3 Tricks for Better Digestion

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Did you know digestion takes up 50% of our energy?

No wonder we feel so sluggish after a big meal. Digestion is one of the most important factors in our health, considering its how we process everything we eat.  But it doesn’t have to take up all of our much needed energy… if we pay more attention to how we eat food, we can digest food much easier, and all that energy will go towards beautifying jobs like growing hair and nails, pumping collagen, and metabolizing.

For those of you who don’t know, we digest food in the order we eat it. I used to think that it somehow all got mixed up down there but its pretty orderly; our bodies are insane machines that work in a precise manner. Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox Solution opened my eyes to this concept of digesting for the first time, I couldn’t believe I had never learned it before, it seems like common sense! Today I’m sharing three simple tricks that you can use every day to improve your digestion and ultimately improve your health and energy.

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1. Eat fruit first and in the morning

Did you know that fruit digests in about 30 minutes!? It moves quicker through our digestive systems than any other type of food. Loaded with fiber, fruit acts like a fast cleaning crew scrubbing your body clean of toxins. So if you have fruit on your plate, eat it first before any other food group, this ensures that your body can absorb optimal amounts of nutrients and enzymes from the fruit, and it can do its cleaning job more easily.

More importantly, don’t eat fruit after you’ve eaten a big meal of heavier food, because it will just sit on top of the heavier food that takes longer to digest and can actually begin to ferment in your system and create toxins, leading to gas, bloating, discomfort and even weight gain. It’s best to eat fruit in the morning or on an empty stomach. I also wouldn’t recommend eating fruit as a dessert, wait at least two hours after you’ve eaten or try dark chocolate with at least 60% cacao!

2. Eat greens before your meal & choose the darkest

Just like above, you want to eat greens before your main entree; greens digest faster than our heavy entrees like meat or potatoes. For example, eating a side salad as an appetizer or snacking on celery before your main meal is one of the simplest ways to improve your digestion. More importantly, eating enzyme-rich vegetables before your meal will help give you more enzymes to help digest food. Obviously, we don’t absorb food, we absorb nutrients, and enzymes are responsible for breaking down our food into protein, carbs, fat, etc. so we can absorb the nutrients.

While our bodies produce enzymes, they may only be able to break down and extract about 40-50% of our food’s true nutrient value. And by the time we’re 50, we’ll produce around half of what we did when we were younger. Raw veggies are the most enzyme dense foods, so make sure you eat them before your meals! Also, choose the darkest greens for more nutrients… opt for Spinach and Romaine over Iceburg. Romaine lettuce has almost twice the nutritional value of Iceburg lettuce, which is 96% water!

3. Don’t drink while you eat

It’s obviously extremely important to drink water throughout the day (aim for half your body weight it ounces, so if you weigh 140, drink 70 oz’s). However, drinking a lot of water while eating can dilute digestive juices and acid making it hard to digest food. Think of it as a big swamp in your stomach. Water molecules can also get trapped in the food which can make you bloat and lead to post-meal discomfort. Try to drink a lot of water 30 minutes before you meal (which can help you feel fuller) and an hour after. Avoid guzzling down water during your meals, but sipping is fine as needed.

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Fridge Files: Whats in Karena & Katrina’s Fridge?

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 Today were looking into Karena & Katrina’s fridge, the fit and beautiful girls from Tone It Up. These girls have been probably the most inspiring and encouraging cyber trainers I’ve ever had. They became famous from their fun and quick Youtube workout videos and have since become everyones favorite health idols. I follow their nutrition plan (the pescatarian version) and I love their beach babe workout DVD. I also get a killer workout from their workout guides on their Pinterest. I love that they support clean eating and getting LEAN through pilates movements and superfoods. Their figures tell it all, if you want to look like them, just follow what they’re doing. The first step is to see how they eat, so lets check out their fridge!

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Greek Yogurt: high in protein (18g) and low in sugar (0g)

Hummus: they love eating hummus with their veggies like carrots, mushroom and it holds wraps together really well

Goji Berries: the dried berries are high in antioxidants and hold the highest protein content of any fruit

Wild Salmon: filled with omega 3 fatty acids, they prefer wild over farm-raised

Peppers: they love making stuffed peppers with….

Quinoa: a complete protein thats actually a seed, not too starchy and its actually in the spinach family

Garlic: a superfood (Karena’s favorite). People who eat garlic are 2/3rds less likely to get a cold

Cucumbers: very hydrating (95% water) and a fabulous cure for hangovers

Coconut Water & Young Coconuts: super hydrating and filled with potassium, Katrina likes to eat the coconut meat

Berries: All of them! Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries! They’re filled with antioxidants

Portobellos Mushrooms: you can do so many things with these, you can grill them and they make the best burger bun, they’re also packed with Vitamin D “the happy Vitamin”

Cacao Chocolate: they recommend if you ever get chocolate to get 60% cacao or higher, which is known to prevent sun damage

Click here to check out the video of this at Bravo TV

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To see what K&K keep in their teal “Liquid Fridge” at work, click here.

Miso-Glazed Salmon

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Miso-Glazed Salmon

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (For healthier alternative: 2 tbsp honey 2 tsp molasses)
  • 2 tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Miso paste*
  • 5 salmon filets
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives

Directions

Preheat broiler. Combine honey, soy sauce and miso, stirring with a whisk. Arrange fish in a shallow baking dish that is sprayed with low-fat cooking spray. Spoon the honey-miso mixture evenly over the fish. Broil 6 inches below heat source for 10 minutes (with door cracked open!) making sure it doesn’t burn. Remove and baste twice more with the miso sauce. Make sure the top is browned and glazed for most delicious results! Sprinkle with chives.

*This glaze can be used to baste any protein, try it on swordfish or a spin on barbecue chicken! The options are endless

*If you don’t have miso, can’t find it, or just don’t even want to try it, this salmon is just fine without it! You can also try substituting miso with a couple things: Add a little tomato paste; Marmite;  Boullion cube (vegetable or beef); or a Knorr Miso Soup Mix powder you can find at almost any grocery store.

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This salmon is a recipe that my mom served all the time growing up, it’s definitely a family favorite. I refrigerate or freeze the leftovers and enjoy it on salads throughout the week. Below is a simple salad with the salmon over a bed of spinach, kale & chard, with blackberries and pistachios. I didn’t even need dressing because the salmon was so delicious!

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If you like salmon, you’ll love my Skinny Caesar Salad with Blackened Salmon

My Top 6 Health Books

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When I first began my journey towards health, I read a lot of amazing books that inspired me every day to live better. Reading these books truly gave me all the willpower I needed, and have given me the knowledge and basis of how I live my life today. I still reread them all the time, they are so marked up and worn out from studying and lending them. Of all the “health” books that I’ve read in the past three or so years, these 6 authors were by far the most inspiring and enlightening. Most of what I know today is from them. If you’re interested in bettering your health, I suggest you read one of these, you won’t regret it! I included a little personal review of each and what I loved about them.

1.  The Beauty Detox Solution

This book changed my life. It was the first health book I randomly decided to read and once I finished it, I was changed forever, which I wrote about in one of my first posts. Kimberly Snyder is so brilliant and inspiring, she knows exactly what you want to hear and breaks health and eating down into understandable concepts. If anyone ever comes to me for advice, I immediately tell them to read her book. All of my girlfriends will admit they have changed the way they eat forever from reading this book. She explains in her book how eating healthy will make you beautiful… literally. Her second book Beauty Detox Foods is also filled with a ton of recipes and beautiful photos.

2. The China Study

If you doubt eating greens can change your life, you should read this book. It gives you all of the evidence and science to back up the fact that eating plant-based prevents cancer. A little dense and intense, but has so much needed credibility for skeptics. This book was the inspiration for one of my favorite documentaries, Forks Over Knives, which I reviewed here. It really is a book that could save your life.

3. The 8 Hour Diet

This book is known as the Food Lovers Diet, so if you love food, you’d loveee this book. The author of this book is also the editor-in-chief of Men’s Health Magazine and also wrote the infamous “Eat This, Not That” guide, so the science is there. Basically, you can eat anything you want in an 8 hour window, then stop about three hours before bed and “fast” until the morning. And in the morning, ALL you have to do is work out for 10 minutes on an empty stomach, which targets and blasts your fat. It sounds too good to be true but intermittent fasting works miracles. For a more in-depth review, check out this Women’s Health article.

4. The Kind Diet

Alicia Silverstone’s Kind Diet is a wonderfully written book that inspired me to go vegan for a year. She explains everything you need to know about the ethics of eating and opens your eyes to a whole new way of looking at food. She taught me the proper way to chew and I now take more time to eat and be thankful for each bite, and really care about where my food comes from. Beautiful recipes as well.

5. Crazy Sexy Diet

I just love Kris Carr. Her documentary, Crazy Sexy Cancer was so inspiring, I had to buy the cookbook. It’s so fun and colorful, I never get bored of reading it. Its filled with fun infographics and grocery lists, I always flip through it like a little girl. P.S. I raided her fridge here.

6. Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough-Love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous

This girl is hysterical. Even if you don’t want to eat healthy, this book will have you laughing tears. Rory Freedman is so blunt and real about eating crap, it gives you no excuse to be a fat pig. The personality and legitimacy of this book is so valuable, I read it every time I need a little reality check. “Perhaps you have a lumpy ass because you are preserving your fat cells with diet soda”, need I say more? Her Cookbook is amazeballs too.

Favorite Health Links of the Week

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  1. How to grow an Avocado tree in just 3 steps with a pit, toothpicks and a jar
  2. Vegan Cuts sends you a package of popular vegan goodies to your door for just $19
  3. Real women proportions are compared to Barbie’s… and its creepy
  4. Check out my best friend and trainer’s health & fitness website The Body Project for amazing advice and recipes! (kmbodyproject.wordpress.com) and follow them on instagram (IG: kmbodyproject)
  5. Helpful picture guide of how to select the perfect produce by one of my favorite health guru’s Taralynn Mcnitt (undressedskeleton.tumblr.com)
  6. Find half off nike shoe prices at this website!
  7. If you’re interested in juicing or losing weight, check out one of my favorite documentaries Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead for free online. The website also gives you a free juicing guide and recipes.
  8. The TIU girls created the best ab routine based off of what made them the most sore and delivered the fastest results.
  9. 15 second video of how to make Tiramisu cups out of Quest Bars. You can bake these protein bars into just about anyy dessert. Quest Bars are my absolute favorite: 170 calories • 20g of protein • 17g of dietary fiber • 1g of sugar • Gluten free • No artificial sweeteners • 3g net carbs (they actually eliminate carb-based calories so there’s no room for fat gain!) You can buy a 12 bar variety box online here for just $25 

Watermelon

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Watermelon Fresca

3 cups seedless watermelon

1/4 cup water

Juice of 1 lime

Handful fresh mint

1 packet Stevia

Directions:

Blend all ingredients together, serve over ice and enjoy!

Feeling festive? Add 4 oz of vodka to the blender for a fun refreshing cocktail! Recipe from Tone It Up

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Six Heart Healthy Superfoods

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Outside Beauty | Inside Health

I admit from time to time, I find myself eating foods for purely superficial benefits; foods that will burn fat or speed up metabolism (and don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad thing to worry about). However, I sometimes overlook the importance of eating healthy for my internal body, the part that no one sees. We can get so caught up in counting calories or avoiding carbs for external reasons and forget that beauty comes from within (literally). You can’t have incredible glowing skin without being hydrated, you can’t have supreme hair or nails without getting nutrients, you can’t have optimal energy if you’re eating junk food and smoking (and if you do, I envy you).

The amazing thing about our bodies is that they renew themselves! So it’s not too late to start eating healthy, because our bodies are creating themselves off of the very food we eat, no joke: YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.  For example, the cells that line our 10 meter gut (running from our mouth to downtown) are replaced every five days! Skin cells turnover time is about 2 weeks, muscle cells about 15 years, and bone is rebuilt every 10 years. Brain cells, on the other hand, do not renew themselves, which explains the preservation of our memories and sight, and stresses how vital it is not to kill all of your brain cells in college!

· S U P E R F O O D S · 

Superfoods, for those who don’t know, are essentially exxxtra special nutrient-dense foods. They are truly the superheros of food, which have incredible powers for your body and health. They have been treasured for centuries in many cultures to prevent illnesses due to their antioxidant levels and promotion of longevity. Superfoods are all-natural and filled with many nutrients our bodies crave but don’t get. Below, I created a list with descriptions of the six heart healthy superfoods that I enjoyed in my morning Acai bowl (click on it for bigger image)

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 Superfood Acai Bowl

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1 tbsp Acai Powder
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
Coconut water
Stevia packet

Blend together ingredients and top with your favorite Superfoods and fruit

{For more recipes, visit my other Acai Bowls}

To find the Superfood and brands I use in this recipe, continue reading for more info :)

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