What is a Vegan Diet?

A vegan diet is becoming really popular. Vegetarian lifestyles have been around for a very long time, but only recently have people began to take a look at removing dairy and other animal products from their diet.

What are you able to eat on a vegan diet?

With a vegan diet, you’ll be able to eat anything that doesn’t include animal sourced products, ingredients or animal products within the product creation process.

This means no meats, eggs, or dairy products for example. Also, whey, cheese flavors, and other ingredients typically seen in processed foods that contain animal-based ingredients.

This leaves you with a world of fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, legumes and other food that dooen’t contain animal products.

Why go vegan?

There are a bunch of reasons why someone would switch to a vegan diet, but here are three main ones: 

1. Personal health. 

Research shows that a vegan diet is often beneficial for a healthier heart, lowering the chance for heart condition and even some cancers. A plant-based diet with less animal products has been shown to lower inflammation and reduce the chance of obesity caused illnesses.

2. Ethical perspective. 

Many people dislike the concept of animal agriculture. They see it as unnecessary for animals to die to become food, and find it cruel and unsustainable. There’s little doubt that confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are cruel to the animals. For many, the moral argument is resolved by using only meat from animals that are treated humanely – which isn’t a vegan diet. If you’re concerned about the health and welfare of animals, switching to a vegan diet could be one of the ways to feel more ethically secure.

3. Environmental sustainability. 

Animal agriculture could be a contributor to global temperature changes. Many factory-farmed animals like chickens, pigs, and cows outnumber humans by over five times. This number of animals may well be unsustainable to feed and grow. In other words, growing this number of animals draws too much water and food supply. In addition, CAFOs produce huge amounts of pollution. As an example, the runoff of pollutants into the land, nearby streams and rivers.

Is a vegan diet for you?

You now have a quick overview of what a vegan diet is, and why people would switch to eating plants only over animal products.
A vegan diet isn’t for everybody. Additionally, it isn’t a fast fix for an unhealthy lifestyle. Just like any diet, if you eat unhealthy, processed foods, it may not have any benefits to your health. Doing it right, making sure you cover all nutritional requirements with what you are ingesting will play a huge part on how you feel and how healthy you are. Vegan diet does require attention and you need to focus on replenishing any vitamins and minerals and keep those levels balanced.

Download 15 free, healthy recipes here.

Meal prep and shopping tips for clean eating

Clean eating starts with choosing what you want to eat, then creating a plan and shopping list. This prep work is essential if you want to stick with eating healthy and clean, since you’re far more likely to continue on this journey if everything is available. Think: ready breakfasts, lunch, dinners and convenience of having these foods, or at least all the ingredients at hand.  Keep reading to find out more about meal prepping and grocery prep for your new clean eating journey.

meal preparation, healthy food, greens, chicken, rice, spoon, spices, monikaannafit.com 8. Meal prep and shopping tips for clean eating

First: know exactly what you would like to eat

Decide what meals you’re going to eat this week (get a meal prep template here). Once done, you’ll have a way better understanding of what needs to go on your grocery list. Always start by seeing what clean foods you already have in your kitchen and check out what ingredients are left. This often makes prepping and shopping list much simpler, but will also help to save some money. Clean eating can cost a little more at the start but as you gather the essential ingredients, you’ll soon be saving money by not eating out and not stocking your pantry with processed junk.

Start building your grocery list 

First, go through your pantry and fridge and do an inventory. Then start building your grocery list. Your grocery list should be as detailed as possible, listing all ingredients for each meal. If you have any ingredients that you think won’t be available in your store, it’d be a good idea to find them online or put some alternatives on the list to make sure you’ve got what you need. With a grocery list in place, you should be able to avoid the majority of the temptations. Get a grocery list template here.

Start within the fresh produce section

Since a big part of your list is probably fruits and vegetables, you can start building your shopping list in that category. Get all of your fresh produce here first, including things like the healthier salad dressings or hummus, nuts and seeds, especially if you’re trying to find the raw, organic varieties.

Dairy, meats and seafood 

Once you’ve put all the fresh products on the list, start adding your meats, seafood, eggs and dairy products. These should be close to one another in the fridges of the store. Imagine walking through the grocery store and plan your shopping list in line with that, making walking around it much easier. 

Go to the middle aisles only for necessities

When you plan your trip to the store, head to those middle aisles last, and only if you absolutely need to. The middle aisles are full of packaged and processed foods. You’ll want to avoid them on a clean, healthy diet, and it helps to reduce the temptation. You are likely to find grains and oils there. Get out of the habit of walking down every aisle out of curiosity, as this is often where you get into trouble. Avoid the cereal aisle if you aren’t getting oatmeal and don’t even bother with the aisle that has chips and crackers if you don’t need any snacks. 

Why is it important when eating clean?

You won’t snack so much

The first reason to consider meal prepping is so you’ll avoid snacking on foods that aren’t that good for you. This is often a really common pitfall for people. It may stop you hitting up the vendor machine at work or grabbing a couple of cookies for a snack. If you prepare before the week begins, you’ll have all the clean snacks you need, from fruit and nuts to homemade clean food, and won’t need to grab trashy snacks. 

You’ll have enough food to get you through the week 

In addition to avoiding small snacks, which will add up fast, you’ll also have all the food for every day of the week. It is another common pitfall of switching to eating clean – people simply run out of food for meals later in the week. This can lead you to be tempted to order fast foods. By planning out all of your meals, you’ll have all the stuff at home and cooking your meals will be much more convenient.  

Download 15 free healthy recipes here.

A quick guide for reducing sugar in your diet

Most people love sugar and surgery foods, but, as great as sugar might taste, it’s not so great for your health. Majority of people consume above the recommended dose of sugar daily. Here is a quick guide for reducing sugar in your diet.

If extra weight around the hips isn’t enough to get you off sugar, how about the actual facts that eating an excessive amount of sugar could increase your risk of heart problems, acne, diabetes, and even certain varieties of cancer?

As studies still emerge into the potential dangers of sugar, it’s never been more important for you to start making healthy changes. 

Today, I’m providing you with some quick and straightforward tips to cut back on sugar. 

Sugar, reduce sugar, a quick guide

Drink Water

Majority of drinks other than water contain some amount of sugar – and sometimes it’s not called just “sugar”.

Soda and fruit juices are stuffed with sugar, which adds to your daily calorie intake. While there are some “zero sugar” options out there, it’s also worth keeping a watch out for additives which could be detrimental to your health, including weight gain (meaning, artificial, zero calorie sweeteners can cause weight gain). 

The best way is to change your soda, sugar-laden coffees, and other beverages with a refreshing glass of water. Water is more likely to quench your thirst than the other drink, and it can even offer you an energy boost by reducing dehydration. 

Try Alternative Desserts

There’s nothing wrong with having a dessert from time to time, but it’s important to keep in mind that these foods don’t provide much nutritional value.

Most desserts are packed with sugar, which causes spikes in your blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling hungry and tired.

The best way is to replace desserts with some fruit. Fresh and baked fruits increase the number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you get from your diet, without the spikes in sugar.

Check Sauce Labels

While you may have expected the added sugar in sodas and desserts, you may not know that sugar may hide in other foods you have daily. 

For instance, sauces like ketchup and salad sauces are high in sugar. One single tablespoon of ketchup can contain around 5 grams of sugar, which makes it sugarier than ice cream!

Look for condiments with “no added sugar” on the labels to cut back your intake of the sweet stuff in these products.

You can also try other ways to season your foods and delight your taste buds. Try pesto, mustard, chili, herbs and spices, and even citrus juices like lemon and lime to flavour your foods or home made sauces. 

Forget Low-Fat Foods

This may appear as an odd suggestion, but low-fat foods aren’t always ideal when it comes to your sugar intake. Though some low-fat products can have a counter effect on your weight gain, as many actually contain more sugar than their full-fat counterparts.

For instance, a full-fat plain yogurt will usually contain around 8 grams of milk sugars and around 104 calories. The low-fat version could contain up to 144 calories and 24 grams of sugar.

To ensure you’re really making the healthy choices in your diet when it comes to sugar, read the label and double-check fat and sugar content. 

Be Careful with “Healthy” Snacks 

Finally, some processed foods look healthy, but actually don’t have the benefits of less healthy-looking foods. There are plenty of “natural” and healthy granola and protein bars which contain lots of sugar, as much as your standard candy.

Try 15 free, healthy recipes for tasty foods (free download).

For example, dried fruit are said to be healthy and although they may contain nutrients, antioxidants and fibre, they are also full of natural sugar, which is bad in excess. 

Check the ingredients of any product or food you’re eating. Here are some other names of sugar in popular products, including those advertised as healthy: 

  • Agave nectar
  • Dextrose
  • Maltose
  • Brown sugar
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Malt syrup
  • Cane crystals
  • Fructose
  • Maple syrup
  • Cane sugar
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Molasses
  • Coconut sugar
  • Glucose
  • Raw sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Corn syrup
  • Honey Syrup
  • Crystalline fructose
  • Invert sugar

If you’re running out of ideas for sugar-free alternatives, try fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, jerky with no sugar added to the seasoning, nuts and seeds and veggies. 

Reducing sugar in your diet will have many, many great benefits!

3 workout related questions answered 

3 workout related questions answered 

1. Is working out in the morning better for you?

You should workout when you have the time, when it doesn’t stress you and when it doesn’t interfere with your sleep. 

2. Should I plan my workouts before the session?

Yes, Yes, Yes! Never go to gym without a plan.

3. Do I need to work out every day?

Absolutely not, unless you’re an athlete and it’s your job. Otherwise you should always take time off for recovery.

Top 3 Strategies for Healthy Weight Loss

If you’re struggling with losing weight or gaining weight after a diet, below top 3 strategies for healthy weight loss should help.

top 3 Strategies for Healthy Weight Loss, monikaannafit.com, blue plate full of veggies, sauce and nuts

1. Choose Healthy Foods:

  • Eat more fiber. Foods rich in dietary fiber make you feel full for longer, so you will be satisfied while eating less. Smart choices include vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Fiber also helps to stabilize your glucose levels and lower cholesterol.
  • Reduce sugar. Eating too many sugary foods can be a major reason for weight gain and food cravings. You can reduce your intake by avoiding ultra-processed foods and drinkable rather than sweetened beverages.
  • Spice it up. Pick meals and snacks that are nutritious and delicious. If you’re trying to use less salt, cook with spices and herbs. Healthy fats like olive oil or coconut oil and spices will add plenty of flavor. Try these 52 healthy and delicious high protein recipes. 
  • Read labels. Check the rear of cereal boxes to confirm that the ingredients match the advertising on the front. Nutrition labels reveal important information like calories per serving and how much sugar and fat is in the product. Check especially for artificial ingredients and try to pick products with as little of them as possible. 
  • Cook at home. With homemade meals you’re able to control what ingredients that go into your meals and you’re likely to use less salt or replace sugar with healthier options.  

2. Track What You Eat:

  • Keep a journal. It’s easy to miscalculate how many calories you actually eat. A food journal teach you about eating patterns so that you can spot if and when you’re eating a bit too much. Try this food journal. 
  • Set daily goals. Use your journal to form short- and long-term goals for your food intake and other factors. Putting it down in writing will make them more concrete.
  • Measure portions. Use information on the package to measure the portion sizes, instead of eating out of the bag and having the whole thing in one go.  

3. Develop Coping Skills:

  • Know your why. Consider your main reason for losing weight. It could be so that you look better, feel better or are a better example to your kids. Whatever it when you feel tempted to overindulge.
  • Encourage yourself. Motivate yourself with positive self-talk and rewards. Build your confidence by reflecting on past achievements.
  • Seek support. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals and who support you. Find a workout buddy or join a weight loss support group
  • Manage stress. Lack of sleep and high levels of stress hormones can trigger weight gain. Find the best ways to relax safely with mindfulness meditation.
  • Plan for relapses. Business trips and holidays seem like setbacks but will be only temporary. But your goal is the best inspiration to help you recover quickly.

Keeping weight off becomes easier over time. Ditch crash diets that leave you feeling deprived. Healthy eating and regular exercise will keep you lean and fit.