Fitness Chef Blog – Fitness & Performance

11 Feb 2020 no comments Enrique

You’ve probably heard the phrase “You are what you eat” before. The food we eat plays an important role in how we look and feel — it even has the largest impact on our fitness! For example, if you’re looking to lose weight, it can’t be done with exercise alone. The common belief is the 80:20 rule — 80% should be based on your diet and nutrition, and the other 20% is based on exercise.

The general recommendation for one’s diet and exercise differs from person to person and it’s best to talk to your doctor to find out what works for you. However in general, the best foods for one’s diet include fruits and vegetables, a variety of proteins and whole grains, as well as nuts and legumes. A general recommendation for exercise includes getting at least two-and-a-half hours of medium intensity exercise a week and adding variety to your workouts. 

When setting your fitness goals, start to focus on your healthy food intake as well. The largest benefit of a healthy diet and regular exercise is the ability for your body to fight off disease. Studies have shown that a good diet and exercise can help prevent:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Strokes
  • Arthritis
  • Depression

Have you ever noticed how good you feel after a good workout and a delicious healthy meal? Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that make you feel happy and positive, and most forms of exercise trigger them! This happy feeling is similar to morphine — you may have heard a friend or family member describe a “runner’s high” before, a feeling of euphoria while running. The stimulation of endorphins can help prevent depression and raise one’s self-esteem.

Another important area where a good diet and regular exercise can help you is with your sleeping habits. Exercise is known to help reduce one’s stress and relieve anxiety, the common causes of many sleep problems. It can even improve your sleep quality, amount, and help with insomnia and other sleep disorders. However, it is recommended that you don’t exercise or eat a meal right before heading to bed.

Fitness Chef Blog – Considerations for New Moms

11 Feb 2020 3 comments Enrique

Becoming a new mother is such an exciting time in your life and can be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world! However, at the same time, it can also be the most stressful. As a new mom, your world most likely revolves around your newborn and you’ve quickly learned that they run on a different schedule than you. A typical newborn wakes up every few hours and needs to be fed, changed, and comforted frequently.

While all of these changes are happening, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and slip into habits of eating whatever and whenever. It’s important that you make time for yourself as a new mom so you can rebuild your strength and stay healthy for your baby.

Get plenty of rest. While you may not get a solid eight hours of sleep, it’s important to sleep when you can so exhaustion doesn’t overwhelm you. When you put your baby down for a nap, feel free to rest your eyes as well.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s a family member or trusted friend, they probably want to help you! Having someone watch your baby while you exercise or rest up will help you not feel burnt out in the long run.

Exercise. Don’t put off that workout. Your body will feel better after moving. To keep yourself consistent, try working out at the same time each day. You’ll probably have the most time in the mornings or evenings.

Eat properly. Fuel your body properly to help you recover from the changes of pregnancy and childbirth. The Mayo Clinic suggests that breastfeeding mothers should take in an extra 400-500 calories daily. Try to avoid processed and fast foods and focus on a diet rich in fresh foods instead. 

If time is an issue, plan out healthy snacks. Need something to grab-and-go? Cut out high-fat processed snacks and instead cut up vegetables and fruit and store them in baggies for later. Pretzels and pita chips are also great options.  

Preparing and eating delicious meals is now easier than ever with Fitness Chef. We’ll bring the most delicious meals with the freshest ingredients straight to your doorstep. No grocery shopping, no cooking, and no cleaning. All you have to do is select your favorite meals and customize your order.

 

Fitness Chef Blog – Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

11 Feb 2020 no comments Enrique

People become vegetarians for a multitude of reasons including health, religious beliefs, and concerns about animal welfare. Believe it or not, yes, it’s possible to be both a vegetarian AND an athlete. Runner Bart Yasso, ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, and football running back Ricky Williams all follow a vegetarian diet.

It should be noted that a vegetarian diet isn’t “one size fits all.” There are actually several different types of vegetarian/meatless diets:

  • Lacto-ovo Vegetarians – Eating plant foods, eggs, and dairy products
  • Lacto-Vegetarians – Eating plant foods plus some or all dairy products
  • Semi or Partial Vegetarians – May eat some chicken or fish along with plant foods, eggs, and dairy products. No red meat.

Often, it is believed that a meatless diet cannot provide you with the necessary nutrients the body needs. Contrary to this popular belief, a vegetarian diet can actually be healthy for you. When planning well, a meatless diet can help you:

  • Reduce your chance of obesity. Following a plant-based diet usually means you’ll take in fewer calories.
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease. Without meat, your diet will be lower in saturated fats and cholesterol.
  • Lower your blood pressure and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.

As meats, poultry, and seafood contain essential proteins, vitamins and minerals, it’s important to make sure you’re eating other foods that contain these benefits. There is protein in all plant foods, just in lower qualities. Eating a well-rounded diet with these products can help you get the nutrients you need:

  • Soy protein like tofu, soy nuts and cheese
  • Legumes and beans
  • Nuts, nut butters, and peanut butter
  • Seeds and whole grains
  • Eggs and dairy products

If you’re looking to switch to a vegetarian diet, it is better to start with a gradual change instead of all at once. This way, it will more likely become a long-term lifestyle. Making sudden dietary changes, like increased intake of beans and vegetables, could lead to temporary digestive problems. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests:

  • Eat whole grain products, such as whole wheat bread and brown rice, to receive B vitamins
  • Keep variety in your diet
  • Ask a healthcare professional about taking supplements
  • Always check the labels of “healthy” vegetarians snacks to make sure there is not a high amount of sugar, salt, or other additives

Fitness Chef Blog – Eating Gluten Free

06 Feb 2020 one comment Enrique

As “going gluten-free” has become more common, more and more gluten-free foods and meals are showing up in supermarkets and restaurants alike. This is great news for those who are unable to tolerate gluten. The two types of individuals who are unable to tolerate it are those with celiac disease and those who have a gluten sensitivity or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

People with celiac disease cannot tolerate any form of gluten — it triggers an immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine. This can then interfere with the absorption of nutrients from foods and lead to problems like osteoporosis, nerve damage, and seizures. Nowadays, celiac disease can be identified by a blood test.

Having a gluten sensitivity means that individuals cannot tolerate gluten and experience similar symptoms to those with celiac disease. However, they would not test positive for celiac disease with a blood test. A non-celiac gluten sensitivity also differs from a wheat allergy.

When one goes gluten-free, it means more than avoiding different breads, pasta, pizza, and beer. Gluten can also be found in soy sauce, foods made with ‘natural flavorings,’ salad dressings, candy, and granola bars. To be completely sure a product is free of gluten, one must look at the label or check with the kitchen staff if at a restaurant.

While this may seem like your diet is fairly limited, there are plenty of naturally gluten-free foods that are both healthy and delicious:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Lean, non-processed meats and poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Most low-fat dairy products
  • Beans, legumes, and nuts in their natural forms

There are some naturally gluten-free grains that can be still enjoyed in a variety of ways too. Rice, quinoa, corn (maize), flax, and buckwheat are among this list.

One final thing to make sure of when you start on a gluten-free diet is to make sure you’re still getting all of your vitamins and minerals, as many individuals tend to see deficiencies. To get the most nutrients out of your food, you should:

  • Eat “Whole” Foods – Whole, unprocessed foods have nutrients that processed foods may no longer contain.
  • Cook Your Veggies Lightly – Saute, steam, or bake vegetables rather than frying or boiling them to preserve nutrients.
  • Eat Foods That Are Colorful – Naturally bright food, think fruits and veggies, are packed full of different nutrients.

Fitness Chef Blog – Healthy Eating & Weight Loss

04 Feb 2020 no comments Enrique

People talk about losing weight for a multitude of reasons —  they want a ‘summer bod,’ they want to look good for a wedding or event, the list goes on and on! The truth is healthy weight loss isn’t a quick fix, diet, or program. It’s an ongoing lifestyle that includes making changes to your daily eating and exercise habits.

There are a plethora of benefits for losing weight or maintaining a healthy one. Having lowered blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, and a decreased risk of diabetes, heart disease, or stroke are just a few of the ways your health can improve. If you’re looking for specialized meal plans, we will have in-house nutritionist who can customize a menu based on your needs.

Studies have shown that roughly 75% of weight loss is related to diet while the other quarter is due to exercise. So what should your plate look like? According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, a healthy eating plan includes:

  • Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Selecting a variety of proteins to improve your nutrient intake. Think lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
  • Choosing low-fat and fat-free dairy options.
  • Eating and drinking less sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars.
  • Staying within your daily calorie needs.

This being said, healthy eating is all about balance! You can still enjoy your favorite comfort foods, but the key is to only eat them on occasion. Even look for lower-calorie versions of your favorite meals by using different ingredients or by preparing it differently.

Often planning ahead is key when eating healthy. You’ll want to plan out your meals, write down the ingredients for trips to the grocery store, and keep healthy, nutritious snacks on hand for when you need a meal on the go.

Now you can forgo all the time-consuming details with Fitness Chef. Select the goals that match your lifestyle and customize your meals, and we’ll take care of the cooking and delivery, whether it be to your home or office. Enjoy all the benefits you seek in your diet, simplified.

Fitness Chef Blog – Importance of Keeping Cholesterol Low

04 Feb 2020 no comments Enrique

Cholesterol can be a confusing topic! You’ve probably heard someone talk about having high cholesterol at some point in your life, but what does ‘high cholesterol’ even mean?

Our bodies actually need some types of cholesterol to keep up our health and perform important tasks like making hormones and building cells. Cholesterol is carried throughout the body in the blood by two types of lipoproteins.

  • Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, is often what people refer to as “bad” cholesterol. High levels of LDL can lead to blood clots, a stroke, or heart attack.
  • High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is what’s known as “good” cholesterol. HDL helps carry bad cholesterol back to the liver where it’s broken down and flushed out of the body. Having high levels of HDL have been shown to protect against heart attack and strokes.

A common myth is that you would be able to feel it if you had high cholesterol. There are usually no symptoms or signs of high cholesterol, and you may not know it until it’s too late. To keep our bodies healthy, it’s important to get your cholesterol checked every four to six years, unless your doctor states otherwise.

Besides routine checkups, there are plenty of other ways to be proactive about keeping your cholesterol in a healthy range.

  • Know your family’s medical history. If anyone in your immediate family has high cholesterol, it’s a good idea to get tested more often.
  • Get regular exercise. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week. To simplify it, think 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week!
  • Eat healthy. Think foods that are low in cholesterol and saturated fats. Eat healthier fats like lean meat, nuts, and unsaturated oils like canola and olive. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and limit your salt and alcohol intake.