Lose Weight by Counting Calories

Thursday, September 20, 2012

If you can’t sleep, you count sheep.  But if you want to lose weight, you must count calories.  Yes, an important aspect of any weight loss regime is counting calories.  You don’t have to fiddle with your grandfather’s abacus just to be able to do that, though.  Calorie counting is pretty easy and effective, that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to successfully do that.
Before you count calories, though, it would be helpful to understand what a calorie is.  A calorie is defined as a unit of measurement which measures the amount of energy contained in a food item or beverage.  Our bodies use this energy to perform any activity.  In order to maintain our weight, we have to meet certain caloric requirements.  Eating less or burning more calories than that results in weight loss.  This is what’s called calorie deficit.  The rule is, a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories is equivalent to a one-pound weight loss.
For calorie-counting to be effective, you must first find out how many calories you need each day.  This will depend largely on your sex, height, weight and the activities you do on a daily basis.  A muscular man who towers at six feet and works at a construction site will need more calories than a petite secretary who sits in front of the computer for long stretches.
Now you can start setting goals as to how many calories you want to cut from your everyday diet, keeping in mind of course that it will take a calorie deficit of 3500 to shed off a single pound.  Most people cut about 250-500 calories a day.  Just be sure not to cut calories at a dangerous level- say, below 1200- as this can put your health at risk.
Counting calories naturally involves being able to read and understand food labels.  These are the “nutrition facts” you usually find at the back of the labels of most food items.  When reading this, do consider the “amount per serving”.   As for restaurants or fast food chains, you’ll usually find the calorie information in their food items listed on their website or brochure.
Now you can move on to what’s called Portion Control.  This simply means controlling the serving sizes of your food.  Your “supersize me” habits can now be put to rest.  Measure your food based on serving size, so you can accurately count the calories you consume.
Counting calories to lose weight is not all that hard.  All it takes is discipline and the right mindset.  Before you know it, your weight loss goals will soon be real.
Image Credit: 1.

Chicory Cup: Your Weight Loss Menu Drink

Friday, October 14, 2011

Coffee, our universal morning drink every morning gives the energy needed to start the day. All we need is a cupful then we are ready to go for work or school. Furthermore, coffee has a lot benefits too. It is a primary source of antioxidants which keeps our cells healthy. However, do you know that there is one kind of coffee that can help us lose weight?

Chicory Coffee or also known as blue sailors succory, cornflower or endives had been popular since the Ancient Roman Empire. In fact, the earliest written account attributed to Horace, one of the Classical Roman Poet. He described his diet as “Me pascunt olivae, me cichorea, me "malvae” which literally means “mine is olives, endives and mallows that provided sustenance.” Horace was able to achieve a body suited for military work because of this diet, which were revealed by some anecdotes. This was probably one of the reasons why he was able to become a soldier after the fall of Julius Caesar.

Setting aside the above story, we must examine what Chicory contains that makes it an ideal for our weight loss menu. First, this plant is rich in volatile oils especially its roots. When consumed in right proportions, it can burn out fats and even eliminate parasites and other microorganisms. Second, it contains insulin, a hormone that regulates carbohydrates and fats. Furthermore, this hormone prevents using fat as the source of energy by inhibiting glucagon. (It is a hormone that raise blood glucose levels.) Third, caffeine is absent in this coffee. The energy it gives comes from its aromatic oils and smell.

Below is the nutritional value of chicory per 100 grams:

  • Vitamin A 114%,
  • Calcium 10%,
  • Vitamin C 40%,
  • Iron 5%,
  • Saturated Fat 0%,
  • Carbohydrates 2%,
  • Sodium 2%, and
  • Fiber 16%.

Scallions: A Good Transition to Your Daily Weight Loss Menu

Friday, September 16, 2011

Eating is a basic requirement to live. Staying fit has become an option. However, eating at the same time staying fit is something to consider. Perhaps, one would think of the numerous weight loss menus being offered today. Yes, they can help us achieve the desired weight but some people might find it difficult to make a sudden shift in terms of food consumption. This is where the problem lies. Most of us are inclined to start eating healthy herbs and vegetables but experience difficulty to sustain (or in Filipino, “ningas cogon”).

Therefore, if you are looking for food that will help you adjust in changing your food selection, perhaps you might consider eating scallions? Basically, these plants are common in our kitchen as a garnish. In layman’s term it is an onion but has numerous modifiers green, spring, salad, sticks to name a few.

Aside from its culinary use, let us analyze its nutritional value. First, scallions don’t have cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium regardless of one’s intake. Second, it is a good source of dietary fiber approximately 10% per 100 grams. Third, it has less than 1% in terms of carbohydrates per 100g. More than that it has Vitamin A (20%), Vitamin C (30%), Calcium (7%) and Iron (8%). Furthermore, other essential vitamins are present as well such as: Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Panthothenic Acid and Choline. On the other hand, it is also rich in the following nutrients: magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.

Now let us see its functional use. Scallions contain cysteine sulfoxides which give its unique flavor and responsible for the eye-irritating compounds. They also have thiosulfinates which is good against microorganisms such as E. coli, Bacilluss subtilis and Salmonella. In Chinese Medicine, scallions are used to treat angina, coughs and breathing problems.

Therefore, one should not disregard eating scallions because it is a good start to a healthy eating and living.

Kidney Beans for Weight Loss

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kidney Beans, which earned its name because of a striking resemblance to a kidney, are dark and red-skinned beans which are also known as Red Beans. They provide top notch quality type of protein to the body, are exceptionally healthy, very low in sodium and high in Potassium and Protein. They provide dietary fiber that keeps digestive system disorders away and are believed to be very effective in helping lose the extra weight.

By including kidney beans in every part of your meal, you will gradually lose the flab and shed unwanted weight. And, since these beans take time to be digested, eating them for breakfast or lunch will make you full for longer hours of time, preventing you from craving and eating more food.

Here is an easy red beans recipe to add to your weight loss menus and to get you started:

What you will need:

  • 2 cans of 15-oz red kidney beans
  • 1 jar of 2-oz chopped pimiento
  • 1 can of 8-oz tomato paste
  • 1 chopped large onion
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 1 chopped small bell pepper
  • ½ cup of chopped celery
  • 2 tbsp of chopped parsley
  • ½ cup of chopped green onions
  • 2 tbsp of ketchup
  • 1 ½ tsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • ½ pound of Polish sliced Polish sausage (optional)

What you will have to do:

  • Fry the bacon and crumble these into the kidney beans
  • Saute the vegetables in the oil used to fry the bacon
  • Cook until the veggies are wilted
  • Add the beans and the remaining ingredients
  • Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes
  • Serve hot off the pan!
  • You can also serve it with rice if so desired

You can also check out online for more tips, recipes and other ways to incorporated kidney beans into your daily diet. Here's to a healthier meal and to a healthier you!

Artichoke Menu for Weight Loss

Friday, July 22, 2011

The next time you update your weight loss menu you might want to add in a couple of dishes with artichokes in it. An artichoke is simply a dieter’s manna from heaven. It has high fiber content that aids digestion, which in turns, strengthens our liver and gall bladder. Apart from that, Artichoke is also a great source of folic acid (which is very essential for women in childbearing years) and helps lower cholesterol levels in our body preventing heart diseases in the process.

To prepare artichokes, you simply wash it under running water then boil it for about 40 minutes, making sure to put it standing upright in a saucepan. They can be served hot or cold and is best served as appetizers. You can also use it for dips and sauces or some meals which can be most helpful for weigh management.

Here’s a sampler:

Linguine with Eggplants and artichokes

What you’ll need:

  • 12 ounce of linguine
  • 1 can of drained and halved artichoke hearts
  • 4 baby eggplants sliced in quarters
  • 1 cup of black olives
  • 2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 2 ½ cup of peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What you’ll do:

  • Over medium heat, pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan and add onion, lemon juice, garlic and the eggplants
  • Cook this for 5 minutes until light brown, with occasional stirring
  • Add in sugar, tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a boil
  • Simmer for another 20 minutes
  • Add the olives and artichoke hearts and simmer for another 5 minutes
  • Cook linguine according to package instructions
  • Drain the pasta, place it in a bowl and toss in the remaining olive oil
  • Add the tomato mixture
  • Toss well to coat
  • Serve and enjoy!

The Nutritional Value of Collard Greens for Weight Loss

Friday, June 24, 2011

Healthy living has been the theme of today’s generation. It is because today’s technology has created a new reason for every one to strive to live for another year or more. Then, as more discoveries have been unlocked especially in terms of tourism, social relations, etc. it would be definitely something worth missing if one doesn’t see nor experience that event or moment. Therefore, in order to do so, one must be healthy and fit either through exercise or diet or prepare a weight loss menu.

Take for example, collard greens for weight loss reduction. This plant also known as Couve (Brazil),. Couve-Galega (Portugal), Kovi (Cape Verde), Berza (Spain) and Haak (in Africa) is more a green leafy vegetable? By appearance it looks like a pechay or a Chinese cabbage, with long upright stalk usually white. Looks like a kale at first glance, but difference lies on how tall its stalk is. This grows about two feet in height.

So what does this plant has? Basically, it is a good source of ascorbic acid or Vitamin C (which helps repairing damage cells or in healing wounds) and good source of soluble fiber (which helps in giving us proper digestion, satisfying hunger and in flushing out excess fats and other unwanted bodies). In fact, this plant is considered to be as potent as spinach because it has many anti-cancer and anti-obesity properties such as diindolylmethane and sulforaphane. Diindolylmethane (DIM) which is also found in broccolis and cauliflowers has interferon gamma receptors that kill malignant cells, cysts and tumors that make us appear chubby or fat. On the other hand, sulforaphane helps in de-clogging blood vessels preventing artherosclerosis and other cardiac problems.

To complete the picture, collard greens are also good source of protein, vitamin A, vitamin K and Calcium, making it a preferred meal among athletes and other vegans.

The Benefit of Being a Vegan. Start with Kale

Friday, April 22, 2011

The good thing about being a vegetarian is actually you are hitting two birds with one stone. First, you become a candidate for becoming an animal lover. Second, you don’t need a special food program because what you will use is already considered a weight loss menu. Take for example eating kale or borecole. People say that kale is just like an ordinary cabbage, which could be either colored green or purple. This is very common if you ordered garden salad in a restaurant. Anyway, we need to examine what do we get from eating such green?

Its appearance can be deceiving. However, it is really highly nutritious – it is rich in antioxidants and they have anti-inflammatory properties. To be specific it has (a) beta carotene, which prevents psoriasis, arthritis, muscle degeneration and cataract; (b) vitamin K or ketamine, which helps in blood coagulation especially in repairing blood vessels; (c) vitamin C or ascorbic acid that prevents oxidative stress like arthrosclerosis – a very fatal condition; (d) lutein, another bio-molecule that prevents oxidative stress particularly in the eyes e.g. blurring; (e) zeaxanthin, another nutrient that is similar with lutein that differs only in their chemical bonds; and (f) calcium which has so much benefits in our body. It strengthens the bones and teeth, prevents (bone) cancer and complements other nutrients for them to perform their function.

Therefore, with all these features in one meal you don’t only satisfy hunger and get the nutrients. But also because of the synergy between and among the bio-molecules present, your bodily or physiological processes and metabolisms will function well such as cell regeneration and food digestion. Toxins and other unwanted foreign bodies will have a hard time penetrating and filing up in the body. Since, it contains soluble cholesterol, there is no way that you will feel heavy inside and out.