Kombucha Tea

Lately, kombucha tea has become very popular. Now you can see it everywhere: from supermarket shelves to third-generation coffee shops and even in organic markets.

But do we know what kombucha is good for? What is it made of? Was it discovered recently?

Let’s explore more about kombucha!

Kombucha tea is a carbonated drink discovered in China about 2000 years ago. It is also called ‘The Elixir of Life’. The name of the tea comes from Dr. Kombu who took tea fungus from Korea to Japan. And ‘cha’ means ‘tea’ in Chinese.

fermentation of kombucha tea

Kombucha is made from sugar and tea with a tea fungus called ‘scoby’. Scoby is the starter culture and it is the result of the symbiotic relationship between yeast and bacteria. As you may have noticed, sugar is used when fermenting the kombucha. However, according to research, most of the sugar that is used during the process is eaten by the bacteria and yeast. At the beginning of fermentation, kombucha has 30 calories and 2-3 grams of sugar. But these figures change during the process. The longer the fermentation period, the lower the sugar content.

Kombucha is a slightly sweet, slightly carbonated, fizzy and acidic beverage. Black, green or white tea is used in its making. It can be flavored with lemon, mint, jasmine, lavender or rose to give a different flavor and make it easier to drink.

The daily recommended allowance for kombucha to avoid toxicity and side effects is 100-300 ml. All healthy individuals and children over 3 years of age can drink it. Pregnant and lactating women, people who have chronic illnesses, and those who are receiving chemotherapy should consult their doctors before partaking.

kombucha

How to make kombucha tea?

To make kombucha, you need tea (black, green or white), scoby (starter culture), sugar, water, a sterile glass bottle, and some cloth. Allow the kombucha to ferment for 7-30 days. The ideal temperature for fermentation is 79-81° F. As the kombucha ferments, the amount of sugar decreases and the taste of vinegar becomes more prominent. You can control this process at home but, if you are buying your kombucha from a store, you should read the label to see if sugar was added.

Once your kombucha is ready, be sure to store it in a cool, dark place, such as a refrigerator.

kombucha tea drinking

What are the health benefits of kombucha tea?

  • Potential source of pre and probiotics
  • Good for intestinal health
  • Regulates digestion system
  • Boosts immune system
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Helps to regulate blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes
  • Supports heart health
  • Lowers cholesterol levels
  • Rich in B complex vitamins, such as thiamin and niacin
  • Helps remove toxins from the body
  • Helps in the treatment of skin diseases
  • Effective in losing water weight and burning fat
  • May help protect against cancer

Kombucha is beneficial for your body’s gut microbiome because of its probiotics, but more research is needed. Still, kombucha is a better option than all other sugar-added beverages.

Intermittent Fasting: A Fast and Feast Diet

Many people think about the term “intermittent fasting (IF)” as a different eating pattern. Yes, intermittent fasting (IF) is different, but it is not new. In fact, it’s been practiced in different ways by people for millennia.

Intermittent fasting is a briefly varied diet which is related to avoiding consuming foods or beverages that contain calories while in the fasting process, though it has different variations which need further study. There are 3 different types of intermittent fasting that are hypothesized to influence health outcomes in humans in general: alternate day fasting, modified fasting, and time-restricted feeding.

If you are curious about the details, here they are!

Switch the Days: Alternate-Day Fasting

Alternate-day fasting is defined as one fasting day (full energy restriction, zero calories, or sometimes a maximum allowance of 25% of your daily caloric intake on your fasting day) and one feeding day (ad libitum food consumption) and its continuous periods. Ideally, it allows you to eat at least one meal a day. For instance, your daily caloric intake requirement is 1200 calories; on fasting days, it is only 300 calories, maximum, you can consume! 

Let’s check out what you can eat with that many calories on fasting days:

On Mondays, you finish eating at 8 pm and begin fasting for 24 hours until the next day’s (Tuesday’s) dinner at 8 pm. In this fasting period (including sleeping), you can eat a maximum of 300 calories all fasting day:

–  1 egg + 1 slice (1 ounce) of cheese + 2 thin slices of bread
OR
– 1 portion of fresh fruit (eg: 1/2 banana, 2 slices of pineapple, etc) + 2/3 milk + 2-3 tbs of rolled oats + 5-6 raw almonds or hazelnuts
OR
– 1 thin slice of bread + omelette with 1 egg, 1 slice (1 ounce) of cheese + 3 thin slices (1 ounce) smoked turkey, 1/4 cup milk

Studies with normal weight adults shows overall mean weight loss, improvement in glucoregulatory markers (such as fasting insulin levels), and improvements in high density lipoprotein (HDL) which is basically good for human health and triglyceride levels, but increased low density lipoprotein (LDL), which is basically bad for human health. A full fasting day may not be proper for beginners because alternate-day fasting is extreme and probably unsustainable in the long-term.

Make a Difference: Modified Fasting 

Modified fasting is based on restricted daily caloric intake (20 to 25% energy on fasting days). It’s best known method is the “5:2 method”, which involves standard eating for 5 days and energy restriction for 2 non-sequential days of the week.

For example, you fast on Tuesdays and Fridays, but eat on the rest of the days of the week. According to a daily 1200 calorie need, you are allowed to eat 240-300 calories in your fasting period. Let’s see some different options:

– 1+1/4 cup of lentil soup + 1 thin slice of bread
– 3 portions of fruit + 2/3 cup of yogurt + cinnamon (if desired)
– Coffee with 2/3 cup milk + 10-12 hazelnuts or almonds + 1 portion of fruit

Results from a modified fasting diet with some groups of overweight or obese people show significant weight loss, decreases in fasting insulin (but not in fasting glucose), and improvements in some inflammatory markers. However, it also reported negative effects in some people, like feeling cold, hunger, irritability, etc. So, if compared with standard energy restriction diets, it has little evidence to suggest that type of feeding pattern concluded better weight loss or metabolic changes. The “5:2 method” is more suitable if we compare with the alternate day fasting. 

Body Clock: Time-Restricted Feeding

According to time-restricted feeding, daily fasting intervals range from 12 to 20 hours. The most popular one is the “16:8 method.” It involves fasting for 16 hours, and eating during an 8 hour period. Two or three meals can fit in this 8 hour period. The simplest way is this: you eat your first meal at noon and finish at 8 pm. During the rest of the day, including sleeping, you fast! Basically, it looks like skipping breakfast, but having lunch, dinner and mid-meals, if you desire.

Regular fasting and eating intervals may be important for maintaining optimal metabolic functions in accordance to normal daily circadian rhythms. So, the 16:8 method is much better and easier to apply if you want to explore IF diet types.

 

What Are the Pros and Cons with Intermittent Fasting?

It’s time to see it clearer!

Pros: 

In total, the studies showed that results between IF and restricted energy diets provide weight loss or prevention weight gain in those who are obese and overweight, but it should be remembered that there were no major differences among these two diet types.

If you are healthy, and within normal weight standards, and want to lose a bit of fat, you can try these diets. When you fast for an extended period, the body starts to use its own deposits, first glycogen (of course, if you are not a ketogenic-eating person), then excess fat mass.

Intermittent fasting may also help people who have mindless snacking habits, especially at night. It can help with discipline, and may help you to reduce and drop this behaviour.

Cons:

Do you think that social media influences you? Decide this first. IF is trendy lately, but it’s also hard to sustain. Focus, job performance, daily activity, helping with your food cravings, etc, are way too important. 

Medical concerns? Well, if you are diabetic, you need to think twice and consult your doctor! Many studies showed no change in fasting glucose levels, though some of them reported a decrease in fasting circulating insulin concentrations in people who don’t have diabetes. But, generally, long-term fasting affects people who have diabetes by reducing fasting blood glucose, in addition to post-prandial blood glucose. So, in short, if you have frequent hypoglycemic attacks, IF is not your thing. 

Plus, a study showed that LDL cholesterol had increased significantly after 12 months among the alternate-day fasting group. It might be a red flag for your heart health.

Finally, people may lead themselves to eat unhealthy, processed, or high-calorie food on the feeding days. You may lose weight by restricting your total caloric intake, but you will not take good care of your body.

Who Should Avoid Applying IF?

Let’s be honest! Each nutritional plan is specific for every single person. IF is getting trendier day by day, however it still needs to be examined its results in detail. In general, people who have eating disorders, children and adolescents, pregnant or breastfeeding women, post-op patients who are in their healing period, people who cannot regulate their blood sugar, etc, need to apply their own specific diets. Or people who crave sugar/dessert, people who cannot control their appetite, or if IF leads them to eat more, IF is not suitable for them! For more details about food cravings, read this

So?

As mentioned above, IF has no advantaged ‘weight loss’ difference if compared with normal restricted calorie diets, therefore don’t expect a miracle. 

Briefly, if you want to experience this type of diet, you need to see and consult your doctor and registered dietitian. If they both decide that you can ‘give it a go’, and, of course, if the IF rules fit for you, it can be tried!

Why Do Specific Diets Fail?

Everybody wants to look good and thin, but we are eating more than we need. As the obesity rate in the world increases, the weight loss market develops new products every day, like diet books, frozen meals, pills, powders and many more. Despite all of these, a large number of people who try to lose weight gain it back. Why are many of us still dieting? Why do specific diets fail? Every year a diet becomes popular. There are books that are published and there are products that are made for these specific diets.

spesific diet

For instance, the ketogenic diet, which is the original Atkins diet, claims that cutting carbohydrates will help you lose weight. But when you stop eating fruits, milk and milk products, grains, and some vegetables and legumes, you start to consume less fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

The results of low carb diets are not sustainable. Cutting a specific type of food from your diet is unhealthy and will make you crave that food after a certain time, and you end up eating more than you need. The Paleo diet is a type of diet that embraces what our ancestors ate in the Paleolithic era. But as you all know, we are living in a different kind of period, the modern world, which is way more different than our ancestors. So this diet does not suit our genes, our requirements or our habits.

Another specific diet is the blood type diet, which is a diet dictated according to your blood type. However, there is no scientific evidence to this. Science has rejected the concept of detoxing as well, because detoxes help you lose water weight, which is easily gained back in a day. Also, they shouldn’t be done more than 2-3 days. Pills, supplements, and powers are barely regulated and they are also not a miracle for weight loss and maintenance.

And then there are low fat diets and low fat products. Just because the product is low fat label does not mean it is healthy. It may be high in sugar and calories. Finally, the most common diets are very low calorie diets. These diets will help you lose weight, but after losing a large amount of weight in an unhealthy way, many people tend to gain some weight back. As a result, your metabolism slows down. That’s why very low calorie diets are not healthy or sustainable.

Eating healthy should last a lifetime. These types of diets may help you lose weight in a short time, but if you want to maintain the weight you lost, you have to change your habits. There are no miracle diets that will help you lose all the extra weight and help maintain the weight you lost.

Secondly, don’t forget that one size doesn’t fit all! Perhaps you have tried a diet that your friend lost 5 pounds with, but it didn’t quite work on you. The reason is we are not the same. We all have different genetics, bodies, metabolisms, and habits. Diets can work, but there is no one magic diet that helps everybody to lose weight. You just have to know your body and listen to what it wants. The key is to eat every kind of healthy food, but be careful with the portions. In addition, try to increase physical activity.

A Guide to Intuitive Eating

There’s a new dimension to our relationship with food: Intuitive Eating.

Most of the time, we quickly eat things on the go without even thinking when watching TV, talking on the phone, or driving. Since we have severed our ties with ourselves because of the rush that comes with modern life, we cannot even notice the signals coming from our bodies. When do we get hungry? How much food is enough? Maybe we forgot our inner voices because someone is always dictating to us what we should eat and when we should eat.

Mindfulness is a term of eastern philosophy that we hear a lot recently. The mind exercises that help us to stay in the moment have also been used in psychology since the 1980s. Intuitive Eating is very different from traditional diet approaches. It is a method that is built on following the natural hunger, fullness, and satisfaction signals of the body to reach the ideal weight. It is the wisdom of instinctively knowing the amount of food a person needs to nourish their body, except for those people with specific health problems (diabetes, food allergies, etc.).

There are no restrictions, so we can forget about the list of forbidden foods. Anything can be eaten if you want to, except for the times that you are eating out of boredom or anger. Eating behavior should occur due to hunger, which is something physical, rather than emotional. People who follow the way of Intuitive Eating stop eating when they reach physical fullness. They do not keep any emotional connection with the eating behavior, therefore they maintain their ideal weights. To create the intuitive eating behavior, we must first be mindful of our relationship with food. What, when, what for, and how much do we eat?

Let us talk about an exercise that is simple and common: the raisin exercise. Take a raisin in your hand, examine it closely by touching and being aware of its texture, color, and bright and matte parts. How does its texture make you feel? Smell it, try to feel what it smells like and focus on the raisin with all your senses. Do not allow your mind to drift away from the raisin and if it does, call it back right away.

Our senses help us stay in the moment, but our minds can drift away to the past or the future. When doing this exercise we spend time and effort on the raisin. This is not the ordinary raisin that we ate on the auto-pilot anymore.One of the exercises that we can do during the day to increase our mindfulness and ability to stay in the moment is with something which constitutes 70% of the human body: water.

Remember the last time you drank water today. What were you thinking when you were drinking? Did you feel the temperature of the water? Or did you feel how it went down your throat? Your mind may be elsewhere during your daily activities, but when you realize it and call it back, you increase your mindfulness. Enjoy the raisins you eat and the water you drink. You will be satisfied by giving the necessary time and importance to yourself. Also, your bond with yourself will be strengthened.

Intuitive Eating also allows you to recognize the right choices that will help you out. What am I eating? How do I feel? Do you suffer from bloating and gas pain after consuming dried legumes? Then, the legumes do not make you feel better. You eat very sweet foods and then you go to sleep immediately, or you want to eat more, maybe you want to eat them every day. The feeling of indigestion when you eat something very fatty is a clear signal that you are not making the right choice. Listen to your body. You should make good choices to feel good.

One of the most important points in Intuitive Eating is to challenge the food police that dictates the mind. Do not label oats as good or a piece of chocolate as bad. Eat whatever you want to eat, but eat it by staying in the moment, focusing on the food, and enjoying it. If you constantly try different diets and struggle to lose weight in a vicious cycle, you should try the Intuitive Eating method that can completely improve your relationship with food by showing compassion to yourself and by removing the dietary mentality from your life.

You can start with raisins and do other exercises during the day, you will feel your increasing mindfulness with time and you will not regret what you eat because you will be listening only to your hunger. You will stop eating when you feel full, and you will reach your ideal weight easily in no time.

The Ultimate Guide to How Much Water You Need

There are many different opinions about how much water we should be drinking every day. One of the most popular ones is to drink 8 glasses of a day (which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon). This advice is actually a myth.

There’s really no standard amount of water that’s recommended for all people at all times. It can vary from person to person and depends on many factors. An individual’s fluid needs can change due to exercise, climate, health conditions, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.

There’s no doubt about it: Drinking enough water is very important for your overall health.

Our bodies need water for several reasons:

• Digesting food
• Physical performance
• Brain function
• Relieving constipation
• Weight loss

6 Tips for Being “Water Wise”

Water makes up about 60-70% of your body weight, and every part of your body needs it to function properly. Lack of water alone can cause body systems to slow down and cause you to feel sluggish, tired and irritable.Keep your body healthy by being “water wise.” This means drinking the right amount of water for you.

If you need some extra help consuming enough water, check out these tips for drinking more:

  • Add flavor to your water
  • Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go
  • Avoid sugary drinks
  • Drink water instead of another beverage while out to eat
  • Make water part of your night out
  • Set a timer so you’ll remember to drink

 

Tracking Your Water Intake

The color of your urine can reveal a lot about the state of your health. Urine can change colors depending on what you are eating, how hydrated you are, and any medications you are taking. However, urine color will also allow you to assess your water intake. For Instance, light color is always better than a dark color and when your urine turns dark that means you are dehydrated.

An even better way to track your water intake is by measuring urine density using Vivoo which is the high-tech, fashionable wellness app that can help you keep track of your water consumption and more. Understand the voice of your body using the Vivoo app!  We will tell you how much water you should drink for your body to work properly and advise you about healthy choices you can make based on urine strip testing.

How can you track water consumption with VIVOO?

With 4 easy steps, you can start a healthier lifestyle!If you are trying to figure out how much water you should drink, try Vivoo! Make sure you drink enough throughout the day. Let’s stop wasting time and get started!

FirstStep : Get your urine strip

Urine is a useful tool for understanding a lot about the human body. A urine test strip is the quickest way to test urine. The test strip which has small square color fields containing reactants on it, is dipped into the urine sample for a few seconds. The results appear after a few minutes. Depending on the concentration of the particular substance you are testing for, the fields on the test strip change color.

Second Step : Use Your Phone

To determine your urine test results;, simply scan the strip using the Vivoo app.

Third Step: Receive Personalized Advice

Advice from the Vivoo app can help improve your health. In a matter of seconds, Vivoo can detect several parameters from your urine such as water consumption, infection, kidney & liver functionsand more. Vivoo’s  wellness tips are based on your test results and are unique to you.

Let’s drink a glass of water and download the Vivoo app ?

 

 

Nutrition During Menopause

Menopause is defined as the time when menstrual periods stop in a woman’s life. The ovaries no longer release eggs. Unfortunately, in our country, menopause is seen as taboo, and many women suppress this period in their lives, acting as if it is not happening or as if they have never or will never experience it. Nutrition during menopause is a very important issue that is not emphasized enough. The slowing metabolism and the hormonal shifts in the system cause a lot of change in a woman’s body. Especially around the age of 40, excess fats begin to cluster around the waist, but people usually do not associate this with premenopause. However, the body does not suddenly enter menopause; the changes take years. Many scientific studies show the importance of a proper diet before and during menopause.

Research results on women who follow the Mediterranean diet and enter menopause:

  • It has been found that women who consume unrefined grains (whole grains, rye, oatmeal) and legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils) are less likely to become obese during the menopause period; those who consume refined grains (white bread, pasta, noodles, white rice) are more inclined to become obese.
  • It has been observed that consuming high amounts of red meat and potatoes is related to obesity rates. Consuming high amounts of nuts (hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, walnuts) and drinking tea/coffee also triggers obesity in this period.

The results of another study which took place in England are striking. The study shows that what we eat is related to the time we enter menopause. These are the results:

  • Eating high amounts of oily fishes and fresh legumes can delay menopause by around 3.3 years.
  • Consuming high amounts of pasta and white rice is a factor that can cause menopause to start earlier by about 1.5 years.

It is very important to acquire healthy eating behaviors during this period. As technology develops, work that takes advantage of the positive aspects of technology is also increasing. In another study, researchers sent messages to menopausal women about “nutrition advice and information.” As a result of these messages, it was observed that the women’s consumption of fruits and vegetables, which are sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and the consumption of fish, which is very important in this period, increased.

One of the problems women face during menopause is osteoporosis (bone erosion). During menopause, bone loss reaches its fastest stage, due to dropping estrogen levels. Osteoporosis affects 200 million women around the world; it affects 1 out of 10 around age 60, 1 out of 5 around age 70, 2 out of 5 around age 80, and 2 out of 5 around age 90. To solve this problem, healthy and proper nutrition are important once more. Proper nutrition and fitness are critical not only for weight but also for bone health in this period and even before the beginning of menopause.

Vitamins and minerals are also key. Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, and zinc are the leading vitamins and minerals for bone health. They all work synchronously; one being absent or in excess will affect the others as well. Vitamin D is a vitamin that plays an important role in the absorption of calcium. It is an essential vitamin to prevent osteoporosis in this period. The greatest source of vitamin D is the sun. Calcium is not only found in milk. Dairy products (cheese, yogurt), dark green colored vegetables (black cabbage), broccoli, almonds, and some fishes (sardines) are all strong sources of calcium. Do not forget to have appropriate medical tests done under the supervision of your doctor.

There are also challenges women face that affect their quality of life during this period. There are studies that suggest that flaxseed is effective for reducing some symptoms that lower quality of life, such as menstrual cramps, but there are also studies that suggest it has no effect. It can’t hurt to try it. In the end, things that are natural will not hurt you if you don’t use them excessively.

Did you know that women in the Far East are 8 times less likely to have menstrual cramps? Some authorities emphasize the important role of nutrition in avoiding this problem. In Japan, women see the period as a form of “rebirth,” and they do not even have a word for menopause in Japanese. In contrast, in our culture it is usually perceived as a very difficult period for women because they do not know how to face the hormonal changes.

Exercising during this period is very important for combating weight gain, for improving bone health, and for decreasing the likelihood of heart diseases. 292 studies have found that exercising is a protective factor against obesity during menopause. Recently, when I was exercising with my dear trainer, he gave me the following advice for hard times: “Success is no coincidence. You should work hard to make your dreams come true”. After hearing this, I continued my exercise with determination. Working out is just as important as proper nutrition to overcome both the hormonal and the mental changes.

In order to meet menopause as smoothly as possible and reduce fat in the waist region, a.k.a. the “menopause bandage”, try to prioritize healthy eating habits and fitness starting from the age of 40. Of course, if you pay attention to these two things, you will be much healthier all the time, but if you have not done so before, perhaps you can decide to take a new step right now. Don’t forget: Lying down does not accomplish anything, but taking action does.

 

 

4 Ketogenic Dessert Recipes

As we all know thanks to its recent trendiness, the ketogenic diet involves reducing carbohydrate intake and feeding on high fat and protein content. That’s why people on the ketogenic diet remove desserts and high-sugar foods from their lives during the diet. Brownies? Cheesecakes? Believe it or not, it’s possible to make these desserts sugar-free and also compatible with your ketogenic diet. (Diabetics can also benefit from these recipes by making calorie calculations.) Here are 4 delicious dessert recipes that will help satisfy your sweet tooth while on the keto diet.

 

1-    AVOCADO BROWNIES

Wet Ingredients

2 ripe (250 g) avocados

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp refined coconut oil

100 g melted dark chocolate

Dry Ingredients

90 g blanched almond flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

4 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp stevia powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup erythritol

flaky sea salt (optional)

Directions

-Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F and line a square pan with parchment paper.

-Peel the avocados, place in a blender or food processor, process until smooth.

-Add each wet ingredient one at a time and process for a few seconds until all of the wet ingredients have been added to the food processor.

-In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients except flaky sea salt and whisk together.

-Add dry ingredients to the food processor and mix until all of them are combined.

-Transfer batter to prepared baking pan and smooth top with a spatula. Top with flaky sea salt, if using.

Bake until brownies are soft but not at all wet to the touch, 30-35 minutes. Let cool 25 to 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Tips

Be careful when mixing the warm ingredients with the eggs. Avoid cooking the eggs.

You can add some walnuts, ground nuts, etc., in the mixture if you want it to.

2- LEMON BARS

Ingredients

-1/2 cup butter, melted

-1 3/4 cups almond flour

-1 cup powdered erythritol

-3 medium lemons

-3 large eggs

Directions

-Mix the butter, 1 cup almond flour, 1/4 cup erythritol, and a pinch of salt.

-Press evenly into a parchment paper-lined baking dish.

-Bake for 20 minutes at 180°C / 350°F

-Let cool for 10 minutes.

-Into a bowl, zest one of the lemons, then juice all 3 lemons, add the eggs, 3/4 cup erythritol, 3/4 cup almond flour & pinch of salt. Combine to make the filling.

-Pour the filling onto the crust & bake for 25 minutes.

-Serve with lemon slices and a sprinkle of erythritol.

 

 

3- COCONUT FLOUR COOKIES

Ingredients

-1/2 cup peanut butter, almond butter, or other nut butter of choice

-2 tablespoons coconut oil

-1/2 cup coconut sugar (or light brown sugar)

-2 large eggs

-1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

-1/2 teaspoon baking soda

-1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

-1/2 cup coconut flour

-1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

Directions

– Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

-Place the peanut butter, coconut oil, and coconut sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until smooth.

-Add the eggs and vanilla and process again until evenly combined.

-Sprinkle the baking soda, cinnamon, and salt over the top. Sprinkle in the coconut flour. Process again until the mixture forms a smooth dough, stopping to scrape down the ball once or twice as needed. Using a spoon or spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips.

-With a small cookie scoop or spoon, portion the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheet. With your fingers, lightly flatten the dough, as it will not spread during baking.

-Bake for 7 minutes or until the cookies turn slightly golden brown at the edges and feel lightly dry. They will be very soft.

-Let cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes, and then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling. Repeat with the remaining dough.

4- COCONUT MOCHA DONUTS

Ingredients

-1/3 cup coconut flour

-4 eggs

-1/4 cup coconut oil

-3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

-1 tbsp liquid stevia

-1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (or coconut milk)

-1/2 tsp instant coffee granules

-1/2 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions

-Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F

-Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix well

-Pour mix into a doughnut pan

-Bake for 20 minutes

-Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool.

 

 

How Do I Control Food Cravings?

Food cravings are a common condition in the community and can often be seen several times a week in individuals. Cravings can be an excessive desire to resist a certain food, or more than one food.  In particular, during weight loss, limiting energy intake can cause food cravings. There is a possibility that some mineral deficiencies may cause excessive desire for some foods. Also, this situation can caused by psychological and environmental factors.

Food cravings are usually targeted toward excessively fatty, sugary, or high calorie foods, such as fast food. The desire for specific food types can be seen because of limited consumption, or specific taste preferences and perceptions.  For example, if you are feeding your body restricted fat and carbohydrates, maybe you start craving French fries. Also, cravings may be signals of biological needs. For example, if you are craving chocolate, this may be a precursor to magnesium deficiency, or craving dairy products may be signals of calcium deficiency. Besides, salty foods and milk products are usually desired when you’re hungry.

Food Choices According to Mood

People show different kinds of nutritional behaviors depending on their mood and stress level. Food intake increased in people who feel unhappy and tired.  The body may need to some foods to compensate for the decrease in some mood-related hormones. For instance, high fat and sugar content foods trigger the release of insulin and endorphins. Endorphin secretion makes a person feels better. For this reason, people in negative moods are more prone to consume carbohydrates and high calorie snacks to feel satisfied. This may be why some people eat more chocolate when they are unhappy or feel depressed. On the other hand, some individuals tend to have a larger appetite when they are in a positive mood, rewarding themselves with food. They tend to consume indulgent foods, such as chocolate and salty popcorn.

Association between gender and cravings

Gender makes a difference in food cravings. Many women desire more sweet treats, like chocolate, while men generally desire salty or savory foods. Additionally, research has shown that cravings are more frequent in women and resisting cravings is harder for a woman than it is for a man. This difference was thought to be related to the different functioning of hormone mechanisms. Especially during the menstrual cycle, cravings are the strongest before menses, and continues during menstruation.

What should we do to avoid craving?

Choose the Healthy One

Replacing cravings with more nutritious and  healthy foods can be a better option.

When you feel you need to eat chocolate, you should consider other magnesium sources. You can exchange chocolate with ½ cup of pumpkin seeds, 12 almonds, or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.  Similarly, other carbohydrate sources can be preferred. Rather than reaching for cakes and bakery products, reach for fruits and whole grain products. Dry fruits can be a good choice to satisfy your sweet tooth.

In calcium deficiency, the demand for milk products increases.  Dairy product intake can decrease the desire to eat milk-based desserts and increase calcium levels.  You may prefer 1 cup of yogurt instead of ice cream. Consuming fiber rich products daily supports your feeling of satiety for a long time and helps with adequate nutrient intake.  Making a good breakfast, like leaving 1/3 cup of oatmeal in 1 cup of milk overnight, is a good choice for breakfast and includes both calcium and fiber. Fresh fruits and vegetables with the skin on should also be preferred as rich fiber sources.

Relationship Between Craving and Nutrition

In the studies conducted, it was observed that craving increased if one diet type was used for a longer term. If you’ve been eating the same kind of food for a long time, that may be the reason why you desire other foods. Small changes may help to prevent you from making unhealthy food choices. Furthermore, check whether you get enough energy or not. Many people who are dieting may experience eating attacks due to energy restrictions. Try not to be hungry for a long time, as that will push you to high caloric foods. Increasing frequency of meals can help you control your food desires. You feel more satisfied when you eat more frequently and do regular meal plans.

When you eat less from specific food groups (such as low-fat, low-carbohydrate, low-protein) your desire to eat fast food and snacks will increase.  A balanced diet plan increases your satiety and helps you to control your eating behaviors. Eating protein-rich food, such as meats, poultry and seafood, keep you satiated for longer. Egg contains various nutrients and is a protein rich food, preferred as a protein source. Furthermore, seafood, like one salmon steak or one can of tuna, reduces sodium deficiency, and can help decrease your desire for salty foods and snacks.

Liquid Consumption

Drinking inadequate water causes you to feel hungry. If you are desiring to drink sugar sweetened beverages, or have a tendency to consume juices, the reason for this craving may be that you consume less water than your body needs.  Drinking water at frequent intervals can help you resist your cravings for sugary drinks. You can also choose mineral water instead of acidic beverages.

How Can I Be Resistant to Colds?

With the change of weather, especially in the beginning of the winter, our body resistance can be lower than normal, and we may become more vulnerable to illness. In these times when the body is exposed to external dangers, illnesses such as upper respiratory tract infections, colds, and flu can be widely seen. Illnesses, like the common cold, show some symptoms like fatigue, headache, sore throat, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, fever so that they affect daily life negatively. Supporting your immune defense system can help in preventing illnesses or reducing their symptoms.

In a survey of people with the common cold in the USA, even though antibiotics are not an effective treatment (due to the fact that colds are caused by viruses), survey results exhibit that nearly half of affected people used antibiotics. For this reason, strengthening the body with zinc and vitamin C supplements that support immunity and taking care of your diet may be better alternatives.

resistant to colds and illnesses

Specifically, in children and in the elderly, zinc is beneficial for decreased risk of common colds and upper respiratory tract infections. Furthermore, vitamin C has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of the common cold by improving antimicrobial and natural killer cell activities. So, how can we support our bodies in terms of vitamin C and zinc? Some zinc-rich food groups include whole-grains, meat and meat products, milk and dairy products, and fish. For vitamin C, it is important to consume fresh vegetables and fruits on a daily basis because vitamin C is not stored in the body.

Apart from these, some plants may support our immunity, when we look at food-based help. For instance, adding garlic to your meals during these seasons may be a good option. Some substances in the garlic support immunity, as it has antiviral and antibacterial effects. Since they regulate the activities of enzymes, it may be useful to include some plants in the diet as a way to prevent disease. For example blueberries, red onions, kale, cranberries, broccoli, and green tea includes a substance named quercetin, which protects the body from bacteria. Moreover, green tea contains vitamin C, and green tea extract inhibits viral proliferation.

illnesses

As a result, it is important to support the immune system to increase body resistance in seasonal changes. In these periods, paying attention to diet by choosing foods with varied and rich nutrient content may be good way to support the body’s defense mechanisms. You can make small changes by editing meal contents. For example, you can add fish in your menu for a couple of days in the week, eat meat on other days, and consume the products every day for consumption of adequate zinc. Also, whole grain bread can be a good alternative to zinc intake.

Remember to consume fresh vegetables and fruits on a daily basis, especially citrus fruits that contain vitamin C. Due to their antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiviral effects, some plants are very useful for immunity. Daily consumption of green tea (vitamin C) with its antioxidant and antiviral effect will reduce the symptoms and the risk of illness.

 

10 Family Christmas Gifts Under $30

Christmas is the time for going home, no matter how far it is. Do you find yourself searching for perfect gifts for all ages? Going back home with thoughtful gifts for all family is on everyone’s mind. Here are 10 ideas for every budget.

Syma Helicopter ($19.99)

Nothing is cuter than a kid’s excitement while opening gifts on Christmas Day. After they open this gift, they can’t wait even a minute to fly the Syma helicopter. Also, dads that are kids at heart will be happy to try it with kids.

https://www.amazon.com/Syma-S107G-Channel-Helicopter-Gyro/dp/B00F4WMAI4

Homesick Candles ($29.95)

These candles smell like pleasant scents from different states. Homesick candles will make your family remember all of the memories of your home state.

California SoCal Candle

 

Vivoo ($19.90)

Do you care about your loved one’s wellness all the time? Here is a special gift for them. Vivoo is a personalized wellness application that gives you nutrition and lifestyle advice based on your urine. Sounds crazy, right? Here is the link for more.

https://vivoo.io/shop/ 

 

ThinkGeek Executive Knight Pen Holder ($30)

There must be someone who loves writing in your family. Support their hobby and sharpen up their writing with a devoted knight! This pen holder is the perfect choice as a gift for the family member who uses a pen frequently.

https://www.amazon.com/ThinkGeek-Executive-Knight-Pen-Holder/dp/B00QX6SEJO 

Cards Against Humanity ($25)

Cards Against Humanity is a party game. The game is simple. Each round, one player asks a question from a black card, and everyone else answers with their funniest white card. Christmas is a time to have fun with family. Make it funnier with a game!

https://www.amazon.com/Cards-Against-Humanity-LLC-CAHUS/dp/B004S8F7QM

 

 

Personalized Wood Bottle Opener ($10)

Do you have a family member who enjoys drinking adult beverages? This personalized bottle opener is a handy and thoughtful gift.

https://www.amazon.com/Personalized-Engraved-Wood-Bottle-Opener/dp/B0784ZK7T9

 

Off the Beaten Path Travel Guide ($17.15)

It’s the perfect time to give this book as a gift when the whole family together! Explore new destinations all around the US on Christmas!

https://www.amazon.com/Off-Beaten-Path-Interesting-Uncrowded/dp/0762107944

 

Bonsai Trio Kit ($13.99)

New year, new hobbies! Gardening helps with relaxation and is also a perfect choice as a new hobby.  Give your family some good times with this gift.

https://www.amazon.com/Plant-Theatre-Bonsai-Distinctive-Trees/dp/B00YSNT66Y

 

Gummy Bear Light ($29.99)

Children and adults both love these pretty sleeping lights. These lovely lights will help children to overcome their fear of darkness.

https://www.amazon.com/Gummygoods-Huggable-Gummy-Bear-Nightlight/dp/B00C1OER5W

California Delicious Starbucks Daybreak Gourmet Coffee Gift Basket

The best smelling coffees make everyone’s morning better. This basket includes a variety of coffee with different aromas. A coffee gift basket always works for coffee lovers!

https://www.amazon.com/California-Delicious-Starbucks-Daybreak-Gourmet/dp/B00D614YRU