One of my favorite things to do is read tips and facts! Sounds weird, and maybe boring, but I just can’t get enough of them! Usually, they are about something so unrelated to anything in my world, but my brain sucks it up and I’ll remember it forever. So this time around, I put together a short, simple list of ten tips to help you lead a healthy lifestyle and become a better you. And trust me, I am trying these out as well!

1) Lemon Water

Add lemon to your water! By adding a slice of lemon to your glass of water, you can boost your metabolism by 33%. What the lemon is doing is detoxifying the liver which metabolizes fat. This is one my favorite tips, it is such a simple thing to do, and it really wakes up your water and yourself!

2) Raw Nuts

Keep raw almonds at hand – keeping any kind of raw nut close by when your stomach starts rumbling is a good idea. Raw nuts in a small portion can help keep your blood sugar stable. Almonds and cashews are my favorite!

3) Don’t Starve Yourself!

Listen to your hunger and don’t try to push through it! Many people are afraid of the word ‘diet’ and its restrictions – heck, even I am. But this is one tip that I am for sure going to be using. If you cannot commit to a diet, the simplest thing to do is EAT LESS! Boom! Easy! Just be sure to eat slowly and savor every bite of food rather than shoveling it down to the bottomless pit of your stomach.

4) Snack Often And Snack Well

Speaking of hunger, do not let yourself get too hungry. Even when on a “diet” or eating less, it is important to include healthy snacks. Snacking is good! If you include snacks in your meal plan, remember those healthy nuts. If you allow yourself to snack, you are more likely going to avoid those guilty food binges later in the day.5) Protein

Add protein to every meal! Protein is so important to us because it can help keep those hunger pangs away. And if you are anything like me, those pangs can be so unpleasant feeling. Add some meat, tofu or beans to any meal to help with the pangs.

6) Eliminate Sugary Drinks

I know this one can be really hard for people, it is for me, but sodas and juices (and even those Starbucks coffees) are loaded with unwanted calories. Remember, go for the glass of water with lemon; to me it adds enough sweetness to help that craving, and it is so much better for you!

7) Try New Recipes

Bet you didn’t think this could be a healthy fact, huh? But it’s true, healthy eatingdoesn’t have to be boring at all. Especially in your own kitchen, and I find by trying new healthy recipes in my own turf I am more likely to try and like the meal. After all, I did just put all that work into it, I’ll be hungry! So treat yourself to a new healthy cookbook, and be amazed at what is healthy for you.

8) Two Words: Greek Yogurt

Did you know that Greek yogurt has twice as much protein, less sodium, fewer carbs, is gut friendly and very versatile? It’s true, compared to American yogurt, Greek is the route to go. Also, Greek Yogurt makes a great substitute for other ingredients in baking and cooking!

9) Avoid Processed Foods

I know this one can be really hard, just because the grocery stores are LOADED with them, but if you can, always buy natural foods. Processed foods tend to be higher in calories, preservatives, and are lower in nutrients. Remember when going grocery shopping, stick to the outer aisles of the store. Produce, meats, dairy and other natural foods are going to be located here. Most processed foods are in the inner aisles!

10) Portion Size

Limit your portions! This goes back to the scary ‘diet’ word, just always serve yourself smaller portions, if you can. A good rule of thumb is the right portion size is no bigger than your fist. Remember, you can always go back for seconds, but listen to what your body is telling you – if you are full, stop eating!

Now Stick With It

So there you have it – ten easy to remember tips to help keep you on track with your healthy lifestyle goals. Just stick with them consistently and I’m sure you’ll see a change in yourself both physically and emotionally. Cheers to your health!

Coconut Oil is Surprisingly Healthy For You

Coconut oil is solid saturated fat. Coconut oil is a health food.  Are these two sentences in direct opposition of each other?

Definitely not!

Once you start to hear about the health benefits of extra virgin coconut oil, you’ll begin to understand why that is.

Many people mistakenly believe that all saturated fats are bad for you, but that’s really not true. The problems are man-made trans-fats, and if the fat-source you’re looking at has high amounts of LDL (bad) cholesterol.

In fact, Dr. Weston Price found that Pacific Islanders whose diets included large amounts of coconut had incredibly low levels of heart disease. (source)

Coconut oil is very high in lauric acid, a health-promoting compound with anti-viral/bacterial/protozoan properties. It’s also high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are smaller and easier to digest than most vegetable fats (long-chain triglycerides or LCTs).

These MCTs are easy for your liver to burn for energy – just like carbohydrates – but without the insulin spike. Once they get the fire lit, your body will keep burning fat for energy and will begin to use up stored fat.

Cooking With Coconut Oil

This is an important thing to note:

It’s not healthy to cook with olive oil.

Got that? Good. The reason why is this:

  • Olive oil and most other vegetable oils have low-smoke points. When a fat starts to smoke from heat, it is going through a chemical change. After this has happened, it becomes full of carcinogenic compounds and oxidants that are horrible for your body.
  • Most vegetable oils come from GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) which include soy, corn, and canola.

 

Coconut oil has a much higher smoke point, and therefore will not be damaged by heat and is much better for cooking.

As far as olive oil (virgin, extra-virgin, regular, organic, or any other variety) is concerned, there is a reason people like to use it as salad dressing, and that’s because it’s healthiest if never heated. It will serve you much better drizzled on top of your healthy and delicious meals.

Where to Find Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

It’s very easy to find it at your neighborhood health food store. Many chain grocery stores are starting to carry it.

You can also find it online, which I’d never done before but just gave it a shot and it worked out fine.

I just purchased a giant 1.6 liter (54oz) tub of it from Vitacost online for only $22. Here’s the link to it.
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You can also pick it up at Amazon , which is always convenient.

Hope this has helped you decide if using coconut oil is right for you.

I know you’ve had a bad smoothie before – we all have. When making smoothies, random lumps, clumps of unblended protein powder, and big pieces of greens can be gross enough to make you vomit – especially while cleansing, since your stomach might be upset while getting used to less food. This is why it’s important to get the best blender on the market for making smoothies. If your smoothies are gross, you’re not going to stay on the wagon.

The best blender for smoothies will completely annihilate food pieces into a creamy, luscious texture. Powders will be thoroughly mixed in, and even things like almonds won’t leave chunks behind.

Meet the Best Blender on the Market

I personally think the best blender you can get is the OmniBlend. It has all the features of the Vita-Mix and Blendtec, but at half the price. It comes with a 7-year warranty, a plastic tamper in case things need a push into the blades, 64oz BPA-free container, and much more.

I like it because at $250 it opens up the health benefits of a cleanse to people that can’t afford $500+ for a blender, and with a 3hp motor you don’t have to spend much time preping food you put in. I routinely put in whole apples and oranges and this machine doesn’t even blink.

When using a powerful blender like the OmniBlend, it will actually micronize any leafy greens, fruits, and veggies that you put in it. The cell walls will be broken, which releases more of the nutrients from the plants.

 

In fact, modern research is revealing that many beneficial chemicals only appear after the cell walls are broken; two chemicals from different cells meet and a reaction occurs (especially true for onions and garlic), creating new beneficial compounds. This only happens when using the best blender on the market, as the blades spin at very high speeds, breaking down the cell walls.

And let’s face it, you’re paying extra for those healthy organic fruits and veggies – you might as well get the most out of them.

Now, when you’re on the Clean Program, two of your three daily meals are going to be smoothies. They are the key to a healthy fast that will help you lose weight, feel great, and possibly (like myself) get rid of some chronic health problems.

Since they’re so important to the cleanse, you’re going to want your smoothies as good as they can be, right? No lumps, no pockets of powder, and as much micronutrients as you can wrangle out of your ingredients.

Your Health is the Most Important Thing

Lastly, buying the best blender on the market is an investment, and not just in your health. I was spending about $60/month on inhalers before my cleanse. I also put over $2,000 on my flexible spending account to pay for medicines and doctor bills.

It’s been 15 months (as of 7/2012) since I’ve bought an inhaler, meaning I’ve saved $900 in inhaler costs. I haven’t kept track of it, but I know I’ve only been to the doctor once in that period which is far less than in the past, so I’m saving money there too.

As for the OmniBlend, it will last you for the long run. It’s actually designed to have parts replaced on it – meaning it’s not made to be simply disposed of when it stops running. And that’s great news, because it has that awesome 7-year worry-free warranty.

My plan is to do a full cleanse once per year, with a smaller one-week cleanse six months later. I know I’ll be getting lots of use from this blender, and I know I won’t have to buy another for a long, long time.

This Cleanse Is Different

In the spring of 2011 I decided I needed a change. I was working far too much, was no longer working out or eating well, had multiple health problems, was overweight, and just didn’t feel good.

After reading an article in Outside magazine about Dr. Alejandro Junger’s Clean Program, I was intrigued. It didn’t sound like other cleanses I’d heard of, like the South Beach or the Master Cleanse (does that even improve your health? Just seems to make people cranky…;)

No, this cleanse sounded different. It was developed by an actual Western-medicine trained MD (who also had tons of Eastern-medicine experience), and designed to not take over your life. Sounded great to me, so I read the article.

I Quit those inhalers cold turkey – my asthma was gone!

The author was pretty dubious at first – after all, he’s seen more than his fair share of fad diets come and go. But slowly, as he learned more about it and as the days went on, he became completely convinced.

By the end of the article, he mentioned that chronic pain in his back was gone, he no longer needed coffee to get going or a drink after work to relax. His energy levels were way up, and he seemed to have a renewed outlook on life. So I decided I wanted to get in on that.

My Turn to Detox

I read Clean by Dr. Junger (the book that started the whole program), ordered the full detox kit, and gave it a whirl. It was difficult – a bit of a test, really – but in the end the results were nothing short of unbelievable.

I had developed asthma when I was 21 years old, and after buying inhalers every month for the last 8 years, I gave them up. I Quit those inhalers cold turkey – my asthma was gone!

The pain in my knees from old injuries completely disappeared – I could go running without having to ice my knees and take aspirin afterwards, the pain in my lower back was largely better, and my blood-sugar levels were no longer in the “pre-diabetic’ range.

After years and years of “maintaining” my health issues, they were all either gone or much improved. My experience with the Clean Program has been great, and I want to share that with others.

This site is dedicated to helping other people take charge of their health. I believe good health should fall equitably on everyone, not just the rich or lucky few. Please look around the site, learn, have fun, and most importantly, take action to make a change in your life.

Cheers!

Andy