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Sandeep Rajbhandari

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Are you already anticipating a turkey-day dietary torpedo that’s going to decimate your carefully plotted eating plans? Listen, it’s only natural to splurge a little on Thanksgiving. However, you may be wondering if overindulging on ONE DAY is enough to derail your goals. Let’s take a look at what going a bit “overboard” on Thanksgiving means for your healthy intentions.

How Many Calories Does the Average Person Consume on Thanksgiving?

It’s time for a moment of truth! Be prepared to be a little bit shocked when you discover just how much we’re all eating on Thanksgiving. According to data from the Calorie Control Council, the average person consumes 3,000 calories in a single Thanksgiving meal. We’ll do a breakdown of exactly where those calories are coming from in a minute. First, let’s run a comparison on what those 3,000 calories are equal to in real-world terms using some research provided by USA Today. Here’s what you could eat to equal one typical Thanksgiving meal:

  • Six Big Macs from McDonalds’s.
  • 10 Caesar salads from Panera.
  • 12 servings of Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream.
  • 14 strawberry-iced donuts from Krispy Kreme.

The truth is that 3,000 calories for a single meal is no small thing. The current dietary guidelines for adults show that many of us are going over our total calorie counts for an entire day with one meal on Thanksgiving. Based on recommendations, adult men should be consuming between 2,000 and 3,000 calories per day. The range is 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for adult women.

Where Do Thanksgiving Calories Come From?

Where are those 3,000 calories coming from when we sit down for Thanksgiving? The good news about Thanksgiving dinner is that it provides many opportunities for lean proteins and vegetables. This is where portion control can work to your advantage because “tasting a little bit of everything” can help you stay within a more reasonable calorie range without feeling deprived. According to the Calorie Control Council, here’s what the breakdown for a typical Thanksgiving meal might look like for the average American:

Appetizers/Dips/Snacks

  • Cheese ball with nuts (2 tablespoons): 246 calories/20 grams of fat.
  • Crackers (serving of 10): 177 calories/7 grams of fat.
  • Potato chips (serving of 10): 150 calories/10 grams of fat.
  • Dip (2 tablespoons): 60 calories/5 grams of fat.

Main Dish

  • Skinless roasted turkey (4 ounces): 190 calories/6 grams of fat.

Side Dishes

  • Cornbread (1 square): 15 calories/5 grams of fat.
  • Bread stuffing (1 cup): 355 calories/17 grams of fat.
  • Gravy (1/2 cup): 178 calories/13 grams of fat.
  • Sweet-potato casserole (1 cup): 276 calories/6 grams of fat.
  • Green-bean casserole (1 cup): 143 calories/8 grams of fat.
  • Cranberry sauce (1/2 cup): 209 calories/0 grams of fat.
  • Carrot-raisin salad with dressing (1 cup): 319 calories/30 grams of fat.

Beverages

  • Sweet tea (1 cup): 37 calories/0 grams of fat.

Dessert

  • Pecan pie (1/8 of a 9-inch pie): 456 calories/21 grams of fat.

Extras

  • Butter (1 tablespoon): 102 calories/11 grams of fat.

Now, your meal may look a little bit different depending on your family traditions and personal holiday favorites. However, this breakdown gives you a good look at where you can easily add some checks and balances to your Thanksgiving meal. For instance, the surprising “danger zone” appears to be a seemingly healthy dish like carrot-raisin salad. However, there’s no doubt that the dressing can put a dish like that over the edge for calories and fat. You can also see just how many calories you can wipe from the scoreboard if you skip the cheese-and-cracker plate in favor of waiting to begin chowing down until you get to your main course.

This particular breakdown from the Calorie Control Council uses pecan pie as the default dessert. You may be wondering how the count looks if you’re more of a pumpkin pie person. According to the USDA, the average slice of pumpkin pie contains 225 calories and 9.3 grams of fat. That means you’re basically slicing calories and fat in half if you go with pumpkin over pecan.

You may have noticed that alcoholic drinks are absent from this list. Be warned that a few drinks can significantly increase your calorie total on Thanksgiving. If breaking out the spirits is simply part of your holiday tradition, there’s no reason to deprive yourself just because you’re counting calories. However, you may want to try to balance “liquid calories” with solid calories to take into account the calories and carbs you’ll be consuming in the form of wine, beer, or liquor. The average serving of beer has between 142 calories and 338 calories. For wine, the calorie count is 120 calories to 130 calories per 5-ounce glass.

Will Splurging on Thanksgiving Really Derail Your Goals?

So far, we’ve covered what the calorie count looks like for the average Thanksgiving meal. Some people are focused on finding ways to eat less on Thanksgiving to avoid a “splurge.” Others simply want to know if going wild on one day can sabotage their goals and progress. Let’s dive in to dissect that second question.

Our first instinct may be to wonder how many calories we’d need to eat on Thanksgiving to gain weight. However, a person in a health-first mindset should really be focusing on something else. What we need to worry about is slipping into a “Thanksgiving eating” mindset that lasts for weeks or months. With Thanksgiving being on a Thursday, it’s easy to slip into a mode of overindulging with promises of “living it up” for the long weekend before getting back to a more sensible eating plan on Monday. The reality is that every day that passes with loose eating rules is one more day that makes it harder to stick to our plans.

The Secret to Eating Healthy on Thanksgiving: Make a Plan for Friday

Having a plan to return to sensible eating without feeling deprived in the days following Thanksgiving is really what differentiates the successful from the unsuccessful in this arena. Don’t just make a plan to go grocery shopping to stock up on better foods the weekend after Thanksgiving. This is when the temptation to stay in holiday eating mode will be stronger than most people can handle. A better option is to have your fridge pre-stocked with tasty, satisfying meals that you’re going to be happy to reach for when you’re ready to resume post-Thanksgiving normalcy.

What’s the Truth About Being Derailed by Thanksgiving Overeating?

As promised, it’s time cover if splurging on Thanksgiving really can derail your goals. According to Women’s Health, this probably isn’t something you have to worry about. It’s nearly impossible to gain weight “overnight.”

“In order to gain weight, you’d have to eat 3,500 more calories than you typically eat and burn off to maintain your figure,” according to the magazine. That means that you’d have to add an additional 3,500 calories on top of the 1,600 to 3,000 you’re already eating as a man or woman following the standard dietary guidelines. It works out to be 5,100 to 6,500 calories consumed on Thanksgiving Day. The fact that the average American consumes 3,000 calories during just Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t make this impossible. However, it is pretty unlikely.

There’s something important to remember here. That 3,500 calorie figure does not take into account calories burned. That means that every bit of physical activity you do on Thanksgiving Day is added to your forgiveness column. You have every reason to plan a Thanksgiving hike, family walk, friendly dance party, or post-meal flag-football game! Those fun activities can genuinely help you offset your huge calorie spike for the day. They will also give you a nice energy boost that will leave you even more energized to resume your healthy lifestyle the next morning.

Should You Splurge on Thanksgiving If You’re Trying to Lose Weight?

Thanksgiving is Thanksgiving! There’s no reason to put yourself through suffering just because you happen to have some weight-specific goals in mind. Go ahead and eat what you love without guilt if you believe that a little splurging is what makes life worth living. If possible, do your best to make little substitutions along the way during Thanksgiving to help you to enjoy what you love without adding unnecessary calories. The bottom line? It’s more important to focus on your mindset going into Thanksgiving dinner than it is to focus on your calories if you’re in it for the long game. Thanksgiving is just one day. Your mindset for getting back to healthy eating after a lovely day with family or friends is what will ultimately make or break your goals.

Overstuffed is only good when we’re talking about the turkey… not our stomachs. Follow these 10 tips to eating healthier and lighter during this feast-worthy holiday.

Festive gatherings filled with friends, family, and food. That’s what often comes to mind when thinking of Thanksgiving day. But, for some, this day carries a lot of anxiety.

“How will I maintain my healthy lifestyle throughout the holidays?”
“There are never any healthy meals at dinner. I just shouldn’t go this year…”
“What’s the use? My diet is ruined, I might as well just eat whatever I want.”

Pssst… we have a secret for you: THANKSGIVING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY! Okay, sorry. That was a bit aggressive. But, it’s true! With the right game plan, you can conquer this holiday guilt-free and without restrictions. Thanksgiving won’t derail your health goals, and we’ll show you how.

Why We Fall Off the Wagon Every Thanksgiving
Millions of Americans will gain a pound over the holidays, despite a well-thought-out diet plan held throughout the year. The reason these diets fail around Thanksgiving is that they address the wrong problem. It’s not your willpower.

It’s the environmental cues we surround ourselves with that trigger our appetite and food habits. Thanksgiving, especially, combines some of the worst environmental cues for overeating. There is plenty of food easily accessible, lots of company to share the moment, and an increasing amount of variety. Your willpower is easily overwhelmed by all of these cues to eat.

How to Combat the Holiday Food Guilt
When it comes to sticking to your nutrition plan and keeping the holidays as healthy as possible, it’s important to alter the environmental cues around you. Now, this doesn’t mean avoiding get-togethers with family and friends or restricting yourself by any means. All we encourage you to do this holiday is to follow these 10 guidelines as best you can:

1. Keep It Squeaky Clean Leading Up Dinner

Thanksgiving week can often be filled with tumultuous treats and recipe sampling leading up to the big day. But, it’s important to keep food quality high during this time. Focus on crushing protein and veggie-heavy meals throughout the week as well as the day of.

While many individuals skip meals on Thanksgiving day in preparation for the feast, sticking to small, satisfying meals will help curb your appetite for dinnertime. Start your day with eggs and toast or a bowl of whole-grain cereal and low-fat milk to avoid overindulging later that day.

2. Offer Up Your Cooking Skills

Walking into someone else’s party without your own food is asking for hidden calories. Instead, offer to meal prep for the occasion, bringing healthy side dishes filled with veggies, fruits, or proteins. These types of foods are always lacking around this holiday, so switch it up and provide a healthy option for you and others! This also gives you the opportunity to make some smart swaps with foods traditionally high in calories.

For example, mashed potatoes! While we love these tasty spuds, the appeal is more about the lush, smooth texture than any standout flavor… as well as a vehicle for gravy. However, you can swap out the mashed taters with pureed cauliflower instead. This cruciferous vegetable has six times the Vitamin C, twice the fiber, and fewer calories than the standard spud.

Not a master chef? We can help! Choose from any of our a la carte options to ensure there’s a healthy, tasty side dish ready for you at dinner.

3. Fill Up on Fiber & Water

Eating a nutritious meal with protein and fiber before you arrive takes the edge off your appetite and allows you to be more discriminating in your food and beverage choices. However, it doesn’t have to stop there. Try to fill half your plate with non-starchy veggies come feast time.

This may include brussels sprouts, green beans, carrots, bell peppers, or a green salad. Aim to make your plate as colorful as possible. As well, sipping on water throughout the day will curb cravings and keep you full in-between meals!

4. Limit the Bubbly

These fun gatherings often call for a splash of liquid courage. But this doesn’t have to derail your healthy eating habits. Alcohol can lower blood sugar and those alcohol calories that can add up quickly.

If you do have alcohol this Thanksgiving, have it with food. Also, set a goal to minimize any boozy drinks to about 2-3 servings. In between drinks, sip on some refreshing La Croix, Zevia, Kombucha, or water.

5. Stick to Your Routine

Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean your routine has to change. Crush some breakfast, hit a workout, or take a time-out to recharge from family and friends. If you love journaling in the morning or taking a mid-afternoon walk, DO IT! Consistency is key to keeping your healthy habits alive and well during the holiday.

As well, try to keep your food routine the same, if not similar. Eat close to your usual times to keep your blood sugar steady. If your meal is served later than normal, eat a small snack at your usual mealtime and eat a little less when dinner is served.

6. Police Your Portions

Thanksgiving tables are bountiful and beautiful displays of traditional family favorites. But before you let Aunt Irma stack your plate high with “a little bit of everything,” scout the buffet table to decide what you really want to treat yourself to. Then select reasonable-sized portions of foods you cannot live without.

If you are still hungry after your first plate, head back for seconds to sample a bit more. Start conservative and add as your stomach sees fit.

7. Feast on Your Favorites

No food is on the naughty list. Don’t waste your calories on foods that you can have all year long. Choose the dishes you really love and can’t get any other time of year. Fill half your plate with small portions of holiday favorites and the other half with healthy veggie options.

Or if appetizers are your thing, grab a plate and fill up. No sense saving yourself for the main meal if turkey and trimmings leave you cold. Don’t feel obligated to eat specific foods, regardless if they’re deemed “bad” or “good.”

8. Get Physical… Physical

Getting physical and staying active means many things to many people. But when it comes to the holiday season, especially Thanksgiving, fitness doesn’t have to be so strict. Make it a family adventure! Take the kids for a walk early in the day or after dinner. It is a wonderful way to get some physical activity in a fun and social way.

While you may burn off the calories from your future meal, there are other benefits to being active. Exercising before a meal puts you in a positive mindset with an eye toward health, and exercising afterward can help banish that uncomfortably full feeling. Find which option works best for you and your schedule!

9. Savor It Slowly

Ever sit down for a delicious meal only for it to be over in the blink of an eye? You weren’t able to truly appreciate everything that went into the meal. This often leaves you unsatisfied and over-stuffed.

Eating slowly, putting your fork down between bites, and tasting each mouthful is one of the easiest ways to enjoy your meal and feel satisfied. Choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, and other foods with lots of water and fiber will also add to the feeling of fullness.

10. Enjoy the Day with Friends and Family

Thanksgiving is not just about the delicious bounty of food. It’s a time to celebrate relationships with family and friends. The main event should be socializing and spending quality time together. Even if you slip up during this time, you can easily get right back to healthy eating with your next meal.

The most important thing about this holiday is being able to enjoy it with loved ones instead of stressing over what the scale might say the next day. Remember Thanksgiving is a holi-DAY, not a holi-WEEK or holi-YEAR. Become aware of your environment and adjust your habits to conquer the day successfully!

Feeling a little sluggish in the digestion department? Unfortunately, even just a few days of grabbing for the wrong foods can leave us feeling off-balance. During busy, hectic times, it’s typical to go days or weeks without eating healthy meals. As a result, we walk around feeling bloated and bound up. Yes, your diet may be to blame for stomach pain, bloating, painful constipation, low energy, and that general feeling of not operating at your peak. Take a look at the nutrition mistakes many of us are making that lead to a “backed-up” way of being that really drags us down.

#1 Not Getting Enough Fiber

Do you often feel bloated or constipated? If so, then fiber is the friend that you didn’t know you needed. While there are many dietary factors that can leave our digestive systems sluggish, the biggest one to look at is fiber. Let’s explore the diet-gut connection that directly impacts how you look and feel. The big perk of fiber is that it normalizes and regulates bowel movements. That right there is often enough to get things moving in terms of addressing constipation and constant bloating. In addition to helping you feel better today, fiber also helps you maintain overall, long-term bowel health that will protect you against digestive diseases and cancers.

We also know that high-fiber foods help us to attain and maintain a healthy weight! First, a lot of the excess bloating that we’re carrying around is relieved by proper fiber intake. The second reason is that foods that are high in fiber tend to be more filling than foods that lack fiber. As a result, you won’t feel the need to overeat because you’ll be more easily satisfied while still getting all of the same energy-giving nutrients!

Try our quinoa bowl with tofu and brussels sprouts.
Try our quinoa bowl with tofu and brussels sprouts.

The goal should be to take in between 25 and 30 grams of dietary fiber per day. Unfortunately, most Americans are falling short by getting in only about 15 grams. Which foods are the best for fiber? Put the focus on fresh greens, vegetables, seeds, fruits, and grains to get the fiber content you need for a thriving digestive system. Some superstar high-fiber foods include avocados, beets, broccoli, lentils, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, and almonds.

#2 Skipping Fresh Plates

For many busy people, finding healthy meals in the frozen section full of organic, high-quality ingredients feels like coming upon a goldmine! We feel that this is the secret to eating well-prepared meals without the need to put the time in to create hearty, wholesome dishes at home. Yes, it’s true that a good frozen meal can save the day once in a while. However, too many frozen meals could be behind why you’re feeling so bloated.

Your healthy “grocery store” frozen meals could be hiding a secret. It turns out Americans are essentially overdosing on the salt that’s packed into frozen meals. In fact, more than 70 percent of the sodium consumed by Americans comes from frozen foods! Sodium is used so abundantly in mainstream packaged frozen foods because it helps to preserve food. It’s also an inexpensive way to thicken or enhance various flavors. Now, this is a situation where you need to be a bit of a label detective because even foods that don’t taste very salty at all can have hidden high levels of sodium.

Why exactly is sodium such a problem for healthy digestion? Simply put, salt is the biggest “bloater” out there. Salt intake causes our bodies to retain water almost immediately. Generally, that retention is concentrated around the belly area. However, some people also find that their hands and face get very puffy and bloated after high-sodium meals.

What’s the fix for salt bloating? Switching to freshly prepared meals that don’t need sodium as a preservative is the best bet. While fresh food sometimes has a dash of salt for flavor, your body isn’t getting that sodium overload that leads to painful water retention and gas around the abdominal area.

#3 Consuming Too Much Fat

The common culprits behind bloating are fried foods, greasy foods, chips, and vegetable oils.

Now, a balanced diet should definitely contain healthy fats that come from healthy foods like lean proteins, avocados, and healthy oils. However, overdoing it on high-fat foods is one of the most common causes of bloating. The reason is that fatty foods are digested slowly. That means that they hang around in your digestive tract longer. The common culprits behind bloating are fried foods, greasy foods, chips, and vegetable oils.

#4 Ignoring Your Gut Health

Constant or recurrent bloating isn’t always caused by a single food “trigger.” Bloating and constipation are sometimes the results of imbalanced gut bacteria. Consuming high amounts of refined carbohydrates, packaged snacks, sugary drinks, and alcohol can really throw the gut off balance. That means that switching to a menu full of fresh, whole foods after a “bad” weekend is essential for avoiding painful gas and bloating for days or weeks to come.

Unfortunately for those with a sweet tooth, sugar is really one of the worst culprits for throwing gut bacteria off balance. In addition to increasing your odds of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and more, consuming large amounts of sugar can also put your gut in danger. Researchers have found that sugar can prevent the good microbes that keep the gut healthy from colonizing. Fortunately, we can build gut-friendly diets by including plenty of fresh, low-sugar foods. Organic dairy like cheese and yogurt also introduce good bacteria called probiotics into the gut to provide tons of benefits for both the brain and body!

#5 Not Staying Hydrated

Stay hydrated!

While it may seem counterintuitive, having a belly full of water can actually help you to be less bloated in the long run. Unfortunately, not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. The impact can be so subtle at first that we don’t even notice it. However, things like tiredness, gas, and bloating are all actually common signs of dehydration. The reason why not drinking enough water causes bloating in the gut area is that our bodies actually try to fight back against dehydration by holding on to water. That means that you’ll have all of the uncomfortable effects of retaining large amounts of water even if you didn’t drink much water.

Drinking water is an obvious way to increase hydration. However, eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is another easy to increase your daily water intake without feeling like you’re sipping all day. Most fresh vegetables are actually more than 90 percent water. The bottom line is that it’s very likely that you’re at least partially dehydrated if you’re eating a lot of processed foods because you’re missing out on the natural water content that comes from eating fresh!

#6 Eating Too Quickly

How you eat can actually be just as important as what you’re eating when it comes to the dreaded bloat! It turns out that “inhaling” food quickly can introduce air into the stomach to create bloating. Unfortunately, we often fall into the habit of shoving food into our mouths when we’re loading up on snack foods or “fast” foods because we’re pressed for time. The result is that we’re combining all of the bloating factors of unhealthy foods with excess air in our digestive systems! That can mean a real bloat avalanche that leaves us feeling uncomfortable and sluggish just when we need energy more than ever! The solution is to try to be more intentional about how and what we eat! That usually means planning ahead to avoid being stuck in a position of having to grab something quickly on the go. By planning healthy, whole meals, we have a reason to sit and slowly savor what we’re eating. By the end of the meal, we feel satisfied and revved up instead of overstuffed and sluggish!

#7 Ignoring a Gluten Sensitivity

Mysterious bloating that occurs soon after you eat can sometimes be a sign of gluten intolerance. It’s a possibility to consider if you’ve already tried de-bloating techniques like eating high-fiber foods, avoiding fried foods, and hydrating adequately. The good news is that you’ll find so many delicious, high-protein gluten-free options to choose from if you decide to try a gluten-free diet.

The Real Cure for Bloating and Constipation: Fresh, Whole Foods

If you’re tired of feeling worse after you eat, it’s time to become more intentional about what you’re eating. There’s just no substitute for fresh, whole foods. It is clear that fresh meals are healthier all around. Frozen meals just don’t compare in terms of nutrition. They tend to contain less vegetables, fewer nutrients, and fewer healthy fats compared to fresh meals.

What if you simply don’t have the time to meal prep, buy all of the ingredients, and prepare meals? Does that mean that you’re bound to go through life looking and feeling bloated and uncomfortable? Thankfully, the answer is no! The good news is that if you don’t have the time to cook and meal plan, you can still have amazing, fresh meals thanks to local food delivery. Knowing that a perfectly portioned, fresh meal full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats is going to be there when it’s time to grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner is the best way to fight back against those “easy” habits and snack attacks that are wrecking your gut.

Want to know how healthy you are on the inside? Your skin can help provide some answers!

“Beauty’s on the Inside.”

No, this statement is not a cliche — it’s a fact! The health and beauty of our skin start from what’s inside us… or at least what we put inside us. An increasing number of studies are showing just how big of a role nutrition plays for our skin health.

Our skin is the only organ that is exposed to the elements. And while it’s often our first line of defense against environmental toxins, it is also a reflection of our inner organs’ health. If you struggle with any of the following skin conditions, it may be time to take a deeper look at what you’re fueling your body with.

Acne: A study found that male acne patients who followed a low-glycemic diet had reduced acne as compared to a group that ate a diet rich in carbohydrates.

Rosacea: This condition, with its facial redness and swelling, can be triggered by spicy foods, alcohol, or even hot drinks.

Inflammation: Inflammation refers to your body’s process of fighting against things that harm it, such as infections, injuries, and toxins, in an attempt to heal itself. And while not always easily spotted, when something damages your cells, your body triggers this inflammation response, creating swelling or redness in a given area on the skin.

Eczema: With eczema, sufferers experience dry, itchy, and red patches on the skin. Dermatologists say foods that commonly worsen eczema symptoms include milk, peanuts, eggs, soy, and wheat.

Hives: Hives are the familiar welts (raised, red, itchy areas) that can occur on the skin as a result of an allergic reaction/sensitivity to certain foods. Other causes of hives include medication, bug bites, or stings.

Psoriasis: This condition causes skin cells to build up and form scales and itchy, dry patches. Psoriasis is thought to be an immune system problem stemming from a dysfunction in the gut.

The Link Between Gut Health & Skin Health

Our guts don’t just guide our instinctual decisions, they also help guide our body’s regulatory processes. Often termed the body’s “second brain,” our GI Tract has a major influence on both the development and function of the immune system, as well as on gut-brain communications. This goes beyond just an upset stomach after some bad take-out.

There are healthy bacteria and immune cells in a healthy gut that ward off infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It can have a major impact on your overall health and particularly the appearance of your skin, including spots, acne, eczema, and rosacea.

The intimate relationship is termed the “skin-gut axis” and numerous studies have linked gastrointestinal (GI) health to skin homeostasis. Skin symptoms also follow GI disorders as the gut microbiome appears to play a key role in the development of many inflammatory skin disorders.

Heal Your Gut to Protect Your Skin

Although some skincare items include food products, such as chocolate and mushrooms, nutritionists agree that the right diet is necessary to keep our skin safe. When we begin to eat for our skin health in mind, there’s a bonus effect of improving our overall health as well.

There are many key nutrients, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals that have been shown to be beneficial or essential for healthy skin (and a healthy lifestyle). However, we’ve developed a shortlist of foods to include in your new healthy meals:

Nuts and seeds
Nuts by the ounce are available under our snack menu.

1. NUTS & SEEDS

Nuts & seeds give our skin all the right kinds of fat that nourish it. They are also rich in vitamin E antioxidants to combat free radical damage, which contributes to your skin’s aging. Some superstar nuts and seeds include walnuts, sunflower seeds, and almonds.

2. CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES

Cruciferous veggies have a compound known as indole-3- carbinol that occurs naturally. It is transformed into a phytochemical known as DIM (Diindolylmethane) and functions within the body to maintain stable hormone levels. These types of veggies to support liver detoxification and hormone health include broccoli, cauliflower, brussels, etc.

3. TEAS

Many different teas contain a variety of antioxidants, but all of them have the potential for gut-healing and skin-protecting effects. It has also been shown that green tea helps rejuvenate skin cells. However, tannins in the tea will decrease the absorption of minerals in food, so try to drink your tea between meals rather than with meals.

4. MUSHROOMS

Mushrooms contain one of the highest levels of selenium, specifically Crimini mushrooms. This trace mineral is required to make glutathione peroxidase, one of the most potent antioxidants in the body, which fights damaging compounds called free radicals that develop in the skin during exposure to sunlight. They are also a great source of B vitamins, which are essential to produce new skin cells that look youthful.

5. SALMON

High in essential omega-3 fats, oily fish such as salmon minimize inflammation and provide the skin with necessary nourishment. Sardines, mackerel, anchovies, and trout are also present in other oily fish. Aim to consume these fatty kinds of seafood a minimum of twice a week in order to get the benefits.

6. DARK CHOCOLATE

Cocoa has antioxidants that can protect the skin and improve wrinkles, skin thickness, hydration, blood flow, and texture of the skin. To maximize the benefits and keep added sugar to a minimum, make sure to select dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa.

7. DARK LEAFY GREENS

Usually, the darkness of each green suggests higher antioxidant levels. Beta-carotene, one of these antioxidants, can also form vitamin A in the body. For good reason, it is a common ingredient in face creams and an important nutrient for healthy hair. All varieties of spinach, silverbeet, kale, rocket, watercress, Asian greens, and dark green cabbage qualify.

8. QUINOA

Organic White Quinoa
Try our
organic white quinoa with edamame, parsley, salt and pepper


Vitamin E-rich quinoa fights free radicals, provides collagen, and strengthens skin pores.   Quinoa may be calming for red, inflamed acne/rosacea-prone skin and helps to repair the skin barrier to reduce inflammation and dryness due to the niacinamide (vitamin B3) content.

9. BERRIES

They top the antioxidant power charts and are high in vitamin C, too. But so much more is offered by berries. Berries provide the required collagen-building material, the protein that gives skin its elasticity and strengthens capillaries to help minimize spider veins and easy bruising.

10. COLORFUL PEPPERS

Bell peppers are an excellent source of beta carotene, which is processed into vitamin A by the body. They’re one of the better vitamin C sources, too. To produce the protein collagen, this vitamin is essential. However, most peppers’ capsaicin content can cause rosacea flare-ups, so find the right colorful veggies that suit your specific needs. The brighter the color, the more these foods are rich in phytonutrients.

Are There Certain Foods to Avoid for Skin Health?

Just as the foods we consume can improve our skin health, certain foods can cause irritation, flare-ups, and other skin-damaging effects. However, these may be different for everyone. Generally, dermatologists suggest avoiding highly processed foods, those high in added sugar, excessive alcohol, and deep-fried foods.

This is not to say you can’t have any of these types of foods. Occasional treats or quick drive-thru options won’t wreck your skin after the first bite, however, you may notice some gastrointestinal discomfort and flare-ups if consumed on a regular basis. Listen to your body and take note of which foods trigger your skin issues (or reverse them).

A great way to include these 10 Skin-Protecting Foods into our diets is through planning ahead. Try including 1-2 of the foods listed above in your next weekly meal prep to start, and eventually increase that number until you are eating a healthy diet filled with a variety of skin-boosting meals! Not sure where to start? Try one of our a la carte options to help you get started!

We are constantly exposed to germs like viruses, bacteria, fungi, and toxins that can cause diseases and infections. With an ongoing pandemic, the risk is even higher and the focus to stay healthy and reduce our chances of getting sick has never been more important. Luckily for us, nature has equipped our bodies with natural defense mechanisms that normally kick in to protect us in the event that one of these pathogens attack us. Our immune system, though strong and capable of handling a lot of foreign invaders, works best when it’s boosted naturally with the right minerals and vitamins often found in our foods. Since all foods are not created equal, certain foods are considered superfoods because even in small portions, they contain just the right amount of nutrients and vitamins to boost our immune system naturally.  Here are seven superfoods that you should consider adding to your list of immune-boosting foods: 

1.   Fish

Easy ready to enjoy meals

Fish, including salmon is delicious, light, and a great source for healthy protein. Fish also contains omega-3 fatty acids which is one of the most scientifically-studied nutrients that has so many benefits for our body. Fish has not only been shown to only boost our immune system but can also improve sleep, help fight anxiety and depression, promote a healthy heart, improve eye health, prevent certain cancers, improve bone and joint health, and nourish our skin. Most fish have a ton of omega-3 but if you’re trying to get the best for your buck, then salmon should top your list of foods high in omega-3. 

2.   Leafy Greens

Leafy green vegetables are not only low in calories and high on fiber, they are also rich in vitamins and nutrients that play a critical role in keeping our immune system functioning at a higher capacity. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, arugula, and turnip contain minerals that are great for improving our cognition, preventing certain cancers, reducing our risk of heart disease, reducing stress, preventing abnormalities in developing babies, and reducing inflammation to boost our immunity. Spinach for instance packs a lot of antioxidants that boost our immune system to help our body fight germs and other opportunistic infections. It is also high in vitamin C, a vitamin that is essential in boosting our immunity and reducing the risk of infection from cold and related viruses.

All leafy and colorful vegetables to your diet for numerous benefits

3.   Yogurt

You may already know that yogurt is packed with the right nutrients for our body. Look for yogurts with live and active cultures when possible as these cultures can help keep your body balanced to improve immunity and reduce risk of infections. Yogurt also has a lot of vitamin D which is not only great for bone health but is also good for improving our immune system. According to the National Institute of Health, low levels of vitamin D is a risk factor for increased infections with viruses such as cold and flu. So, add yogurt to your daily diet to boost your immune system especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and flu months.

4.   Nuts

Nuts like almonds, cashews, and walnuts contain a lot of vitamin E, an antioxidant which has been shown to significantly improve and boost our immune system. Since vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps our body get rid of toxic byproducts of our metabolism, a good healthy serving of nuts rich in vitamin E can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and certain cancers, as well as improve and slow down the aging process. Vitamin E also enhances our body’s defense mechanisms, boosting our immune system to protect us from several infectious diseases like cold, pneumonia, flu, and related viruses. 

5.   Green Cruciferous Veggies

Green cruciferous veggies like broccoli, broccoli sprouts, and Bok choy are rich in fiber, but are also packed with vitamin A, C, E and many other essential nutrients like zinc and selenium that have been scientifically proven to boost our immune system and protect us from harmful germs and pathogens. If you have to have one superfood in your daily diet, consider making broccoli your food of choice. Broccoli is so powerful that just half a cup of steamed broccoli provides almost 85% of our reference daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C, a vitamin well-known for boosting our immunity. 

6.   Berries

Berries like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, goji berries, grapes and acai berries are colorful, sweet, and sometimes sour. However, the benefits of berries go beyond their great taste and eye appeal because they are nutritionally dense and contain extremely powerful nutrients like fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and several many antioxidants. Aside from their proven role in boosting our immune system due to their high content of antioxidants, berries also improve our heart health,  reduce cholesterol, maintain our weight, and prevent diabetes amongst many other benefits. 

Try our organic strawberry chia pudding with added fruits!

7.   Whole Grains (Quinoa, Brown Rice, Oatmeal)

Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and whole grain oatmeal are rich in fiber, vitamins, protein, minerals, and antioxidants. They are known to lower the risk for diabetes, reduce the risk for certain cancers, support a healthy heart, and support healthy digestion. Since whole grains contain a good mix of antioxidant, vitamins, and minerals including zinc, iron, and the B vitamins, they play a major role as immune boosters to improve our immune system and reduce our risks of getting infections. Celiac patients and those with gluten sensitivity should continue to avoid whole grain but try other superfood options where possible. 

There are many superfoods that can boost and improve our immune system and adding these seven food types to your diet, when possible, can go a long way with helping your overall well-being while keeping you safer and healthier. 

1992 – As a 6 year-old kid growing up in Nepal, I  contracted a disease called Neuro-cysticercosis. 

Don’t worry this isn’t my brain, this is just an example of a brain with the disease

Neuro-cysticercosis is literally worms in the brain.

Cysticercosis is a tissue infection caused by a young form of tape worm cyst caused by ingesting undercooked pork. Neurocysticercosis affects the brain.

During a gathering at home, I unknowingly ate some undercooked barbecued pork that was contaminated with a tape worm cyst.  

I was a normal, fun-loving boy, who always had a smile on his face. Out of nowhere, I turned gravely ill in a matter of days. Symptoms included vomiting, diarrhea, high fever, and extreme fatigue. The worst symptom of all, however, were the periodic epilepsy-like seizures. During an episode, my hands would convulse and shake violently until someone held me down. All I could do was cry in anguish and even at that age, I remember thinking that that was the end of me.

This was me before getting sick

Within a few days of my symptoms manifesting, the doctors determined that it would be best if I was taken to Thailand for treatment because they just did not have the medical services in Nepal to treat my condition. Fortunately, my dad had the resources to take me out of the country to get treated immediately. 

This was me when I got sick

I was admitted in a Bangkok hospital for what felt like months. My parents were worried sick and to this day, my mom still tells me how my dad’s hair turned white overnight because of how anxious he felt while we were there. I remember nurses and doctors visiting my hospital room every morning to draw blood or to inject me with some medication. EKGs were a usual thing and I  had become accustomed to living in the hospital. I also remember they performed a lumbar puncture procedure, the pain from which, I will never forget.

My prescription drugs included heavy doses of anti-psychotic drugs that were used to prevent seizures. Those drugs treat you by altering how the chemistry of your brain works. It took a while for the medicine to start working and as part of my prescription routine, I took those drugs for over 3 years.

Eventually, after what seemed like a lifetime of suffering, the combination of medical procedures and strong drugs started working. I started getting better. We visited hospitals in Thailand for follow-ups once a  year for over 5 years. Over time, the seizures stopped and I was eventually cured. 

As expected, the drugs I took for so many years had side-effects. While on them, my mind was cloudy and was confused most the time. Even though my parents put me back in school for some sense of normalcy, I would spend most of my days day-dreaming. All I wanted to do was sleep and eat, and to no one’s surprise, I ended up putting on a lot of weight. As the years went on and I eventually cycled out of all the drugs, I had gone from a scrawny little kid to an obese adolescent.

Unfortunately, because of that, I struggled with weight management most of life. It felt like I had given up one fight for another. Often taunted and teased at school, I became determined to find a way to get my health under control. At the time, there was not a lot of information on weight management and dieting. There was, as it is now, a lot of conflicting information of what was healthy and what was not. Out of worry for my health, my dad often forced me to drink water before a meal and eat less. This made me develop a bad relationship with food. I tried everything from crash dieting, liquid dieting, Atkins, and a lot more during my teen years. Trying many diets and falling off of them throughout the years caused my body weight to constantly fluctuate without achieving long terms success, which further ruined my relationship with food. Needless to say it wasn’t healthy.

2006 – The 19 year-old me moved to California to pursue a degree in Business. By that time, access to the internet and information on diet and exercise methodologies had become much more accessible. After researching many topics online, I got into working out and meal-prepping to manage my health. I became particularly enthralled by how bodybuilders used diet methodologies to control their body composition. I made great strides, lost 40 lbs, and to became the healthiest version of myself. 

I was still struggling to maintain that lifestyle though. As a broke college student, I wished there was a way for me to stay healthy without having to put in so much money, time and effort. Naturally, because of what I had been through all my life I was determined to stay healthy and aspired to help others like me someday.

At the time, the concept of meal-prepping healthy meals had started gaining popularity but no one thought of it as a viable business model.

2011-2013 –  Fresh out of college, I worked a corporate job in accounting and finance. I also realized how hard it was to stay healthy while working a 9-5 job. Corporate America is addicted to sugar, coffee, and carbs. A lot of carbs. I found it increasingly difficult to manage a healthy lifestyle and have good work-life balance. The struggles with my weight and health continued. 

Until this time, I didn’t realize I had become the cliché example of a person who would try a new diet every year, who was stuck in this vicious cycle of trying and failing every few years. I would try something new, get results, and then gain all the weight back once I stopped doing what I did to gain those results.  

What I learned about living healthy – Every few years a different method gains popularity because it is what is sold. After many years of trying different diets, failing, and still struggling with my relationship with food, I took some time to reflect on my journey and listened to industry professionals who weren’t peddling any diets or products. 

Here is the best advice I ever got on food and diet – The best diet is the one that you can stick to forever. Of course, most diets work, but you can’t stick to one forever. Caloric restriction is the only thing that all diets have in common, so instead of looking at certain diets as an all encompassing solution, you have to change your perspective and look at them as tools you can use to achieve a specific goal. That’s all. This simple advice really changed the way I looked at food and helped me tremendously. 

2014 – The birth of Local Foodz-It started with a conversation between two of my close friends (who are now co-founders of Local Foodz) that led to an epiphany. I was complaining about the state of my unhealthy lifestyle and about not being able to get my meal-prepping done before my week started, when one of them said, “imagine how many people have the same problem.” That instant, we realized that it was a universal problem. Immediately following the conversation, we decided that starting a “meal prep” company was an idea we wanted to pursue. The idea aligned perfectly with our personal goals. It not only worked as a business model, it helped people achieve their health and fitness goals, something I was really passionate about. Our conviction about the business idea was further strengthened by the strong response we got from a local fitness industry professional who immediately referred people our way. We earned our first customers even before we officially started the business. Further still, my partners and I had the complimentary skill-set to get this project off the ground. Now, we’re on our 5th year of operations.

Before Local Foodz, I just wasn’t passionate and driven about what I was doing. I always felt something missing. That was, as I would later come to realize, a sense of purpose.

It felt like the stars aligned the day we started Local Foodz. Everything that I’d been through all my life culminated in that one moment and I realized that I found my purpose. In that moment, I realized that everything I had been through was so that I could use what I had learned, professionally and otherwise,  to build something that would help people become healthier in every way. After all, if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. It’s a worthy cause. 

Looking back, I can’t imagine where I would be now if I never went through what I did. I am very passionate about what I do at Local Foodz because what I went through. In a way, the disease, the suffering, and the challenges all helped me determine what my purpose is today. If it wasn’t for that, I’d probably still be pushing paper somewhere.