Healthy Food Blog

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12 Reasons Why You're Not Losing Weight

Have you adopted a vegan or plant-based diet in hopes of losing weight, but the pounds refuse to budge?

Or worse, maybe you GAINED weight?

You're not alone!

While you may not be eating the Standard American Diet anymore, a vegan/plant-based diet has its traps too.

Here are 12 culprits that will keep you from losing weight:

Oil - If you're not oil-free, that's your #1 culprit. Even if you think you're oil-free, make sure you really are. It's shocking how often oil sneaks into foods, like non-dairy milk and mustard!

Alcohol - The second biggest culprit, especially if you're drinking wine, beer, or alcohol with mixers. If you're drinking booze, your body can't burn fat or other calories.

High-Fat Plant Foods - Tofu, tempeh, avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut milk, coconut, nut butters, chocolate, and olives are high in fat. "The fat you eat is the fat you wear." - Dr. McDougall

Liquid calories - Smoothies and shakes don't provide the same satiety as chewed whole foods. They also skip an important step of the digesting process -- chewing. You'll eat less if you chew.

You're Counting Calories - Intuitively you know 100 calories of carrot cake isn't the same as 100 calories of carrots. So why do we keep plugging them into the same math formula? Why do we expect our bodies to treat them the same? You wouldn't mop the floor with a muddy rag assuming just because it's a rag it'll get the job done, right?

Convenience Foods - Vegan substitutes like faux meats and cheese are not healthy. Your body knows what to do with peas and soy beans, but not weird lab creations from pea proteins, and soy byproducts.

Eating Out - Even if you're ordering a vegan meal, most restaurants overload their food with salt, sugar and oil; a killer combo that makes you overeat AND gain weight.

Coffee - Sugar and creamer (even vegan creamers) can turn a latte into a hot, drinkable candy bar. Drink it black or with a little almond milk.

Salt - Eating salt won't make you gain weight, but it will make you retain more water, which shows up on the scale.

Fiber-Broken Foods - Make sure you're buying 100% whole-wheat (or gluten-free) and oil-free breads, pastas, and crackers, and use them to accent your diet. Don't make them a staple or a snack.

Dried fruits - Dried fruits are very calorically dense and not satiating. They are also often coated with sugar and oil.

Mindless eating - Keep a journal to see how much you really eat in a day. You'll be surprised to see how much food sneaks in -- tastes while cooking, candy jar at the office. It can be a huge culprit!

Eating all day - There's an increasing amount of research suggesting a shorter eating window is better for weight-loss. Instead of eating from 6am to 8pm, try 8am to 6pm.

Summary: Weight gain (or lack of weight-loss) hinges on diet more than anything.

You can't exercise off a bad diet.

You also can't expect your body to run correctly without the perfect fuel. It's a little like your car in that way.

WHAT goes in the mouth matters most!

You have to eat the right foods, in the right portions to feel your best and lose weight.

Having a plan in place makes it a million times easier to stay on track.

And if YOU need a strategy telling you EXACTLY what to cook, buy, shop, and eat for weight-loss...

Utilize the meal plans.

You have enough going on in your life -- let us do all the thinking and planning for you.

Make it easy on yourself with this week's meal plan!

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7 Veggies You Can Stop Peeling Now

Need to spend less time in the kitchen?

Want to maximize nutrition and flavor?

Stop peeling your veggies! (Well, at least SOME veggies)

Leave these vegetables unscathed:

Potatoes - 20% of the nutrients (like B vitamins!) are lost when you lose the skin. Even if you plan to mash ‘em, leave the skin on. Tell your fam you’re eating rustic mashed potaters ;)

Just be sure to give your potatoes a good scrub to get all the dirt off!

Cucumbers - The skin adds an extra crunch for salads and sandwiches + a boatload of antioxidants. If the skin is too tough for your tastes, try shaving off strips with a Y-peeler (give it a zebra cut) -- looks fancy for SUPER BOWL party platters too!

Carrots - Shaving doesn’t change the appearance all that much and most of the antioxidants are concentrated right under the skin, so you end up shaving a lot of ‘em off.

Parsnips - Ditto!

Eggplant - The skin gives added texture to eggplant cutlets + a boatload of antioxidants.

Sweet Potatoes - Vitamin C and potassium are in the skin.

Apples (okay, not a veggie, but you still don’t need to peel it!) Apple skins are also rich in Vitamin C.

PLUS all these veggie skins are chalk full of FIBER, which is ultra important for digestion + satiation.

Eat more, weigh less is the meal plan motto!

When preparing your meals this week, take off one less prep step.

(By the way, a new prep sheet is on the way -- we’re busy making more upgrades!)

Want to save even more time?

Utilize our pre-made shopping list and menu.

Let us figure out what’s for dinner and what you need to buy.

Every minute matters in this rat race called life ;)

Check out the meal plans by clicking here.

You’ll save at least ONE hour this week!

Talk soon, Lindsay

P.S. You can also stop draining and rinsing your beans if they’re going into a soup or chili. (The exception being if you’re NOT buying low salt or no salt added. You still want to rinse if they’re salted).

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How to Safely Store Your Meals for the Week

Have you tried cooking all your meals for the week on Sunday yet?

I can’t recommend this tactic enough. It makes it so much easier to be consistent and stay on track. Plus “grab-n-go” meals make your mornings stress-free!

If you’re worried about spoilage, don’t be. Plant foods hold up much longer than meat and dairy (plus reheating should kill off anything anyway). I also find most meals, especially soups and stews, only become more flavorful after a few days of “marinating.” I’ve eaten my meals right at the 7-day mark and even occasionally a few days after without problems.

Image via meal plan member Jennille S

“I was concerned food would spoil if I made it all just once a week, but it hasn’t at all. I cook on Sunday and cut up raw veggies for snacks. Once you get in the rhythm of doing all this, it won’t seem like a big deal. Plus it really is so great to have the meals there during the week.” - Rona K.

Let’s Talk Storage

Unsure if it belongs in the freezer, pantry, fridge, or on the counter? Free cheat sheet.

Cooked grains like rice are best kept in the freezer. I cook a huge bag of rice once a month and freeze off one-cup portions to use as needed with the meal plans or as a side or snack.

Plus frozen rice thaws by lunch while also acting as a cooling pack! You can also heat frozen rice in a microwave for a minute and it looks and tastes like it was freshly made.

Here’s a video comparing frozen to freshly cooked rice. You really can’t tell the difference!

What else can you freeze?

Soups and stews generally lend themselves well to freezing, but I generally discourage freezing any of your meal plan meals. It’s all too easy to forget them if they’re out of sight, and frozen foods take longer to thaw or reheat, which makes it all too tempting to go for something less healthy but “faster” when you’re tired, stressed, hungry, and not feeling it after a long day.

Any breads, tortillas, or buns you don’t use during the week, however, should be frozen immediately so they stay fresh for future use.

If you must freeze your meals, keep these tips in mind:

-Fruits and vegetables with a high water content like citrus fruits, watermelon, lettuce, mushrooms, whole tomatoes, radishes, cucumber, celery, and potatoes, generally don’t freeze well, but might be okay if they’re in a soup.

-Tofu will freeze, but the texture and consistency completely changes.

-Non-dairy milk (i.e. almond milk) separates and gets gnarly, don’t freeze it!

-Tomato-based sauces (i.e. marinara) do well, but other sauces (i.e. gravy) do not.

-Most spices and extracts don’t freeze well and develop a bitter taste. Herbs are okay.

-Nuts, seeds, and flours should be kept in the freezer for maximum freshness.

Curious about the “shelf life” of dry ingredients and pantry staples like flour or beans? Click here.

Get the current meal plan now.

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Need to Avoid Temptation? A Simple Solution! (+ How to Get Husbands to Eat Leftovers)

One of the most interesting studies in Slim by Design, was how to handle leftovers and storage of food.

“If there's an in-home food that's your Kryptonite,” Wansink says, “the best thing you can do is make it as inconvenient and unattractive as warm Pepsi. Even wrapping up a tempting food in aluminum foil can do that.”

Wansink recommends wrapping healthy foods in plastic wrap, or putting them in clear containers—especially with clear tops so you can see it, and to put unhealthy foods in foil, or in containers with dark colored tops.

As soon as I read this chapter, I ran out and bought new tupperware. We had a real problem in our house, namely, that my husband was not good about eating leftovers or food I'd already prepared.

With the meal plans, you can make all your meals for the week ahead and do a quick reheat if you want before eating. I've been faithfully doing this for more than a year, and it has made all the difference in my waistline and stress levels. I LOVE IT! I spend a few hours while doing laundry and catching up on my shows, then store everything in the fridge to eat all week long.

But my husband was always skipping over the food I made and eating a can of beans, or bread and hummus, or some veggies and fruits, which annoyed and frustrated me. I mean, I spent all that time making these meals! And often they were ones HE requested!

“I always forget you made stuff, sorry!” he'd apologize.

After reading Wansink's research, I wondered if my containers, which had a maroon top you couldn't see through, were the problem.

They were.

As soon as I put the food in totally clear containers, and put them front and center in the fridge (he would literally have to push past them and move them over to get to the hummus, jams, and bread!) he started eating the leftovers and precooked foods right up!

I'd even sometimes hear him going “Yess!” excited to “find” one of the options I'd made from the meal plans earlier in the week. It was a HUGE change for us and I started saving even more money on food! Plus I was glad my husband went off his bread and hummus diet ;)

Get the current meal plan now.

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How I Stop Myself from Overeating

Several years ago, when one of my closest friends was dieting, she said one little thing that came back full circle for me in Slim by Design.

She said her “diet plan” was that she cut all her portions in half. Even if she was still hungry after half, she told me she would not continue. She would just have to be hungry.

I expressed concern. “That doesn't seem healthy,” I told her. “You shouldn't always be hungry. You shouldn't starve yourself!” I cried.

That's when she told me that she always got up and went to do something else—put in a load of laundry or clean something if she was at home, go back to her desk and answer emails or calls if she was at work, or even just read a book or look at cat videos on YouTube. It didn't matter what she did, but that she did something. Before long she'd forgot all about the food and being hungry. A few times she said she was still hungry 15-20 minutes later, and in those times she did eat more, but almost all of the times she “forgot” she was hungry, felt satisfied, and went about her business.

Many years later, tired of always feeling overstuffed because I always ate way too much and way too fast, I started my own similar approach: I ate until I felt 75% full. If I was still hungry and wanting more food 15 minutes later, I could have it. Like my pal, I typically found myself satisfied and not wanting more. My problems with overeating were practically gone!

In Slim by Design, Wansink's research confirms the same about chocolate and desserts: “Once you eat two or three bites, put the rest away and distract yourself for 15 minutes—in 15 minutes all you'll remember—in your head, mouth, and stomach—is that you had a tasty snack.”

I've tested this with my ultimate weakness: dark chocolate. I was surprised how well it works.

One of the things I love most about the meal plans is that it's already perfectly portioned out for me. I have limits in place—if I eat all the breakfast, lunch, or dinner prescribed, even with a side or snack, I know that I've probably had enough even if my mind says otherwise and my tastebuds are begging for more... I just need to wait 15 minutes and distract myself to be sure!

Get the current meal plan now.

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Are You Sitting or Standing in the Wrong Place?

The next time you're at a party, go to the table furthest from the buffet and face away.

In Mindless Eating, Wansink suggests to leave food in the kitchen, not the table, so you have to get up for seconds or thirds—it's not an arms reach away staring at you—and that has been a huge help in our house over the years, especially at holiday feasts. (Anytime I cheat on this practice and put food on the table I always find myself feeling like an overstuffed balloon on the couch after dinner, lamenting “I ate too much!”) I also can't stand by the food table at parties!

The dining room on the cruise had the majority of tables five feet from the buffet. Overflow tables were in another room, but it was a walk. Almost no tables faced away from the buffet, the exception being two tables behind a wall/door where the servers went in and out of.

The food court was always jammin' so we hardly had a pick of our seats. We sat where we could and it didn't take long for me to realize if we sat anywhere but the overflow room, I was getting up two and three times, and so was my husband. Sure we were getting more fruit or vegetables, but we were both eating way beyond the volume we did at home. (My husband had not read Slim by Design, so he was a great subject to watch.)

Even more interestingly, despite all knowing this..trickery, I was still falling in the trap! And when I tried to have willpower and not go back for more, I felt anguish and eventually grabbed a roll on my way back to the room. Willpower and intelligence was not enough.

Equally fascinating, during low volume times, when there were more open tables to choose from, I realized thinner people, and particularly Asian travelers, fanned out to the more distant tables, even when they didn't have to. It confirmed the hundreds of experiments and observations Wansink had conducted with his team across the U.S.

Get the current meal plan now.

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