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Your Guide to Cookware For Organic Cooking: Safety, Recipes, and More

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Turning to organic food is more popular than ever before. But is your cookware getting in the way of your food’s health benefits? According to a Gallup poll, almost half of all Americans seek out organic choices when they shop for food. In 2016, organic food sales reached an impressive $43 billion. Many people find that the extra money or time it takes to seek out organic food choices is well worth it. However, they might be exposing themselves to health hazards in other, unexpected ways: by cooking with unsafe cookware.

The dangers posed by some cookware materials can seriously affect your health. Don’t let your efforts to go organic go to waste by cooking with the wrong tools. Ready to learn how to choose the safest cookware for your organic cooking? Keep reading to learn how to upgrade your kitchen for safety.


Why Your Cookware Matters?

You might have been using the same cookware for years. If it seems to be doing the trick in the kitchen, what could be wrong? Or maybe you’ve recently invested in some fancy new pots and pans. Since they were pricey, you might not think there could be anything wrong with them. But even your trusty old favorites or expensive new cookware can hold hidden dangers.

kitchenware

As easy example of a surprising cookware hazard is the carcinogenic properties of nonstick pans. Most nonstick cookware is made using perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. This synthetic chemical is listed as a health hazard by the American Cancer Society. The chemical remains in our bodies long after we unwittingly consume it, and studies on animals have shown how it contributes to cancer and other health issues. Still, stores continue to sell us nonstick pans.

This is just one on a long list of potentially harmful cookware materials. If you’re already making an effort to replace your food with organic choices, why not change your cooking tools for safety, too?

Cookware Health Hazards

Cookware Health Hazards

Cancer is just one of the problems caused by toxic cooking materials. Here are the other risks you’ll be avoiding when you update your kitchen with safer pots and pans.

Allergies

Certain cookware materials put out fumes in the air when you use them. The fumes can result in allergic reactions, breathing difficulties, and other negative symptoms in anyone with sensitivities.

Neurological issues

Some materials in cooking implements will leach out into your food, such as aluminum. Many people avoid aluminum in products like deodorant because studies have linked it to neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Although the accumulation of aluminum in the body hasn’t been proven to cause these diseases yet, the link is undeniable.

High cholesterol

Raised cholesterol levels don’t just come from the foods you eat. They are a byproduct of unsafe cookware. Chemicals in nonstick pots and pans, including the PFOA mentioned above, have been connected to high cholesterol levels, even in children.

Compromised immune system

Perfluorochemicals like PFOA also have links to many other health concerns. Most worrying, perhaps, is that they seem to compromise the immune system. Without a healthy immune system, the body can’t effectively fight off disease. These chemicals also cause problems with the thyroid, liver, and other essential parts of the body’s self-protection mechanisms.

Delayed development

As mentioned above, these health problems are present in children, not just adults. Research shows that even before a baby is born, the mother’s PFOA levels can affect development, creating dreaded developmental delays. Once born, these children might miss essential developmental milestones.

Toxic Cookware Materials to Avoid

Toxic Cookware Materials to Avoid

With these hazards in mind, what kinds of cookware should you keep out of your cabinets? Let’s take a closer look at the materials to avoid in your kitchen.

Plastic

Plastic is perhaps the most obvious kind of cookware to avoid. The same research that’s made many people switch from plastic to glass water bottles should also make you reconsider your plastic cooking tools.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is found in plastic and has been linked to health hazards in multiple scientific studies. When pregnant women consume BPA from plastic, the chemical mimics estrogen and can cause many problems for their children, from breast cancer to infertility. Cooking with plastic should always be avoided.

Aluminum

As stated above, aluminum appears to have a connection to Alzheimer’s. The scientific community remains in a heated debate about whether or not these studies are conclusive. Studies have shown that cooking certain foods is more likely to make aluminum leach from pots and pans, though. Vinegar and acidic things like tomatoes will cause more aluminum to get into the food.

If you want to make aluminum safer, look for anodized aluminum cookware. Anodizing prevents leaching. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so we recommend not cooking with aluminum at all if you can avoid it.

Copper

Copper cookware may be beautiful, but it’s not completely safe either. This material can also leach from your pans into what you eat. This mineral differs from aluminum in that we actually need copper to be healthy. However, it can soon build up to toxic levels. We ingest copper from many sources already, ranging from copper pipes in the home to copper IUDs in our bodies.

In this modern world, we’re much more likely to experience copper toxicity than copper deficiency. It’s best to stay away from copper cookware, so you don’t accidentally consume too much.

Nonstick or Teflon

Between the toxic fumes and the flakes of coating that can get into your food if you scratch the pan, nonstick cookware has lots of opportunities to cause health problems.

To make matters worse, the base material for many nonstick pans is aluminum. Once the Teflon is scratched or worn away, the aluminum can start to leach into your cooking. These risks aren’t worth the convenience and ease of nonstick pans.


Safe Cookware Choices

T-Fal E765SE

Now that you know what to avoid let’s delve into the best cookware options to replace your old tools.

Ceramic

Ceramic is beautiful, rustic, and safe -- for the most part. However, you do need to be careful as some ceramic dishes manufactured in other countries can come with dangerously high lead content. Improperly prepared dishes will leech the toxic metal.

You can easily avoid this risk by only buying ceramic tools made in the U.S. or Canada, where regulations prohibit high lead content.

Stoneware

Stoneware is another attractive and safe option, as long as you buy stoneware made in the U.S. and Canada. Safely produced stoneware won’t leach at all and is a versatile kitchen choice. However, it is heavy and prone to chipping, so be careful if you use it.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is widely considered to be one of the safest materials for cooking. If you buy good-quality stainless steel, it won’t leach or rust. However, stainless comes in many different grades, so make sure you look for food-grade stainless cookware.

It would help if you also took care not to wash your stainless steel pans with harsh or abrasive materials since this can reduce the stability of the metal and make it likely to leach. If your stainless pots and pans become damaged, throw them out, because they are no longer totally safe.

Glass

Glass is surprisingly durable, nontoxic, and environmentally friendly. Look for oven-safe glass cookware, as well as glass pots and pans for the stovetop. Don’t forget to replace your plastic food storage containers with glass, too.

Cast iron

Cast iron might seem old-fashioned, but it’s a very safe and very effective material for cooking. In fact, it might actually be the most nontoxic material on this list.

Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron 5 Piece Bundle. 10.5” Griddle, 8”...

Since cast iron holds heat well, you can cook with it on a low setting. You'll keep the food from sticking, which is the main reason why people avoid using cast iron skillets and pans. However, cast iron also holds up to high temps, and can even be put in the oven.

WIth cast iron cookware, the only material that can get into your food is iron. Many people have iron deficiencies even today, so adding a bit of iron to your food from your cookware can actually benefit you. The only reason to avoid cast iron is in the rare case that you have high iron levels already.

When cast iron is seasoned, it also becomes virtually nonstick. Most cast iron pans come with instructions for seasoning. Essentially, you’ll coat the pan with oil and expose it to heat several times to get and maintain a nonstick surface. It takes a bit of time, but you won’t miss nonstick pans at all with properly seasoned cast iron. You can also buy enameled cast iron, which is nonstick and dishwasher-safe.

Organic Cookware Essentials and Recipes

Organic Cookware

Wondering how to start making your kitchen completely safe and organic? Here are the top cookware essentials to buy or replace today, plus our favorite organic recipes for each one.

Stockpot

Stockpots are excellent, especially if you’re cooking for a large group or in large quantities. Choose from different quart sizes to meet the needs of your family. These large cookware items are ideal for making lots of pasta, soup, veggies, or broth. Even if you’re just cooking for one, you can make a big pot of soup and then freeze it in individual portions to consume throughout the year. Look for stockpots made of stainless steel or enameled cast iron. Since you'll heat them for a long time, you don’t want any leaching.

Our favorite stockpot recipe

If you’re into health trends and love using the whole animal, use your stockpot to make an ultra-healthy bone broth. Bone broth is easy to make, and there are many different variations of the recipe. Start with the bones or carcasses from beef, chicken, or the meat of your choice (this is a great way to use leftovers!). Put them in the pot along with a couple of bay leaves and some chopped vegetables -- try onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. Add a couple of spoonfuls of salt and vinegar, cover all the ingredients with water, and cover the pot. Cook everything on low. Beef takes about 12 to 24 hours, while poultry finishes in 6 to 8. Skim the top of the broth every once in a while as it cooks.

After the broth cooks, pour it through a fine strainer and throw out the solids. Add salt to taste, and refrigerate or freeze.

Skillet

A skillet is another essential part of a healthy, organic kitchen. Again, the sizes vary. Try a small skillet of eight inches or less if you’re cooking for one or two people and a larger one of 10 to 12 inches for a big family. You’ll use your skillet for all kinds of basic cooking. They’re great for pancakes, eggs, stir-fries, and more. You can even use a skillet to reheat food, avoiding the microwave. Cast iron skillets are a healthy, failsafe option. Buy enameled cast iron if you want cast iron that is also easy to clean. If you want a lighter weight skillet or are on a budget, try stainless steel or glass instead.

Our favorite skillet recipe

Skillet-cooked scrambled eggs are a morning staple. However, not all scrambled eggs are created equal. To elevate your eggs, use fresh organic eggs -- they always taste better. Whip the eggs thoroughly: the more air that gets in, the fluffier they’ll be. Add a touch of salt, and cook over low heat with some melted butter. Push the eggs around with a spatula (made of a heat-safe material like bamboo) until the eggs have mostly set. They’ll set the rest of the way after you stop cooking them, so don’t overdo it.

Saucepan

How could you make great sauces without a great saucepan? Again, choose from different quart sizes depending on the size of your family. In a saucepan, you can cook rice and other grains, beans, and every kind of sauce you can name. Stainless steel and glass are two of the top saucepan materials.

Our favorite saucepan recipe

Tomato sauce is a staple in French, Italian, and many other beloved cuisines. Organic tomatoes offer the sweetest, juiciest flavor for the perfect tomato sauce. Marzalla Hazan’s famous tomato sauce recipe involves just four ingredients. Start with peeled tomatoes (you can try fresh instead of canned, too). Cook them in a saucepan with butter, a halved onion, and a pinch of salt. Simmer the ingredients, then bring the heat down to low.

Throughout the cooking process, use a spoon to crush the tomatoes, and stir the mix occasionally for 45 minutes. When drops of fat start to show up on the surface, the sauce is ready. Throw out the onion halves and serve the sauce with your favorite meats, pasta, and more.

Ready to Replace Your Cookware?

Once you’ve invested in the big-three essentials of stockpot, skillet, and saucepan, you’ll want to upgrade the rest of your kitchen, too. From stovetop tools to baking sheets and pans, you can make every last item in your kitchen safe for you and your family. The key to replacing your cookware without breaking the bank is to start with the essential items, then replace things one by one after that. However, if your old cookware gets damaged, such as scratched Teflon, then it’s extra dangerous and should get replaced right away. Which organic recipes will you try with your new, healthy cookware? Let us know in the comments!

Best Fruits for Weight Loss and Diet

best fruits for weight loss

Did you know that apples and oranges are not only nutritious but can also slim down your waistline? It’s true, and the best fruits for weight loss are right there at your local supermarket.

These super fruits make you feel fuller -- longer. This is important when you want to prevent unwanted weight gain. These fruits can be enjoyed alone or as part of a larger meal. They are sweet, tasty, and can improve your figure. So, what are the best fruits for weight loss?

Can Fruits Help You Lose Weight?

We always hear nutritional experts telling us about the plethora of fantastic health benefits of fruit. But can eating fruit really help you lose weight? The answer is yes.

Some studies have shown that fruit has benefits for our health through their anti-obesity effects. There are several reasons that experts confirm the weight loss benefits of certain fruits. For one, fruit helps to enforce the effects of satiety or the feeling of fullness that helps us feel full for longer periods of time. Because of this, we are usually less compelled to eat more food after eating fruit.

Different fruits on market

Paired with satiety is the fact that the best fruits for weight loss are also higher-calorie foods that can satisfy our appetites when eaten on their own. This is opposed to vegetables that we usually pair with a more extensive course. You are more likely to choose a piece of fruit rather than a carrot to replace that cookie you think you want. The result is that eating fruit can limit the total calories you would have had. Make this a routine, and you will be taking in fewer calories in the long run.

One of the common traits of the best fruits for weight loss is fiber. Many fruits, including apples and pears, contain up to 3.6 grams of fiber. There have been several studies that prove that those who eat less fiber are consistently more obese than those who consume fiber more frequently. Those who consume more fiber are also less likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, dementia, and even depression.

For all of these reasons alone, eating fruit is a no-brainer.

The Best Fruits for Weight Loss

There are over 2,000 types of fruit in the world. While most varieties are very healthy in moderation, there are a select few that are not only healthy but are considered the best fruits for weight loss. What separates the best fruits for weight loss is what they have inside. The following fruits are high in antioxidants, and they have a higher water content. Many of them also contain necessary vitamins and nutrients including potassium, vitamin C, and of course, that all important fiber.

Watermelon

One of the best fruits for weight loss is watermelon. The main benefit that watermelon has going for it is its water content. Every bite of watermelon you consume contains about 92 percent water and only six percent sugar. The benefits of getting enough water are well known. When it comes to losing weight, making sure you drink enough water can replace unnecessary food.

watermelon

In many cases, when we think we are hungry, we are really just dehydrated. So when we choose to have a glass of water instead of a bag of chips, we are replenishing what we need without gaining weight. Plus, water helps our bodies to work at maximum efficiency. Meaning that your workouts will be more effective, making it easier to lose weight.

Wonderful ways to prepare watermelon

If you are looking to enjoy watermelon as one of the best fruits for weight loss, then you have several options. The first is to enjoy it by the slice. If that doesn’t do it for you, watermelon is also great with other foods. You can add thin slices to your sandwich, turn it into a salad with tomato and avocado, or combine it with gazpacho to make salsa.

Blueberries

Blueberries have a lot going for them, making them one of the best fruits for weight loss. These tiny berries have been found to positively influence the genes that regulate where we store fat and how we burn it away. If you eat blueberries as part of a low-calorie diet, you will also find that the berries help to improve blood sugar levels which impacts how we lose weight.

Blueberries

On top of all of that, blueberries are also a significant source of fiber, with one cup containing 3.6 grams. It helps us to feel full, so we don’t eat the bad stuff.

A million ways to prepare blueberries

As one of the best fruits for weight loss, blueberries are a great compliment to yogurt, granola, and fruit smoothies. You can spice up your favorite pork dish by pairing blueberries with white wine and fresh thyme in a lovely savory sauce. You can even match the blueberries with that watermelon, jalapeño, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice for a salsa that makes an excellent topping for grilled salmon or chicken.

Apples

They say that eating an apple a day can keep the doctor away, but they can also lead to your weight loss goals. Apples are one of the best fruits for weight loss because they are a low-calorie snack that contains no sodium or fat.

The most important way apples can help you to lose weight is by combining an already low-calorie count with a high amount of fiber which makes you fuller for longer. Many people eat an apple before their dinner to ensure that they consume fewer calories. Like watermelons, apples also contain a lot of water with a medium sized apple being made up of about 85 percent liquid. This water content also helps you to feel full.

apples

If your weakness is your sweet tooth, then apples can help with that too. Some apples are sweeter than others because they have more sugar. However, the advantage of apples is that they have a low glycemic index. That means that your body is better able to process the sugar they contain. In this way, an apple can easily replace your favorite sweet treat and is one of the best fruits for weight loss.

Amazing ways to eat apples

Apples are already great on their own, but if you want to spice things up, you have many options. For a fun snack, create a sandwich with two apple slices surrounding a small helping of granola and peanut butter. Don’t worry, peanut butter is also high fiber and is perfectly fine on a diet if eaten in moderation.

But the apple sandwich is just the tip of the iceberg. Apples can also be roasted, baked, and turned into applesauce. There are many other healthy apple combinations including apple pancakes, a healthy apple pizza, and a baked apple crisp.

Grapefruit

Grapefruits are one of the best fruits for weight loss because they contain multiple elements that aid in slimming your waistline. The main benefit is that grapefruits contain ingredients that can lower the level of insulin in your body. Insulin is a fat-storage hormone. When your body controls its insulin, it uses the fat for energy instead of storing it. Weight loss can be the result.

On top of that, grapefruits have many other secret weight loss powers. For one, like many of the other fruits, they contain a lot of fiber, and one serving only has about 53 calories. The result is consuming less but feeling fuller.

Grapefruit

Some studies even show that even the smell of grapefruit can curb cravings. They say that smelling grapefruit positively affects our liver enzymes which can aid in preventing hunger cravings. When even the smell makes an impact, you know you have one of the best fruits for weight loss.

The many grapefruit dishes

The reason grapefruit is one of the best fruits for weight loss is because of the variety of ways you can prepare it. Mix grapefruit with avocado and salmon to create a refreshing salad. Grapefruits are in smoothies, pudding, and it is really tasty covered with granola and greek yogurt.

Bananas

Few people are surprised to learn that bananas are one of the healthiest foods with their high levels of potassium and fiber. But did you know they are also one of the best fruits for weight loss?

In addition to their healthy attributes, bananas are also an excellent fruit for boosting your metabolism and energy. A banana can replace your typical energy bar, effectively energizing you with only 90 calories. That means your workouts can be that much more effective.

Bananas

While all bananas are healthy, those that are best for weight loss are still slightly green in color. Before ripening, they are a resistant starch. In layman's terms, foods that are resistant starches slow down or resist the digestion process, using your gut in such a way that suppresses your appetite. Long story short, you will feel fuller and energized for longer.

Go bananas for these snack ideas

Like many other fruits, you are welcome to cook bananas in a variety of ways. Put bananas and eggs together to make delicious banana pancakes. How about a savory banana creme brulee. There are even healthy ways to make banana blondies, puddings, and cheesecake!

Oranges

Orange you glad that this citrus treat is one of the best fruits for weight loss? Besides being full of vitamin C, they are also fat-free, low in calories, and full of fiber. Most oranges only have about 62 calories. Plus, oranges are low on energy density, which means you can eat several of them without going over your calorie limit, and afterward, you will feel less hungry for longer.

Oranges

The vitamin C alone can do you wonders. Experts say that those who consume less vitamin C find it harder to lose weight. Many factors determine why someone may or may not lose weight. Among them are stress and slow metabolism. Vitamin C can help to quicken the process of metabolizing fat. Plus, a lack of vitamin C can lead to higher stress levels which hamper weight loss. Make yourself feel better with an orange.

Orange recipes to help you enjoy one of the best fruits for weight loss

While their low energy density allows you just to sit and enjoy a small pile of oranges, there are many ways to spice up your orange consumption.

You can start your day off right by adding oranges to your oatmeal or enjoy them in a nice fruit salad. For lunch, you can combine oranges, tomato, cilantro, onion, and lime juice for a delightful orange salsa. After dinner, treat yourself to ambrosia made with oranges, low-fat lemon yogurt, shredded coconut, and vanilla extract.

Pears

Like many other fruits on this list, pears contain elements that leave you full and satisfied for longer, which lands them on the list of the best fruits for weight loss. Next time you have a craving, grab a pear. Just one pair can give you 20 percent of your daily fiber requirement. Fiber keeps you full while also helping you absorb the vitamins and minerals from food.

Pears

Pears are also high in glucose and fructose, so they give you an energy boost and speed up metabolism. They also slow your carbohydrate absorption, so your blood sugar doesn’t spike or fall dramatically. Stable blood sugar equals fewer food cravings.

Perfect pear dishes

Pears are great compliments to a healthy sandwich or a salad. For breakfast, you can mix pears into your oatmeal or smoothie. For a change of pace, you can also choose to grill, bake, or poach your pears. Add a small amount of chocolate or caramel on top to bring out the pear’s natural sweetness.

Pineapple

The always delicious pineapple is another one of the best fruits for weight loss because it checks all of the boxes. This sweet fruit has a lot of vitamin C, it has a good amount of fiber, and it can fill you up, so you aren’t craving more food.

Pineapple

An added benefit of pineapple is that it contains bromelain. New studies regarding the enzyme have found that it may be able to break down body fat. Making them one of the best fruits for weight loss. Pineapples are also healthy, with the entire fruit packing about 450 calories.

How party people eat pineapples

There are many novel ways to prepare pineapple. You can make it into a meal by cooking it with some savory sesame ginger chicken that you can eat right out of the pineapple shell. You might decide to appease your taste buds with a BBQ chicken pineapple grilled cheese sandwich. Add pineapple to your salad or eat it as a side dish.

Strawberries

Strawberries

Last but not least, the components of strawberries make them one of the best fruits for weight loss. Strawberries contain many antioxidants. The most prominent being ellagic acid. Antioxidants work to reverse inflammation. When inflammation runs rampant, it blocks the hormones that aid in keeping you lean. Fix this with strawberries, and you may find it easier to lose weight. For an extra boost, try organic strawberries, as they have been found to contain a higher level of vitamin C and ellagic acid.

Super strawberry recipes

To get the most out of your new love of strawberries, incorporate them into your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For breakfast, layer vanilla yogurt and granola with some strawberries to make a yummy parfait. Have a refreshing lunch with a strawberry and walnut salad. Cap off dinner by piling spinach, chicken, mozzarella, and strawberries inside a whole wheat bun for a great grilled sandwich.

Go Buy the Best Fruits for Weight Loss Today

With these healthy fruits, the journey to weight loss is just as close as your local farmer’s market. It is important to state that while the fruits on this list have been shown to lead to weight loss, the information provided should not be considered medical or dietary advice. Always consult your doctor before changing your diet.

With that said, these are the best fruits for weight loss because they have the elements you need to lose those unwanted pounds. Oh, and they also taste great too! How do you incorporate fruit into your breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Share your secret recipes in the comments.

Amazing Keto Dinner Ideas – A Must Try!

keto nutrition diet program
Image via Freepik

When you start eating keto, dinner can look like a big, fatty ribeye steak and some non-starchy vegetables.

As exciting as that is, you may want more variety than that.

What if I told you that there was a way you can eat delicious food and lose weight?

And that I’ve got a bunch of lovely, easy dinner ideas right here?

Even better, right?

Let’s get to it!

Keto 101

​Before we go on to the recipes, let’s do a crash course on keto.

(Even if you’ve been doing keto for a while, a refresher never hurt, right?)

The ketogenic diet, more commonly known as the keto diet, is all the rage these days.

But what it is it?

The keto diet is a high fat, low carb diet designed to put your body into ketosis.

Wait. What?

What is ketosis?

​Ketosis is a metabolic process.

Usually, your body burns carbohydrates from the food you eat for energy. But if it does not have enough carbohydrates, the body burns fat instead.

When this happens, your liver turns fat into an acid called ketones. This is what your body will then use as fuel.

Health benefits of keto

​Weight loss is the keto diet’s most popular health benefit. The Internet is full of stories of some pretty dramatic transformations.

Better yet, you lose weight fast. In the initial adjustment phase, you may lose up to seven pounds in the first week!

Caution: 

This initial weight is mostly water weight. (More on that later.)

Even so, that’s a great way to motivate you!

After your initial adjustment and adaptation, you can realistically expect to lose one to two pounds per week while following the keto diet.

weight loss is easily seen on loose pants

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​Epilepsy

Keto diet for treatment of epilepsy

Image via Pixabay

Did you know that the ketogenic diet was initially developed as a way to treat epilepsy?

It's true!

Sometimes, epilepsy does not respond to medication.

For these patients, the classic ketogenic diet is a lifeline. In this case, their physician prescribes a keto diet, and a dietician monitors their results.

Most epilepsy patients on keto are children though some adults may also follow a keto diet to control their seizures.

​Diabetics

a device to monitor blood sugar level

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This is very important:

If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor if you want to start keto.

There is a lot of buzz about the keto diet when it comes to diabetes. After all, diabetic diets are often low-carb to begin with.

Proponents love the keto diet and say it keeps their blood sugar under control, particularly for Type 2 diabetics.

According to this 2017 study, Type 2 diabetics can benefit from the keto diet. However, the results only show short term results.

Doctors also caution that there are currently no studies on the long-term effects for people with diabetes.

Furthermore, Type 1 diabetics need to be a bit more cautious as they are more susceptible to diabetic ketoacidosis. DKA is a life-threatening condition where the body makes too many ketones.

​Symptoms of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

  • ​Extreme thirst
  • ​Confusion
  • ​High blood sugar
  • Nausea

Type 1 diabetics are more susceptible to DKA though Type 2 diabetics may also develop it.

Ketosis and DKA are often confused with each other. Ketosis is the regulated production of ketones while DKA is the uncontrolled production.

​​Other medical considerations

While there’s plenty of mainstream buzz about the keto diet, the medical community remains cautious.

An article from UCSF in 2018 cautions that “without peer-reviewed clinical trials, many of the benefits [of the ketogenic diet] remain anecdotal.”

However, the article does also go on to note: “The researchers agree that the diet itself isn’t inherently dangerous.”

Physician noting down the results on the patients' medical record

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Getting Started with Keto

If you want to get started with a ketogenic diet, there are a few things you need to do.

Talking to your doctor

patient consulting with her doctor about her health

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If you’re thinking about starting the keto diet, you need to talk to your doctor first.

Even if you do not have pre-existing medical conditions, it’s still a good idea. If nothing else, you can get a baseline of where you’re starting from, healthwise.

​Keeping track of where you have been will show you if this keto diet is working for you.

​Transitioning to the diet

The initial transition to the keto diet may be difficult. But if you stick with it, the rewards are well worth it.

Food changes

For most people, the amount of fat you need to eat is staggering.

You need to know what you can eat as well as what you should not eat. If you rely on eating out, you may need to learn how to sub out keto-friendly choices.

Learning to cook keto-friendly adaptations of your favorite recipes is an excellent way to keep on track!

woman eating a bowl of vegetable salad for a healthy diet

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Keto flu

Transitioning to keto means reducing your carb intake. And your body will respond by going into a type of “withdrawal” state, dubbed by some as the “Keto flu.”

checking the body temperature using a thermometer

Image: Freepik

Here’s what you can expect:

​Symptoms of the “Keto Flu”

  • ​Sugar cravings
  • ​Dizziness
  • ​Lack of focus
  • ​Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Muscle soreness

But there’s good news!

While it’s a hard thing to go through remember:

This is just temporary. Your body needs time to adjust, that’s all!

​Ways to Get Through the

“Keto Flu”

  • ​Eat more fat
  • ​Stay hydrated
  • ​Get plenty of rest
  • ​Do gentle exercise

Water weight loss

In a Reader’s Digest article, Naresh Rao, DO, warns that the weight loss you will see initially is all water weight.

Losing fat weight comes later after your body is in ketosis.

What Can I Eat?

Keto dinner ideas like asparagus and veal

Image via Pixabay

When transitioning to a new diet, you have one crucial question:

What can I eat?

On keto, you can eat a lot of different foods. There are so many things to choose from.

But there is one important thing that you’re going to have to give up.

​Say good-bye to carbs.​​​

To stay in ketosis, you must keep your carb count low.

This means giving up starchy and sugary foods like bread, rice, potatoes, and most fruit.

BUT

Even if you need to give up carbs, I’ll bet that there’s something on this food list that will make you dance for joy.

Oils and fats

Since the ketogenic diet is a high-fat diet, it’s no surprise that you can (and need to) eat plenty of fat.

So is butter.

Here are some other great sources of fat on a keto diet:

​Keto-Friendly Fats

  • ​Pastured lard
  • ​Pastured tallow
  • ​Fish oil
  • ​Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Cacao butter

But be careful. Just because it’s fat doesn’t mean it’s keto-friendly.

Not all fats are created equal.

Stay away from processed foods like margarine and fast food. These contain hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils.

Also, avoid highly processed oils like canola and corn oil.

​​Protein

​Protein is another fundamental building block for the keto diet.

​​​Like with your fats, you’re going to want to try to keep to proteins that come from nature. Try to buy organic and non-factory farm raised whenever possible.

​Keto-friendly Proteins

  • ​Beef
  • ​Pork
  • ​Whey protein
  • ​Gelatin
  • ​Organ meats
  • ​Shellfish
  • Eggs

​Vegetables

When it comes to veggies, you need to be cautious. Starchy vegetables with too many carbs will kick you out of ketosis.

But here are some vegetables you can enjoy on keto:

​Keto-friendly Vegetables

  • ​Zucchini
  • ​Spinach
  • ​Radish
  • ​Cauliflower
  • ​Kale
  • ​Cucumbers

Fruit

If you love fruit, I’m sorry to say that your choices are minimal.

Most fruit has a lot of natural sugar and is bad for ketosis. But there are a few you can eat. Stick with limes, lemons, and berries that are low in fructose.

But wait there's more:

Avocado AND lime are both on the keto-friendly list.

Do you know what that means? Oh yes. IT’S GUACAMOLE TIME.

Nuts, seeds, legumes

Nuts are great little keto-friendly packages. They are high in fat and low in carbs.

Nuts and beans are good for the body

Image: Freepik

​They make great snacks as well as flavorful additions to meals.

​Keto-friendly nuts

  • ​Almonds
  • ​Cashews
  • ​Walnuts
  • ​Chia seeds
  • ​Flax seeds
  • ​Sesame seeds

​Dairy

​Dairy can add a lot of essential fat to a keto diet.

dairy food like milk, eggs and butter are nutritious

Image: Freepik

Plus:

It’s delicious!

When choosing a dairy product, try to go for organic, grass-fed dairy.

​Keto-friendly Dairy

  • ​Butter
  • ​Ghee
  • ​Cream
  • ​Plain yogurt
  • ​Cheese (full-fat)
  • ​Cottage cheese

Be careful: milk is not keto-friendly. Even whole milk is too high in sugar, which can kick you out of ketosis.

​​More keto-friendly foods

Aside from the major food groups, there are a few other keto-friendly foods worth mentioning.

Shirataki noodles are a Japanese noodle made from konjac yams.

They have NO net carbs and are almost calorie free. These miraculous noodles now come in various shapes, making them perfect for all sorts of keto-friendly recipes.

Bone broth is a favorite of keto dieters.

This healthy stock simmers for hours with meaty bones, herbs, and spices. You can use bone broth as a no-calorie savory drink or as a base for your favorite keto-friendly soup.

keto dinner ideas featuring shirataki noodles

Image by Craig Dugas, CC by 2.0, via Flickr

Delicious Keto Dinner Ideas

OK, so now that we’ve gone over the basics of keto, let’s get on to the meat.

If you’re tired of the same keto dinner, try some of these incredible dinner ideas from all over the internet.

Steak Fajita Rollups

steak Fajitas for keto dinner ideas

Steak Fajitas. Mehlen Romain [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Are you a Tex Mex food fanatic? If you’re missing fajitas, try this keto-friendly remake courtesy of Katerina from the Diethood.

This recipe keeps all of the flavors but ditches the tortillas.

No tortillas for your keto diet

Image by Lucas, CC by 2.0, via Flickr

But what will you roll everything up in?

STEAK. You roll it up in STEAK. How can anyone argue with that?

Recipe

  • ​To make these Steak Fajita Rollups, cut some thinly sliced carne asada steak into strips, about 2-inches by 6-inches.
  • ​Season those strips up well with fajita seasoning. Don’t have fajita seasoning? Grab some salt, cumin, paprika, and chili powder. Mix it up and dust it over.
  • ​Slice up some bell peppers and season them with the fajita seasoning. Grill the veggies until they’re just starting to get cooked.
  • Take them off the grill and then roll them in the steak slices, securing with toothpicks. Grill them over medium-high heat and cook two minutes per side or until cooked to your desired doneness.
  • Serve them up with some keto-friendly guacamole for a Tex-Mex inspired keto dinner.

​By the way:

This is a great time to use some butter or coconut oil!

​​​Keto Crack Chicken

Crock pots chicken recipe make keto dinner ideas easy

Crock pots make keto dinner ideas easy. Image by Janine, CC by 2.0, via Flickr

​The crazy name for this dish comes from the fact that it’s addictive. After all, it uses chicken, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, and scallion.

different parts and sizes of a Raw chicken

Image: Freepik

If that ingredient list doesn’t scream delicious, I don’t know what does! This recipe comes from The Keto Queens.

Short on time? You can use pre-cooked OR frozen chicken. You can even make it in a slow cooker or an electric pressure cooker.

Keto-friendly and convenient! Do I have your attention yet?

So you probably want to know how to make this, right?

Here you go:

Recipe

In a slow cooker combine:

  • ​2 pounds cooked chicken, shredded
  • 16 ounces of cream cheese
  • ​1/2 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion powder, dill, red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives
  • Scallion, sliced
  • ​Place in a slower cooker and cook on high for 2 hours. At the end of two hours, stir in 1/2 a cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
  • ​When you are ready to serve, sprinkle on two slices bacon, chopped.
  • ​One more thing: It’s versatile. Serve it with cauliflower rice or on top of zucchini noodles. The possibilities are endless (and delicious!)

​Killer Lemon Butter Sauce with Fish

Fish with lemon butter sauce is a fast keto dinner idea

Lemon butter fish. Image by jeffreyw, CC by 2.0, via Flickr

This recipe by Nagi from Recipe Tin Eats is less a recipe and more a technique. And what a technique it is. It takes that golden keto building block of butter and makes it better.

How?

By browning it to bring out its subtle nuttiness.

And then…

You add lemon.

The full recipe is here, but a video is worth a thousand words.

​​​Kimchi and Pork Belly Stir Fry

Kimchi and Pork Belly Stir Fry is perfect for your keto diet meal

You can make many keto friendly Asian dishes. Phengphian Laogumnerd Cuisine [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

​If you’re in the mood for some Korean food, this is a standout among your standard keto dinner ideas!

Korean kimchi is keto friendly meal

Nagyman, a flickr user [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Kimchi is fermented cabbage and is chock full of nutrients. It pairs incredibly well with thinly sliced pork belly.

This recipe is from Yang’s Nourishing Kitchen.

Recipe

  • ​Take approximately a 3/4 pound of thinly sliced pork belly and 1 pound of kimchi, cut into 1-inch slices. Marinate the pork belly in 1 tablespoon each rice wine and soy sauce for about 10 minutes.
  • ​Stir fry the pork belly until brown and then add the kimchi, stir-frying for another minute. Remove from heat and garnish with green onion and sesame seeds.

​Portobello Bun Cheeseburgers

Mushrooms are a tasty addition to keto dinner ideas

Portobello mushrooms. Image CC by 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

Subbing out something for a bun is a common hack among keto dinner ideas. The most common sub is using out lettuce leaves for the bun.

But this recipe has a great alternative!

Instead of lettuce, sub out portobello mushrooms! GENIUS!

Recipe

​This recipe comes from Sara Blackburn on Perfect Keto.

  • ​1 pound grass-fed beef
  • ​1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • ​generous splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • ​6 portobello mushroom caps
  • ​3 slices cheddar cheese
  • ​Mix your beef and Worcestershire sauce. Then divide your meat into three equal portions and form into burger patties.
  • ​Heat your cooking fat on the grill. Perfect Keto suggests avocado oil but bacon fat, ghee, or coconut oil would work just as well!
  • ​Add your portabello mushroom caps and grill for about four minutes on each side. Set aside for now.
  • Cook up your burger patties to your desired doneness on the same grill, being sure to season each side with salt and pepper.
  • Add your cheese to the burgers. Toss an ice cube onto the hot pan and then cover to help the cheese melt. This will take about a minute.
  • Using one mushroom as a base, slide your finished burger onto it and then top with another mushroom as the top “bun.”

Want to round out this keto dinner?

Try these garnishes:

​Stuffed Avocados with Chicken Bacon Salad

Keto dinner idea of stuffed avocado

Image via Pixabay

If keto had a representative fruit, it would probably be an avocado.

Avocado is good source of healthy fats

Image: Dashu83, via Freepik

Why?

Because it’s fatty and delicious. It also happens to be an excellent vehicle for salad. In this case, chicken and BACON salad.

And we all know the golden rule:

Add BACON to make anything taste better.

I would try to sell you more on this as one of my favorite keto dinner ideas, but I’m guessing I don’t have to.

This genius recipe is also courtesy of Katerina from the Diethood.

Recipe

  • ​Cut an avocado in half, removing the pit and the flesh. Dice the avocado and save the empty avocado halves to serve in.
  • ​Be sure to drizzle some lemon juice over the avocado dices and halves to keep them from browning. Mix diced cooked chicken, diced avocado, and add some crumbled bacon.
  • Mix a quick dressing of lemon, garlic, olive oil, dried oregano, and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the lemon dressing over your chicken, avocado, and bacon. Toss gently to combine.
  • Serve up in your reserved avocado halves and enjoy!

​Low-Carb Shrimp Pad Thai

stirring tasty shrimp dish for a healthy family meal

Image CC0 via GoodFreePhotos

Just because you’re doing keto doesn’t mean you have to give up noodles.

ramen noodles are so popular for busy people who doesn't have enough time to cook

Image CC by 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

If you love pad thai, you’re going to love this next keto dinner idea:

Low-Carb Shrimp Pad Thai.

The original version of this recipe from Bulletproof uses shirataki noodles. This adapted recipe uses zucchini noodles which may be easier to get hold of.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • ​16 ounces zucchini “noodles”
  • ​18 shrimp, medium sized (peeled, deveined)
  • ​2 eggs
  • ​salt

Sauce:

  • ​3/4 teaspoon coconut oil
  • ​1 teaspoon keto-friendly fish sauce
  • ​1 teaspoon nut butter
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

​Garnish:

  • ​1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • ​2 green onions, chopped
  • ​Mix your sauce ingredients until thoroughly combined and then set aside. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Stir fry in a little bit of coconut oil. Set aside for now.
  • ​Beat and season eggs with a little bit of salt. Add some oil to your pan and scramble the eggs. Add in the zucchini noodles, shrimp, and sauce mixture to the eggs. Stir fry until warmed through.
  • ​To serve, drizzle some fresh lime juice and garnish with the chopped green onions and cilantro.

​​​​BBQ Pulled Beef

Beef. It’s what’s for your (keto) dinner.

This pulled beef recipe from Perfect Keto can be served on a keto-friendly bun as a sandwich or just as is with some coleslaw.

Either way, it’s bound to be delicious.

Recipe

​For the roast:

  • ​3-pound boneless chuck roast
  • ​1 tablespoon paprika
  • ​1 teaspoon each onion powder and black pepper
  • ​2 teaspoon garlic powder and salt

​For the sauce:

  • ​1/2 cup bone broth
  • ​2 tablespoons each coconut aminos and tomato paste
  • ​1/4 cup melted butter
  • ​1/4 cup apple cider
  • ​Mix the paprika, onion powder, black pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Mix the sauce ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  • ​Dust the chuck roast liberally with this dry rub. Place in slow cooker and add sauce. Cook on low in the slow cooker for 10 to 12 hours.
  • ​When done, remove the beef and shred. Turn the slow cooker up to high and let the sauce reduce and thicken. Return the shredded beef to the pot and coat with sauce before serving.

Room for Dessert

Choosing to follow a keto diet doesn’t have to mean eating the same keto dinner ideas every night.

It means exactly the opposite!

There are a million and one different combinations you can enjoy.

These keto dinner ideas are just the beginning. Do you have any other keto recipes you would like to share?

Let us know in the comments!

Best Foods to Eat to Lose Weight: Foods that Will Help You in Weight Loss

best foods to eat to lose weight

You don’t have to be a nutrition guru to understand that some things are crucial when it comes to the management of your weight, health, and overall wellbeing. It is important to figure out the best foods to eat to lose weight. Weight loss, a good meal plan, and exercise go hand in hand.

During this journey, you need to keep in mind that you want to develop a lifestyle change that will help maintain your weight in a healthy range. Therefore, going on a short-term diet, then going off, is not the answer to your long-term weight loss goals.

When it comes to deciding on a weight loss method, keep in mind the people who have succeeded. Weight management experts call these types of people "successful losers." What are the key behaviors of successful losers?

  • Exercising regularly
  • Regularly weighing themselves
  • Eating regular meals, including breakfast
  • Reduced calorie and fat intake
  • Not letting small slips turn into large weight relapses

Understanding Nutrition

understanding nutrition

There are several things to watch during weight loss, and while nutrition is a vital tool you can use to kickstart your weight loss dreams, you need a lifestyle change altogether. You can achieve weight loss by either eating fewer calories or by burning more calories through physical activity, but preferably both.

What does a healthy weight loss plan entail?

  • Behavioral change to help you stay on track and achieve your goals
  • A weight loss goal that is achievable and realistic
  • Regular exercise
  • Reduced calorie intake through a nutritionally balanced diet

What do I need to keep in mind?

  • A small effort towards weight loss leads to positive health benefits
  • Nutrition matters
  • Discuss your weight loss journey with your physician before you start
  • Your calories matter
  • Portion ratios count
  • Develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime

The more weight you’ve got, the quicker you will lose it. Things will probably happen faster for you if it’s your first time on a diet. In the first few days of your new plan, you might feel a bit strange, but don’t panic. Your body has been used to burning carbs, so it will take a little bit more time to get used to burning fat.

Supplementing Your Diet with Exercise

exercise

Is it possible to lose weight on a diet alone? Yes, but exercise is also an important component when it comes to weight loss. Without exercise, only a portion of the weight you lose is from fat. However, the main objective in weight loss is to strip away fat without losing muscle and bone density.

Physical activity and choosing the best foods to eat to lose weight are pillars of healthy living. They go together like cardio and strength training or blueberries and oats. Eating healthy and working out right will lead to a happier healthier you. However, before you begin this journey, you need to understand what a proper diet entails.

As a rule of thumb, your weight loss plan needs to be 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise. According to a recent analysis  done on 700 different weight loss studies, participants lose weight quickly when they adopt smart eating habits.

You need to understand that the other half of your calorie equation is the number of calories that you use. You have control over your physical activity, which includes both daily activities like walking and gardening and planned physical exercise. However, you should start slowly.

If your health is fragile and you are not sure if you are fit to exercise, talk to your doctor before you start this journey. When you eventually begin your weight loss program, make small reasonable goals and stick to them long term, just like you need to do with dietary changes. Keep in mind that every little bit counts.

Remember, while diet and exercise are both important for your long-term weight loss goals, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.

Things to Avoid During Weight Loss

fatty foods

The best foods to eat to lose weight will not guarantee weight loss without a solid plan. According to experts, even when you are on a diet, you might be eating a lot more calories than you think. There is always a disconnect between what we know we should do to lose weight, and what we do when it comes to losing weight.

For starters, you need to stop obsessing about the best foods to eat to lose weight, instead look at all those everyday habits that can cause weight gain. A diet can create an obsession with food, a "throw-in-the-towel-because-diets-don’t-work" mentality, and even heighten cravings.

You might not realize just how quickly your calories can rise. Did you know that an extra tablespoon of butter in pasta will add 100 calories, an extra spoon of your favorite salad dressing at dinner will add about 70 calories, and having an extra serving of chips at lunch adds around 160 calories?

Starting your day with a high-calorie coffee drink, eating while cooking, or finishing up your child’s plate at dinner could ultimately sabotage your weight loss efforts. Therefore, being mindful of your diet mistakes can increase your weight loss.

Diet mistakes you need to avoid

  • Skipping meals
  • Taking too many liquid calories
  • Eating oversized portions
  • Choosing unhealthy add-ons
  • Mindless eating

The worst foods that will sabotage your weight loss plan are highly processed junk foods. These foods contain loads of added sugar, added fats, or refined wheat. If you are unsure if the food you are eating is healthy or not, check the label. Also, make sure you watch out for misleading health claims and different names companies use for sugar.

Consider the right servings. Some healthy foods such as nuts, dried fruits, and cheese are very high in calories, and it is easy to eat too much.

The Best Foods to Eat to Lose Weight

It's important to understand that not all calories are equal. Different foods are processed differently and can have vastly different effects on our hormones, hunger, and the number of calories that you burn. Here are the ten best foods to eat to lose weight.

Leafy greens


Leafy greens

Leafy green foods include spinach, kale, swiss chard, and a few others. They are low in carbohydrates and calories, making them one of the best foods to eat to lose weight. They are also rich in fiber.

Including leafy greens in your weight loss diet is a great way to increase the volume of your meals, without increasing the calories. Leafy greens are also incredibly nutritious and very high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants -- including calcium that can aid fat burning.

Salmon


Salmon

Salmon is a rich source of high-quality protein that provides plenty of good fats such as omega-3 fatty acids. Including salmon in your diet is a versatile and delicious way to get your recommended servings of heart-healthy fish.

Berries


Berries

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries are an ideal weight loss food because they are low in calories, add tons of flavor, and pack a nutrient-dense punch to otherwise lackluster meals. Since they are rich in fiber and antioxidants, berries make some of the best foods to eat to lose weight. While fruits often get a bad reputation for weight loss due to natural sugars, they help relieve the monotony of a diet program.

Cucumbers


cucumber

Since cucumbers are low in calories, loaded with water, and contain hearty fiber in the peel, they can help with weight loss. Eating cucumbers every day as a snack can help keep you feeling full, ultimately making you less likely to eat foods that will cause the number on the scale to go up.

Cruciferous vegetables


Cruciferous vegetables

Examples of cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts. Just like any other type of vegetable, they are high in fiber, making them another one of the best foods to eat to lose weight. Apart from containing a decent amount of protein, they tend to be incredibly filling.

Cruciferous vegetables are not as nearly as high in proteins as legumes or animal products but are still high when you compare them to most other vegetables.

Boiled potatoes


Boiled potatoes

White potatoes aren’t the most favorable food around for some reason. However, they have several healthy properties that make them important both for optimal health and weight loss. They contain a variety of nutrients that are important to your health. Potatoes contain a little bit of everything your body needs to stay healthy.

Potatoes are particularly high in potassium, which plays an important role in blood pressure control. There have even been accounts of people living on nothing but potatoes for an extended period.

Tuna


tuna

Fish offer the best healthy protein, making them one of the best foods to eat to lose weight. Tuna, just like salmon and sardines, have important omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein, helping fill your carb cravings.

Beans and legumes


Beans

Some beans and legumes are beneficial to your weight loss plan. They include lentils, kidney beans, black beans among others. Leguminous plants are rich in protein and fiber, which are two nutrients that are known to lead to satiety.

Legumes also contain some resistant starch. A lot of people have problems tolerating legumes. Therefore, it's important to prepare for them properly before including them in your diet plan. Beans and legumes are a positive addition to a weight loss diet. They are both high in protein and fiber, contributing to the feeling of fullness and lower calorie intake.

Soups


SOUP

Soups give the feeling of fullness, reducing the number of calories we eat. Foods that have low energy density are those that contain lots of water such as fruits and vegetables.

However, you can also add water to your food, making soup. According to scientific studies, eating the exact type of food in the form of soup makes people feel more satiated, leading them to eat significantly fewer calories. Just make sure you do not add too much fat to your soup since it can increase your calorie intake.

Avocados


avocado

Avocados are considered superfoods. It's almost impossible to find any negative nutritional effect from them. They are rich in magnesium, monosaturated fats, potassium, vitamin C and E, and folate. These nutrients promote heart health, good vision, and reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Whole grains


Whole grains

While cereals have received a bad reputation in recent years, some types are healthy. Whole grains have fiber and contain a decent amount of protein. They include brown rice, oats, and quinoa.

It's important to understand that refined grains are not a healthy choice. Sometimes, food that has whole grains listed on the label are highly processed junk foods that are both fattening and harmful. If you are on a low carb diet, you need to avoid whole grains since they are high in carbs.

Peppers


Peppers

Peppers, particularly green peppers, have large amounts of Vitamin C, which is a potent fat releaser. According to research, people with low Vitamin C hold more fat, making peppers one of the best foods to eat to lose weight.

They contain capsaicin that is known to decrease the appetite and increase fat burning. Eating spicy foods that have chili peppers can reduce appetite temporarily, increasing fat burning. It's important to note that tolerance builds up when the intake is regular.

Chia seeds


Chia seeds

These are some of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Chia seeds contain about 12 grams of carbohydrates per ounce, which is high. However, 11 of these grams are fiber. Chia seeds are perhaps one of the best sources of fiber.

Grapefruit


grapefruit

The effects of grapefruit on weight loss are so incredible that dozens of studies are available on their benefits. It’s also believed that the grapefruit has reduced insulin resistance, a metabolic abnormality implicated in many chronic ailments. Therefore, eating grapefruit an hour before daily meals helps you feel more satiated, reducing your calorie intake.

Coconut oils


coconut oil

​​​Not all fats are equal. Coconut oil is high in fatty acids of a medium length, known as medium-chain triglycerides. These types of fatty acids boost satiety better than any other form of fats, increasing the number of calories you burn.

According to two separate studies, done on both men and women, coconut oil reduced belly fat. Extra virgin olive oil is also a worthy mention, and its probably one of the healthiest fats on the planet.

Start Losing Weight Today

Finding the best foods to eat to lose weight is easy. They are mainly whole foods such as lean meat, fruits, fish, nuts, legumes, and seeds. Certain processed foods such as extra-virgin oil, oatmeal, and probiotic-yogurt are excellent choices as well.

With moderation, regular exercise, and a talk with your physician to ensure eating these healthy foods is OK for your body, you should pave the way to a healthy life and a lower number on the scale.

Cast Iron Cookware: Everything You Need to Know

cast iron cookware

Cast iron cookware has been in western homes since the 14th century A.D. because they can make meals large enough for the entire family. Since then, they have been a staple in family cooking both indoors and outdoors.

Whether you’re in the market for your first cast iron skillet or looking to upgrade your current pan, learning more about cast iron cookware will convince you how much you need cast iron in your life -- and kitchen.

Cast Iron vs. Non-Stick

Polytetrafluoroethylene (also known as PTFE) is the substance which gives non-stick pans their slippery properties. When heated at temperatures upwards of 500 degrees, they release perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) which can be harmful to your health. Thus, it is essential to keep an eye on your pan so that it does not overheat. Always run your overhead fan and replace any pans which are flaking or chipping.

According to research, cast iron cookware doesn't cause any health issues. They are incredibly durable so long as you keep them dry and season them often. You can use them on the stove top, in the oven, and even on the campfire. However, cast iron cookware takes longer to heat up than non-stick pans, and you cannot wash cast iron with soap and water.

How to Season Cast Iron Cookware

If you are not aware what seasoning is, we assure you that it has nothing to do with how your meal will taste! Seasoning is the act of melting a thin layer of fat onto the cast iron cookware. This fat bonds with the iron and creates a layer which emulates non-stick pans. This will keep your food from sticking, and it will keep your cookware rust-free. However, there is a lot of information on the web on which oil is best to season with and how hot your oven needs to be for your seasoning layer to stick.

There are particular fats and oils that chefs swear will keep your pan working beautifully for many, many years. While some suggest flaxseed oil is their go-to, others claim coconut oil or lard will do the trick just fine. In reality, any shortening or cooking oil will season your cast iron cookware, but there is a specific way to ensure the coating fuses with the cookware.

This process is best if you have brand new cast iron cookware and want to give it an initial layer of seasoning. First off, clean your pans thoroughly. Then spread a small amount of your preferred shortening into the pan over the entire pan (exterior, handle, etc.). Buff well and make sure the pan is no longer oily.

Then, place it face-down in a 450-degree oven for about 30 minutes. Ensure your oven has proper ventilation, as it may smoke slightly. After thirty minutes, take the pan out and re-oil it again using extra caution as the pot is now very hot. Place it back into the oven for another 30 minutes. Repeat two or three times and let the pan cool down before using it to cook.

How to Clean Cast Iron Properly

Cleaning your cast iron cookware is easy -- once you get the hang of it. You should not wash your cast iron cookware in the dishwasher, and you should avoid the use of soap and steel wool. Using these methods will remove the pan's hard-earned seasoning layer and may even cause the pan to rust.

Once you've finished cooking, take the pan off the heat and pour in some water. With a soft sponge and tongs, gently rub away the dirt while the pan is still hot. If the pan is too hot to touch, use gloves and tongs to make cleaning easier.

Should you find, pieces of food stuck to the bottom, dump the water and add sea salt to the bottom of the pan. Add a small amount of water and use a scrubbing pad (or wooden spoon) to remove the bits gently. Don't be afraid to use a scrubbing brush to get out tough food stains.

Rinse the salt and water, then place the pan over high heat to quickly evaporate any remaining water. It may be necessary to re-season your pan after a tough cleaning to keep it rust-free.

Choosing Your Cast Iron Cookware

If you’ve somehow inherited grandma’s antique cast iron cookware, treat it as though it were gold! Chances are it is well-seasoned from decades of use and will last you many, many more years. However, if you’re in the market to purchase a brand new one, here are some makes to consider.

How We Reviewed

We’ve looked far and wide on the vast plains of the world wide web to bring you four brands of cast iron cookware you should consider purchasing. We examined the specifications of each brand. Also, we looked closely at customer feedback, and we used the experiences of real users as a basis for our reviews.


Sale
Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet with 2 Loop Handles - 17 Inch...
  • 17 INCH CAST IRON SKILLET. This seasoned cast iron skillet is ready to use and extremely versatile with a diameter of 17...
  • SEASONED COOKWARE. A good seasoning makes all the difference. Lodge seasons its cookware with 100% vegetable oil; no...
  • MADE IN THE USA. Lodge has been making cast iron cookware in South Pittsburg, Tennessee (pop. 3,300) since 1896. With...

Joseph Lodge founded the Lodge company in 1910. More than a century later, Lodge cast iron cookware is still going strong while run by the same family. Lodge has expanded their collection to also include stone wear, carbon steel, and enamel dutch ovens. But for this review, we’ll be taking a closer look at their cast iron cookware, particularly their cast iron skillets. Sizes range from the tiny 3.5-inch cast iron mini-skillet to the sizeable 17-inch iron skillet that is large enough to feed a growing family.

They season the 17-inch skillet with 100 percent vegetable oil with no synthetic coatings or chemicals. Manufacturing takes place in the United States, and you can use it to make practically anything from breakfast to dinner meals.

It is available on Amazon or the manufacturer's website and ranges in price from $69 to $112. Reviewers rave about having a skillet that can make large, four-people meals in one pan and also enjoy the fact that they can pick this heavy pan up using its sturdy twin handles.

The only downfall has been with small dents or scratches that probably occurred during the shipping process. Otherwise, seasoning is the single extra step you’ll have to be wary of when buying this Lodge skillet. It is rated a fantastic 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.



Le Creuset Cast Iron Signature Square Skillet Grill, 10 1/4",...
  • Square grill pan made of even-heating enameled cast iron
  • The superior heat distribution and retention of le cresset enameled cast iron
  • Ridges impart tasty grill marks on food and allow for lower-fat cooking

One of the most well-known and beautiful cast iron cookware brands is Le Creuset. This brand offers enameled cast iron pans which differ from traditional cast iron cookware in a few respects. Enamelled cast iron pans are available in a wide variety of colors and will not rust like cast iron cookware.

However, due to their coating, they can crack due to thermal shock -- meaning if you put a boiling hot pan into cold water, the exterior may chip. Cast iron cookware without enamel is practically bulletproof and can cook over direct heat (i.e., fire).

Le Creuset offers plenty of models, but we'll hone in on one in particular: the square skillet grill in blue. This pan's ridges are perfect for searing fatty foods as the fat will melt and drain away from the meat. Plus, the two spouts at each end makes pouring out the fats easy and mess-free.

There is also a short handle across from the long handle to move the pan from one place to another without straining. While there are not many reviews on Amazon (a mere 11), most speak very highly of Le Creuset's cookware, and it is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.

This skillet costs $175 to $230 and is available from Le Creuset's website as well as online retailers such as Amazon. These pans are generally more expensive than everyday cast iron cookware but will last you just as long with the right care.



Sale
T-fal E83407 Pre-Seasoned Nonstick Durable Cast Iron Skillet/Fry pan...
  • Dress up grilled steak; fish and veggies with authentic restaurant stripes which is perfect for browning; searing;...
  • Large; extra-long handle with Easy-to-grip side helper handles and signature thumb rest for easy handling
  • Comes pre-seasoned for first use and includes step by step instructions for seasoning case

T-Fal (Tefal in Europe) is most famous for their non-stick cookware. However, they do have a few cast iron pieces sold in brick-and-mortar stores such as Walmart, Target, and Sears. They are also available for purchase online on Amazon. Depending on the size of the pan, T-Fal cast iron cookware ranges in price from $10 to $50.

T-Fal cast iron pans come pre-seasoned and come with instructions for seasoning after its initial use. Like most cast iron pans, it has a short handle directly across from the long one. It also has dual spouts to drain anything from fat to oil after cooking.

There are close to 6,000 reviews on Amazon about the product. However, it is important to note that these reviews are about all four pans: cast-iron nonstick in 10.25-inch and 12-inch as well as their non-stick pan in 8-inch sizes and 12.5 inches.

Overall, these pans have a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. Buyers who reviewed the cast iron T-fal cast iron cookware, in particular, praise them on their durability and heat retention.



Sale
Victoria SKL-313 Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Round Paella Pan with...
  • Large cast iron skillet with curved dual handles for better leverage and easier handling. Helper handles are bigger than...
  • Pre-seasoned 13 inch cast iron skillet is ready-to-use. Victoria cast iron cookware seasoned at high temperatures using...
  • Cast iron pan with intricately designed pour spouts with drip-catchers for easy cleanup. Bottom and rim of the pan are...

Victoria is based in Colombia and has been a leader in cast iron cookware since 1939. They make cast iron skillets, griddles, dutch ovens, and even tortilla presses. Their cast iron pans are regarded as one of the best pots available in today's market according to several websites.

We've focused on one of their most popular pans: the 13-inch cast iron skillet (also known as the SKL-313). This high-quality cast iron pan does not have a long handle but instead has two short handles and two spouts. The spouts make it easy to remove any grease or water before serving right to the table.

The pan consists of recycled cast iron which is melted and cast to form the pan. Then, they season the pot using 100 percent non-GMO flax seed oil. This Victoria pan's handles are also wider and longer than average, plus they have a set of holes in the handles wide enough to hang on hooks.

Customers have compared Victoria to Lodge and have stated that Victoria cast iron cookware features a more ergonomic handle and weighs slightly less despite having the same diameter. However, Lodge cast iron pans can retain heat longer and manufacturing takes place in the United States.

Victoria cookware can be purchased in-store or using online retailers such as Amazon, where the product is rated a whopping 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Comparison Table

Product

Image

Details

Price & Rating

Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet with 2 Loop Handles - 17 Inch...

Size

17"


Item Dimensions

​-

Material Type
Cast Iron

Le Creuset Cast Iron Signature Square Skillet Grill, 10 1/4',...

Size

-


Item Dimensions

11.8 x 17 x 2 in

Material Type
Cast Iron

T-fal E83407 Pre-Seasoned Nonstick Durable Cast Iron Skillet/Fry pan...

Size

12-Inch


Item Dimensions

19.7 x 13 x 2.5 in

Material Type
Cast Iron

Victoria SKL-313 Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Round Paella Pan with...

Size

13"


Item Dimensions

​14 x 15 x 2.3 in

Material Type
stainless steel

Final Thoughts

If durability is what you're after, any cast iron pot or pan will serve you loyally for years. Choosing between an enamel or plain cast iron depends on your budget as well as personal preference in regards to aesthetics. However, they both retain heat wonderfully and will cook family meals wonderfully.

If you have a personal story to tell about your decades-old cast iron cookware, share it with us the comments below!