My Journey of a Thousand Miles that Began with a 3 Day Reboot

Name: Paul Urfi
Age: 44
Location: United States
Reboot: 3 days

What Health Issues apply to you?
High Cholesterol, Obesity

Did you Reboot to lose weight?

How did you learn about Reboot?
A coworker of mine (who had started their own journey back to good health and lost a bunch of weight) mentioned the documentary to me. 

What inspired you to do a Reboot?
I saw a picture of myself (the “before photo and I didn’t recognize the person in the photo. I felt horrible, both physically and mentally. I knew I wasn’t performing at my best and I was starting to see and feel the effects that my lifestyle was having on my health and well-being. I was run down – even after a good night’s sleep I never felt great or seemed to have enough energy. I had numerous aches and pains and honestly felt much older than my age. My waist had grown to 43 inches and wasn’t stopping. I was cranky, irritable and just not a happy camper. I just didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin anymore. My doctor had me on medication to lower my cholesterol, clear my sinuses and was concerned about my blood sugar. 

I snored like a freight train and he suggested that I might want to consider a sleep study and a CPAP machine. I could see that I was on a path to ruin. I realized, after watching FSND, that my diet was the first logical place for me to start making changes. My diet was horrible… lots of processed foods, fast foods and I could probably count the number of servings of fruits and vegetables I ate in a week on one hand. I certainly wasn’t consuming FRESH fruits and veggies regularly either. Here’s a great example of what I was doing to myself. I figured out that on a daily basis, I was consuming at least 500 calories and over 6g of sugar just from peanut butter. Factor in all the other poor food choices I was making and it wasn’t a shock that I looked the way I did. 

How did the experience go for you?
I firmly believe that completing the 3 Day Reboot changed my life. Not just for the obvious health benefits, but because it gave me a small win that I was able to build on to make other significant changes in my life. I told myself if I could just make it through 3 days, then I could do anything. I won’t lie, it was tough for me at first – mentally mostly. I was reliant on food for so much more than just sustenance. I had to completely rethink my relationship with food and the Reboot helped immensely with that. 

Once I started paying attention to the food that I put in my body, things began to change for me. More important than just the types and quantity of food was the quality of the food. It wasn’t just about the calories (although they’re important), it was about the nutrients. I realized that even though I may have been consuming enough calories on my old diet (ok, too many), I was literally starving myself to death from a nutritional standpoint. My body was never going to get the vitamins and nutrients it needed for optimum health if I didn’t change my diet. Of course watching calories was important, but once you give your body the nutrients that it craves you’ll be surprised how easy it is to eat less. 

Throughout my experience (and even today) people ask me how I did it and my answer is always a disappointing “the watch what you eat and move your feet” diet. Most people know that to be true but don’t like the answer. There isn’t a “magic pill” and you don’t need to follow some complex food ritual to achieve results. I learned that going back to basics could help me achieve my goals. Once I completed the 3 Day Reboot, the ball was rolling. I incorporated juicing into my daily life and that helped me improve my diet overall.

As the pounds started to drop off I felt inspired to start exercising. I just walked at first…nothing crazy, just a little every day. I got a pedometer and started tracking my steps. I set some goals for myself; 10K steps a day. Pretty soon the pounds started dropping off faster. I was inspired! I joined a gym and began doing cardio and strength training workouts 3 days a week – something I still do today. Not long after that I realized that in order to keep my heart rate up I had to walk faster and faster which eventually lead to running. Once I started doing that I got the crazy idea that perhaps I could actually run a 5K… I ran my first 5K in September and just completed my 4th. My next goal is a 10K and then a half marathon. All of this because I decided that I could possibly do a 3 Day Reboot. The journey of a thousand miles does indeed begin with a single step. I’m still amazed myself. 

How much weight did you lose (even if that wasn’t your goal!)?
Ultimately I’ve lost over 70 lbs. (32 kg) in the past year. It’s the first few pounds that I saw drop off during and as a result of the Reboot that inspired me. It was that first small win and how I felt that provided the spark of change. It’s said that we won’t make a change until we’re aware that there is a problem or that there is another (better) way. The Reboot showed me that there was in fact a much better way and that I could feel and be better than I was.

Did you have any notable health or physical improvements?

– I am no longer on any medications.
– I’ve lost 9 inches off my waist.
– I now wear a size L shirt instead of a XL or XXL.
– I sleep much better and I don’t snore (much to the delight of my wife)!
– I just feel better – my spirits are up and emotionally and mentally I feel like I can take on the world again!
– My skin is the healthiest it’s ever been. I’ve suffered from cystic acne my entire life. That problem has completely gone away.

What was the toughest part about the Reboot experience?
Taking that first step. Once I started I kept reminding myself that it was achievable and I had a lot of support from family and friends. After the Reboot, as my diet began to transform, I didn’t beat myself up for any slips or “less than perfect” days. Each day was a new opportunity to make the best choices for my health that I could and that’s the bar I set for myself.

What habits have you maintained and kept a part of your everyday life?
I still juice at least once or twice a day. Since starting this process we’ve joined a food co-op and visit the farmers market weekly. As a result the food available to myself and my family is much more nutritional and of higher quality. We cook more. I avoid dairy, alcohol, fast foods, refined white flour, refined white sugar, processed foods, and grains in general. I use fresh ingredients whenever possible and generally try to eat stuff that doesn’t have a label.

What is your lasting impression of the Reboot experience?
The Reboot and juicing changed my life. The number of ways are almost too numerous to count but at the top of the list are weight loss, overall health and an improved sense of well-being. I never miss a chance to tell people my story if they ask. Juicing is now a part of my life and is always front and center in that story. It’s been the foundation for my daily food choices and will continue to be as long as I have any say in the matter. I tell people that even though I’m only in my 40’s I’m actually training for my 70’s and 80’s. The choices I make now will have a direct impact on my quality of life in future years. I had to make these changes in my life now. I want to enjoy my golden years with my best friend – my wife, I want to walk my daughters down the aisle and I want to spoil my grandchildren rotten (eventually). 

My bucket list is long and I’m going to need to be healthy and active if I want to get to all of it.

Do you have a success story to tell? Share it here.


11 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

Sometimes you feel like you’re doing all the right things but no matter how hard you try your weight won’t budge. Let’s talk about some of the most common mistakes people make when they are trying to lose weight.

1. Not Eating Breakfast
This also goes for skipping meals. When you don’t eat regularly this sets you up for eating larger amounts later in the day combined with excess hunger that then causes you to make poor choices. You are naturally more inclined to reach for the calorie dense meals and snacks when you are over hungry, so be sure to eat a balanced diet throughout the day.

2. You Eat While Distracted Or Stressed
Eating in front of the TV, computer or while focusing on something else will essentially cause you to eat more than you realize or you should. Sitting to enjoy your meal and being mindful of what you’re putting into your body while taking the time to chew your food thoroughly will support the production of your satiety hormones leaving you more content and satisfied without over eating.

3. Snacking Too Frequently
Nibbling during food preparation or sticking your head in the fridge and grabbing things here and there are also culprits of over snacking. Mindless snacking, eating due to boredom, stress, irritability or you just need a break from your desk, can cause you to eat too many calories without realizing it. Keep snacks to 1-3 at the most per day. Portioning out snacks can also be helpful. Keep easy to grab vegetable sticks and fruits available so you go for those first.

4. Portion Distortion
When asked what portions sizes people thought were normal, a study revealed that most people estimated double what they should be having. Portions have been growing, and so are plates and cutlery. If you compare portions from the 1970’s to now, we are eating considerably more food at meals. To get the hang of real portion sizes it can be useful to measure or weigh food portions to get a better idea.

5. Eating Too Many Calorie Dense ‘Health Foods’
Foods like dark chocolate, nuts, Cacao Mint Bliss Balls and other yummy health treats can still be considerably calorie dense. Sometimes we mistake the idea that just because it’s healthy we can eat more of it.  Nutrients in these foods support satiety and satisfaction but if over eaten they can sabotage your weight loss attempts. Still enjoy these wonderful health treats and foods but remember portion control and save them for special occasions.

6. Lack of Sleep
Studies show if you get less than the recommended 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night you are more likely to snack, eat larger meals and have greater food cravings. Learn more on the effects of sleep on your waist line and some helpful sleep tips.

7. Lack of Vegetables
People who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables are more likely to lose weight and keep it off since a diet full of plant-based foods offers a wide variety of nutrients, less calories and its high in fiber which helps keep you full for longer. A high plant–based diet supports a healthy gut, which has been shown to help maintain a healthy weight. Colorful fruits and vegetables also support healthy detoxification pathways, by nutritionally supporting your fat burner you will support weight loss.

8. You Self-Sabotage
Negative thoughts about your own ability to succeed has an enormous impact on your success. Be mindful of the messages and internal dialogue you may be telling yourself.
If you are thinking, ‘I’ll never be healthy’, ‘It’s my metabolism’, ‘I have no will power’, then how will you ever achieve what you want for yourself?

Give yourself positive reinforcement daily. ‘I can do this’, ‘I’m in complete control of my health and myself’, ‘I am a strong healthy person’, ‘I can do anything that I set my mind to’ ,‘I deserve the best life has to offer me’. You will be surprised how many people talk themselves down. In clinical practice I’m always trying to decipher what’s going on in someone’s mind because that’s where all the power is!

9. Not Drinking Enough Water
Dehydration creates hunger! It is really important to be well hydrated to have an efficient metabolism, healthy digestion and weight control. Enjoy water, herbal tea and fresh juices.

10. Lack of Exercise
Not exercising and being sedentary all too often causes the metabolism to become sluggish. It is important to commit to cardio combined with strength training exercises to fire up your metabolism to burn fat. We have some great Reboot exercise programs to get those calories burning. Getting into an exercise rut can also be a culprit, the body will become accustomed to the same movement so changing and mixing it up will help move those pounds out.

11. It’s all in Moderation!
This is a lie that people tell themselves all too often. I recently read an article called ‘moderation is bulls#%t’. I loved it as I’ve seen these simple words be the undoing of many a health plan. We all need a little treat absolutely, but too often and those little treats can be enough to completely sabotage and halt your weight loss success. I’ve seen people eat ice cream one day ‘oh I never normally eat ice cream’, next it’s a packet of crisps, ‘Oh I never eat these things’, another day it’s a donut, ‘I haven’t had one for ages’, but it all adds up! When you look at all the moderation you may in fact be eating it regularly rather than minimally.

If you are ticking all the boxes and something doesn’t feel right it can be a good idea to have a check-up with your doctor or health care practitioner to make sure there isn’t any undiagnosed medical issue such as a thyroid disorder.

While keeping in mind all of these suggestions, commit to following a healthy whole food plant-based diet that will certainly help you gt the weight loss success you desire!

Mark Lost Weight, Gained Energy & Stopped Meds

Name:  Mark Beddoe
Age: 47
Location: United Kingdom
Type of Reboot/Number of Days: Juice only Reboots (Several but never more than 7 days)

What Health Issues apply to you?
Gout, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, IBS/Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Obesity

Did you Reboot to lose weight? Yes

How did you learn about Reboot with Joe?        
An old colleague, who had transformed themselves via juicing, suggested that I watch the film Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.

What inspired you to do a Reboot?
I was morbidly obese and other diets hadn’t worked in any kind of sustainable way. Seeing the transformation that a colleague had achieved and watching Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead seemed to all make sense. It was a no brainer and something that I had to try for myself.

How did the experience go for you?
I completed a 5 Day Reboot. Days 2 to 3 were difficult with the dreaded detox headaches but it was actually easier than I thought it would be.

How much weight did you lose (even if that wasn’t your goal!)?
In that first Reboot (5 days) I lost about 9 lbs (4 kg). Since then, I have incorporated juicing into my daily life and I Reboot every 3 to 4 months or so. I lost over 80 lbs (36 kg) in 12 months and I’m still going!

Did you have any notable health or physical improvements?
Yes! Since incorporating juicing into my life I have abundant energy. My eyes and skin are clear and I feel very alert. My blood pressure and cholesterol are fine and I recently stopped having to take any medication for gout.

What was the toughest part about the Reboot experience?
The toughest part of everyday was when I got back home after a day at work. I was usually feeling quite hungry by this point. A large glass of water or an herbal tea was usually enough to get me through to the next juice of the day.

What habits have you maintained and kept a part of your everyday life?
I juice for breakfast & lunch every day Monday to Friday. In the evenings I eat a predominantly plant- based healthy meal. I stay away from dairy, refined white flour, refined white sugar and processed foods. On the weekends I am a little more flexible depending on what is happening socially and I usually share a typical Sunday lunch with my family. Juicing has been incorporated into my life forever!

What is lasting impression of the Reboot experience?
My lasting impression is that juicing has been the best thing that I have ever done for my health. So much so that I want to share the benefits of juicing as far and as wide as I can. I truly believe that juicing has given me my life back. You can follow my healthy journey on Twitter @exploreJuice!

My Big Wake Up Call Led to Big Weight Loss

Name: Adam Harding-Jones
Age: 48
Location: Wirral, England
Reboot: Ongoing – juices and one meal in evening
What Health Issues apply to you?
Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, IBS/Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Obesity

Did you Reboot to lose weight? Yes

How did you learn about Reboot with Joe?        
I watched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead and then met Joe at an event in Liverpool earlier this year. It was Joe’s words of inspiration that made me go home that day and start the change.

What inspired you to do a Reboot?
My health was poor and l was very overweight.  After a health scare in December last year that had me in the hospital for a week, I finally understood l needed to do something about my weight and general well-being. The doctor said l was probably Type 2 diabetic with high blood pressure, fatty liver, DVT and blood levels that are all over the place. l knew l needed to do something, l just didn’t know what until l met Joe. His words hit home. I knew there was no turning back.

How did the experience go for you?
It went well and I noticed the changes very soon. I cut out alcohol and dairy products as well as fast food and processed meats and meals. Yes it was hard at first but as the weight dropped off I started to feel better. I set myself some short and long term goals: Go to gym, get and ride a road bike and join a club, do tough mudder. These seemed a long way off with the scales touching nearly 30 stone. Well I had to start somewhere. I started at a gym and with some treadmill and indoor bike work I started to see the benefits.

With a combination of juicing and exercise I knew there was no going back. My skin was better, I was feeling more positive, and I even had friends tell me how worried they had been and now could see the change.

With more training I knew a tough mudder was to come. This would be a challenge and a test like no other. My family was a little concerned that l may have taken on more than I could chew, but that made me more determined to complete it. So in September 2014, on my dad’s birthday who had passed away two years before from cancer, I DID IT.

Here I am knee deep in water and mud!

How much weight did you lose (even if that wasn’t your goal!)?
I started February 4, 2014 and to date have lost 8 stone/112 pounds/51 kilos in 8 months.

I now have no type 2, no high blood pressure, no fatty liver, no kidney problems or kidney infections, no DVT. I have no problems. Now I run, cycle and compete in tough mudder events.

Did you have any notable health or physical improvements?
Very much so! I am breathing much better, doctor told me my bloods have gone back to normal and my heart rate is now one of a normal person, skin is clear and l now do tough mudders and cycle.

What was the toughest part about the Reboot experience?
I enjoyed it because l knew l needed this and it may be my last chance. The positive feedback helped give me a focus.

What habits have you maintained and kept a part of your everyday life?
No alcohol
No bread
No processed food
No fast food
No dairy
Lots of fruit and vegetables

I’ve gone through a complete change which l’m finding easy to stick with.

What is your Lasting Impression of the Reboot experience?
Good health, a positive outlook, and a new group of friends in the community l found through my friend Steve Barney in Liverpool helped me succeed.

I enjoy our beatroot events once a month where we get together and share the knowledge and friendship.

So I’m happy to say that I was able to go from this…


Support Your Body’s Fat Burner

Surprising fact: The most important metabolic organ in your body that supports weight loss, weight maintenance and weight control is your LIVER!

Liver detoxification is something that goes on every day of your life, just as nature intended, your body has the ability to “cleanse” naturally on a daily basis. This occurs optimally if your diet adequately supplies the nutrients necessary for this this process and the burdens are not too great.

The Liver’s Function:
The liver has more than 200 metabolic biochemical functions to perform and plays a central role in nearly all bodily functions such as:

  • Digestion and conversion of nutrients
  • Eliminating metabolic waste
  • Producing bile for fat digestion and toxin excretion(via the bowel)
  • Energy and nutrient storage
  • Controlling cholesterol levels
  • Maintaining hormonal balance and elimination
  • Produces immune factors to fight infections
  • Detoxifies the blood by filtering and breaking down toxins

What kind of toxins does it break down?
Toxins may include microorganisms, normal metabolic end-products, hormones, alcohol, medications, environmental contaminates, pollutants, dead cells, cigarette smoke and more.

If your toxic burden is too great and your diet is of poor nutritional value this will then contribute to poor liver health, metabolic disturbances and many other associated health problems.

The Liver’s Nutrient Requirements
Fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods support these nutrient requirements (B2, B5, B6, B9, B12, carotenoids, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, selenium, zinc, magnesium, amino acids and other plant properties).

These nutrients are required to breakdown and eliminate toxins and convert them into water soluble compounds that are neutralized and eliminated out of the body via the kidneys (urine), bowel (via bile and feces) and skin (sweat).

How Your Liver Burns Fat and Supports Metabolism
Your liver plays a central role in the metabolism of any type of calorie and helps support your fat metabolism and weight control. When the liver is overworked and undernourished, metabolic wastes can build up within the fat and liver cells and recirculate back into the blood stream, causing inflammation and oxidative stress.

A fatty and/or unhealthy liver unfortunately stores fat rather than burns it. When your liver and visceral cavity become congested with fat its primary functions become impaired and this will disrupt your metabolism, digestion of fat and nutrients, hormonal health, and increase your risk of other more serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and liver disease.

When excess calories are consumed and after all glycogen stores have been replenished the excess calories are dumped into the liver. When this occurs too often this will contribute to an unhealthy fatty liver.

What Supports Liver Health?
Certain foods and plant compounds support a healthy liver. To encourage healthy weight loss you must support a healthy liver!

The liver is supported by many plant containing phyto-compounds such as:

  • Cabbage family vegetables. Due to the glucosinolates, these sulphur compounds help bind and eliminate toxins. They also boost glutathione which is an antioxidant liver boosting nutrient.
  • Onion family vegetables. These boost glutathione and contain high sulphur for liver support.
  • Beet family (beetroots). Beets contain betaine which helps to support and produce bile that is thinner, this supports easier bile flow that supports excess fat removal.
  • Orange vegetables. Carrots, Sweet Potato, Squash, and Pumpkin are all rich in carotenoids and plant-flavonoids which support healthy liver function.
  • Leafy greens. Leafy greens support liver cleansing, bile production, high nutrient and plant chlorophyll content.
  • Citrus fruits. Lemon, lime, grapefruit and oranges all have vitamin C and phytonutrients that support liver health.
  • Other liver boosting foods include asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, avocados, apples, peaches, mustard greens, chicory, endive and radicchio.

Beyond fruits and vegetables, other foods that are beneficial for liver health include; green tea, turmeric, dandelion leaves and roots, milk thistle, resveratrol and grape seed extract.

If your diet is deficient in fruits and vegetables this can have a serious impact on your liver health and increase the risk of fatty infiltration and other more serious health issues.

Here is more on Liver Health and Don’t live with a Fatty Liver!

A Clean Diet Cleared Tanya’s Skin Condition

Name:  Tanya
Age: 29
Location: Washington, D.C.
Reboot:  30 Days

What Health Issues apply to you? High Cholesterol and Eczema

Did you Reboot to lose weight? Yes

How did you learn about Reboot with Joe?
I didn’t know about Rebooting until I watched the movie Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.

What inspired you to do a Reboot?
I was 300lbs/136kg in December 2013 and I made a vow to lose weight before my 30th birthday. I started my own diet plan and for the months of January and February but my weight loss was very slow. My friend told me to watch FSND in February and I wanted to start right away but I didn’t have the funds or a juicer to do so. I waited until March and I got a group together and we vowed to do a 10 day juice fast. Well, they did the 10 days and I saw the weight falling off very fast, so I decided to continue and go 30 days. I lost 50lbs/23kg!

How did the experience go for you?
This experience made me make better choices in what I eat, my daily activities, and it also gave me a clear mind on how to handle decisions properly. I now live my life day to day helping others reach their own health goals.

How much weight did you lose (even if that wasn’t your goal!)?             
I am 70lbs/52kg lighter!

Did you have any notable health or physical improvements?
The biggest improvement for me was my eczema cleared up! I am 29 years old, I have never had eczema a day in my life until I was 28. At this age I was my heaviest at 300 pounds. I saw a rash developing and I didn’t know what it was until my doctor explained to me it was eczema. It just itched terribly and when I scratched it, it would spread all over my body. It lasted for about 3 – 5 months. When I started juicing it cleared up!

What was the toughest part about the Reboot experience?
The toughest part was not eating a HOT meal*. Thirty days with nothing hot in my body was far more the worst part of the Reboot process. Especially when you Reboot in the winter and nothing HOT is in your body it was certainly a test!  haha.

What habits have you maintained and kept a part of your everyday life?
I make it a point to eat fruits and veggies every day! I juice for dinner every night, even on the weekends. It’s my normal routine. When I eat, I eat clean. That includes tons of fruits, veggies, beans, nuts and seeds, and chicken and fish. I treat myself on the weekends and I am working out more than I ever did before.

What is your lasting impression of the Reboot experience?
When you Reboot you give your body a chance to cleanse itself. I Reboot from time to time. I try to stick with “clean foods” as often as possible. This Reboot experience has changed my thought process on what’s good for my body!

Read more success stories and share your own!

*If you prefer more warming meals during your own Reboot, try our homemade vegetable broths.

A Fiber We Can’t Resist

I couldn’t resist talking about resistant starch (RS)! Why? Well, it’s a type of starch that’s been considered to be the third type of fiber found in food, and just may help your weight loss goals in many ways!

What is RS?

This type of starch passes through the stomach and small intestine undigested. It is not accessible and can’t be digested, therefore it acts as a fiber. When the resistant starch reaches the large intestine (colon) it is then broken down and fermented by the bacteria in the large bowel..

There are 3 types of naturally occurring RS:

Type 1: This starch is bound by fibrous cell walls found naturally in legumes, seeds and grains.

Type 2: High amylose containing foods in its raw state such as potatoes, unripe (green) bananas and plantains; once they are cooked the starch becomes accessible.

Type 3: This is when type 1 & 2 are cooked then cooled.

Helps Support Weight Loss

One of the reasons this fiber is such a benefit, is because it helps us lose and maintain weight loss.

1. Improved fiber consumption from RS helps hunger levels and positively effects hunger hormones and satiety.

2. Resistant starch offers fewer calories in place of higher calorie containing foods of similar weight.

3. Improves glycemic effect by improving insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control. This study showed that the consumption of 15-30 grams per day of resistant starch showed improved insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese people by up to 50%.

4. Improves glycemic effect of the next meal. The next meal you eat, consumed after consumption of the RS, has less of a blood sugar increase and insulin effect.

5. Reduces fat storage in fat cells and increases fat oxidation, particularly post weight loss.

6. Support and maintenance of healthy bowel microbes.

Foods High in RS

Foods high in resistant starch are unripe (green) bananas, plantains, legumes (particularly white beans, black beans, chickpeas, green peas, lentils and kidney beans), cashews, oats, oatmeal, wholemeal pasta, pearl barley, rice, yams and potato.

These foods may be cooked but they must be cooled before consumption to be high in RS. They must be consumed in their whole form unprocessed only as the processing allows the starch to be completely accessible.

How Does RS Work?

Once resistant starch reaches the large colon it selectively acts as a food for the healthy bacteria found in our large bowel. When the good bacteria consume the RS it produces short chain fatty acids that support the health and integrity of our bowel cells.

These short chain fatty acids are also beneficial as:

  • Natural anti-inflammatory agents within the body
  • They help support nutrient absorption
  • They reduce re-absorption of metabolic wastes in the bowel
  • Inhibit the growth of pathogenic (bad) bacteria

RS has shown promise in studies to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer due to these effects.

Some research also indicates that obese people may have a different bacterial population compared with leaner persons. There is some evidence that healthy bacteria play a role in the maintenance and health of our metabolism.

Poor microbial health is highly associated with chronic health conditions such as obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, depression, anxiety, infections and poor immunity.

It is clear that diet can have a major influence positively or negatively on microbial proliferation and community both in the short and long term thus effecting our overall health. RS helps to maintain this healthy gut flora.

5 Healthy Swaps for 5 Unhealthy Foods

Eating healthfully and preparing balanced meals and snacks for the entire family is important for everyone’s health. September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, so this week we’re highlighting some common unhealthy food favorites and providing some easy-to-make healthy swaps for you and your family to try.

1. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
Sugar sweetened beverages are a hot topic with regards to their effect on childhood obesity and on adiposity overall. Sugar-sweetened beverages include soda, sports drinks and juices that are processed and provide little nutritional benefit, but instead are loaded with calories and a lot of extra sugar.

Why are juices, sports drinks and sodas so bad?

Unlike fresh juices that are made from raw fruits and vegetables, processed juices are made primarily with fruit (think sugar) and contain many different forms of added sugars, and are heated to high temperatures (a process called pasteurization) before being sold on the shelf. During pasteurization many of the nutrients are degraded due to their exposure to heat, leaving only a small amount of nutrients in the beverage.

Aside from the nutritional profile and added sugars in sugar-sweetened beverages, children who have become accustomed to drinking juice from early childhood may continue to choose sweeter beverages over water; over time, sugar sweetened beverages in place of water and other lower calorie options may can contribute to both obesity and childhood diabetes.

It’s also important to note that many juices and sports drinks now contain artificial sweeteners as a way to cut back on calorie content; thus far there is no evidence that long term use of artificial sweeteners is safe- so it’s also important to limit intake of these types of processed additives as well. Read your labels!  

Smart swap: Proper hydration is key for children. Making a simple fruit or vegetable infused water can make keeping hydrated more palatable and can help children become more accustomed to choosing water. There are so many benefits to drinking water, and adding fruits and veggies add even more.

Easy fruit and vegetable infused water: Start with a favorite vegetable such as cucumber and a favorite fruit such as orange slices. Slice 1/4 of a cucumber with 1/2 an orange and add to a large pitcher of water. Cover the pitcher and put it in the refrigerator, allowing the flavors to infuse into the water and enjoy.

2. Grab and Go Yogurts
Frequently marketed to kids, these types of yogurts are commonly loaded with a lot of extra sugar and artificial ingredients such as dyes and generally offer little nutritional benefit besides naturally occurring probiotics (why are probiotics so good? They may help to offer immune support and also to help promote healthy digestion).

Swapping a pre-packaged sugary yogurt treat for a more healthful home-made version can not only save extra calories, artificial ingredients and sugar, but can also provide many more nutrients.

Smart swap: Yogurt (no artificial ingredients and sugar) can be a great snack for kids. Yogurt offers immune-boosting probiotics, bone-strengthening calcium, and protein.  Choosing a plainer variety of yogurt and making your own version of a healthy yogurt parfait can be a great way to get the healthful benefits of yogurt without the added chemicals and sugar.

If you’re staying away from dairy, a Smoothie Bowl offers just as much (if not more) flavor and nutrients.

3. Processed Nut Butters
Peanut butter and jelly is a classic kid-friendly meal, but often I find that the type of nut-butter being used is a more processed variety (hint: nut butter should only have nuts and perhaps salt on the ingredients list) that contains hydrogenated oils such as palm oil or other similar varieties. Hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated oils contain trans fats that over time may contribute to heart disease (did you know damage to the blood vessels can start as early as age 3?). In addition, processed nut butters often contain sweeteners like molasses and other concentrated sugars.

Smart swap: Locate a more natural variety of nut butter that contains only nuts and a pinch of salt, or simply make your own! Making your own nut butter allows you to choose the variety of nuts used, and also allows for healthy additions such as cinnamon or cacao powder for added flavor.

Make your own Homemade Maple Cinnamon Chia Almond Butter, or keep it simple and just add almonds to your food processor and start mixing. It takes patience, but it’s super easy and budget-friendly. 

4. Processed Snack Foods
This is a big category of foods including chips, sugary snack foods and other processed snack foods. It’s difficult to completely avoid or even limit these kinds of foods because they’re usually marketed at children, which means your kids are probably already asking your for them, and are easily available, requiring minimal preparation.

Why are most processed snack foods so bad? Processed snack foods often contain a concentrated source of calories and sugar (in addition to artificial dyes and other ingredients) while having very little fiber and protein- two nutrients key for satiety. This means they’re easy to eat in a high volume, but provide almost no feeling of satiety. To put it simply, kids will only want more and more of these types of foods once they start eating them, so it’s always best to be prepared with healthy options on hand.

Although it’s not always possible to avoid processed snack foods altogether, being prepared with healthier options packed and ready to go can be a positive way to promote healthy snack consumption. Choosing more healthful options that contain few artificial additives and ingredients (hint: if you can’t read or pronounce the ingredients put the item back on the shelf) is made easier when prepared in the home; it’s also important to identify a few healthy ready-to-eat items at the local grocery store that can be purchased at the last minute.

Smart swap: Go for a walk in your local grocery store and identify 3 or 4 healthy items such as hummus, trail mix with raw nuts and dried fruit, and granola bars with no high fructose corn syrup and 3-4 grams fiber and protein per serving. You can also make your own Homemade Granola Bars that are so easy and so delicious.

5. Sugary Cereals
Cereals can be loaded with added chemicals, extra sugar and calories– and they’re certainly a kid favorite. Because all breakfast cereals are not created equal it’s important to identify a few in your local supermarket that are higher in protein and fiber- 4+ grams each (think satiety), but that are also lower in sugar and added sweeteners, dyes and other chemicals that offer little to no nutritional benefit and add extra calories that over time can contribute to weight gain and other health issues.

There are two types of sugar- added sugar and natural sugar, such as the kind found in fruit. When choosing more healthful cereals, it’s important to identify varieties with fewer added and artificial dyes and added sugar. To provide natural sweetness, add a small amount of natural sugar if necessary such as fruit, a fruit compote or even a small amount of honey.

Smart swap: Look for cereals with 4+ grams fiber per serving, 4+ grams protein per serving, less than 10 grams of sugar per serving (remember that 1 teaspoon is 4 grams), and no words that you can’t pronounce.

In fact, make your own cereals! We love healthy versions of Quinoa Oatmeal – you can serve that hot or cold.


10 Plant Foods Perfect for Weight Loss

Eating a plant-based diet helps control the bulges! Fruits and vegetables and other plant based foods contain high levels of fibre, water, nutrients and phyto-compounds, all these factors help control the appetite, improve satisfaction, and they also provide needed nutrition for a healthy body. Although we live in a society where food is plentiful, many of us are nutrient-deprived which contributes to unhealthy cravings and an excess appetite. Eat these 10 foods to keep your weight in control:

1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, endive, beet greens, arugula, lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens and swiss chard (silverbeet) are very low in calories combined with a high nutrient content which provides the body with the nutrients it needs to support a healthy metabolism combined with reduced cravings. Greens are very filling, provide bulk which fills you up and provides intense nutrition due to their high fibre, vitamin, mineral, and plant-based substances that help protect you from heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.

2. Lemons and Grapefruit
Research has shown that serum insulin, glucose and leptin were significantly improved by lemon polyphenols, thereby improving insulin resistance and weight control.

Lemons support liver health by improving the production of bile which supports the metabolism of fats in the diet. Lemons also support digestion due to their acidic content, which stimulates gastric enzyme secretions, aiding in the breakdown of fats and proteins. Have you ever eaten a meal that has contained too much fat and felt better for a hot lemon tea or lemon water, this is why.

It has also been shown that the pectin content of lemons aids in feelings of fullness which reduces overall calorie consumption. Studies have demonstrated that consuming ½ a fresh grapefruit before each meal showed a significant reduction in the 2 hour post-glucose insulin levels compared with the placebo. This study also showed that the consumption of fresh grapefruit juice caused a 1.6kg weight reduction over 12 weeks while the placebo group lost 0.3kgs.

Grapefruit also contains specialised antioxidants such as naringenin, that has shown to improve insulin sensitivity and help maintain a healthy weight.

3. Nuts
Eating portion-controlled amounts of the good kind of fat can help control your cravings and keep you from over-indulging. Research shows that when people munch on nuts, they automatically eat less at later meals. The fat content helps release satiety hormones in the digestive system which also help to curb hunger.

4. Chili Peppers
Capsaicin has a thermogenic effect, this means it causes the body to burn extra calories for 20 minutes after you eat the peppers. Researchers are reporting new evidence that capsaicin, the stuff that gives chili peppers their fiery flavour, may help fight obesity by decreasing calorie intake, shrinking fat tissue, and lowering fat levels in the blood. Pass the fresh chili please!

5. Ginger
L.K. Han, a Japanese researcher, says ginger creates a boost in the metabolism. He led a study in which rats fed ginger extract lost weight while maintaining a high-fat diet. Ginger has thermogenic effects as well as offering a range of other health promoting benefits such as reducing nausea, morning sickness, motion sickness, improving digestion, reducing pain and inflammation, relieving sore throats during colds and flus and while also reducing dry irritating coughs. Another great reason to sip on your lemon ginger hot tea on rising!

6. Avocado
Oleic acid, a healthy monounsaturated fat found in avocados, may trigger your body to actually reduce hunger and improve satiety. Be mindful that a portion to consume with a meal would be ¼ – ½ of an avocado for this benefit to help melt those pounds.

7. Blueberries
Due to their low sugar content combined with 4g of fibre per cup they are a great anti-oxidant addition to the diet. These little beauties fill you up and satisfy you. Researchers found that if the animals were given meals enriched with blueberries, they lost fat from their stomachs. Do we really need another fabulous reason to eat more blueberries.

8. Brassica Family Vegetables
Radishes, cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, arugula and watercress are loaded with cancer fighting compounds combined with fibre and are very low in starch and calories. They certainly fill you up and offer an excellent nutrient profile. These super vegetables also support the natural detoxification pathways through the liver which also supports weight-loss.

9. Chia Seeds
“Chia” means strength in Mayan and Aztec folklore, traditionally these tiny black and white seeds were used as an energy booster. Chia seeds are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, antioxidants, manganese and calcium. Consuming these with meals, in water, smoothies, juices and with snacks will help reduce overall calorie intake over the day. Chia seeds absorb liquid so they offer bulk in the diet and they digest very slowly offering sustained nutrition and energy.

10. Plant Proteins
There are many plant based proteins that offer not only protein but fibre which also helps support healthy blood glucose control combined with greater satiety and healthy bowel function. Plant proteins include beans, split peas, lentils, nuts, seeds and it also includes healthy plant protein powders such as rice and pea protein. Here is more on the benefits of protein.

Weight control is a great reason to include all these fabulous nutrient packed foods in your diet but more importantly these foods offer so many more health benefits for excellent health and well-being! So enjoy!