle is superrr effective for losing weight BODY FAT and why girls really should not be deterred from it :)

Have more ideas? Feel free to leave suggestions in my Ask box :)

PS. Hello & thank you, new followers (and visiters!) Thanks for all your encouragement.  I really love the health & fitness community on Tumblr. It’s so positive and motivational :)

Thank you <3 (and new post!)

Thank you <3: Short update! Thank you sooooo much everyone for the notes on my "Eat more…" gif collection T_T <3 I didn’t expect to get so many notes, but it really made my day and was so encouraging.

New “Protein” GIF post!: I noticed a lot of people asking why protein was wasn’t included among those GIFs. That post was just a collection of previous GIFs I has made. It wasn’t a suggested diet or anything. I just had not gotten around to making a protein one yet :) I totally agree that protein is important! Especially for me since I’ve been strength training so much lately (more about my current training/diet here). You guys really inspired me, so I made a "Eat more Protein" post here! :) I hope you find it helpful!

PS. new post on strength training (especially for girls) and what I think is the secret to very effective weight loss coming soon :)

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