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Avoid These 5 Foods To Achieve Defined Abs!

‘Abs are made in the kitchen’, and these 5 foods aren’t doing your six-pack pursuit any favours.

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Your journey to achieving that enviably flat stomach – hopefully with an impressive set of ripped abs – is one that requires adjustments to your eating habits. I wish I had known at the very start of my own gym life that the bi-weekly fried chicken drive-throughs weren’t doing wonders for the abdominals.

Sure, a million crunches and a steady exercise plan will strengthen your abs. But no one  – much less yourself – will actually see them if they are hidden very far beneath layers of stubborn fat.

In order to start torching some of that excess fat away, you are gonna have to shake more than the booty at the gym. You’ll also have to shake off a few other bad eating habits; ditch the beers, the pizzas, the kotas and start cleaning up your act in the kitchen.

But before we get into the 5 Foods To Avoid In Order to Achieve Refined Abs, first take a look at 5 simple rules on approaching the kitchen differently.

5 FOOD FACTS FOR DEFINED ABS 

  • The first rule is clear-cut but not incredibly simple to implement; Reduce your daily caloric intake to create a deficit that will promote fat loss. You are likely to start seeing a difference in your midsection after dropping a few kilos, which is in itself quite motivating.
  • According to Men’s Journal; in order to achieve optimal muscle definition to your abs, your body weight must be between 18% – 24% for men, while Oxygen Magazine recommends between 15% – 20% for women.
  • For faster results, cut back on refined carbs that lack in nutrients. That list, I’m afraid, includes sodas (which means gin and tonic is off the table, ya’ll), sweets and pastries. The problem with simple sugars, warns Dr. Mehmet Oz,  is that they are absorbed quite quickly, which spikes up blood sugar levels for an energy high. The downside to this spike is that it triggers an insulin reaction, which plunges the levels back down, resulting in fatigue.
  • In fact, you are likely to experience more hunger after a sugar high. What’s more, your body stores those rapidly absorbed empty calories as fat. Obviously not a good start for your efforts to diminish tummy fat.
  • Keep your consumption of saturated fat between 7-10%.  Saturated fats lead to fattier bodies, in general. The solution is to opt for ‘monounsaturated fats’, which can be found in oil, avocados and certain kinds of nuts. Healthline.com reports the perks of monounsaturated fats to include the reduction of heart disease risk and inflammation.

7 WORST FOODS FOR ABS 

POTATO CHIPS

A list of the worst Worst Foods for Abs, flat stomach, six pack, weight loss and better health.

Potato chips have been proven to be the most fattening food item. Photo Credit: Pixzolo Photography

It pains me to echo reports that potato chips – and other variations of the ‘amplified potato’ – have been proven to lead to bigger waistlines. My very own denial came to a halt after being acquainted with a study by Harvard University, which might have proven that out of all foods, potato chips contribute the most weight gain.

Potato chips are blown up with saturated fats, according to zerobelly.com. That fat won’t spare your lower abdominal area. They are full of salt, which, in addition to all the health risks with excessive consumption, also lead to mid-level bloating.

RELATED: SMOOTHIES FOR WEIGHT LOSS – 7 INGREDIENTS TO SHED THE KILOS 

And it’s not just about the calories.

It’s actually more what the potato chips lack that makes them bad for fat loss. Delicious as they are, they lack satiety – which refers to the ability to make you feel full.

KOTAS

A list of the worst Worst Foods for Abs, flat stomach, six pack, weight loss and better health.

A kota combines a variety of foods that are high in saturated fats, leading to weight gain. Photo Credit: CookPad.com

Which leads us to one irresistible South African township favourite – the lovely kota. Unfortunately for everyone involved, you are packing the pounds every time you treat yourself to this tasty delicacy. High cholesterol aside, an average kota packs nearly every type of food that spells bad news for your health and weight loss.

The calorie count of an average kota is hard to ascertain as research on this remains a curious scacity, but based on the nutritional information at hand on the foods that feature in a kota, there’s enough for you to know a kota is a flat belly saboteur.

RELATED: 10 SUPERFOODS YOU SHOULD BE EATING EVERYDAY FOR IMPROVED HEALTH

Kotas typically come in standard white bread, which carries excessive empty calories. Then you have the fried potato chips – the world’s most fattening food item. We are just getting started! Most kotas come with a slice of cheese (contains lactose and high in saturated fat), polony (processed) and sausages (processed, red meat). Furthermore, the ability to keep adding these yummy ingredients to build a beast kota is part of the thrill.

However, it’s also part of the reason why you will need to cut back significantly on kotas.

DIET SODA

A list of the worst Worst Foods for Abs, flat stomach, six pack, weight loss and better health. Soda

Diet sodas lead to twice as much weight gain compared to normal sodas. Photo Credit: Raw Pixels

If you are reading this article, chances are you have at least thought about weight loss, which means you’ve also thought of diet soda as an effective alternative to the standard no-no. Here’s the short and simple fact; it’s the furthest thing from being a real catalyst for weight loss.

On the contrary, these carbonated beverages lead to more weight gain than normal studies. Inc.com notes several studies that prove you are likely to gain twice as much weight on diet soda in the long run. One of the reasons for the phenomenon, some researchers have suggested, is that diet soda drinkers often overestimate the amount of calories they are actually ‘saving’. Yikes.

ALCOHOL

Worst Foods for Abs beer, alcohol

Alcohol slows down  the pace at which your body burns fat. Photo Credit: Raw Pixels

We all have to come to terms with the truth that alcohol is linked to gaining and keeping weight.

Reasons for that range from the fact that alcohol slows down your body’s ability to burn fat to your judgement being compromised with the sips – making a quick drive through the best idea a few drinks down the line. It’s also quite high in kilojoules and can make you feel really hungry.

Side note if you aren’t au fait: excessive consumption of alcohol is asking for all kinds of health troubles in general.

HIDDEN SUGAR BOMBS 

A list of the worst Worst Foods for Abs, flat stomach, six pack, weight loss and better health. Soda

Hidden sugar bombs will have you consuming excessive sugar without your knowledge! Photo Credit: Melissa Belanger

Perceptions of high nutritional value in certain foods trick many people into consuming ‘hidden’ sugarbombs every day, which derails health and weight loss pursuits. That’s because, amongst a bevvy of reasons, most people aren’t aware just how much sugar these foods contain. Examples of foods you aren’t aware pack excessive sugars include instant oatmeals, salad dressings, certain smoothies, protein/energy bars and bottled tea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diet

Going Vegan? 5 Things To Expect!

If you are thinking about ditching meat and other animal-based foods and products for a plant-based diet, these are the radical changes you should anticipate

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The number of people who are going vegan is growing, and the ease of transitioning to one is scaling along with this trend.

And as far as establishments are concerned, vegan options are being availed more readily. You can grab a raw vegan cheesecake at many cafes and restaurants in major cities now.

Moreover, efforts by brands like Woolies to cater for – and promote – a range of plant-based alternatives is a tell-tale sign of the shifting cultural landscape.

I happen to be acquainted with a few people who’ve now opted to completely exclude animal products from their diets, and a few others are at least toying around with the idea of reducing their consumption significantly.

As former meat eaters, their experiences couldn’t be more fascinating.

There’s the social aspect of it; the persistent social stigma attached to veganism. After the switch, I’ve been told, you soon find that navigating and negotiating your way around social settings that involve dining is not as smooth as before.

If you are considering the switch, you will benefit from the following list of 10 Things To Expect when you Become Vegan.

Before we delve into your new looming realities and the adjustments to be anticipated, let’s first define what veganism actually is.

VEGANISM DEFINED

The Vegan Society describes veganism asa way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” 

As you can glean from this definition, veganism is a philosophy that rejects the (ill-) treatment of animals as commodities.

Vegans do not eat any kind of meat, dairy products and eggs.  Some vegans do it for ethical reasons, others out of concern for the environment, and still, others are motivated by the health benefits associated with the dietary lifestyle.

Now that we’ve cleared the air, here’s what awaits you on the greener pastures!

SOCIAL STIGMA

A timely glimpse of the existing stigma surrounding veganism found a platform on the Real Housewives of Johannesburg, where Mercy encountered various social humps as she navigated life as an instrumental black vegan. The girls weren’t really being sports about it, to put it mildly.

In one case, she had to get rid of scrummy vegan meals she’d ordered after almost none of the ladies showed up to her vegan themed intimate shindig. The health and wellness advocate, who has shared her journey to weight loss through a plant-based lifestyle, often found herself being a subject of much teasing from the girls.

And while a lot of it was garnished with the typical dose of heightened television drama, attitudes towards vegans are generally negative.

A recent study indicates that those who opt for ‘clean eating’, in general, stand to lose a few points on the likeability scale.

“People get on the defensive the second you tell them you are vegan”, a vegan friend told me as he detailed his own experiences as a black vegan.

RELATED: AVOID THE 5 FOODS TO ACHIEVED DEFINED ABS 

After two years leading a plant-based life, he has clocked in the hours as both a proud vegan and as somewhat of an expert on the social awkwardness that greets those who eschew meat.

“People’s reactions are always so interesting. They look at you like, ‘Okay…’, you are judging me. Snob.'”

Expect that your departure from the hegemonic hooks of meat eating will come with a lot of coming out, and explaining, and defending, and being ridiculed, and sometimes, being avoided.

THE WAY YOU COOK WILL CHANGE

Besides foregoing all animal-based foods, products and derivatives in your kitchen, the way you prepare food will have to change. Most new vegans often find that the absence of meat, dairy and eggs means they have to get extra creative with how they prepare food. You’ve got raw veggies, fruits and nuts to keep your meals appetising and vibrant.

As such, steaming all the veggies won’t cut it anymore. They are now the dish. Think about it.

YOU WILL CRAVE CERTAIN THINGS 

The first 30 transitional days of going vegan (or going anything, really), will be the most challenging. After that things get easier and easier as your taste buds adjust to your new eating habits and your general lifestyle has transformed to promote consistency.

RELATED: 10 SUPERFOODS FOR WEIGHT LOSS AND IMPROVED HEALTH

But, as with all drastic lifestyle changes, you will fantasise and crave certain things from time to time, and it’s okay. Vegan diets are highly restrictive, which makes them challenging to sustain, especially at first.

YOUR SKIN WILL POP 

Amongst the many benefits of whole foods is the effect it can have on your skin. Many vegans report remarkably improved skin complexion, tone and texture within days of taking up the diet.

That’s unsurprising.

The exclusion of processed foods, dairy and red meats render vegan diets high in fibre and low in saturated fats than the average diet. This, according to Greatist.com, makes way for an enhanced function of insulin and glucagon production, which control your sugar metabolism. The imbalance of insulin can lead to clogged pores, which causes acne.

RELATED: SMOOTHIES FOR WEIGHT LOSS – 7 BEST INGREDIENTS 

YOUR ENERGY LEVELS WILL SHOOT UP

There’s word on the vegan streets, amongst vegans, that your levels sky rocket in the beginning. This surge, according to a vegan friend I consulted with for subjective feedback on this, is quite exciting. “You feel like taking on the world”, he said. According to research, however, there isn’t a direct link to sustained levels of energy and veganism.

According to Elite Daily, a vegan diet doesnt automatically make you healthier. Yes, the fruits and vegetables are more nutritious and low in saturated fats, but quantities, combinations and quality still matter.

 

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Diet

Smoothies For Weight Loss: 7 Best Ingredients To Shed The Kilos

Get in shape with these 5 smoothie ingredients!

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Smoothies for weightloss
Photo Credit: Joanna Kosinska

Smoothies are the simplest, yummiest and most effective way of packing up all the nutrients you need to sip on the go, which makes them even more attractive for people with hectic or flux schedules.

Further to the creative freedom at your disposal to make them as delicious and as appealing as you want (a good banana and papaya smoothie is really pleasing to the eye!), smoothies are also a great tool for weight loss.

smoothies for weightloss south africa

Photo Credit: Francesca Hotchin

Also known as breakfast shakes, green smoothies or detox smoothies (that, by the way, also depends on how you prepare them, a misguided recipe can actually lead to weight gain!), they are relatively low in calories and can sustain you for quite some time.

This freedom to get creative with different ingredients to mix for your taste also comes with exciting opportunities for learning how to create a balanced smoothie. Which is, in a nutshell, being able to balance out the amount of protein included, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins and nutrients.

But there’s more.

If you really get into the consistent game of sticking to smoothies as a consistent element of your dietary lifestyle, you will soon find yourself being able to toss in elements that support and accelerate your weight loss by boosting your metabolic rate and giving you a good fix of energy while sustaining you for relatively long bouts of time!

Therefore, you can shed some serious weight simply because you get all the required nutrients in one glass without the additional or empty calories.


Side Note; What I love about having them for breakfast is how I don’t feel as bloated or as heavy as I do after having a traditional breakfast with eggs, meats and carbs. You kinda feel fresh with the confidence boost of having started your day right, a positive state of mind which can set in motion an equally positive chain of healthy choices for the rest of the day. 


The Best Ingredients For Weight Loss

As you might already know, food in itself does not really guarantee miraculous weight loss. We’ve talked about this. It’s actually more about everything else that happens inwith and around the healthier options that counts for the optimum health and weight loss results. While smoothies and tried and true vehicles to improved health and weight loss, knowing what to include and what to avoid is key.

  • AVOCADO
smoothies for weightloss avocado

Photo Credit: Nur Afni

We call it the magic fruit for good reason. While most of its peers in the fruit world consist mainly of carbohydrates, avocado is high in healthy fats.

And according to  Healthline.com, they also come with absolutely no cholesterol or sodium, and they are low in saturated fat. Avocados are already loved for their ability to promote positive hair growth, enhancing the skin and lowering cholesterol levels. The fact that they also make for a creamier smoothie makes them essential. With the good dose of healthy fat, avocados will keep you feeling fuller until the next meal.

  • BERRIES 

smoothies for weightloss

 

Some people still function from the notion that healthy food options have to be dull and bland. Berries, any kind, pack so much flavour that they alone disprove this myth. They enhance the savour without the excess sugar and calories. The good people at Eating Well document the fruit’s reputation, highlighting the positive effects that include blueberries being packed with antioxidants that can help preserve a sharp memory as you get older.

All berries; strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries come with ample fibre, a nutrient that is important for a healthy digestive system. That makes these really great for a nutritious breakfast shake!

  • CAYENNE PEPPER 

smoothies for weightloss caeyenne pepper

Cayenne pepper is one of the most powerful natural ingredients for losing weight. It suppresses the appetite, enhances the metabolic rate and helps dissolve fat. Therefore kicking your day off with some cayenne pepper in your smoothie guarantees you an extended sense of fullness and satiety. Your trips to the fridge to ‘check out the scene’ just won’t be as much.

  • COCONUT OIL
smoothies, creating smoothies, are smoothies healthy, making smoothies, how to lose weight with smoothies coconut oil

Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema

Now any excuse to include coconut in whatever you consume is a pretty smart decision for optimal health, weight loss, glowing skin, improved hair growth and a ton of energy! You can use it to cook, create organic pastes to be applied directly on the scalp and on your skin, and, as a superfood for the ultimate weight burning smoothie. Coconut oil keeps you satiated (feeling full), energised and feeling light.

  • GREEK YOGHURT 
smoothies for weightloss caeyenne pepper, smoothies ingridients, weight loss South Africa, smoothies, creating smoothies, are smoothies healthy, making smoothies, how to lose weight with smoothies

Photo Credit: Wesual Click

Greek yogurt adds the smooth texture and sour taste that will give any combination of ingredients just the right kick! I love what it does to the strawberry smoothie, in which you blend strawberries with basil leaves, almond milk, a teaspoon of milk and greek yoghurt for a lush and yummy, desserty smoothie treat! While dairy products fall in the list of no-no ingredients for weight loss in smoothies and elsewhere, this Greek yoghurt is the better option. It contains higher levels of protein, which promote satiety and leaves you energetic for longer. Stick to the full-fat, plain ones. Things tend to go downhill once you go ‘flavoured’.

  • LEAFY GREENS 
smoothies for weightloss caeyenne pepper, smoothies ingridients, weight loss South Africa, smoothies, creating smoothies, are smoothies healthy, making smoothies, how to lose weight with smoothies

Photo Credit: Vitchakorn Koonyosying

Smoothies provide the perfect opportunity to blend the most nutritious foods without the risk of piling up excess calories, and leafy greens are right up on that list. Spinach, kale, dandelion and romaine lettuce are all low in calories and quite high in fibre.

  • TEA/WATER/ICE

Photo: Jason Leung

Substitute the dairy products and fruit juices with healthier options whenever you can. Tea, water and ice are better options to give your smoothies good consistency. Try healthy teas, which are a whole world to dive into. Rooibos and Hoodia Tea is really good as an appetite suppressant. There are many fruity, herbal teas you can use instead. Green tea packs healthy nutrients that can aid weight loss.

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