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Health

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Delicious and healthy food doesn’t have to be burdensome and LoCal Foodz was established for just that reason! We want to make it convenient for you to enjoy healthy meals while making your life easier. Our goal is to free you of the stress and headache of nutritious meal planning, so you can focus on simply enjoying your food.

Undoubtedly, some areas in your life can benefit from the convenience of easy, healthy, pre-cooked meals. Whether you are looking to save time and money, reduce your stress, track your macros easily, or even keep yourself and family safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, LoCal Foodz provides countless ways to make your life a little easier and a little better.

1. SAVE TIME. LOTS OF TIME.

Whether you are a working professional, student, parent, athlete, or some combination thereof, so many of us find there is never enough time in the day to do all the things we need to do. And the more time we spend on obligatory chores or responsibilities, the less time we are left with for the things we WANT to do like hobbies, physical activity, or even just relaxing.

Have you ever stopped to think about how much time you are spending every week simply feeding yourself or family? First, there’s the time spent planning out meals for the week. Then, you’ll likely find yourself researching recipes. Of course, once you’re done planning, then you’ll have to head to the store to shop. Once you’re back at home, even unloading your groceries takes time. And we haven’t even touched on how much time you spend prepping, cooking, and cleaning up each meal. It’s probably safe to say if you were to calculate all the time spent on planning, prepping, and preparing meals each week, it’s taking up hours of your valuable time.

Eliminate most of the time spent preparing meals by ordering delicious, healthy, premade meals. All you have to worry about is ordering your favorite LoCal Foodz meals online, picking up your fresh premade meals (or waiting for your delivery to arrive), heating for a few minutes, and then ENJOYING!

2. SAVE MONEY.

It’s no secret that fresh, quality food isn’t cheap. And if you are someone who likes to focus on quality, flavorful ingredients, you know firsthand just how expensive your grocery bill can get.

A trip into the grocery store can not only become expensive as you add each item to your cart, but there are countless opportunities to be enticed by impulse buys around every corner. Every unnecessary purchase is quickly driving up your grocery bill in a big way. In fact, did you know that “up to 20% of the average household’s grocery bill comes from items that were purchased on impulse alone?” That’s some significant money being spent on unnecessary purchases.

Aside from the temptations of impulse purchases, excess groceries and unused leftovers are another culprit of wasted money. Despite the best efforts of even the most organized person, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll find yourself throwing away food. Whether it’s produce that didn’t stay fresh long enough, leftovers that never got eaten, or a recipe that simply didn’t need the whole two-pound bag of potatoes, you’re bound to find yourself throwing your hard-earned dollars away. In fact, it’s estimated that “a four-person family loses about $1,500 a year on wasted food.

Browse our Signature Entrées and pick the portions right for you.

One of the beauties of our perfectly portioned, individual meals is that there is no excess. You can customize your meals so you are receiving the portion size appropriate for you. This means you’re only paying for the food you know you’ll be eating. Spend the rest on other areas of your life instead of wasting it on unused groceries.

3. REDUCE STRESS.

Worrying about what to cook week after week, day after day can be incredibly draining. Life is already stressful enough, you deserve to make it easier in the areas where you have some control. We’ve taken the stress out of mealtime by providing you with meals that are healthy, affordable, and delicious.

Gone are the days where you spend so much of your time and energy trying to plan out a menu and shopping list. You don’t have to fight your way through the grocery store after a long day at work. You don’t have to stress over the macro makeup of your dinner – we’ve done all this for you!

LoCal Foodz strives to make mealtime easier and more convenient for you. The less you have to worry, the more you can enjoy. And isn’t that what life is ultimately all about?

4. TRACK YOUR MACROS. ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS.

Many of our clients are interested in being able to easily and accurately track their macros. If you are someone who has dietary or body composition goals, LoCal Foodz makes it easy for you to stay on track.

All the nutritional information for our meals (even those that you’ve customized) is readily available online and printed out on your meal packaging. Having this information easily accessible saves you precious time from having to do the calculations yourself and even risk bad math.

We’ve even taken it one step further to make attaining your goals easier. Our Meal Plan Menu removes the guesswork and gets you on a plan based on your preferences. Meal Plans include keto, low-carb, low-calorie, high protein, or balanced options. You can sign up for three, five, or seven days worth of meals and you have several options for your daily caloric intake. Simply sign up for the plan that supports your goals best and we do the rest! You’ll have fresh, tailored meals delivered to you (or available for pick up) that help you meet your macros.

The less time you spend worrying about what you’re eating, the more time you have to focus on your training and recovery. A few minutes more in the gym every day or a few minutes of active recovery every session can add up to big results. Focus your efforts where you can have the greatest impact and let us do the number crunching for you.

5. REDUCED COVID-19 EXPOSURE.

Right now, we have found ourselves in the middle of a historic, global pandemic. One where the simplest act of going to the store for our basic necessities puts us at risk. By ordering with LoCal Foodz, you can limit your exposure to COVID-19 by limiting the time spent in crowded grocery stores or even staying out of them completely.

The average length of the typical American grocery shopping trip is 44 minutes. With the COVID-19 pandemic, any time spent in an indoor space, especially 44 minutes in a crowded grocery store, is increasing your exposure and risk of contracting the disease.

With LoCal Foodz, you can order your food for a quick pick-up. Head into a pick-up location, grab your bag, and go. Limited time inside, limited exposure.

Want to reduce your exposure even more? You can have your meals delivered directly to your door. No contact, no additional exposure.

During a time where all our decisions matter, let us help keep everyone safe by keeping you out of crowded stores. 

LoCal Foodz can help you gain more control of your life in the areas that YOU need it most. Free yourself from unnecessary stress and allow yourself to ENJOY your meals. If there has ever been a time to enjoy the little things in life, it’s now. With a global pandemic, social unrest, and so much uncertainty, there’s one thing you can count on – delicious healthy meals from LoCal Foodz that will only make your life a little bit better and a little bit easier.

Spend less of your time and money. Focus more on your goals. Reduce your stress and COVID exposure. And maybe most importantly, enjoy your food – you deserve it.

Simple and Tasty Heart-Healthy Food Tips

It’s so easy to fall in love with foods that are good for your heart. That’s because many of the most naturally flavorful foods are actually heart-healthy foods. When we eat for heart health, we’re focused on healthy foods that provide us with all of the nourishment and nutrition we need without excessive additives, sugars or unhealthy fats. In addition to preventing heart disease, heart-focused eating can help us to look and feel our best because what’s good for the heart is good for the whole body. Here’s a few heart-healthy food tips that anyone can love.

#1 Sprinkle on Those Fresh Herbs Instead of Pouring on the Salt

We sometimes feel bad if we can’t whip up a fresh meal every night. One of the best ways to ensure that we’re bringing at least a little bit of wholeness to our plates is by sprinkling on some fresh herbs. The biggest benefit of flavoring with herbs is that you can skip the salt. Unfortunately, salt causes the body to retain water, which puts a strain on our heart and blood vessels. Heavy salt consumption causes high blood pressure that can increase our risks for heart attack and stroke. Many people get into trouble with salt when they start to lean on canned or prepackaged meals from the grocery store because they don’t have the time to prepare whole meals. These types of foods are notoriously packed with salt. In addition to harming your heart, high-salt prepackaged foods can zap you of energy, give you headaches and leave you feeling terrible.

#2 Be Besties With Black Beans

Black beans are packed full of folate, magnesium and antioxidants known to help lower blood pressure. In addition, they are full of soluble fiber that lowers our total blood cholesterol. Fiber is also linked with a reduction in blood pressure and inflammation. While beans are sometimes thought of as substitutes for meat, the truth is that even people who eat diets containing meat should still be looking at black beans. Black beans and legumes offer a variety of nutritional benefits that animal products don’t.

#3 Choose Your Meat Cuts Wisely

You can eat meat in a way that’s better for your heart. Lean meats are much better for your heart than fatty cuts. When shopping for cuts of beef and pork, look for meats that are labeled “round” or “loin.” Both are premium cuts that are much leaner than other cuts.

#4 Give Your Whole Heart to Whole Grains

If you’re looking for a grain to add to a meal, be picky. Whole grains provide the benefits of fiber, folic acid, iron, selenium, magnesium and B vitamins that many white breads do not contain. The good news is that you have so many flavorful and enjoyable whole grains to enjoy if you’re walking away from white and refined flours. Some top picks that work wonderfully in a variety of dishes are oats, rye, wild rice, quinoa and buckwheat.

#5 Get Cozy With Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids offer some serious heart protection by boosting your good cholesterol levels. In studies, individuals who consumed fatty fish a few times per week had almost half the risk of death from coronary heart disease. Their risk of death from a heart attack was also cut by more than 30 percent compared to people who didn’t consume any fish. Fish is teeming with omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish varieties like trout, salmon, sardines, mackerel and albacore tuna are all famously rich in omega-3 fatty acids. However, this isn’t the only way to get them in. Other delicious, filling favorites like walnuts and flaxseed oil are also full of omega-3 fatty acids.

#6 Sip for Your Heart

Many people are surprised to learn that hydration is an essential part of heart health. The key is to stay hydrated with sugar-free options like water or unsweetened tea. Unfortunately, sodas, fruit drinks and energy drinks that are full of sugar can contribute to obesity if we rely on them for hydration instead of simply having them for refreshment from time to time. We know that obesity is one of the significant risk factors for heart disease and premature death. If you’re focusing on staying hydrated with water and unsweetened drinks, you will be less tempted to grab for high-calorie drinks.

#7 Have a Romance With Leafy Greens

Build your own salad, just the way you like!

Rich in vitamin K, leafy greens can help to protect our arteries. Additionally, the dietary nitrates in leafy vegetables can improve artery flexibility, fortify the lining of our blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. Studies have linked the consumption of leafy greens with reduced rates of heart disease.

Some of the most flavorful greens to add to your diet are spinach, cabbage, curly kale, arugula and beet greens. They can be chopped up or enjoyed as “wraps” that hold things like hummus, tuna fish or beans. 

#8 Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth With Berries

Berries romance your heart with promises of antioxidants that protect it from inflammation and oxidative stress. Blueberries are thought to be especially powerful when it comes to improving the function of the cells lining our blood vessels. However, favorites like strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are also full of nutrients that reduce bad cholesterol and support the heart.

#9 Keep the Trans Fats to a Minimum

Try to avoid foods prepared with trans fats as much as possible. This includes margarine and spreads that are marketed as butter substitutes. It’s also important to steer clear of overdoing it with vegetable oils like olive oil, peanut oil, soybean oil and canola oil. The monounsaturated fats within many popular oils are linked with heart damage. Non-stick cooking sprays should also be avoided when possible.

#10 Focus on Some Low-Glycemic Foods

Low-glycemic foods have been linked with reduced risk for heart disease. Low-glycemic eating is focused on choosing foods that are packed with healthy fats in moderate amounts. Some of the superstars of low-glycemic eating are fish, skinless chicken, beans, walnuts, almonds, pecans and avocados. It’s also advised that anyone sticking to this eating style should avoid the partially hydrogenated fats that are nearly universal in fast foods and packaged foods. From the dessert perspective, treats made with apples, pears, mangoes, bananas and papayas are all compatible with low-glycemic eating. Finally, meal frequency is also important.

The general guideline for anyone looking to follow a low-glycemic diet is to plan for three meals each day. There is also room for one to two snacks daily. The big rule is that you should never be skipping breakfast. This is where planning your meals ahead of time becomes essential because breakfast is a time of day when most of us are vulnerable to the temptation of reaching for the easiest thing. Many times that means a big, carb-filled treat that’s destined to send you into a blood-sugar crash before lunch.

#11 Part Ways With Processed Meats

You may be in a bad relationship with the easy, processed meats you’re relying on for protein. Many people use processed meats like hot dogs, salami, bacon or cold cuts to get quick, inexpensive protein in their diets. The reality is that any of the benefits you’ll get from the protein in these foods are quickly undone by the health risks of consuming them regularly. Consuming processed meats is associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease. Processed meats are also linked with higher risks for diabetes, cancer and overall mortality. Make an effort to swap your processed meats for fresher, healthier proteins that provide genuine health benefits.

#12 Have Some Fun

Treat yourself, you deserve it!

Like any relationship, the relationship you have with your heart should be full of enjoyment! No, you don’t have to promise never to eat the things you love again just because you’re focusing on creating long-term health for your heart. What’s Valentine’s Day without a little chocolate? The truth is that you won’t have to agonize overindulging in what you love on special days if you’ve stayed focused on treating your heart right the rest of the time.

Final Thoughts: Making a Plan to Romance Your Heart With Fresh, Whole Foods

Many people don’t invest in a real relationship with heart-healthy eating because they simply don’t have the time. Deciding to eat for your heart does take planning. This may mean totally reinventing the way you handle grocery shopping. You may find that you skip the “middle aisles” that are full of processed and packaged foods altogether once you make a grocery list that reads like a love letter to your heart. If planning meals for every day of the week is too difficult, consider relying on a delivery service that delivers perfectly portioned, heart-healthy meals bursting with lean meats, hearty vegetarian options, leafy side dishes. Perfectly measured breakfasts and balanced snacks such as this may be the secret to transforming your eating habits.

Does better sleep start at your plate? Changing the way you eat may help you enjoy better sleep. In fact, diet is one of the first areas of your life to investigate if you’re suffering from poor-quality sleep, disrupted sleep or restless nights.

It’s hard to be your best when you’re not getting proper rest. Poor sleep is associated with mood issues, cognitive impairment, depression, stress, cardiovascular issues and many more short-term and long-term problems that rob us of happiness, productivity and vitality.

What do you do when you’ve tried all of the “sleep tricks” without any success? Unfortunately, all of the noise machines, light-blocking curtains and essential oils in the world can’t always replace those core building blocks for good sleep that can only be found in nutrients. Yes, what you’re eating may be keeping you up at night! This can be true even if you eat a relatively “healthy” diet because some foods simply aren’t sleep-friendly. What’s more, what you’re not eating can also hurt your sleep.

The good news for anyone exploring the sleep-diet link is that many tasty, wholesome foods that are easy to enjoy can promote more complete, nourishing sleep cycles. Take a look at what science is saying about how to eat your way to better sleep!

Understanding the Link Between Food and Sleep: How What You Eat During Your Waking Hours Impacts Your Restful Hours

Poor sleep habits and poor diet happen to be common among people who lead busy lifestyles. Unfortunately, mixing the two can create a real disaster for health, well-being and productivity. Fortunately, working on these two areas as part of a plan for better living is relatively easy to do once you know about the foods that promote better sleep.

According to a study published in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in 2016, “Eating less fiber, more saturated fat and more sugar is associated with lighter, less restorative, and more disrupted sleep.” This echoes what many researchers, doctors and dieticians have known about fatty, sugary, low-fiber foods for a long time. Results from this particular study show that greater fiber intake actually predicted more time spent in the deep, slow-wave stage of sleep. This is considered the brain-building, nourishing portion of the sleep cycle. By comparison, taking in higher percentages of energy from saturated fat predicted a reduction in slow-wave sleep. Research also reveals that higher sugar intake is associated with frequent arousals from sleep. The most shocking finding to be revealed by the study is that these negative or positive changes don’t necessarily build up over time. Just a single day of higher fat intake, higher sugar intake or lower fiber intake can influence sleep quality.

The good news is that enjoying whole, higher-fiber foods in your diet is relatively easy. Familiar favorites like lentils, beans, avocadoes, apples, berries and broccoli all have high fiber content that helps to leave you feeling satisfied. When planning a sleep-friendly diet that contains enough fiber, it’s essential to at least meet the recommended daily fiber intake of 25 grams to 30 grams. That intake level should ideally be coming from foods instead of supplements. Unfortunately, most Americans are falling short of that goal. The average daily fiber intake in the United States is just 15 grams per day. Factoring in that figure, it’s not surprising that 70 percent of American adults report having insufficient sleep at least one night per month. For 11 percent of Americans, that insufficient sleep is experienced every night.

Eat More Foods Containing Magnesium

Magnesium is the sleep mate you never knew you needed. In recent years, magnesium has received lots of attention for being a mineral that promotes better sleep. In fact, several studies link magnesium with improved sleep quality. This mineral even shows promise for helping people to overcome insomnia. There’s also evidence that magnesium promotes better, more restful sleep by reducing the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol that is known to be a serious sleep disruptor. Here’s a look at some foods that are naturally high in magnesium:


Try our organic white quinoa with edamame, parsley, salt and pepper.

  • Leafy greens
  • Beans
  • Nuts/almonds
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Fish/tuna
  • Bananas
  • Dark chocolate
  • Raisins

If you’ve never focused on magnesium before, it might be a good time to pay attention to how much of it you’re consuming every day. For men, the recommended dietary allowance for magnesium is between 400 and 420 milligrams per day. The recommended daily allowance for adult women is 310 to 320 milligrams. It’s important to get as much of the recommended daily allowance of magnesium as possible through diet instead of using supplements. A simplistically clean and delicious meal option like a quinoa salad is a great go-to choice if you’re looking to increase the magnesium in your diet.

Promote Better Sleep by Getting Rid of Acid Reflux

While getting enough fiber in your diet is the first step to eating your way to better sleep, you may have some extra steps to take if acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) are to blame for sleepless nights. These painful conditions can make it difficult to sleep without propping your body up with pillows. Even that often isn’t enough to stop sleep disruptions.

We know that high-fat foods are linked with reflux issues. The same goes for alcohol and carbonated beverages. However, it’s not just “unhealthy” foods that can trigger symptoms. Onions, citrus, tomatoes and peppermint are also known reflux triggers. Coffee and tea can also exacerbate reflux issues. If your sleep is being disrupted by reflux, it’s important to plan your meals carefully to avoid accidentally reaching for dishes that contain foods on the list of reflux “offenders.”

Audit Your Relationship With Caffeine

Many of us are guilty of reaching for caffeinated beverages to power through the second half of the day. Unfortunately, we may be paying for that little “jolt” of energy for the rest of the night through poor sleep. Caffeine can stay in your body for up to nine hours after being consumed. In one study, researchers found that consuming caffeine within six hours of bedtime could reduce total sleep duration by a full hour!

It’s possible to have a healthy relationship with caffeine without necessarily cutting it from your life. Sleep experts recommend limiting daily caffeine consumption to no more than 300 to 400 milligrams per day. That’s not so painful once you realize that totals three to four 8-ounce cups of coffee every day! However, sleep experts warn that consuming more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day can increase your risk of having difficulty with falling and staying asleep. It’s also important to be wary of fancy coffee drinks that contain sugar or high-fat ingredients close to bedtime because these flavorful treats can cause spikes in blood sugar that will cause you to crash.

The bottom line on caffeine is that it’s probably best to try to drastically limit your consumption if you’re having sleep issues. Many people who depend on caffeine to push through to the end of the day may bristle at this idea. After all, it can be very difficult to conjure up the energy to get work done, focus on household tasks or put in a workout without feeling totally zapped after a long day. It turns out that rethinking your diet can make it easy to avoid energy slumps that you usually fix with caffeine.

Eating high protein foods full of fiber and low in sugar can help you enjoy sustained energy without the peaks and valleys that come from simply grabbing “easy” snacks and drinks full of sugar and carbs. Many people find it easier to ditch their reliance on coffee in the morning by switching up the breakfast routine. One idea to consider is switching from coffee to a high-protein, nutrient-dense smoothie that provides that much-needed morning energy without the impending energy “crash.”

Eating for Better Sleep Is Eating for Better Living

Many people who make dietary changes to tackle sleep issues find that they end up getting a new lease on life in many ways. That’s because many of the issues that cause poor sleep ultimately cause reduced energy levels, mood issues and many more problems that may be going unnoticed. Better, more complete nutrition combined with better sleep creates the perfect recipe for feeling energized and capable. Knowing where to start is always the most challenging part. Many people find that creating carefully crafted meal plans that are full of sleep-friendly foods makes it easy to avoid the habit of “grabbing” for whatever is convenient.

In many cases, this means choosing a week’s worth of food that can be delivered entirely ready to eat! If you’re suffering from sleep issues that are hard to pin down, start with diet! A delicious meal of your dreams may just lead to sweeter, longer dreams every night!

Our bodies thrive off food. So what if there was a way we could give our bodies more of what they want while still keeping our slimmed-down shape? Pssst… there is…

How often are we told that in order to slim down we must cut calories and increase exercise? Well, while this fact is true 90 percent of the time, it is not the only way to stay trim.

Many times, we continue to diet well past what our bodies can handle, causing a plateau or no progress. So, we decide to slash more calories or up to our exercise routine… but still nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero progress.

It’s times like these that call for a Reverse Diet.

Understanding Reverse Dieting

You may have heard this buzzword flying around a lot lately. But what exactly does it mean? A Reverse Diet is the process of slowly going from a low-calorie (or dieting) state back to maintenance calories. If you have recently finished a diet cycle, aren’t seeing any more results, or accidentally under-eating, a Reverse Diet is for you.

Reverse dieting is basically the opposite of dieting. During a diet, calories are slowly reduced over time to elicit fat loss. The body no longer stores excess food during a diet. However, with a Reverse Diet, calories are slowly increased back to maintenance, or an adequate intake to keep the body running optimally.

To clarify, bodies don’t run optimally during a cutting/diet phase. And if you continue to eat low calories beyond 12- 16+ weeks, you’ll likely force your metabolism to a screeching halt. This is known as Metabolic Adaptation.

Also known as an extreme plateau, we may no longer see fat loss on low calories if we are metabolically adapted. After dieting for a while, slowly dial-up to maintenance calories to avoid Metabolic Adaptation and let the body restore health.

How to Reverse Diet

Before you can begin a Reverse Diet, it’s important to know where you are at. Take 1-2 weeks to track your current calorie intake, using a log like Cronometer or MyFitnessPal. Once you know where you’re at, it’s time to figure out where you need to be.

While both Cronomete and MyFitnessPal will calculate your calories, here’s a quick tool to help calculate your maintenance calories: https://www.mindpumpmedia.com/macronutrient-calculator.

If you’re nowhere near maintenance, consider starting with a 20% increase in calories. Then slowly increase by about 100 calories every 2-3 weeks. As you get closer to the estimated maintenance calories, the more conservative you will want to be to avoid gaining excess body fat. Consider only adding about 50 calories every 2-3 weeks at this point. For example:

  • Current Average Calories: 1,000 calories per day
  • Estimated Maintenance Calories: 2,000 – 2,200 calories per day

For this Reverse Diet, focus on hitting protein and calorie goals first. Let fats and carbs fall where they may filling in the rest of your calories after protein.

  • Jan 1st: 20% increase from 1,000 calories = 1,200 calories
  • Jan 15th: +100 calories = 1,300 calories
  • Feb 1st: +100 calories = 1,400 calories
  • Feb 15th: +100 calories = 1,500 calories
  • March 1st: +100 calories = 1,600 calories
  • March 15th: +100 calories = 1,700 calories
  • April 1st: +100 calories = 1,800 calories
  • April 15th: +100 calories = 1,900 calories
  • May 1st: +50 calories = 1,950 calories

…and so on.

A reverse might only take 3-6 months, but it could take as long as 12-18+ months. It took a while to drop weight by cutting calories, and it may take twice as long to earn all those calories again. But it will be well worth it!

As well, understand you shouldn’t instantly drop calories again once you’ve completed a reverse. Spend a minimum of 3-6 months (if not more) at maintenance before worrying about changing up your food goals and intake. This will ensure your body feels safe and comfortable enough to drop weight again.

**Just because it’s “time” to consider an adjustment doesn’t mean you have to. There is literally no such thing as “too slow”  — If the scale or body comp is bouncing around, feel free to hang tight an extra week or two.**

What to Expect on a Reverse Diet

A reverse diet can produce 3 potential outcomes: weight loss, weight gain, or no change in scale weight/body composition.

  • Weight Loss: It’s almost as if our body is SO hyped it’s finally being fed it stops “clinging” to every morsel of food we’re giving it.
  • Weight Gain: a common and necessary outcome in order to restore health and metabolism especially after extensive dieting.
  • No Change: in this outcome, you are able to go from NO food to ALL the food. And almost all biofeedback (gym performance, recovery, mood, sleep quality, etc) gets better with more food.

You can achieve the body you want without killing yourself. But it requires taking care of your body, hormones, and health and being smart about your nutrition. Spending the majority of your time living at maintenance calories is non-negotiable for feeling your best and staying as healthy as possible.

Common Concerns on a Reverse Diet

When starting a Reverse Diet for the first time, many individuals have concerns regarding how to cope with eating more food. Here are the most common experiences Reverse Dieters have when first starting their journey back to maintenance:

Excessive Hunger

Hunger is a good sign! It’s the green light to keep adding more food. Your metabolism is basically telling you to keep doing what you’re doing.

BUT, many things can affect hunger. Make sure that you’re eating enough fiber, drinking enough fluids, sleeping 7-8 hours at night, and that you’re consuming well-rounded healthy meals. Dropping the ball on any of the above will likely leave you hungry. If all are in check, then keep adding calories!

Necessary Exercise

If you’re already active, exercising more would defeat the purpose of eating more food. Stick to your usual routine and see your performance in the gym begin to skyrocket.

If you are not working out regularly, then you may certainly find a workout routine to start. The body was made to move, and exercise provides so many mental and physical benefits. Just like with the Reverse Diet, start out slow and build your way to 3-4 times a week.

Appropriate Calories

Knowing when you’re at maintenance (and when to stop adding calories) can be tricky. So pay attention to your body.

You are likely at maintenance calories when you feel good inside and outside the gym. Your energy and mood are great, sleep is uninterrupted, and you’re no longer dealing with cravings all the time.

If the scale starts to slide up as you near estimated maintenance, you MAY be reaching a caloric threshold. This means your body is at maximum efficiency at this number of calories. But you also may NOT be at maintenance here.

It’s not uncommon for someone to need to surpass this threshold and actually GAIN 5-20+ lbs in order to restore health. If this is happening to you, hang around that caloric threshold for a few more weeks to notice any changes in mood, sleep, energy, etc. before ramping up calories again. If you’re still feeling sluggish, hangry, and more it’s time to keep bumping up calories and expect to see the scale creep up with it.

The Reverse Diet can be just as daunting as a traditional diet… especially when going in without a plan. Luckily, now you have one! Follow the tips above to finally eat more and keep the weight off. And if you need some extra accountability and help, our Balanced Meal Prep delivery options can help support your calorie goal of the week. Just tap your goal and how many days a week we can provide you with delicious healthy meals to support your Reverse Diet journey!

Has your interest about intermittent fasting (IF) been piqued after hearing everyone from your favorite podcaster to your health-conscious best friend talking about how this technique changed their relationships with health, wellness and eating? There are some things to know before diving in. First, intermittent fasting isn’t as radical as it sounds. This is a very popular, mainstream approach to weight loss and healthier living used by everyone from spiritual gurus to competitive athletes for eons. What is often most surprising for people who experiment with IF is just how easy it is to work this into their lives without the pain and suffering they thought they’d experience.

Let’s cover the basics of IF for beginners. Once you learn the facts, you may discover that you’re a bit of a fasting pro without even knowing it. We can also take a look at what you need to know about getting some of the benefits of “true fasting” if you determine that IF just isn’t for you.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

At its core, intermittent fasting is an approach to nutrition that involves cycles of fasting and eating. Generally, a “fasting” period is a time without any food. However, many people still consume water, tea, coffee and other beverages that are free of sugar and calories. Supplements and medications are also permitted during fasts. Some people who do not feel comfortable doing full fasts will do amended fasts consisting of small portions of clean, low-calorie foods during their “reduced intake” periods.

Some people use a type of fast called the Warrior Diet if they don’t feel comfortable doing a full fast. Using this diet, you’re refining what you eat down to very low-calorie, raw fruits and veggies during the day. You then focus your calories on a single meal in the evening. The overall goal with the Warrior Diet is to focus on nutrient-dense, paleo-type eating.

For people who practice daily intermittent fasting, ultra-long periods of fasting are not necessary! The most common fasting schedule to follow divides each 24-hour period into two sections. The first section consists of a 14-hour to 16-hour fast. The next eight to 10 hours are non-fast hours that involve eating. This might look like a day where you fast from the time you wake up until noon. You would then allow your eating window to last from 12 p.m. until 8 p.m. before resetting your fast until the next morning.

Why Fasting Might Not Be as Hard as You Think

Going 16 hours without eating can sound daunting at first. However, it’s not as dramatic as one might think when you break down the numbers. Very few people wake up during the night to eat! That means that we all go roughly eight hours each night without eating. What’s more, you may not have breakfast until an hour or two passes after you wake up. That puts you at 10 hours of fasting right there without even thinking about it. If you didn’t have dinner or a snack within two hours of going to bed, that’s already 12 hours. That means most people can easily fast between eight and 12 hours every 24-hour cycle without even putting any thought into it! With intermittent fasting, you’re merely extending that food-free time intentionally.

Many people find that waiting a while to have breakfast after getting out of bed in the morning gives them more energy and clarity as they begin their days! Of course, it does take some effort to get over the mental hurdle of being in the habit of reaching for the cereal box within minutes of rolling out of bed. This is why a “routine change” is often very beneficial if you’re trying to begin an IF routine.

Dividing your days into pockets of eating and not eating isn’t the only way to practice intermittent fasting. However, this method is often considered to be the easiest “entry point” for fasting. Another popular method is to only fast on certain days. Many people do two-day fasts that cover the weekend only as part of a 5:2 fasting ratio. This allows them to maintain regular eating habits during the five-day workweek. There is also an eat-fast-eat method where people will carry out random 24-hour fasts. The strategy here is to essentially go from “dinner” to “dinner” without eating to complete your fast.

What Are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

Many people feel that fasting activates mental clarity, physical healing, physical regeneration, and weight loss. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that they’re right! A lot happens to our bodies when we fast. What many people find attractive about IF is that much of what happens during these fasting periods impacts our fat stores. That’s important if weight loss is one of the reasons why you’re investigating IF. Here’s a look at what we know about intermittent fasting and weight loss:

  • Fasting changes our hormones and insulin levels to allow for fat stores to be used up.
  • It may significantly speed up the metabolism to facilitate weight loss.
  • We eat fewer overall calories when we practice fasting due to smaller eating windows.
  • In studies, some people have been shown to see weight-loss increases totaling 3 percent to 8 percent when practicing fasting over three to 24 weeks compared to other weight-loss methods.
  • Human growth hormone (HGH) levels spike during fasting to help with fat loss and muscle gain.

Weight loss and increased muscle mass aren’t the only potential benefits that draw people into fasting. Fasting has been shown to supercharge our natural cellular repair process. That means that fasting is something of a “fountain of youth” that helps speed up healing and restore vitality. There is even some evidence to suggest that fasting can protect us against certain diseases by changing the way our genes function. Longevity is also thought to be a side effect of IF. In one study involving rats, lifespan grew by 36 percent to 83 percent among fasting rats.

A lot of people insist that intermittent fasting makes them mentally sharper. This brain boost isn’t all in their heads. It turns out that IF may help us to create more of a brain hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). What is significant about this is that BDNF is related to nerve growth in our brain tissue. It’s not surprising that many people feel like they are finally firing on all cylinders once they get deep into a fast. If you try IF, don’t be surprised if you do your most brilliant and creative work when you’re in fasting mode!

Not all of the benefits of IF can be seen and felt right away. There’s also a link between IF and cancer prevention. What’s more, intermittent fasting may also reduce our “bad” LDL cholesterol levels to provide a big heart-health boost! This is a big thing to know if you’re concerned about a family history of heart disease.

Is Intermittent Fasting for You?

There are plenty of reasons to be curious about IF if you’re always looking for ways to feel and look healthier. However, it’s essential to avoid being naïve about fasting. Generally, IF is considered a very safe and healthy practice. However, you should still speak with your doctor about this approach to nutrition before dipping your toe into the world of fasting. If you have a history of being underweight, having diabetes, experiencing low blood sugar or suffering from eating disorders, IF may not be the best choice for your mind or bod. You might also want to skip IF at this time if you’re on a medication that could make fasting complicated. Women who are pregnant, nursing or trying to conceive should also avoid IF.

Some people may experience increased bloating while intermittent fasting. But don’t worry! If you focus on staying hydrated and focus on eating fiber-rich produce and healthy fats, you should be able to keep your digestive system on track.

What Foods Should You Eat When Practicing Intermittent Fasting?

There’s no specific rule about the foods you can or can’t eat between your fasting periods. Many people who practice IF try to stick to very clean, natural diets full of lean proteins, whole grains and organically sourced vegetables. One of the easiest ways to stay on track when you’re practicing IF is to have some healthy, nutritious premade meals ready and waiting for you when you come back down from your fast. This will help you avoid any urge to reach for foods that aren’t really in your plan just because they happen to be there when it’s time to eat again.

It’s essential to keep in mind that one of the underlying reasons for IF being so effective for weight loss is that you’re eating fewer overall calories. That means that you can still get many of the benefits of IF even if you’re not a good candidate for this practice simply by reworking your meal plan to include more healthy, whole foods that pack in more protein and nutrients for fewer calories. What’s more, eating meals and snacks prepared using brain-healthy, heart-healthy ingredients like fish, avocados, and healthy oils can give you the “brain benefits” and disease-prevention perks that IF creates.

A new year is on the horizon, and with it comes many lofty goals and aspirations from people all around the world. But what separates those who succeed from those who don’t? It’s all in the plan…

As December comes to a close, many of us reflect on the previous year to set goals for the approaching year. And, man, what a year it was! We’ve been put through the wringer over and over again… and what once started out as a year full of hope and resolutions has turned into a circus act of staying sane and employed.

We are so ready for a new year.

A fresh start. A clean slate to pursue our self-improvement and actualization. That’s what our New Year’s Resolutions are for! According to a ComRes poll, 71% of New Year’s resolutions revolve around weight loss and fitness. A close second (47%), and falling under a similar category, many resolutions focus on improving physical health and better nutrition. Learning new skills and hobbies, practicing self-care, and spending more time with family and friends follow at approximately 15% each.

Unfortunately, many resolutions are set up for inevitable disappointment and eventual burn-out. Especially when faced with obstacles like what we saw in 2020. On average, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February.

There are many causes of these resolution failures. All of these reasons, however, fall under the same 5 categories. Read below to uncover what your resolution weakness is to combat and finally succeed!

1. GOAL SETTING

How you frame your resolution matters. When making resolutions, people often frame them using negative language. “Stop eating junk food” isn’t as effective as “Choose healthy meals” Thinking about avoiding behaviors inevitably leads us to think of those behaviors, creating a craving for something lost. BUT, when we frame resolutions positively allows our action-oriented thoughts lead us to the desired outcome.

New Year's Resolutions
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Another common pitfall of goal setting is which goals to focus on. While we all want to improve all areas of our lives, taking on too much at once can be daunting. The best way to combat this is to create one to two goals for different areas of your life, then rank them in order of importance or simplicity.

Focus on the top priority goal to keep your resolution achievable. However, by setting goals in all areas of your life, you’re bound to see a ripple effect in every area as you work towards one.

2. MAKING THE PLAN

Resolutions that aren’t written down are destined to fail quickly. So write them out, making a list of some things you would do to achieve that goal, and noting any obstacles that might stand in your way. Writing these aspirations down makes your goals real and helps prepare you to reach them. But, don’t just write these goals on a sticky note and forget about it.

Keep your list of New Year’s goals in a place where you will see them regularly, so you can review your progress and recommit on a consistent basis. Examples include taping your goals to your bathroom mirror, fridge, or screensavers.

This stage is critical for success. Not only does it allow you to reflect on an effective strategy but also prepares you for the obstacles sure to come your way. This way when things get difficult, you can deploy the strategies you wrote down to stay on the path toward success.

3. MEASURING PROGRESS

How can you know if you’re on the right track to achieving your goals if you have no way to measure them? In order to stick to those New Year’s resolutions, you need to be able to see you’re on the right track in a consistent way. The best way to do that is to set measurable goals.

New Year's Check-Ins
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For example, if your goal is to choose healthier meals, set a number of meals per week that will be “healthy.” Write down something like, “I’ll meal prep a healthy dinner 5 times a week.”

This way you’ll have something to check off daily. And eventually, you can build off those achievements, adding more meals the more consistently you hit your goals.

As well, consider keeping a resolution journal. Here you can write about your successes and struggles. This is an excellent way to measure progress as well as make any adjustments to get you back on track.

4. EXECUTING THE PLAN

Trying to do too much too quickly is another common reason why so many New Year’s resolutions don’t make it past February. Dramatically slashing calories, overdoing it at the gym, or radically altering your normal behavior are just a few of the ways to make reaching your goal exponentially harder. Instead, focus on taking small simple steps toward your goal.

For example, if you are trying to eat healthier, start by replacing the common “junk food” items in your house with more nutritious foods. You can even choose from our a la cart menu to start! While it may seem slow, these small changes make it easier to create and stick to new habits as well as increase the likelihood of long-term, sustainable success.

Another strategy for keeping your New Year’s resolution is to not make the exact same resolution as last year. After trying and failing, success may be harder to come by. However, if you do choose to reach for the same goals, spend some time evaluating your previous strategies.

Ask yourself questions like which strategies worked best, least, and what else prevented your success can help mitigate frustrations. As well, when evaluating these goals, write down the reasons you are working toward this goal again. Coming back to your “why” during stressful or undermotivated times is crucial to keep you moving forward.

5. THE REWARD

Finally, the pay off! The thrill and reward of accomplishing something we’ve worked so hard for are critical in keeping us reaching for new goals in the future. Just make sure your reward doesn’t make it harder to accomplish any of your other goals. If one of your financial goals is to cut back on debt, rewarding yourself for better nutrition choices with an extravagant trip may not be the best reward choice.

New Year's Reflections
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If you haven’t quite reached your goal yet, don’t fret. Those unhealthy habits that you are trying to change probably took years to develop, so how can you expect to change them in just a matter of days, weeks, or months?

It may take longer than you would like to achieve your goals, but this is not a race. Self-improvement is a marathon. Once you have made the commitment to changing a behavior, it is something that you will continue to work on for the rest of your life.

SOME FINAL TIPS

Get Support From Your Friends and Family

While you’ve probably heard this advice before, you may not have thought to do it like this before. When writing down your goals, think of someone who may have a similar goal (or who has already accomplished this goal). Explain what and why you have this goal to that friend or family member when asking them for help.

Having a solid support system can help you stay motivated. For additional support, join a group or class that shares your goal. When facing challenges like those found in our New Year’s Resolutions, together is always better.

Renew Your Motivation

During the first days of a New Year’s resolution, it’s easy to feel confident and highly motivated. There is no real discomfort or temptation associated with changing your behavior, and making this change might seem all too easy at first glance. But…

After dealing with the reality of dragging yourself to the gym at 6 a.m. or racking your brain for meal ideas, motivation will probably start to dwindle. When you face such moments, look back on what you’ve written down. What’s your why? What strategies did you plan to use in such moments?

Just Keep Swimming

Encountering setbacks are the most common reasons why people give up on their New Year’s resolutions. If you suddenly relapse into a bad habit, it’s not a failure. Instead, view them as learning opportunities. If you are keeping a resolution journal, write down when the struggle occurred and what might have triggered it. By understanding the challenges you face, you will be better prepared to deal with them in the future. Click here for a downloadable PDF to help you start planning, preparing, and executing your New Year’s Resolutions in the coming year!

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.

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!

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.