Fall is often a time for embracing comfort, whether it be in the foods we eat, how we adapt our routines, or how we spend our time. It’s the perfect season for focusing on your self-care, and this issue of Start Healthy provides ample ways to help you do it.
The pandemic made home workouts increasingly popular, but getting in a good sweat session while surrounded by ever-present distractions can be hard. The top fitness tech gadgets and tools, like wearable trackers and adjustable weights, can help you turn your home gym into the perfect exercise space.
As more meat alternatives hit the market, a challenge presents itself: how can you know which options offer the best nutritional benefits while providing your body with the protein it needs? Thankfully, there are plenty of natural meatless foods with high-protein yields to help you meet your goals.
Speaking of plant-based nutrition, nutritionist Carly Knowles is a strong proponent of it. Two recipes from her cookbook The Nutritionist’s Kitchen, Asian-inspired brussels sprouts and a hearty grain salad, show just how delicious and wholesome fall cooking can be.
It’s no secret that a well-balanced diet is key to staying healthy, but can eating certain foods really help fight off illness? Enclosed are tips for which foods you can add to your cooking to help boost your immune system just in time for cold-and-flu season.
Here’s wishing you a healthy and happy fall season!
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Making time for a workout in your day can have several positive effects on your mind and body. Not only will it improve your physical well-being, but studies have shown that working out also lowers anxiety, boosts self-esteem, and leads to improved sleep.
However, finding the motivation to pack up your duffel bag and head to the gym is sometimes difficult, especially when the weather is harsh. To make sure you get your workouts in, try some of the following fitness gadgets to get a gym-quality workout from the comfort of your home.
A fitness tracker is a device you wear on your wrist that provides motivation and goal tracking, and it can track your calories, sleep, steps taken, and heart rate. There are a variety of fitness trackers to choose from, with Fitbit and Apple Watch being two of the most popular choices.
VIBRATING FOAM ROLLER
Don’t forget to include preworkout and postworkout routines using the appropriate tools. A foam roller is one such device you can use both before and after your workout to help relieve muscle soreness and improve mobility. While there are a variety of foam roller options to choose from, a vibrating foam roller, like the Lifepro Surger, provides significant muscle stimulation with various speeds and has a built-in timer to help you target different muscle groups. It is also rechargeable, so you won’t have to worry about replacing batteries.
SELF-CLEANING WATER BOTTLE
Staying hydrated is vital for any type of workout. However, washing your water bottle between uses may slip your mind. That’s why adding a self-cleaning water bottle like the CrazyCap 2.0 or the UVBrite Explorer to your workout gear is beneficial. These bottles use UV-C light to clean themselves and purify the water within, which can eliminate up to 99 percent of bacteria and contaminants from your water in sixty seconds. The bottles are made from ultralight stainless steel, making them convenient options when you’re on the go, and they can keep your drinks either cold or hot for over twelve hours.
SMART JUMP ROPE
Jump ropes are simple, effective preworkout tools that warm you up after a few minutes of use, not to mention jumping rope is a good way to burn calories. On average, performing ten minutes of this exercise can burn 100 calories. While your jump rope as a kid was pretty basic, modern options like the Tangram SmartRope keep track of your workout data, including jump count, calories burned, and workout time. Plus, it sends the data to a mobile app. The app helps you stay motivated by providing interval workouts and challenges you to unlock awards.
Strength training is a great way to tone your body and increase your strength. However, depending on the space in your home, it’s not always feasible to dedicate an area to all the weights you need. That’s what makes adjustable dumbbells an innovative and worthwhile investment. This kind of dumbbell features various mechanisms, such as dials, pins, and levers, that work together to adjust the weight. For example, the Flybird Adjustable Dumbbell comes in 25-pound weights, which can be adjusted in increments of 5 pounds, as well as 55-pound weights, which can be adjusted in increments of 11 pounds. To change the weight, all you have to do is place the dumbbell in the tray and move the dial to your desired weight, and the dumbbell locks everything into place.
Sometimes it’s hard to muster up the motivation for a cardio workout, especially if you’re stuck inside on a treadmill or spin bike. However, upgrading to an exercise bike with video features can help you rediscover the motivation to burn calories and work up a sweat. Peloton is one of the bigger names in the industry, and its spin bike features various classes from instructors that you can access live or on-demand, or you can hop on and immerse yourself in a visual ride through locations from the Alps to Zion National Park. It’s important to note the video features require an additional monthly fee. If you’re looking for a more economical option, choose a spin bike with a tablet holder, such as the Pyhigh Indoor Cycling Bike. This machine allows you to get in a cycling workout and take classes on sites like YouTube without paying additional fees.
Fitness mirrors are an increasingly popular option for people looking to improve the quality and variety of their home workouts. You can place this lightweight device, which comes in various sizes, on a wall in your home where it resembles a regular mirror when not in use. Once you activate the device, you can stream both live and on-demand classes into your home on the glass and track your progress. The MIRROR by Lululemon offers more than fifty types of workouts ranging from five minutes to an hour each. The Echelon Reflect offers classes from personal trainers in everything from strength training to meditation. Take note that most fitness mirrors require a monthly subscription to access their content.
Finding time to exercise can be challenging, but by adding some new gadgets to your home gym, you’ll be ready and motivated to work up a sweat.
Meat has long been the go-to example of a high-protein food. However, we know now that meat isn’t the only, and sometimes not even the best, source of your daily protein intake. The market is catching up to this by releasing various meat substitutes.
Brands like Beyond Meat offer great-tasting plant-based alternatives, but they’re not always the healthiest option for you or your finances. If you’re on a budget or prefer a natural approach to your food, below are the top meat substitutes you should consider adding to your diet.
Make sure you consult a health professional before making any changes to your diet.
Almonds 7g of protein per ¼ cup
Nuts are a great source of protein in general. But almonds are especially high in protein and offer a few additional health benefits, such as heart-healthy fats. Almonds are tasty on their own or cut up as a topping on dishes like a smoothie bowl.
Black beans 8g of protein per ½ cup
Beans are an inexpensive and versatile food you can prepare in a variety of ways. Some of the best options include in meatless tacos or as a side with whole grain rice.
Chickpeas 39g of protein per cup
You’re likely familiar with chickpeas if hummus is one of your go-to snacks. Chickpeas are a soft legume, perfect for mashing into hummus or incorporating into a salad.
Edamame 17g of protein per cup
Soybeans are an East Asian treasure. These beans are not only high in protein but also in vitamin K, antioxidants, and fiber—all of which are beneficial for your heart and digestive health. Enjoy edamame steamed in the pod or as beans in a meatless stir-fry.
Lentils 18g of protein per cup
Lentils are the smallest of all legumes, but the list of health benefits they provide is long. Lentils are a great source of your daily fiber and protein, and their unique, savory flavor makes for a good choice as the main part of a dish.
Lima beans 15g of protein per cup
Although they are a popular dinner staple, lima beans were likely one side you avoided putting on your plate as a child. However, you should consider revisiting this vegetable to reap the benefits of its healthy protein, iron, and fiber. Lima beans are delicious in soups and stews.
Pumpkin seeds 5g of protein per ¼ cup
Are you planning on carving pumpkins this season? Try using the entire pumpkin by eating some pumpkin seeds! Pumpkin seeds can offer a crunchy and chewy protein boost, plus, if you have occasional insomnia, they can be a natural sleep aid solution. Try roasting and salting them to eat as a snack or adding them to a healthy dessert recipe like pumpkin muffins.
Tempeh 31g of protein per cup
Tempeh is a chewy, nutty, and earthy-tasting soy product that is great as a direct meat substitute in dishes like stir-fry and grilled medleys.
Tofu 10g of protein per ½ cup
Like tempeh, tofu is a soybean product that, on its own, is rather bland. Instead, view tofu as an absorbent, blank canvas to marinate with your preferred flavors. Consider baking or frying your tofu for the best texture.
*Nutritional information courtesy of the USDA.
In L.M. Montgomery’s classic book Anne of Green Gables, the titular character proclaims, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” Most people would wholeheartedly agree.
October is when it feels like autumn truly kicks in, ushering in cool winds and warm meals. To celebrate, here are a pair of produce-packed recipes from the cookbook The Nutritionist’s Table that provide both a taste of the season and a nutritional punch.
This delicious take on the popular vegetable adds a touch of sweetness and smoky flavor.
Whole grains combine with a perfect mix of fall flavors for a healthy seasonal dish.
recipe by carly knowles, MS, RDN, LD
photos by kimberly hasselbrink
Brussels sprouts are one of the most well-studied vegetables in relation to cancer prevention. They are incredibly beneficial for the body’s natural detoxification system, aid antioxidant function, and provide anti-inflammatory properties. They’re also loaded with vitamins C and K and folate. Seconds, please!
recipe by carly knowles, MS, RDN, LD
photos by kimberly hasselbrink
Wheat berries are whole wheat grain kernels and a perfect example of a whole grain. You can easily substitute wheat berries in most rice or barley dishes to give them a chewy texture and nutty flavor. Wheat berries also deliver a healthy dose of fiber, protein, B vitamins, manganese, and magnesium. If you can’t find wheat berries at your local market, you can substitute farro, which is another fantastic whole grain derived from a different species of wheat.
Most people are familiar with at least one home remedy to combat common illnesses like the cold and flu. The kitchen pantry is often at the center of these remedies, and while your mother or grandmother might swear by her cabinet of cure-alls, is there really any scientific evidence to support the claim that foods can ward off disease?
The truth is, eating “an apple a day” won’t necessarily keep the doctor away. However, there are healthy dietary habits and choices you can make to boost the strength of your immune system, thus improving its response to viruses and other infections. Read on to learn how proper nutrition can improve your body’s natural defenses against getting sick.
FEELING BETTER NATURALLY
What’s most important to remember is that, whether you’re feeling sick or not, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is the best way to keep your immune system functioning optimally. This means following the USDA dietary guidelines, which recommend eating a variety of vegetables—including dark greens, beans, peas, and starches, along with whole fruits and whole grains. Nutrient-dense foods like these provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to sustain its natural processes, which in turn helps promote strong immunity.
In addition to consuming nutrient-dense foods, avoiding foods with added sugars and salt, as well as foods high in saturated fat, is equally important. Also, make sure you’re not being fooled by the label—food products labeled as low-fat or sugar-free are not always as healthy as they appear. It’s best to stick to whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and the like, and avoid prepackaged items whenever possible. A good rule of thumb when shopping for groceries? Try to stick to the perimeter of the store, which is where whole foods are typically stocked.
There are vitamins and minerals traditionally promoted as cold-and-flu fighters, vitamin C being number one among them. However, vitamin C isn’t the only immunity-boosting compound to consider. Below is a list of foods and drinks high in vitamins and minerals (including those high in vitamin C) that your body needs to fend off disease.
A QUICK BOOST
Wellness shots have gained popularity in recent years for their promise to give a quick and effective jolt to your immune system. However, they can be expensive, and, since they are premade, you might be taking in unnecessary sugars without even realizing it. Here are three homemade health shot ideas to maximize the immunity-boosting properties in some of the foods mentioned above.
*After washing and peeling the fruits and ginger, place all ingredients into a juicer, and enjoy!