Tag: Dieting

Lose Belly Fat with This Vegan Diet Plan

Looking to shed some stubborn belly fat? You don’t need drastic calorie cuts or bland meals. This vegan diet plan targets belly fat reduction in a healthy and delicious way, focusing on whole plant-based foods that keep you feeling satisfied and energized.

Why Vegan for Belly Fat Loss?

Vegan diets tend to be naturally lower in saturated fat and higher in fiber, both key players in belly fat reduction. Plant-based foods are also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, further supporting a healthy metabolism and weight management.

The Belly-Busting Vegan Blueprint:

1. Fiber Frenzy: Embrace high-fiber plant-based foods that keep you fuller for longer and regulate blood sugar, reducing cravings. Think leafy greens, broccoli, lentils, chia seeds, and berries.

2. Protein Powerhouse: Prioritize protein at every meal to boost satiety and build muscle mass, which helps burn belly fat at rest. Choose protein sources like tofu, tempeh, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

3. Healthy Fat Friends: Don’t shy away from healthy fats like avocado, olives, and nuts. These keep you feeling full, aid nutrient absorption, and promote a balanced diet.

4. Limit Processed Foods: Processed vegan meats and snacks can be high in sodium and unhealthy fats. Focus on whole, unprocessed plant-based foods for optimal benefits.

5. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps your body function optimally and can reduce bloating, making your tummy feel flatter.

Sample Vegan Belly-Busting Meal Plan:

Morning (300-400 Calories):

  • Power Chia Pudding: Combine chia seeds with unsweetened almond milk, a sprinkle of berries, and a dollop of nut butter for a fiber- and protein-packed breakfast.

Lunch (400-500 Calories):

  • Spicy Lentil Soup: This hearty soup is packed with protein and fiber. Sauté chopped vegetables like onions and carrots, add lentils, vegetable broth, and your favorite spices. Simmer until tender and enjoy with a slice of whole-wheat toast.

Dinner (450-500 Calories):

  • Tofu Scramble Fiesta: Sauté crumbled tofu with turmeric, bell peppers, onions, and chopped spinach. Add a side of roasted sweet potato wedges for a complete and flavorful meal.

Snacks (150-200 Calories each):

  • Edamame with Chili Flakes: A delicious and protein-rich snack. Steam or boil edamame pods, sprinkle with chili flakes or your favorite spices.
  • Apple with Almond Butter: Pair a juicy apple with a dollop of almond butter for a satisfying and healthy combo of fiber and protein.

No-Sugar Weight-Loss Meal Plan to Beat the Cravings

Conquer your sweet tooth and watch the pounds melt away with this no-sugar weight-loss meal plan! We all know sugar lurks everywhere, but this plan helps you identify hidden sugars and swap them for delicious, healthy alternatives.

Why No Sugar?

Sugar provides empty calories and can spike your blood sugar, leading to cravings and weight gain. By eliminating added sugar, you’ll feel fuller for longer, curb cravings, and give your body a chance to burn fat for fuel.

But It Doesn’t Have to Be Bland!

This plan is packed with flavor thanks to the natural sweetness of fruits, vegetables, and spices. Get ready to explore a world of delicious, sugar-free goodness!

Sample No-Sugar Meal Plan:

Morning (300-400 Calories):

  • Power Up with Protein: Start strong with 2 scrambled eggs with spinach and feta cheese (around 18g protein) or a chia pudding made with unsweetened almond milk, chia seeds, and a sprinkle of berries (around 10g protein and fiber).
  • Healthy Fat Boost: Add a dollop of natural nut butter, such as almond or cashew butter, for healthy fats and extra flavor.

Mid-Morning Snack (150-200 Calories):

  • Crunch and Munch: Quell hunger pangs with a handful of raw almonds and a slice of bell pepper with a dollop of hummus (around 6g protein and healthy fats).
  • Hydration Hero: Pair your snack with a cup of herbal tea like peppermint or ginger for a refreshing pick-me-up.

Lunch (400-500 Calories):

  • Protein Packed and Colorful: Enjoy a bed of mixed greens with grilled chicken or salmon (around 30g protein each), topped with a colorful array of roasted vegetables like broccoli, peppers, and onions.
  • Healthy Fat Dressing: Drizzle with a homemade vinaigrette made with olive oil, lemon juice, and a dash of your favorite herbs.
  • Fiber Fix: Add a side of quinoa or brown rice for complex carbohydrates and fiber.

Afternoon Snack (150-200 Calories):

  • Sweet Satisfaction: Curb cravings with a naturally sweet and satisfying snack like a cup of sliced berries with a dollop of whipped cream made from heavy cream (watch portion sizes!).
  • Sparkle with Water: Always keep a water bottle handy to stay hydrated and curb cravings.

Dinner (450-500 Calories):

  • Protein Powerhouse: Choose a lean protein option like baked cod with lemon and herbs (around 25g protein), lentil soup with a dollop of Greek yogurt (around 18g protein), or a tofu scramble with chopped vegetables (around 20g protein)
  • Veggie Extravaganza: Roast a medley of your favorite vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and zucchini, for added nutrients and flavor.
  • Cauliflower Magic: Replace sugary rice with cauliflower rice for a low-carb, high-fiber alternative.

High-Protein Meal Plan for Weight Loss

Looking to lose weight but worried about losing muscle mass along the way? Fear not, fellow fitness warriors! A high-protein diet can be your secret weapon, helping you shed fat while keeping that hard-earned muscle. This meal plan provides delicious and protein-packed options to keep you feeling full, satisfied, and on track for your weight loss goals.

MORNING: Power Up Your Day (300-400 Calories)

  • Protein Powerhouse: Start your day strong with 3 scrambled eggs (around 18g protein) or a protein smoothie made with Greek yogurt, berries, and a scoop of protein powder (around 25g protein).
  • Fuel for the Fire: Pair your protein with a source of complex carbohydrates for sustained energy. Choose from whole-wheat toast with a drizzle of olive oil, a slice of whole-grain Ezekiel bread, or a half cup of oatmeal with berries.

MID-MORNING SNACK: Keep the Engine Running (150-200 Calories)

  • Protein on the Go: Stay ahead of hunger pangs with a protein-rich snack like a handful of almonds (around 6g protein), a cup of cottage cheese with chopped fruit (around 14g protein), or a hard-boiled egg (around 6g protein).
  • Hydration Hero: Don’t forget to stay hydrated! Pair your protein snack with a glass of water or unsweetened green tea.

LUNCH: Light and Satisfying (400-500 Calories)

  • Protein Packed Plate: Choose a lean protein source like grilled chicken breast (around 30g protein), baked salmon (around 22g protein), or lentil soup (around 18g protein).
  • Veggie Power: Fill half your plate with colorful vegetables like roasted broccoli, a side salad with spinach and peppers, or steamed asparagus.
  • Fiber Friend: Add a source of fiber for a feeling of fullness. Opt for brown rice, quinoa, or a sweet potato.

AFTERNOON SNACK: Curb Cravings (150-200 Calories)

  • Smart Snacking: Fight the 3 pm slump with a smart and satisfying snack. Try sliced vegetables with Greek yogurt dip (around 10g protein), a handful of mixed nuts and dried fruit (around 5g protein), or a protein bar made with whole food ingredients (around 15g protein).

DINNER: Delicious and Nutritious (450-500 Calories)

  • Protein Star: Highlight protein with options like baked cod with lemon and herbs (around 25g protein), turkey chili with black beans (around 30g protein), or tofu stir-fry with vegetables (around 20g protein).
  • Colorful Companions: Don’t forget your veggies! Include roasted Brussels sprouts, a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette, or steamed green beans.
  • Whole Grain Goodness: Choose a source of whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, or a slice of whole-wheat bread.

Remember: This is a sample plan, and you can adjust it based on your individual needs and preferences. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making any major changes to your diet.

6 Frozen Fruits That Support Weight Loss

Nutrition experts advise eating more fruits and veggies, especially if you want to lose weight. Ideally, half of your plate should be filled with them at each meal. However, most Americans aren’t eating enough fruit. Frozen fruit can be a great solution because it’s easy to access, affordable, and ready to eat without any prep work.


One of the best-frozen fruits to keep in your freezer is bananas, says nutrition expert Wendy Jo Peterson. Frozen bananas are great for smoothies because they make them creamy and sweet. They’re also packed with fiber, prebiotics, and potassium. You can buy pre-sliced frozen bananas or freeze your own ripe bananas. In addition to smoothies, you can use them to make banana bread.

Wild Blueberries

Blueberries are a great addition to your kitchen, especially the wild ones you find in the freezer section. They’re smaller and sweeter, with less sugar than regular blueberries. A cup of wild blueberries has 10 grams of sugar and 6 grams of fiber, while regular blueberries have 15 grams of sugar and 4 grams of fiber in the same amount.

Both types of blueberries have antioxidants called anthocyanins in their skin, which are really good for your health. Wild blueberries have more of these antioxidants because they’re smaller. You can use frozen wild blueberries in baking or toss them into warm oatmeal.

Tart Cherries

At the grocery store, you’ll usually find sweet cherries, but you can also get tart cherries in the freezer section all year round.

Tart cherries are great for adding to your morning protein smoothie because they help reduce inflammation. They contain anthocyanins, which can speed up muscle recovery after exercise. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect that helps reduce inflammation in your body. If you’re working out a lot to lose weight, tart cherries can be really helpful. Try them in our Tart Cherry Nice Cream recipe if you can get a bag.


Eating mangoes might mean you’re eating healthier. A study in 2022 found that both kids and adults who eat mangoes have better diets than those who don’t. Especially for guys, eating mangoes is linked to having a lower BMI and less body weight. Having mangoes in your diet can also give you more fiber, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and E, and less added sugar. Maybe it’s because mangoes are naturally sweet and tasty, like nature’s candy.

Fresh mangoes are great, but they’re not always easy to find. “My family loves mangoes, so we always keep frozen mangoes at home. They thaw nicely and can be used instead of fresh ones in recipes,” says Peterson. Try using frozen mangoes in our Mango Smoothie Bowl recipe.


If dealing with a whole pomegranate is a hassle, you’re in luck! You can find pomegranate arils in the freezer section. You can use them in any recipe that calls for fresh pomegranate, says Peterson.

These red jewels are full of fiber, with 6 grams in just a ¾-cup serving. They also have polyphenols, which are antioxidants that fight off harmful substances that damage cells over time.

A review of 20 studies found that pomegranates might help prevent and treat metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions like high blood pressure and high blood sugar that can lead to heart disease and diabetes. Eating pomegranates was linked to lower body weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. More studies are needed, but eating these arils is a healthy choice.

Try adding frozen pomegranate arils to our Whipped Feta with Pomegranate, Pistachios & Honey recipe for your next party.


Strawberries are a favorite in dietitians’ freezers. “My kids love frozen berries in their smoothies, so I always keep them stocked up,” says Amidor.

One cup of frozen strawberries has 3 grams of fiber and only 50 calories. They’re sweet and low-calorie, making them a great choice for satisfying your sweet cravings and reaching your weight-loss goals.

A study on adults with obesity and high cholesterol found that eating 2.5 servings of strawberries a day for four weeks improved insulin resistance and cholesterol levels.

Strawberries also have ellagic acid and flavonoids, which are antioxidants that protect cells and may reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and cognitive decline.

Top 7 Foods You Should Keep in Your Diet While Losing Weight

It’s that time of year when popular diets are everywhere. If you’re trying to lose weight, you might think about avoiding certain foods. But instead of saying “no” to your favorites, why not focus on all the healthy foods you can eat? These seven foods are not only nutritious but also linked to weight loss and good health. You might even find some of your favorites on this list.


Avocados sometimes get a bad rap because they’re high in calories and fat. But they’re actually a healthy choice. They’re full of fiber and healthy fats that can help you feel full. They’re one of the few fruits with these good fats, which are good for your heart and can help you maintain a healthy weight.

A study in 2019 looked at over 55,000 people and found that those who ate avocados were less likely to gain weight over four to 11 years. The researchers think this is because avocados have fiber, which makes you feel full and supports good hormones in your gut that control weight and appetite.

One downside is that avocados don’t have much protein. To get more protein, you can eat them with foods like beans, lentils, eggs, or hemp seeds.


Nuts are often seen as high-calorie snacks, but they’re actually really good for you. Adding nuts like pistachios to your diet can help with weight loss and might even lower your blood pressure. And it’s not just pistachios—other nuts like walnuts, almonds, and cashews have similar benefits.

One reason nuts are so good for you is because they’re full of unsaturated fat, which is healthy for your body. A study in 2019 found that replacing some less healthy foods with nuts can help prevent weight gain and reduce the risk of obesity.

You can eat nuts as a snack on their own, or add them to salads, oatmeal, or soups. If you prefer nut butter, make sure to choose brands that only have nuts and salt. And remember, you only need about an ounce of nuts (around 15-20, depending on the size) to get the benefits.


Seeds might be small, but they’re packed with good stuff. Like nuts, seeds have healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Chia seeds, for example, can absorb a lot of water in your stomach, which helps you feel full.

Research shows that eating fiber can help people lose weight, especially if they’re overweight or obese. Seeds are a great source of fiber. Chia seeds have 10 grams of fiber per ounce, while flaxseeds have 8 grams.

Adding more seeds like chia, hemp, flax, or pumpkin to your diet is a smart move. They give you extra protein, fiber, and healthy fats, which help you feel full longer. You can sprinkle them on yogurt, oatmeal, or add them to smoothies.


Whether you like white potatoes or sweet potatoes, adding them to your meals is a good idea for your health. A medium potato has 151 calories and provides about 11% of your daily fiber needs. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, while both types of potatoes have plenty of potassium, which is important for controlling blood pressure.

Both white and sweet potatoes contain resistant starch, a type of carb that helps your gut. When you cook potatoes and then let them cool, they develop more resistant starch. This starch can help control hormones in your gut that make you feel full and satisfied, which might help you eat fewer calories. So, include potatoes in your meals to help manage your weight.


With the popularity of low-carb diets, fruit sometimes gets a bad rap. However, the latest Dietary Guidelines suggest that most adults should eat two servings of fruit daily for a healthy lifestyle. Plus, many fruits are packed with fiber, which helps you feel full and can lower your risk of chronic diseases.

If you’re avoiding fruits with more starch or sugar because you’re trying to lose weight, you might want to reconsider. Bananas, for example, have resistant starch, which can help with weight control. A 2020 review found that eating more fruits and vegetables can help women lose weight. It’s best to eat whole fruits for the most fiber and fullness.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are another excellent source of fiber. “Research shows that people who eat more whole grains tend to have an easier time managing their weight,” says Shaw. And this includes foods like whole-grain bread, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta—good news for carb lovers!

Shaw suggests eating a variety of whole grains, such as farro, brown rice, quinoa, sorghum, and oats, to get the most benefits.

Plus, a 2019 study in Gut suggests that replacing refined grains with whole grains could help with weight loss. The fiber in whole grains, along with other nutrients, might help you feel fuller, so you end up eating fewer calories overall.


Yes, it’s true: You can have dessert and still reach your weight loss goals. Avoiding dessert completely isn’t a good idea because it can lead to strong cravings and overeating later. This creates a cycle of feeling guilty and restricting yourself, which isn’t healthy.

Instead, enjoy your favorite dessert in moderation without feeling guilty. Choose a small serving, eat it slowly, and really enjoy each bite. If you want more, you can always have more later. The key is to be mindful and present while you eat, which can help you feel satisfied even with a smaller portion.

Should You Choose Low-Fat Foods for Weight Loss?

Finding the right weight loss advice online is like going into a crowded market with lots of different opinions and tips. It can be hard to figure out what works. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! In this article, we talked to dietitians to get clear answers. We’ll look at the science, clear up any myths, and find out if low-fat foods are good or bad for weight loss.

What Are Low-Fat Foods? 

Dietary fats are important for your body to work properly. There are two main kinds: unsaturated fats and saturated fats. Unsaturated fats, found in things like olive oil, avocados, and nuts, are good for your heart and can lower bad cholesterol. Saturated fats, found in animal products and processed foods, can raise bad cholesterol and might cause heart problems if you have too much.

Your body needs some fat to stay healthy. A registered dietitian named Brooke Baird suggests that most adults should get about 20% to 35% of their daily calories from fat. This matches the advice in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

So, what makes a food “low-fat”? Carmelita Lombera, a nutritionist, says that the FDA says a low-fat food has 3 grams of fat or less per 100 grams of serving or has no more than 30% of its calories from fat.

There are two main types of low-fat foods: natural ones and processed ones. Natural low-fat foods, like fruits, veggies, beans, whole grains, and lean meats, are naturally low in fat and are good for you. Processed low-fat foods have had their fat taken out through manufacturing. Sometimes, though, these foods have extra sugar or other stuff added in to make up for the lost fat.

Should You Eat Low-Fat Foods If You’re Trying to Lose Weight?

Potential Benefits 

Fats have a lot of calories—9 per gram—more than proteins or carbs, which have 4 per gram each. If you’re trying to lose weight, picking low-fat options can help cut down on calories.

Low-fat foods often let you eat bigger portions without adding too many calories compared to high-fat foods. This can help you feel full and satisfied, making it easier to stick to a diet where you control your calorie intake. But remember, fats are still important for keeping you full, so it’s okay to include them in your diet, even if you’re watching your calories.

Potential Downsides 

It’s important not to cut out fats completely. Healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, and nuts can actually help you lose weight by keeping you feeling full longer. Fats take longer to digest than carbs and proteins, so they keep your stomach full for longer, delaying hunger.

Plus, fats help your body absorb important nutrients needed for energy and brain health. Eating low-fat foods might affect how well your body can use certain vitamins like A, D, E, and K.

Tips for Incorporating Healthy Fat in an Eating Pattern for Weight Loss 

Here are some simple ways to add healthy fats to your diet and support weight loss:

  1. Choose foods with unsaturated fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These fats are good for your heart and can be part of a balanced diet.
  2. Snack on nuts or seeds like almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, or flaxseeds to keep you full between meals.
  3. Eat fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, or sardines. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your brain, heart, and skin.
  4. Try the plate method for weight loss. Aim for half of your plate to be filled with non-starchy vegetables, a quarter with lean protein, and a quarter with carbohydrates. This helps you get a good mix of nutrients without overeating one type of food.
  5. Eat foods high in fiber, like whole grains, starchy vegetables, beans, and lentils. Fiber helps you feel full, manages blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and keeps your gut healthy.

Nutritionist-Approved 7-Day Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan for a Healthy Gut

The gut’s main job is to break down food, but research shows that having a healthy mix of bacteria in your gut can make you feel better overall. Some studies suggest that having a less healthy mix of gut bacteria might raise your risk for health problems like diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease, and even some cancers. Eating foods that are good for your gut, like ones high in fiber, might help you age in a healthier way. Other research says that having a healthy gut can lower inflammation in your body, which is linked to conditions like asthma, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease. Your gut health and inflammation levels are connected—having a healthy gut with lots of different bacteria can lower inflammation, while an unhealthy gut might raise it.

In this meal plan, we lay out a week’s worth of meals and snacks that are good for your gut and help lower inflammation. We include lots of anti-inflammatory foods, like dark leafy greens and colorful fruits, as well as healthy fats from fish and nuts. We also make sure each day includes at least 30 grams of fiber, which is really good for you but most people don’t get enough of it. To help your gut even more, we include yogurt and kefir, which are full of probiotics that can help keep your gut bacteria diverse and healthy.

While this plan isn’t specifically for losing weight, eating foods that are good for your gut and lower inflammation can benefit everyone. We’ve set the calories at 1,500 per day, which is a level where many people might lose weight. But if you need more or fewer calories, we’ve also included options for 1,200 and 2,000 calories per day. You don’t have to follow this plan exactly—feel free to make substitutions as you like. The main idea is to eat more fiber and include foods that are good for your gut and fight inflammation in your meals.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Focus On: 

  • Fruits like berries, cherries, pomegranate, apples, pears, citrus fruits, and plums.
  • Non-starchy vegetables like dark leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, and tomatoes.
  • Starchy vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, and winter squash.
  • Beans and lentils. Nuts and seeds, including natural nut butters made with just nuts and salt.
  • Fish, especially higher-fat fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines.
  • Whole grains like quinoa, whole wheat, bulgur, and freekeh.
  • Avocado.
  • Olive oil.
  • Herbs and spices.

Day 1

  • Breakfast (317 calories): 1 serving of a quick Spinach Omelet and 1 medium orange.
  • Morning Snack (193 calories): 1 medium apple with 1 tablespoon of almond butter (skip this for a 1,200 calorie plan).
  • Lunch (430 calories): 1 serving of a Mason Jar Power Salad with Chickpeas & Tuna (switch to a Chopped Salad with Chickpeas, Olives & Feta for a 1,200 calorie plan).
  • Afternoon Snack (66 calories): 1 ¼ cups sliced strawberries (reduce to ½ cup for a 1,200 calorie plan).
  • Dinner (508 calories): 1 serving of Salmon & Avocado Salad.

Adjusting Calorie Levels:

  • For 1,200 calories: Skip the almond butter in your morning snack and choose the Chopped Salad with Chickpeas, Olives & Feta for lunch. Reduce your afternoon snack to ½ cup of strawberries.
  • For 2,000 calories: Add a serving of a Berry-Kefir Smoothie to your breakfast and enjoy an additional ⅓ cup of unsalted dry-roasted almonds in your afternoon snack.

Day 2

  • Breakfast (247 calories): A delicious Strawberry-Peach Chia Seed Smoothie!
  • Morning Snack (245 calories): 1 serving of Pumpkin Spice Energy Balls (swap this for a medium orange for a 1,200 calorie plan).
  • Lunch (388 calories): Warm yourself up with a Ginger-Chicken Stew with Greens. Enjoy it with sliced bell peppers and some Garlic Hummus for dipping.
  • Afternoon Snack (241 calories): Have a juicy large pear with 1 cup of low-fat plain kefir. (Skip the pear for a 1,200 calorie plan)
  • Dinner (398 calories): Enjoy a Grilled Chicken & Vegetable Salad with Chickpeas & Feta for a satisfying dinner.

Adjusting Calorie Levels:

  • For 1,200 calories: Swap your morning snack for a medium orange and skip the pear in your afternoon snack.
  • For 2,000 calories: Start your day with a filling Sprouted-Grain Toast with Peanut Butter & Banana. Add a ¼ cup of unsalted dry-roasted almonds for an extra evening snack.

Day 3

  • Breakfast (308 calories): Start your day with a cup of plain yogurt with sliced almonds and blueberries.
  • Morning Snack (131 calories): Enjoy a juicy pear for a pick-me-up.
  • Lunch (388 calories): Have a warm bowl of Ginger-Chicken Stew with Greens. Dip sliced bell peppers in some Garlic Hummus on the side.
  • Afternoon Snack (291 calories): Munch on a crunchy apple with some almond butter. (Skip the almond butter for a 1,200 calorie plan)
  • Dinner (401 calories): Enjoy a delicious Shakshuka with toasted whole-wheat bread.

Adjusting Calorie Levels:

  • For 1,200 calories: Swap your morning pear for a plum and skip the almond butter in your afternoon snack.
  • For 2,000 calories: Add a slice of toast with peanut butter and banana to your breakfast. Enjoy some pistachios for an extra morning snack.

Day 4

  • Breakfast (247 calories): A yummy smoothie with strawberries, peaches, and chia seeds!
  • Morning Snack (245 calories): 1 serving of Pumpkin Spice Energy Balls (swap this for a smaller portion of blueberries for a 1,200 calorie plan).
  • Lunch (388 calories): Warm your tummy with a bowl of Ginger-Chicken Stew with Greens. Eat some sliced bell peppers for a crunch, and dip them in some Garlic Hummus.
  • Afternoon Snack (152 calories): Enjoy a cup of low-fat kefir with a handful of raspberries (skip the raspberries for a 1,200 calorie plan).
  • Dinner (450 calories): Have a satisfying Turkey & Sweet Potato Chili with a chopped salad and guacamole.

Adjusting Calorie Levels:

  • For 1,200 calories: Swap your morning snack for a smaller portion of blueberries (¼ cup) and skip the afternoon raspberries.
  • For 2,000 calories: Start your day with a filling Sprouted-Grain Toast with Peanut Butter & Banana. In the evening, enjoy some unsalted dry-roasted almonds and a plum for an extra snack.

Day 5

  • Breakfast (308 calories): A cup of plain yogurt with sliced almonds and blueberries.
  • Morning Snack (131 calories): A juicy pear for a pick-me-up.
  • Lunch (388 calories): Warm Ginger-Chicken Stew with Greens. Dip sliced bell pepper in some Garlic Hummus on the side.
  • Afternoon Snack (154 calories): A handful of almonds for a crunchy snack.
  • Dinner (524 calories): Delicious Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with a Lemony Lentil Salad with Feta cheese (save some for lunch the next two days!).

Adjusting Calorie Levels:

  • For 1,200 calories: Skip the almonds at breakfast, have a plum for your morning snack, and enjoy some blueberries instead of almonds in the afternoon.
  • For 2,000 calories: Add a slice of toast with peanut butter and banana to your breakfast. Enjoy some pistachios with your morning snack, and have a clementine for an extra afternoon treat.

Day 6

  • Breakfast (247 calories): A yummy smoothie with strawberries, peaches, and chia seeds!
  • Morning Snack (245 calories): 1 serving of Pumpkin Spice Energy Balls (swap this for a plum for a 1,200 calorie plan).
  • Lunch (375 calories): Enjoy a Lemony Lentil Salad with Feta cheese and a whole apple.
  • Afternoon Snack (303 calories): A cup of low-fat kefir with some almonds (skip the kefir for a 1,200 calorie plan).
  • Dinner (356 calories): Blackened Fish Tacos with a side of Spicy Cabbage Slaw.

Adjusting Calorie Levels:

  • For 1,200 calories: Swap your morning snack for a plum and skip the kefir in the afternoon.
  • For 2,000 calories: Start your day with a filling Sprouted-Grain Toast with Peanut Butter & Banana. Spread some extra almond butter on your apple for lunch.

Day 7

  • Breakfast (308 calories): A cup of plain yogurt with sliced almonds and blueberries.
  • Morning Snack (155 calories): 2 hard-boiled eggs for a protein boost.
  • Lunch (375 calories): Enjoy a Lemony Lentil Salad with Feta cheese and a whole apple.
  • Afternoon Snack (144 calories): A refreshing orange and some low-fat kefir (skip the kefir for a 1,200 calorie plan).
  • Dinner (517 calories): A delicious bowl filled with grilled vegetables, black beans, and farro.

Adjusting Calorie Levels:

  • For 1,200 calories: Skip the almonds at breakfast, the apple at lunch, and the kefir in the afternoon snack.
  • For 2,000 calories: Add a pear to your morning snack, spread some almond butter on your apple at lunch, and enjoy some pistachios for an extra evening treat.

Beginner’s Guide to Acid Reflux (GERD) Diet

Heartburn, acid reflux, GERD – whatever you call it, that burning feeling in your chest is no fun. But fear not, fellow sufferer! This guide will equip you with the knowledge to tame your tummy trouble through a GERD-friendly diet.

GERD 101: The Lowdown on Acid Reflux

GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, occurs when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. This acid irritates the lining of your esophagus, causing that uncomfortable burning sensation.

Food Fight: Friends and Foes for Your Esophagus

Certain foods can aggravate your GERD symptoms. Here’s a breakdown of the good, the bad, and the maybe:

The Green Light List (GERD-Friendly Foods):

  • Calming Fruits & Veggies: Bananas, melons, green beans, potatoes (unpeeled) – these are low-acid and won’t irritate your esophagus.
  • Whole Grains for the Win: Opt for brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat bread for sustained energy without the burn.
  • Lean Protein Power: Chicken, fish, and tofu are gentle on your system and provide essential nutrients.
  • Healthy Fats are Your Friends: Olive oil, avocado, and nuts offer healthy fats that don’t trigger reflux.

The Red Light List (GERD Trigger Foods):

  • Acidic Attackers: Citrus fruits, tomatoes (including tomato sauce), and tomato-based products like ketchup are major culprits.
  • Spicy Saboteurs: Spicy foods can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the valve that keeps stomach acid down. Opt for milder flavors.
  • Fatty Felons: Fried foods, fatty meats, and processed snacks are difficult to digest and can worsen reflux symptoms.
  • The Caffeinated Culprit: Coffee, tea, and chocolate can increase stomach acid production. Limit your intake or consider decaf options.
  • The Sugary Seducer: Sugary drinks and desserts can irritate your esophagus and worsen symptoms. Choose natural sweeteners sparingly.

Maybe List (Proceed with Caution):

  • Dairy: Some people with GERD tolerate dairy well, while others find it triggers symptoms. Experiment and see how you react.
  • Peppermint: While often recommended for stomach issues, peppermint can relax the LES in some individuals. Monitor your response.

Beyond the Plate: GERD-Friendly Lifestyle Tweaks

Diet is a crucial part of managing GERD, but there’s more you can do:

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight puts pressure on your abdomen, pushing stomach acid upwards.
  • Don’t Lie Flat After Eating: Give your food time to digest by waiting at least 3 hours before lying down.
  • Manage Stress: Stress can worsen reflux symptoms. Explore relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking weakens the LES, allowing acid to creep up into your esophagus.

Remember: We’re all different, and what works for one person might not work for another. If you’re struggling with GERD, consult your doctor to develop a personalized plan that includes dietary modifications and, potentially, medication.

With a GERD-friendly diet and some lifestyle adjustments, you can say goodbye to heartburn and hello to a happier, heartburn-free you!

From Noob to Plant-Based Pro: Your Vegan Beginner’s Guide

So, you’re curious about veganism? Welcome aboard the plant-powered express! Ditch the confusion and hop on for a crash course in vegan living. This guide will equip you with everything you need to embark on your delicious and compassionate vegan journey.

What is Veganism?

Veganism is a lifestyle choice that goes beyond just food. It’s a philosophy that seeks to minimize animal exploitation in all aspects of life. Vegans avoid animal products in their diet (meat, dairy, eggs, honey), clothing (leather, wool), and even entertainment (circuses and zoos that exploit animals).

Why Go Vegan?

There are many reasons to choose a vegan lifestyle:

  • Ethics: Many vegans are driven by a desire to reduce animal suffering and exploitation in factory farms.
  • Environment: Animal agriculture is a major contributor to climate change. Veganism can help shrink your carbon footprint.
  • Health: A well-planned vegan diet can be rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, which can promote overall health.

Vegan Staples: Your Plant-Based Pantry

Building a strong vegan pantry is key. Here are some essentials to get you started:

  • Grains: Stock up on brown rice, quinoa, oats, whole-wheat bread, and pasta.
  • Beans & Lentils: These are protein powerhouses! Explore chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, and lentils.
  • Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds provide healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
  • Plant-Based Milks: Almond milk, soy milk, and oat milk are great alternatives to dairy milk.
  • Tofu & Tempeh: These versatile soy products can be seasoned and cooked in endless ways.

Vegan Meals Made Easy

Vegan cuisine is far from bland! Here are some meal ideas to inspire you:

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with fruit and nuts, smoothie bowls with plant-based yogurt and granola.
  • Lunch: Veggie burgers on whole-wheat buns, lentil soup with a side salad.
  • Dinner: Stir-fries with tofu or tempeh, vegan chili with brown rice, pasta dishes loaded with veggies.
  • Snacks: Fruits, veggies with hummus, trail mix made with nuts and seeds.

Vegan on a Budget:

Eating vegan doesn’t have to break the bank! Focus on whole, unprocessed foods like beans, lentils, and grains. These are generally affordable and incredibly versatile. Here are some tips:

  • Plan your meals: This helps avoid impulse purchases and food waste.
  • Shop sales and seasonal produce: Take advantage of farmers’ markets for fresh and affordable fruits and vegetables.
  • Cook at home: Eating out frequently can be expensive. Vegan cooking is a fun and rewarding skill to develop.

Vegan Community and Support

The vegan community is welcoming and supportive! Here are some resources to help you on your journey:

  • Online communities: Facebook groups, forums, and subreddits offer a wealth of information and connect you with other vegans.
  • Vegan blogs and websites: Find recipes, tips, and inspiration from experienced vegans.
  • Vegan cookbooks: Invest in some cookbooks to expand your culinary repertoire.

Going Vegan is a Journey, Not a Destination

Don’t be discouraged by occasional slip-ups. Veganism is a journey, and progress, not perfection, is the goal. Celebrate your successes, learn from challenges, and enjoy the delicious world of plant-based living!

So, are you ready to set sail on your vegan voyage? With this guide as your compass, you’re well on your way to a compassionate, healthy, and flavorful plant-powered adventure!

Is Intermittent Fasting Harmful to Your Heart?

New research suggests that people who practice time-restricted eating, where they only eat during an eight-hour period each day, might have a higher risk of dying from heart disease compared to those who eat during a more typical 12 to 16-hour window. This was found in a study presented at an American Heart Association conference in Chicago. Victor Wenze Zhong, a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, who led the study, expressed surprise at these results.

The study’s findings are interesting, but it’s important to remember that this type of study can only show a link between things, not cause and effect.

Christopher D. Gardner, a nutrition expert from Stanford University, raises some questions about the study. He wants to know more about what foods people were eating. Since the study hasn’t been reviewed by other scientists yet, we don’t have all the details.

Gardner also thinks that focusing on when you eat might not be as important as focusing on what you eat. As a nutrition scientist, he believes that the quality of food matters more than the timing of meals.

Benefits of Time-Restricted Eating

Earlier studies have shown that eating only during certain hours of the day, known as time-restricted eating, can help improve heart health in the short term. This means people only eat during a set time period each day, which could be as short as 4 hours or as long as 12 hours.

For example, some people might fast for 16 hours and then eat all their meals within an 8-hour window, like from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Past research, which usually lasted one month to one year, found that time-restricted eating can improve blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and weight management.

Findings from a Study on Time-Restricted Eating

The New Study Followed 20,000 Adults for a Median of 8 Years

A recent study looked at information from about 20,000 adults in the United States. These adults were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 2003 to 2018. The study lasted for about 8 years on average, with some people being followed for up to 17 years.

Participants were asked to remember what they ate in the past day using two questionnaires when they first joined the study. Then, researchers divided them into groups based on how long they ate each day. Some people had eating windows of less than 8 hours, while others had windows of 12 to 16 hours.

The researchers checked back with the participants over the years to see how they were doing health-wise. After looking at many factors like age, race, and health history, the researchers found that:

  • People who ate in less than an 8-hour window had a 91 percent higher risk of dying from heart-related issues, like heart disease and stroke, compared to those who ate in a 12 to 16-hour window.
  • For people with heart disease already, eating within an 8 to 10-hour window was linked to a 66 percent higher risk of dying from heart-related problems.
  • However, time-restricted eating didn’t lower the overall risk of death from any cause.

Study Has Limitations That May Question the Findings

Experts in nutrition who reviewed the new study mentioned some issues with how the research was done that might make the results less reliable.

Krista Varady, a professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago, thinks the conclusions are too strong because the researchers only collected data on what people ate for two days over a 20-year period. She wonders what the participants were eating on the other 7,300 days of the study. Varady has studied intermittent fasting for weight loss and health improvement but wasn’t part of this study.

Christopher Gardner, a professor at Stanford University, also sees a problem with how the study grouped people based on just two days of diet information. He thinks it would have been better to collect data for several days in the first year and then continue gathering information in the following years.

Dr. Zhong, who led the study, agrees that this is a limitation. However, he mentions that they excluded people who reported unusual diets on those two days.

Study Limitations and Possible Influencing Factors

Other things could have affected the risk of heart disease among the people in the study, according to Gardner. For instance, those who ate in a shorter time period might have had less access to food, worked more shifts, or had more stress in their lives compared to those who ate in a longer time period. If this were the case, the higher risk of heart disease-related deaths might not be because of the shorter eating window, but because of these other factors.

Need for Further Research on Time-Restricted Eating

Researchers agree that more studies on time-restricted eating are necessary. Victor Zhong, one of the researchers, believes caution should be taken when following this eating pattern for a long time. He suggests focusing on diets like DASH and Mediterranean, which have proven health benefits. Christopher Gardner shares this view and adds that while time-restricted eating may help some people psychologically, it’s essential to consider the overall quality of one’s diet. Many find it challenging to make healthy choices in today’s food environment, where unhealthy options are cheap, readily available, and appealing.