5 Things That Make Your Salads Unhealthy


Hey Angels and Alphas,

From a nutrition perspective, making a salad seems so simple. But it’s not. Yes, it’s true, all you do is mix a bunch of ingredients together, both cooked and raw, and you go ahead and toss them in with your favorite salad dressing in hopes of achieving a healthy, filling, and delicious meal.

But if you’re not careful and mindful about what you put in your salad; you can quickly turn a recipe for a salad into a recipe for disaster. 

And if you’re someone who loves salads and has made them a part of their daily diet, you already know how many things can go wrong. Too much cotton-dry chicken, too much cardboard croutons, too much dressing, not enough dressing, too many calories, too little calories, there are countless dietary roadblocks out there that can turn your salad into a high-calorie disaster.

That’s why today, we’ve come together to talk about the 5 biggest mistakes you can let slip when you’re trying to make a nutritious, fresh, healthy salad for yourself and those around you.

MISTAKE #1 – TOO MUCH SALAD DRESSING. Okay, putting too much salad dressing is something we’ve probably all been guilty of at one point. But that doesn’t change the fact that a little bit too much salad dressing can turn your salad into a high-calorie mess. Not only that, but too much dressing weighs down salad greens and destroys their freshness. Here’s a tip: toss greens in with a bit of salt and pepper before you dress them. This adds flavor and helps you cut back on your salad dressings. 

MISTAKE #2 – USING ONLY RAW VEGETABLES. While crunchy cucumbers add nutrients and texture to a salad, raw vegetables are not your only option here. Tossing in grilled or steamed veggies will provide a different texture and an even richer flavor to your salad, and they pack an equally high nutritional value. Pickled veggies can also add an acidic flavor to your salad, not to mention, they’re well known for being rich in gut-friendly probiotics.

MISTAKE #3 – USING TOO MUCH CHEESE. There’s no doubt that cheese is a great way to add flavor you a salad, and the added fat and protein can give it extra satiating power. However, the pros of cheese are also its cons when it gets too much, and a salad high in saturated fat can take a toll on your fitness goals. Choose a flavorful cheese and try to stick with an ounce serving.

MISTAKE #4 – TOO MUCH SALT. This is a big one. Especially if you’re someone trying to lose weight. Salt is a nutrient that keeps our heart beating, balances our fluid levels across our body, and it’s safe to say it’s a nutrient vital to our health. 

That being said, too much sodium can lead to undesirable results. Some might include dehydration, fatigue, bloating, headaches, and that’s just in the short-term. Long-term consistent intake of sodium can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. 

One of the big problems here is that salt is hidden throughout different products you might use in your salad. In the salad dressing, in the seasonings, in the croutons, everywhere. Always make sure you’re mindful of how much salt you’re putting on your salad. It will make all the difference in the world as to how healthy your salad is.

MISTAKE #5 – NOT ENOUGH PROTEIN AND FAT. If you’re going to be eating a salad as your only meal, you better make that meal satiating. 

And what better way to add more satiety into your salad by using some healthy fats such as avocado or adding extra protein in the form of lean chicken? This will help your salad pack a bigger punch in terms of satiety and provide you with more energy throughout the day, reducing cravings and keeping you satisfied.

The Role of Fiber in Low-carb Diets


Hey Angels and Alphas,

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, in recent years the nutrition world has become home to one of the most prevalent forms of dieting (or should we say, approaches to diet and nutrition) – low-carb diets. 

People who follow a low-carb diet usually report results such as weight loss, lower inflammatory markers, improved blood sugar levels, and so much more. 

And if you’re following a low-carb diet, you probably think the most important thing is the number of grams of carbs you consume. After all, most diets that restrict carbs go anywhere between low carb to absolutely no carb. This strongly emphasizes an obsession about numbers that isn’t a healthy way to approach nutrition. 

We all know that if you want a truly healthy diet, you have to realize that it’s the quality of your carbs that will genuinely give you the result you want. 

Whole grains, beans, lentils, fruits and veggies, which all contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, are all healthy carb choices that you can’t make the mistake of avoiding.

There are many types of low-carb diets like Keto, South Beach, Atkins, and so on, and they all vary in the amounts and sources of carbs that are available to you. For example, beans are usually noted as too high in carbs to fit in Keto.

But regardless of which one you follow, there are ways to maximize your nutrition while staying in the macros you’ve set as a goal.

Did you know that only 1 in 10 people eat enough fiber? 

Fiber is a vital nutrient that keeps your cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, and satiety in check. And it’s even harder to reach adequate levels of fiber if you’re limiting carbs. While it may be tempting to give your carbs to your favorite sweet dessert or other “cheat” processed foods, these foods will definitely hot help you feel or perform at your best. They will cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin and provide you with minimal nutritional value.

What you will notice in the majority of fast food restaurants, even those that are supposedly healthy, the fiber content in food is close to minimal. This is because fiber lowers the effect that a carbohydrate is going to have on your blood sugar and subsequent insulin response. 

Many mainstream fast food restaurants have stripped fiber from their meals with this exact purpose – raising your blood sugar and insulin. Because the result of a blood sugar spike is a blood sugar drop, and this creates more cravings for sugar and trans fats. 

This makes fast food chains part of the fiber problem. If someone were to consume the majority of their meals stripped of fiber, they will quickly find that blood sugar responses get heightened, cravings appear to haunt you, and your midday slumps strip you of your energy.  

But on the other hand, focusing on “spending” your carbs on fiber-rich carb sources, this will naturally improve your diet quality and provide you with consistent energy, enhanced physical performance, and more stable blood sugar. 

A great rule you can follow is to aim for around 10 grams of fiber in each meal to make sure you’re getting enough.

That’s why it’s very important to focus on nutritional density for the little carbs you’re going to consume on a low-carb diet. Even if you want to consume minimal carbs, fruits and veggies are still a way better carb options and will lead you to the healthy life and body you truly want to get out of that diet.

5 Healthy, Protein-rich Alternatives to Red Meat

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

Red meat has always been under constant scrutiny by the health community, yet it’s something that is incredibly praised and valued in the fitness world. With more high-protein and high-fat diets getting popular around the world (and in the weight loss community,) it’s almost as if everything around is telling us eating red meat is okay and there’s nothing to worry about.

But the fact still remains, red meat is still much higher in fat (saturated fat) compared to other, leaner cuts of meat. And while not every expert agrees that saturated fat is dangerous, recent research from Harvard Medical School has suggested that the key to protecting your heart is to actually eat less saturated fats and more polyunsaturated fats (healthy fats.) Even so, most experts will agree that red meat isn’t something that should be eaten regularly.

For this reason, it might be a great idea to look at some alternatives that might allow us to limit our intake of red meat. 

The alternatives we’ve listed out below will help you feel fuller for longer, as well as aid weight loss and help you amass more muscle. All in one meal!

Let’s get started.


A mere 100-gram serving of cooked shrimp contains to about 20-25 grams of protein with just 1 gram of fat. In terms of calories, that’s just under 100 calories! When you’re in the grocery store, try to look for shrimp that’s farmed in the U.S. This means it’s usually rated as the best choice in terms of sustainability by most seafood health authorities.


Chicken is the lean meat-of-choice for a lot of athletes and fitness pros – and with good reason. Chicken is not only lower in calories compared to red meat alternatives, but it’s also low in saturated fat… as long as you can avoid the chicken skin.

A medium-sized chicken breast that’s about 100 grams (or about 3.4 ounces) will amount to about 25 grams of protein, all within a healthy range of 155-165 calories. 


If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just want to avoid meat altogether, pea protein is one of your best choices out there. It can be used in everything from smoothies and shakes to cooked and baked goods. It’s made from organic yellow peas, with one scoop of pea protein boasting about 20-25 grams of protein. And guess what – it contains zero saturated fat. 


Some people out there really appreciate soy proteins. And if you’re one of them, chances are you’re already familiar with a food like tofu. Tempeh is similar to tofu. It’s made from cooked, fermented soybeans. They’re also a complete protein, containing all of the nine essential amino acids. A 100-gram serving of tempeh will amount to about 20 grams of protein. It can be one of the best substitutes for red meat when it comes to sandwiches.


Cottage cheese is essentially a staple in the diets of many athletes and regular gym-goers. This is because one cup of cottage cheese will offer you about 25 grams of protein! Naturally, when you’re looking for high-protein dairy, Greek yogurt is often the first thing that comes to mind. And yes, it’s an amazing option, but cottage cheese is more abundant in protein, usually cheaper, and to be honest, quite overlooked by most people who aren’t aware of its health benefits. 

You can even go as far as skipping the 0 percent fat and go for 2 percent if you want something that packs a little more taste, flavor, and satiety. Just make sure you minimize all the added sugar by looking for cottage cheese that hasn’t been sweetened. You can then add your own toppings to it such as fruit or nut butter.

How to Make Your Bodyweight Workouts More Intense

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

In the last two years, training (whether it is for weight loss or muscle gain) has largely been centered at home due to restrictions and lockdowns. Many of us spent our days working out at home, and because of this, an emerging trend in bodyweight exercises came to be. Whether you’re someone who did bodyweight exercises during home training or someone who loves the old school park workouts that get you shredded, we can all agree on one thing. It’s always a good idea to add an extra edge into your bodyweight workouts and give your body a new type of stimulus to adapt to. 

When you are in a gym and you have access to all of the equipment at your disposal, increasing the difficulty in your training can be as simple as just piling on more weight on the bar. But when you’re doing bodyweight exercises, that approach to improving intensity looks a little different.

Today, we’re going to talk about the three most effective ways that you can use today to start adding that extra edge into your bodyweight workouts. 

Let’s get started. 

(You can always use the most obvious and intuitive option – to increase your workout volume by adding more sets and reps. But if you’ve already tried this and you’re craving variety, or you’re just someone who wants to leverage bodyweight exercises to achieve more muscle gain, pay attention to the following tips.)


If you want to make bodyweight exercises harder, you can increase how far your body has to move (or a muscle extend) to complete a given task. 

Increasing your range of motion can be done by elevating your front foot in lunges or doing chest-to-floor pushups with your hands on two blocks. This increases your difficulty, helps you recruit more muscle fibers and places them under more stress, allowing you to build more strength and stability. 

It will also allow you to engage your muscles throughout their entire range of motion (or as close as you can get to its entirety.) This will not only increase the difficulty of the exercise, but it will also allow you to engage muscle fibers that you’re typically not used to engaging. This can be a gamechanger for your workouts and can even help you bust through stubborn strength plateaus.


Isometric exercises are all about holding a static position for a period of time. 

Most often, we think of planks as a great example of isometric exercises, but the truth is, the isometric element can be added to any exercise to make it more intense. Especially if we’re talking about bodyweight exercises in which your main resistance is gravity, isometric exercises can help you develop strength in key support areas of your body such as your core. Perform numerous repetitions of a movement, and as you start to feel fatigued, hold the movement in the mid-range of motion for 10 seconds. 


Another great way to change your range of motion is to add a half-repetition between full reps of an exercise. If you’re squatting, this means starting out standing, then flexing your hips and knees to 90 degrees, going up half of the way, dropping back to 90 degrees, then going back up to your original position. 

This helps you increase the time under tension for your muscles, and in turn, the intensity of the exercise you’re performing. When you increase the amount of tension your muscles are experiencing, you’re also increasing the amount of muscle fibers that will need repair after your workout, and thus, you’re making more progress in less time.

Is Your Workout Effective If You Don’t Sweat?

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

If you’ve been in the weight loss and fitness community long enough, you have probably heard the saying “if you’re not sweating, you’re not working hard enough.”

But is that true, though? People hear this being said in the gym, in everyday life, and online. But ultimately, it’s based on a false premise.

How much you sweat and how challenging your workout is aren’t as closely related as you think they might be.

Let’s take a deep dive into this myth, debunk it, and help you learn why how much you sweat isn’t as important as how much your perceived effort is on every workout.

Sweating is all about temperature control. 

Once the temperature of our body goes above 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit), our sweat glands are activated. They start releasing a mixture of water, sodium chloride, and other electrolytes. After sweat evaporates, it takes some heat with it and cools you down. 

When you’re working out, it’s not just the intensity of your workout that’s related to how much you sweat. The frequency will always vary from person to person. It may even vary from another exercise to the next. 

Things like your overall size, the temperature of your environment, the levels of humidity, stress levels, medications, and hormonal fluctuations also play a role in this. The temperature of the environment and the type of exercise you do will be the two largest determining factors in how much you sweat during a workout, not your perceived level of exertion.               

However, if you usually can’t sweat during a workout, there are a few things you have to consider just to be safe.

How hydrated are you during your training? Dehydration is the first thing you have to take into account. How much water, coffee, juice, etc. do you drink every day? Some drinks can even leave you extra dehydrated, so make sure you always bring a water bottle to the gym. This way, you’ll make sure that water is in your body when it’s needed.

How intense is your workout? Did you know that the type of workout and specific exercises you do can have an impact on how much you sweat? Or that “not sweating” is a common “problem” in the weightlifting community? Usually, aerobic exercise gets your body temperature in levels where sweating can occur. Weightlifting, on the other hand, will be a type of training that will engage specific core muscles for short bursts of time. This means you’re much less likely to have a sweaty workout if you’re just doing weightlifting. But if you hop on the treadmill after your session with the weights, and you’ll suddenly realize how easy you’ll break up a sweat.

What season is it? Don’t get me wrong, if you’re someone who sweats heavily during workouts, you’re probably going to be that way regardless of what season it is. That being said, some people only sweat during training in the summer, whereas in the winter, when they’re training in a closed gym space, sweating won’t really affect them at all. 

You have to realize, if you want to get your body temperature high, doing it with aerobic exercise is a bajillion times easier than it is with lifting heavy weights. Just to take extra precautions, during your next workout, try doing supersets on every last set of every exercise. This is an example of a cardio element being used in strength training, and it works exceptionally well for getting that heart rate up.

Overall, if you’re not sweating during your workouts, drink more water, and make them more aerobically intense. The majority of the time, you’ll start to sweat bullets.

Why Is Your Weight Fluctuating Up and Down?

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

Whether you’re someone who has been on a weight loss journey for years or you’re someone who just stepped on the treadmill for the first time, you probably know that one of the most common ways people measure weight loss progress is through the number on the scale. 

And even though there are many better ways you can approach tracking your weight loss progress, the scale will always remain one of those fundamental weight management tools that you just can’t help but stand on.

That being said, we can’t change the fact that a flat, arbitrary number could not really be indicative of day-to-day progress. 

As a matter of fact, if you’re someone who weighs themselves every day, you’re probably used to seeing the number on the scale change every day. 

While you do lose or gain weight over the long term, your weight is reflective of a combination of things less impactful – simple fluctuations in your day-to-day life. And objective, continuous loss of weight every day is just an illusion.

Let’s talk about a few reasons why this happens and what you can do about it.

First of all, foods and drinks have a physical weight. I’m sure this is incredibly obvious to you, but foods and beverages have a mass completely unrelated to calories which influence your weight in the short term. Drinking two cups of water and stepping on the scale will have you around a pound heavier due to the mass of that liquid, even though it has no calories whatsoever. But this doesn’t mean you’ve actually gained a pound of weight, muscle, or anything else for that matter. 

Another thing that can cause quasi-weight increase is your fluid balance due to carbs and sodium. Sweat and dehydration can create losses, but water retention from sodium and carbs can cause temporary weight gain. For example, athletes in pre-workout or carb-loading stages require high carbs to load the muscles and the liver with glycogen to burn while training. While they’re great for increasing energy, every gram of carbs stores around 2-3 grams of water with it.

And third, we can’t talk about weight fluctuations and not mention sweat. A lot of athletes fall for dehydration during long, hard workouts, especially during hot conditions. Dehydration due to sweat can amount to 3 to 5 pounds of body weight, creating more fluctuations. And even if you’re just an everyday gym-goer, you can literally weigh yourself before and after a workout and you will see what a massive difference this can make to your weight. How hydrated or dehydrated you are is also another big factor in what number you’re going to see when you step on the scale in the morning. 

That’s why weighing yourself is best done in the mornings, on an empty stomach, before you’ve done anything else. 

Weighing yourself before and after workouts can also give you a pretty good idea of how much water you’re sweating out so you can replenish fluids you lost accurately and have the most accurate weighing experience you can.

And remember, even though weighing yourself can help you recognize patterns in weight and help you track progress week-to-week, there are many better ways you can go about daily progress tracking. And realize that the weight you see on the scale is going to fluctuate not only daily, but hour by hour. 

Don’t get too bent out of shape if you see that you’ve been gaining weight a few days in a row. And don’t get too excited if you suddenly see yourself dropping weight like crazy. Track daily and pay attention to the patterns you see – they will give you actual indications on whether you’re making progress or not. 

Why Are Pickled Foods Considered So Healthy?

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

The summer time is right around the corner, and this means harvests such as squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and zucchini, will be here at our grocery stores and tables. They are some of the most tempting pickled foods out there. 

However, pickling foods isn’t an easy task – you need pickling liquid, salt, and other materials so you can add preservation and flavor.

Pickled foods have been long regarded as superfoods in the fitness and wellness community because of their ability to help your gut bacteria thrive. One single spoonful of sauerkraut will contain more probiotics than an entire probiotic supplement. Needless to say, that amount of healthy ingredients in excess are sure to produce some incredible results. 

And since many people are advised to eat less sodium, and pickled foods are recommended for their gut health benefits, the question remains – are pickled foods good for you? 

Here’s what you should know.


Pickled foods are generally low in calories and free of fat. They’re chock-full of vitamins such as vitamin K, vitamin C, riboflavin, folate, and so much more. They’re also rich in sodium. 

And especially if you’re an endurance athlete, sodium can help (because a few small studies have shown sodium to reduce muscle cramps.)

The one major downside to pickled foods is, you guessed it, that same high sodium content. Let’s take sour pickles for example – one of them contains up to 800 milligrams of sodium, and that’s more than 1/3 of the recommended daily intake for adults. 

That’s why if you’re someone with a chronic condition or someone with high blood pressure/heart disease, you might be better of skipping high-sodium foods, including pickles. Another potential downside is the bloating caused by sodium (that promotes water retention.) Some people might be more sensitive to pickled foods than others, but as a general rule of thumb, avoid them if you have a problem with high sodium intakes.


When fermented in a salty solution for an extended period, they become an amazing source of probiotics – the “good” bacteria that help support your gut health and immune system, and are directly linked to cognitive health and weight loss.

The healthy bacteria in your gut will offer all sorts of health perks, from better skin to increased cardiovascular health, and cultured foods such as pickles are teeming with the lovely little healthy bacteria. There is one caveat though: according to experts, pickles fermented in vinegar will have less of a probiotic effect, so for maximum wellness benefits, you have to choose pickles fermented in a brine of salt and water.


Pickles contain natural antioxidants that are usually found in fresh fruits and vegetables, and while the process of cooking them can break down some of these heat-sensitive nutrients, the fermentation process is likely to preserve their nutritional profile and antioxidant power. 

Experts also note that pickle juice — the brine — boasts incredible amounts of the free radical-fighting and immune boosting antioxidants C and E.


The fermentation process that fermented foods go through leads to the creation of substances that help the bacteria in your gut keep you healthy and keep your immune system in check. With that said, fermented foods are also likely to be low in fat and low in calories due to the fact that they’re still veggies – even though their nutritional profile is slightly mixed up.  

While it’s always a great option to learn that our favorite foods are good for us too, we have to remember that pickles are also super high in sodium. While you can feel free to nosh on those delicious veggies on the regular, just remember to make sure not to overdo it in order to keep your salt intake in healthy levels.

7 Spring Fruits & Veggies in Season Right Now


Hey Angels and Alphas,

The importance of eating fresh produce is something the nutrition community will never stay quiet about. It’s often suggested and even backed by mainstream health authorities that veggies and fruits should take up about 50 percent of our plate, with protein, dairy, and grains accounting for the other 50. That’s a worthwhile goal and one that can be made easier when equipped with ideas that keep the meals interesting. Fortunately, there are many opportunities we can use to infuse our diets with seasonal fruits and vegetables, from hearty salads to cooked sides and plant-focused choices.

During this spring, certain fruits and vegetables hit their peak in both freshness and flavor, so for the next time you head to the grocery store or farmers market, make sure you fill our grocery bag with these 7 items recommended by nutrition and dietary experts. 


Fresh pineapples have the most sweet, tart taste that can improve many meals, from heavier smoothies and salads to kebabs. This sweet and tasty fruit is full of vitamin C, manganese, copper, B vitamins, and more.

Ripe pineapples will usually have a sweet, tropical aroma near the stem. You should always look for fruit that is firm but gives a little in your hands when you squeeze it.

Nutrition: 1 cup raw pineapple has 80 calories and 21 grams of carbs.


This seasonal favorite is full of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, antioxidants, and flavonoids. It is a very versatile fruit is great added to cereal, oatmeal and salads, and you can even use it either fresh or frozen in smoothies.

Remember to choose strawberries with bright red flesh and bright green tops. Because if you notice any white spots, that’s usually an indication that the fruit was picked before it was ripe.

Nutrition: 1 cup of fresh strawberries has 50 calories, 12 grams of carbs and 1 gram of protein.


This crunchy vegetable is accessible, inexpensive, and let’s not forget, loaded with nutrients. This includes beta carotene, fiber and potassium. Orange carrots are amazing, but you can also find yellowish, purple and even white varieties. Roast your carrots in the oven, add them to your soups, stews and salads, or just eat them raw with hummus or your favorite veggie dip. As a note to remember, fresh carrots should be plump and firm, with a light orange color and no visible cracking.

Nutrition: 1 cup of raw carrots has 49 calories, 10 grams of carbs and 1 gram of protein.


Lemons contain vitamin C and soluble fiber, and their tart citrus taste adds freshness and depth of flavor to everything it touches. Don’t believe us? Squeeze fresh lemon on fish and pasta or add some directly to your water. 

Always select lemons that are firm, smooth and unblemished. Lemons that show tinges of green are most likely underripe.

Nutrition: 1 medium-size fresh lemon has 20 calories and 5 grams of carbs.


This absolute staple contains potassium, vitamin B6, folate and fiber. Add a banana to your next smoothie, or slice one and add oatmeal, cereal and peanut butter toast.

Choose bananas by how smooth they are and how brightly colored their skin is. Make sure they have no visible bruising. If you want to eat them quickly, pick one that’s yellow. If you don’t plan to eat it for several days, opt for one that’s still green.

Nutrition: 1 medium-sized banana has 103 calories, 24 grams of carbs and 1 gram of protein.


Yes, rhubarb is technically a vegetable, but it’s used more often like a fruit, hence its placement here. Rhubarb contains dietary nitrates, anthocyanins and fiber, and not to mention, its tart taste will complement the sweetness of pineapple and berries. 

Pick out fresh rhubarb stalks that are crisp and firm. Skip anything that seems too woody or wilted. Remember, the leaves are usually toxic, so be sure those are removed before you cook.

Nutrition: 1 cup of raw rhubarb has 24 calories, 4 grams of carbs and 1 gram of protein.


Peas can be fresh, canned or frozen, and they can provide a sweet kick to dishes, along with plenty of magnesium, potassium and polyphenols. Not to mention, a surprising dose of protein. 

Frozen peas are packed right after they’re picked, so don’t hesitate to stash a couple of ready-to-go bags in your freezer. But if you want fresh peas, buy them in their natural pods, checking to ensure they’re still firm, crisp and green.

Nutrition: 1 cup of fresh peas has 120 calories, 21 grams of carbs and 7 grams of protein.

The Healthiest, Most Nutritious Alternatives to Milk

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

I’ve you’ve been around the grocery store aisles; you’ll notice the milk aisle isn’t what it used to be. It has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. 

More and more plant-based diets are increasing in popularity, and more individuals are switching their choices up from regular cow’s milk to trying out new milk derived from other sources such as plants like almonds, coconut, peas, cashews, and oats (just to name a few). 

There seems to be a new kind of super healthy plant milk popping up around grocery stores every couple of months, vying for the honorary title of “best new alt milk.” Today, we are here to answer the question – how do these “alt” milks stack up nutrition-wise against traditional milk? Let’s take a closer look.


Almond milk may be one of the more well-known alt milks, but it has had some strong staying power when compared to some of the newer plant milks. This may be because of its simple, mild flavor that works in pretty much anything from a latte to a bowl of cereal. It could also be because of its nutrition profile.

Depending on the flavor and brand, some almond milk will differ slightly in nutrient contents. In general, almond milk will be relatively low in most nutrients, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, and this means calories, as well. This means it may not be a good source of vital vitamins and minerals. That being said, many almond milk brands are fortified with vitamin D, B12 and other vitamins.


Pea milk is one of the newer and less-known alt milks. It differentiates itself from some of the other choices partly because it’s a good source of plant-based protein. Clocking in at about 8 grams per cup, pea milk will be easily comparable to cow’s milk and soymilk in the protein department. This makes it a good choice for people who want to chase a specific number of macros. 

We all know protein helps promote satiety and satisfaction after meals, and this is another factor that makes pea milk a good option for things like smoothies and protein shakes. It has a mild flavor so it’s very versatile and it can even be used when you’re baking up something. Similar to almond milk, fortified versions of pea milk will be better choices because they contain vitamin D, calcium, B12 and potassium.


One of the newest alt milks, oat milk, is made of – you guessed it – oats. Since oats themselves are packed with nutrition, and this includes heart-healthy soluble fiber, a person would hope that at least some of those healthy nutrients transfers over to oat milk. And some do! One single cup of oat milk will contain about 1 gram of soluble fiber, as well as more protein compared to almond milk (around 3 grams per cup). 

Since it’s made from oats, a carbohydrate, oat milk contains more carbs compared to some of the other alt milks, clocking in at about 16 grams per cup. The nutrient density here helps make oat milk a very hearty, filling, satisfying choice. It’s amazing on the side of fruit or even around a piece of toast for a snack.


Alt milks are a great option to explore if you’re trying to include more plant-based foods in your diet. While they will differ in some ways nutritionally, there will never be one single milk that is “better” than the other. You can choose your alt milk for flavor, consistency, taste, nutritional content, and more. Just make sure to read the nutrition label so you can make sure the milk you’re buying is fortified with important vitamins such as vitamin D, calcium and B12.

Quick Lifestyle Tweaks for More Energy Throughout the Whole Day

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

It’s no secret to anyone the last few years have been a total up and down for people around the world. With all the time we’re taking so we can adjust to the “new normal” and deal with all the uncertainty and stress of the changing world, most of us are likely going to be left feeling emotionally and physically exhausted. And that’s completely normal. 

But there’s some good news – there are several lifestyle and nutritional changes you can make that will help you deal with that stress and improve energy levels. Today, we’re going to break down three science-back tips you can start applying to your life instantly to start feeling more energized, more focused, and more stress-free throughout the day.

Let’s get right into it.


Especially if you’re someone who stayed at home a lot during the pandemic or you’re someone who doesn’t have to engage in any form of daily commute, you have to make an effort to get more time in the sun. The benefits of the outdoors drastically affect energy levels and mood. 

To combat the stressors associated with this year’s turnout, all you have to do is take a walk outside or sit and enjoy the sounds of nature. This exposure to sunlight (especially if you do it first thing in the morning) helps your body synthesize vitamin D, associated with improvements in mood. 

Alternatively, people have been stacking up on vitamin D supplements. But in order to reap the full benefits of improved mood, peace of mind, and better focus, you have to make sure you genuinely get some time in nature.


What do you think would give you more energy in the morning – sleeping for an extra five minutes or doing five minutes of intense cardio as soon as you wake up? Inertia creates energy. And we all know exercise is a great way to increase energy and manage stress-related hormones. 

That’s why we should all make an effort to participate in daily activities we enjoy, even if the gyms are closed down where you’re at. Virtual workout groups, jogging, or park workouts are all great alternatives, and you have to take advantage of them. 

You can’t miss out on their physical and mental health benefits, especially if you did during the pandemic. Aim for at least 150-180 minutes of exercise every week, and I guarantee you’ll feel much better than you would just staying at home.

All you really have to do to start your day off right is to create a simple, high-intensity routine that you can do as soon as you wake up. It might include pushups, jumping jacks, lunges, anything that really gets your body moving and puts you in a place where you can generate inertia for the day. And with a mini workout already done five minutes after you wake up, there’s nothing you won’t be able to achieve later on in the day!


Even if it’s hard, stick to a routine. Humans thrive on routine. If you teach your body to give you a boost of energy early in the morning when you wake up, your body will stick to the plan. Our bodies love and normalcy.

For you, whether that means getting up and immediately going for a jog, or just going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, this consistency helps us prioritize ourselves. Having a routine means you’ll feel physically, mentally, and emotionally balanced. 

So don’t hesitate to start implementing a routine during your day, even if the routine you followed before the pandemic is unachievable. Implement more positive mini-activities throughout your day, such as exercising, taking walks, journaling, meal prepping, and more. 

The Case for Quitting Meat to Lose Weight

weight loss

Hey Angels and Alphas,

If you’re trying to lose weight right now, you’ve likely been reading about (and might even be dabbling in the idea) becoming a flexitarian. This approach to eating involves you eating less meat or switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet in order to lose weight.

After all, research does show that people who follow plant-powered diets tend to weigh less. But, if you can’t imagine a sandwich or dinner without meat in between the buns, this could be a difficult and stressful transition. And whether you decide to opt for meat or plant-based sources, it’s important to continue getting enough protein to feel satisfied at every meal and to maintain muscle throughout your weight-loss journey.

So let’s take a look at what the experts have to say and answer the question – should you really say goodbye to meatballs, steak, and chicken to lose weight?


Reducing your intake of red meat can indeed help you lose weight. Numerous studies show eating less meat has been linked to an overall lower body mass index (BMI.)

If you are one of those people who have meat at every meal, experts recommend eating less because there’s a lot of animal fat in animal protein sources. This can increase your overall calorie intake. If you are someone who eats meat about 3–4 times a week — which would be the general limit for overall health — more meat won’t help your waistline. 

If you’re used to eating meat all the time, suddenly making it “off-limits” for your weight loss journey can make your job much harder than it has to be. For instance, 4 ounces (which would be about 120 grams) of lean ground beef will provide you with 24 grams of protein. 

If you want to get the same amount from a plant-based protein such as quinoa, you would have to eat around 3 cups of it. This clocks in at nearly four times the calories, and not to mention, considerably more carbohydrates.


Studies have shown that a plant-based diet that is rich fiber and protein foods is healthier, much cheaper, and much more effective for achieving weight loss than a meat eater’s diet. 

The fiber found in beans and vegetables will help slow digestion and makes the person feel fuller for a longer period of time so they’re satisfied with fewer calories. Meat has no fiber and red meat, in particular, is pretty high in saturated fat. 

You don’t need to cut out meat completely just so you can reap the weight-loss benefits of a plant-based diet. Decreasing your red meat intake to just about 3–4 times a week and then replacing the rest with quality poultry or plant-based proteins will help you reduce your overall fat and calorie intake. Then, you can also tip the scale in your favor by using other strategies such as filling half of your plate with low-calorie, nutrient-dense veggies, and then including satiating protein in every snack. 

When people transition to a plant-based diet for weight loss, a lot of them will tend to overhaul their usual diet. However, this can be a drastic lifestyle change including more time grocery shopping and prepping meals. And honestly, not everyone has the time or skills to do that. 

Let’s not forget: Just because something is vegan, vegetarian or plant-based will not necessarily mean it’s healthy or that it is some sort of magic bullet for successful weight loss. Bring balance in your diet, and include lean, satiating forms of animal protein that can help you lose weight without all the saturated fat in red meat.

The Different Types of Muscular Endurance

male fitness

Hey Angels and Alphas,

When we talk about strength training and male fitness, one of the most commonly talked-about topics is muscular endurance. That being said, few people really know what that means and how it affects our overall regime and results. Endurance has become an umbrella term for all types of persistence through a given stressor and that’s not the way you want to look at it if you’re going to maximize your output. 

Let’s take a deeper look at this topic and try to understand what type of muscular endurance we should really seek to develop.

What is muscular endurance, exactly?

Muscular endurance, in the colloquial sense, refers to the amount of reps you can do on one specific exercise. This could be a pullup, a pushup, a lunge, a squat, etc.  

Because these exercises involve prolonged durations of movement, endurance-focused activities are usually performed at a lower intensity. 

In resistance training, this means less weight and more repetitions (or holding an isometric exercise like the plank for a prolonged period of time.)

If you want to accurately measure your muscular endurance, you can do this in a couple of ways depending on the muscle group and activity. For example, the push-up test is a common assessment of upper body muscular endurance, where you’ll be asked to do as many push-ups as possible in one minute. This can also include time-based tests such as the timed wall squat for your lower body.

But sometimes, people also refer to muscular endurance from the aspect of cardio, but that’s a completely different type of endurance. 

Cardiovascular endurance refers to the length of time you can perform a steady cardio activity for. It has nothing to do with the ability of your muscles to persist through a given stressor.

Then, there’s an entirely different type of endurance called strength endurance – this refers to your ability to produce moderate to high amounts of muscular tension of force repeatedly with minimal recovery. 

And finally, you have power endurance, which refers to your ability to produce explosive force through a period with minimal recovery.

If you want to accurately measure your muscular endurance, you can do this in a couple of ways depending on the muscle group and activity. For example, the push-up test is a common assessment of upper body muscular endurance, where you’ll be asked to do as many push-ups as possible in one minute. This can also include time-based tests such as the timed wall squat for your lower body.

If you want to measure your cardiovascular endurance, this is best done through a VO2 max test. Not only that, but some smartphones now actually gauge your VO2 max if you want a ballpark figure – since the actual test requires a visit to a training lab. 

If you want to measure and test out your strength endurance and power endurance, you will have to include (1) a resistance which you can use that presents the level of challenge you want to test for and (2) how many repetitions you can do in a given period of time. This will give you an accurate representation of your ability to recover strength and power through a period where recovery is limited and you’re forcing yourself to exert a high output of energy.

All these four types of endurance are different and unique within themselves, and whether you’re an athlete training for a specific sport or a regular gym-goer who wants to improve their physical abilities, knowing how to measure each type will help you determine the right course of action for your training.

We can say that there’s no one measurement that’s deemed the most optimal when it comes to testing the different types of endurance. However, as a rule of thumb, remember that optimal levels of endurance would be those that are necessary to accomplish your desired activity. It’s all relative to you, the activity, the exercise, and your current fitness level.

Everything You Need to Know About the Carnivore Diet

Hey Angels and Alphas,

Throughout the nutrition world, you will see countless trends in terms of diet and eating methodologies. Some of them will focus on eliminating certain foods, maybe even certain food groups, while some will be focused more on a holistic variety of macronutrients to fuel your body. 

One trend that has been growing in popularity over the last few years, and one that many proponents of the vegetarian/vegan community may not be very fond of, is the carnivore diet.  

The carnivore diet looks exactly how it sounds – complete focus on animal products, meats, and dairy products, whereas a “strict” carnivore diet consists entirely of meat, salt, and water. While it may sound ridiculous at first, countless people across the Internet have been talking about this way of eating for years, and since they’re so many of them now, their voice is finally being heard.

Let’s explore this super strict diet and see if there’s any merit to its health claims. 

Foods you can’t eat while you’re on the carnivore diet:

This plan essentially eliminates all plant-based foods. This means the following items are not allowed:

  • Fruits and veggies: Every fruit and vegetable is essentially off-limits on a strict carnivore diet. That means the carnivore plan also reduces all benefits of plant-based eating, such as high antioxidants and reduced risk of chronic disease. Greens and fruits do appear in less strict forms of this diet.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils and peas are prohibited on the carnivore eating plan. That’s unfortunate since they’re high in fiber, one nutrient that improves overall health.
  • Whole grains: The carnivore diet does not allow consuming whole grains, this includes brown rice, whole-wheat bread, pasta and even oats. 
  • Nuts and seeds: Everything from cashews to sunflower seeds are forbidden. Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of heart-healthy unsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Refined grains and sugars: The refined grains usually found in many cereals and breads, as well as the added sugars found in desserts, are totally off-limits.

The proposed health benefits of the carnivore diet

Few studies have been conducted on the carnivore diet, but this hasn’t stopped its supporters from touting countless health perks in books and online case studies. Let’s take a closer look at their claims:


Science hasn’t yet supported cutting out carbohydrates to treat such symptoms. If anything, complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, oats, and whole-grain breads could boost our mood by delivering tryptophan, an amino acid that the body utilizes to produce serotonin. It’s also worth noting that many animal products such as eggs, fish, and meat are rich in tryptophan. 


Given that the carnivore diet will take two major food groups off your diet, it could lead to weight loss. Temporarily, that is. For starters, having fewer foods to choose from means you will likely consume fewer calories than normal. This is true with all restrictive meal plans. And just like any other diet, when you cut out calories, you’ll lose weight. 

As part of its restrictions, the carnivore diet will eliminate carbohydrates. When the body is deprived of carbs, it goes through a short period of burning all your stored sugar (glycogen.) This process releases water from your body, resulting in quick weight loss. Once glycogen runs out, the body switches to deriving energy from fat, inducing what is known as ketosis. 

Other low-carb diet options

While they’re not as restrictive as the carnivore diet, the following eating plans may be similar in that they sharply reduce your intake of carbs, leading to various health benefits. Many dieters find low-carb diets to be challenging to maintain.

  • Keto diet: The keto diet is a famous high-fat eating plan that emphasizes most animal-derived foods including red meat, butter, and cheese. This means most carbs are off-limits, leafy greens, low-starch veggies, and small portions of fruits such as berries are usually allowed. Similar to the carnivore diet, keto diet relies on inducing ketosis, a process that completely depletes glycogen stores so the body starts using stored fat as energy. 
  • Paleo diet: With countless variations out there, the Paleo diet generally allows most whole and unprocessed foods, including fruits, veggies, nuts, most seeds, a lot of lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, as well as plant oils. That being said, some whole foods such as tomatoes are usually off-limits as supporters of the diet claim they might contain toxins. Because it basically limits what you can eat and therefore likely produces a calorie deficit, the Paleo diet usually results in achieving weight loss. 

Creeping Cortisol: Is HIIT Overstressing You?

weight loss

Hey Angels and Alphas,

If you’ve done high-intensity interval training before, you know it can produce some amazing results. But, like anything, it’s best done in moderation. High-intensity interval training has gained massive acclaim as being an efficient way to improve many aspects of your physical fitness.

But without adequate recovery, intense exercise can actually lead to elevated levels of cortisol in the bloodstream and heightened symptoms of physical stress… even when you’re not doing exercise.

What is HIIT?

Whether you’re on a Peloton bike, attending a gym class, or doing a YouTube workout, chances are you’ve heard of or even tried HIIT.  

These short bouts of intense work lasting anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds, followed immediately by active recovery of the same length or longer, make up the main concept of HIIT. A cycle of hard work and recovery that is essentially repeated anywhere between 3 and 15 times. Depending on the workout.

Positive physiological benefits from HIIT also include heightened post-exercise metabolism, improved fasting blood sugar, body composition, insulin response, and more. And because of its benefits gained with only a few workouts, HIIT as a whole has gained a reputation for being a magic pill for exercise.

With HIIT, you might start seeing changes within a matter of the first few weeks, and you’ll walk away from your workouts feeling like you’ve reached an entirely new level of power and productivity.

It only takes a few intervals to experience your body’s heightened level of energy, which is influenced by a massive fluctuation of hormones, especially cortisol.

What is cortisol?

Cortisol is one of the countless hormones that our body produces to manage stress. During high-intensity training, the brain starts sensing stress, and a cascade of these hormones is released. The release of cortisol then activates the sympathetic nervous system, essentially generating a fight-or-flight response. Historically, the sympathetic nervous system’s response to dangers was crucial to our ability to survive, and it provides our bodies with the immediate energy we might need to fight or flee from a foe.

Cortisol is responsible for physiological changes, one of which is the breakdown of fats and carbs and a subsequent rise in blood sugar for immediate energy. Not to mention, repressing the immune system to focus the body’s energy on the potentially life-threatening situation that it’s facing.

HIIT affects cortisol levels in a couple of ways.

Part of what makes HIIT training so effective at turning your body lean and strong is this cortisol response that it will generate. As your legs start pedaling as fast as possible, your brain starts receiving the message that your survival depends on this interval. At that point, cortisol and other hormones are released, creating a response in the sympathetic nervous system. The body then makes the according metabolic improvements following this hormonally demanding situation.  

The problem with cortisol is that when your body builds up too much of it, either because of physical or psychological stress, it will float freely in your bloodstream. This will cause negative symptoms to start creeping into your life. 

Overtraining syndrome, which has some physiological causes, may actually include a raised level of cortisol. The symptoms of overtraining include:

  • anxiety
  • changes in mood
  • muscle fatigue or less power when exercising
  • chronic fatigue
  • changes in sleep patterns
  • repressed immune system response

Naturally, when your body is overly taxed by this imbalance of cortisol, any of these symptoms may be present, even if you haven’t worked out in the last couple of days. 

Ideally, your body should be able to determine on its own when the reaction of fight or flight is useful and actually appropriate. But too much HIIT can send confusing signals to the brain to create a protective response even when our bodies are supposed to be calm and at rest. 

Everyday tasks such as driving to work and packing lunch might leave you feeling slightly agitated because your body is misinterpreting everyday stress as a different type of stress. 

Because HIIT creates this powerful reaction in our sympathetic nervous system, it’s important to prioritize recovery and make sure we’re always getting in enough rest between our workouts, whether they include weights or short bouts of HIIT.

Comparing the Alternatives to Bread

Hey Angels and Alphas,

Millions of people around the world, not just in the nutrition world but as a whole, are big fans of bread. It’s still the recipient of a tarnished, undeserved reputation thanks to diet culture. But in reality, bread contains nutrients that are essential to keeping our bodies energized and healthy. It’s that simple. 

You wouldn’t normally encourage people to replace bread with alternative options unless it’s necessary for their health. But that said, there are food that may be of better use to you if you’re looking to mix up your diet and plan your macros better, both of which absolutely have great health benefits. 

Let’s compare the alternatives to this pantry staple and see which one will help you best serve your health and fitness goals. 


They’re flavorful, versatile, and they can make an amazing bread substitute for egg, veggie wraps, mashed avocado, or even tuna and turkey. They’re gluten-free (unless otherwise noted on the label or the ingredients list) and they’re a nice option for people with gluten sensitivities. 

Depending on which brand you’re using or how you’re making them, they can be a great source of fiber with 3-4 grams in every large tortilla. They also contain about 3 grams of protein in the same amount. They will also provide you with magnesium, even a small amount of plant-based iron. When it comes to the alternatives, corn tortillas are one of the good ones. 


The reason why collard greens are in a comparison like this is that even though collard greens are not bread, and even though you’re not going to be using them instead of bread in a low-carb diet, to say that they lack nutrients would be misleading.

Collard greens are packed with nutrients – vitamin C, plant-based iron, magnesium, calcium, and blood sugar-stabilizing fiber. The fact that they lack carbohydrates means that using collard greens instead of a carb like bread might leave you feeling unsatisfied after meals or even lead to cravings later in the day. 


When you hear rice cake, do you immediately think of that tasteless diet food at your local grocery store? It’s no wonder. But rice cakes are so much more than that. They’re a great substitute for bread for people with Celiac disease or people who want that little extra crunch in their meal or snack. Unlike other options here, they’re pretty devoid of most nutrients and they aren’t a great source of fiber, protein, vitamins, or minerals. They can, however, be a pretty great vehicle for the foods that *are* rich in those nutrients – such as avocado and tomato, tuna salad, cucumber and hummus, or even banana slices and nut butter. 


Sweet potato “toast” has pretty much become a very popular dish by itself, and its recipes contain a variety of inventive, delicious toast toppings that are flooding the internet in recent years. 

These toasts may require a bit more work than just throwing out a few slices of bread into your toaster, and they can be a great alternative to regular toast for people who have gluten sensitivities or people who want something a little more hearty. Because they’re usually sturdier than your typical slice of bread, sweet potatoes can hold more delicious toppings. 

You can try yogurt or ricotta with honey and fruits, or even a protein-packed chicken salad alongside your sweet potato toast. Nutrition-wise, they’re an amazing source of vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, potassium, and complex carbs. When it comes to alternatives to bread, they’re one of the winners.


There are countless alternatives to bread at your local grocery store, but a lot of them are there simply because of a diet culture that constantly vilifies carbohydrates. But if you’re choosing an alternative to bread or you’re following a more restrictive diet, it’s probably not a good choice for you or your relationship with food to restrict carbs.

Can Wine Be Considered Healthy?


Hey Angels and Alphas,

We all know that water, coffee, and tea are some of the world’s most consumed beverages. But alcohol isn’t that far behind. 

A recent survey discovered that almost 70 percent of Americans reported that they drank alcohol in the last year. How much people drink will vary widely, and we’re all familiar with all the negative effects that come from heavy drinking.

But over the past two or three decades, doctors, media outlets, and scientists have all dedicated a ton of time and energy into finding out whether or not moderate drinking – such as drinking red wine – is healthy and even healthier than abstaining from alcohol altogether.

Much of this initial interest lies in the “French Paradox”, a term referring to the relatively low rates of heart disease in France despite a diet high in saturated fat.

It’s generally a fun narrative, and it’s one that makes us feel better about the occasional (or even nightly) glass of wine. 

So let’s talk about it – is wine actually healthy? Should you be drinking wine if you aren’t already? Let’s turn to the experts for help.


There has been a ton of observational research that has tried to show that moderate consumption of red wine is associated with a variety of health benefits, including reduced risk for cancer, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and more. However, these studies are not really conclusive as they do not show cause and effect. There are likely countless of other lifestyle factors at play in these studies. 

Experts equate the equation to the chicken and the egg dilemma: does wine really bring health benefits, or could it be the mixture of other healthier lifestyle factors?

If you’re a moderate drinker and you enjoy a glass of wine now and then, you probably don’t rely on wine to keep you healthy. Instead, it’s important to practice all other healthy behaviors such as getting enough sleep, eating a nutritious diet, exercising, and practicing stress relief. 

There isn’t and there never will be one single nutrient that can be responsible for good health. Instead, it’s the mixture of various nutrition and lifestyle factors that make up a positive end result.

When it comes to wine and even alcohol, in general, moderation is vital. The health benefits quickly disappear, and the risks start outweighing the benefits when you go beyond a certain threshold.


Wine contains the antioxidant resveratrol, unlike other beverages, beer, or liquor. 

Experts say this antioxidant works inside the body to decrease oxidative stress, and in turn, this helps prevent the onset of chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. Many studies actually support the idea that red wine, in particular, is a much healthier drink than other alcoholic beverages. 

And many studies don’t support this idea, as well. It can be difficult to differentiate the cause and effect between various drink types and other lifestyle factors.

Nevertheless, experts stress that resveratrol is found in even higher concentrations in whole grapes, so wine isn’t necessarily the best place you should go looking for it. If you’re really in it for the antioxidants and their benefits, you’ll be much better off just eating red grapes or other plant-based foods than you are drinking red wine. 

And even if you are someone who drinks red wine, you should still consume a healthy, nutritious, balanced diet, because even after a grueling day, wine cannot make a good substitute for a wholesome dinner.


Wine can indeed be a part of a healthy lifestyle and, in some cases, can even bring more benefits than risks. The science isn’t exactly settled on how much wine may benefit your health, and alcohol consumption is generally associated with a host of negative health outcomes. If you do enjoy wine, drink it in moderation, but don’t rely on it to keep you healthy. Remember – alcohol is a toxin, and unless you’re a drinker, there’s no reason to start drinking now.

Boosting Gym Performance with Flavonoids

male fitness

Hey Angels and Alphas,

Athletes are pretty motivated to examine their dieting and make necessary changes based on the various quests they have for performance enhancement. While this will often include weight-loss practices, sport foods, and supplements, there is a very valuable health-promoting and potentially ergogenic aid that’s always overlooked… flavonoids. 


Flavonoids are essentially phytonutrients rich in antioxidants that are found in a variety of plant foods such as veggies, fruits, grains, wine, chocolate, tea, and more.

There are about six subgroups of the compounds that make up flavonoids. However, there are more than 6,000 currently identified flavonoids. These subgroups include:

  • Flavonols
  • Flavones
  • Flavan-3-ols
  • Anthocyanins
  • Isoflavones
  • Flavanones

You can see how this classification can easily get confusing as many of the compounds become lumped together interchangeably in most of the common nutrition advice you see out there.

Groups of flavonoids or individual flavonoids could occur in the same foods, such as flavan-3-ols and anthocyanins. Both of them naturally occur in strawberries, as well as in separate foods, and flavones are the only type you’ll usually find in peppermint.

When brought together, flavonoids work to improve cellular activity and reduce the damage from free-radical stressors. Just as each vitamin is responsible for some specific health-promoting bodily function, flavonoids each have their own distinct functions ranging from hormone balance to anti-inflammatory responses to cardiovascular health. This is another reason why athletes should not rely on limiting their intake of whole foods in favor of sports foods and supplements.


Flavonoid-rich foods are an indispensable part of a health-promoting diet. And there might be some proof out there these compounds can provide athletes with a performance edge. 

When your training is taken to the point that goes beyond typical physical activity and reaches a point of high exertion, sore muscles, short rest periods, and more, then there is a large chance of increased oxidative stress and inflammation spreading in the body.

Essentially reducing the ill effects of the exercise-induced inflammation is one of the goals for many competitive athletes out there. And there’s some evidence that flavonoids can be of potential benefit in certain instances. But more research is necessary to exactly pin down its application in real-life sport situations.


Quercetin is one of the more well-studied flavonoids out there. It’s a compound found in a variety of plant foods such as apples, capers, nuts, apples, cherries, red wine, black tea, broccoli, beans, and leafy greens.

Since many foods tend to provide this natural nutrient, it’s likely that our daily diet should contain quercetin. However, the amount available in foods you eat may not be that effective in providing you with a performance edge. Dietary evaluations have concluded that the average person consumes about 40 milligrams a day, whereas most studies using the flavonoid require a dosage of 500mg or more.

To demonstrate its benefits, one study used a 500mg dosage and combined it with vitamin C on male athletes. 

It showed an improved metabolic rate, total energy expenditure, and improved body composition. Most athletes would agree that lower bodyweight and learner body composition will lead to a competitive edge. While this study showed some positive outcomes for supplemental flavonoids, it’s pretty well known that people who eat a diet rich in plants are less likely to suffer from obesity. 


Most dietary flavonoids will be provided to you by foods rich in fiber. Athletes tend to avoid these to reduce gut distress, but certain foods such as dark chocolate and tart cherry could provide a very beneficial source of these nutrients. 

Increasing your chocolate intake could help you, as an athlete, meet the high-energy demands while providing you with beneficial nutrients such as iron and flavonoids that would be usually limited in a performance diet. The flavonoids in dark chocolate could play a specific role in improving the availability of nitric oxide. This means a reduced oxygen cost of exercise. 

This is the same action beets are so well known for. A study tested this on competitive male athletes and found that chronic dark chocolate intake provides improvements in VO2max.

Best Ways to Sneak in Peanut Butter in your Day


Hey Angels and Alphas,

Few foods will ever come close to peanut butter in terms of being a dietary staple. Not only is it so versatile that it could be included throughout any of the world’s cuisines, but it’s also widely accessible anywhere in the world. Plus, it’s very healthy. Peanut butter will contain all three macronutrient groups, vitamins, and minerals such as vitamin E, vitamin B6, magnesium, copper, folate, niacin, and more.

You may have already found some great ways to incorporate peanut butter in your diet. But here are a few more. We’ve compiled a few of our go-to ways to eat peanut butter, so you can grow your repertoire. 


The classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich will not only taste great, but it will also be a great pre-workout snack. The nostalgia of this sandwich might keep bringing you back to your childhood days, all while healthy peanut butter and store-bought breads will give you an amazing nutrition bang for your buck.


This is one of the best savory uses for peanut butter. Stir-fries are a staple not only because they deliver at least 2/3 types of veggies, but also because they have proteins and carbs when served with something like rice or noodles. But you can really bring them together with a flavorful sauce, and that’s where peanut butter can really shine. 

Get a crunchy peanut butter, some low-sodium soy sauce, some rice vinegar, and some garlic, and whisk it all together. Then add some warm water for a thinner consistency, as well as so you could adjust the flavors and spice to your preferences. Save any leftovers so you can use them as a dipping sauce for your veggies.


From lowering cholesterol to helping you manage weight more effectively, there are countless reasons to add oats to your diet. However, one of the most common mistakes people make is that they forget to add protein and healthy fat to their usual bowl of oatmeal. Without fat and protein, oatmeal on its own will not make up a balanced meal and may leave you feeling hungry shortly after eating.

The fix is simple: add peanut butter to your oats so you can boost their nutrient content. They’ll be delicious, flavorful, and without much sugar inside them. Not to mention, creamy and satisfactory.


You can make lovely peanut butter energy bites by mixing together peanut butter with flaxseeds, honey, chocolate chips, and old-fashioned oats. They’re an amazing healthy snack that even the kids love, and they’re an effective pre-workout snack.


Few snacks can really match this one in terms of satisfaction, a frozen banana with dark chocolate and peanut butter. Simply slice up and freeze your banana ahead of time. Then melt the dark chocolate and peanut butter together. Then add a smidge of butter and dip your bananas in so you can freeze them again. 


This is one of the most delicious ways to boost low or nonfat Greek yogurt with some healthy fats and protein. You can even add cacao nibs as well to make all that peanut butter goodness more chocolatey.


Including peanut butter in your breakfast smoothie will help you add the satiety factor to it. By adding protein, you’ll keep yourself full for longer. Smoothies are also a great go-to breakfast choice for many people because they’re quick and easy to make. You can experiment with countless recipes that include your favorite yogurts, peanut butter, and milk and mix them in interesting ways to get a nutritious start to your day.

Avoiding the Deadly Habit of Mindless Eating

weight loss

Hey Angels and Alphas, 

Mindless eating is one unproductive habit we all tend to indulge in from time to time. Being completely mindful and almost zen-like during every meal or snack you eat is downright unrealistic, and the mere thought you have to be can derail all the work you may be doing to recover your relationship with food. Life has been stressful, busy, and quite unpredictable, given the last few years. 

All of these factors indirectly cause mindless eating because we’re in constant need for comfort or to just not use our minds for a few minutes. And guess what – it’s totally OK to use some of these coping strategies as long as you’re not only relying on unhealthy coping strategies. 

Identifying the cause of your mindless eating can also allow you to pinpoint everything from the initial stressors to what you have to work on to fill the missing gaps in your relationship with food. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:


Regular meals and snacking are two keys to having steady, balanced energy levels, blood sugar, and appetite regulation. If you’re someone who is mindlessly eating because you’re hungry due to all the meals you skipped throughout the day, that’s a problem. But that’s a problem with a lot of easy fixes. First and foremost, aim to have a steady breakfast full of protein, fiber, and healthy fat. 

Examples include eggs, chicken, Greek yogurt, tofu, string cheese, fish, or your morning bowl of oatmeal with Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and honey.

For healthy fats, you can go for seeds, whole nuts, olive oil, nut butter, and avocado.

For fiber, you can go with veggies, fruits, rice, quinoa, beans, oats, etc.


How do you go about managing stress? Like we mentioned, food can easily become an unhealthy coping strategy for when you’re feeling stressed. If your mindless eating happens to occur around usually stressful periods, you should try to develop some additional strategies that will help you deal with all the extra stress and difficult emotions you’re experiencing. This could be anything from meditating, reading a book, calling a friend to journaling and doing exercise. Everyone is different in the ways that they distress, so don’t hesitate to experiment with ways to take care of yourself. 


If your mindless eating tends to happen around the same time every day (let’s say, the 4 p.m. slump you get at work), then simply switching up your schedule a little bit could be very helpful. 

For example, if you experience an afternoon slump, this often happens when you’re hungry for a snack between lunch and dinner. If you add a protein-rich, fiber-rich snack to your afternoon, such as an apple with string cheese or some whole-grain crackers with peanut butter, you’ll probably feel much more energized during that time. 

As the evening approaches, make sure your dinner includes satisfying protein, carbs, and veggies. If you skimp on your carbs during dinner, your body is going to crave them. Your body needs carbs! Then switching up your routine by playing a game, doing some yoga, reading, or journaling during that time could also be helpful. 


Instead of always trying to beat yourself up for your habit of mindless eating, you should try to dig in what’s causing it. There are ways in which your body and your mind may be telling you why. 

We can always learn from our own behaviors, and in cases such as this one, fixing mindless eating could actually mean focusing more on nourishing yourself throughout the day or just targeting stress management in better ways. Remember to slow down and take better care of yourself, and sometimes, mindless eating may be the perfect clue that you need to do exactly that.

Warm Greens vs Fresh Salads: Which is Better?


Hey Angels and Alphas,

Yes, it’s absolutely undeniable that salads are a fresh, light, and “clean” way you can get in all of your essential nutrients in and nurture, mineralize, and energize your body.

But when it comes to the cold months of Winter, Ayurvedic medicinal traditions have provided us (throughout history) with a few notable reasons why salads are probably not our best option if we have big fitness or weight-loss goals. 

Today, we’re here to explore three reasons why salads might not be your best option during the cold winter months… and what you should use instead. 

Let’s get started.


One reason you might skip fresh salads is that seasonal ingredients are those that are growing on farms around the world as you’re reading this. 

Nature provides what living beings need right around the times they need it. 

Apples are freshly ripe for deer to eat just as they’re building out their winter coats. 

Grains are usually ready to be taken away by squirrels just around the time when squirrels start preparing for their winter slumber. 

And if you, as a person, want to feel good inside your body, all while achieving the fitness goals you’ve set for yourself, you have to do your best to align those same natural rhythms to the foods that are available to you during the winter months. 

These would be the foods that, during this specific season, feature the most nutrients, minerals, and the best bioavailability in the cold weather. It’s difficult to find light, leafy greens in the winter. 

So what you should opt for are potatoes, hearty winter greens, root veggies, squash, and those leafy greens that are deep in color (and should be cooked to be digested properly.) 


Old ayurvedic medicine traditions always aim to remind us that the healthy, nourishing food we eat is only going to benefit our body if it’s properly digested. 

And, for a lot of us, salads (especially salads made with deep leafy greens) might be difficult to properly digest. Especially in cold weather. 

Fiber is one important factor of your overall digestive health, and it’s a nutrient you have to work around sometimes. For example, cooking our greens would not only make them more digestible and easier to process, but it would also allow them to retain all that healthy fiber. The takeaway? Cooking your salads in the winter is a must.


Our bodies are constantly working overtime through the winter so keep us warm and allow us to execute our basic functions. Not to mention, help us fulfill our busy lives as students, athletes, parents, professionals, and people in general. Then, you go ahead and add fitness and weight-loss goals into the mix. 

All of these targets can be made easier simply through the consumption of warmer foods in cold winter months. Since everything we consume would, on average, be colder, Ayurvedic medicine tells us to heat up things we consume to 98°F before we digest them. 

And while initially, it may seem that giving your body more work will mean you’re burning extra calories, that’s not necessarily the case. The more work of this specific type that your body has to perform, the less likely it is to completely internalize and absorb the nutrients from healthy meals. 

That’s why cooking your greens and eating warmer salads is a small tweak that you can implement in your winter diet that will make a massive difference in how much of the healthy nutrients you’re actually utilizing. Maximize your intake of powerful, plant-based nutrition, and you’ll be making it much easier for your body to process nutrients and use these nutrients to your body’s advantage. 

The bottom line is…

Fresh salads are a non-negotiable staple in the spring and summer, but during the cold winter months, our bodies start wanting (and needing) warmer foods that are easier to digest, more nutrient-rich, and appropriate for a season in which we have to slow down our metabolism and stay warm. 

During winter months, skip raw salads, and start cooking your greens if you want to increase the bioavailability of healthy nutrients and make the most out of every nutrient.

Grocery Store Tips for Faster Meal Prep

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

This year, you decided to commit (or recommit) to eating healthier, fresh, whole foods. But there’s just one snag: it can take so much time to wash, cut, cook, prep, and overall take care of your diet. 

That’s where convenience foods come in and save the day. Think about the pre-cooked brown rice and lentils, or the washed and halved (or even shredded) Brussels sprouts. These are products created for convenience, and they can help you reduce your prep time while allowing you to eat healthy, quick meals more often. 

Here are 5 tips and tricks you can keep up your sleeve next time you’re doing some healthy meal prep shopping: 


Keep your freezer stocked with broccoli florets, cauliflower rice, frozen veggies, you name it. These products are all great options to have on hand and they guarantee you’ll always have a veggie available for mealtime. 

What’s more, they need pretty much no washing or chopping, and they’re extra good because they reduce food waste (because let’s face it, a lot of people have trouble eating fresh produce before it goes bad.) Steam, roast, or saute frozen veggies, or throw frozen cauli into a smoothie and blend for that extra dose of fiber.

The same goes for frozen fruit! Frozen cherries and grapes will make amazing snacks. At the same time, berries can be heated in a microwave to make a sugar-free syrup for your waffles or whole-grain pancakes.


While the cost might be a little bit higher, pre-cut and washed veggies are some of the most convenient products that can save you a ton of time in meal prep.

Try to find pre-chopped broccoli and cauliflower or even pre-snapped green beans. Shredded Brussels sprouts. Cubed butternut squash. The possibilities are endless! Or you can consider purchasing veggies that don’t require any chopping (just a quick rinse.) These can include peapods or baby bell peppers.


Not everyone has the time to cook chicken or fish as soon as they come home. Or whenever they need a meal. If this sounds like you, you should know it’s absolutely OK to rely on pre-cooked proteins. You just have to make sure you’re choosing them wisely.

Some options might be very high in sodium and fat. But if you can find pre-cooked proteins with minimal added ingredients, such as no-salt-added canned tuna, beans, chicken, or pre-cooked frozen shrimp, you’ll save yourself a ton of time in meal prep. 

A rotisserie chicken also saves on prep, and not to mention, it’s usually a lot juicier than purchasing pre-cooked chicken breasts. When shopping, try to find options that contain less than 20 percent of your daily recommended value for sodium per serving.


Here’s one thing you won’t see a busy person doing on a weeknight: simmering their own sauces. With all the amazing bottled simmer sauces, seasoning packets, and marinades out there, you never have to make your own sauces if you don’t want to. They have the ability to lift a bland, basic meal into an interesting, craveable one. 

Here’s one warning: read the nutrition label and every ingredient on that ingredient list. Try to find a product that packs less than 10 percent of your daily recommended value for saturated fat, added sugar, and sodium. Read through the labels and try to find products that are made from whole foods while keeping the added sugars and salt to a minimum. 


You don’t want to spend an hour of your time boiling brown rice for tonight’s stir-fry? Not a problem. You can just vent a pouch of parboiled rice and just zap it in the microwave for about 90 seconds. After that, you’ve got a meal ready to get dressed up. 

Just make sure you’re buying products that only contain rice or grain. If they’re seasoned, pay attention to the sodium. Sodium levels can skyrocket if you’re using multiple products with added sodium all in one meal. Still, you’ll be one step closer to a delicious, easy-to-make, good-for-you meal that will help you move closer to your goals.

The Real Truth Behind Greek Yogurt


Hey Angels and Alphas,

Every person who cares about their health and nutrition has at one point grabbed a spoon and dug inside a bowl of some thick Greek Yogurt. This meal has been on the rise in recent years due to it being high in protein, cool, creamy, and convenient. Most of us can already agree that there are plenty of reasons to love it. It has double the amount of protein of regular yogurt and seems to be a very healthy snack. 

But may dietary and environmental factors can turn this treat into sour milk, meaning you may need to think about reconnecting with good ol’ regular yogurt instead.

What is Greek yogurt, really?

To make a serving of Greek yogurt, you strain plain yogurt to get most of the liquid out, a cloudy brine of lactose and whey. And not all Greek yogurt is created equal – the amount of removed liquid will largely determine its nutritional content and thickness. 

Similar products might include labneh, a yogurt cheese that comes from the Middle East, thick enough to be spread with a knife. One other alternative is skyr, a very thick yogurt that comes from Iceland, usually made from strained nonfat yogurt. 

The many health benefits of Greek yogurt.

About 200 grams (or 6-7 ounces) of whole-milk Greek yogurt clocks in at about 200 calories and a massive 18 grams of protein… all for just 8 grams of sugar. This makes it a thrilling breakfast option and a snack that treads lightly on your daily diet. 

Cooking with it is also amazing since it can take the place of sour cream, cream cheese, crème Fraiche, be used in baking or just about anywhere. Greek-style yogurt is super thick and variations such as labneh can stand on their own as appetizers drizzled with healthy olive oil.

With pretty much minimal effort, you can make Greek yogurt at home. All you have to do is line a fine-mesh sieve with a piece of cotton fabric and place that over a catch bowl. 

You then pour regular yogurt into the cloth and allow all the liquid to pass through. The longer you let it set, from one hour to a couple of days, the thicker it will become. You can leave it at room temperature so it can get a tangier taste, or you can refrigerate it to reduce its bite. 

You can use it in smoothies, cooking, cocktails, or in cooking instead of lemon juice. Some people also use it for making pickles. Others swear by it as a way to rinse their hair to give it extra shine.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Because Greek yogurt is much more dense than regular yogurt, you’re going to be paying more for that extra protein boost. And it might not be just your wallet that’s doing taking the price – it could also be your teeth. 

Flavored Greek yogurts contain high amounts of added sugar and could be treated more like dessert than anything else. If you simply can’t take it straight, use fresh fruit, a spoonful of low-sugar jam, or even a scant drizzle of honey.

Not only that, but it’s not all Greek yogurt that’s as wholesome as the label promises. Rather than straining yogurt, some manufacturers might rely on added thickeners like gelatin or cornstarch to make the yogurt more viscous. 

If you make yogurt this way, it won’t have the same nutritional value as the real deal. 

One of the biggest problems with the rising uptick of Greek yogurt consumption is the overabundance of its waste products. Uneaten lactose waste and whey liquid are the leftovers from most cheesemaking. 

One other leftover is sweet whey – it has countless uses in industrial food processing, including protein powder dietary supplements. But the acidic whey that actually comes from Greek yogurt production has limited use in the agricultural chain. 

A tiny amount of it can be used for farming, but the majority of it ends up being dumped, and its acidity is harmful to the environment, especially in large quantities.

Even though we all love and cherish Greek yogurt since it’s healthy and high in protein, we might be much better off if we reach for delicious regular yogurt instead. Especially if we’re worried about the environment or just want to avoid the possibilities of harmful added sugars and other additives.

The Ultimate Kid-friendly Grocery Store List

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

We all know teaching children to be healthy eaters is a very difficult task, especially if they’ve made the decision to only eat two things such as hot dogs and macaroni & cheese. 

However, if you just have a little patience, a great strategy, and this child-friendly grocery store list, you can expand the horizons of your kiddos and help them learn how to enjoy healthy foods, too!


When you’re trying to get your kiddos to consume more fruits and veggies, you have to introduce them to these foods when they’re nice and hungry. All of a sudden, you’ll have your kid asking you for a bite of your sauteed mushrooms on the stovetop because they smell delicious. When children are hungry, this will help veggies go down… and they’ll appreciate them more! And so will preparing kid-friendly meals that are tasty – with a little butter and garlic, you can go a long way.

This kid-friendly grocery guide should be your go-to when trying to find meals that your kids will enjoy and appreciate. 



Cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, spaghetti squash, sweet potato, peas, green beans, corn, celery, broccoli, cucumber, lettuce, baby carrots, bell peppers, and zucchini.


Strawberries, oranges, mango, pineapple, grapes, kiwi, blueberries, apples, bananas, and clementines.


Refried beans, edamame, chia seeds (which also go well in chia pudding), black beans, garbanzo beans. 


Tune, shrimp, salmon, ground beef, cod, chicken thighs/chicken breast, bone-in chicken drumsticks, ground turkey.


Oatmeal, dry cereal (with less than five grams of sugar per serving), whole-grain crackers, whole-grain bagels, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, and corn tortillas.


Corn, broccoli, cauliflower rice, fruit blends, fish sticks, sweet potato fries, mixed peppers, mixed veggies, green beans, veggie burgers, whole-grain waffles, and edamame.


Soup, pesto, olive oil, jelly/jam, salsa, ranch dressing, maple syrup.


Unsweetened apple sauce, raisins, popcorn, hummus, granola, corn tortilla chips, nut butter, trail mix, pickles, and dried fruit.


Yogurt, tofu, milk, eggs, butter, nut and seed milk, parmesan cheese, and string cheese.


  • Leave your kids at home (or order ahead for your curbside pickup) so you can avoid impulse purchases.
  • Let your kids help you carry the bags of groceries.
  • Keep your kids busy in the store via coupon hunting or managing the grocery list. Kids love to cross things off the list!
  • Shop the perimeter of the store and don’t go down aisles full of processed foods because kids will go crazy! Or at least save them for later in the trip, when your cart is already full of healthy food.
  • Let kids choose the protein and veggies they want to eat. This will help them during dinnertime because they’ll see the food they chose at the table.


Still unsure what to make? We’ve included a bunch of kid-friendly meal ideas that you can use, recipes for which you can find pretty much anywhere online. Try them out and see what your kids end up enjoying! Then you can add them into your usual meal rotation.

  • For breakfast… cookies? Not usually, but you can go with peanut butter breakfast cookies if you want a perfect, fiber and protein-packed meal.  
  • For lunch… bring together your kid’s favorite protein and veggie, and serve alongside a small dessert.
  • For a snack… you can pretty much buy something from the store or make something yourself, but all you need to know here is to keep the added sugars down to a minimum. The last thing you want is a 4 p.m. snack that leaves your kid unable to fall asleep at night.
  • For dinner… most kid-friendly dinners include a lot of veggies, but you have to make sure your kids are tired from playing around or just really hungry. This way, they’ll appreciate the meal more.

The Ultimate Budget-friendly Grocery Store List


Hey Angels and Alphas,

If eating healthy food and cooking at home are some of your goals for this year, learning how to navigate your grocery store list should be one of your first orders of business. 

There’s a misconception in the weight loss and fitness world that eating healthy is more expensive than eating bad food. This, quite frankly, is not the case.

Sometimes, you might need to go to several stores or pick out one of a variety of brands in order to get the best price. 

But over time, the savings really add up. Knowing which items you’re OK with spending more on (such as pastured, free-range eggs, or organic products) will motivate you to find a deal somewhere else that balances is out. 

But the point is this – you can eat healthy and on a budget. And with this grocery store list, this task will become easier than ever. 

Whether you have a strict, dedicated food budget or you’re just trying to spend less this year, there’s no reason why your grocery store bill should break the bank. You can make healthy, delicious, nutritious meals at home all while keeping your food costs down. 


When it comes to budget shopping, meal planning is key. A fundamental golden rule is to never buy food that you don’t have a plan for. This prevents those end-of-the-week garbage tosses of all the fresh produce you bought and had no clue what to do with.

If you want to keep your costs down, focus on fresh, in-season produce. Stick to your grocery list as closely as possible and avoid buying convenience foods. 

They can be very useful and help you save time, but they will likely be a little bit more expensive than the ones you have to slice and peel yourself. This goes not just for the produce, but for all your meat and poultry, as well.

To get yourself started, use this grocery store list and build up your pantry full of foundational foods that you should always have on hand. These foods are affordable, nutritious, and can be used throughout many recipes and dietary styles.

VEGETABLES – beets, sweet potatoes, onions, parsley, lettuce, garlic, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, spinach, mushrooms, and celery. 

FRUIT – oranges, grapefruit, bananas, kiwi, apples.

MEAT AND POULTRY – Whole chicken, ground turkey/beef, bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks, bone-in pork chops.

FISH AND SEAFOOD – Sardines, canned salmon, canned clams, tilapia, cod.

GRAINS – whole-wheat pasta, quinoa, oatmeal, barley, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread.

FROZEN FOODS – edamame, corn, chopped spinach, mixed veggies, fish and seafood, berries, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower rice.

PANTRY STAPLES – yeast, whole-wheat flour, popcorn, peanuts, peanut butter, olive oil, chia seed, canned tomatoes, canned beans, baking soda, baking powder, and dried lentils/beans.

DAIRY – eggs, yogurt, nut and seed milks (such as almond and soy), butter, and cottage cheese.


  • Stores such as Walmart/Trader Joe’s are great for inexpensive produce and bargains on frozen foods. 
  • Meal prepping is an amazing way to save money and time in the kitchen. If you plan out your meals, you’ll be able to only buy what you planned for.
  • Check the individual unit pricing when you’re choosing between items and brands for bulk purchases. Avoid packaged snacks and processed foods since they provide little-to-no nutrition per ounce.
  • Buy whole produce instead of bagged produce. Compare the prices to find the best value.
  • Meat is usually cheaper when purchased in bulk. And it’s less processed that way. Consider purchasing whole cuts and then repacking them in smaller amounts that you can freeze and use for cooking later on.


With the costs of groceries only going up in the last year, we all need a friendly reminder that you don’t need to break the bank to eat healthy. With a few simple tweaks, you’ll be able to nourish your body (and keep your budget low.) 

Choose recipes with low-cost ingredients, plan out all your meals, make a list, and stick to it. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll save.

The Genuine Health Benefits of Chocolate

Hey Angels and Alphas,

It’s been chocolate season for a while now! And with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, this deep, dark, and delicious treat is going to be splashing its way across the corners and shelves of your local grocery store. 

The health benefits are touted across countless headlined articles (including this one!) – but is chocolate really a superfood measuring up to the hype of chia seeds, green tea, and other touted superfoods?

Here’s what we know so far.

Numerous studies have found that dark chocolate is highly nutritious, rich in antioxidants, and has the potential to improve your blood flow, lower your blood pressure, increase the “good” type of cholesterol, enhance your skin quality, reduce inflammation, and even improve blood flow to the brain. In fact, chocolate was actually eaten throughout history for its healing properties.

But do the billions of dollars that Americans spend on chocolate annually also equate to billions of health benefits? The answer is a (not-so-surprising) no.

You have to eat a ton of commercially available chocolate if you want to reap its benefits. And you know what comes with that? A ton of calories!

Chocolate is indeed healthy – when it’s in its most whole, pure, raw form. But the chocolate we eat nowadays doesn’t really come packaged that way.

All chocolate begins its journey as just a fruit on a cacao tree. The seeds that grow inside it are something called cocoa beans. Once they’re harvested, these seeds are dried, fermented, and roasted so they develop their deep flavor. The inner nibs are the real start of the bunch with their nutty, crunchy texture. In most chocolate bars, nibs are ground to create a chocolate liquor (this has nothing to do with a cocktail,) which then gets mixed together with milk, sugar, and other ingredients such as spices and vanilla.

So, is there a way in which you can work chocolate in your balanced, healthy diet? Yes, but nibbling on chocolate bars isn’t going to get you there. The more your chocolate gets blended and processed, the less potent are its benefits.

Today, we’re here to explore the health benefits of chocolate, so you can find whether it’s worth it or not to fit it inside your diet.


Flavonoids are a type of polyphenol or micronutrient that’s found naturally in plants and it helps protect them from environmental toxins and repair damage. They’re powerful antioxidants and found highly concentrated inside cocoa beans (which are a fruit, by the way.) In high doses, these compounds will carry anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative properties to your body, preventing and restoring your cells.


Flavonols are the main flavonoid that’s naturally found in cocoa beans. They also happen to be responsible for the bitterness we often taste in bars of raw chocolate. Flavonols are especially beneficial to the heart, improving your blood flow, increasing your circulation, reducing the risk of clots, and potentially reducing blood pressure.


Two of the most potent flavanols you’ll find out there are epicatechin and catechin. Both of them increase blood antioxidant activity, reduce oxidative stress, and even promote better gut health. The presence of both of these inside chocolate improve the quality of bacteria in your gut, increasing the amount of healthy bacteria and reducing the number of pathogenic bacteria. The darker the chocolate, the better it is for your gut.


The antioxidants found in cocoa beans will help reduce the oxidative stress on your body by inhibiting and reducing the amount of free radicals. Free radicals send our immune systems into overdrive, so it’s important that we keep them under control.


Theobromine and caffeine are two components found in chocolate that boost and improve mood and energy. Both of these substances block your body’s adenosine receptors. This helps you feel more alert. When adenosine initially binds to its receptors, it then slows down neural activity. The result? You begin to feel sleepy.

Some studies have even said chocolate promotes the production of serotonin (the stabilizer of good mood.) But, the reality is most of these mood-boosting compounds are found in a very small quantity of the chocolate we eat. It’s more likely the overall experience we undergo while eating chocolate — that one single moment of instantly satisfying a sweet tooth— that is likely responsible for the “euphoria” we often feel after nibbling on chocolate.

The Anatomy of a Healthy Coffee Cup

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If you’re like the majority of coffee-drinkers out there, you’re probably pouring yourself a cup (or three) of coffee every day. Overall, your favorite morning java jolt is healthy for your body – research has shown that the habit is associated with better blood sugar regulation, sharper focus, a healthy hart, and more.

At the same time, that same mug can become a vessel for an overload of sugar, cream, and dairy – and if you’re at the coffee shop – whipped cream, chocolate shavings, fancy syrups, and so much more!

Even 50 extra calories every day will amount to almost 5 pounds worth of calories in a year. That’s why working with some tricks to build a better coffee cup will always pay off. In this article, we’re here to talk about exactly that.


First of all, are you going full caffeine, half-caf, or decaf? Your choice might initially depend on what you’re going for in terms of nutrients and health properties. For example, people with digestive issues might consider decaf or half-caf coffee. People with anxiety and depression might also want to cut back on caffeine. 

If you’re sipping your brew later in the day, you might want to avoid fully caffeinated drinks. Either way, mainstream health authorities suggest that we can keep our healthy consumption up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. 


You have a few options here. First, plant-based or dairy creamers. The second is straight milk (almond, oat, coconut, soy, etc.) 

These vary wildly from one to another in terms of calories and fat. For example, one single tablespoon of heavy whipping cream will contain about 50 calories. Contrast that with ¼ cup of almond milk, which is about 5-10 calories, and only has about half a gram of fat. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. 

Look at the context of pretty much everything you’ve been consuming in the day. If you love regular cream in your coffee and you want to stick with that, then you can make certain adjustments throughout your day such as consume something lower in fat later on.  


Flavored milk and creamers, as well as plant-based versions, will often have a lot of hidden sugars. You should always stay in control of how much sugar you’re consuming by adding a certain amount of unsweetened milk or creamer. When you’re adding sugar alone, keep in mind that all kinds of sugar (regardless if its brown, raw, white, maple, etc.) is still sugar. 


If you enjoy the taste of cinnamon, this would be the perfect time to shake some on top of your usual brew. Or you can try cocoa powder for a more chocolatey taste. Neither will add any significant calories to the mix, but they’ll all provide a zip of sweetness.


There are countless things people are putting in their coffee nowadays. From protein powders, to collagen to adaptogenic powders, MCT oil, etc. 

Any time someone wants to add a supplement in their coffee, they should be reminded that they are intended to be supplements and not a crutch for unhealthy eating habits. If you’re going to add a scoop of collagen for about 10 grams of extra protein or stir in some protein powder in your coffee, you will still want to consume high-quality protein sources for the rest of the day. 

Protein coffee – or as it has been called, proffee – can indeed make your cup more filling. And if you’re not someone who his really big on breakfasts, this can be an amazing way to stabilize blood sugar and get much-needed calories early in the day.

Take-it-or-leave-it Sports Nutrition Trends that Boost Your Performance

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

In the world of sports nutrition, athletes are constantly reevaluating how they can make the most out of their days by scoping out net workouts as well as the latest gear, making massive goals and generally improving their healthy habits. Part of this annual refresh will include overhauling your diet so it can align with your fitness goals.

Jumping on the nutrition bandwagon for new trends can indeed be inspiring, motivating, and let’s not forget fun, as long as you’re following the right trends and dodging those that are potentially harmful. Today, let’s talk about our favorite sports nutrition trends to try out in 2022.



The term functional food basically refers to anything that attaches a specific health benefit to one (or more) of its ingredients. While this is nothing new, it’s ramping up in popularity this year. For example, a yogurt is just a yogurt, but when you fortify it with probiotics, all of a sudden it becomes a health-boosting food. 

Functional health is focused on targeting your fitness and health goals by eating a diet rich in high-quality foods that always go above and beyond. While some of this is surely fluff, ultimately this places the focus on choosing ingredients that will have a robust nutrient profile. For example, adding apple cider vinegar to help regulate your blood sugar, choosing omega-enriched eggs, or sipping on bone broth to promote gut restoration. 


Regular ketchup is too regular for 2022. Now, our condiments come with specific health purposes, flavor enhancements, or they come fortified with extra nutrients. Small-batch makers are starting to bring unique options including beet ketchup, tomato cashew butter, fermented dressings, and others that will make sure our plate is never boring. If these sound too fancy for you, try stocking up your pantry with global condiments such as lime pickle, kimchi, harissa paste, and more. Since most of these include at least some form of fermentation, veggies, umami, heat, and herbs, their benefits will go way beyond flavor and promote better digestion, gut health, and utter satisfaction.


Say hello to fasting’s arch nemesis. If 2021 gave us anything, it was more and more time to cook and eat at home. This led us to appreciate full breakfasts more, and we realize they’re not leaving anytime soon. 

Athletes are jumping on this trend, as well. Fueling your body in the morning will not only help stimulate recovery and prevent large calorie deficits, but it will also lead you to make healthier choices throughout the day because your blood glucose will be stable, you’ll be more focused, and you’ll enjoy less managed hunger throughout the day. 

If you opt for a big bowl of oats with Greek yogurt and fruit, you’ll create a nutritionally loaded breakfast that can keep you satiated until lunch to say the least.


One trend in the sports nutrition world you would most likely be better off passing on is the trend with alternative sugars. It’s almost impossible to go on social media without seeing delicious desserts that claim supposed health benefits. 

And most of these recipes have simply swapped one sugar source from granulated sugar to an alternative such as coconut sugar, maple sugar, date sugar, and more. All of these sugars are basically broken down from another plant, which leaves an easy to absorb carb that spikes energy. Whichever taste you prefer, don’t be fooled that one is healthier than the other.


And finally, here’s another trend you’d be much better off without – the whole craze with sugary, whipped coffee that came and went pretty quickly this year. Unfortunately, several other trends related to coffee have been popping up ever since. Many of these will rely on adding a ton of sugar or other processed ingredients to your otherwise healthy cup of morning coffee. So avoid the artificially flavored creamers and sweeteners that are basically junky additives in disguise. Instead, try drinking your coffee as black as possible, or try including the natural sweetness and flavor of other spices and herbs such as maple, turmeric, or a rosemary variety to brown sugar. 

Strongest Anti-inflammatory Foods You Can Add to Your Diet

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

Most nutrition experts already know that inflammation can be both good and bad. 

On the one hand, it can help your body protect itself from injury and infection. On the other hand, chronic inflammation has been studied to lead to, you guessed it, chronic disease. 

Stress, low activity levels, and foods that can cause inflammation can further increase that risk. However, studies have suggested that some foods can help alleviate some of that chronic inflammation. 

Today, we’ve compiled a list of some of the strongest anti-inflammatory foods you can get, as well as tips on how to easily add them to your daily routine. Let’s get right into it.


Berries are small but don’t judge them by their size. They’re nutritional powerhouses full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Dozens of berry varieties exist. Some of the more common ones include blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. 

Berries contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins. These compounds have been shown to have effects that reduce your risk of chronic disease. In one study that tested about two dozen adults, people who consumed blueberry powder every day produced significantly more natural killer cells (also known as NK cells) than people who didn’t. Your body naturally produces NK cells, and they’re an organic part of your immune system. 


Broccoli is robustly nutritious. It’s a cruciferous vegetable, along with cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts. Not only that, but research has shown us that eating lots of cruciferous veggies has been associated with a lower risk of cancer and heart disease. This may partly be because of the anti-inflammatory effects the antioxidants contain.

Broccoli is also rich in sulforaphane, which is an antioxidant that decreases inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines and other fancy terms such as nuclear factor kappa B (another molecule that drives inflammation in your body.)


Avocados are a food rich in fiber, magnesium, potassium, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Avocados are also rich in carotenoids and tocopherols, both of which are linked to a reduced risk of cancer. In addition, one of the compounds in avocados may reduce inflammation in newly forming skin cells. In one high-quality study that included more than 50 adults, people who ate avocado had a reduction in inflammatory markers interleukin 1 beta and CRP. 


Bell peppers and chili peppers are both loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants which both have anti-inflammatory effects. Bell peppers also provide you with the antioxidant quercetin. This antioxidant reduces inflammation specifically related to chronic diseases such as diabetes. Chili peppers contain sinapic acid and ferulic acid, both of which may reduce inflammation and help support healthier aging.


While you can find thousands of varieties of mushrooms worldwide, only a few of them are edible and commercially grown. These include portobello mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, truffles, and more. Mushrooms are typically very low in calories but rich in copper, selenium, and all of the major B vitamins. They are also rich in phenols, as well as other antioxidants that provide your body with anti-inflammatory protection.


Grapes fuel your body with anthocyanins, a surefire way to reduce inflammation. In addition, they may directly decrease your risk of several diseases, including heart disease, eye disorders, obesity, Alzheimer’s, and more. 

Grapes are also an amazing source of resveratrol, another antioxidant with countless health benefits. Studies have even shown this compound can protect you against heart inflammation. 

In one study that included over 50 people with heart failure, those who consumed 2 50-mg resveratrol capsules for three months experienced a decrease in their inflammatory gene markers. 

An even older study from 2012 found that adults who ate grape extract every day experienced increased levels of adiponectin. And remember, low levels of this hormone are associated with weight gain and an increased risk of chronic diseases. 

But grapes, being the nutritional powerhouse they are, power us with a variety of antioxidants that help protect our bodies against inflammation.

Let’s Talk About the Downsides of Coffee

Hey Angels and Alphas,

Caffeine is a substance countless people around the world start their day with because it helps them feel awake and focused. Others use it for special occasions such as long drives or even late-night engagements so they can stay alert. Athletes can use it to boost their performance. And it’s pretty much the most well-studied, legal performance aid.

Since caffeine was removed from the WADA’s list of banned substances, roughly three-quarters of all athletes use it strategically to better performance. While it’s very popular and known to improve results, the supplement does have some downsides that make it a bad choice for a small portion of people.

Let’s talk about these downsides.

First of all, it interferes with your sleep. 

Caffeine’s job is to keep you alert, and that’s great. But how quickly or slowly you process caffeine will vary from person to person based on different factors such as age, genetics, diet, gender, etc. The stimulant will typically stay in the body for about 4-6 hours. Athletes who tend to consume high amounts of caffeine and train later in the day might be hindering their sleep, and ultimately, their performance. 

Here’s a fix: try consuming all your caffeine before noon so you make sure your coffee won’t interfere with your natural sleep schedule.

Second of all, you build a tolerance to it.

The brain can basically increase receptors for caffeine with long term, high intakes. This means you’re likely going to need more to feel the same effect. Consuming a bit each day can easily lead to consuming moderate quantities and then large amounts because you build a tolerance to coffee quite easily. This can happen without you even being aware, due to the prevalence of caffeine in drinks, supplements, and food. It’s everywhere – sport gels, gums, waters, tea, and more.

Here’s a fix: track your eating and drinking habits so you can figure out how much caffeine you’re really consuming on a daily basis.

Third, it will hinder the absorption of nutrients. 

People concerned with their fitness, who are typically invested in healthy eating, often consume coffee without adding this consideration. Consuming caffeine will always interfere with the absorption of vital nutrients that your body needs to stay active such as iron, magnesium, calcium, and B vitamins. 

In fact, consuming caffeine with your meal might mean reducing your absorption of iron by up to 50 percent.

Here’s a fix: if you want to make sure you’re getting in enough nutrients every single day, consume caffeine away from your meals.

Fourth, it has an impact on heart health.

The scientific literature on the topic doesn’t come up with a conclusion on whether caffeine is good or bad for your heart. 

In general, using up to 600mg of coffee a day is considered safe, but there isn’t much research available for people consuming over that amount. About a quarter of adults consume more than 600mg every day, making this a legitimate concern. 

While people involved in ongoing physical fitness will generally have better heart health than sedentary people, there is always a known risk of experience cardiac events during serious performances such as a marathon. Consuming excessive pre-case caffeine could lead to that risk increasing.


Many of these issues are truly personal and they will ultimately vary highly from person to person, making specific guidelines hard to advise. If you suspect that caffeine is causing your body or your mind stress, you should start with reducing the amount of consume every day. 

Once that substance is eliminated, you can evaluate how you’re feeling and whether or not you want to return to using caffeine daily or only at important moments and performances (or not at all.)

How to Soothe a Hot Chocolate Craving in a Healthy Way


Hey Angels and Alphas,

We all know that hot chocolate is a fun and exciting treat this time of year, regardless of how old you are. But what you probably don’t know is that these store-bought hot cocoa packets aren’t really your best choice in terms of health and nutrition. 

They’re chock full of additives such as added sugar and fat, and not to mention, they’re mixed in with preservatives and ingredients that you’d have difficulties pronouncing.

So how can we satisfy our craving for a cup of hot chocolate this time of year without having to worry about the negative effects of certain ingredients… and instead switch to healthier alternatives that can satisfy your body, mind, and soul altogether?


Every ingredient in hot chocolate isn’t automatically bad for you. In fact, ingredients such as cocoa powder and dark chocolate have countless health benefits. They’re abundant in polyphenols – naturally occurring antioxidants usually found in fruits, veggies, wine, and tea. They’re very healthy for your heart, they allow your body to get rid of pesky inflammation, and they improve your blood pressure and good cholesterol. All of this means that you’ll be getting better blood flow to your brain and heart, and you can’t miss out on benefits like that.

Cocoa has a plethora of other health benefits, as well. It can work to improve your mood, symptoms of depression, and it also has properties that protect you from cancer. It’s a superfood or super ingredient when it comes down to it, so it’s not automatically something you should frown upon or think it’s somehow bad for you.

Making your own hot cocoa from scratch is generally pretty easy. This is because you get to choose your own ingredients! When you’re making cocoa drinks from the comfort of your own home, you can sit in collagen powder for added protein. This way, you’ll instantly be increasing the satiating power of your hot cocoa, and if you use chocolate collagen powder, you can even get a more chocolate-y flavor. 

One of the best, healthiest options for cocoa drinks includes cocoa-flavored herbal coffee or even functional mushroom elixirs. These cocoa drinks are often full of the cozy vibes of hot cocoa, but they bring you the added benefit of functional mushrooms and powerful, healthy herbs. You can even use liquid stevia or a little honey if you want to sweeten them up, then a dash of warm almond milk to make your hot cocoa creamy and filling. 


If calories are what you’re worried about, you should know there are several ways you can lighten up your homemade cup of hot cocoa. You can make it using 2 percent skim milk, or go for your favorite unsweetened dairy-free substitutes. One of these might include unsweetened vanilla almond milk – a great choice for hot cocoa. It has only about 30 calories per cup, and it’s a great source of calcium.

If you want to ramp up the nutritional intake of your hot cocoa, go with raw cacao powder. Many of the beneficial, healthy nutrients inside cacao are usually lost in the process of roasting and alkalizing that’s required to create cocoa powder. But raw cacao powder is much denser when it comes to nutrients.

If you can only get your hands on some cocoa powder, make sure you’re choosing an unprocessed cocoa powder. This will usually be labeled as unsweetened cocoa powder. Also, make sure to avoid Dutch-processed variations because they’re largely stripped of antioxidants and health benefits.  

You can also reduce the amount of sugar in your cup by using natural sweeteners such as stevia or even monk fruit extract. They have been shown in studies to cause the least amount of digestive distress.

If you want to up the nutrition and lower the calories, skip all the whipped cream and marshmallow toppings and instead boost flavor by dusting your hot cocoa with some cinnamon, vanilla, shaved chocolate, or even a bit of cayenne pepper if you want that little “zip.”


Hot chocolate is a very fun, exciting cold-weather treat that’s perfect after a long day of hitting the slopes or playing in the snow. You can create a healthy indulgence by making it yourself so you can avoid all the chemicals, added sugar, and preservatives. This way, you’ll be able to avoid a delicious cup of hot chocolate that will not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but also bring you a ton of nutritional value.

How Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Live Longer

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

Over the last couple of years, intermittent fasting has gained a ton of traction for its potential benefits on weight loss. However, recent research has shown us time and time again that this ancient practice has innumerable benefits to the human body that go way beyond slimming your waistline. One of these benefits is helping you live longer. 


How could something as simple as not eating for a portion of time help you live longer? The answer lies in a few pieces of evidence found in both human and animal studies.

For example, in one study, fasting has shown improvements in the blood pressure and resting heart rate of individuals, making it advantageous for your cardiovascular health. This, along with several studies, has suggested that intermittent fasting can be a great strategy for losing weight, preventing obesity and diabetes (both of which have been related to shortened lifespans.)

A 2018 animal study actually showed that when animals (in this case mice) ate only one meal a day, and had a long fasting period, they not only had longer lifespans, but also demonstrated that they experience significantly less risk for age-related liver diseases or metabolic disorders.

In study reviews, experts note that fasting improves blood sugar regulation, lowers inflammation throughout the body, and increases the body’s resistance to stress. All of these can have a significant impact when it comes to longevity.


Like any strategy that is all about changing how you eat, results will vary from person to person. Especially if you make initial missteps such as overeating during your “food window”, being sedentary, choosing unhealthy foods, and making drastic changes. 

Also, you should keep in mind that you may need to play around with all the different variations of intermittent fasting so that you find one that best works for you. Although experts have noted that time-restricted windows of 6-8 hours seemed the most effective, neither of those may actually be the right fit for you. But that’s OK! You can still do intermittent fasting your way.

For example, you might expand your eating window to 10 hours, or you can start playing around with the number of days in which you’re going to fast. A 5:2 plan can easily be tweaked into a 7:1, based on how you want to implement fasting in your day-to-day life.

If you’re just getting started, it’s much better to look at fasting as a long-term strategy so you can actually experiment with some different schedules, rather than think you need to stick to just one specific schedule because it happens to be what worked for your friends/family members before.


Intermittent fasting does not involve specific foods. Instead, it’s just a strict schedule regarding *when* you eat. That being said, attempting to get into intermittent fasting is a great opportunity to overhaul your entire diet if you’ve been getting just a little too fast-food-reliant lately. 

One of the major advantages of intermittent fasting is that it can become a part of any other eating plan you’re following. It can be a great kick off to changing your health habits entirely so you can include more healthy foods (if you’re not doing that already.)

The easiest way you could go about intermittent fasting is to do the most common variation first. This is an 8-hour eating window, followed by fasting time that includes regular sleep. For example, if you “break your fast” at 9 a.m. and have dinner at 5 p.m., then not eating again until the next morning would be an example of the 8-hour eating window. 

Giving yourself at least a couple of days (or ideally more) every time so you can switch strategies is very important. This allows you to see your improvements in other areas of your life such as better sleep, mood, and more energy. Just as you might do so with food tracking, recording the effects of intermittent fasting daily will help you determine how well you’re adjusting (and if this approach is right for you.)

It’s also possible that fasting is just not your thing. And that’s OK, too! But most likely, simply trying out this eating plan is likely to help you become more conscious of what (and when) you’re eating.

Losing the Most Dangerous Type of Fat – Visceral Fat

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

It’s the dream of every weight loss enthusiast to zap down belly fat. But, far from the goal of getting rock-hard abs, there are many reasons why you would want to reduce the fat your body stores around the abdominal region. This fat can be especially dangerous, and an expanding waistline could grow your risk for a variety of chronic illnesses.

Why is belly fat so dangerous?

Your body’s fat impacts your health in a variety of ways depending on the location it’s stored. While most fat found on other parts of the body such as arms, legs, and glutes, are considered to be “subcutaneous fat”, belly fat is referred to as “visceral” fat.

Subcutaneous fat is the much more pinchable, squishy fat that sits between your skin and muscle that helps keep you warm and cushioned against shock… and stores extra calories. Visceral fat stores calories, as well, but it isn’t as pinchable because it’s located in and around your organs. It’s hidden deep inside your belly region, making it firm to the touch.

Fat doesn’t just store calories. It’s living tissue that is capable of producing and releasing hormones that will affect other organs inside your body. Because visceral fat sits near your internal organs, its release of these chemicals is very poorly situated. Having more visceral fat might raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure. It can also make you less sensitive to insulin, raising your risk of Type 2 diabetes.

And even if you’re thin, you might still have visceral fat in and around the abdominal region. Being skinny won’t necessarily mean you’re healthy. There’s no guaranteed way to tell subcutaneous fat from visceral fat short of a CT scan, but it’s vital that you have a rough idea of what we’re talking about and where these visceral stores are. 

WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE (WC): Get a feel for the top of your hip bone (it’s at the same level as your belly button) and circle a tape measure around this single point. Take a couple of measurements and then figure out the average. 

WAIST-TO-HIP RATIO: Your waste-to-hip ratio will be the circumference of your waist divided by the circumference of your hips. To measure your hips, you can stand in front of a mirror then figure out the widest part of your glutes and measure that circumference.

How do we banish visceral fat?

If you fall in the normal range for WHR and WC, great. Keep working at your weight goals and see how these metrics change. Because of how close it is to your liver, visceral fat is usually the easiest to burn. It’s the less risky subcutaneous fat that usually likes to stick around.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to forcefully spot reduce fat around your belly regardless of how many crunches you do. Here are five tips that will give you the best result:

Go beyond weight tracking. You can simply track your waist, hip and even neck circumference with your Notes app and see how your measurements change throughout time. 

Sweat for 45-60 minutes each day. Visceral fat responds extremely well to regular endurance exercises, including running, biking, rowing, swimming, all of which elevate your heart rate. As your body uses its fat stores to fuel exercise, it’ll start evaporating your visceral stores.

Eat a well-balanced diet. Eat a diet that is in whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, and lean proteins while your calories are set for gradual weight loss (or about 1-2 pounds per week). Just cut way back on your added sugars and alcohol intake since these nutrients will likely end up as visceral fat in the body.

Sleep more, stress less. While it’s easier said than done, in order to take care of your physical body, you must take care of your mental state. Factors such as sleep loss and stress can sabotage your fitness and health goals, so learn more about quality sleep and then use meditation or yoga to calm down your mind. Remember, it’s not just about your physical health, it’s also about your mental health, as well.

How Flavonoids Can Benefit Athletes’ Performance

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

We all know athletes are most often motivated to explore their diets further and make changes based on their different quests for performance enhancement. And while this often includes things such as weight-loss practices, food supplements, and sport foods, there is an immensely valuable, health-promoting and potentially ergogenic form of help that is often overlooked by most athletes: flavonoids.

What exactly are flavonoids?

Flavonoids are phytonutrients rich in antioxidants that are found in a variety of plant foods including grains, tea, veggies, fruits, wine, chocolate, and even bark. There are about six subgroups of compounds that make up the entirety of flavonoids, and more than 6,000 of them have been individually identified. 

The major subgroups include:

  • Flavonols
  • Flavan-3-ols
  • Flavones
  • Isoflavones
  • Anthocyanins
  • Flavanones

We can easily see how this classification may get confusing because many compounds easily become clumped together interchangeably in most common nutrition advice. Individual or groups of different flavonoids may occur in the same foods, such as anthocyanins and flavan-3-ols, both of which occur in strawberries, or in separate foods such as peppermint that contain flavones and flavones only.

Flavonoids work together to improve cellular activity, reduce the damage free radicals do to your system, and each vitamin is essentially responsible for a different health-promoting body function. 

Different flavonoids have distinct functions ranging from managing cardiovascular health to even balancing the anti-inflammatory response. And that’s another reason why it’s crucial for athletes not to rely on their limited intake of whole foods in favor of simple carbs and supplements.

Flavonoids can give you that extra edge you’re looking for.

Flavonoid-rich foods are a staple in any health-promoting diet. And there might be some proof out there that these compounds can provide athletes with an extra edge in performance. 

When exercise is taken to a point where it’s no longer general physical activity and reaches into the point of exhaustion, low rest periods, and sore muscles, there is a massive chance that inflammation and oxidative stress are increased throughout the body. 

Reducing the ill effects of the inflammation exercise induces may help many competitive athletes. There is evidence that flavonoids can bring specific benefits in specific instances, though more research is necessary to be conclusive on their applications in real-life situations.

Quercetin will help you lose weight and gain strength.

Quercetin is one of the more well-studied forms of flavonoids. It’s a compound found in a variety of plant foods such as apples, nuts, capers, cherries, red wine, black tea, beans, leafy greens, and more. 

Since there is no shortage of foods that provide this nutrient, it’s very likely that your diet contains enough quercetin. However, the amount that you’re taking in right now may not be that effective when it comes to creating a performance edge. Dietary evaluation will conclude that the average person consumes up to 30-35 milligrams a day of this nutrient, but most studies that have included this nutrient have used a dosage upwards of 500 milligrams. 

To bring the benefits of quercetin to the mainstream, one study used a 500mg dosage and combined it with vitamin C. 

Introducing it to male athletes, they discovered an improved metabolic rate, body composition, and better total energy expenditure. Most athletes would agree that leaner body composition could bring a competitive edge. 

While this study has shown positive outcomes from supplemental forms of flavonoids, it’s widely accepted that people who eat a diet heavier in nutrient-rich foods are less likely to suffer from being overweight.


Most dietary flavonoids will be provided by foods rich in fiber. These are the types of foods that a lot of athletes might avoid due to gut distress.

That being said, certain foods such as dark chocolate or tart cherry could provide a high enough source to be beneficial. Increasing chocolate intake could allow athletes to meet the high-energy demands of their workouts while providing them with beneficial nutrients such as iron that might otherwise be limited in a performance diet. 

The flavonoids contained inside dark chocolate might play a specific role in improving the availability of nitric oxide, and therefore, reducing the oxygen cost of exercise.

3 Signs You Need to Reintroduce Carbs in Your Diet

weight loss

Hey Angels and Alphas,

In theory, cutting carbs out of your diet is easy, and some might even say nutritiously beneficial. After all, grocery store shelves are now loaded with keto substitutes for pretty much every food. And hey, if you feel great skipping your morning cup of oatmeal in hopes of getting less carbs, that’s great. There is a chance, however, that you might not feel at your best if you cut out carbs. 

In some situations, your body will give you cues that you need to reintroduce carbs after cutting them out. It’s important that you pay attention to these cues, especially if you’re someone trying keto for the first time or someone who doesn’t have much experience with low-carb diets. 

Despite current trends of high-fat, low-carb diets, carbohydrates are a vital part of your nutrition. They provide you with fiber which is essential to satiety and beneficial to heart health. Carbs are also further stored as glycogen in the body – your body’s preferred source of energy.

Everybody is different. The diet that works for you might not work for someone else. That being said, if you suspect that you’re just not feeling like you’re thriving off a low-carb diet, here are three signs that you may need to reintroduce them to your diet so you can stay healthy, energized, and progressing toward your fitness goals.


Have you ever sat down to eat a full meal, then stood in front of your fridge or pantry in hopes of finding something else? If you’re not really sure what you’re searching for, but you need something more, this might be a telltale sign that you didn’t consume enough carbs at that meal.

A meal might physically fill you up, but you also need to be satisfied by that meal, too. If you’ve eaten a rich salad with protein but no carbs (except for the veggies,) you might have experienced that feeling of leaving the table unsatisfied. 

A meal can physically fill you, but you need that satisfaction piece, too. “If you’ve eaten a salad with plenty of veggies and protein, but no [main carb source], you might have experienced this. 

Maybe you physically felt full, but you felt like something was missing. Instead of aimlessly munching on an additional snack after dinner, try to top that salad with beans or toss in some whole grains in your meal. Even so-called unhealthy carbs might sometimes be necessary. There’s a place in your diet for all types of carbs. While pizza might not be the best way to get fiber in your body, it is very satisfying due to the high carb content. 


Not only will your body crave the satisfaction that comes with carbs, but your brain, too! Your brain alone will require a certain amount of carbs every day to function properly. 

On top of that, since carbs can provide you with that fullness factor, you might be left feeling hungry or low on energy which further contributes to crankiness. If you’re someone who is constantly thinking about your next meal or snack, and you have trouble concentrating on the task at hand, it’s likely a good time for you to introduce some carbs back into your diet. 


This one should go without saying. If you’re putting in the effort to train, but yet, here you are, pouting your way out of the gym since your workout ended early, your body is telling you that you need carbs. Carbs are stored in the body as glycogen, and without those glycogen stores, it’s difficult for your body to find the energy to exercise. 

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), people who are active might not be getting the fuel they need solely from fruits and veggies as sources of carbs. Instead, they require a combination of fruits, veggies, starchy foods, grains, and more carb-rich foods that enhance exercise performance and help you bounce back from a tough session. 

Simply aim to consume a balanced meal (or snack) around two to three hours before you head off for your workout, and you’ll be giving your body the carbs it needs to thrive in the gym and outside of it.

3 Types of People that Need More Protein (and How to Increase your Intake)

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

If you’re trying to improve your fitness and lose weight, you know how important nutrition is in that whole equation. And increasing your protein is, usually, a great idea. After all, this is one of the main macronutrients that helps you feel fuller for a long time, as well as build and maintain muscle to keep your metabolism revved up.

That being said, you might not need as much as you initially think. Most Americans can pretty much rest assured that they’re not deficient in protein. In fact, studies actually show that the majority of Americans get more than enough thanks to high-protein foods such as meats, legumes, nuts, beans, and seeds in their diets.

In general, adults will need a little bit over 1 gram of protein per kilogram of bodyweight (or at least 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight.) You’re pretty much covered if you dedicate anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of your intake to protein. 

That being said, some people might struggle to meet their daily protein needs. We’re here to talk about four groups that could potentially be low on protein, as well as how to make sure you’re hitting your daily protein goals.


Contrary to popular belief, the overwhelming majority of vegans do hit their daily targets for protein. That’s not a problem. But it is a problem when you’re a newbie transitioning from a diet that was traditionally high in meat so you can consume more high-quality, plant-based proteins. Be mindful that you should include protein in every meal. Whole grains such as quinoa, as well as things like nutritional yeast and chia, hemp, and flexseeds, will be easy solutions to this and they can easily be thrown in your cart. They can stack your shelves for whenever you need them.


If you’re depending on a slight caloric deficit in order to lose weight, one smart strategy you could follow to preserve muscle mass is to up your intake to about 1 gram per pound of body weight every day. To do this, you have to maximize the amount of protein you’re intaking with every meal. Experts recommend high-protein lentils or chickpea pastas, high-protein oats, high-protein peanut butter, and small handy snacks such as hard-boiled eggs to help you reach that protein goal. 


Most athletes have absolutely no problem hitting their protein needs without the help of shakes or supplements. But if you’re an elite competitor, or someone who works out an hour or more the majority of the week, you will generally have a higher recommended protein range than someone who doesn’t work out as hard. Aim for the 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight every day, and remember that it’s a good idea to always drink a post-workout shake to fuel your body with the essential protein and carbs it needs to adequately recover after a scrutinous workout. 


Adults over the age of 65 might be getting too little protein. One thing we know for sure, they require more to maintain strength with age. Dips in appetite, as well as the ability to absorb the nutrient, mean that 1 in every 3 older men and 1 in every 4 older women could be consistently not meeting their daily requirements for protein. To overtime this deficit, you should aim for at least 0.5 to 0.9 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. Protein shakes and snacks like walnuts could be a great way to keep up with that daily intake of protein and make sure you’re getting the adequate amount to maintain proper health. 


In most cases, there’s no cause for alarm. Many of us are getting more than enough protein through our diets alone. But if you’re concerned you might be going low on protein, the best next step for you is to stack up on high-protein snacks and maybe even visit a dietitian for personalized guidance. 

5 Foods Beneficial to Have Before Going to Bed

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

Getting quality sleep is vital to our overall health, that’s as much as obvious. It reduces our risk of developing chronic diseases, keeps our brain healthy, and improves our immune system. It’s generally recommended that you get between 7 and 9 hours of quality sleep every night, though many people can struggle to get enough.

There are countless strategies out there that you can use to promote better sleep, including making changes to your diet, as some foods and drinks have very beneficial sleep-promoting benefits.

Here are 5 of the best foods and drinks to have before bed so you can enhance the quality of your sleep.


Chamomile tea is a very popular herbal tea that offers a variety of health benefits. It’s well known for its abundance of flavones. Flavones are a class of antioxidants that reduce the bad inflammation that often leads to chronic diseases such as cancer and even heart disease.

There has also been some evidence that drinking chamomile tea could boost your immune system, reduce your anxiety and depression, and improve your skin health. And lastly, chamomile tea has some unique properties that may improve sleep quality. Specifically, chamomile tea contains a compound known as apigenin. This antioxidant binds to certain receptors in your brain that may promote sleepiness and eliminate insomnia.


Kiwis are a very low-calorie, nutritious fruit. One fruit contains only 42 calories and a robust number of nutrients, including 71% of the daily value requirement for vitamin C. It provides both men and women with 23% and 31%, respectively, of the essential vitamin K that they need each day.

It contains a decent amount of folate and potassium, and not to mention, several trace minerals as well. Furthermore, eating kiwis may be beneficial to your digestive health, help you reduce inflammation, and lower your cholesterol. These effects are due to the high amounts of fiber and carotenoid antioxidants that kiwis provide.


Tart cherry juice has very impressive health perks.

First, it provides decent amounts of a few vital nutrients, such as magnesium and phosphorus. It’s also a great source of potassium.

An 8-ounce (240-milliliter) serving might contain 17% of the potassium a woman needs each day and about 13% of the potassium that a man would need in a day. Additionally, it’s a powerful source of antioxidants, including anthocyanins and flavonols.

Tart cherry juice has also been known to promote sleepiness, and it’s even been studied for its role in relieving insomnia. For these reasons, drinking tart cherry juice before bed might be a good choice if you want to improve sleep quality.

The powerful and undeniable sleep-promoting effects of tart cherry juice are expressed in its high amount of melatonin. 


Fatty fish including salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel, are very healthy. What makes them unique is their high amounts of vitamin D, among other things.

EPA and DPA are both known for reducing bad inflammation. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids may have protective qualities against heart disease and work to boost brain health.

The healthy combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D in fatty fish is what has the real potential to do wonders for sleep quality because both have been shown to increase the production of serotonin. 

In one particular study, men who ate (300 grams) of Atlantic salmon up to three times a week for 6 months started falling asleep about 10 minutes faster than men who ate chicken or beef.


Walnuts are abundant in many vital nutrients, providing over 19 healthy vitamins and minerals, in addition to more than 1.9 grams of fiber, in a 28-gram (1-ounce) serving. Walnuts are particularly rich in magnesium, phosphorus, and copper, making them a go-to for anyone who wants to stack up on micronutrients.

Additionally, walnuts are an amazing source of healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and linoleic acid. They also provide 4.3 grams of protein per ounce, which may be beneficial for reducing appetite. What’s more, some studies out there claim that eating walnuts improves sleep quality and has beneficial effects on insomnia, as they’re one of the best food sources of melatonin in nature.

5 Gut-friendly Foods to Stock Up on This Winter

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

One of the best, most productive things you can do for your nutrition and overall health is to give yourself a gut health check. With approximately 70 percent of your immune system located in the gut, it’s safe to say that if you have a healthy gut, you’ll likely be healthy too.

Your gut microbiome is home to trillions upon trillions of bacteria that thrive off the foods you eat. They play a role not only in your digestive health, but in your mental health, too! 

There’s emerging evidence that there’s a connection between the gut and the brain which is basically a whole set of neurotransmitters that reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

But what does this all mean for you?

Healthy food stimulates healthy bacteria in the gut. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest it can alter and modify this “second genome” which has been directly linked to the foods we eat. 

A study led by Harvard University discovered that your diet can alter a big part of the population of human gut bacteria in just as little as a day. 

As with anything, the reverse is also true. Diets that are low in fiber, high in processed foods, and refined sugars have been linked to lower bacterial diversity and conditions such as obesity and diabetes. 

But a diet that’s rich in fruits and veggies helps heal your gut lining and prevent bad bacteria from entering your bloodstream.

So how do we go about getting more of these healthy bacteria in our diet? Here are 5 foods that have been labeled superfoods when it comes to gut health.


Kefir is similar to liquid yogurt that’s naturally effervescent. It’s cultured up to 8 times longer than yogurt, giving all its healthy bacteria plenty of time to multiply. It contains more than 12 strains of healthy bacteria as opposed to the 2 strains found in regular yogurt. Not only that, but it has up to 11 grams of protein per cup!


Kimchi is a spicy Korean side dish that’s created by mixing cabbage and other veggies and herbs such as chili peppers, ginger, garlic, and even fish sauce – all of which has been set aside to ferment for a certain period. Fermentation is a natural process that breaks down natural sugars to form lactic acid. Lactic acid is a preservative that prevents bad bacteria from growing and even bumps up the contents of good-for-you vitamins in foods.

Fermentation is similar to a form of pre-digestion which makes nutrients that are typically hard to digest more bioavailable. It also adds pungent and sour flavors to foods. 


Yogurt is full of active cultures that help with digestion, but it also helps us absorb nutrients from the foods we eat. The FDA requires that there must be at least two strains of bacteria in all yogurt, although manufacturers can freely add more. Yogurt is also packed with protein and one cup delivers up to 30 percent of your daily calcium needs which is even more readily absorbed due to the probiotics. 


This nutty, savory paste is made of fermented soybeans. It’s loaded with the umami flavor and it’s very rich in probiotics. Its concentrated salt content (which is about 500mg per tablespoon) will help protect your healthy bacteria from contamination. And there’s even a balanced sweetness that makes the flavor much milder than that of other fermented foods. Miso is also super versatile – it’s a great addition to soups, dressings, and glazes for roasted veggies. 


In its most basic form, sauerkraut is essentially just cabbage and salt. But as a bonus, you get millions of good-for-you bacteria similar to the ones found in yogurt. 

When they are sealed airtight, they convert their natural plant sugars into lactic acid which aids digestion, increases the bioavailability of vitamins, and gives sauerkraut a pleasantly sour taste. Radishes and cucumbers are often mixed with it. Choose refrigerated varieties instead of typical canned varieties because the process of pasteurization essentially kills probiotics. 

A word about prebiotic-rich foods.

Prebiotics work as “food” for all those healthy bacteria we want to flourish inside our gut. We use prebiotics to stimulate our probiotics. Prebiotics are very high in an indigestible fiber also known as inulin. It further enhances the gut’s production of friendly bacteria. Food sources include whole wheat, cabbage, leeks, artichokes, flaxseed, seaweed, and more.

5 Nutrition Tips for a Healthy Heart

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

It’s American Heart Month, and we’re all celebrating ways to keep your heart in tiptop shape. After all, if you can keep your heart healthy, you’ve pretty much got the keys down to a healthy lifestyle. We’re all aware of the statistics of how dangerous cardiovascular disease can be. And according to the CDC, high rates of high blood pressure and obesity among young people (mostly people from the ages of 35 to 64) are being put at risk of heart disease earlier in their life. 

In fact, nearly 50 percent of all Americans have at least one of the three risk factors for heart disease: smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. 

Of course, lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and eating a healthy, heart-friendly diet can go a long way toward preventing these problems and staying in great shape. Below, we’ll explore five nutrition strategies by registered dietitians that will allow you to celebrate Heart Month by making smarter, heart-healthier choices.

Let’s get started.

#1. Consume more high-fiber foods to lower your bad cholesterol.

Explore this article published in Harvard Health – it concludes that the notion that a diet abundant in fiber can prevent heart disease actually dates back all the way to the 1970s. And guess what – evidence to support that idea piling up since then. We know there are two types of fiber—insoluble and soluble—and foods that are naturally high in soluble fiber are well known to help you lower your cholesterol back to healthy levels.

Here’s a tip you can apply – swap out your usual sweetened breakfast cereal and eat oatmeal with some fruit instead. Oats are very high in soluble fiber.

#2. Increase your intake of Omega-3 Fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids, also known as the “healthy” fat, are known to help your heart in countless ways. Including, but not excluded to, reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and managing proper cholesterol levels. There are many types of omega-3s – some come from fish and some come from plants. Each have their own unique set of benefits.

Heart-health smart tip: Top all your salads with some walnuts instead of your usual croutons. Walnuts are an amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids.

#3. Remove or replace trans-fats with options that are less processed.

Trans fats are found in processed foods and they raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol all while lowering your HDL (good) cholesterol. These unhealthy cholesterol levels can sometimes cause a build-up in your arteries, further increasing your risk for heart disease. But you’re in luck because there are lots of ways to lower your intake of trans fats. The fewer the chips, cakes, snacks, you name it, the better.

Here’s a heart-healthy smart tip: for your breakfast, choose a whole grain pancake mix versus one of the conventional mixes. Whole grain mixes will typically contain less trans fats and even add a dose of fiber for a double win. And if you’re about to bake something sweet, you should instantly ditch the canned frosting, which is high in trans fats, and instead, make your own frosting with cream cheese, powdered sugar, and some vanilla on top.

#4. Reduce your intake of sodium and saturated fats.

Saturated fats are found in meat and dairy products, and they can also be a leading factor in raising your LDL (bad) cholesterol and lowering your HDL (good) cholesterol. Not only that, but too much sodium can increase your blood pressure, and it’s definitely something you should be avoiding in the long term.

Heart-healthy tip: are you craving a breakfast omelet? Why not choose avocado over the usual bacon or sausage? Breakfast meats notoriously are high in saturated fat and salt, and avocado is naturally rich in unsaturated fat and fiber, instantly making it a much better choice for a healthy heart.

#5. Add more foods to your diet that are rich in antioxidants.

Heart disease is (at least partially) caused by inflammation, and one of the best ways to combat inflammation throughout the body is to include a lot of antioxidant-rich foods in your diet… such as fruits and veggies!

Here’s a tip: add any veggie as a side to every single dinner you eat. Sweet potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, all of them pack a ton of antioxidants, and any veggie intake is pretty much associated with a lower risk of heart disease. 

When it’s time for dessert, simply make the switch from ice cream to low-fat yogurt with berries on top. The berries will provide a boost of antioxidants while the yogurt delivers healthy probiotics that keep your immune system functioning well. 

5 Signs You Need to Decrease your Sugar Intake

Hey Angels and Alphas,

Did you know 74 percent of all the items (even those you’d usually consider nutritious) in your local grocery store contain added sugar? 

Whether you never stop by the bakery or snack down on some chocolate bars, it’s very much likely that you’ll probably eat more sugar than you realize. 

Natural sugars found in things such as dairy and fruit are usually accompanied by fiber. Fiber helps slow down your digestion and prevents pesky blood sugar crashes. Not to mention, the added fiber offers a ton of vitamins and minerals to your body. Moreover, massive sources of added sugar such as candy, cakes, cookies, cereal, and more, usually don’t contain any of these healthy ingredients. 

And you also have other sources of added sugars out there like yogurt, hamburger buns, meat, chicken, things you would never associate with sugar.

The AHA recommends limiting your added sugar intake to no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar for men and 6 teaspoons for women. This is roughly the amount of sugar you’d find in 12 ounces of soda. That being said, the average American still consumes over 70 grams of sugar a day. 

Today, we’ve compiled a list of signs you can use to gauge whether you’re eating too much sugar. Let’s get started.


When you eat something that contains sugar, this activates the reward center of your brain and makes you want more. The brain then adapts to the dopamine (or feel-good chemicals) that are released when you consume sugar. 

The problem is that, over time, you may start needing more and more sugar to experience that same pleasurable feeling. The same way you would build a tolerance to alcohol and need more and more alcohol to feel buzzed. This can lead to a vicious cycle that holds you on sweets and makes you feel like you’re downright addicted to sugar.


Do you find yourself reaching for a quick, sugar-rich snack whenever you want to power through a deadline? When the sugar hits your bloodstream, this makes your blood sugar levels spike, giving you a boost of energy. But since added sugar isn’t packaged alongside the same healthy nutrients such as fiber and protein, this results in a blood sugar crash that zaps you of your energy. 

If you have a sugary breakfast and then you eat something sweet with your lunch, your entire day will likely be a series of drops and spikes. This will cause you to rely on sugar whenever you start feeling sleepy.


Whether you’re drinking sugary drinks, soda, fancy coffee shop concoctions, or any other sugar-rick drink, you should know they do almost nothing to promote fullness. This leads to a calorie surplus that ultimately promotes weight gain.

Additionally, when you regularly consume processed foods instead of whole foods such as fruits, veggies, nuts, and whole grains, you’re basically asking to gain weight. Processed food is very high in sugar and low in fiber. This makes it very easy for you to over-consume processed foods. This, in its own right, leads to a caloric surplus and a larger waistline. 


People who regularly consume foods high in sugar tend to feel hazy, unable to focus, and confused. This is also known as brain fog. It makes you feel lethargic and less attentive when you’re consuming lots and lots of sugar. Sometimes, you might not even realize you’re in a brain fog until you cut back on your consumption of added sugar. The difference in overall energy levels can be extremely noticeable if you suddenly go from eating a high-sugar diet to a diet full of plants and whole foods.


Research out there has suggested that people who consume tons of sugar are more likely to feel depressed and anxious. Since sugar plays a role in the inflammatory process, and it has been thought to be involved in depression, the connection here is clear. 

There’s also a massive association between the healthfulness of your gut and the different disorders that affect your mood. Bacteria which resides in your gut produces neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, all of which are directly involved in the regulation of your mood. While a sugary diet will hurt your gut health, a diet full of whole foods will positively influence your mood.

5 Things to Know About the Volumetrics Diet

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Hey Angels and Alphas,

The volumetrics diet has essentially topped the list of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Diets for the year 2022, coming in at No. 1 for the Best Weight Loss Diet. 

So what exactly is this popular new diet, what do you need to know about it, and is it a good choice for you? Here are 5 things you absolutely have to know before you try out the volumetrics diet.


The premise of volumetrics has been more of a concept or nutritional approach than a strict diet plan. Food is never weighed, calories aren’t counted, and ingredients aren’t logged. Macros aren’t calculated. Emphasis is just placed on enjoying a high volume of fruits, veggies, beans, and other foods that are high in fiber and have a high ratio of water content.


As its name might imply, the focus of this diet is on foods that you can eat in maximum quantity for minimal calories. The volumetrics diet usually emphasizes foods that are high in volume and nutrient density but much lower in energy. Think fruits, grains, veggies, greens, and others that tend to contain lots of water and be much bigger in volume than their calorie and weight-equivalent of fats, meats, and processed foods.

The main idea is just to fill up on large amounts of nutrient-dense but low-calorie foods so you won’t get hungry. Three key components affecting this diet are water content, fiber content, and nutrient density.

Most plant-based foods will be about 80 to 90 percent water. We often mistake hunger for thirst, but when you replace a massive portion of your daily meals with veggies and fruits, you’ll get a much bigger bang for your calorie buck.

The more fiber something has, the more satiating it is. Fiber will not only keep you full for longer, but it will also help regulate your blood sugar and keep your insulin levels stable. Another bonus here is that fiber will feed the good bacteria in your gut, and a healthy gut will improve your immunity and help your digestion and cognition.


The first category in volumetrics is the very low energy density foods such as fruits and non-starchy veggies like onions, green beans, broccoli, nonfat milk, and dairy products. They’re considered “free” foods.

The second category is low energy density foods such as starchy veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, beans, and low-fat proteins.

The third category is all about medium energy density foods such as cheeses, breads, high-fat meats, salad dressings, and fast food. These should be carefully portioned when consumed.

The fourth category high energy density foods such as fried foods, desserts, oil, cookies, candy, and more. These should be consumed in rare occasions only.


The volumetrics diet was first created by Dr. Barbara Rolls, a professor and nutrition science researcher who wanted to create a new approach to eating, one that emphasized healthy eating patterns instead of restrictive regimens. 

Her research has discovered consistently that people on a lower-calorie density diet may consume 1-2 pounds more food every day when compared to people who aren’t on a reduced-calorie density diet.


This diet has been the top-ranked diet in the country with good reason. Unlike countless extreme limitation diets such as Paleo, keto, etc, the volumetrics approach is consistently credited for its ability to be easily maintained. The diet was originally designed to create long-term weight-loss results by eliminating the deprivation that usually comes with dieting. In short, few people go hungry on the volumetrics diet. 

As a matter of fact, meta-analysis of more than a dozen studies has found there’s a common link between low-density foods and weight loss. One of the biggest reasons why people stop dieting or change their patterns of eating is that they get hungry. Volumetrics, by encouraging high volumes of certain foods, will have you rarely experiencing hunger or “hangry” mood swings.

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