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Cutting Carbs To Get Healthy + Lose Weight

When you are looking to get healthier, one of the most effective strategies is to start cutting carbs from your diet. In fact, most of today’s popular diet trends like the Atkins or paleo diet call for just that. Read on to find out why cutting carbs to lose weight could be the best choice to successfully reach your weight loss goals.

How Carbs Hinder Your Diet

In today’s modern society, most of us pack our daily meals with pasta bowls and freshly baked loaves. They make cheap and convenient meals that suit all taste buds.

The problem is, our modern diets are having a detrimental effect on our society. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 66% of Americans are overweight, 33% are obese, and those numbers are continuously rising each year.

It’s clear from these results that our current grain-filled diets are not the way forward if we want to live fit and healthy lives. Grains are made from carbohydrates which are broken down into glucose (sugar) in the body. This glucose should be used as energy. However, any excess glucose is instead stored as fat.

When your diet is packed with high glycemic grain foods and sugar, your body is continually in fat storage mode. This means your body never has the opportunity to use your stored body fat as fuel. These stored triglycerides are normally found around the waist. So if you’d like to reduce your waistline, you can start by reducing your refined carbohydrate intake.

Although the idea of cutting out carbs completely from your diet may seem drastic, there’s a lot of research supporting this type of change. Numerous studies have shown that switching to a ketogenic (zero sugar) diet can actually have positive results on a number of diseases, even in cancer patients.

Which Carbs to Cut

When we talk about cutting carbs there are four main types of food to avoid.

  • Bread and Baked Foods

If you want to be healthy, bread and bakery foods are the first things you need to cut from your diet. These kinds of foods will usually have the strongest effect on your blood sugar, therefore, increasing the production of insulin, the hormone responsible for fat storage.

  • Wheat Pasta

Pasta that is made from wheat is another culprit of spiking fat-storing insulin. Filling up on a big bowl of pasta in the evening is the quickest way to pile on the pounds.

  • White Rice

Although rice doesn’t have the same gluten issues as wheat, it does raise your blood sugar enough to promote fat storage, especially if eaten regularly. Believe it or not, Japanese sumo wrestlers have bowl after bowl of white rice in order to fatten up. Unless you want to look like them, it’s best to cut down on rice or at least switch to brown rice for an occasional treat which is a healthier alternative.

  • Potatoes

If you’re looking to get healthy and lose weight, it’s a good idea to avoid potatoes for a while. This is because they have one of the strongest effects on blood glucose levels of any vegetable. Although good quality steamed organic potatoes are filled with healthy essential nutrients, most people get their potatoes in the form of french fries or chips, which are most definitely to be avoided.

Which Carbs Can You Keep?

Like most things in life, not all carbs are created equal. Although you should remove all refined carbs from your diet if possible, many high- fiber fruits and vegetables are a natural source of carbohydrates.

The fact is, when you cut back on grains and sugar and start getting your carbohydrates from high-fiber vegetables, your body will naturally begin accessing its stored fat as fuel. Simply changing your fuel source makes getting healthy (and losing weight) a much simpler process.

Ideally, you want to be reducing your daily carbohydrate intake to around 50 to 80 grams per day. Doing so will give your body the opportunity to utilize stored fat you have accumulated. Without any other changes to your diet or exercise regime, you will be on the right track for weight loss.

Conclusion

When looking to start a healthier lifestyle and lose weight and keep it off long term, adjusting your meals to no longer center around carbohydrates is the way to go.

Packing your plate with healthy protein from organic sources like turkey, chicken or eggs, accompanied by a mix of flavorsome veggies like pumpkin, bok choy, eggplant, and kale is a great way get the most flavor and nutrition from your food.

As let’s face it, how much flavor does a bowl of plain white rice offer anyway?

14 Health Benefits of Avocado, Proven by Science (+ 5 Delicious Avocado Recipes)

The average avocado is nutrient dense, delicious, and will clock in at about 140 calories. With this comes 14 grams of fat – roughly 70 percent of the calorie content. In these calories are an incredible balance of nearly twenty vitamins and minerals. Infused alongside these nutrients are many antioxidants – and the fat content of avocado is monounsaturated, meaning that it helps your body balance its intake of other fats.

Avocados can help your body with a wide range of ailments. Aside from being able to clear up vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which can cause a host of problems on their own, avocados can help prevent aging from oxidation (helping you live longer and be more active), improve immune function, manage your blood fat content, eliminate cholesterol, improve digestion, and more.

Avocados have been the subject of intense study and research. Their speculated benefits have helped people for centuries. Science has recently been able to find truth to the legacy behind the avocado’s medical usage in history. Mexico, Chile, and other Central and South American cultures have used the fruit in medicinal preparations and health remedies for many years.

avocado with tomato and cilantro ingredients chopped

 Here are 14 health benefits of avocado, as backed by science.

1. Avocado is a very good source of lots of vitamins
2. Avocados beat bananas in terms of potassium content
3. Avocado helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels
4. Avocados are full of monounsaturated fatty acids
5. Avocados help your eyesight
6. Avocados can prevent osteoporosis
7. Avocados have a great fiber content
8. Avocados can fight against cancer
9. Avocados can reduce depression
10. Avocados improve digestion and detoxification
11. Avocados have a synergistic mixture of antioxidants
12. Avocados can help your skin stay young and healthy
13. Avocados are helpful for people trying to lose weight
14. Avocado helps bolster the gut’s intestinal flora

To read more in-depth about each of the listed benefits below, and to learn some delicious avocado recipes, click here.


Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram (@Lyfebulb) and Twitter (@Lyfebulb) and use the hashtag #EatWell to show us your healthy recipes!

10 Benefits of Blueberries – Backed by Science (and 4 Delicious Blueberry Recipes)

Blueberries are an amazing fruit, both in terms of flavor and their incredible nutritional profile. They’re jam-packed with antioxidants – polyphenols, catechins, flavonols – along with lots of essential vitamins and nutrients.

Blueberries are actually rated at a 9,621 on the ORAC scale. The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) measures the efficacy of a certain food or herb on preventing oxidation. This makes them one of the highest scoring foods in terms of antioxidants in the entire world.

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Here are 10 Benefits of Blueberries, as backed by science.

1. Blueberries can fight against aging
2. Blueberries protect you from neurodegenerative disease
3. Blueberries can help fight cancer!
4. Blueberries have more antioxidants than any other food
5. Blueberries can reverse DNA damage
6. Blueberries can help increase your body’s insulin sensitivity.
7. Blueberries are a vast source of cardiovascular benefits
8. Blueberries have been shown to make your brain function better
9. Blueberries have a significant impact on blood sugar
10. Blueberries can help your eyes function better

To read more in-depth about each of the listed benefits above, and to learn four delicious blueberry recipes, click here. 

Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram and Twitter (@Lyfebulb) and use the hashtag #EatWell to show us your healthy recipes! 

To contribute a post to Lyfebulb please e-mail contact@lyfebulb.com

Mother of Pearl, East Village

If you are planning a fun dinner out with friends, the options in Manhattan are endless. If you are planning a fun dinner out with vegan friends, your options become a little more limited. Luckily, we have found one of the best places in Manhattan for a great vegan and vegetarian meal. Mother of Pearl, located in the East Village, is a new Lyfebulb Favorite for its deliciously healthy vegetable-centric menu.

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The aesthetic in the restaurant is chic and fun. It is decorated like a tiki bar, and the drink menu boasts tropical drinks. Their most popular – deemed the most Instagrammable cocktail of 2016 – is the Shark Eye. It is a tasty mix of bourbon, rye, passion fruit, lemon, maraschino, dry curacao, and tiki bitters, and is served in a glass in the design of a shark. As the server presents you the drink, they splash a bit of red syrup at the top, replicating a bloody shark bite.

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The menu is Hawaiian-inspired and made for sharing. The servers do a fantastic job of spacing out the meal by bringing out two plates at a time. You absolutely must try the fried guacamole! I would argue it is the best thing on the menu! Other phenomenal dishes include the apple and sweet potato poke (a great vegetarian take on a tuna or salmon poke), the butternut squash dumplings, the glass noodles with wild mushroom and Romanesco, and the blistered shishito peppers.

Overall a great atmosphere to get a healthy yet delicious vegan or vegetarian meal! We hope you get a chance to check it out!

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What You Should Know About Smoothie Ingredients

Smoothies have been around for decades and are touted as health beverages. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  This versatile beverage allows everything to be added with standard ingredients such as fruits and vegetables, water, sweeteners, dairy products and crushed ice as the most common ones. When blended together, these elements make a smooth tasty beverage laden with essential vitamins and minerals in addition to powerful antioxidants that may prevent certain diseases.

Young stylish hipster girl walking on the street , drinking juice.

Fruits

Fruits on their own can be made into fruit smoothies and are sources of important vitamins such as A, B1, B2, B6, C and folate found in grapefruit, grapes, bananas or apples. They only vary in the amounts of vitamins found in each fruit with some values greater or lesser in others.  

Vegetables

One of the most popular beverages promoted as a health drink is a green smoothie. In addition to fruits, roughly 40 to 50% of the ingredients are composed of veggies rich in vitamins and minerals. As an example, leafy and dark vegetables (kale, spinach, dandelion, bok choy, Swiss chards, and collards) are fantastic sources of calcium and iron as well as vitamins A, C, K and folate B vitamin.

Liquids Base

Water, coconut water & milk, milk, yogurt, almond milk, and juices are used as a foundation base for smoothies. Your choice of liquids can enrich the flavors, taste, and consistency of a smoothie you are making. However, be aware that juices and liquids that are store-bought have been processed, underwent pasteurization and often include artificial vitamins. They lack nutrients and fiber that benefit you when ingesting smoothies.

Superfoods

The proliferation of superfoods has recently exploded with every conceivable nut, berry or vegetable praised for its health benefits. The sad news is there is no conclusive evidence suggesting that the antioxidant action of superfoods can benefit human health. Processed superfoods, in particular, will not provide sustained energy and are often hard to digest. More info can be found here.

Fats and Oils

In addition to the discussed ingredients of smoothies, spices and fats can be added to smoothies to enhance its taste. You might want to throw in cacao, cinnamon, chia seeds, coconut oil, almond butter, flax seeds, hemp seeds and acai powder. Again, caution should be exercised when consuming additional fats in smoothies.

The bottom line is, smoothies are wonderful beverages that can actually help you get your daily requirements of vitamins and minerals provided you only use fresh and raw ingredients. In this sense, every unprocessed food is a superfood that is a valuable part of a healthy diet.

Spiced Grain Salad

We continue to bring you healthy recipes from our collaboration with Brasserie Ruhlmann for National Diabetes Awareness Month. Today, check out how to make this spiced grain salad! Including the sauce, the couscous, the vegetables, all the way down to the vinaigrette!

And don’t forget- you can order this and more from a Diabetes friendly menu at both Brasserie Ruhlmann and Le Colonial through the end of the month!

grain-salad

Spiced Grain Salad with roasted vegetables and a curried sherry vinaigrette.

Romasco Sauce

  • 16oz Piquillo pepper
  • 0.5oz Jalapeno chopped
  • 2oz Almonds chopped
  • 1oz Breadcrumbs
  • 1pc Garlic
  • 0.1oz Cumin
  • 0.1oz Cayenne
  • 2oz Sherry wine
  • 4oz Olive oil

Combine the peppers, jalapeno, almonds, crumbs; cumin, cayenne and sherry within a blender until smooth slowly drizzle in the oil until thickened. add salt and pepper

Spiced Couscous Salad

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 4 to 5 cardamom seeds
  • 2 strings of saffron
  • ½ cup chopped dried cranberry
  • 1 pound couscous
  • 2.5 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled/diced or crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • pinch of diced / dried chili pepper
  • ½ of each bell pepper diced, red, yellow and green
  • 1 Spanish onion diced
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked faro wheat
  • 1 cup cooked wheat berry
  • 1/2 fennel bulb – diced
  • ¼ cup grated carrot
  • 4 diced Portobello mushroom – roasted in a pan
  • ¼ cup parsley – chopped

To make the Spiced Couscous: Bring vegetable stock to a boil and reserve.

Heat the olive oil, add spices and cook till its aromatic, add the couscous and lightly toast, 2-3 minutes. Top with the boiling stock, stir once and cover with plastic wrap. Allow this to cook for 10-15 minutes. Once the couscous is cooked and all liquid absorbed, separate all the grains using a fork.

Heat up 2 tablespoon of olive oil, add ginger, chili, onions and garlic, and then add bell peppers, cook lightly, reserve.

In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, wheat berry, faro wheat, spiced couscous, bell pepper mixture, raw fennel, roasted Portobello, grated carrot, parsley and season with salt and pepper. Reserve hot.

Roasted Root Vegetables (equal parts)

  • Bell pepper
  • Baby carrots – peeled

Blanched vegetables

  • Asparagus
  • Wax beans

Row vegetables

  • Snap peas
  • Avocado

To make the Roasted Root Vegetables: In a large bowl, toss each individual vegetables in olive oil, honey, crushed garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper; put each vegetable onto a sheet pan and roast at 500°f until tender and caramelized; repeat for all vegetables separately.

Curried Sherry Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons madras curry
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup sherry vinegar

To make the Curried Sherry Vinaigrette:  In a medium sauce pot over low heat, toast the madras curry powder for 5-7 minutes until fragrant; add the honey and slightly caramelize. Combine with the olive oil and sherry vinaigrette. Cool and reserve.

To make the Spiced Couscous Salad:  Season the grain salad with a small amount of the curried sherry vinaigrette. In a salad bowl, spoon a small amount of the warm grain salad in the bottom. Warm a mixture of the roasted vegetables in the oven and place above the grain salad. Finish with a small amount of the curried sherry vinaigrette and sage and thyme from the roast vegetables.

ENJOY!

Roasted Organic Chicken

As part of our collaboration with Brasserie Ruhlmann for National Diabetes Awareness Month, please enjoy this roasted chicken recipe!  Also, remember that all month long, you can order a diabetes friendly menu at Brasserie Ruhlmann and Le Colonial NYC, curated by Lyfebulb.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole roaster chicken, 5 to 7 pounds, giblets removed, rinsed and dried well
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon onion, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place the dried chicken in a large roasting pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Gently slide a spoon between the breast meat and the skin to separate the two. Do this on each side. Then using about 1 or 2 teaspoons per side, put some of the mixture under the breast skin and rub it around.
  3. Use the remaining mixture to rub all over the rest of the bird. Tuck the wings under the bird so that the tips don’t burn and tie up the legs with some kitchen twine to cook more evenly
  4. Put the chicken in the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees, roast for about 2 hours.
  5. When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes.

Lyfebulb Partners with Le Colonial NYC: Coconut Chicken Soup

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The Team at Lyfebulb is proud to partner with a Lyfebulb Favorite in NYC:  Le Colonial NYC in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month!

During the month of November, Le Colonial will feature a very special diabetes friendly three course prix-fixe menu, proceeds from which will benefit the Lyfebulb Foundation and support our mission to improve the lives of those living with chronic disease!

Make sure you stop by the 57th street location during the month of November to try it out – much more information to come.

As a teaser, here is the recipe of one of the sumptuous, and healthy, dishes that will be featured on the menu:

Coconut Chicken Soup or súp gà dừa

coconut-soup

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (24 fluid ounces) sodium ­free chicken stock
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces across the grain
  • ½ lb (8 ounces) fresh or canned straw mushrooms (drained)
  • One stalk lemongrass
  • 6 fresh bird’s eye chilies (more or less depending on your heat preference)
  • 2­ inch piece of fresh galangal, sliced thinly crosswise
  • 5 fresh kaffir lime leaves
  • 5 limes
  • ¼ cup fish sauce (but have more ready)
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1½ cups (12 fluid ounces) full fat coconut milk

Instructions

  • First, concentrate the stock. Put the chicken stock in a wide and shallow saucepan (to ensure fast evaporation), bring it to a boil, and reduce it over medium­ to high heat until the liquid measures half its original volume.
  • Halve (or quarter) the straw mushrooms into bite size pieces; set aside. Any meaty, mild ­flavored mushrooms will do.
  • Cut the lemongrass stalk into 1 ­inch pieces and smash them set aside.
  • Do to the chilies what you just did to the lemongrass; set aside.
  • Remove the stems and the tough veins that run through the middle from the kaffir lime leaves, and tear them up into small pieces. You can also bruise them a little. Set aside.
  • Juice 2 limes; set aside.
  • Put the coconut milk into a 4­ quart pot, followed by concentrated chicken stock, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass pieces, and galangal slices.
  • Bring the mixture slowly to between 160° and 180°F (slightly below a simmer), allowing the herbs to infuse the liquid for about a minute.
  • Keeping the temperature steady, add the mushrooms and the chicken to the liquid; adjust the heat to maintain the temperature. The liquid should never at any point come to a rapid boil. Don’t worry; at 160°­180°F, your chicken will be thoroughly cooked.
  • Stir gently to ensure that the chicken is evenly cooked. (If you want more liquid, add more plain water or unconcentrated broth.)
  • Once the chicken is cooked through, throw in the smashed chilies and remove the pot from heat immediately.
  • Add the juice of 2 limes and the fish sauce to the pot, stir, and taste. Add more lime juice and fish sauce, if necessary. The soup should be predominantly sour, followed by salty. The sweetness comes from natural sugar in the coconut milk.
  • Stir in the cilantro leaves and serve your soup!

 

Halloween Treat: Healthful Hearty Snickers Bars

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Trick or treat! Hall-o-ween is right around the corner! I, like many, have an undying love for all things chocolate, but I am always searching for that “healthy alternative” that fits my lifestyle but also doesn’t compromise taste. Let’s get started, here’s what you will need:

• Cashews
• Coconut milk (substitutes; almond or rice milk)
• Medjool dates, pitted
• Shredded Coconut
• Local Honey
• Peanut Butter (substitutes; any nut butter or PB2)
• Nut of Choice (hazelnuts, peanuts or almonds)

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Prep time: 20 – 30 mins
Total Time: 4.5 – 5 hours
Serves: 6 – 20 people based on cut sizes
Average calories per bar: 80
 

For the base
• 1 1/2 cups cashews
• 1/2 cup shredded coconut
• 8 Medjool dates, pitted
• 3 tbsp local honey
1. In a food processor, process cashews into small pieces.
2. Add in coconut, dates, and local honey and process until a sticky dough forms.
3. Add parchment paper to your dish to prevent sticking.
4. Rolled the sticky dough into a ball to make for a more even layer.
5. Use your palm to flatten the ball and use a silicon spatula to evenly distribute the dough
6. Place in the freezer.

For the caramel
• 8 Medjool dates, pitted
• 1/4 cup peanut butter
• 2 tbsp coconut milk
• 1 tbsp local honey
1. In a food processor, process dated and honey.
2. Add in peanut butter and gradually add in coconut milk until a smooth caramel forms.
3. Remove dough from the freezer.
4. Spread the caramel over the base.
5. Place back in the freezer for easy layer of chocolate

Toppings
• 1/4 cup nut topping of choice ( I LOVE using hazelnuts for their added flavor but used shaved almonds for this recipe – I used whatever I have in my kitchen)
• 1 cup melted chocolate (I use dairy free, soy free chocolate chips, but feel free to use what is in your kitchen)
1. Remove tray from the freezer.
2. Melt chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds until completely melted.
3. Pour chocolate over the caramel layer and spread evenly with a silicon spatula
4. Place back in the freezer until hardened (I normally wait 3-4 hours).
5. Remove from the freezer, cut to desired size and enjoy!

Chicken Salad with Couscous

Ingredients:

 1 chicken breast

 1 yellow onion

 1 shallot

 1 package of baby kale

 ¼ package of Casablanca pearled tri-color couscous

 Olive Oil

 Balsamic Vinegar

 Soy Sauce

 Dijon Mustard

 Goya Abobo Seasoning

 Oregano

 Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne Pepper

This is a hearty salad that is a complete meal all wrapped in one. Begin by cutting the chicken breast into small pieces and marinate it in olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, and Abobo seasoning. Prepare your salad dressing by combining a finely chopped shallot, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper, soy sauce, cayenne pepper, and Dijon mustard. Set the dressing aside.

Chop up the onion and begin to sauté in a skillet. Once the onion is soft, stir in the chicken and sauté everything together until the chicken is fully cooked. At the same time, prepare the couscous according to the package instructions.

Once the chicken with onion and the couscous are done, remove from heat and mix the baby kale with the homemade salad dressing.

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Combine the chicken with onion and couscous once both have had the chance to cool down slightly.

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Finally, serve the salad in a bowl and place a portion of your chicken mixture on top. The result is a well-balanced combination of vegetables, carbs, and protein. Hearty enough for a cold winter evening and easy enough to do after a long day at work!

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Winter Health Tips

Tis the season folks, and while this time of year is filled with holiday celebrations, festive decor, and the exchanging of gifts, I am actually referring to a quite different type of season! One that can make this joyous, merry time of year seem quite the opposite; the sick season! You know how it goes. It hits you when you least expect it, usually at the worst possible time, knocking you right off your feet and into your bed where you remain until your body decides it is time for you to re-enter the world as the fully functioning being you were prior to the overtaking of the illness.

Sometimes getting sick is inevitable, but there are actions we can take to put ourselves in the best possible position to avoid getting sick! Preventing the spread of germs to others, and ourselves really is so basic, yet can be so difficult to remember as the hustle and bustle of everyday life can be consuming. So what can we do to prevent these disease causing bacteria and viruses from becoming the gifts that keeps on giving? We can start by taking care of ourselves as best as we possibly can!

Proper nutrition and exercise are engrained in our heads for a reason. With balance in each area, they do wonders for our entire existence. Getting the proper micro and macronutrients our body needs, provides us with the essentials needed to fight off these germs. At a cellular level, they enable our bodies to create and utilize immunity to disease causing pathogens. A body without adequate nutrients is like a car trying to thrive on an insufficient amount of fuel, antifreeze or oil…inevitably it will no longer be able to function properly to say the least. Staying hydrated is just as important! Water not only helps eliminate toxins, but also is vital to building a healthy, well functioning immune system. Exercise does wonders in preventing disease by increasing fluid output, thus also helping to eliminate toxins, enables the lungs to get rid of germs more efficiently, speeds up the rate of which your white blood cells (immunity cells) flow throughout the body, and also gives us those lovely endorphins and helps us breathe more deeply both of which promote stress relief. Which brings me to my next major way in which we can armor ourselves from illness!

Take care of that stress level! I am well aware that this can be much easier said then done. I know that for me taking those few precious minutes necessary to help eliminate stress can actually in itself seem stressful, yet inevitably when I commit to taking care of myself in this way I always reap the benefits, and so does my immune system. Stress causes the body to release a hormone called corticosteroid, which decreases the amount of white blood cells in the body. Stress relief can be as unique to the individual as our personality traits. For me yoga and meditation work wonders for coping with stress, whereas some of my close friends use weight lifting or writing as a main tool to deal with theirs. It’s all about finding what works for you! Also, it is okay to allow yourself those extra gifts of kindness whether it’s a massage, aromatherapy, a pedicure—whatever it may be, you deserve it! Taking care of yourself not only makes you well but also prevents the spread of disease to others.

In the spirit of protecting others while taking care of ourselves, hand washing is one of the best ways to shield others and ourselves from getting sick! This is such a minuscule action that can actually be life saving. In nursing school they had us use a black light to test how well we washed our hands. It was incredible seeing how much bacteria was left over even after singing row-row-row your boat twice and scrubbing viscously as we made sure we cleansed every nook, crevice and cranny of our hands. Think about how many things we touch even in a 30 second period of time, and how often we subconsciously touch our nose or mouth (two patent orifices serving as a direct route for infectious pathogens). Hand sanitizer is a fantastically convenient alternative if you are not coming in contact with body fluids.

Lastly, this is my own personal belief but I am a huge proponent of vaccination. Research continuously shows strong evidence that benefits of vaccination far outweighs the risks and helps greatly reduce disease transmission. All of this is especially true for those that are immunocompromised including the elderly, babies, those with chronic disease related issues, and people taking medication that decreases their immunity.

Taking care of ourselves puts us in the best position to ward off those nasty disease-causing germs. We have the opportunity to give ourselves the best chance of having a sick-free sick season! Staying well can allow us to fully enjoy this winter and holiday season and all of the associated festivities and feelings of warmth and joy. So as you deck those halls, trim those trees, or celebrate in whatever way suits you, don’t forget to give yourself the ultimate gift of being the healthiest you possible!

Carb-Free Ground Chicken Stuffed Roasted Peppers Recipe

Ingredients:

• 1 lb ground chicken

• 3 bell peppers

• 1 package baby spinach

• 1 yellow onion

• 1 shallot

• 1 hot pepper

• 1 package of chopped mushrooms

• Parmesan cheese

• Salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste

• Olive oil

• White wine

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and finely chop your vegetables.

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Begin by sautéing the onion, shallot, hot pepper, and mushrooms in a large pan with olive oil. Once the onion is tender, mix in the ground chicken, and sauté until fully cooked. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. Fold in the spinach and let the mixture simmer while you add some white wine.

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Clean the bell peppers, cut them in half, and then hollow them out. Place the peppers in a baking pan. Stuff the peppers with your ground chicken-vegetable mixture, then top with some parmesan cheese. Pour a little bit of the leftover liquid from your sautéed mixture into the bottom of the pan.

Roast for 20-30 minutes, until the cheese melts and browns. Then, enjoy!

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Alternatives: You can make the mixture with a variety of other veggies. Also, for a heartier option (as in not carb-free), you can mix in rice, quinoa, or couscous.

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