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Nutritionist Advice

Chances are you'll catch at least a cough or sniffle this cold and flu season. But before you open the medicine cabinet to treat those head, eye, nose, or throat symptoms, consider a trip to your local grocer. Research shows that a number of  foods have the nutritional chops to boose your body's natural defenses against foreign invaders. So, during this sickly season, turn to these cold-busters to help fortify your immune system and shake the symptoms.

 

Black lentils

Tired of looking for protein in all the same places? Try these new power-packed, flavorful sources.

Protein is the building block of life: a macronutrient vital to creating and repairing everything from bones to muscles to skin. And if you want to maintain a healthy body weight, research shows that it’s best not to skimp on protein. It provides a sense of satiety, which puts the brakes on overeating. You probably know that tofu, yogurt, and beans can all help you get your fill. But these other protein heavyweights are delicious options to explore, too. 

New vegetarians and vegans who enthusiastically pile their plates with whole grains and vegetables may be dismayed to experience bloating, gas, or other stomach upsets—and mistakenly think they have a food allergy or that this diet isn’t for them. Not so! Shift to a more plant-based diet gradually, and most likely your body will adjust just fine to a vegetarian
or vegan diet.

“How can I survive eating only leaves every day?” “There is no way I could ever follow a plant-based diet; I’d always be starving!” “Whenever I eat salad, I’m hungry an hour later.”

These are all comments I’ve heard when discussing a plant-based lifestyle with large groups. A persistent myth about plant-centric diets is that eating plates full of green leafy vegetables will leave you feeling constantly hungry.

First, plant-centric diets are much more exciting than simply plates of green, leafy vegetables. 

Myth: A vegetarian diet equals weight loss.

Truth: Following a vegetarian diet does not guarantee that you will lose weight. Although research shows that vegetarian diets are associated with a lower BMI and leaner body mass, if you don't pay attention to food choices, portion sizes or calories, weight gain is just as possible. A plant-based diet can be low in calories, and high in nutrients and fiber--but only if the right foods are consumed in moderate quantities.

Myth: You crave a certain food because you’re deficient in one of its nutrients.

If you’ve ever found yourself desperately pushing through a crowd to get at the double-chocolate cupcakes in a display window, you’re well aware of the power of food cravings. Some people suggest that such cravings are an effort by your body to correct a deficiency in a certain nutrient. In the case of chocolate, that might be magnesium—cocoa is considered a good source of this vital mineral.

Traveling can take a toll on your weight-loss goals: you're often eating on the run, indulging in local cuisine, and struggling to maintain your normal routine.

We asked the instructor for our popular 6 Weeks to Plant Powered Weight Loss online course to give us her best tips for keeping up with healthful eating around the holidays. Besides these tips, check out

Sara’s 80-plus healthful, easy-to-make recipes from the course.  

Headlines screaming “poisonous rice” might have you ixnaying the widely eaten grain from your meals, but it can still be a beneficial part of your dietary repertoire.

Chef Jennifer Iserloh, author of 50 Shades of Kale and one of the founders of National Kale Day, offers great suggestions on how vegetarians and vegans can maximize this green ingredient for good health.

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