Fitness


Banish the Post-Workout Munchies

Don’t forget the 28 Day Blitz is ON!!! No junk for the rest of the month! Yes, I am aware that football, aka, buffalo wing season has begun. My advice is to have a taste and then move along to something healthier. Here’s the link I posted a few months ago to a delicious paleo-friendly buffalo chicken that is grain-free and baked.

http://stupideasypaleo.com/2014/03/30/crispy-buffalo-chicken-fingers/

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This is the pic I posted a while back when they were made for me. Turkey bacon  wrapped asparagus is optional.

 Your body will thank you!

And now a question for Blitz Your Body …

Amy, I have a question for you. When I do a lot of exercising (mostly walking and biking each for 30 min to an hour), I end up so very, very hungry the entire next day. Is there something that should be eaten before or after exercise to help curb this spike in appetite?–Linda

Before we get to the best foods to fuel and nourish your workout, let’s make sure that what you are experiencing isn’t really thirst. Many times, we are dehydrated and not truly hungry, so you must drink a lot of water, especially on your active days. How much does that mean? Well, there isn’t too much evidence that proves the “8-8 oz of water” per day rule is actually true.  But, the Mayo Clinic suggests that women take in 2.2 liters (9 cups) and that men take in 3 liters (13 cups) a day, adding an extra 1.5 to  2.5 cups when you exercise, which is pretty close the the conventional wisdom of 8/8 glasses of water. 

Here’s an accurate portrayal of what I look like drinking my water, post-workout:

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Yes, I wear pearl earrings when I workout. You don’t???

Now for fuel. We need to pick foods that will satisfy your hunger and be in line with your fitness goals. Pre-workout, you want to make sure you eat healthy carbohydrates that will give you energy without weighing you down. The closer you are to your exercise session, the simpler the food should be.

What I eat BEFORE a workout

A handful of grapes (15-30 min prior)

Banana with peanut butter (30-60 min prior)

Coffee Smoothie (60 min prior-recipe below!)

Half Ezekial English muffin with almond butter (60-90 min prior)

Fruit smoothie with half scoop protein powder (90-120 min prior)

Nothing.

That’s right. Sometimes I don’t eat before I go to the gym. My body is used to a fasted workout and sometimes I just grab a coffee and go. 

What I eat AFTER a workout

Carbs + Protein = a satisfying post-work out meal or snack that will keep you feeling full. Stay away from heavy fats, since they inhibit your body’s ability to quickly process all the good stuff.

Fruit Smoothie with whole or half scoop of protein powder (cardio or weight training)

Eggs with 1/2 cup of rice or half a potato and green veggies (cardio or weights)

Plain 2% Greek yogurt (cardio or weights)

A veggie wrap (cardio)

Roast or grilled chicken (usually left-overs) with veggies (weights)

Coffee Talk

I recently discovered that freezing coffee in ice cube trays is an easy and tasty way to add a little zip to my protein shakes.

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My moose mug is my best friend.

Moderate amounts of caffeine can naturally enhance your exercise performance. The better your performance, the more your calories you burn, and you can have greater strength gains. Just brew a strong cup of coffee, then freeze.  Side note: coffee cubes are also great for homemade iced coffee!

Coffee Protein Shake

Blend the following:

8 oz unsweetened almond milk

half or whole scoop of vanilla protein powder

1/2 frozen banana

1/2 TB of peanut butter (if you want to bulk it up a bit. It’s good without too)

1 TB raw cocoa nibs or cocoa powder

1 Tsp of psyllium seed husk powder

3-4 frozen coffee ice cubes

A drizzle of maple syrup (or any natural sweetener) to taste.

Sometimes I throw a TB or 2 of raw oat bran to increase the amount of fiber. 

Try it as a pre-workout fuel source, or a perky mid-day snack. Let me know what you think!

Facebook.com/blitzyourbody and Twitter @AmyBlitz1

28 Day Blitz!

There’s a myth out there that people naturally slim down during the hot summer months…something about the higher temperatures making it too uncomfortable to overeat. Yeah right! Personally, the warm weather makes me want to eat more fro-yo, and go to more happy hours. When you factor in vacations and long weekends, the little indulgences can really start to add up.

I can’t be alone in this. In fact, I know that I am not. In the past few weeks, I’ve been asked by a number of people to create a month-long challenge that will inspire a healthier lifestyle, and help shake off that extra summer weight.

So, here we go…

The 28 Day Blitz

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No sugar is pretty self explanatory. It also means no white bread or pasta–these foods convert too quickly in your body, and spike your insulin levels, just like sugar does.

No fast or fried foods– a no-brainer.

Nothing highly processed– no soda, no scary Kraft products, nothing “light” or “fat free”…if it comes out of a package and has a ton of unfamiliar ingredients, stay away.

No junk: cookies, crackers, bagels, pizza, burgers, fries, cupcakes, ice cream,  frozen yogurt (yes, even fro-yo!)

So what can you eat? This is NOT a deprivation diet. I want you to eat REAL food and measure your portion sizes. Your exercise goal, if you accept, is to move your body five days a week. These five days can include a long walk, your favorite yoga class or intense HIIT training, you just have to get going.

Take this month to clear out the junk in your cabinets AND in your “trunk.”

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I couldn’t resist!

And since I don’t want you to feel totally deprived, give yourself one “cheat” meal and one “cheat” snack each week. Also, you’ll notice that I haven’t banned booze. But let’s try to limit alcohol to 1-2 glasses of wine a week.

Every week I’ll feature a workout, healthy meal ideas, and encouragement to help you through the next 28 days. If you want to really get serious, measure/weigh yourself, or take a “before pic” before you officially start. By October, I hope you are looking and feeling better than ever!

So, what do you say?

Talk to me FB.com/blitzyourbody or Twitter @AmyBlitz1

How Long Does It Take to Lose Weight?

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A question to Blitz Your Body:

 I am very dedicated to losing 22 pounds by going to the gym. I am currently going 5 times a week, doing 20 minutes of  cardio at 144 bpm, and 40 minutes of weights. How long do you think it will take me: 6 months or longer?–Rebecca

I get this question all of the time! But before I answer, let’s touch on some of the details you have provided:

Crush Those 20 Minutes With Intervals

Based on your age,working out at 144 bpm, or beats per minute means that you are performing aerobic cardiovascular exercise. Since you are only doing it for 20 minutes, I recommend trying interval workouts for at least 2 of the days of the week. That means you switch between high intensity and low to moderate intensity for a short period of time. This could be sprinting on a spin bike (be sure to add resistance) or hauling ass on the elliptical. You can also walk on the treadmill and incorporate running. Each burst  should be about 30-60 seconds long, with your recovery being about 60 seconds long. You should go all out during your interval. Your goal should be to hit 85% of your target heart rate. Make sure your heart rate comes down before you start your next interval.

This is what my heart rate looks like during an interval training session:

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Perform at least 30-40 minutes of cardio on your non-interval days. And keep lifting those weights!

Eat to Lose

It is almost impossible to lose weight with just exercise alone. Don’t get me wrong. You definitely want to exercise. It improves cardiovascular endurance, builds muscles, increases energy and joint mobility. Your confidence will soar, you’ll handle stress better, and your metabolism will naturally speed up. I could go on and on about why exercise is a vital aspect to quality of life.

But you will not lose weight if you ignore your diet.

Let’s put it this way: you can burn about 350 calories running a 5k. A grande Frappuccino is 370 calories.  If you are anything like me, it takes about 2 minutes, 42 seconds to suck down one of those things. Yikes!

You must avoid processed junk and eat the most natural food you can at least for 90% of your week. That allows for 1-2 cheat meals (not days!) a week so that you don’t feel deprived.

So, How Long Does It Take to Lose Weight?

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You’ve probably heard that it’s best to lose two pounds a week. But here’s the thing: the smaller you are, the harder it will be to lose weight. Also, all of our bodies are subject to factors like gender, age, genetics, and current fitness level. Since I know Rebecca’s age and what she looks like (gorgeous), I know it’s more likely that she’ll most likely lose a half to one pound a week. Four to five months is a good estimate for her potential weight loss of 22 pounds.

Don’t just go by the numbers on the scale! Take your waist, hip, and thigh measurements. Get a friend to take a picture of you on your start date. Check these metrics at the end of each month to make sure you are still on track.

Just starting out? Make yourself a promise to keep at it for at least one month. After that time, eating right and exercising will become a habit and easier to stick to.

I can provide you with exercise plans and nutrition support, even if you don’t live in NYC. Email me at amy.blitz@gmail.com for information.

Facebook.com/blitzyourbody or Twitter @AmyBlitz1

Why You’re Not Losing Weight

Netflix = fitness? Yes. Having recently finished the awesome second season of Orange is the New Black, I decided to switch over to documentaries. I just finished Hungry For Change, which I highly recommend if you have 90 minutes and an interest in our ridiculous wacked-out diet industry.

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No time to watch? Here’s the film in a nutshell:

  • It’s not our fault that we as a society are overweight and not able to lose the extra pounds. Human beings are genetically predetermined to consume high calorie foods, so that we’ll be prepared in times of famine. And of course, since there is no famine, we get stuck with all that extra weight.
  • The food industry employs tactics used by “Big Tobacco” in the 1960’s to make their products more addictive, like adding more sugar and MSG than ever before.
  • The combination of seeking calories and consuming fast and processed foods means that we are over-fed, yet malnourished. This state of being leads us to seek yet even more calories.
  • We can heal our bodies by eating the right foods like chlorophyll rich foods (dark greens) and gelatinous cleansing foods, like chia seeds and aloe, and obviously avoiding processed foods.

It was a truly insightful film, and well worth a look. It’s not exactly a date movie, but it will make you want to eat a date. That’s for sure.

Grand Opening

To me, checking out the hot new club in NYC always means a new health club. You wouldn’t want to see me dance anyway.

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    What the hell am I doing here? 

Last week I was lucky enough to snag a reservation for the opening of new group exercise studio, BFX in Chelsea. If you like indoor studio cycling, Pilates, and TRX, this place is definitely worth checking out. I took a “Classic Ride” and am looking forward to trying out Pilates. The place is brand new and gorgeous.

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TRX Room, new bikes, and a light show while you ride. 

What’s the difference between BFX, and Spinning in general–from places like Soul Cycle and Flywheel? At Soul and Flywheel, the instructors take time to do an arm routine with 2 lbs weights while cycling on the bike. Sometimes they do push-ups on the handlebars! BFX (which is an official Spinning facility) is cycling at its purest form, and only focuses on the ride. It’s more athletic than the others, and feels more like  actually training and riding outside.

Without totally geeking out on Spinning talk, I do enjoy an energetic Flywheel class everyone once in a while. I just never do the arm routine. When I’m cycling, I like to cycle. When I want to weight train, I do real push-ups and strength training with my feet on the ground. To do otherwise is actually unsafe. Read this article if you want to hear about why it’s not such a great idea do to things on an indoor bike besides ride it:  http://www.spinning.com/media/spinning_instructor_news/2013-4-1.html

Now let’s dance!

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How Much Does Sitting Negate Your Workout?

Misery loves company, so I’m sharing this Runners World article about how a day spent at your desk can almost totally negate the run you did that morning. Lately the health community has been focusing on the importance of moving and standing more throughout the day, instead of being glued to your chair. Now a study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings explains how to subtract the negative effects of sitting all day from the positive effects of your workout. AWESOME.

If you don’t have time to read the RW article here are the highlights:

“According to a research team from the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center, each time unit of sitting cancels out 8 percent of your gain from the same amount of running. In other words, if you run for an hour in the morning, and then sit for 10 hours during the day, you lose roughly 80 percent of the health benefit from your morning workout.

People who engage in an hour of moderate-intensity exercise–running is considered vigorous exercise–fare much worse. They lose 16 percent of their workout gain from each hour of sitting.”

What? A 10 hour day of sitting negates 80% of your run?

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What can the average person, who has an hour of commuting plus an 8-9 hour work day, do to counter this?

Stand up on the subway and don’t hold on to the pole, even when the train stops and starts (urban surfing, woo-hoo!)

Stop G-chatting your coworkers and get up to gossip about your boss with them face to face.

Walk more by getting off the bus before your usual stop or taking the stairs.

Just find any excuse to move and stand more throughout the day!

Here’s the entire article:

http://www.runnersworld.com/health/how-much-does-sitting-negate-your-workout-benefits?cid=social_20140715_27815816

Thanks to my fabulous client, Gwen for sending it to me!

Facebook.com/blitzyourbody Twitter @AmyBlitz1

Vegan, Schmegan: Why I Couldn’t Wait to Eat Meat Again

My experiment is over and I’m more than happy to be back to eating an all-inclusive diet again! For each the past three months, I have been following  a different lifestyle diet. I kicked things off with Paleo, then went vegetarian, finally ending with vegan. Veganism was tough, but I perservered! Ok Ok, I admit, this is how I really felt:

Yes, I HATED IT! Sorry vegan friends, it’s possible that if I tried it first I would have loved it, but  sadly, that fortune wasn’t written on the back of a soybean. Part of my dislike for the plants-only diet was that I did it last, and after two months, I was totally over having restrictions on my diet. Or maybe it was my terrible and terrifying belly-bloat from all the fibrous foods.

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Me, looking down at my belly. NO. I’M NOT PREGNANT.

Vegan Diet: The Breakdown

Difficulty: Hard to stick with. Boring. I really missed fish and cheese (not together, that would be gross).

Expense: As inexpensive as vegetarian since plant products are cheaper than animal ones. However, I spent more on vegan restaurants than I normally would. I spent about $250 on groceries that month, but probably $150 on ordering out.

What I Ate: I pretty much ate my weight in nuts, nut butters, and avocados. I even put almond butter on my sweet potatoes (it’s actually really good, I think you should try it). Dinners were mostly huge bowls of sauteed veggies with either beans on tops or a baked sweet potato. I ate more tofu than ever and discovered a love of Soba noodles. I ate a lot of avocado toast for breakfast or even a snack (probably too much).

Energy Level: Normal, I did not notice a change from the previous month.

Body Changes: This is interesting. One would expect a new vegan to have some weight loss but I actually gained weight. Nothing dramatic, I am actually the same measurements as I was before I started the project. Why the weight gain? I believe this has a lot to do with all the fat I was eating. Yes, they were healthy fats. But too much of a good thing…well you know how it goes. Also, those vegan restaurant meals aren’t always healthy, just because they’re made of plants. There is such a thing as vegan junk food, and I definitely partook.

So, now what?

I am blending all three diets into one super healthy, super “clean” diet by going vegetarian during the day and eat paleo-style at night. This way I get the best of everything the market has to offer, without over-doing it on a certain food group.

Also:

I will have less reliance on cereal grains. This does not mean none, my paleo peeps. Just less.

I’ll get my carbs by eating starchy vegetables and beans. You must eat these if you are active. Otherwise you will burn out during your workouts.

I’ll try to eat only grass-fed beef, organic chicken, and fresh-caught fish as much as possible. This is something I never thought too much about before I tried Paleo, but now I’m hooked.

Before I close the page (FOREVER) on veganism, let me share a recipe I came up with to minimize my time chopping veggies in the kitchen. I use the term “recipe” loosely, as there’s not too much to this meal. I made it specifically for the cooking-challenged folks out there, which includes myself. It is a no-chop, no-prep, meal that is also totally vegan.

No-Prep Tofu Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

Feel free to add whatever you want to this; different veggies, chopped garlic, cilantro, etc…just keep in mind that it will no longer be “no-prep”

1 cup bagged kale

1 Tb coconut oil

1/2 bag of broccoli slaw

1 package of diced organic, firm tofu

Start by steaming the kale for about 5 minutes in a pan with a little water and a pinch of salt. Add the coconut oil, broccoli slaw and tofu. Stir fry for about 3- 5 minutes. You don’t want the broccoli to over-cook and get soggy, so keep an eye on it.

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While that’s cooking, start on the sauce

3 TB soy sauce

1 TB natural, smooth, peanut butter

1 tb apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar

1 tsp chili flakes

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp of coconut sugar (optional, if you want a little sweetness to your sauce)

Chopped nuts

Add the sauce and cook for a minute or two.

Your no-chop, no-prep meal is done!

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Boom! Drop the mic. Walk away.

Facebook.com/blitzyourbody Twitter @AmyBlitz1

Time to Shake That Booty

From my boot!

Yes, sweet, sweet freedom. After ten weeks of being burdened with a walking cast, aka Aircast boot, I am taking NYC by storm and walking on my own two feet.

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There they are!

I feel so lucky that I can perform a simple, everyday task, like walking. Having an injury sucks, but it does put things into perspective. When our health and vitality are taken away from us, we immediately bemoan how we took these things for granted. And when our health is restored, we have a greater appreciation for it. I hope I can keep this appreciative feeling as I leave my boot days far behind me.

Of course, I had to celebrate Boot Liberation Day with a few friends and mixed drinks.

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Don’t worry, this drink was way more pina than colada.

Vegan Stuff

When you don’t eat animal products, you miss out on some important nutrients. Here’s a quick little list I put together that are must-have items if you are going to go vegan.

Vitamin B12: important for DNA synthesis, and brain and nervous system health. Unlike the other B vitamins, B12 is only found in animal products.

Nutritional Yeast: already discussed here : http://blitzyourbody.com/2014/06/glutesnooch/ This weird but tasty substance adds flavor to veggies and is supplemented with B vitamins, including B12.

Textured Vegetable Protein or TVP: I know, sounds delish, right? These are dry soy flakes. If you’ve ever had Morningstar farm soy crumbles, this is the same thing, just in its plain form and a lot cheaper. You just reconstitute it in a bit of water and add it to pasta sauce or asia stir fries to bump up the protein content. It takes on the flavor of whatever you put it in.

Oreos Kidding, kidding! I recently came across this list of surprising vegan foods and, happily, Oreos made the list http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/12/surprising-vegan-foods_n_3895853.html

I would never eat a toxic, chemical riddled Oreo cookie.

Or would I…

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Yep, the Reese’s ones.

If you’re a vegan and have a food to add to my list, let me know on facebook.com/blitzyourbody or on Twitter @AmyBlitz1

Vegan Rage is Real, People!

It’s been a sad morning. Not because of the vegan diet (which IS growing tiresome), but because of this…

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Don’t you hate when the entire stem rips off?

I had to make a little hat so that I wouldn’t get banana in my backpack.

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Caution: Genius at work.

I am more than mid-way done with my 30 day vegan diet, and am most looking forward to eating cheese again. In fact, I have begun to think of the past few months as B.C. and A.C. (Before Cheese and After Cheese, respectively).

I tried some vegan, soy-based, “cheese” which was just about the most vile thing ever invented.

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 Slimy, smelly and EVIL. Why does this exist???

There are a few ways to create your own vegan “cheese” with cashews and nutritional yeast but I have yet to try it.  Has anyone ever made this stuff?

It’s a good thing that I live in NYC, where there is bound to be at least one vegan restaurant in any neighborhood you wander. I love Peacefood Cafe on the Upper West Side, where I treated myself to a piece of vegan carrot cake.

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It tasted just like carrot cake with cream cheese frosting-amazing!

There is even a new vegan soul food restaurant in Harlem which I will be hitting up very soon:  http://www.seasonedvegan.com/ Yes! SOUL FOOD! Get in my belly!

I often refer to veganism as the diet of side dishes. For example, last night I ate sauteed zucchini, a Kabocha squash mash, and a salad. I also tossed some black beans in there to help fill me up. This is a pretty typical dinner for me. I know, it sounds depressing to all you meat-eaters out there. But because I am eating a high volume of food I feel satisfied at the end of each meal.

Of course, satisfied does not mean happy, and as I write this I am being informed that I still have a poor attitude, and am short-tempered. I like to think that I’m being sassy, but yeah, I agree my fuse is short. VEGAN RAGE IS REAL, PEOPLE!

Finally, if you missed the grand announcement before, I have a new workout video on my YouTube channel! And it focuses on everyone’s favorite body part-the glutes!

 Talk to me on Facebook.com/blitzyourbody or Tweet me @AmyBlitz1

Work Your Glutes and Eat Your Nooch

First thing’s first: my exercise video is out on YouTube! In this, the first of many workouts, I focus on low-impact glute exercises that anyone can do. Don’t let the words “low-impact” stop you from trying them, even if you think of yourself as more advanced. The exercises I picked are  very effective for targeting the glutes, and can be made more difficult by adding weights. Check it out here:

Thanks to my friends at DSnap Photography! They did an amazing job!

And the Blitz goes on…

So, I’m a vegan now. Add in last month’s vegetarian diet, and I admit that I miss eating meat. It’s not so much that I crave it–I just miss having it as an option. But my energy is back (my workouts feel good), I’m not as sleepy in the mid-day hours, and my body finally seems to be adjusting to the new diet. Whew!

I’ve been playing around with some vegan products to ensure I get the protein and nutrients my body needs. In the strange-but-good category, I came across Nutritional Yeast.

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Hmm…looks strange…

And if the name sounds weird to you, just wait till you actually see it. The stuff looks exactly like fish food and the smell…I can’t describe it. But it’s not  exactly pleasant. However, once it’s sprinkled on food, it takes on a nutty, cheesy taste. I like it over steamed or stir-fried kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. It’s also good with beans and on salads. I’ve also heard it’s a tasty option for popcorn. Interesting. But really…what the hell is it?

Nutritional Yeast or “nooch” is an inactive yeast grown on molasses. It won’t help your bread rise, but it will provide you with vitamin B12, selenium, zinc, and protein. Basically all the stuff you need if you aren’t eating animal products. Try it, (on things rather than alone), and you’ll like it–I swear. If you aren’t eating any meat or dairy, you need this stuff in your life!

Got any vegan pro-tips for me? Easy recipes? Let me know on Facebook.com/blitzyourbody or Tweet @AmyBlitz1

Work Your Core and Clean Your Floor!

I love using Gliders to pump up my core and leg training. If you haven’t seen them, they look like this:

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Actually, I don’t own my own pair–and not every gym has them. So when I’m in the mood to glide, I just grab a towel and get moving. In the exercise below, I have placed a towel under my toes while in the plank position. Then I pike my hips, return to plank, and drive my knees from elbow to elbow to work my obliques. Check out the video here:

Vegetarian Update!

Adjusting to vegetarianism has been a bit challenging for me. I thought that simply replacing meat with beans would be a breeze. But in reality, my body has had a difficult time processing all of the fiber I’ve been putting into it.  After two weeks, I started to feel the effects of all the Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. Not to mention the avocados, nuts, seeds and beans I was eating as well. My stomach became distended, and I felt gassy and uncomfortable. Not good!

Here’s a list of my favorite veggies and fruits and their fiber content:

Vegetables (1 cup servings)

Broccoli and cauliflower, 5 grams

Brussels sprouts, 6 grams

Kale, 3 grams

Sweet potato, 4 grams

Fruits 

Medium apple, 4 grams

Banana, 3 grams

Avocado (half), 9 grams

Mango, 5 grams

These foods are delicious and wholesome. Their fiber content will fill you up  and keep you regular. You should include these in your diet, (just not all at once, every single day)– like I did!

So, to review: when you increase your fiber intake, go slow, make small changes, and  drink a lot of water to help all of that fiber make it’s way through your system. Your tummy will thank you!

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