Every woman wants a flat, tight tummy. Unfortunately, many of us have a hard time with our midsections. Bloating. Belly Fat. Love handles. Stress, lack of sleep and our eating habits are some factors that are to blame. There are also some research studies that have shown hormonal imbalances to be the cause of excess inches in the midsection and/or an inability to lose weight in the midsection. But there is hope!! There are simple changes you can adopt that will encourage your body to work optimally and coupled with exercise will make a flat, tight midriff a possibility.
I, too, am very aware of my midsection and have noticed that there are certain foods that make me bloat. I know I’m sensitive to certain foods to, which is why I am in the process of doing an Elimination Diet (see my prior post for more info on the process). There are diets out there that claim they are the best diet for the Abs but when put to the test they often don’t work for the majority because several of the items on their list of “Ok” foods are known allergens. The thing with allergens is that even if one does not have a full blown allergic reaction one may still be sensitive to the food. That sensitivity leads to inflammation, which over time creates weight issues and other chronic illnesses.
Common food allergens:
- Milk – particularly the proteins - casein and whey
- Peanuts (a legume, not a tree nut)
- Tree nuts – these can be almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc
- Gluten – a protein in wheat and other grains (barley, rye, triticale, kamut, spelt, durum, semolina, bulgur, emmer, einkorn, farina, farro, matzoh meal, graham)
One can find out if one is allergic/sensitive to these either through a blood test but if the reaction isn’t as severe you may think that you aren’t sensitive to a food when you really are. I recommend doing an Elimination Diet to know for sure.
What to eat!!
- Whole grains – get acquainted with brown rice, quinoa, oat groats (unprocessed oats) or steel cut oats, buckwheat, amaranth
- Dark, leafy greens – spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, kale, arugula, romaine, bok choy, mustard greens, kohlrabi, watercress, beet greens
- Cruciferous veggies – broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, peppers, etc
- Berries – raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, blueberries etc. They are loaded with antioxidants as well as fiber and vitamins.
- Fruits – Apples, watermelon, bananas, grapefruits, etc
- Avocado – loaded with nutrients and antioxidants
- Beans & legumes – experiment with pinto beans, black beans, chickpeas, lima beans, kidney beans, navy beans, lentils, split peas, adzuki, black eyes peas
a. All should be soaked for 4-8 hours prior to cooking, except lentils and split peas (these do not require soaking)
- Lean meats – turkey, chicken, fish, flank steak, tenderloin, london broil, filet mignon
- Olive oil
- Green Tea
- Flaxseeds and nuts/seeds – almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, chia seeds, sunflower seeds etc. Just be sure you aren’t sensitive/allergic to the chosen nuts
- Water – drinking plenty of water not only helps with hydration but it also flushes out toxins. Aim for drinking half your body weight, in ounces per day
Ready for a delicious recipe??
Peruvian Chicken & Quinoa
1 ½ pounds, diced organic chicken breast, boneless
1 organic yellow onion
5 organic garlic cloves*
1 ½ tsp himalayan sea salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp Aji Panca paste (optional)
1 ½ tbsp organic coconut oil
2 cups organic quinoa
*Chop the garlic and set it aside for 10 minutes in order to release all the nutrients.
Place the organic coconut oil in a large sauté pan and start lightly cooking the garlic and onions with a small pinch of salt. Once the onions are translucent, add the diced chicken breast. Add the sea salt, cumin and oregano. Cook for approximately 5 minutes. Add the quinoa and fill the pan with 5 cups of water. Add the aji panca paste and stir it well. Bring to a boil and then lower to medium heat and cover until there is a little bit of moisture left. Be sure to stir the quinoa occasionally. It should take about 30 minutes.
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