Be Healthy Without Cutting Everything Out of Your Diet: 10 Traveler’s Tips to Being Healthy 0 18123

Lately, diet trends have been to cut out entire food groups deeming some too unhealthy to incorporate into your diet at all. You only need to travel to prove that eliminating food groups from your diet is unnecessary. The proof is in hundreds and thousands of years of food habits and traditions that exist in countries around the world. Traveling is a great way to assess lifestyle and eating habits around the world and develop a Rolodex of eating habits that can be incorporated into your day-to-day life. While it might not be possible to adapt every great lifestyle habit, like taking a famous Spanish siesta after lunch, into your day-to-day life, there is a lot to learn about diet from other countries. Since developing this arsenal of alternative eating habits takes some time, I’ve compiled a list of some that I’ve picked up from years of traveling and living abroad that I incorporate into my daily diet.

1. Balance & portion control

Stop cutting foods out of your diet and start learning to balance your diet and eat the appropriate quantity of food. You don’t have to stop eating carbs, meat, or gluten to maintain a healthy diet or even lose weight. Maintaining balance and portion control are the keys to eating what you want and being healthy. Italians eat pasta every single day, at least once per day, and as a population, Italians are usually named one of the most healthy in the world. Carbs are not the problem, but taking into account the portion you are consuming and what else you’re eating during the day is important. Ensure that you are also eating meat or fish, fruits, and vegetables, not simply carbs.

2. Big lunch and small dinner

Turn lunch and dinner upside-down. In most of North America, the largest meal of the day is in the evening, and lunch tends to be quick and small. In many other countries, I’ve visited the largest meal of the day is in the afternoon – not at night. After eating a large lunch, there is time to work off the energy throughout the day and leaves you needing a much smaller meal for dinner. I became accustomed to eating like this a few years ago after working in Spain and I and felt more energetic and happy – not to mention I lost weight quickly. I’ve managed to maintain this style of eating for a few years now and the weight has stayed off too.

3. Salad at the end of the meal

In Italy, they eat salad at the end of the meal, not the beginning. Eat leafy greens with nothing more than olive oil and vinegar or lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper, to help aid digestion after the meal.

4. Olive oil

Speaking of Italians, they have been named the most healthy country in the world by the Bloomberg Global Health Index due in part to the population’s high intake of olive oil. Raw olive oil drizzled over vegetables, bread, arugula, fish, and beans are some great ways to consume more olive oil.

5. Fruit

Eat fruit every day. This one can be difficult if you live somewhere where the fruit is less than interesting or not of very high quality. Living in Colombia I discovered my roommates always had a collection of fresh fruits like papaya, guanábana, and passion fruit and each morning they made fresh juice in a simple blender and, well, with almost every meal. In Italy and France, eating whatever fruit is in season after lunch or dinner is custom. I’ve once heard it’s best to eat fruit for breakfast but really as long as it is incorporated into your diet, it works.

6. Switch to unsalted butter

The first time I lived in Europe, I discovered that it is typically difficult to find salted butter. It is not very common for people to use. In fact, I had a really difficult time finding it in Portugal and Germany. You don’t have to cut out butter, but switch to unsalted, I promise you won’t miss salted butter, it’s so easy to add salt to your food and it will reduce your salt intake exponentially.

7. Bulgur

Living in Turkey, I discovered what is commonly called Bulgur Rice. It is not rice at all but cracked wheat, and incredibly healthy for you. Usually, it is really cheap, and it is quick and simple to cook. It is high in fiber and protein, rich in minerals, and low in fat and delicious when cooked with spices.

8. Eat fish

If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where there is good, inexpensive fish, eat fish at least once a week. Japan is the number one consumer of fish in the world and came out on top of the list of the World Health Organization (WHO) list of countries where people live to full health longest.

9. Eat cheese at the end of the meal

People have a preconceived notion that cheese is not good for you. I spent about three-and-a-half-years working in a cheese bar learning about its health benefits when quality cheese is consumed in moderation. Easier said than done, right? A trick I learned from living in France is to eat cheese at the end of the meal. This will ensure that you are full enough that you don’t eat the whole round of cheese in one sitting. In France and Italy, they eat cheese every day and are much healthier than North Americans on a whole.

10. Eat slow

Meals should be enjoyed and savored, never rushed. Eating slowly will allow your mind to catch up with your body in deciding if your full or not. Eating quickly leads to overeating. Just about every European culture makes time for each meal to be enjoyed. In Japan, it is typical to stop eating when they are starting to feel full and take a 10 minute break to determine if they are still hungry. So slow down, and enjoy your food, it’s not just healthy but great way to find relaxation in the day.

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Olivia Ragni is a wine professional from the United States who is studying Viticulture and Enology in Europe. She works as a freelance writer focusing on travel, food, wine, and culture. Her passion for wine and culture takes her around the world, rarely living in one country for more than an year. She hopes her stories will inspire others to embrace the unknown, drink smarter, and travel more often.

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5 Ways To Get A Good Physique 0 8917

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It’s no secret that looking good is hard work. Some are born with natural good looks and gorgeous body’s while others have to dedicate tons of time and energy to looking as good as they want to be. Getting a good physique isn’t always an open and shut case; even those with natural genes have to put in work from time to time. Getting a good physique isn’t something that happens overnight, it has to be deliberate, and there is a need to adopt a particular lifestyle. Certain changes and adjustments should guide your daily activities.

There are numerous ways to get a good physique; the easiest way is to join a gym and begin a weight lifting training program. In a month or so, you are bound to see changes that should please you. However, sometimes the results of all that hard work are covered up by excess fat, so hitting the gym a few times a week won’t cut it. It’s a vital part, however, not the most important by far. To have a proper aesthetic and balanced physique, one needs to pay attention to all parts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, not just lifting weights.

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Nutrition

It’s the backbone of the entire enterprise, as important as it is to lift weights to get the glamorous shape you’ve been dying for, you have to eat properly for all that to happen. When dealing with a delicate subject like nutrition, it’s important to establish some ground rules. Different people eat differently; they tend to structure their eating pattern based on their body type. For example, someone looking to cut down a few kilos needs to eat below his required daily caloric intake. This means no side snacks that aren’t fruits – and definitely no candy bars. And most importantly, they need to watch their fatty food intake. While a person on the skinny-side needs to focus on eating more proteins like lean meats and legumes to bulk up in order to grow muscles.

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So it’s a really tricky subject, but regardless of your dietary goals there are certain general rules that must be followed. These rules are:

  1. Stick to whole foods; no snacks or processed foods
  2. Stick to water; no carbonated drinks or sugar-filled juices
  3. Lay off the alcohol; to get an athletic physique you need to lay off counterproductive items like beer. It allows fat to store in  the wrong places. Reducing your alcohol intake should have a significant effect on your overall physical appearance.

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When you’re looking to build an athletically-pleasing body, it’s important to consult with a nutritionist to put you on the right path. We can provide general advice, but a nutritionist can properly instruct your eating pattern, discuss your body goals, and construct a meal plan that is tailor-made to maximize the effects of your lifestyle choices.

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Hitting the gym

Most people assume that hitting the gym entails building up muscle mass through weight lifting exercises and some light cardiovascular exercises.

Some people aren’t up for the whole looking “buff” thing. So there are body weight exercises, if executed with perfect form and consistently, can lead to   minor muscle gains and body definition. Body weight exercises are less effective than weight lifting and, fortunately, that’s not a bad thing. Certain body weight exercises provide muscle tones, carve them out, and get you looking good without necessarily causing massive increases in muscle size. A little cardio and body weight exercises should get you that dream body in no time.

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Sleep more

The average human being needs about 6 hours of sleep daily, but what does that have to do with building a great physique? Insufficient sleep can lead to a decrease in the secretion of growth hormones – which means that your muscles won’t be as big or strong as they should be. A great night’s rest enhances the secretion of the growth hormone, which is something you want when you’re trying to get a toned physique.  A good night’s rest will not only give your body the time it needs to heal, it also will have you feeling fresh every morning – ready to face the day. Less sleep has been known to cause cravings, and a substantial decrease in overall weight loss, which is counterproductive to the whole weight loss program if that’s what you’re aiming for.

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Hydrate

Drinking plenty of water is half the job. For all the gut-wrenching exercises you’ll experience on your fitness journey, your body needs to hydrate regularly. Water controls and regulates the body’s temperature, it aids proper digestion, lubricates the joints, and transports nutrients all over the body. It is arguably the most important substance in the body.

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And that’s why it’s important to drink plenty of it and avoid dehydration. When exercising, the body cannot perform at its full capacity unless it has been stocked up with plenty of water. Hydrating during workout sessions is important. Drinking plenty of water before and after workout sessions can regulate the body’s temperature and give you a strength boost. Sports drinks should be chosen carefully, some of them could end up doing more harm than good. They are usually loaded with calories and sugar.

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Working out with a friend

As clichéd as this might sound, it’s one of the most effective ways to get fit. Getting fit is all about consistency, not giving up, repeating exercises, and changing your lifestyle to accommodate your new goals. All these things may take its toll on the mind and body, without proper guidance it would be almost impossible not to give up. That’s why it’s important to find a friend that will help push you over, through, and around obstacles. Anyone could help you really; it could be a mentor, a friend, or your very own personal trainer. All you need is someone who will keep you going through the good and hard times.

Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do At Home 0 57451

Working Out At Home

It can be especially difficult to drive to the gym and spend hours there if you simply don’t have the time. Some people have crazy schedules and can’t afford to spend all their spare time at the gym. The drive there is just too time-consuming. Since most people don’t have an indoor gym or expensive equipment at home, they tend to assume it’s impossible to get an intense workout without fancy equipment. So not true!

Before there were fancy equipment that do some of the work for you, there were great exercises that capitalize on your bodyweight, get you sweating, and give you that great burn you’re looking for. Here are some of the most effective bodyweight exercises that will target all of your essential muscle groups. These are just a few of them. There are an extensive and surprising amount of bodyweight exercises that burn your muscles; these ones just cover the essentials.

Push Ups
Pushups

Pushups

Pushups are the bread and butter of bodyweight exercises. Most people are familiar with this exercise and tend to think it’s clichéd and ineffective, but we beg to differ. Basic pushups target the pectorals and triceps mostly, it also hits the anterior deltoids, the serratus anterior, and the abdominal muscles. Suffice to say, it hits a lot of muscle groups at the same time. There are a lot of ways to isolate specific muscles like the pectorals through pushup variations like diamond pushups, or core and shoulders with Spiderman pushups or pike. The basic pushup entails a simple range of movements. Start off by finding a mat and continue by placing both hands beneath your shoulders and then stretching your legs until you are resting on the balls of your feet. Close your legs until they are firmly tight. When you are done you should be in a plank position.

Lower your body until you achieve a 90° angle or lower and then try to get back into starting position and repeat that range of motion again.

The benefits of a proper pushups are endless. They target all major muscle groups of the upper torso and carve them out. It is the singular most encompassing upper body exercise. If you’re a newbie to pushups, you should start with box pushups and knee pushups and work your way up to a full pushup.

Box Pushups
Box Pushups

Box pushups

Get on the mat and assume a crawling position, then lower your body until your chest is almost touching the ground, and get back into starting position.

Knee Pushups
Knee Pushups

Knee pushups

Knee pushups are just like a tweaked box pushup. You start at a crawling position, then you lift your feet off the floor so that only your knees and your palms are the only part of your body touching the floor. Then you lower your body and simultaneously stretch forward and return back to starting position.

To get a worthwhile workout focusing on pushups you should complete 20 reps and sets of each exercise.

Situps
Sit-ups

Sit-ups

Sit-ups are also very effective and clichéd; like most clichéd exercises they have variations that stem from their original range of motion. Exercises like crunches and reverse crunches, were formed from observing the sit-up. The sit-up targets the abdominal muscles and works them hard (if repeated enough times). To pull off a sit-up, you need a mat and a partner (ideally). Sit-ups are somewhat problematic in that it’s hard to keep your feet down while performing the exercise. It’s also possible to perform a sit-up without help. First you lie on the mat face up and then try to bend your knees until they reach a 90° angle. Make sure your feet are touching the mat, they should not leave the mat at any point during the exercise. With both your arms tucked behind your neck, try to reach your knees with both elbows and return back to starting position. If this action proves difficult you should get a partner and try again. Also, when performing the exercise, try not to use your hands to pull your body upwards, it compromises the entire exercise. Keep your chin up! 30 reps of sets should be enough for a thorough workout.

Jump Rope
Jump Rope

Jump rope

Jump ropes make you remember simpler times… That simple range of motion can take you back decades, you remember the other kids you played with, you remember hopscotch, but what you don’t remember is how tired you got after playing jump rope for a long time. Jump rope, as simple as it seems, is very effective. It’s so effective it’s almost better than jogging, well, almost. Jump rope has been said to burn an equal amount of calories as jogging, if done at a fast pace. The beautiful thing about jump rope is that you can do it in the confines of your own home, and it can be every day without having to leave the house. With 20 minutes of jump rope every day you get good cardio without prior planning or stress. Take a trip down memory lane today!

Pull-ups
Pull-ups

Pull-ups

Pull-ups are one of the few bodyweight exercises that can give you massive gains when it comes to back width. It attacks the lateral muscles which are responsible for most of the width of the back and give guys that coveted V-shape. Pull-ups alone, if done properly and consistently, can give you a properly toned back and aid substantial growth. If you’re looking for a toned physique, this exercise is right up your alley. It’s important to note that this exercise doesn’t necessarily get your back looking all muscly, you need to do it for a long time to get that look going. For this exercise, you need a pull-up bar or just any bar that is above your head (and can hold your bodyweight). Stretch both arms upwards and grab the bar, widen your grip, your arms should be around shoulder length apart, and pull up your body from the ground. You should try to cross your legs to make the exercise easier. When your chin is above the bar and you have completed the full motion, squeeze your back and hold it for a second or so before returning to the starting position. It’s important to note that while doing this exercise, your feet should not touch the floor.

Pull-ups are particularly tricky so you should do each set until you fail and complete about to sets.

YouTube videos

Modern technology has allowed us access to an almost infinite source of knowledge. YouTube is considered one of the greatest assets of the 21st century. It’s a livelihood to some, entertainment to others, and a wealth of knowledge to those who seek it. There are various channels stocked with videos that feature exercises that target your desired muscle groups. There are numerous bodyweight exercises that are far more complex and rewarding than the ones we’ve listed above, and they come with clear, visual instructions that will help you perform them. It’s never a bad idea to visit YouTube. There are exercises that will address your specific needs and help you get an intense workout from the comfort of your own home.

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