Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Instant Pot BBQ Lentils

You guys know that I am a BIG FAN of meals with simple ingredients, especially if I can just pour them all into my Instant Pot. This recipe for Instant Pot BBQ Lentils only calls for 3 main ingredients, and it couldn’t be easier to make. If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, this recipe is definitely for you! It’s so tasty, satisfying, and makes great leftovers!

Feel free to use whatever lentils you have on-hand as well as your favorite brand of BBQ sauce. I always check the ingredients in my sauces because they can be sneakily filled with all sorts of corn syrups and funky ingredients – so just a quick PSA to read your food labels! You will definitely see these lentils pop up again on the blog in the near future!

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Instant Pot BBQ Lentils

Ingredients

1 cup Brandless Green Lentils
1 cup Water
1/4 cup Brandless BBQ sauce
Chopped onion
Pinch of salt

Instructions

Combine ingredients in instant pot.
Set timer to 7 minutes on steam.
Release steam, open, and eat!
Optional, but especially tasty: Top with chopped walnuts!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2
  • Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 34
  • Protein: 9

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Valentine’s Day Sale: Save 20% on Weekly Macro Meal Plans!

Love is in the air…

And I want to share the love by offering you 20% off our 3-month CNC Weekly Macro Meal Plans! You can choose from 3 diet-specific plans:

  • Meal Prep Ninja (focused on meal prep, weekly meal plans delivered right to your inbox)
  • Perfect Paleo (gluten, grain, and dairy-free, immediate 3-month download)
  • Whole Food Plant-Based (vegetarian with the occasional pescatarian recipe, immediate 3-month download)

Each weekly meal plan includes:

  • nutritious, whole food recipes
  • calorie and macronutrient breakdown for each recipe
  • an itemized grocery shopping list
  • detailed meal prep “game plan” that tells you exactly what to make when
  • my own personal tips and tricks for speeding up the meal prep process
  • macro “Quick Start Guide”

The Weekly Macro Meal Plans are perfect for anyone who has experience with macros or who wants to learn how to track them. (The 3-month subscription comes with a “Quick Start Guide.”) It’s also a great plan for anyone who wants to simplify their meal planning each week!

Are you ready to commit to healthier eating this year? Or perhaps you’re looking to give the gift of health this Valentine’s Day?

Just use code VDAY20 at checkout to receive 20% off any of the 3-month meal plan options! Offer valid through Valentine’s Day (2/14/19).

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How to Accelerate Weight Loss with Fasting

Folks, you know I’m a believer in intermittent fasting for longevity, autophagy, mental clarity, fitness performance, metabolic health, and more. So, when I heard that Dr. Jason Fung, a world expert on fasting, and his team at Pique Tea were putting together a Fasting Tea Challenge this month, I wanted to know more. And I think you will, too. You can check out the details and sign up here. (There’s more info and the sign-up link at the bottom of post, too.)

The Challenge looks to be a great experience for anyone interested in intermittent fasting—including those trying it for the first time and those who have done it before but want to make it more of a regular tool in their healthy lifestyle routine. I’m also thrilled that Dr. Jason Fung has stopped by the blog today to share a bit about fasting for weight loss. Enjoy—and be sure to share any questions you have on the comment board. 

Over the years, I’ve shared with you the many ways intermittent fasting can benefit your health. So, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that fasting can also be really beneficial to those who are trying to lose fat. Yes, I said fat and not weight. Unlike some other kinds of weight loss methods, which result in loss of water weight or muscle mass, fasting can effectively get rid of fat.

How Fasting Works

There’s a reason intermittent fasting has become so popular. For one, it’s more of a schedule than a diet, which means it’s endlessly customizable. There are a few different types of fasting (covered below), as well as a variety of schedules you can follow. It’s up to you to decide how to make it best fit your lifestyle. (1)

Alternate-Day Fasting

As the name suggests, this method involves eating every other day. On those days, you eat without restriction. On days that involve fasting, you can eat one small meal that provides about 25% of your daily caloric needs. This works great for people who don’t want to face an entire day without eating anything.

Whole-Day Fasting

Similar to alternate-day fasting, whole-day fasting means you fast 1-2 days per week. You can do a complete fast, with no calories at all, or one small meal that makes up about 25% of your daily caloric intake. A favorite way to do a 24-hr fast is to finish eating at 6 p.m. one day and then not eat until dinner at 6 p.m. the next day. Boom, 24 hours fasted but not a day went by without food.

Time-Restricted Feeding

This method allows a specific time frame during the day during which you can eat regular meals and snacks. A window of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. is one example of when you can eat, or 12 p.m. to 7 p.m is another. This window of time is usually about 7 or 8 hours long. The rest of the time, you fast.

How Fasting Accelerates Fat Loss

Intermittent fasting almost invariably produces a calorie deficit, but it also creates ideal circumstances for fat burning—because it increases your insulin sensitivity. When you fast, your insulin levels drop, which makes it easier for your body to access your stored fat. That’s how your body opts to use fat for energy, instead of muscle. (2)

You might be familiar with this concept, because it’s the same reason why people adopt low-carb diets to shed fat. Eating low-carb will indeed lower your insulin levels, but the fact is that fasting will drop them even lower. This makes fasting more powerful for fat loss.

Another way fasting boosts fat loss is by increasing the amount of growth hormone (GH) your body produces. Studies have shown that production of GH can decrease your amount of body fat. (3, 4)

Finally, fasting has also been shown to increase production of norepinephrine—the fat burning hormone. The only catch? The study that showed this result was done on mice. Science hasn’t determined yet if it’s also the case with humans.

5 Tips to Accelerate Your Fasting

Intermittent fasting works best if you tailor it to your lifestyle, but there are a few rules you should follow. Here are my top 5 tips to accelerate your fasting for maximum fat loss:

1. Be Smart During Your Eating Window

When you start fasting, it’s easy to just focus on the not-eating part and trick yourself into thinking you can eat anything during your eating window. But if you want to jump-start fat loss, your meals should still be nutritious and healthy. Think no refined carbs, sugar, or processed food. Sticking to a healthy diet is also going to help make the fasting experience easier for your body.

2. Break Your Fast Properly

When you break your fast, it’s very important that you resist the urge to overeat. Over-indulging really defeats the purpose of that calorie deficit you created during the fast. Plus, it can be really uncomfortable for your digestive system and cause a stomach ache or other digestive distress. Try breaking your fast with a small salad or some nuts and then just eat normally.

3. Stay Active & Do Shorter Bursts of Intense Exercise

Don’t fall victim to a mindset that says you should lie around on the couch all day while fasting. It’s perfectly safe (and beneficial) to exercise. Follow your normal routine of walking and other means of slow and steady movement throughout the day. What you might want to skip, however, are long stretches of cardio work that can wear you down (particularly if you’re new to fasting). For intensive exercise while fasting—especially if you want to kick-start fat loss, HIIT is the way to go. You only need 10-15 minutes of high intensity interval training to stimulate fat burn in your body. Above all, work out when you have time and feel comfortable doing it, but you can also consider incorporating your interval training at the end of your fasting window—right before you’re about to break your fast.

4. Use Apple Cider Vinegar

The acetic acid in ACV helps keep your insulin levels low, which means you’ll enter a fat-burning state sooner. There’s also research indicating that ACV can boost ketosis by helping your cells produce more energy when you’re in that state. (5, 6) What that means for you is increased energy and mental clarity to stick with your fasting for longer. Try diluting 1-2tbsp of ACV in a glass of water and drinking it before your meals.

5. Use Green Tea

The number one reason people fail at fasting is because they give in to cravings. So, if you want to succeed at using fasting for fat loss, you need a plan for facing down those cravings. The number one doctor-approved natural way to beat cravings? Tea. Intermittent fasting and tea are a powerful combination for accelerating your weight loss.

Green tea especially has the ability to help regulate ghrelin, which is your hunger hormone, so you can finally gain back control of your appetite. It also boosts thermogenesis, which is the rate at which you burn calories, and it has the ability to enhance autophagy, your natural cellular renewal process.

Thanks again to Dr. Jason Fung for today’s post. Be sure to check out his 28-Day Fasting Tea Challenge. It’s a 28-day, guided experience that follows a 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule. Along the way, you’ll learn how tea can help you stay fasted longer and more comfortably. Pique Tea offers two Fasting Teas that are potent blends of the highest-quality green teas and other plants and herbs designed to suppress appetite, boost calorie burn, and improve digestion. The Fasting Challenge will also include three Facebook Live check-ins with Dr. Jason Fung, support from an in-house health coach, as well as practical tips to help you succeed at fasting.

Thanks for stopping by today, everybody. Have a great week. 

References:

1. http://bit.ly/2GmHoI2

2. http://bit.ly/2fRm10X

3. http://bit.ly/2eKYEpZ

4. http://bit.ly/2eL1UkU

5. http://bit.ly/2Go75rF

6. http://bit.ly/2I8bocl

 

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FDA banned ingredients linked to cancer – but they are still all over shelves

There are products (many marketed towards children) on store shelves right now with ingredients that have been banned by the FDA… and no one is doing anything to prevent it. Please share this information with those that you love, here’s what’s happening… 

The FDA recently banned 7 ingredients used to make “artificial flavors” that have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals (1-2). These ingredients were originally approved in 1964, so have been in our food for decades. This ban would have never happened if it wasn’t for the FDA petition and lawsuit filed by several consumer protection organizations who put persistent pressure on the FDA to take action (3-4).

These ingredients all fall under the term “artificial flavors” on the ingredient list.

The banned ingredients are benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, eugenyl methyl ether, myrcene, pulegone, pyridine, and styrene* – but you won’t see them on an ingredient label

So any product that lists artificial flavors as an ingredient may contain them, but food manufacturers are not required to tell you.

Artificial flavors are complex chemical mixtures made in a lab using various substances like crude oil or coal tar, and can contain upwards of 100 ingredients (including those just banned). Food companies don’t need to tell you anything about the ingredients actually in their artificial flavors – they just slap “artificial flavors” on the ingredient label – and we are left in the dark about what we are really eating.

Any food company using artificial flavors has been notified of the 7 ingredients banned, but the FDA has given them TWO YEARS to remove them from their artificial flavors.

In the meantime, these banned ingredients are still on store shelves, and may be in ANY product with artificial flavors.

The FDA and the industry trade group representing these companies has refused to disclose which companies use the banned flavors. And there haven’t been any companies voluntarily telling the public either, because they are not required to.

In other words – if you see “artificial flavors” on an ingredient label, it could contain these banned cancerous substances and food companies are not going to warn you. Up until October 9, 2020 this is perfectly legal!

This is what’s wrong with our food system. Food companies are allowed to continue selling you products with ingredients known to cause cancer in animal studies – without any warning. It’s so outrageous.

The FDA doesn’t care either. In their statement about the banned flavors they said,”rigorous scientific analysis has determined that they do not pose a risk to public health under the conditions of their intended use. The synthetic flavoring substances that are the subject of this petition are typically used in foods available in the U.S. marketplace in very small amounts and their use results in very low levels of exposure and low risk.”

Should we have cancerous ingredients in our food in any amount? Why take that risk? What about children, who may be more susceptible to these substances? How much are we really eating if we eat multiple products with artificial flavors each day? This is not being addressed. This is why I wrote my new book, Feeding You Lies. You can’t trust food companies or government agencies to care about our health. 

PRE-ORDER NOW

Feeding You Lies

Available in stores everywhere February 19, 2019

ALREADY PRE-ORDERED? CLAIM YOUR BONUS

As soon as I learned that the FDA banned these ingredients, I started investigating which food brands were using artificial flavors… Doritos, Cheetos, Jell-O, Oreos, Trix, and Lucky Charms are all spiked with them. But there is one food corporation that I noticed as a BIG offender.

Mars Wrigley has artificial flavors in almost every candy and gum they make…

  • M&Ms
  • Snickers
  • Twix
  • Skittles
  • MilkyWay
  • 3 Musketeers
  • Dove Promises
  • Starburst
  • Eclipse gum
  • 5 Gum
  • Big Red gum
  • Doublemint gum
  • Juicy Fruit gum
  • Extra gum
  • Orbit gum
  • Hubba Bubba
  • Lifesavers

My team reached out to Mars about the use of these banned substances in their artificial flavors…

They admitted they’re in the process of removing the banned ingredients from their artificial flavors. This means, yes, these ingredients shown to cause cancer in animals have been used in their products. They are complying with FDA regulations requiring companies to remove them within 2 years. 

Our next question was…

What products are these in? Are these banned ingredients in M&Ms? What about Snickers? Skittles? Eclipse Gum?

Here’s the kicker. They refused to tell us.

Their reasoning is that they didn’t want to give us inaccurate information because they are in the process of removing them. We then asked how long they anticipate it will take, and they simply said “as fast as possible”. How fast this is, is anyone’s guess. Remember, the FDA has given food companies two years to stop making products with these flavors – so this does not include products already on store shelves, vending machines, or in your own house. As candy and gum has a very long shelf life, it is likely that even after two years some of the products with these banned ingredients will still be on shelves.

Mars should tell the public which products currently contain the ingredients banned by the FDA… 

Since they won’t, you might want to err on the side of caution and just avoid ALL of their products with artificial flavors. And that isn’t the only reason to avoid these products – as they are filled with other risky additives like artificial dyes (5) and BHT (6)… 

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I can’t help but think of all of the children exchanging these candies with their friends…

Remember – it’s not just this candy and gum. Any product you see at the store with “Artificial Flavors” may have the banned ingredients in it. 

The best way to change the food industry is with a grassroots movement. This is why I’ve done petitions – they are quick and effective at making people aware as to what is really in the food they’re buying. This is also why I recommend voting with your dollars by refusing to buy products from companies who are poisoning us for profit with cheap and dangerous ingredients. How you choose to spend your money is VERY powerful. 

On the other hand, expecting our government agencies (like the FDA and the USDA) to take action often takes decades of intense pressure. Consumer advocacy groups spent YEARS pushing the FDA to take action on these carcinogenic flavors – and even had to file a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals (4) to force them to do anything. We cannot rely on the FDA to protect us. And we certainly can’t trust Big Food to self-police. After all, the food industry has consistently shown that it will only remove dangerous and unhealthy ingredients when they are forced to do so.

Please SHARE THIS POST and warn your friends that it is a lie that everything on the shelf is safe.

Xo,

Vani

P.S. If this makes you as MAD as I am, you need to read my latest book. It blows the lid off the lies we are being told about our food…

PRE-ORDER NOW

Feeding You Lies

Available in stores everywhere February 19, 2019

ALREADY PRE-ORDERED? CLAIM YOUR BONUS

 

* Styrene is the only one banned that is no longer used by the food industry.

Feeding You Lies - Book

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Monday in Meals [Vegetarian Protein Edition]

I haven’t done one of these “Monday in Meals” posts in awhile, and now that I’m eating more of a vegetarian diet (it’s actually kind of vegan with the occasional meat and fish mixed in), I wanted to share a vegetarian macro meal plan (aka a sample day from my own personal tracking). This particular day is actually fairly close to a vegan meal plan – minus the marine collagen in my iced coffee and cheddar cheese in the Banza pasta that I had for dinner. If you wanted to make it vegan, you could easily swap the collagen for a plant-based protein powder and nutritional yeast for the cheddar cheese powder.

Personally, I don’t like to categorize my diet because I truly think different foods and lifestyles work for different people – and, really, what’s the point of a label on a diet anyway? It just seems so restrictive, right? Been there, done that! Long-time followers will remember my Paleo days, and, my gosh, that way of thinking was not good for me. Paleo as a framework is fine and a great starting point for cleaning up your diet, but I was soooo strict with what I ate, and it made me a little crazy. Granted, I was very sick at the time, but the diet restrictions made it even worse.

It just goes to show you that we’re all a work in progress, and it’s okay (more than okay!) to change what you eat as well as your thinking around food – and you don’t need to follow a specific diet to be healthy. Personally, I’m always striving to be my best self, so I love switching things up and seeing how I feel with regard to different foods, recipes, and habits. Right now, this no-name way of eating feels good for me! 🙂 Anyway, let’s get onto a recap of my meals from Monday.

As you’ll see, if there’s a will there’s a way when it comes to hitting your protein goal. My #1 tip is always to plan your day ahead of time in MyFitnessPal or another app. Before you go to bed, plan your meals and snacks for the next day into MyFitnessPal – even if it’s JUST your protein for the day. You can always fill in the gaps later. That way, you’re not eating a bowl of egg whites at the end of the night! Want more tips for hitting your protein goal? Check out this blog post!

POST-WORKOUT: P 38 C 46 F 12

Gluten-free bread with Teddie Peanut Butter and banana slices with a iced coffee protein shake made with OWYN vanilla protein powder, collagen, SO Delicious creamer, and a tiny bit of spirulina

MEAL 1: P 39 C 40 F 22

Trader Joe’s Hi-Protein Veggie Burger with shelled edamame, roasted sweet potato, and Crazy Feta over arugula 

FYI: I didn’t track the Crazy Feta, but accounted for it by over-estimating the edamame

MEAL 2: P 14 C 20 F 19

Kite Hill Plain Greek Yogurt with sliced banana and chopped walnuts 

DINNER: P 20 C 38 F8

Banza Mac & Cheese with baby spinach 

DESSERT: P 18 C 20 F 17 

Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels mixed into PB2 + hemp hearts – it was basically a peanut butter + chocolate pudding! 🙂

TOTALS: P 129 C 164 F 78 (1,915 calories)

P.S. I’m hosting a FREE 5-Day Macro Bootcamp at the end of the month. Make sure you’re on the list!

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Three Homemade Salad Dressings

My intern Emily and I have been brainstorming recipes to develop together, and I said “I need some good homemade salad dressings for the fridge.” She created these three based on some dressings she made at a farm a few years back. I’ve been using them ever since on my salads, and they are all winners!

All three are made in a high-power blender, and each recipe makes about a cup of dressing that should be stored in the fridge in an airtight container.

Spicy Honey Dijon

This will be your new house dressing! The perfect addition to a fresh pear salad with goat cheese and arugula. The use of apple cider vinegar gives it some spice, but it is mellowed out with the sweet undertones from the honey.

Combine in blender:

  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • S+P to taste

Avocado, Cilantro & Lime

For a thicker dressing that also serves as a great dip for veggies or even a spread for sandwiches, the avocado, cilantro, and lime is a perfect pick. Garnish with more cilantro if you’re using it as a dip! It’s also great on thicker salads, like massaged kale. 

Combine in blender:

  • 1 whole medium ripe avocado
  • 1 tbsp of fresh garlic
  • 1 small handful of cilantro
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil or avocado oil
  • ¼ cup of Greek yogurt

Spicy Asian Sesame

This recipe adds an extra kick to the traditional Asian sesame with the addition of spicy mustard and serves as a delicious marinade for chicken. Use the blender for the dressing base and then pour the dressing into a jar with sesame seeds and shake to incorporate.

Combine in a blender:

  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp spicy mustard
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp of soy sauce in a blender

Stir in 2.5 Tbsp sesame seeds after dressing is blended.

I loved the thick avocado lime on my prep day kale salad which was massaged with a little olive oil and lime juice on Sunday and dressed before eating. Thomas brought me half a sandwich from Ivy Provisions and some chips to have with my salad for lunch!

What’s the most unique ingredient you’ve ever used in salad dressing? I need to buy some pepper jelly so I can make the dressing that Jessica made for me a few years ago!

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Clean Eating Instant Pot Coconut Rice Recipe

This clean eating Instant Pot coconut rice make a delicious side dish for any Thai meal!

I don’t make a lot of rice. I’ve never been a big rice person. I eat it when it’s there, but it’s not the… Read more →



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