Health and Fitness Blog
15 Jan 2019

8 Best Low-Calorie Drinks to Order at Starbucks


Do you remember the Unicorn Frappuccino that Starbucks offered on a limited-time basis back in 2017? It offered bright colors and zero coffee, inviting parents to come to enjoy a treat with their kids.

The only problem was that the grande size (16 ounces) with the standard recipe contained 410 calories and 59 grams of sugar.

If you enjoy coffee and other drinks at Starbucks, but you’re not looking to consume a calorie bomb, then these are the best options for you.

#1. Cold Foam Iced Cappuccino

This iced-coffee beverage will give you a refreshing jolt of caffeine while asking you to take on only 57 calories. The espresso is tinged with natural sweetness, while the cold milk foam gives it the classic cappuccino flavor you love.

#2. Pike Place Roast

A single serving of the classic Starbucks filtered coffee will set you back 4 calories. It’s also one of the most affordable beverages on their menu. If hot black coffee isn’t right for you, then try their Nitro cold brew with this roast instead. It will add some natural sweetness because of the nitrogen infusion.

#3. Iced Peach Citrus Green Tea

This iced tea will give you a beverage which is fruity and sweet for a 48-calorie investment. The balance of flavors is perfect for those times when you want a treat or need to quench your thirst.

#4. Mango Black Tea Lemonade

If you’re a big fan of an Arnold Palmer, then go with this Starbucks beverage the next time you stop by a store. You’ll receive the tartness of the lemonade, the sweetness of the tea, and only 83 calories to complain about. It won’t have the artificial sweeteners found in similar beverages at the grocery store either.

#5. Caffe Americano

You can never go wrong with an espresso shot at Starbucks, especially if it is topped with a light water spritz to create a gentle layer of crema. You can order this one guilt-free because it contains only 11 calories.

#6. Mocha Light Frappuccino

If you thought that a Frappuccino was out of the question if you wanted a low-calorie drink at Starbucks, then think again. This option comes in at just 91 calories, even with whipped cream, when you order the tall size.

#7. Coffee Light Frappuccino

The same runs true with this Frappuccino option as well. This basic beverage is just a shot of espresso, some skim milk, and their famous roast coffee. You can’t take the whipped cream on it though, but the reward will be just 83 calories.

#8. Rooibos Tea Latte

This caffeine-free herbal tea is a wonderful beverage to share with the kids during a visit to Starbucks. It offers flavors that include caramel, honey, and vanilla to create a comforting flavor. You’ll be able to enjoy the entire drink for just 86 calories.

Your best option for a low-calorie beverage at Starbucks will always be coffee taken black. Reference this list for additional ideas to avoid those calorie bombs that are on their menu.

What are your favorite low-calorie drinks at your local Starbucks?

19 Nov 2018

8 Best Foods for Your Arteries


Did you know that you can eat your way to a healthier heart?

There are many tasty foods out there right now that you can eat which will cleanse your arteries over time. Many of them are simple substitutions that you can make right now which will not impact your current lifestyle.

Here are the best foods that you can eat to support your arteries today.

#1. Avocados

Instead of spreading tons of mayonnaise on your sandwich, go with a simple avocado spread. Eating a serving of avocado every day for a week can drop your total blood cholesterol levels by up to 17%.

#2. Whole Grains

If you eat oatmeal, brown rice, or whole wheat bread, then you’re consuming hey soluble fiber which binds to the cholesterol in your body. This process helps to eliminate excessive levels of it in your bloodstream well also forcing your liver to draw upon the remaining resources for health improvements.

#3. Olive Oil

Consuming olive oil on a regular basis, either as a dressing or for cooking, can lower your risk of a stroke by up to 41%. Try substituting this product for butter in your baked goods or use it instead of salad dressing. Use it sparingly, however, because it still contains plenty of fat and calories that are not good for you when eaten without moderation.

#4. Salmon

Fatty fish are an excellent addition to your diet because they have plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. Try to eat salmon or other species like tuna, mackerel, or herring to reduce inflammation in the body and lower triglyceride levels. Combine with turmeric and cumin for even more natural benefits.

#5. Asparagus

This food is one of the best options for your arteries today. It helps to release pressure within your circulatory system, allowing the body to deal with inflammation that may have been present for several years. It also works to ward off clotting issues for some people.

#6. Pomegranates

This fruit contains high levels of phytochemicals which act as an antioxidant in your body. It works to protect the lining of your arteries from potential damage. It will also increase the production levels of nitric oxide in the body, which helps to keep the blood vessels open and to work more efficiently.

#7. Broccoli

Your body will receive a surge of Vitamin K when you eat this vegetable on a regular basis. This vitamin helps with bone formation, preventing the calcium from creating arterial damage. There is a fiber benefit obtained when eating broccoli too, which can help with cholesterol levels and high blood pressure concerns. 

#8. Persimmons

A persimmon a day will help to keep the doctor away because it has twice as many antioxidants and fiber per serving when compared to apples. The polyphenols will help to decrease your LDL cholesterol levels as well.

If you want to support your heart health, then eat your way to a brighter future by stocking up on these foods. Remember to consume everything in moderation to make forward progress on your current fitness goals. 

20 Oct 2018

Best Foods to Eat Before and After Working Out


Are you always fighting an internal debate about what you should or shouldn’t eat before and after working out? Do you wonder if it is even necessary to grab something to munch on in this situation?

These questions are essential to ask because having the proper fuel in your body will encourage a stable mood, better energy, and improved results. This process will also influence the likelihood that you’ll decide to work out again the next time you have a spare moment.

There isn’t a cookie cutter solution here. Your physical needs are unique. When you decide to exercise, your personal goals, and the types of workouts that you do will also dictate your food choices.

These are the items you’ll want to consider eating before and after your workout. 

Best Foods to Eat Before a Workout

1. Quickly digestible carbohydrates, like a small banana, a few grapes, a half-glass of fruit juice, or a 1/2-cup of dry cereal will give you some energy to get moving.

2. A light breakfast, such as an English muffin with about 1 tablespoon of nut butter, a few banana slices, or an apple with peanut butter, will give you energy for a sustained early morning workout session.

3. A 200-calorie snack is an excellent choice for a mid-afternoon workout, focusing on higher carbs if you plan to do some cardio work. Look for a whole-wheat tortilla, a turkey sandwich, or even some oatmeal with fruit as an option here.

4. Strength training requires more low-fat protein options, so think eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and your favorite fruit and nuts.

Best Foods to Eat After a Workout

1. Shorter workout sessions (60 minutes or less) only need your pre-exercise snacks or meals for fuel. If you consume anything other than water, then you may offset the calories you just burned off.

2. Endurance exercise of 90 minutes or more benefit from foods that are 30g to 60g of carbs for every hour that you continue to exercise. Look for sports performance chews, gels, and drinks that won’t cause gastrointestinal distress while you’re moving.

3. Crackers, pretzels, and bananas are useful for long-term exercise sessions that are longer than 60 minutes. Recovery snacks should stay beneath 300 calories to achieve the best possible results. Try whole-wheat products, raisin bread, and cottage cheese to have something tasty and healthy.

4. Chocolate milk is an excellent source of protein and sugar replacement if you go through an extended workout session. You could also try some Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts for an extra recovery boost. Flavored kefir is another popular option to look at today. 

There are plenty of foods you might be tempted to eat before, during, or after a workout, but that doesn’t mean you should be consuming them. Everyone has unique needs that must be met, so speak with your doctor about what you should or shouldn’t include with your nutritional plan to maximize your workouts. 

16 Oct 2018

6 Foods That Nutrition Experts Avoid, So You Should Too


If you’re trying to get control of your weight, or you just want to start eating better, then there are certain foods you should avoid.

Most of us are familiar with the typical foods that a diet plan restricts when you are pursuing fitness goals. Deep-fried items, sugary beverages, and prepackaged desserts usually top that list of things to avoid.

If you were to speak with nutrition experts about the foods they avoid to maintain their health, then these are the items which make their list.

#1. Processed Meats

Hotdogs, sausage, bacon, and processed meats like pepperoni contain high levels of nitrates. They can also include high sodium levels because of the work it takes to create the food items. Eat them as a special treat on a rare occasion to avoid potentially higher risks for heart disease and high blood pressure. 

#2. Sugary Coffee

Coffee on its own can be good for you. If you prefer a blended drink from a specialty provider, you might find that the entire beverage contains over 500 calories and 20 teaspoons of sugar. If you consume high levels of added sugar (not fructose, like you’d find in fruits and vegetables), then you can double your risks of heart disease. Try stopping once per week for a coffee creation instead of every day.

#3. Stick Margarine

Substituting stick margarine for butter is not always the healthiest choice. Most are created through the use of partially hydrogenated oils, so they’re loaded with trans-fat. That will boost your LDL cholesterol numbers and lower your HDL figures at the same time. The saturated fat in butter is actually better for you than the trans-fat in margarine. The better solution, according to nutritionists, is to eliminate both from your diet.

#4. Preserved Pastries

The shelf life of processed pastries creates an issue with preservatives and personal health. It is better to stick with real desserts instead of sugary snacks like Pop Tarts or Twinkies. Although shelf-stable foods may not offer a significant impact on your health, eating fresh foods, lean meats, and lots of Omega-3s will always be better than items which are loaded with preservatives.

#5. Canned Frosting

Did you know that the FDA allows food companies to round downward on trans-fat levels if it is less than 0.5g per serving? That’s why canned frosting should never be in your diet. The serving size is much smaller than what the average person consumes, which means you could take as big a hit on this health issue as you would with stick margarine. If there is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat in the ingredients, then look for something else.

#6. Sugary Cereals

This food item offers a high calorie count with a low fiber number to create a poor nutritional result. You’d be better off eating a dessert than you are with this start to your day. If you can’t put down the sugary cereals, then try mixing your favorite one with a low-sugar one to reduce your calorie intake.

What are some of the substitutions you’ve made with your diet to avoid foods like these that nutritionists say that they would never eat?

04 Sep 2018

3 Foods to Avoid for a Healthier Gut


Good bacteria in your gut helps with the digesting process. There are certain foods which negatively impact these helpers, so you’ll want to eliminate them from your diet if you’re going to maintain healthy probiotic levels.

Probiotics are essential for good health because they help you absorb nutrients, reduce inflammation, and protect your intestines from potential infections. Some even help to reinforce the neuron pathways developed by the brain.

Instead of taking a probiotic supplement each day, some people might benefit more by eliminating these foods from their diet.

#1. Diet Soda

The artificial sweeteners that you can find in zero-calorie beverage can interfere with the probiotics in your gut. Aspartame, sucralose, and saccharine all can alter the bacteria in ways that increase glucose intolerance. This structural change can promote a higher individual risk for type 2 diabetes development.

If you are struggling to kick the diet soda habit, then try to substitute flavored carbonated water instead.

#2. Red Meat

If you consume high levels of red meat in your diet, then you’ll be adding a lot of choline to your diet. This nutrient produces gut bacteria which creates a substance which promotes a hardening of the arteries. Shifts in your dietary habits can cause a change to your gut in just two days.

Cutting back on red meat gives you a second advantage too: you could be reducing the antibiotics in the foods you consume. These can kill off the good bacteria in your gut, creating uncomfortable gastrointestinal issues until you can restore their balance once again.

#3. Processed Foods

If the food you eat comes in some type of package, then there’s an excellent chance that it has preservatives, additives, and other nasty stuff that can interfere with your digestion. Try to eat veggies or whole-grain baked goods instead of pre-packaged items if you need a snack during the day. Look for options which contain fiber to encourage your gut bacteria to flourish.

The best way you can do this is to put the money you’d spend on crackers or potato chips toward something found in the produce section of the grocery store.

Best Foods to Eat for Gut Restoration

If you’ve had these foods recently and your gut feels off, then there are specific foods you can eat to begin the restoration process for better digestive balance. 

The top three foods you can eat to promote a healthier gut are yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi. These all offer natural sources of probiotics. You can also take a probiotic supplement to create a better balance within your digestive tract.

When you take care of the digestive biome, it will help to take care of you. Maintaining this ecosystem by avoiding foods that create an imbalance can reduce your risks of obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. 

It may lower the risks of colon cancer and other serious health conditions too.

Take time to focus on your health by re-evaluating what you eat. Encourage that good gut bacteria to grow.