4 Ways To Give Yourself An Energy Boost

Do you ever feel like you just don’t have the motivation to get up and get things done? You’re not alone and a lack of energy is something that affects a lot of us. There are all sorts of reasons you might be struggling with your energy levels from your diet to your schedule. Whatever the cause, you need to do something about it. These are some of the best ways to give yourself an energy boost.

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Eat Right

The food that we eat has a big impact on our energy levels. If you’re snacking on high fat foods with little nutritional value, your body isn’t getting the vitamins that it needs to function properly and you’ll struggle to find motivation. High sugar foods are also dangerous because, while they’ll give you a short term energy boost, you’ll crash shortly afterward and feel tired and sluggish. If you want an energy boost, make sure you’re eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and avoiding fatty or sugary snacks. It’s also important that you drink plenty of water because your body and your brain will get tired if they’re dehydrated.

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IV Therapy

When you think of an IV drip, you probably think that it’s something you’ll be given in hospital when you’re sick, but did you know you can use them to give you an energy boost. IV therapy started out as a hangover cure in cities like Las Vegas but more recently, people have started to realize the energy boosting benefits that it has. There are companies that will come to your house and administer an IV filled with vitamins and minerals that give your body a boost. If you have one regularly, you’ll see a huge positive change in your energy levels because you’re making sure that your body has everything that it needs to function properly.

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Exercise

When you exercise, you’ll feel tired immediately afterward so surely it’s not the best way to give yourself an energy boost? Actually, even though it wears you out there and then, regular exercise will give you more energy overall. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which improve your mood and give you more energy. It also improves your circulatory systems so all of your organs are getting more oxygen which, again, boosts your energy and helps to improve concentration. Another major benefit of exercise is that it helps you to sleep better. That’s vital because one of the main reasons that people suffer from a lack of energy is that they aren’t getting good, restful sleep every night.

Limit Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the worst things for energy levels. Obviously, if you’ve had a lot to drink the night before, you’ll wake up with a lack of energy. But even if you’ve just had a few drinks, you’ll feel more tired the next day. Regular drinking, even if it’s just a small amount, can sap a lot of your energy generally. That doesn’t mean you should never drink at all, just limit it to one or two nights a week.

When you’ve got no energy and you can’t find the motivation to do anything, try some of these things to give yourself a much needed boost.   Whatare someof the things you do for a energy boost? Please share in the comments below. I really would love to know.

Until next time, shine amongst the stars!

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A Fat Belly is Bad for Your Heart Even You are Not Overweight

 

Belly fat, even in people who are not otherwise overweight, is bad for the heart, according to results from the Mayo Clinic presented today at EuroPrevent 2018, a European Society of Cardiology congress.1

“See your doctor if your waist is bigger than your hips,” said study author Dr Jose Medina-Inojosa, from the division of Preventive Cardiology at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, and The International Clinical Research Centre of St. Anne’s University Hospital (FNUSA-ICRC), Brno, Czech Republic.

Body mass index (BMI), which is weight relative to height in kg/m2, is used to categorise adults as underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. However, BMI does not account for the amount and distribution of fat and muscle.

Central obesity is a store of excess fat around the middle of the body and is a marker of abnormal fat distribution. This study tested the hypothesis that people with normal weight and central obesity would have more heart problems than people with normal weight and normal fat distribution.

In 1997 to 2000 the study enrolled 1,692 residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, aged 45 years or older. The sample was representative of the county population for age and sex. Participants underwent a clinical examination and measurements were taken of weight, height, waist circumference and hip circumference. Central obesity was defined as a ratio dividing the waist circumference by the hip circumference of 0.90 or above for men and 0.85 or above for women.

Patients were followed-up from 2000 to 2016 for the occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) using linked medical records from the Rochester Epidemiology Project. MACE was defined as heart attack, surgical or percutaneous coronary revascularisation to open blocked arteries, stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes.

Participants with a normal BMI (18.5–24.9 kg/m2) and central obesity had an approximately two-fold higher long-term risk of MACE compared to participants without central obesity, regardless of their BMI.

Dr Medina-Inojosa said: “People with a normal weight but a fat belly have more chance of heart problems than people without a fat belly, even if they are obese according to BMI. This body shape indicates a sedentary lifestyle, low muscle mass, and eating too many refined carbohydrates.”

“The belly is usually the first place we deposit fat, so people classified as overweight BMI but without a fat belly probably have more muscle which is good for health,” he continued. “Muscle is like a metabolic storehouse and helps decrease lipid and sugar levels in the blood.”

Participants with a normal BMI and central obesity also had a higher risk of MACE than overweight and obese participants with central obesity. Dr Medina-Inojosa said that overweight and obese people with central obesity might also have more muscle mass which could be protective.

He said: “If you have fat around your belly and it’s greater than the size of your hips, visit your doctor to assess your cardiovascular health and fat distribution. If you have central obesity the target will be waist loss rather than weight loss. Exercise more, decrease sedentary time by taking the stairs or getting off the train one stop early and walking, increase your muscle mass with strength and resistance training, and cut out refined carbohydrates.”

Dr Medina-Inojosa said it was important for doctors not to assume that people with a normal BMI are not at risk of heart problems or that their fat distribution is normal. He said: “Our study provides evidence that doctors should also measure central obesity to get a better picture of whether a patient is at risk.”

Source: European Society of Cardiology

Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potato

INGREDIENTS
1 sweet potato 160 grams
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil 5 mls
1 chopped spring onion 15 grams
1/2 clove Minced Garlic 1.5 grams
60 g tinned red kidney beans
1/4 cup corn kernels fresh or tinned (40 grams)
1/4 tsp chilli powder 0.25 grams
1 tsp lemon juice 5 mls
1/4 diced avocado 30 grams

INSTRUCTIONS
1) Drain and rinse the beans.
2) Pierce holes in the sweet potato with a fork or skewer. Place in a microwave steamer, with a small amount of water and microwave on high for 7-10 minutes (the time will depend on microwave and size of sweet potato), or until it is lightly tender.
3) Set the sweet potato aside to cool slightly. Once cool to touch, cut in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh so there is only a thin layer of flesh remaining lining the edges. Set aside.
4) Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic to the pan and cook until tender. Add beans, corn and chilli powder (feel free to omit for little ones) and cook until warmed through. Add sweet potato flesh and stir through.
5) Divide bean mixture into each sweet potato skin half and serve topped with diced avocado and lemon juice.

Note: if you can’t find a small sweet potato, approximately 160g, then use a larger one and serve one half per person, rather than a whole sweet potato per serve.

Superfood chicken or vegan Guyanese dhal (lentil soup)that eats like a meal

  • Makes: 6 servings
  • Total time: 40 minutes, cook time: 30 minutes, prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients for the base

Red lentils

  • 6-8 cups of water
  • For those who don’t want vegan, use 3 boneless chicken breasts, chopped or sliced, or whatever chicken you have in your fridge
  • 1.5 cups of red or yellow lentils
  • 1-2 cups of chopped spinach or kale
  • 1-2 cups of chopped broccoli or cauliflower
  • 1.5 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tomato
  • Salt to your taste
  • Optional: 1-3 habanero, wiri-wiri or chili peppers, omit the pepper if you don’t want it spicy. I use 3 habanero peppers because they’re hotter.

Additional optional ingredients

I’ve used a cup of leftover rice, asparagus, leftover chicken from a restaurant, whatever I need to finish in the fridge. It’s’ hard for me to include these in the recipe because it changes every week. So go crazy with your favorite ingredients!

Directions

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  1. If using chicken that’s not a leftover: Use 1 teaspoon of the curry powder, salt, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon each of the turmeric and cumin to marinate it in a baking dish and set it aside. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Rinse the lentils and set them aside.
  3. Chop the onion, garlic, tomato and peppers.
  4. Bring the 6 cups of water to a boil (can be done at the same time you are doing the above steps).
  5. Add the lentils, onion, garlic, tomato, peppers and olive oil to boiling water.
  6. Add spices and salt
  7. Turn the heat down to medium-high and boil lentils for 20 minutes.
  8. If using chicken: Put it in the oven to cook for 15 minutes or until cooked while the lentils are boiling. If your chicken is already cooked add it in during the next step to warm it up.
  9. Blend the soup with hand blender to achieve a smooth texture or partially smooth (I find it blends the flavors together better).  Return to a low boil and add the spinach and your other ingredients, including chicken if using it, for another 10 minutes.

lentils blending

I let it cool down for five minutes before I eat it.

Chicken: Approximate nutritional information for 1 serving (Based on brands and amounts used in the recipe)

dhal amped up
Dhal with chicken, rice and other other ingredients

Note: Your nutritional value may differ depending on what you use. When I’m eating it, I usually have 1.5 servings or 1 I’ve thrown rice in it.

  • Calories: 301 g
  • Fat: 9.2 g
  • Carbs: 20 g
  • Protein: 34 g

Vegan: Approximate nutritional information for 1 serving (Based on brands and amounts used in the recipe)

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Vegan version without rice

Note: Your nutritional value may differ depending on what you use. When I’m eating the vegan version for dinner I usually have 3 servings, or 1.5 if I’ve thrown rice in it.

  • Calories: 152 g
  • Fat: 6.2 g
  • Carbs: 20 g
  • Protein:  8 g

Dealing With Stress

Not all stress is bad. We all go through it at different points. Things such as getting fired from a job or a death in the family will cause stress.  But even positive things, such as a promotion, new relationship or new baby, can cause stress. The key is to make sure you balance out stressful times with times to relax.  When you go through one stressful period after another, it can affect your physical and mental health.

Below are lists of some common symptoms of too much stress. See if you’ve experienced any of these in the past month.

Physical changes

  • Fatigue
  • Sleeplessness
  • Change in bowel function, either constipation or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Change in appetite, eating less or more than you normally would
  • Headache, backache or chest pain
  • Numbness anywhere in your body
  • Muscle spasms, tremors felt in any muscle in the body

Emotional changes

  • Moodiness
  • Difficulty controlling your temper
  • Irritability, anxiety or depression
  • A noticeable negative attitude (either you have noticed, or others have told you)
  • Feeling overwhelmed or out of control
  • Poor concentration
  • Little things have started bothering you that didn’t bother you before
  • Crying frequently

What it means

  • If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, try some stress reduction techniques, such as exercise, meditation, deep breathing or relaxation.
  • If you feel you’ve experienced half or more of them, consider asking a healthcare professional to help you identify and deal with your stress.

Some ways to deal with it

If you prefer to deal with stressful or crisis situations head on:

 

Try taking an active approach to managing your stress.

  • Write down your worries as they come up and then put them away. At an appropriate time, allow yourself thirty minutes to an hour to go over your worries and find solutions.
  • Some signs of stress that you may experience include nervousness, butterflies in the stomach or tense muscles. Exercise can help you relieve your tension.
  • Focus on exercise that requires your concentration, such as playing a sport rather than running or doing some meditation. Running or meditation will give you too much time to think about your problems while you are doing them instead of relaxing your mind during that time.

If you prefer to ignore stressful or crisis situations:

 

Blue Lagoon, Iceland entrance
Water therapies are good stress relievers. The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

You may not be fully aware of your body’s reaction to stress if you avoid problems.

  • You may need special help in recognizing your body’s reaction to stress. For example, biofeedback therapy helps train people to control muscle tension, blood pressure or heart rate.
  • You may also need the help of a therapist or support group if a crisis comes along that you can’t ignore, such as the death of someone close to you or job loss.
  • Meditation, reading, yoga, deep-breathing or taking a hot bath are effective stress reducers for you.
  • Exercises such as running or swimming are also excellent ways to reduce stress.

These are just some ideas. What are some of the ways you use to deal with stress?

Thai-rific Gluten Free Spicy chicken or vegan noodle soup

  • Makes: 6 servings
  • Total time: one-half hour, cook time: 15 minutes, prep time: 10-15 minutes

Notes:

  1. I use less of the noodles and more veggies and chicken or tofu to cut down on carbs because vermicelli noodles are low in fiber and protein.
  2. The reasons for using pepper is for stress and weight management, if you cannot handle spice, you can take a mild pepper and add some strained tomato until it’s mild enough

Ingredients

  • 180 g (1 cup) of vermicelli rice noodles
  • 540 g (a little over 2 cups) of chicken breast or extra-firm tofu cubed or cut into strips
  • 3 chili peppers of your choice, like wiri wiri, habanero, scotch bonnet, jalapeno (banana peppers have no spice). See note number two above if mild may also be too hot for you
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock, homemade or a low-sodium gluten-free brand
  • 3 cups of capsicum (any color, or a variation), chopped or sliced
  • 1 cup of carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1 cup of green onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup of shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of corriander, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions for chicken

Thai chicken noodle soup

  1.  Wash the chicken and cut it into cubes or strips when dry.
  2. Grate the ginger.
  3. Cut the capsicum, chili, carrots and mushrooms.
  4. Finely dice the garlic, onion and cilantro.
  5. Marinate the chicken with salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of lime juice and 1 and a half teaspoons of the curry powder for 1 hour (or longer) or a minimum of 15 minutes.
  6. Boil the chicken stock in a pot and then turn down to medium-high.
  7. In the pot, stir in the coconut milk, remaining oil and curry powder.
  8. Next, add in the chicken, the chili, salt, pepper, garlic, mushrooms, peppers and carrots, and cook for around 10 minutes.
  9. Add in 1/4 cup of the coriander and most of the green onion and cook for a few minutes.
  10. Cook the noodles in a separate pot according to the package directions (usually 5 minutes). Drain and rinse with hot water.
  11. Place everything in bowls and toss with more chili pepper, salt and pepper if needed.
  12. Top with the remaining parsley, green onion, and the peppers and bean sprouts if using.

Directions for tofu

Thai chicken noodle soup

  1. Drain and pat the tofu dry.
  2. Grate the ginger.
  3. Cut the bell peppers, chili, carrots and mushrooms.
  4. Finely dice the garlic, onion and cilantro.
  5. Marinate the tofu with salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of lime juice and 1 and a half teaspoons of the curry powder for 1 hour (or longer) or a minimum of 15 minutes.
  6. Boil the vegetable stock in a pot and then turn down to medium-high.
  7. In the pot, stir in the coconut milk, remaining oil and curry powder.
  8. Next, add in the tofu, the chili, salt, pepper, garlic, mushrooms, peppers and carrots, and cook for around 10 minutes.
  9. Add in 1/4 cup of the coriander and most of the green onion and cook for a few minutes.
  10. Cook the noodles in a separate pot according to the package directions (usually 5 minutes). Drain and rinse with hot water.
  11. Place everything in bowls and toss with more chili pepper, salt and pepper if needed.
  12. Top with the remaining parsley, green onion, and the peppers and bean sprouts if using.

Chicken: Approximate nutritional information for 1 serving (Based on brands and amounts used in the recipe)

  • Calories: 384 g
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Carbs: 37 g
  • Protein: 34 g

Tofu: Approximate Nutritional information for 1 serving (Based on brands and amounts used in the recipe)

  • Calories: 375 g
  • Fat: 12.4 g
  • Carbs: 49 g
  • Protein: 29 g

 

Apple Spinach Smoothie Bowl

Personally, I’m a fan of apples that are sweet. Sour apples take me longer to eat, and mixing them with other unsweet things, would take me forever to finish. But, I like to experiment with food and figure out combinations that work. So, the surprise in this bowl (to me) is it was delicious – an enjoyable blend of healthy greens and the right apples.

  • Makes: 2 servings
  • Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

spinach

  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1-2 sweet or semi sweet red apples or a combination of both, peeled and cut into squares (McIntosh, Red Delicious, Snow or Honeycrisp are all good)
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop of vegan protein powder

Toppings of your choice. These are the ones I used:

shaved coconut

  • 1 kiwi cut in half
  • Handful or tablespoon of shaved, slivered or chopped coconut
  • Handful of Blueberries
  • 2 teaspoons of maize seeds of if you’re not vegan, bee pollen

Directions

Add all ingredients minus toppings into a blender and puree until smooth. Add toppings and enjoy!

Approximate nutrition information for one serving size (Based on brands and amounts used in this recipe)

  • Calories: 442 (without toppings: 264)
  • Fat:  6.5g (without toppings: 2.5g)
  • Carbohydrates: 58g (without toppings: 35g)
  • Protein: 24g (without toppings: 33g)

Grilled Steak with Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients

4  steaks, about 150g each, at room temperature
1/2 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves
2 chilies, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup chopped corriander
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

Cauliflower Rice

1 small head cauliflower
1 tsp canola oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt

Method

  1. To make the cauliflower rice, cut cauliflower into florets. Pulse florets in a food processor until finely chopped to resemble rice.
  2. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high. Add oil, then onion. Cook until soft, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add cauliflower. Cook until tender, about 2 more minutes. Stir in salt and season with fresh pepper. Set aside.
  4. Preheat barbecue to medium-high.
  5. Sprinkle both sides of steaks with salt and season with fresh pepper.
  6. Whirl garlic and chilies in a food processor until finely chopped. Add lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, corriander and mint. Whirl until finely chopped. Scrape into a small bowl. Set aside.
  7. Barbecue steaks, with lid open, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare.
  8. Transfer steaks to a cutting board. Let stand 5 minutes, then slice into thin strips. Drizzle steak with corriander sauce and sprinkled with more mint if desired.
  9. Serve steak with cauliflower rice.

Makes 4 servings. Aprox 300 Cal per serve

Shake off the bad stuff with this detox smoothie

Detox smoothie

  • Makes: 1 large serving or 2 small servings
  • Total time:5 minutes

Ingredients

Mixed berry smoothie blender

  • 1 cup of frozen berries, I usually use blueberries, blackberries and raspberries or strawberries, if using fresh berries, add some ice when blending the smoothie
  • 1 cup of organic kale or spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 1/2 scoop (22 g) of vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon of flaxseed

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Drink immediately.

Approximate nutritional value based on brands and amounts used

Nutrition without toppings
Calories: 306
Fat: 4.6 g
Carbs: 47.6 g
Protein: 21.3 g

10 Tips To Save Calories

Summer bodies are made in winter,  and most of us will think about getting our bodies ready for summer clothes. Problem is some of us are too busy working and raising children to get to the gym. Here is a list of ways to make small daily changes in your diet to cut calories and fat.

  1. Avoid packaged convenient foods. Yes they do save us some time but if you actually read fat and calorie content for these foods they are very high in comparison to foods made fresh, not to mention all those added preservatives.
  2. Try to reduce or omit the amount of added butter to vegetables and potatoes. Sure, butter does taste good, but you will get used to tasting the real flavor of the vegetables instead of the butter.
  3. Try substituting fat free chicken stock or broth into your mashed potatoes.  I use an electric mixer to whip them up light and fluffy.
  4. Try unsweetened vanilla flavored almond milk in your cereal. One cup of almond milk is only 30 calories while skim milk has 80.
  5. Trim the fat off you meats before you cook them.
  6. Try substituting ground turkey for beef in meals like chili and tacos.  You wont be able to tell the difference especially in spicier dishes.
  7. Buy plain yogurt and add your own fruit or even just a touch of honey if you need the sweetness.  Sugar is added to most flavored yogurt cups, even in the fat free varieties.
  8. Read labels constantly.  Sugar is added to so many foods these days, it’s no wonder why our society has a weight problem.  Check your favorite spaghetti sauce jar, or peanut butter you may be surprised to see sugar as one of the ingredients.  There are sauces out there that don’t have added sugar.  I buy my store brand marinara that only has tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and onion and spices.  I use Teddy peanut butter, no added sugar or palm oil, only peanuts and salt.  Keep this peanut butter in the fridge so the oil doesn’t separate from the peanuts.
  9. Buy reduced fat cheeses instead of full fat or leave the cheese off entirely.
  10. Buy 100% whole wheat bread.  Again, check the sugar content.  Some manufacturer’s use terms like fructose or cane syrup to disguise sugar in the ingredients.