The diet industry brings in a roughly $40 billion a year, and yet, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) claims Americans spend an additional $40 billion a year on health care treating preventable diseases. It seems somewhere in the $80 billion cycle of dieting and the progression of lifestyle diseases, the fundamental principles of good health have become lost in translation. For those of you who feel caught up in the cyclone of dieting and disease management- struggling to lose weight and be healthy but not seeing the results you desire – I am writing this blog for you!
My philosophy on the fundamentals of good health is one phrase – keep it simple. Excessive exercise, extreme dieting, and over supplementation, are just a few of the components of a flawed long-term weight loss program. Long term weight management and overall good health must be worked on every day in order to be maintained for life. Any diet or exercise routine that is excessive, disproportionate, or extreme will eventually lead you to a burnout and frustration. I know this from firsthand experience! So let’s break the cycle, slow down, and start again more simply.
So, where do you start when you are trying to simplify your habits for weight loss? I suggest your pantry and fridge! Get back to basic nutrients that are good for you and support your goals. The simple foods I am referring to are herbs, spices, and roots! These plants have been revered for their healing properties for thousands of years, but did you know they can help with weight loss too? Here’s a few examples on how:
(please note these are only suggestions and you should always consult your physician with questions and concerns before changing your diet.)
- Sage – Author Lesley Bremness (1988) in her book, The Complete Book of Herbs: A Practical Guide to Growing and Using Herbs, states that sage leaves enhance the digestion process when consumed in a tea after a meal. Ensuring your food digests properly helps the body absorb more nutrients for better energy levels, decreases bloating, and increases your metabolism.
How Sage Helps the Weight Loss: Increased energy and metabolism levels boost your workouts making them more effective and the reduction in bloating enhances those results!
TIP: Drink your sage in a tea after a meal or use sage as seasoning for fish and poultry.
Recipe ideas here
- Peppermint Leaves – Australian scientists show that peppermint unlocks “anti-pain” channels in the colon therefore offering an herbal solution to symptoms related to IBS. In addition, Bremness (1988) validates that peppermint leaves help improve digestion and reduce gas in the GI tract.
How Peppermint Leaves Help with Weight Loss: Experiencing a healthy GI tract will reduce bloating in the abdominal region and help the body expel waste product more efficiently.
TIP: Drink your peppermint in a tea anytime during the day or add mined leaves to some fresh berries for a refreshing snack!
Recipe ideas here
- Cinnamon – A 2010 study conducted by the US Department of Agriculture found cinnamon can help reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes and is associated with lowering blood sugar levels.
How Cinnamon Helps with Weight Loss: Lower and stable levels of blood sugar help reduce food cravings and energy crashes. Thus, more stable blood sugar levels will provide you with sustained energy for better workouts and you will be less tempted to snack due to energy lulls.
TIP: Cinnamon can be consumed in food, or in a tea form anytime of the day. I enjoy cinnamon on all my fruit.
Recipes Ideas here
- Turmeric – A study by the British Journal of Cancer shows turmeric is a great anti-inflammatory that can help kill cancer cells. In accordance, Mother Earth Living Magazine reported in their 2014 July/August edition that Turmeric helps reduce inflammation in our arteries therefore helping to reduce the risk of heart disease.
How Turmeric Helps with Weight Loss: Reducing inflammation in your arteries helps increase circulation. Healthier circulation boosts your energy levels to help improve your workout sessions. In addition, the anti-inflammatory property of the root helps with muscle recovery so you are primed and ready for the next workout!
TIP: Turmeric goes well with eggs, in salad dressings, and veggies dishes too.
Recipe ideas here
- Ginger – In 2010 scientists at the University of Georgia found that taking two grams of ginger per day can help ease muscle pain from exercise and it can help diminish joint pain.
How Ginger Helps with Weight Loss: Decreasing muscle soreness and joint discomfort helps you be more active more frequently so you can experience the weight loss benefits of exercise!
TIP: Ginger has a very strong and distinct flavor when consumed by itself. However, when mixed into dishes, it can provide a more mild and refreshing taste and smell.
Recipe ideas here
Herbs, spices, and roots are very beneficial to our health and have been used to heal and fortify our bodies for thousands of years. However, somewhere along the line, natural remedies became overlooked and energy drinks, vitamins, shakes, and supplements became the popular way to “optimize our health.” Yet, somehow Americans are still spending billions of dollars a year on medical care for preventable conditions and disease. So ditch the shakes, energy drinks, and protein powders and get back to real food and real nutrients. You will save money and improve your health – priceless!