Even though fiber is typically known for its ability to upsurge the need for restroom trips, consistent fiber intake is incredibly important for your body, and recent studies show Canadians should be eating twice as much fiber as they normally would.
Ever heard of the term “backed up”? Skipping your dose of daily fiber can make the washroom ultra uncomfortable and eating too little fiber makes it tough to control blood sugar and hunger pains as fiber regulates your speed of digestion.
Essentially, fiber comes in soluble and insoluble forms, which are both found in most plant-based foods. Fiber helps slow digestion, lower cholesterol and since fiber is never actually digested by your body — regular intake makes waste heavier and softer so it can pass through your intestines a lot easier.
So what’s the magic fiber amount you should be having? For adults, the recommended daily intake is 25 to 45 grams, though most people never come close to hitting this target and typically only consume about half the quantity they ought to each day. To up your fiber plan, check out these tasty fiber-rich foods:
Not only a go-to ingredient for favorite cheesecake and cream tart recipes, raspberries are a healthy choice for your hearty morning meal. Slow cook them in some creamy oatmeal, or add some to your cereal and almond milk. Fresh raspberries are a superb source of fiber and can be indulged as breakfast, lunch or dessert.
To really enjoy the sweet, juicy taste of blackberry, mix them in a garden salad made with a little feta cheese, onion and cherry tomatoes. When tossed with some light balsamic vinegar, your blackberries will shine through as a nice contrasting flavor to your otherwise savory meal.
Few foods deserve the “superfood” title, like avocado truly does. Overflowing with vitamins, healthy fats and fiber, these buttery fruits are the perfect complement to a simple chicken or roast beef sandwich. For a more adventurous take, try whipping up an avocado shake with a little bit of vanilla extract, coconut milk and ice.
Whether raw or cooked, broccoli is versatile enough to eat with your veggies and dip or tossed in an onion and garlic stir-fry with your choice of mushrooms. We know, broccoli might not have been the family favorite growing up (it wasn’t ours either) but once these mini trees hit the table, you’ll be surprised how fast they get finished up.
Even though they’re probably not as commonly used in your kitchen (likely because of their intimidating exterior), know that artichokes actually pack a lot more fiber punch than most other vegetables. All you have to do is clip their tips and boil and steam them in some lemon, garlic and bay leaves before they’ll give off a wonderful aroma and taste.
A protein-rich soup base and must-have stew ingredient, cooking split peas can be pretty creative. If you’re looking to steer away from your traditional beef and potato stews, try a South Asian recipe made with spinach and yellow split peas. A staple to an array of Indian dishes, you can find aromatic split peas in curry, lentil soup, salads and even pancake recipes.
How to Make the Most Out of Your AM Hours
Whether it’s icy winter or sunny spring time – pressing the snooze button for that extra 5 minutes of treasured sleep is something we all do. Mornings can be tough, especially if you’ve got an active day ahead. On the flipside, however, no one likes waking up past noon and feeling like they’re ultra behind either. This 2017, don’t stress out over the “if you snooze, you’ll lose” mentality – commit yourself to sleeping at reasonable hours and make the most out of your AM hours with these simple tips:
Select a new rise-and-shine time and gradually work towards the new hour. For example, if your body’s used to waking up at 8:30AM, but you’d like to be up by 7AM – set your alarm clock for 8:15AM and train yourself to reach your ideal time in 15-minute additions over a 1 month period.
LET THE SUNLIGHT IN
Before lights off for the night, leave your curtains slightly open during the evening. This way you’ll greet the morning with a nice sunrise peeking through your blinds. Research shows sunlight stimulates hormone, melatonin, which is a light-responsive hormone that tells your brain it’s time to wake up.
PLAN TO START THE DAY WITH SOMETHING YOU LOVE
Instead of dreading dragging yourself out of bed and heading to work asap, plan to do something that gets you excited. Make time for music, yoga, light drawing or a little fashion magazine perusing before getting to other responsibilities. Having something to look forward to is that little zing of motivation you need to get going.
SET THE RIGHT SOUNDS
No one likes waking up to the loud blaring of an alarm clock. Make getting jolted from sleep a lighter, soothing and even a fun thing to do by choosing a free “mood enhancing bell alarm” or a piano-inspired wake-up tune on your mobile phone. Check out some free and magical alarm tones here.
TREAT YOURSELF & EAT BREAKFAST
A little extra motivation never hurt anyone. If you’ve consistently been getting out of bed earlier, or need a kick-start to do so: bake up some fresh and healthy coconut/blueberry muffins, delectable (flour-less) carrot cake or draw yourself a hot bath in the AM instead of jumping in for a quick shower. Not only does eating well and taking an invigorating shower/hot soak give energy for your day, it’ll boost brainpower too.
5 Science-backed Ways to Crush Those New Years Goals
2017 is all but knocking down your door, but heading into mid-January you feel like you’re losing steam already?
Indeed, it seems the FitBit you promised to activate hasn’t even been turned on yet and your meal planning Sundays just didn’t make the cut to little Johnny’s hockey practices…
However, before you sweat it, it’s good to know that fewer than 10 percent of people who make New Years promises actually keep them. The good news is there’s been a ton of research happening over the last decade and sometimes it really just boils down to science. Here’s our sharable, science-backed ways to crushing those goals this New Year:
CHOOSE ONE AND ONLY ONE GOAL
Selecting the tough-to-do, self-control goals like kicking coffee to the curb, or no more favorite steak dinners takes a lot of energy. That’s why it’s pertinent to focus yourself on just one item…
According to goal-setting expert and author Caroline Adams Miller,we wake up with only a certain amount of “self-regulation” in us before we tap out. Hence you might feel it’s a breeze bypassing that apple fritter donut at breakfast, but then just can’t ignore those mixed munchies before dinner.
Another tactic to keep handy is: don’t just give up something you love. Replace it with something that’ll benefit you too. Rather than giving up baking cheesecake, take some time to whip up some delicious energy bites or healthy cranberry bliss bars instead.
GET LAZER FOCUSED AND MAKE IT CHALLENGING
Once you land a goal of choice, don’t make it too easy.Sure, it feels great when you get to cross something off the checklist, but if you lowball yourself then you might run the risk of not being long-run motivated. When it comes to kick-butt goals, we tend to gravitate towards the ones that test you just enough, victories are preferably trackable and goals are usually pretty specific to something you want success at.
Figuring out if you’ve got a learning goal like crunching numbers monthly to see how much and best you can save, or a doing goal like trying to save two grand by November, helps you get serious about moving up on your progress chart and assures that you keep motivated.
LOOK AT WHO’S AROUND YOU
It might sound a little new Age-y to say “most people tend to become the people they surround themselves with”, but we do have some science-backed facts to back it up! It’s called the Social Contagion theory – where study after study proves the people we hang out with most actually have a huge impact on how we behave.
So, as you step outside the box and attend that kick-boxing class or art workshop – it’s probably not a good idea to be hanging out with people who love fast food or think art might be a waste of time. Instead, team up with like-minded groups who keep you happy and motivated.
PREP & PRIME YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Just like hanging around the right people boosts your self-confidence – surrounding yourself with the right things matters too. Meaning, if you’re goal is heading to Europe this 2017, then doing thoughtful, strategic things like changing your computer password to “EUROPE2017” could keep you from doing too much of your favorite (yet pricey) past-times, like online shopping.
5 Simple Tricks to Beat the Winter Blues
Huge wallops of snowfall, holiday bills and sub-zero temperatures not feeling so great? You’re definitely not the only one. If your winter mood feels like it’s falling faster than your thermometer… Try these small lifestyle changes to boost your spirits!
MAKE YOUR HOUSE BRIGHTER
When it’s cloudy and chilly out still let as much natural lighting into your house/apartment as possible. Totally open up your curtains during your daytime hours, trim bushes around your windows, start cozy “bright-colored” paint projects and even trade in those darker fabrics for some light-colored upholstery.
Keep in mind that clutter is mentally disheartening, so clean up your space, sit closer to a window seat and grab those extra sun rays whenever you can.
Though it’s mighty tempting to stay tucked under the blanket, hot tea brewing with your fave series playing in the background – don’t stay in too often. Of course, a night to yourself here and there does wonders for the soul, but heading out to holiday parties and connecting with friends and family is a major mood booster. Cozy up by the fire with loved ones and laugh your way to staying warm… In the long run, friends brighten up your mood way more than your other good friend Netflix.
DODGE THE “SUGAR COMA”, EAT SMART
It’s true, as sluggish winter hits we tend to crave comfort foods like mac ‘n’ cheese, greasy pizza and sweet snacks in general. But filling yourself with sugar and carbohydrates only give temporary feel-good feelings, and ultimately leaves you feeling grosser and possibly depressed…
Instead, opt for complex carbs like yams, beans, spinach and skim milk – which take longer to digest (meaning they won’t cause spikes in blood sugar or create mood roller coasters). Not only do complex carbs fill you up, they provide long-lasting nourishment and up energy levels for you to stay positive in less desirable temps.
TAKE A WINTER VACATION
Who says you can’t take a mid-winter break? Save up your frequent flyer miles/vacation time and spend your February in Florida or the Caribbean. If you really can’t stand the icy cold, keep your spirits high by planning your getaway a few months ahead. Or, if snow is actually up your alley – escape to an idyllic cabin, change the scenery and enjoy a ski strip.
“When the weather outside is frightful”… Ladle up some soup at the local shelter and keep others warm and well fed. Taking time to volunteer (for causes you love) upsurges your own self-confidence, mental health and spurs that motivation to get out and about – no matter what the forecast. Why not embrace a sense of fulfillment, while filling up others during the holidays?
How to be More Active in Winter
Baby, it’s cold outside. And if you’re like us, chances are you’re already tallying up those family gatherings, work parties and last minute shopping trips you have to do.
Indeed, winter time means gym time usually gets delayed or crossed off the schedule altogether.
But just because it’s chilly (and busy) out, doesn’t mean your fitness plans have to hibernate! Beat those winter blues with these smart strategies:
TAKE THE STAIRS
Sometimes it’s as simple as avoiding the elevator and taking the couple flights of stairs to your office or apartment. Five minutes of stair climbing burns up to 150 calories!
PARK FURTHER AWAY
We all know how overflowing parking lots can get during the holidays. Instead of waiting for a spot to clear up, why not park further and get some extra exercise in?
PACE & CLEAN WHILE ON THE PHONE
It’s not surprising for phone chats with family to last an hour or more. Take advantage of your catch-up time by throwing on your earphones or putting them on speaker as you free up your hands for sweeping, laundry folding or meal prepping. No one will be the wiser, and you can always put your feet up whenever you feel like it.
USE A BASKET INSTEAD OF A SHOPPING CART
If you’re only picking up a few necessities after work, grab a basket and make your grocery trip a mini weightlifting session too. Being a spontaneous shopper means checking out the pasta aisle can turn into quite the workout adventure.
SUPPORT A GOOD CAUSE
Whether Christmas time or New Year’s resolution, there’s always interesting walk/run charities to support. Pick one close to your heart and dedicate your training motivation to someone you care about.
SET AN ALARM
Feeling the burn of pre-holiday projects at the office? If you’re constantly engrossed in spreadsheets and emails– set a timer on your iPhone or watch so you’ll remember to get up, walk, stretch or do some wall planks every hour or two.
FIND A WORKOUT BUDDY
Rolling out of bed at the crack of dawn to make your gym sesh is a lot harder to hit snooze on when you’re part of a dynamic duo! Enlist a fitness-minded friend this season and encourage each other to lace up those sneakers and go for it!