Lose Belly Fat with these Foods

We hear it all the time - stress kills. Stress is super bad for your health. But did you know that stress also causes your body to store fat around your midsection. And, as you may already know, that fat is very hard to lose. The hormone that makes this happen is cortisol & most people don’t know what signs to look for.

Signs of High Cortisol

  • Weight Gain (especially in your abdomen)

  • Blood Sugar Imbalances (crave sugar?? get shaky when you don’t eat regularly??)

  • Losing muscle mass

  • Memory Loss

  • Poor quality sleep/tired even when you’ve slept well

  • Unexplained backaches and headaches

  • Catch colds and infections easily

  • Cravings for unhealthy foods

  • Poor sex drive

  • Anxious/depressed feelings

  • Stomach issues like nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, heartburn or constipation

Some of these clicking in your head? I know when I read these I was thinking...Bingo!! Now, what to do about it?? Because I don’t know about you but I want to have rejuvenating sleep and a thinner waistline. Oh, and I need my memory to be on point if I’m going to learn my scenes! ;)

Lower Cortisol by…

Eating more Spinach - these greens have Magnesium which helps the body balance cortisol levels.

Adding Beans (White) and Barley to your diet - they contain a phospholipid that may help counteract the adverse effects of cortisol by having a calming effect on your nerves and improving your sleep.

Snacking on Citrus -the vitamin C in fruits like kiwis, oranges and grapefruits help slow the production of cortisol and are better for your waistline than carb-rich snacks.

Upping your Omega 3 Fatty Acids - found in fish like mackerel, sardines and haddock and nuts like walnuts and flaxseeds not only do these reduce inflammation in your body but they also reduce your stress levels and hence, your cortisol!

Eating Microgreens - are baby plants (less than 14 days old) that have a higher concentration of nutrients than adult plants. Micro versions of cilantro and red cabbage may contain up to 4 to 6 times the stress fighting vitamin C as their mature counterparts.

Drinking Tulsi (Holy Basil) Tea - is an effective way to reduce your stress/anxiety levels. This herb is an adaptogen that helps reduce the production of stress hormones. This is definitely on my list of nightcaps! :)

Adding a good Zinc supplement -  can help inhibit the secretion of cortisol according to studies. Make sure your diet has solid sources of zinc; 3 ounces of lean, grass fed beef via a pot roast, short ribs or round steak is a good start.  Or you can opt for some seafood, like oysters - 6 medium sized oysters contain over 70 mg of zinc.

Eating some (Quality) Dark Chocolate - by some I mean a piece or two and of good, organic quality. Dark Chocolate has tons of antioxidants that can decrease the inflammation in your body and slow cortisol production. The results of one study indicated that consuming about 40 grams of dark chocolate per day reduced cortisol levels.

I know I’ve got my marching orders!! :)  I’m not going to allow the routine stress of day to day life to add inches to my waistline. Adding a meditation practice into your life is another way to reduce your stress and manage your cortisol levels too. Take these tips, turn them into daily practices and you will rest easier and watch the excess inches melt away.

Schedule a Self-discovery Session with me at  https://www.timetrade.com/book/B6X4N

Burn Fat with Cinnamon

It’s Springtime, finally!!! And I am seeing a lot of people hitting the gym in preparation for bikini season. I am slightly amused because they could’ve been ahead of the curve if they stayed true to their New Years’ Resolutions but alas, we are a culture that is obsessed with instant gratification. The thing is that things don’t change overnight. No matter what the TV or the movies say change is something that develops over time. Whether it is change in our bodies or in our health it is consistency that matters the most. I learned this the hard way over the past several years. Fad diets don’t work. Starving myself doesn’t work. Surgery doesn’t work. The results are unsustainable, at best, because there I don’t change my day to day habits!

Now that I am wiser I aim for four things:

  1. Fat loss over weight loss

  2. Nutrient-rich foods - what makes up a calorie matters, NOT just the calorie

  3. Regular Exercise - for the endorphins and the fabulous, fit looking body

  4. 90/10 Rule - Eat healthy foods 90% of the time, leaving room for the occasional treat

Everyone knows that Green Tea encourages fat loss and improves physical performance, which is why it is one of my favorite things to drink. But not everyone knows about cinnamon! To change it up I started drinking a tea made from a cinnamon stick and dried goji berries. Goji berries have tons of anti-oxidants and have a long history of being a longevity-promoting and beautifying food. But cinnamon is also very impressive.

Some top benefits of Cinnamon are:

  1. Boosting brain function

  2. Preventing fat storage, especially in the belly

  3. Anti-microbial properties, which makes it great for fighting colds and flus

  4. Helps control blood sugar level

  5. Rich in Manganese, Iron, Calcium and Fiber

  6. Improves circulation, which helps aid digestion

Cinnamon you had me at preventing fat storage!! I am enjoying this tea daily and I sprinkle ½ teaspoon of cinnamon on my chia pudding or in my coffee as well!

The type of cinnamon you want to buy is Ceylon Cinnamon. You can find it at Whole Foods or your neighborhood health market or on Amazon. Frontier Natural Products is the company that I buy my cinnamon from. Ceylon cinnamon is preferred over the more common Cassia, because it has less coumarin, which is better for the liver, tastes better and is sustainably grown.

Chicken & Dried Apricots Tagine

1 ½ lbs organic chicken thighs

1 medium red onion, organic

1 (~⅓ cup) handful parsley, organic

1 (~⅓ cup) handful cilantro, organic

½ dried Turkish apricots, organic

1 ½ cups water

2 tbsp olive oil, organic

1 tbsp butter, organic

1 tsp Tagine spices

½ tsp Allspice powder

½ tsp ground coriander

1 tsp Himalayan salt

Place the 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp Tagine spices, ½ tsp allspice, ½ tsp ground coriander in a bowl & coat the thighs in the spices. Melt butter in pan & brown the chicken thighs over medium-high heat (~2-3 minutes per side). Transfer to chicken to plate. Start cooking the onions over medium heat (~2-3 minutes). When they are half translucent, add the garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the parsley & the cilantro, cooking for ~3 minutes. Toss in the dried apricots & cook for ~1 minute. Return the browned chicken to the pan with juices. Add 1 ½ c of water & let chicken simmer over low-medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes.

You can also use cinnamon oil in your home to disinfect and sanitize surfaces, especially those surfaces on which you’ve prepared raw meats, with a solution of 1% cinnamon oil and purified water.

 

Schedule a Self-discovery Session with me at  https://www.timetrade.com/book/B6X4N

 

Gluten-free?? or Not Gluten-free??

A couple Mondays ago now, I decided I was going to really give this whole Gluten-free thing a proper try. I have noticed that when I eat products with Gluten – a protein found in certain grains – wheat is one of the most common sources of Gluten in our diets nowadays - I feel sluggish, bloated, my brain just has this numb feeling, I wake up with less energy & just have this EH feeling.. As you can see these are not good signs! I am an actress & a health & wellness coach, so it is my responsibility to look great & tend to my body & mind properly & from there support others in doing the same. All week I was doing great! & feeling great! I woke up without that tired, sluggish…will someone please turn off the daylight…feeling! I had more energy. I ate my greens. I had some lean proteins. I had some healthy grains such as brown rice & quinoa. & I got things done! Until the weekend… I started craving pizza!! & I’m a New Yorker so there is nothing like a pizza craving for us. But you can substitute this with your favorite source of gluten ;) And I gave in – to this delicious artisanal pizza spot. The pizza was delicious. I loved every bite of it!! Until…I woke up this past Monday morning.  I woke up feeling tired & like my brain was numb. I felt lethargic & without much energy to do anything. All I could think was why on earth did I eat that pizza!?? Now I have to get back on the ‘wagon’ & eat my greens & healthy – GLUTEN FREE grains, lean proteins… It is back to the drawing board!!

Now, I don’t believe that so called “gluten-free” foods that have an ingredient list that is a mile long, with words you can’t pronounce (or even some you can pronounce) is a good thing either!! ALWAYS read your ingredient list!!  If it lists potato starch, corn starch, tapioca starch, rice starch (see a pattern ;) or xanthum gum. STAY AWAY!! These ingredients are highly processed. They make the 'gluten-free' whatever-it-is high in sugar, lacking in nutrients & to add insult to injury, high on the Glycemic Index. This means that your body breaks them down very quickly; which leads to a spike in your blood sugar that is followed by a sharp drop. You want to eat foods that are low on the Glycemic Index – so your body breaks them down over time – making you feel satisfied longer, evening out your mood & keeping your energy up. 

Don’t fall into the marketing trap!! There are tons of companies out there that are supposedly ‘healthy’ but in reality aren’t. Case in point – Naked Juices. They are currently being sued because their juices aren’t really ‘natural’ or healthy. They are loaded with GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), soy derived fillers, lots of sugar etc.  Read the labels & do your research

Look at the sugar content! 1 teaspoon = 4.2 grams 

Here are some grains that are naturally Gluten-free:

  1. Brown rice
  2. Quinoa
  3. Amaranth
  4. Oats (just make sure they are whole oats, uncontaminated)
  5. Teff
  6. Sorghum
  7. Millet
  8. Buckwheat
  9. Cornmeal, whole grain (not cornstarch)
  10. Popcorn (organic & non-GMO)
  11. Montina (Indian Rice Grass)

You may not have heard of some of these. I have never heard of Montina!! But MOST of them are easy to find. You can start with oats, quinoa, brown rice & popcorn & then move on to Amaranth, millet, buckwheat, etc as you get more comfortable! It's a process :)

I started with these recipes & they are delicious!! Eat up!

 

Quinoa Breakfast Porridge

1 cup Almond milk, unsweetened *

½ cup quinoa

½ berries (fresh or frozen)

¼ tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp agave nectar (optional) 

Bring the almond milk & quinoa to a light boil. If you are using frozen berries ‘cook’ the berries with the quinoa. Once you bring it to a light boil, reduce heat to a low simmer & cover saucepan with its lid. Simmer for ~15 minutes or until the quinoa has the desired amount of almond milk left. Remove from heat & mix in the cinnamon & agave (optional) & the berries, if fresh.

* I use unsweetened almond milk because I want it to have as little added to it as possible. If I have time I will make my own almond milk – but I admit, I don’t usually have the time to make my own. If you want to add 1 tsp of true Vanilla extract feel free to do so.

 

Raw Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

1 ¼ cups whole oat groats or steel cut oats

1 ½ cups almond milk, unsweetened (or purified water)

1 organic apple, chopped

1 tbsp organic raisins

¼ tsp cinnamon

**Place the oats in the milk/water with the raisins & let them soak overnight.

In the morning, add the chopped apple & blend in your food processor/blender/vitamix until smooth. Sprinkle the cinnamon & more raisins, if desired.

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