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Why You Need More Magnesium-Rich Foods In Your Diet

magnesium foods

If you’re not paying attention to the amount of magnesium-rich foods you’re eating, there’s a chance it could be making you sick. Studies find that a majority of Americans rely on a diet high in processed carbs and sugars. Unsurprisingly this means many of us are not getting enough of the stuff we really need. With the popularity of low-carb lifestyle diets like the keto diet, more and more people are experiencing improved health with lifestyles centered around foods high in magnesium.

Are you Magnesium Deficient?

We do not produce Magnesium in our bodies, making it easy to slip into a deficit without ever being aware. If you notice a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness you may be experiencing some short-term symptoms of a magnesium deficiency. Long term magnesium deficiency can lead to dangerous long term symptoms such as numbness, tingling, muscle cramps, seizures, personality changes, and abnormal heart rhythm.

The amount of magnesium you need in a day varies between age and sex. Generally, adult men should get around 400-40 mg a day while adult women need 310-320 mg. If you’re pregnant or concerned about your child’s magnesium intake consulting a doctor may give you a better idea about your family’s needs. For many of us, making a conscious effort to switch up our diet by adding foods high in magnesium could be the key to an overall improvement in the quality of life.

One study found that a majority of adults in the US have a magnesium intake lower than suggested while taking in 2-3 times the recommended level of sodium. This imbalance often leads to high blood pressure. A switch to a low-carb lifestyle, such as with the keto diet filled with foods that are rich in magnesium, coupled with reduced sodium intake, can reduce hypertension.

Magnesium works in the body in many crucial processes including the regulation of muscle and nerve function, and the production of proteins, bone, and DNA.

Magnesium Benefits

The Magnesium Benefits are almost too good to believe. Research studies have identified a diet full of magnesium-rich foods or daily use of magnesium supplements can help to lower the risk of developing diabetes and insulin resistance, help lower blood pressure, reduce migraine symptoms, muscle cramps, constipation, insomnia, combat fibromyalgia, asthma and to help with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

An essential piece in the magnesium puzzle is understanding the mineral’s relationship with the other minerals in our body.  It is needed in the function of vital co-factors such as the regulation of Sodium, Potassium, and Calcium. This process of control allows our bodies to reach homeostasis. When our bodies are not in homeostasis, we are in what is considered homeostatic imbalance. This imbalance can lead to infection and disease. Diabetes is an unfortunate example of a homeostatic imbalance. When the body becomes unable to balance the level of glucose in the blood due to either an inherited or acquired insulin resistance, the body’s equilibrium is out of whack, and there can be severe symptoms. When we understand the importance of this equilibrium in our bodies, the laundry list of benefits no longer sounds overblown.

Foods High in Magnesium

While supplements can help us to get our daily allotment of vitamins, many nutrients are more formidable when taken in through food. Through a more health-conscious diet, minerals are joined by many nonessential but beneficial nutrients, such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and antioxidants that aren’t in most supplements. If you’re making a switch to a low-carb lifestyle or trying out the Keto diet, another perk is that many of the low-carb rockstars are also magnesium-rich foods, such as nuts, green vegetables, and avocados, to name a few.

Here are some foods high in magnesium:

Avocado (29 mg/100 g)

Legumes (48 mg/1 cups of green peas)

Seeds (325 mg/100g Sunflower seeds)

Green leafy vegetables (79 mg/100 g spinach)

1% Milk (27 mg per 1 cup)

Yogurt (19 mg per serving size)

Nuts (75 mg per 1 oz almonds)

Dark chocolate (80 mg per 1 tbsp cacao powder)

Artichokes (75 mg per average piece)

Fish (60 mg per average filet of salmon)

Whole Grains (65 mg/ 100 g Buckwheat)

Resources:

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/

http://www.kumc.edu/school-of-medicine/family-medicine/integrative-health/health-topics/the-benefits-of-magnesium.html

https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/magnesium

https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/magnesium#food-sources

https://www.nature.com/articles/1001955

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3775240/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-get-your-nutrients-from-food-or-from-supplements

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How Fat Became Public Enemy #1

fats and the united states

Lately, we have heard a lot about “healthy” fats. Fat is back! However, could there be such a thing as a “healthy” fat? Any child of the ’90s remembers the urgings of gym coaches and health teachers to eat within the food pyramid. Health professionals preached the benefits of a low-fat diet. Weight loss foods filled with empty carbs were all the rage. Everything we’ve heard for the past 60 years has told us fat is the antithesis of health. The average BMI in the United States has been steadily rising. Who’s to blame? It has to be fat. However, there is evidence to prove that this isn’t the case. So how did fat get such a bad rap? This false public health narrative can be traced back to the 1960s.

Heart disease and fat consumption- correlation or causation?

The smear campaign against fat can be traced back to WWII. In this period, the advent of processed, pre-packaged, fatty foods was bolstered by increased industrialization. The first McDonald’s opened its doors in San Bernardino, California in 1940. By the early 1950s restaurant franchises with affordable fatty foods high in processed carbs became an American staple. 

Doctors started to notice an increase in obesity and related adverse health effects. Looking to get some answers about this shift, the American physiologist by the name of Ancel Keys conducted a study which changed the way we would think about fat forever. In his work entitled the Seven Countries study, Keys developed the lipid hypothesis. He sought to explore the associations between diet and other risk factors and the disease rates between several populations all over the world.

The Seven Countries study found that fatty foods were to blame for rising health risks in the United States. It pointed to a high-fat diet as the culprit, stating that high levels of fat in the blood cause high cholesterol which in turn causes heart disease. In a majority of countries where there were high levels of fat intake, Ancel found higher rates of heart disease and heart attack. However, this study did not take into account the difference in fat types. Despite this misstep, the Seven Countries study identified variance in the data which alluded to the concept of healthy fats.

In East Finland where a low-fat diet and wholemeal products such as barley and rye were a staple, Ancel found High levels of coronary heart disease. While in Crete, where a majority of nourishment was found in natural sources such as seasonal veggies, and regional fats like olive oil and local protein these issues were rare. These findings contributed to the famed Mediterranean diet. Populations in this region had a high-fat diet with low levels of adverse health effects. These outliers lead to research into contributing factors to adverse health effects other than a high-fat diet.

Benefits of Fat

 Many of the weight loss trends such as a restrictive low fat, low-calorie diet relying on high carb weight loss foods and leave you feeling starved. This feeling of restriction often results in a large rebound effect. A diet rich in healthy fats helps you to feel satiated longer. This means that if your goal is to lose weight, a diet rich in healthy fats coupled with a reasonable calorie deficit could do the trick.

In all of the hype, we forgot that fat is an integral part of our diet. These natural fatty foods also help to avoid the dangerous inflammation characteristic of a diet heavy in processed carbs and sugars. Healthy fats are known to reduce insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular disease, and intake of carcinogens. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. Oils rich in monounsaturated fats also contribute vitamin E to the diet, an antioxidant vitamin most Americans need more of.

Which fats are healthy fats to eat?

 Not all fatty foods hold these benefits. So what’s the difference? Avoid the all too common mistake many make when they switch to a low-carb diet. While the double patty cheeseburger is low in carbs, having it make a regular appearance on the dinner table, even if it is low in carbs, is terrible for your heart. While saturated fats are not the healthy fats that we necessarily want to star on our low-carb meal plan, the American Heart Association recommends aiming for a dietary pattern that achieves 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fat. For example, if you need about 2,000 calories a day, no more than 120 of them should come from saturated fat. Saturated fat sources include:

  • fatty beef
  • lamb
  • pork
  • poultry with skin
  • beef fat (tallow)
  • lard and cream
  • butter
  • cheese
  • other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk

Healthy fats to eat: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Polyunsaturated fats are pivotal for our health. Our bodies cannot produce these fats on their own, meaning we need to get them from the foods we eat. They serve essential purposes like building cell membranes and the covering of nerves. They are required for blood clotting and muscle movement. These fats are found in the liquid oil we use to cook.

Some ways to fit polyunsaturated fats into your diet are:

  • Sunflower oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil

Monounsaturated fats can be found in:

  • Olive oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Canola oil
  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Pork
  • Eggs

Resources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fat/art-20045550

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/are-fats-so-bad

http://www.epi.umn.edu/cvdepi/essay/it-isnt-always-fun-the-seven-countries-study-in-brief/

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Take your Nutrition to the Next Level

Taking Your Nutrition to the Next Level

Is your health taking a back seat because you’re too focused on being a stellar employee, friend, parent, and homemaker? When prioritizing good health falls off the radar, you may struggle in other aspects of life. Creating a balanced lifestyle helps you be the best version of yourself. Consider making more nutritious food choices to develop healthier eating habits. When you focus on health and wellness, you feel more motivated and energized to complete your goals and tasks for the day.

For National Nutrition Month, we’re helping you take charge of your health and be mindful of your daily nutrition with three simple tips. At Sola, we believe taking care of ourselves is a lifelong journey. Are you ready to transform yourself and take your nutrition to the next level? Go ahead, join us.

Put on your chef hat.

Many people enjoy cooking but don’t have time to prepare healthy meals every day. Moreover, some, simply don’t like the art of cooking. You’d be surprised how enjoyable cooking can be if you challenge yourself and dedicate time to cook delicious and healthy meals. By cooking your meals, you can decide which ingredients to use and the amount that goes into your dish. However, eating out is a significant risk because you may unknowingly consume too much sodium or too many carbs, sugars and other unwanted ingredients that could harm your health. So, put on your chef hat, find a healthy recipe and cook a dish that not only your body will benefit from but also your taste buds. You can start by using Sola recipes to prepare low-carb and low-sugar meals for you and your family. For those who have sweet cravings as we do, consider baking your favorite indulgences with Sola sweetener. With 75 percent fewer calories than sugar, zero net carbs, and zero glycemic response, this sweetener will be a healthier yet tasty alternative to sugar.

Say hello to a healthier you by switching to nutritious snack choices.

Who doesn’t love afternoon snacks? Picking nutritious snacks is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As kids, we were told to avoid sugary foods and drinks, and we need to follow that advice as adults, too. It’s okay to indulge in something sweet on occasion, but you’d be surprised how many people have more sugar than normal on a daily basis. If you’re consuming more sugar than recommended, your body will keep craving more and won’t perform at its optimal level.

Additionally, your body may be more susceptible to diseases and will tire easily. You may also see unwanted weight gain. So, why put something in our bodies that will only cause harm? Fortunately, you don’t have to eliminate sugar altogether. You just need to consume it in moderation. At Sola, we love sweets with more natural sugars.

Healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables and Sola yogurt that is packed with probiotics are better for your overall wellness. Carrots are delicious and packed with potassium and fiber. Potassium helps in moderating blood pressure levels, and fiber aids in healthy digestion and controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Carrots also contain high amounts of iron, calcium, Vitamin C and Vitamin K.[1] Although nutrient-packed vegetables can aid in building a healthier lifestyle, sometimes we may crave foods with a little more oomph. Luckily, you can glaze veggies with delicious ingredients and roast them for the perfect texture. For your next delicious and healthy snack, check out this Sola recipe for glazed carrots with sesame seeds and star anise.

At Sola, we also quench your cravings with low-sugar ice cream, low-carb granola and much more.

Go nuts for nuts.

When you want to treat yourself to something more flavorful, consider snacking on nuts and granola bars. Nuts contain properties that fight diseases, protect your heart and boost brain power. Nuts are powerful superfoods that are linked to many health benefits, especially for the heart. A research study published in 2008 concluded that people who consumed more nuts reduced their heart disease risk by 35 percent.[2] According to Joy Bauer, RDN, author and “Today Show” health expert, “a small handful [of nuts] can pack your diet with filling protein, fiber, unsaturated fats, and important vitamins and minerals.”[3]

It’s clear going nuts for nuts is the way to go when choosing your next snack. At Sola, we offer nut bars that are packed with flavor, almonds, and protein. These nut bars have 40 percent less sugar than average granola bars and contain only six grams of net carbs. The next time you reach for a snack, make sure it’s a Sola nut bar that will fuel you with the right nutrients for the rest of the day.

The end result.

There you have it — three simple ways you can transform your lifestyle with healthier and nutritious alternatives. Celebrate National Nutrition Month by implementing these three steps to fuel your body with healthy and delicious foods. Let’s make this month one that will kickstart our healthy lifestyle and take our nutrition to the next level.


[1] https://www.livestrong.com/article/512457-are-carrots-good-snacks/

[2] https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/138/9/1746S/4750850

[3] https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-and-nutrition/0406/why-you-should-go-nuts-for-nuts.aspx – crack-open-all-the-health-benefits-of-nuts-from-almonds-to-cashews-to-pecans-and-more

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Here’s a List of Low Carb Vegetables You Should Be Eating

Low-Carb Vegetables

For most of us, eating healthy has always meant including lots of fruits and veggies in our diet. However, most fruits and some veggies include hidden sugars that can work against our weight loss goals. Here is our keto vegetables list.

DON’Ts

On the Ketogenic diet, 5%-10% of your food should come from carbs. That means when sticking to a keto meal plan not all veggies are a good option. A cup of green peas has as much as 21 grams of carbs. One ear of corn has 25 grams. One medium carrot has six carbs. Most ground vegetables like leeks, squash, sweet potatoes, brown potatoes pumpkins, all contain a higher carb content and should be excluded from your keto meal plan.

DO’s

When choosing low carb fruits and low carb veggies to incorporate into your meal plan, it’s important to note not only the carb content but the fiber. When calculating the net carb intake of your meal, remember that the fiber content is subtracted from the total carbohydrates. Here are a few keto staples to include in your weekly meal plan.

Avocados

When it comes to keto friendly, low carb fruits the avocado is the first to make the list. Avocados have a high fiber content which brings their net carb output around 2g per 100 g of avocado. Avocados also contain Vitamin C and Iron while packing the high-fat punch needed to keep you going throughout the day. Not to mention the delicious creamy texture that leaves you wanting more.

Broccoli

Broccoli along with other members of the cruciferous family such as cauliflower is a low carb vegetable that is a great option when developing a keto meal plan. Broccoli has a great texture that when incorporated into a high-fat dish such as the classic cheesy broccoli is delicious and satisfying while helping you meet your daily macros. Not to mention a single cup is packed with as much vitamin C as an Orange.

Asparagus

Asparagus has much more going for it than just its low carb count. It contains lots of prebiotic fiber which feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut. A healthy gut biome is linked to weight loss and reduces the dangerous inflammation associated with a carb-rich diet. Plus, you can wrap it in bacon. Nothing’s better than that.

Fermented Veggies

Fermented veggies such as pickles, olives, and kimchi also help to foster a healthy gut biome. All these veggies average out at less than one carb per serving. If you find that the late-night snack cravings are too much for you, these fermented options are full of flavor. Fermented spicy cabbage or Kimchi adds flavor and crunch to any meal.

Zucchini

Zucchi is low carb vegetable with a naturally mild flavor that makes it versatile on the plate. Many of us on the Keto diet find that zucchini can work as a substitute for many empty carb alternatives. Zucchini noodles work great as a pasta alternative. Thinly sliced zucchini is an excellent substitution for the tortillas in enchiladas.

Spinach

Leafy greens are a big “yes, please” on a low carb diet. Incorporating as much spinach into your low carb meal plan means a big boost in protein, fiber, iron, calcium, and the list goes on and on. Bulk up any weekly meal prep with a handful of spinach or a fatty side of creamed spinach at dinnertime.

Chili Peppers

There is extensive research that suggests adding a little spice to your diet can have appetite reducing effects, namely curbing sugar cravings. While chili peppers and jalapenos can be on the higher end of the carb scale, used in moderation, can give your metabolism the boost it needs.

Other Moderate Use Fruits and Veggies

There are some vegetables whose high carb count means you’ll want to use sparingly in your weekly meal prep. Fruits and veggies like bell peppers, jalapenos, onion, mushrooms, berries, and tomatoes can add color, flavor, and much-needed excitement to your low carb meal plan. Though, it’s essential to monitor their use so as not to surpass your daily carb count. Keep in mind that radishes and cucumbers are also great options when you’re looking for that satisfying crunch, without all the hidden sugars.

Often when we are restricted, we become our most creative selves. Switching to a low carb diet can be challenging, but it’s a great opportunity to branch out and try that new low carb vegetable that you have never seen before. Or, determine how many different ways you can prepare a zucchini. Instilling variety makes sticking to a low carb meal plan more exciting and ultimately you, more successful in reaching your health goals.

SOURCE:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426284/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6041804/

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Three Home Workouts You Should Be Doing

Workout tips from Sola

Whether you’re an athlete or making the switch to a healthy lifestyle as your new year’s resolution, home workouts are an excellent option for keeping fit and healthy. Working out at home is a cheap and accessible alternative to a gym membership.  Let’s be honest when it comes to keeping up with new year’s resolutions, the more hurdles we can eliminate between us and our daily workout, the better.  Skip the drive to the gym, and the monthly fees with an in-home solution! Here are some fitness tips for a more efficient home workout for keeping fit and healthy.

When creating your home workout, it’s essential to include all of the basics of a healthy routine. The number one fitness tip for beginners is always to include a warm-up and a cool-down routine, as well as stretching in your in your home workout. If done at the right time, stretching works to strengthen muscles and reduce your chance of injury. However, research shows that stretching cold muscles can damage them. Five or more minutes of light cardio such as jumping jacks or jump rope works to get the blood flowing to the muscles and avoid pulling or tearing them while stretching. Once the muscles are warmed up, they’re ready to be stretched.

Cooling down after a workout helps to slow and safely bring your breath and heart rate down, preventing dizziness and heart strain. Walking stretches, jumping jacks with moderate effort, or your favorite yoga poses are all examples of great cooldown exercises. The cooldown phase is the best time to stretch out and lengthen tired muscles. Remember, stretching is a cumulative activity. Every stretching session builds on itself working to develop strength and flexibility.

A well-rounded home workout routine should incorporate both cardiovascular and strength building exercises. Circuit training is a great way to include both of these elements into your home workout. The great thing about home workout circuits is that they function like a grab bag allowing you to choose exercises that target the areas you want to improve. The level of cardio in your home workout depends on your healthy lifestyle goals. Alternating higher levels of cardio with strength building exercises work to better burn fat. Alternating lower levels of cardio with weightlifting works to build more muscle.  Create your personalized at-home circuit to improve cardiovascular and muscular endurance. Working an exercise circuit into your weekly routine can help to make that trip up the stairs or carrying that extra bag of groceries between the car and the house a breeze.

Here are three exercises that when incorporated into a circuit serves as a cheaper, more convenient, and efficient home workout.

Jump rope

Home workout equipment can be expensive and bulky. A great alternative to the traditional treadmill or exercise bike is the jump rope. Jumping rope is a cheaper alternative and not to mention a lot more fun. Compared to jogging, jumping rope is an extremely efficient cardio workout, earning the same cardiometabolic exercise points for half the time. Jump rope for only a few minutes, and it’s clear that it’s a great cardio exercise, but we may not notice the full body benefits of jumping rope until the next morning. Jumping rope improves stamina, balance, agility, all the while working your cardiac, lung and many other muscles in the body. With the use of weighted ropes, jumping rope works the forearms, biceps, shoulder, back muscles, gluts, and more. Easy access makes jumping rope an excellent option for beginners; however, as with any exercise, it’s important to practice good form to avoid injury. Finding the right rope means grabbing one that is an appropriate length. Ropes of the correct length allow us to practice the excellent posture needed to limit mistakes and reap the muscular and agility benefits associated with jumping rope. A weighted rope adds resistance which, when combined with proper posture, works to activate our muscles better and leads to a full body workout. Maintaining a good posture such as a straight back, shoulders back, and eyes forward will help to ensure the best workout results.

Planks

A plank is a strength building exercise that requires little to no equipment and whose intensity can be altered depending on skill level, making it the perfect home workout. Strength building exercises use resistance to build muscle and endurance. Planks are low-impact exercises for building inner core strength. If it was your New Year’s Resolution to lose the winter belly fat, then this is the workout for you. While Planks can have some appealing effects on the appearance of our tummy area, they provide so much more than tight abs.  A strong core puts less pressure on the back, reducing back pain. In addition to flattening the tummy and reducing back pain, planks increase flexibility and improve posture.

The basic plank is accomplished by first laying face-down and using your arms to push yourself up into the push-up position. When doing a plank, the back should be flat like a board. When ready to begin, arms should be bent until the forearms lay flat on the ground, and the abdominal section tightened, then hold the position. To get the most out of a plank exercise and to prevent injury, it is essential that the back remains flat. Having a second pair of eyes to make sure the back is laying flat can help to avoid subtle arching. There are a few alterations to the basic plank which makes them a perfect option for any skill level. A workout tip for beginners is that the basic plank can be altered for those just starting by simply lowering the knees while holding the classic plank form. The tension applied to the core is lessened, still working to build core strength but not to overexert someone who is newly embarking on a healthy lifestyle transition. For those who are more advanced, The Up-Down Plank is a formidable challenge. All you have to do is while holding the classic plank position lift alternating sides of the body into the push-up position. Once both hands are palm down on the floor alternate letting each side back into a plank. This higher intensity plank works to strengthen the biceps and back muscles as well as the core.

Walking Lunges

There are countless benefits to the lunge workout, the most obvious being the strengthening and toning of our legs and bottom. However, other benefits include core strength and hip flexibility. While this workout can be accomplished while walking or standing, the benefits of walking lunges give us more results for our time. Walking lunges do everything a stationary lunge can do while improving balance and providing additional muscle toning to calves and thighs. To accomplish a lunge correctly, attention to posture is critical. Begin by standing feet firmly planted on the ground, shoulder width apart, and lowering your pelvis straight down, while maintaining a straight back.

Finally, our final fitness tip is to keep in mind that when creating an individualized home workout, switching up which exercises we incorporate daily keeps our bodies and minds more involved in our workouts ultimately keeping us fit and healthy.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17170203

https://www.livestrong.com/article/403629-circuit-training-benefits/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercise-101-dont-skip-the-warm-up-or-cool-down

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/how-much-exercise-do-you-need

https://performance.nd.edu/strength-conditioning/recommended-reading/self-limiting-exercise-jumping-rope/

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5 Tips on How to Practice Self-Love

Practicing Self Care

On the month of love and significant others, we want to remind you to invest time in yourself. While we’re trying to reach health through fitness, and dietary needs we also need to look inward. Making sure we’re watering our mental garden and are upkeeping our best self. We believe that being healthy does not just include your body health but your mental health as well! This Valentine’s day give yourself the gift of self-love. It’s a process but one that’s worthwhile.

Don’t Let Negative Thoughts Foster

Sometimes we’re so focused on reaching certain goals that when we fail to meet them, we end up putting undue stress on ourselves. We’re not perfect and sometimes we will fail whether we like it or not. It’s about changing the way you perceive “failure”. Failure is just another word to try again and see where you went wrong. Adjusting your course until you find the success you’re happy with. Negativity is an addicting state of mind, don’t dwell too long there. Remember that you’re a person that deserves as much gentle care as you give those who you love.

Spend Time with People You Love

In the month of love remember to spend it with people who bring you joy whether that’s your romantic partner, friends who you cherish, or family. Laughing and enjoying your time with people who make your day a bit brighter puts you in a better disposition. Likewise, don’t spend too much time on those who bring you down or who spark no joy. Life is too short to do things you don’t like doing and too short to spend it with those you don’t like. It’s all about loving yourself enough and knowing what brings you happiness. Spending time with the people you cherish is a kindness to your soul because you’re healing and recuperating.

Don’t Get Stuck on the Numbers

When we’re trying to get healthy, we become so focused on numbers. Did I reach my weight goals? Did I eat too many calories? Is it the end of the world? No. Don’t let numbers rule your life. While it is important to have goals don’t follow them so rigidly that you can’t stop thinking about them. Sometimes you’ll go over and that’s okay. That just means you have to look at the day and ask yourself what was different? Was I stressed? Was I sad? Or was it because I was at a social event? Look at everything, not just the number. Remember you are so much more than numbers, you’re a human worthy of love no matter if you meet your goals or not.

Do Something You Love Regularly

Hobbies. These are great to have something to look forward every week. Whether it be a language course or an exercise class like kickboxing. Don’t get stuck in a monotonous cycle where you are not actively allowing yourself to grow. It doesn’t even have to a class. Instead try something as simple as reading a book or writing in a journal. Give yourself a moment where you allow yourself to forget the world exists and focus on your personal growth. While the world may be chaotic, we don’t always have control of it but we have control over how we react to it. Centering ourselves every day allows us to take care of our problems before they become too big. It’s all about gifting yourself time for self-reflection.

Have Boundaries

The world asks a lot from us sometimes and it is okay to say no. Learning how to establish boundaries and keep them is hard. We want to please everyone around at the expense of our self. The reality is that you’ll run yourself to the ground before completing every task you said yes to. Learning how to say no is both empowering and kind. It’s having enough self-awareness of what you can realistically accomplish. Emotional boundaries are important too. If someone does something that makes you uncomfortable, tell them. Communication of boundaries is key and most people are receptive to them. Keep yourself sane and safe.

It’s All About Balance

At Sola, we believe that being healthy is an overall concept in both how you feed your body, mentally and emotionally. We provide healthy alternative snacks that are low in carbs but keep the taste. Our chef-crafted low-carb bread, granola and more are perfect for those looking to change the way they eat and feel. Remember love starts with you and taking care of yourself.

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Celebrating #ToastTuesday with these Sola Recommendations

Delicious low-carb options for #toasttuesday

We’re surrounded by processed carbs and hidden sugars in our daily meals. Low-carb bread options allow us to eliminate carb-dense foods and make it easier to shift to a low-carb diet. On this #toasttuesday we have included two sweet and two savory toast options that maintain a commitment to a low-carb lifestyle while preserving the deliciousness of the food we know and love.

These recipes were created with the intention of shifting from an empty high-carb breakfast to high fat, high fiber, low-carb alternative. The typical American carbohydrate loaded breakfast (i.e., bagel and cream cheese) tends to make us feel fuller at the moment but burning us out before lunchtime and leading to dangerous levels of inflammation and weight gain.

A focus on low-carb, high fat, high fiber toast options, works to keep us feeling fuller for longer while tempering the chronic inflammation associated with a diet that’s loaded with processed carbs. While inflammation in our bodies is what works to help us heal if we take a tumble, the chronic inflammation that comes with a high-carb diet has been linked to health risks such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Pairing a commitment to a low-carb diet with a high fiber intake works to keep our digestive tracts moving and healthy.

It is natural to crave carbs and sugars when you’re first making a change to a healthier lifestyle.  Switching to low-carb alternatives will allow your body to get used to fewer carbs but still maintain some of your favorite foods. No one can change overnight, and you don’t have to! Baby steps. Here are a couple quick but flavorful low-carb recommendations that are perfect for a busy #toasttuesday morning before work or even a lazy Sunday brunch.

Recommendations:

Low-Carb PB&J toast

  • One slice Sola Golden White Wheat bread, crunchy unsweetened sunbutter, raspberries, shredded coconut
  • When switching to a low-carb diet, the sugar cravings can be overwhelming. A great alternative to processed sugars is a handful of berries. Some fruits such as bananas, pineapple, or mango can have a higher amounts of sugars than other fruits like raspberries, and strawberries. Berries, in moderation, are a delicious and low-carb friendly alternative. If you coupled them with a low-carb, unsweetened nut butter such as sunflower seed, macadamia nut, or pecan butter to keep us satiated for longer, these toast toppings are a win, win. A shaved coconut topping not only adds an extra dose of fiber but also tastes deliciously indulgent. Keep in mind that fresh berries can be bought or picked seasonally in bulk and frozen for the winter months, ensuring that there are always low-carb toast toppings on hand.

Low-Carb Sweet Yet Savory Toast

  • One slice Sola sweet oat bread, crumbled goat cheese, fresh blackberries, cinnamon
  • Nothing compliments the sweetness of fresh, juicy blackberries like the tangy flavor of goat cheese. For those who are not big on goat cheese, cottage cheese is another tasty (and thriftier) option. A sprinkle of cinnamon compliments this recipe with a bit of light spice, not to mention the anti-inflammatory properties of the cinnamon.

Low-Carb Avocado Toast

  • One slice Sola Deliciously Seeded bread, half an avocado sliced, cherry tomatoes roasted, and a mixture of sesame seeds, dry onion, garlic salt, and poppy seed sprinkled on top.
  • What would a blog post about toast be without featuring the beloved avocado! Avocados pack a hearty, healthy punch. The fat contained in an avocado works to keep us fuller for longer. They also include lots of the fiber we are looking for in a low-carb diet. All the while, providing the delicious and creamy texture which is its claim to fame. Roasted tomatoes complement our avocado toast by adding texture, fiber, and sweetness for taste. Sprinkling a slice of low-carb toast with a seasoning mixture of sesame seeds, dry onion, garlic salt, and poppy seed gives all the flavor of a bagel without the processed carbs.

Low-Carb Farmer’s Market Toast

  • One slice Sola Sweet Oat Bread, softened brie, sliced prosciutto, poached egg, and a sprinkle of black pepper and sea salt.
  • This savory toast option feels gourmet but can be made in a matter of minutes. Starting with a spread of soft brie cheese, stack a slice of prosciutto (or bacon), and a poached egg on a slice of low-carb bread. When cutting down on carbs, the first thing to go is often that bagel or English muffin we are accustomed to for sopping up those delicious egg yolks at breakfast. Switching to a slice of Sola Sweet Oat bread for our morning meal allows us to stick with tradition while maintaining a commitment to a low-carb lifestyle.

Resources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-inflammation

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/high-fiber-foods/art-20050948

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Eat Smart for Your Heart

Happy Valentine's Day

It’s February, and the winter season is at its peak. When it’s cold, most people turn to comfort foods such as sweets, high-carb foods and … did we mention sweets? It wouldn’t be February without Valentine’s Day enticing us to shower our loved ones with mounds of chocolates and sweet guilty pleasures. Next thing you know, your New Year’s resolution to practice healthy habits goes down the drain. More importantly, unhealthy foods and sweets can lead to several deadly diseases — heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. In the U.S., approximately 610,000 people die of heart disease every year, which means one in four deaths are related to heart disease![1]

These numbers are staggering, and since February is also American Heart Month, it’s crucial to spread awareness and encourage heart-healthy lifestyles. At Sola, we believe it’s imperative to practice healthy habits, so we want to help you lower your risk of heart disease and eat smart for your heart. During American Heart Month, we are doing just that — giving you the information you need to prevent heart-related issues, including tips to adopt alternatives to unhealthy foods. What’s the first heart disease enabler on the list? You guessed right — the sweet but silent killer, sugar.

Added sugar isn’t very sweet after all.

We’ve all been told to limit sugary foods and drinks, but do we actually follow through? Most of us probably consume too much sugar than recommended. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that men should have no more than nine teaspoons of added sugar per day, and women should have no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day.[2] Yet, Americans consume about 19.5 teaspoons of sugar per day — that’s 66 pounds of added sugar every year![3] Consuming too much sugar can put you at a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammation and liver disease which are all linked to increased risk of a heart attack.[4]

The key to preventing heart-related issues is monitoring your sugar intake and shopping wisely at the grocery store. Always read the food label and ingredients of every food and beverage you purchase. In most cases, food labels state the sugar amount in grams. To put it into perspective, one teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to four grams of sugar. Also, watch for sugars that mask themselves as high-fructose corn syrup and rice syrup. Instead of purchasing high-sugar foods for you and your family that risk your health, consider replacing them with choices that contain less sugar and come from nature. A new option could be to switch to Sola products which aim to lose the sugar but keep the taste we know and love. Our products come from natural substances and contain less sugar. For those with a sweet tooth like us, consider using Sola sweetener, which contains only four calories per teaspoon versus traditional sugar that has more than sixteen calories per teaspoon — that’s over 75 percent more than Sola sweetener! We also provide a selection of delicious ice cream that contains only six grams of sugar, which is 60 percent less than traditional ice cream. Your heart and overall health will thank you for making daily choices to limit your sugar intake and opt for foods with more natural sugars.

Limit saturated fats.

Most people have butter, fatty meats and in their refrigerators. However, these foods are packed with high levels of saturated fats that can increase LDL cholesterol levels in your blood, which also increases your risk of having a heart attack.[5] Therefore, consider lowering your saturated fat consumption and look for foods that contain healthy unsaturated fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which have the reverse effect on cholesterol levels. These unsaturated fats are known to lower blood cholesterol levels and decrease risks of a heart attack and other heart diseases.[6]

To limit your saturated fat consumption, consider swapping to Sola products such as Sola bread, which contains only .5 grams of saturated fats and includes two grams of polyunsaturated fats and one gram of monounsaturated fat. Another healthier food swap is Sola granola, which is low in saturated fat. Our granola contains 50 percent less sugar than traditional granola, and it has only three grams or less of net carbs. Sola granola also contains only 1.5 grams of saturated fats, three grams of polyunsaturated fats and six grams of monounsaturated fats. The list of foods low in saturated fats doesn’t stop there. You may consider opting for Sola’s healthy Greek yogurt — the perfect way to start your day. Sola yogurt contains only 1.5 grams of saturated fats and is packed with probiotics and delicious, creamy flavor.

The bottom line.

When we maintain a healthy lifestyle, our bodies work to fight off and prevent many diseases, especially heart diseases. Therefore, during American Heart Month let’s try to push ourselves a little more every day to make healthier decisions such as swapping sugary, fatty foods for choices with less sugar and healthy fats. Trust us, your body and overall wellness will thank you for making healthier decisions and eating smarter for your heart.


[1] https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db87.htm

[3] http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/the-growing-concern-of-overconsumption.html#.XEzGCs9KhmB

[4] https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/the-sweet-danger-of-sugar

[5] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_heart/eat_smart/heart-healthy-eating-on-a-budget

[6] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fat/art-20045550

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Maintain Your New Year’s Resolutions with Simple Changes

keep your new year resolution!

Now that we’re halfway through January, how are your New Year’s resolutions going? You can be honest, we won’t tell. As 2019 progresses, it’s easy to let your health goals fall to the wayside. If you’re finding it difficult to practice your health habits on a daily basis, you’re not alone. According to the University of Scranton, only eight percent of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions.1 So, what’s the secret for the eight percent? Here are some tips to make lifestyle changes that will last. The key is to take small steps that lead to a larger goal. Think about it — you can’t go from 0 to 100 in one month. At Sola, we believe living healthy is a lifestyle change, and it’s never too late to start.

Keep it simple.

The new year brings new goals, and you’re excited to start implementing changes to your daily schedule. You want to exercise more and lose 20 pounds, cut out sugar and carbs entirely and so on. However, have you considered the reason you haven’t previously achieved these resolutions is you’re biting off more than you can chew?

Set simple, achievable goals so you can celebrate the small victories and feel motivated. Instead of losing 20 pounds, aim for 10 or even five pounds. The smaller number is more realistic, resulting in less stress and higher satisfaction in the long term. Once you’ve conquered that goal, challenge yourself to lose another 10 pounds.

Set SMART goals.

If you really want to follow through with this year’s resolutions, you need to be specific about what you want to accomplish. Try creating goals that are SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Instead of saying you want to hit the gym more, schedule your workouts to hold yourself more accountable. For example, block time to exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes. Evaluate your schedule every week and add the workouts to your calendar, so you have dedicated time to spend at the gym. However, if going the gym is a bit of a stretch, consider trying some home workouts. There are plenty of workouts you can do at the convenience of your home with just a few inexpensive exercise props, such as dumbbells and resistance bands.

Swap unhealthy foods with healthier options.

Many people believe it’s hard to eat healthy if they don’t know how to prepare clean foods that taste good. Fortunately, you can find plenty of low-carb, low-sugar and healthy food alternatives that taste great at your local grocery store. At Sola, we offer low-carb bread, low-sugar ice cream and plenty other healthier food swaps to satisfy your bread craving and sweet tooth, while maintaining a low-carb diet.

Track your progress.

Another great way to maintain your resolutions is to monitor them. Track your daily progress so that you have a physical record and will know how much further you need to go to reach your goal. Check out these free apps that will help you on your journey.

Save time with meal prep.

Meal planning saves time and energy (and money!) and prevents you from ordering last-minute unhealthy takeout options that are usually full of sodium, sugar, and calories. Choose one day to meal plan and prep for the upcoming week. For example, if you find yourself craving Chinese, spend a Sunday afternoon prepping our Sweet and Sour Sesame Chicken with Vegetables for a healthier alternative to the takeout classic for your weekday meals.

According to Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RDN, founder of Essence Nutrition, “meal prep takes the guesswork and potentially bad decisions out of food. When you’re hungry at 12:30 p.m., you’ll order or eat the first thing that crosses your plate. Having a prepped meal cuts back on food anxiety and insecurity, and ensures proper food decisions.[1]

Moreover, don’t forget the snacks! Sola nut bars and Sola granola are excellent healthy snack options for those mid-afternoon cravings. Keep some on hand at work or try some of our delicious low-carb, low-sugar recipes that will help satisfy your cravings, including our Crunchy, Low-Carb, High-Protein Granola Bites or our Coconut, Apricot and Pumpkin Seed Breakfast Granola.

Celebrate small wins.

Rewarding yourself and celebrating small wins should be part of the process. Celebrating losing two pounds, a week full of choosing healthy meals or cutting out sugar will keep you motivated and determined to achieve your goals!

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/#6ccf58e9596b

https://www.springfieldnewssun.com/news/national/ways-stick-with-your-new-year-fitness-resolutions/subyRIMSpQr3EYR8uwyviM/

https://www.ajc.com/lifestyles/holiday/ways-ensure-your-fitness-new-year-resolution-comes-fruition/bsh9i0wG4RJaXKHcudZeCN/  

https://www.foxnews.com/health/make-your-new-years-resolutions-smart

http://www.eatingwell.com/article/291319/meal-prep-for-weight-loss-8-ways-it-will-make-you-more-successful/

https://www.foxnews.com/health/make-your-new-years-resolutions-smart

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New Year, New Health Goals in 2019

new year resolutions in 2019

It’s the new year and with it comes along a slew of goals that we set for ourselves for new year’s resolutions. At Sola, we believe health is a lifelong journey that is never too late to join. Being healthy isn’t just about eating nutritiously but also taking care of yourself mentally and physically. This new year, pick resolutions that match up with the life YOU want to build for yourself. Here is how we are making our goals this year and how to stay motivated along the way.

Realistic Expectations

Be realistic. Nothing is going to change overnight. Neither your health or yourself. At its core, change is a slow process but ultimately worth it. As you write down your goals for the year, remember to make them realistic to your lifestyle. If you work a demanding 8 to 5 job that tends to drain most of your energy, then putting in 3 hours at the gym will be somewhat unrealistic. Maybe start with 30 minutes of intense workout and see if it’s a reasonable expectation. Don’t get discouraged if reality ends up of short of your expectation. Just adjust as you go along.

Incremental Changes

Nothing changes overnight and neither should your entire diet or workout lifestyle. Why? Because it’s that much easier to go back to bad habits. Start with small things such as taking away all sugar filled drinks such as soda or fruit juice. Swap it for sparkling flavored water which tends to have lower sugar-content and eventually just switch to water and tea (coffee can be enjoyed too in moderation). Or switching to low-carb bread and low-carb granola rather than the regular carbohydrate-filled versions.  It’s all about knowing how much adjustment you can realistically do without going back to old habits.

Enjoyable Activities

This one goes without saying: if you don’t like to do something you won’t stick to it. Find something you’re passionate about whether it be kickboxing, rock climbing, yoga or running. Pick something you would want to do every day and actually find some fun out of it. It’s all about knowing your likes and wants before making a change. What new skill do you want to pick up? What exercise seems interesting to you? What classes are offered near you? Can I do this at home? These questions will allow you to confirm what activity you want to follow and if you will be willing to upkeep it. It’s always fun learning a new skill!

Check-in With Yourself

As you try to reach your goals, please remember to check in with yourself. No new year resolution should give you anxiety because you’re not fulfilling it. Remember it’s a journey, not a race. Remember that you are not any less worthy if you don’t reach your goal it just means that you have to adjust and examine where you are going wrong. If anything, you should be proud that you’re actively trying to change and working towards it. There many roads to a goal, and you’ll have to adapt as roadblocks emerge. Remember to love yourself in the now and not the future. You’re deserving of love NOW, not later.

Buddy System + Ask for Help

It always helps to have a friend with you. Having a built-in cheerleader and someone who understands what you’re going through is tremendously helpful. Both of you will be able to keep each other on track and encourage one another when things get tough. You can also ask for help when things become too much or confusing. It’s nice to have someone to bounce off ideas, questions, and just overall thoughts. Especially when you’re just beginning your health goals. It’s all about community.

We Believe In You

Healthy habits is a lifelong journey and a fulfilling one. As grocery stores continue to carry carbohydrate-filled foods, we will try our best to be a healthy alternative that you can rely on and trust. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or you have been doing this for years, we believe in you. May your new year be filled with pleasant surprises and positivity.

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