Tag: PFF

The Secret to Eating for Energy and Cutting Sugar Cravings

In the first post in this series all about sugar, I shared what we’ve learned about how much sugar we’re eating, how it’s hidden in many of our favorite “healthy” foods, and why so many of us are addicted to¬†it. If you missed it, check it out here!

If our drive to eat these foods is so strong, how do we overcome it? How can we eat for energy instead of always turning to sugar or caffeine to pick us up?

How do we set ourselves up to reduce sugar cravings? 

The good news¬†is that our taste buds are highly adaptable. They can change over time.¬†It’s important to know that¬†the more sugar we eat, the more sugar we crave.

If we give our body a break from artificial sweeteners and refined sugar and eat naturally sweet foods (like berries), then when we do eat a sweetened food, it may taste too sweet to us!

Aside from eating less sugar, one of the¬†keys to cutting sugar cravings and eating for energy is to eat¬†satiating meals and snacks that stabilize our blood sugar. To do this, we’ll want to include a¬†combination of¬†protein, fiber and fat…PFF for short.

PFF

The most satiating macronutrient we can eat is PROTEIN.

Protein isn’t just for building muscles either.

The building blocks of protein (amino acids) are the foundation of everything from tissues like muscles to neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, hormones, and enzymes. Protein keeps us full and is key to controlling our energy and weight. Check out this article all about protein and why we need it.

Here are a few of my favorite sources of protein (seeds, nuts, lentils, peas, beans, wild caught fish, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised and cage-free eggs and poultry).

protein

You can find sustainably raised animals products near where you live by searching the website LocalHarvest.org.

For me, one of the most filling sources of protein is lentils. They’re packed with protein AND fiber, so they really fill me up for a long time.¬†One of my favorite lentil dishes to make when the weather cools down is this Crock Pot Lentil Chili. Check out 11 recipes that will make you fall in love with lentils.

Another blood sugar-stabilizer is FIBER.

Fiber is only found in plants and helps our blood sugar release more slowly over time, so it keeps us feeling full and helps us get off of the blood sugar roller coaster. By doing that, we will feel better and have more sustained energy.

Not only that, but fiber-filled foods are nutrient-rich foods (packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals) that nourish and satisfy our bodies at a biochemical level. Instead of being overfed and undernourished, we’re giving our body all of the goodness it needs to feel awesomely energized.

Some of my favorite sources of fiber include the foods below (leafy green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, root vegetables like sweet potatoes, squashes, berries, stone fruits like cherries and peaches, lentils, peas, and beans)

Fiber

As you start eating more fiber, do so slowly and increase your water intake at the same time to support your body in getting rid of waste. That way, you can feel your best and reduce some of the common side effects of adding in more fiber (such as gas and bloating) to an otherwise low-fiber diet.

Incorporating enough fiber in our diet is one of the keys to eating for energy.

Last but not least, we can recover from the advice given to us by the dietary guidelines and…

Stop fearing FAT.

Remember this chart from the first post in this series?

low-fat-guidelines

We need dietary fat for a number of reasons.

For starters, 60% of our brain is made up of fat, so healthy fats like the ones below are essential for brain health and functioning and also play a key role in satiety.

I like to think of fat as a condiment, with most of my meals consisting of fiber and protein. It’s especially important to eat fats when we eat¬†plants containing¬†vitamins that need fat to be absorbed (like the vitamin K in kale).¬†I¬†focus on eating whole food sources of fats as much as possible vs. oils.

Here are just a few of my favorite fats (avocados, flax seeds, hemp seeds, nuts and seeds, pasture-raised cage-free eggs, grass-fed ghee (clarified butter), coconut, and wild caught salmon.

fats

When we include Protein, Fiber and Fat in our meals (PFF for short), we give our body a better chance of controlling our blood sugar, stabilizing our energy and weight AND cutting cravings.

Eating this way has significantly impacted my energy level and has helped me cut cravings, too. Give it a try for yourself, and see what happens.

In the third post in this series, we’ll take a look at the concerns about¬†artificial sweeteners. We’ll wrap up with a bonus 4th post about the BEST natural sweeteners to use and why!

Cozy Crock Pot Lentil Chili: Set It And Forget It! {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

I love my job! I have so much fun sharing¬†my passion for healthy eating and delicious, nourishing food with my co-workers, our clients, and with all of you! ūüôā

Yesterday, I taught a new workshop called Eating for All-Day Energy.

We talked about the challenges of having low energy and what we tend to eat and do when we feel that way. In most cases, we reach for another coffee or snack without giving much thought to how those choices impact our energy.

E4E3

I shared my top four secrets for eating for energy and will be sharing the first of those with you today.

Many of us are riding¬†“the blood sugar roller coaster,” dealing with a series of cravings and energy spikes¬†and crashes all day long. We often feel tired, irritable, moody, and not as energized or focused as we’d like to be.

blood-sugar roller coaster

The truth is, what we eat affects us.

If we want to feel energized, then we have to FUEL and NOURISH our bodies with foods and drinks that give us energy.

So, here’s tip #1:

To have all-day energy, stabilize your blood sugar by having the following combination of foods at each meal:PFF

When we eat meals that have protein + healthy fats +¬†fiber, we stabilize our blood sugar and help it release slowly over time rather than dealing with sudden spikes and drops. (I’ll be sharing more details about exactly how blood sugar¬†works in a future post but wanted to keep it limited¬†for today.)

  1. Protein (nuts: almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, cashews; seeds: pumpkin, chia, hemp, flax, sunflower, sesame; lentils, peas, beans, tempeh (recipe to come!), nut butters, and grass-fed/farm-raised meat, poultry, eggs, and fish)
  2. Healthy Fats (nuts and seeds, avocado, nut and seed butters, wild caught salmon, pasture-raised eggs, extra virgin olive oil, coconut milk, coconut oil, guacamole, tahini (sesame paste), ghee (clarified butter), grass-fed butter if you can tolerate some dairy)
  3. Fiber (vegetables, especially leafy greens; summer squash; cruciferous veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower; fruit, especially berries, peaches, cherries, apples, pears and plums; beans, peas, lentils; gluten-free grains like quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, millet, oats, and amaranth).

At the end of the class, I shared two demos of recipes that will keep you full AND sustain your energy, including this yummy chili.

Everyone loved it! It’s easy to make, too. You just have to saute a few vegetables and spices for about 10 minutes and then dump everything into a crock pot for 8 hours.¬†Set it and forget it! ūüôā

chili 2

This meal is a GREAT option for stabilizing blood sugar, especially if you serve it with some diced avocado on top. There’s¬†PROTEIN¬†in¬†the lentils, FIBER¬†in¬†the lentils and vegetables, and HEALTHY FATS¬†in the avocado.

Lentils fill me up more than just about any other food, too, so you might find the same to be true for yourself.

Don’t let yourself be¬†intimidated by the length of this ingredient list – 1/3 are spices, 1/3 are common veggies, and the rest is pretty basic, too. The only things you might have to buy are the lentils and roasted red peppers…and maybe the tomato puree and diced tomatoes if you don’t already keep them on hand for things like marinara sauce. Every grocery store sells those ingredients.

This is a hearty, filling, heart-warming, nutrient-rich meal. Enjoy it for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

crock pot chili

chili 3

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coconut¬†oil
  • 2 medium onions,¬†chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup¬†carrots,¬†chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (add more if you like more of a “kick”)
  • 1¬†(28-ounce)¬†can¬†or jar tomato puree, no sodium added
  • 1 (28-ounce) can or jar crushed or diced tomatoes, no sodium added (I like Pomi brand)
  • 2¬†roasted red peppers, diced
  • 2 cups dried green lentils or French lentils
  • 1 teaspoon 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Optional: avocado slices and scallions for toppings

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and carrots and saute until onions are soft, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne to vegetables and saute for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add tomato puree, crushed or diced tomatoes and roasted red pepper and stir to combine.
  4. Transfer mixture from saute pan to crock pot. Add lentils, maple syrup, bay leaf and water. Stir to combine all ingredients.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  6. Remove bay leaf and stir in salt before serving.

Top with diced avocado and chopped scallions for a good dose of healthy fat and a pop of color!

Do you have a favorite chili recipe or energy-boosting snack or meal?¬†Feel free to share below ūüôā

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