Here’s a secret that we would like to tell anyone who wants to get rid of belly fat and get abs – “abs are made in the kitchen, you get them defined in the gym” since what you eat today will determine whether you would have abs tomorrow. More than doing intense ab exercises, you need to be mindful of your diet because certain foods continue to contribute layers of fat around the belly even if you’re exercising 3-5 times a week. It’s a fact that spot reduction of belly fat is a myth, and if you can’t lose overall body fat, the extra layers would just sit there unmoved over the ab muscles. Nutrition and calories play a larger role in melting away excess fat than exercise and gymming. Do you know, without adequate protein and whole grains, the body composition will hardly change and the muscles will hardly take shape. That’s why it’s important to be on a nutrient-dense diet like Rati Beauty which gives importance to nutrition with adequate protein, vitamins, minerals, that are essential for fat burning and muscle building to take place. So, in this post, with total emphasis on your diet and dietary habits, we list down 11 ways to get a flat stomach without exercise.
1. Totally Get Rid of Transfat: Stop grocery shopping for microwaveable popcorn, white bread, hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarine, fried foods, cakes, pastries, etc. that may have transfat content in them because it’s a weird ingredient that mobilizes fat from other areas of the body and encourages them to be stored around the tummy area!
2. Keep yourself Hydrated: This life-sustaining elixir does more than to just quench your thirst. Keeping yourself adequately hydrated not only helps curb appetite, it flushes out toxins and obesogens from the body, reducing inflammation, and helping the body to burn stored fat. Remind yourself to drink at least 2 liters of water every single day.
3. Cut Out Sugar Completely: Food with high amount of sugar, like candies, cakes, pastries, cookies, spike up blood sugar and in response, the body releases insulin to regulate blood sugar. Insulin, is not only a blood sugar regulating hormone, it also encourages storage of extra glucose as fat, particularly around the belly area. Every time you indulge in candies, sweets, doughnuts, chocolates or sugary drinks, remind yourself that it is increasing your waist circumference. It may be sweet on your tongue, but it has detrimental effects on overall health, increasing the risk for development of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases.
4. Make a Conscious Effort To Consume Antioxidant-Rich Food To Reduce Chronic Inflammation: Antioxidants neutralize the harmful effect of free radicals and is a good way to lower chronic inflammation in the body, and that way to fight belly fat. Foods that are rich in antioxidants are colorful fruits and vegetables (orange, green, yellow, red, purple) like carrots, bell peppers, spinach, tomatoes, pumpkin, broccoli, papaya, strawberries, mangoes, nuts, onions, eggplants, etc.
5. Practice Portion Control: Many of us do not actually realize this – we are eating from large meal plates with oversized portions. All the extra calories from such heavy meals are then stored up as body fat, particularly around the belly area. One easy way to promote smaller meals is by using smaller plates or bowls. Eating from small plates and bowls will trick your body into feeling fuller with smaller quantity of food.
6. Avoid Soft Drinks/Aerated Beverages: Do you find chilled soft drinks and sugary beverages irresistible, these beverages are loaded with sugar and empty calories that can ruin your weight loss goals and make it extremely difficult to burn tummy fat. Likewise, say “no” to packaged and fruit juices that have loads of empty calories and sugar, along with artificial flavours, preservatives and it is a misconception that they can replace raw and fresh fruits. Regular consumption of such fruit juices would increase the waist circumference rather quickly.
7. No White Bread or Refined Carbs Either: White bread as breakfast is a bad option because it has empty calories that has no fiber content and raises blood sugar rapidly, releasing insulin that is also a fat-storage hormone. All those extra calories are then directed to the most preferred area – belly! Other foods made with refined carbs like buns, pasta, pizza, waffles, muffins, cakes, pastries, desserts do the same thing. Though bread isn’t good for weight loss, you can have ones made out of whole wheat or whole grains. Also, breads made with 100% whole grain, 100% whole wheat breads, with fiber content intact are better options.
8. Increase Protein Intake: Research has shown that with increase in protein, metabolism improves. Since protein is also thermogenic in nature, it burns more calories and stored fat. Fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, paneer, tofu, chicken, cheese, milk, beans, yogurt are all good sources of protein. Also read: “20 Foods That Burn Fat While you Sleep.”
9. Here’s a list of 20 Foods Will Help Sculpt your Abs.
10. Fight Stress: If you have been unable to lose belly fat even with exercise and dieting, blame it on chronic stress with elevated levels of cortisol, which studies have directly link to increased belly fat.
11. Sleep Like a Baby: Just like chronic stress, sleep deprivation has also been strongly linked to increase in abdominal fat and the inability to lose overall weight even with strict dieting and exercise. We have to give the body enough rest, at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night so that it becomes more efficient to perform its normal functions smoothly and burns up extra calories instead of storing them away.
These are some amazing ways to reduce tummy without exercise. Try them out and see yourself to lose that stubborn belly fat.
Are Abs Really Made in the Kitchen? 20 Foods To Sculpt your Abs
If you like flavorful meals, you’re going to love this! Katie Caldesi’s Salmon laksa is a low carb version of this mouthwatering curry dish from Southeast Asia. A clever swap of cabbage for noodles brings down the carb count without sacrificing taste. Are you ready to wow your palate?
Can you believe it’s June already? If you’re like us, it might feel like summer just snuck up on you.
And even though you feel like you’re supposed to be energized and ready for summer, you might still feel a little run down by the long winter, and a busy schedule.
That’s why our June edition of the LWSL & Co. Magazine is all about revitalizing that energy, reworking your menu to make it easier to get quick delicious recipes on the table, and adding some fun new habits that will help you feel great.
If you’ve gotten out of the habit of exercising over the winter, you can start building energy with our Quick Workouts at Home. For those of you who have graduates in your life this year, you can find the perfect graduation gift for them by reading The Best Gifts for Grads. And, if getting your house in order is one of your priorities, you’ll want to take a look at How to Deep Clean Your Garage.
FOOD MADE SIMPLE
It’s time for BBQs, easy outdoor meals, and (for our US readers) Fourth of July celebrations. This month we put together some recipes that will make entertaining easy, and get you in the red white and blue spirit. Our favorites are: Easy Slow Cooked Ribs, Best Ever Homemade Potato Salad, and Red, White and Blue Shortcake.
If you’re looking for a dessert that will make both kids and adults happy try our White Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats.
And for those of you that would like to try a Keto diet to get ready for your beach vacation and find tons of extra energy, find out how to start at Keto 101: What it is, How it Works, and How to Get Started.
If you’re looking to build an emergency fund and stop worrying about surprise expenses, read our How to Quickly Save $1000 for Emergencies (Even When You’re in Debt).
Are you making the big move and selling your house this summer? Check out our guide to help you get your home ready to sell: Is Your House Ready to Sell? (20 Tips for Dramatically Increasing the Value of Your Home)
And for those moms who have college students, find out What Every Mom Needs to Know about Paying for College.
If you’re feeling low energy and need to recharge, we have a few great resources for you this month. We know how important it is to make sure you’re taking time for you, so we put together some great information that will help you feel energized fast. 14 Ways to Recharge Your Internal Batteries, Change Your Life by Changing Your Attitude, and Better Ways to Boost Your Energy, and 8 Ways to Give Yourself an e-Break.
While you head into the summer months, remember to take some time for yourself. Recharge, re-envision, and re-energize for the summer ahead. Here’s to possibilities!
If you’re looking for a hearty, filling, super satisfying breakfast or brunch, chilaquiles is the answer.
It’s true Mexican comfort food, the kind that will fill your belly and your heart. They can be for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or anytime in between. Chilaquiles make an excellent brunch dish and an all around comforting meal. I love them so, so much!
What are chilaquiles?
Like so many amazing foods – french toast, fried rice, croquettes – chilaquiles came about as way to use up leftover food, in this case, stale tortillas. Corn tortillas from last night’s taco feast find new life when fried into chips and coated with warm salsa until slightly soft on the outside with a bit of a bite on inside. At their simplest, chilaquiles are tortilla chips in sauce. Corn tortillas, cut into quarters and fried in oil become corn chips, which are then tossed in red or green salsa and simmered until the chips become slightly tender. Generally, chilaquiles come with diced onions, cilantro, cream, queso fresco or cojita, avocado, and sometimes eggs or protein on top.
How do you say chilaquiles?
It’s “chee-lah-key-lees” The word comes from the word “chilaquilli” which means something covered in chili and greens.
What do chilaquiles taste like?
Truly, they taste amazing. Crispy, crunchy, tender fried corn tortillas tossed in warm super savory salsa topped off with bright and refreshing herbs. They are a combination of rich flavors and contrasting textures making them a pleasure to eat. If you haven’t had them before, you might think: aren’t these just soggy, sad nachos? The answer is no! They are the best – comforting carbs that are a perfect contrast of tender and crisp in a smoky, savory sauce.
Are chilaquiles crunchy or soft?
They are both! There are people who like their chilaquiles soft and there are people who like their chilaquiles crispy. If you’re a crisp lover, gently toss with sauce and serve immediately. If you’re a soft fan, let the chips simmer in the salsa for couple minutes longer, until they collapse into a tender pile of deliciousness.
How to make chilaquiles
Chilaquiles can be as simple or as convoluted as you like. For the super simple, all you need is store bought chips and enchilada sauce. For a bit more of a satisfying meal, fry up your own tortilla chips and make your own roja salsa.
Fry the tortillas. Cut up old tortillas into wedges and fry them up in oil so they become chips. Alternately, you can use store bought tortilla chips, but look for the hearty kind.
Make the sauce. Simmer together blended tomatoes, onion, garlic, chipotle in adobe, and Mexican oregano until thick and aromatic.
Sauce the tortillas. Add the chips to the sauce, stirring to coat every chips.
Top the tortillas. Plate the chips, topping with cilantro, onions, and fried eggs.
Enjoy! That’s it!
tortillas/tortilla chips – old corn tortillas fry up into the best chips, more on that below.
salsa – salsa, or sauce, is what really makes chilaquiles shine. Everyone makes their chilaquiles sauce differently, but generally, the sauce is either tomatoes and seasonings or tomatillos and seasonings. More on chilaquiles sauce below.
toppings – here’s where you can have fun customizing! Fried eggs, cilantro, onions, jalapeños, sliced radishes, carnitas, tinga, avocado, crema, cheese, it’s really up to you!
Store bought or homemade chips?
Homemade all the way! But if you must, you can definitely do store bought. The difference is that store bought tortilla chips are light and crispy – they don’t hold up as well when drenched and cooked in salsa. If you like your chilaquiles on the tender side, store bought chips might be for you.
If you want a true chilaquiles experience, you must make your own chips. It’s really not that hard, you don’t even need to deep fry! The heft, heartiness, and crunch you get from a homemade fried tortilla chip is exactly what you need for chilaquiles. Old corn tortillas that are a bit dry fry up best and absorb less oil.
How to make homemade tortilla chips
Cut tortillas in to quarters and let them dry out slightly while you heat up your oil.
In a pan, heat up 1/2 inch of neutral oil until hot and shimmery.
Add the chips and fry, in batches, flipping, until lightly golden.
Remove from the oil (they will continue to brown after removed) and lightly salt and drain on paper towels or a wire rack.
More about homemade tortilla chips here.
How to bake homemade tortilla chips
Preheat the oven to 400°F and brush your tortillas with oil on both sides. Cut the tortillas into quarters and lay them out evenly on a pan and bake, flipping the tortillas and rotating the pan as needed, until golden and crispy, about 5-10 minutes. Let cool completely so they harden up.
How to make air fry tortilla chips
Brush the tortillas with neutral oil on both sides (or lightly spray with cooking spray) and cut into quarters.
Lay the tortillas in the basket of the air fryer and cook at 350°F for 3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2-3 or until crisp and brown.
Remove, lightly salt, and let cool.
To be honest, everyone makes their chilaquiles sauce differently. Some people even go the store bought route. Really, chilaquiles are a no-fuss sort of meal so no one will judge you if you buy enchilada sauce and call it a day. Just make sure the sauce/salsa you’re using to coat your chips is one you love.
Our chilaquiles salsa is super simple mix of fire roasted tomatoes, chipotle in adobo, onions, garlic, and Mexican oregano. Everything blends up and cooks down until it becomes rich and thick. You can thin it out with chicken stock if you like, but this way is the simplest red salsa ever. Sometimes I’ll pop in a dried red chili (after rehydrating it) to add an extra layer of smoke and spice.
Red vs green chilaquiles
If you’ve eating in restaurants in the Southwest, you’ve most definitely heard them ask: red or green? Roja or verde sauce are the two main types of salsas/sauces. Sometimes you can even get Christmas or divorciados – chilaquiles with both types of sauce.
Chilaquiles verdes have a salsa consisting of tomatillos, onions, jalapeños, and cilantro.
Chilaquiles rojos have a salsa consisting of tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and garlic. Think of red enchilada sauce as opposed to a tomato salsa/pico de gallo situation.
eggs – this is one of the most common toppings and I hardly ever see chilaquiles served without. Sunny side up eggs are the default, but don’t sleep on soft scrambled eggs on top, the creaminess matches perfectly with the salsa covered chips.
protein – you can go for shredded chicken, pork, or beef or eve use any leftover taco meats you have hanging out. Think: chicken tinga chilaquiles, barbacoa chilaquiles, carnitas chilaquiles, al pastor chilaquiles, or green chile pork chilaquiles
pico de gallo – chop up 1 tomato, 1/2 small onion, and 1 jalapeño. Mix with freshly chopped cilantro, the juice of 1/2 a lime, and salt to taste. Let the flavors melt for 15 minutes before enjoying.
avocado or guacamole – use your favorite guacamole recipe or simply top with sliced or diced avocado
crema or sour cream – a little bit of crema or sour cream adds a rich tang and a cold contrast.
cheese – cotija or queso fresco is best! I love the soft mildness of queso fresco or the salty bite of cotija.
cilantro and onions – no Mexican dish is complete without fresh onions and cilantro for bite and herbaceousness.
If you haven’t had chilaquiles before, I beg you, give this recipe a try! It’s seriously so good 🤤
Happy brunching! xoxo steph
Chilaquiles are a hearty, filling, super satisfying Mexican comfort food.
Prep Time 10mins
Cook Time 30mins
Total Time 40mins
1/4cuphigh heat oilfor frying
15ozfire roasted tomatoesdiced, ~1 can
1jalapeñochopped, see notes
1tspdried Mexican oregano
2eggssunny side up
1ozcotija cheesecrumbled, or more or less as desired
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until shimmery. Add the tortilla wedges in batches and cook, flipping as needed, until golden. Remove, drain, and lightly salt.
Place the tomatoes, onion, garlic, chipotle or jalapeño, and oregano in a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour the sauce into a large skillet and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thick 5-10 minutes. Taste and season with salt.
Add the chips to the sauce and stir carefully, coating all the chips, until the chips are slightly soft and heated through, 1-5 minutes depending on how crunchy you want your chips.
Top with fried eggs, avocado, cheese, and cilantro and enjoy immediately.
Replace the chopped jalapeno for one (or more) pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo for an extra spicy, extra smoky taste. It’s not really recommended to use store-bought chips instead of making your own, but if you need to, go for the thickest chips you can find.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 457 Calories from Fat 239
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 5.6g35%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
During summers, skin tan is a common issue and we tend to look for all sorts of creams, face pack, and treatments to get rid of the tan, but tend to ignore one of the most effective ingredients available in every Indian kitchen – tomatoes! Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamin A, C, B, K that helps to detan, control sebum production, control acne, stimulate collagen production, and the list goes on. Since vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant, found abundantly in tomatoes, they help fade away blemishes, brighten skin tone as well. Additionally, tomatoes contain “lycopene,” which provides protection against sun. Since it’s not difficult to find this inexpensive ingredient, it would be prudent to explore different ways to clear all your skincare woes, especially to get glowing skin.
1. As a Cleanser: Extract juice out of one tomato and mix it with 1 tbsp of milk. After washing your face with plain water, apply the mixture on your face and leave for around 10 to 15 minutes and rinse off to deeply cleanse skin. 2. To Shrink Open Pores: Mix fresh tomato juice with a few drops of lemon juice and apply it on your face. Massage your skin gently and leave it on for 15 minutes and rinse away to shrink large facial pores. 3. For a Healthy Glow: Mix equal quantities of honey with tomato juice. Apply it on your skin and wait for 20 minutes. Regular use of this face pack will brighten up dull skin. 4. To Calm Skin Irritation, Redness and Sun-Burnt Skin: Mix the pulp of tomato with yoghurt and apply the mixture on your face. Wait for twenty minutes and rinse. This pack helps to soothe irritated and sun-burnt skin. 5. To Fade Away Tan: Mix tomato juice and lemon juice together and apply it on your skin. Since both lemon and tomato have bleaching properties, the mixture would help to clear tan and fade uneven skin tone.
6. As a Scrub To Exfoliate: Cut tomato into two halves and dip one half into granulated sugar. Now, use it to scrub your face gently. Regular use of this scrub would make skin soft, smooth, and bright.
How to Lighten Facial Hair with Tomatoes Easy Homemade Tan Removal Treatments
Have you been told that you have prediabetes or that you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes? You’re not alone. Prediabetes is extremely common, affecting more than one third of all American adults. The good news is that you can control, or even reverse, this condition by making a few simple diet and lifestyle changes — no medications required.
Read on to learn about prediabetes and the steps you can take today to reverse it.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a health condition in which your blood sugar levels are above the normal range but not high enough for you to be diagnosed with diabetes.
It is one of the most common conditions in the modern world, and the number of people affected by this condition is growing steadily.
According to one study, about 88 million adults living in the US had prediabetes in 2020. Today, the CDC estimates that roughly 96 million American adults have prediabetes — about 38% of the US population, or more than 1 in 3 people. And most people with prediabetes are unaware that they have it.
By contrast, the CDC estimates that about 37 million American adults, or 1 in 7 people, have diabetes.
Where does the high blood sugar come from?
The sugar (glucose) in your blood comes from eating certain foods and from your liver. Your liver stores sugar and releases it into your bloodstream as needed.
When you eat sugar and starches, they are broken down into glucose and quickly absorbed into your blood. This causes your blood sugar to begin rising. In response, your pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that directs glucose to move from your blood into your cells. When this is working well, the sugar, or glucose, in your blood stays within a narrow range.
If you have prediabetes, in most cases, your pancreas produces insulin normally, but your cells don’t fully respond to insulin’s effects. This is called insulin resistance, and it causes blood sugar to increase above the healthy range. As a result, your pancreas produces even more insulin in an attempt to return high blood sugar to normal levels.
During prediabetes, your blood sugar and insulin levels may gradually increase over several years. In short, you don’t go from having normal blood sugar one day to having type 2 diabetes the next. It’s an evolving process. And prediabetes is the intermediate step.
In some cases, diabetes complications can start developing during the prediabetes stage — including eye, kidney, and nerve damage — years before any symptoms occur. Having prediabetes also increases your risk of heart disease.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This Thai-inspired red curry hummus recipe is quick and easy to make with the most delicious blend of savory, tangy, creamy flavors.
So many of the flavors you love in a zesty Thai red curry…blended into a delicious hummus! ♡
This zesty dip has become a favorite of mine lately for quick and easy entertaining. Since we make Thai curries so often in our house, I almost always have the basic seasonings (curry paste, coconut milk, limes, ginger, garlic) on hand, all of which pair wonderfully with the classic combination of chickpeas and tahini. All you need to do is simply toss everything together in the food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. And in less than 10 minutes, this flavorful dip will be ready to serve and enjoy!
We love serving ours with crudités, bread (naan or pita), crackers, or any other dippers that sound good. Or of course, it would also be delicious as a spread on wraps, burgers, sandwiches and more.
Let’s make some!
Red Curry Hummus Ingredients
Before we get to the full recipe below, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need to make this red curry hummus:
Chickpeas, tahini and olive oil: We’ll stick with these classic hummus ingredients as the base for this recipe.
Thai red curry paste: I’m partial to this brand, but any favorite Thai red curry paste will do. Please note that brands of Thai curry pastes can vary significantly when it comes to heat levels and seasoning blends. So I recommend adding less to the recipe begin, then you can always add more.
Coconut milk: I love the creamy, slightly sweet touch that a good splash of coconut milk adds to this hummus.
Fresh lime juice: I also recommend going big on the amount of lime juice that you add here. It really brightens things up and brings out the best of the curry flavors.
Ground ginger: I’ve most often been making this hummus with ground ginger, but you’re welcome to sub in fresh if you have some on hand.
Garlic: I recommend adding in two cloves of raw garlic, but feel free to add more or less to taste.
Sea salt: As always, be sure to season the hummus with salt to taste.
Optional garnishes: Then as a garnish, you’re welcome to add in a drizzle of olive oil, extra chickpeas, chopped fresh cilantro or Thai basil, chopped scallions, and/or chopped peanuts.
Potential Recipe Variations
Here are a few ways that you are welcome to customize this red curry hummus recipe too:
Use green curry paste: Swap in Thai green curry paste in place of red to make a green curry hummus. (I recommend starting with 1 tablespoon, then you can always add more to taste.)
Use fresh ginger: Use 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh ginger in place of ground ginger.
Blend in herbs: Blend some of the fresh herbs directly into the hummus instead of (or in addition to) using them as a garnish.
More Easy Dip Recipes
Looking for more easy blended dip recipes to try? Here are a few of my faves!
This Thai-inspired red curry hummus recipe is quick and easy to make with the most delicious blend of savory, tangy, creamy flavors.
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup tahini
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste, to taste
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled
optional garnishes: drizzle of olive oil, extra chickpeas, chopped fresh cilantro, chopped scallions, and/or chopped peanuts
Purée.Combine all ingredients in a food processor and purée for 2-3 minutes until very smooth.
Season.Taste and season with extra salt, curry paste and/or lime juice if needed.
Serve.Serve immediately with desired garnishes and dippers and enjoy!
Storage instructions: Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 1 week.
The sun’s coming out, so it’s time to heat up the barbie for a summer of al-fresco dining on delicious meats, salads and sides. We’ve rounded up the best barbecue side dish recipes to put the cherry on top of the ultimate barbecue feast.
When you think of barbecues, you think burgers, sausages, kebabs and chicken, but what about the dishes that tie the whole spread together? The real unsung hero of the old ‘BBQ’: side dishes. Recipes like potato salad and corn on the cob are real grill-side staples, and others like Jamie’s sticky barbecued prawn salad make for more out-there sides to impress the guests. Your feast isn’t complete without a selection of these incredible barbecue side dish recipes on the table for everyone to get stuck into, so let’s get started.
Check out our guide to rustling up the ultimate BBQ spread this summer.
Potato salad is always a crowd-pleaser at barbecues, and this fresh and tangy version is seriously easy to put together in a rush. Plus, it’s mayonnaise-free, using a homemade vinaigrette to pack the punch instead.
Sweet peaches and salty halloumi, all topped off with the glorious flavours of a smoky grilling – we’re sure that this barbecue side dish will be a serious contender for the most popular plate on the table.
This salad sounds like a proper indulgence, but it’s actually seriously fresh and tastes unbelievable. Use raw prawns for ultimate freshness and enjoy all that goodness alongside all your usual barbecue classics.
If you’re after the perfect veggie barbecue side dish recipe, this is it. Charred veggies mixed up with fresh herbs, caramelised pistachios and all the goodness of bulgar wheat with a feta cheese topping – you can’t go wrong.
That’s right, it’s another brilliant potato salad recipe but, this time, with a twist. Topping your crispy potatoes with a beautiful, quick pickle will take this simple salad dish to a whole new level.
A dish that’ll have the whole table reaching for second helpings is Jamie’s best pasta salad recipe, whipped together in just a few simple, fresh ingredients that come together in perfect harmony.
Breads don’t have to be difficult, and actually focaccia is one of the easiest, so why not try this beautifully flavoured version to serve at your summer blow-out.
It’s as simple as it sounds. Just add a sprinkling of feta and some delicious toasted pine nuts and this fresh, fruity salad is ready to be served.
Hungry for more? Our selection of sumptuous summer recipes will hit the spot.
Kim Kardashian received a lot of flak recently when she revealed details about her extreme dieting routine to fit into a figure-hugging dress that was initially worn by Marilyn Monroe way back in 1962, on President John F. Kennedy’s 45th birthday. Marilyn Monroe created a stir when she wore a shimmery sheer dress and 60 years later, Kim Kardashian managed to create the same kind of noise, although for a different reason – for following an extremely restrictive diet and for wearing sauna suit daily in order to trim approximately 7.2 kg in two weeks – just to fit into this iconic dress. Experts all over the world raised a hue and cry on how Kim Kardashian was kind of promoting a wrong kind of slim-down formula which is not at all safe. Many termed it as crash dieting, slashing down calorie intake drastically, to manipulate the body to shed weight (most of it water and muscle weight), and warned of it having dangerous consequences – hair fall, health issues, malnutrition, imbalance in blood sugar, low blood pressure, extreme weakness listed out some common side effects. Further, they say, the results are short lived since the body would gain all the extra pounds once you are off such a restrictive diet. If you are thinking of going the Kim Kardashian way, experts warn that there can be serious health repercussions associated. While celebs like Kim Kardashian promote wrong methods and strategies to lose weight quickly, there are much more safer ways to get lean and fit. Read all about them here.
1. Fill your Meal Plate with Veggies: You can ensure nutrient intake is not compromised by portioning up half of your meal plate with veggies. Instead of eating as less as possible, make enough room for nutrient-dense and low-calorie food such as veggies. Additionally, a lot of veggies have antioxidants that reduce inflammation and help manage weight better. In fact, check out this list of “12 Top Vegetables that also help reduce Tummy Fat.” 2. Start with a Protein-Rich Breakfast: Protein is an important nutrient for weight loss because it keeps one full for longer, keeps unnecessary cravings away, promotes fat burning, boosts metabolism, and helps with muscle building. Starting your day with a protein-rich breakfast keeps you full for most part of the day, keeps hunger hormone “ghrelin” in check, helps burn more calories with its thermogenic properties, and curbs frequent hunger pangs. Do check out the Rati Beauty diet to find recipes of protein-rich breakfast that would help with inch loss as well as overall weight loss. 3. Quit Sugar for 14 Days, In All Forms: Love cupcakes, cookies, desserts, biscuits, chocolates, all mithai in general? To lose weight quickly, quit all of them for at least 14 days. Sugar has loads of empty calories and causes insulin spike, and as we all know by know, insulin is also a hormone that encourages fat storage in the body. Also, spike in insulin and subsequent slump will leave you craving for more food, upping your daily calorie intake. Quit sugar and you can see the weight drop relatively fast. 4. These Minerals Help you Shed Extra Weight: Minerals are nutrients that are necessary to run a lot of important body functions, from carrying blood to your vital organs to relaying neurotransmitters in the brain. Minerals like chromium, zinc, magnesium, iodine, calcium all help in the fat-burning process and crash dieting can deprive you of essential vitamins and minerals that only whole and natural foods can provide. Research has found that calcium and chromium deficiencies can in fact lead to weight gain. So, do make sure you are not missing out on these essential minerals, readily available through whole foods, fruits, and veggies. 5. Form Healthy Eating Habits: Mindful eating, portion control, avoiding frequent snacking, cutting out the frequency of eating out/ordering food are part of healthy eating habits that will show visible results within a few days. 6. Do NEAT all Day Long: Being on your feet throughout the day helps in burning calories and keeps metabolism robust. One hour of gymming is never enough to lose weight, keep moving throughout the day and practice NEAT activities. NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis and is the energy we use for everything we do in our day-to-day life except for when we are sleeping or exercising. Using the stairs instead of the lift, squatting on the floor to lift something up, walking while talking on the phone, every activity we do while being on our feet, comes under NEAT. All these activities help to burn some amount of calories and these bits of calories spent here and there, add up to a considerable amount when you are trying to lose weight. Read more about how you can include NEAT activities in your daily life here. 7. Don’t Compromise on Good-Quality Sleep: Getting good quality sleep, and that too for at least 7 to 8 hours, can do wonders for the whole weight loss process. You can literally have no food during the day and be a gym rat, but without a good night’s sleep, it becomes absolutely difficult to lose weight. The better you sleep at night, more would be the chances of the body burning visceral fat and flattening out of the tummy fat. Also, when you wake up, it would be with a strong metabolism and low levels of ghrelin hormone (which is the hormone that makes you hungry). Additionally, 7 hours of sleep would help reduce cortisol level (stress hormone), which is one of the major reasons for increase in belly fat. 8. Say no to Processed Food: Completely avoid any form of processed food (any food with more than 5 ingredients listed on the package). Eat food in its natural form, without any preservatives or additives. Also, make sure there’s absolutely no transfat in your diet because it’s the main reason behind buildup of belly fat. 9. Try HIIT Exercises: HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and not only does a short-duration HIIT burn more calories, it helps release more visceral fat and most of it happens when your body is resting. The best thing about HIIT is that your body burns more calories even hours after the workout has been done. Check out this “7-Minute HIIT Routine” that anyone can do in the comfort of one’s home.
With these tips, it’s easy to lose weight, and safely too!
6 Minerals That Help you Shed Extra Weight 12 Top Vegetables To Include in your Diet To Reduce Tummy Fat
Do you have high blood pressure? If you do, you are not alone. An estimated 1.4 billion people in the world have blood pressure that is too high. In North America and Europe it affects one in every three people. Just like obesity and diabetes, rates of high blood pressure have been climbing in all regions of the world over the last four decades.
Having high blood pressure, called hypertension by doctors, puts you at much higher risk of heart attacks and strokes, as well as other serious health issues like congestive heart failure, kidney disease, eye damage, and dementia.
In the US, high blood pressure is now the primary or contributing cause to an estimated 1,100 deaths every single day. World-wide, hypertension contributes to an estimated 10 million premature deaths each year, mostly through heart attacks and strokes.
But here is the good news: you can reduce high blood pressure with simple lifestyle changes. If those changes are not enough, high blood pressure medications may help.
This in-depth guide tells you what you need to know about high blood pressure.
It is part of a series of Diet Doctor guides all about blood pressure issues. This guide is for people with a confirmed high blood pressure diagnosis. Check out the companion guides, and especially note the introductory blood pressure guide as it details what blood pressure is and how to measure blood pressure accurately, including issues that can lead to inaccurate measurements.
1. What is high blood pressure?
The name says it all: high blood pressure is blood that is flowing through your arteries at higher than normal pressures.
As your heart beats or contracts, it ejects blood to circulate it through the body. Each beat of the heart causes a strong whoosh of blood, like a pump being squeezed.
The upper number in your blood pressure (the systolic) is the pressure of blood on the artery wall as the heart contracts. The lower number (the diastolic) is the pressure on the artery wall between the beats or when the heart relaxes. (To remember systolic and diastolic think of the first letters as “sky” and “dirt.”)
The two numbers of your blood pressure are written as a fraction, such as 140/92 and read out as “140 over 92.”
Everyone’s blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day, usually rising in the morning until its highest point in late afternoon, then falling over night.
Blood pressure can also rise with exercise, stress, anxiety, fear, agitation and other strong emotions. Even holding your breath can raise your blood pressure a few points. Your blood pressure will never be exactly the same from one reading to the next. What is most important is the general range of readings and how much they fluctuate.
High blood pressure, however, means consistent readings above the normal range of 120/80.
2. High blood pressure chart and numbers
As can be seen from this blood pressure chart, high blood pressure is now classified into different stages.
Elevated (light yellow on graph): This is blood pressure that is slightly higher than normal, sometimes called pre-hypertension. The systolic pressure is between 120 and 129 and the diastolic is below 80.
Stage 1 (light orange on graph): Blood pressure that is consistently between 130 to 139 systolic or 80 to 89 diastolic is called Stage 1 hypertension or mild hypertension. Lifestyle changes are often very successful in normalizing Stage 1 hypertension. If blood pressure continues to rise over time in spite of lifestyle changes, medication may be recommended by healthcare practitioners.
Stage 2: Blood pressure that is consistently between 140 to 179 systolic and 90 to 119 diastolic is more severe hypertension and associated with more long-term health concerns. Most guidelines recommend immediate medication for pressures this high if there are other cardiovascular risk factors. We suggest, however, that you also ask your doctor about the utility of lifestyle interventions as an initial approach.
Hypertensive crisis: If a blood pressure reading is ever higher than 180 systolic and/or 120 diastolic this is an emergency. You need to see your doctor or go to your local hospital right away. Pressure this high can be life-threatening and can rapidly damage delicate tissues in your organs, especially in your heart, lungs, brain, kidneys and eyes. Fortunately, a hypertensive crisis is relatively rare and impacts only about 1 to 2% of people with high blood pressure.However, research suggests that up to 25% of people who are diagnosed each year with hypertensive crisis did not know they had high blood pressure at all.
3. What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is called the silent killer because most people with stage 1 or stage 2 hypertension have no outward symptoms at all. Nada. Not one!
The only way high blood pressure is usually found is by regular blood pressure checks. Your doctor should check your blood pressure at a minimum every year at your annual visit. Accurate public blood pressure monitors are often found in places like pharmacies, gyms and community centers, especially in North America. A home monitor is also an affordable, automatic and accurate way to keep tabs on your blood pressure.
If you check your blood pressure regularly you will know if you are trending towards higher pressures or if your lifestyle changes or medications are lowering your measurements.
Symptoms of hypertensive crisis
While stage 1 and stage 2 hypertension do not have outward symptoms, a hypertensive crisis is more likely to have symptoms (although it can still be asymptomatic). This can be any of the following:
blurry or distorted vision
nausea or vomiting
shortness of breath
Again, a hypertensive crisis with blood pressure above 180/120 is a medical emergency. Seek immediate medical care.
4. What causes high blood pressure?
Scientists don’t know why high blood pressure occurs in some people and not in others. In fact, 95% of high blood pressure cases have no direct, discernible cause. This is called primary, or essential, hypertension. (When there is a clear cause, it is called secondary hypertension — see below.)
With primary hypertension, it is known that a number of risk factors predispose individuals to having high blood pressure. These risk factors include obesity, sedentary lifestyle, high levels of alcohol consumption, smoking, stress, family history and certain ethnicities.
Not everyone with these common risk factors will develop high blood pressure, but these conditions are associated with a higher risk of receiving a diagnosis of hypertension.
African Americans at higher risk
If you have African genetic heritage, especially if you live in the US, your risk of having high blood pressure as you age is much higher than other ethnicities. The reason why is hotly debated. Is it largely a genetic difference, such as in the way salt is handled by the body? Or is it more a result of socio-economic factors leading to issues like stress, poor diet, or reduced access to medical care? Or could it be a number of linked genetic, societal and environmental causes?
Scientific research isn’t definitive, but the difference is real. A recent study found that 75% of African-American men and women had high blood pressure by age 55, compared to only 50% of Caucasian men and 40% of Caucasian women.In the US, African Americans are two times more likely to die of a stroke and five times more likely to develop end-stage kidney disease from high blood pressure. That means lifestyle changes and the right medications are especially important for African Americans.
Blood pressure increases with age
Increasing age is also a risk factor for high blood pressure for everyone. As we age, our blood vessels stiffen and become less elastic. This can increase the pressure in the arteries.
It is debated, however, whether high blood pressure in the elderly, especially those over age 80, needs to have the same aggressive treatment to lower it back into normal ranges. That is because the use of high blood pressure medications can have risky side effects, such as dizziness or lightheadedness leading to hip-breaking falls, especially in those who are frail and old. This higher risk of drug side effects may come without much benefit in reducing the number of heart attacks, strokes, or premature deaths. So if you are older, a careful discussion with your doctor is needed.
One recent trial, called the SPRINT Trial, did show a small overall mortality benefit in the elderly who were aggressively treated for hypertension, but it came along with increased risk of hypotension, falls, and kidney disease.
Even though we don’t yet have scientific data to prove it, it makes sense that lifestyle changes in the elderly, such as adopting a low-carb diet, may work to lower blood pressure and cause fewer side effects than medications. More studies are needed to confirm the benefits of dietary changes in this demographic, keeping in mind that elderly people may find it harder to drastically change their diet.
However, promising-but-early research by Dr. David Unwin and colleagues shows that a low-carb diet appears to be effective for lowering blood pressure across a wide range of ages, among patients with hypertension and insulin resistance in primary care practice.
Secondary causes of hypertension
In some cases — less than 10% — high blood pressure is caused by a distinct, treatable or reversible factor such as an illness, a medication, a rare hormone-secreting tumor, or another substance. This is called secondary hypertension.
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, especially if you are under the age of 30, or if your blood pressure increases rapidly with no previous indication that your blood pressure was trending higher, you and your doctor should closely examine whether the sudden rise might be caused by a reversible factor.
The following are the most common causes of secondary hypertension:
Specific chronic conditions: A number of treatable conditions can cause high blood pressure. These include various renal diseases, sleep apnea, a congenital narrowing of the aorta (aortic coarctation), and various problems with the adrenal glands including hormone-secreting tumors. Treating the underlying condition can reduce or normalize blood pressure.
Medications: a number of prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs have side effects that include increasing blood pressure. These include:
Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy, especially with higher estrogen doses.
Oral decongestants found in some cold and allergy medications.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) for pain relief and inflammation.
Stimulant drugs used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), especially mixed amphetamine salts (Adderall).
Herbal supplements including St. John’s Wort, ginseng, ginkgo, blue kohosh.
Licorice: A compound in licorice root called glycyrrhizin — which is found in licorice-flavoured herbal teas, candies, lozenges, and herbal remedies — is a very potent blood pressure-raising agent. Its use has prompted a number of case studies and a warning from the US Food and Drug Administration. Check if any licorice or licorice extract is in your diet.
Alcohol: especially if consumed in larger quantities on a daily basis.
Recreational drugs: Cocaine, methamphetamines and other stimulant recreational drugs.
If you receive a sudden diagnosis of high blood pressure, rule out any possible underlying health conditions with your doctor and review with your pharmacist all medications, supplements, and other products you are using that may have contributed to this unexpected rise.
5. Why high blood pressure is dangerous
If high blood pressure has no symptoms and no known cause, why do we care so much about lowering it? Because it silently causes significant damage.
Just as too much water pressure in a garden hose can weaken the walls of the hose and the spray can be too strong when blasted on delicate plants, blood flowing through our arteries under too much pressure can weaken and damage blood vessel walls, or damage the delicate organ structures and tissues that receive the high-pressure flow. The longer blood pressure stays high, the more damage it can cause.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure over time can predispose us to any of the following:
Stroke: High blood pressure damages the vessels both leading to the brain and in the brain, potentially leading to narrowing or blockages that result in decreased blood flow and eventual damage to the brain itself. High blood pressure can also cause blood clots that block blood flow to the brain.
Heart attack: High blood pressure can damage the essential coronary arteries that feed the heart muscle, predisposing the vessels to the formation of plaque. Blood clots, too, more common in those with high blood pressure, can block the arteries, starving the heart muscle of blood flow.
Congestive heart failure: The heart that is pumping out blood under higher pressure can tire, weaken, enlarge and become less effective as a pump. This causes heart failure.
Kidney damage: High blood pressure scars and damages delicate structures in the kidneys, including blood vessels and blood-filtering tissues, preventing these organs from doing their essential blood-cleaning job and leading to permanent damage and chronic kidney disease.
Eye damage: The delicate blood vessels of the retina can be damaged, causing narrowing, ruptured vessels, swelling of the optic nerve, and vision problems or vision loss. Sometimes the first signs of high blood pressure can be seen on an eye exam, before any other damage is noted.
Dementia: Long term high blood pressure not only greatly increases the risk of stroke, it increases the risk of subtle damage to brain blood vessels, contributing to eventual cognitive decline.
6. Next steps
No doubt about it, high blood pressure is a significant cause of disease, illness and death. It truly is important to do what you can to bring it back into normal ranges.
Cut the carbs, control the pressure
Reducing the sugar and carbohydrates in your diet is emerging as a powerful, effective way of lowering your blood pressure. In fact, while high salt consumption has often been blamed for the epidemic of hypertension, some experts believe that the high sugar consumption in our diet — and carbohydrate foods that rapidly digest to sugar — may be a larger issue.
Many individuals who adopt a low-carb or ketogenic diet see a rapid reduction in blood pressure. The Virta study of cardiovascular disease markers found that diastolic blood pressure measurements dropped significantly in participants and 11.5% were able to stop high blood pressure medications.
However, there is still uncertainty about the long term blood pressure-lowering benefits of a low-carb diet, and whether the effect is due to weight loss alone or from an added benefit of lowering carbohydrates.
Doctors who practice low-carb medicine need to know that this result is common, so they can anticipate blood pressure falling and take extra care to monitor blood pressure and adjust patients’ blood pressure medications where needed. Some patients are even able to eliminate blood pressure medications completely.
Why does it work? Research is still preliminary, but a number of mechanisms are theorized: weight loss, lower levels of circulating insulin, reduced insulin resistance, improved insulin sensitivity, reduction in sodium retention by the kidney, lowered blood sugar, and others.
Diet Doctor has many guides and resources to get you started on a low-carb or ketogenic diet. Check out these two beginner guides.
7. Other lifestyle modifications
Several other lifestyle changes are effective for bringing blood pressure down. These include adding moderate exercise, reducing alcohol, managing stress and quitting smoking.
Check out our in-depth guide about how to normalize your blood pressure naturally. It explains in more detail why a low-carb diet can be so effective at addressing high blood pressure, plus easy ways to incorporate lifestyle changes into your routines for better blood pressure control.
How to normalize your blood pressure
Guide Elevated blood pressure is a common health issue today, but you can improve your blood pressure using simple lifestyle changes.
Medications work, too
Sometimes lifestyle changes are not enough to bring your blood pressure back into healthy ranges. In that case, you will need to take blood pressure medication. Sometimes a single drug can do the trick, or it may take a combination of drugs.
Our in-depth guide to common high blood pressure medications goes through how blood pressure medications work and their risks and benefits. The guide also details what you need to know about working with your doctor to adjust blood pressure medications on a low-carb diet.
In short, while a high blood pressure diagnosis is a serious condition not to be taken lightly, you can take many actions today to improve your blood pressure readings right away and safeguard your health for the future.