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5 Plant-Based Protein Powders Worth Adding to Your Next Smoothie

One of the three macronutrients, along with fat and carbs, protein helps us feel full, achieve weight-loss goals and build muscle. However, most of us struggle to get enough in our diets, especially if we’re following a plant-based or vegan diet. An easy way to increase your daily protein intake is with protein powders because they are convenient and often inexpensive compared to high-protein, animal-based foods like meat, fish and dairy. Also, there are a variety of plant-based protein powders on the market that offer other health benefits, like fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

Here are five plant-based protein powders worth tossing into your basket the next time you’re grocery shopping:

1. PEA PROTEIN

With 15 grams of protein per serving, pea protein is made from the yellow pea, a legume rich in fiber and micronutrients like B vitamins. Though it’s not a complete protein, pea protein is a good plant-based option for vegans and vegetarians. With an earthy flavor, pea protein is best used in recipes that have a lot of flavor, like this Ultimate Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl.  


READ MORE > BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE


2. BROWN RICE PROTEIN

Though brown rice protein isn’t a complete protein, it’s rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber and has 24 grams protein per serving. It’s also easily digestible and well suited for people with food allergies. Bonus: It has a neutral flavor that doesn’t overpower — or compete with — other flavors so feel free to mix it into your smoothie along with coffee, matcha or mango.  

3. HEMP PROTEIN

Made with hemp seeds, hemp protein powder offers 15 grams of protein per serving and is high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. The upside is it’s one of the few plant-based proteins that is a complete protein source with 20 amino acids — making it especially good for vegans. One caveat: Because it’s high in fiber, hemp protein may be difficult to digest, especially if consumed before working out. With an earthy flavor, hemp pairs well with banana, unsweetened nut milk and a bit of honey in a smoothie.


READ MORE > LEMON COCONUTE PROTEIN NO-BAKE BITES


4. PUMPKIN SEED PROTEIN

Made from ground pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed protein powder delivers 19 grams of protein per serving and also contains essential omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids. This vegan protein option also packs a extra nutritional punch, containing micronutrients like vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and other minerals including zinc, iron and copper.

5. SOY PROTEIN

Soy protein powder is one of a few plant sources that offers all of the essential amino acids and about 20 grams of protein per serving. This protein powder is a rich source of arginine, an amino acid important for immunity and cardiovascular health. In addition, several years ago, the Food and Drug Administration approved a health claim for soy protein stating that “25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Tried and true in smoothies, these protein powders are an easy way to boost the protein quotient in bars and bites, too. With so many different options — whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free or anything in between, these plant-based protein powders are a convenient and nutritious way to increase your protein intake.

Share your favorite protein powder in the comments below!

The post 5 Plant-Based Protein Powders Worth Adding to Your Next Smoothie appeared first on Under Armour.

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The 5 Worst Things to Say to Someone Who Is Losing Weight

When someone in your life is in the process of losing weight, what should you do? Should you draw attention to the weight loss and applaud the person, or should you de-emphasize it and avoid talking about it? The knee-jerk reaction is often to compliment and praise people for how great they look and for all their hard work. But is hearing those things truly helpful?

As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I’ve worked with hundreds of people who have successfully shed pounds. To my surprise, many of them have related the same message: They don’t like it when people notice and talk about their weight loss. They don’t want to be complimented, praised or even have attention drawn to them. Instead of having every conversation revolve around their pants size, they want to talk about other things with their friends and loved ones.

For people on the sidelines wanting to show support and love, it can be hard to understand why someone wouldn’t want to hear words of encouragement. It can be challenging to put yourself in that position and understand how someone might misinterpret your well-intentioned comments.

There are people who love to get positive comments and feedback about their weight-loss progress. Not everyone is sensitive to words of encouragement, but it’s more common than you’d think to have a negative reaction.

Let’s dive into the top five things you probably shouldn’t say to someone who is losing weight.

1. “HOW MUCH MORE DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE?”

This is problematic because it assumes they couldn’t possibly be happy with where they are now. Different people have different weights at which they are comfortable, so who are we to judge?

2. “YOU PROBABLY DON’T WANT TO EAT THAT, RIGHT?”

Foods that are high in fat or sugar are often vilified. A person who is actively losing weight might have it built into their plan to enjoy or indulge in those foods occasionally. The last thing you want to do as a support in their life is increase food anxiety or induce guilt about eating certain things. Trust them, and don’t critique their food choices.


READ MORE > AFTER THE WEIGHT LOSS: 3 MYFITNESSPAL USERS SHARE THEIR UNEXPECTED JOURNEYS


3. “YOU LOOK SO MUCH BETTER THAN BEFORE.”

This is clearly not the most helpful thing to say to someone, but it does occasionally slip out of our mouths. Avoid comparing their appearance from before and after. Chances are, they’re already doing enough of that in their own head. If they want your opinion, they can ask!

4. “YOU’RE JUST GOING TO GAIN IT BACK ANYWAY.”

This statement conveys a lack of confidence in your loved one’s ability to maintain weight loss and could be very discouraging to hear. It’s disheartening even if you meant it as a joke.

5. “WOW, YOU LOOK SO GOOD!”

This is the real kicker. People say this all the time and usually have nothing but good vibes they’re trying to send. This can be interpreted in many problematic ways, though. People often wonder what was wrong with them before or why everyone is noticing their body. This well-meaning statement can cause body-image issues to surface, which can — in the worst case — trigger an eating disorder.

I don’t think we should feel like we have to walk on eggshells around one another. I do think we can increase our awareness of others’ experiences and try to focus on people, not their bodies.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t talk about each other’s weight at all; you never really know what someone is going through. Someone could be losing weight due to secretly dealing with a cancer diagnosis, they could be struggling with an eating disorder or they could be going through an extremely difficult time with their mental health. People you’re trying to support can sometimes equate your compliments about their weight loss as an indicator that there was something wrong with them when they weighed more.

Even when someone enjoys and appreciates hearing the positive feedback from people around them, there’s a chance of developing problematic eating behaviors as a result of the affirmation. A straightforward effort for weight loss can lead to obsession, restriction and disordered eating, triggered by compliments that are twisted into motivation for unhealthy behaviors.

If you notice someone in your life has lost weight, ask them how they’re genuinely doing. Compliment them on how happy and confident they seem. Draw attention to their strengths as a human being, and convey unconditional love and support. Avoid conversations about food, weight and body image unless someone reaches out to you asking for help and support with those issues.

The post The 5 Worst Things to Say to Someone Who Is Losing Weight appeared first on Under Armour.

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Weight Loss Tricks That Harm You

Know About The Weight Loss Tricks That Harm You

Hello All!!!

People take quite drastic measures to lose weight. They follow fad diets and try weird weight loss tricks. However, if you are someone who happens to follow common weight loss strategies (such as calorie counting) you should know that they can backfire. Most tricks can leave you irritable, moody or miserable.

Moreover, after you are done with a quick fix weight loss trick, you can gain all the lost weight or even pile on more! The only way you can shed weight and keep it off is by adopting long-term healthy habits.

Check out the Weight Loss Tricks That Harm You rather than doing any good:

Cutting out sugar completely

no sugar please

Sugar has been demonized in the nutrition circle but we cannot disagree with that. After all staying away from added sugar is a healthy habit. However, some people overdo the restriction and as an after-effect they end up overeating forbidden sweets or completely lose out their interest in healthy eating.

Some people go so far with cutting back on sugar that they start to avoid fruits as they contain sugar (natural). Doing so deprives the body of vital nutrients. Apart from that, it can backfire your weight loss goals! According to studies, eating fruit is known to help you shed kilos. This is because fruit is packed with antioxidants and it is a good replacement for sweets and processed snacks. Coming back to sugar consumption, guidelines from AHA or American Heart Association says that you can have up to 6 teaspoons of sugar a day if you are a woman. This gives some room for healthy indulgences such as dark chocolate and is known to help curb cravings for sweet and salty foods. For most people, cutting out sugar completely is not realistic. So, you should eat fruits (not overdo it though) and plan your treats that you cannot live without. This way things are more sustainable.

Counting calories obsessively

how many calories

You should stop counting calories. It may seem out of the ordinary when it comes to weight loss but it is for your own good. First, quality is more important than quantity when you talk about calories. People lose weight even after increasing caloric intake. How? By swapping processed food for fresh and whole foods!

Research also says that not all calories are the same. Foods like almonds, pulses and avocado trigger burning of calories and make you feel satiated.

Studies prove that counting calories can lead to stress that can increase your weight! Still want to count them?

Extreme portion control

portion control through hand

One great diet strategy is to serve yourself healthy portions of food. However, this can also be taken too far such as eating with chopsticks alone or stopping your meal after a measly number of bites. This may help in weight loss but can you follow this forever? Apart from that, eating too little can have a lot of side effects like feeling too tired to workout, losing muscle mass and a weakening the immune system.

Do you know that there are a lot of foods that you can eat in larger portions and still lose kilos? For instance, veggies like mushrooms, bell pepper, zucchini, brinjal, cauliflower give you less than 30 calories a cup. Try to include them in your diet and don’t stay hungry!

Eating just one food

There are many diets that ask you to literally eat just one food. This restrictive approach can lead to weight loss but it will be temporary. It would be healthier to opt for a balanced meal that has the right amount of lean protein, healthy fat and carbs.

I hope this post on weight loss tricks that harm you has been helpful!

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This Gamer Stopped Playing With His Health and Became the ‘Get Fit Geek’

A little more than two years ago, at Comic Con in Kansas City, Scott Alvarez had his photo taken with Stephen Amell, the actor who plays Oliver Queen and the Green Arrow on the CW’s “Arrow.”

“He was there for one day, and I paid $ 50 to have my picture taken with him,” says Alvarez, who was 410 pounds at the time. “As I stood in line, I saw people moving through quickly and flashes going off every three seconds. I thought, ‘Is this going to be worth it?’”

When it was his turn, Stephen put his arm around him, they both smiled, the camera flashed and Alvarez walked away, thinking one thing: “That was freaking awesome.”

“I’ve never been starstruck before, and it was so cool to be that close to him,” says Alvarez. “Stephen uses his celebrity to help the causes that are near and dear to him. And, as a gay man, I can say he’s freaking hot, so that’s a draw as well.”

Shortly after it was taken, Alvarez received the picture — and immediately felt two very deep emotions. “The only thing I could see was how big I looked,” he says. “I hated having my picture taken, and anything that was taken was only of my face. That picture held great joy and incredible sadness because it was such a great moment, but it was also the first time I really saw myself and how big I’d gotten.”

While that picture spurred him to consider a big life change, Alvarez credits a health scare with getting him off the couch.


Every dreamer deserves support. Discover inspiring tips, tools and stories of dreamers like you to help kick-start your own dream pursuit.


In April 2015, Alvarez found himself in the emergency room with cellulitis on his leg, an infection of the skin and soft tissues beneath. The infection turned into massive blisters and forced him to spend a week in the hospital. Alvarez learned weight-related circulation issues — and hours spent playing “World of Warcraft” — had played a large part in his infection.

“I’ve always been a gamer/geek type person, but “World of Warcraft” was a complete time sink to me,” he says. “I’d lose whole weekends, Friday through Sunday, playing, and would only realize how much time had passed when I got hungry or had to go to the bathroom.”

After a second bout with cellulitis in July, Alvarez decided to put his love of electronics to work in a different direction. “I’m a gadget freak,” says the 44-year-old, whose blog, Get Fit Geek, tracks his weight-loss journey. “If I had to decide between food and water and the next cool gadget coming out, I’d seriously consider the next cool gadget.”

People think they have to walk five miles or do big stuff exercise-wise, not realizing that any movement burns a tremendous amount of calories.

He asked his husband, Shane, for an early birthday/Christmas present: an Apple watch, specifically for its color-coded move, stand and exercise rings that track daily movement patterns. “Everything clicked once I started to close those rings,” he says.

As a logistics team member for Target in his hometown of Topeka, Kansas, Alvarez was eligible for reimbursement from Weight Watchers, so he started there. “It was great, but I was eating to a number; I didn’t feel like I made any behavioral changes,” he says. “I tried MyFitnessPal and loved it. Not only did it allow me to keep track of my calories in and out, but it taught me about portion size and macros. When you go from just eating food to learning about the calories and nutrients in those foods, it’s a total eye opener.”

For the exercise component, Alvarez went online and did research on couch-to-5K running plans. The more he read, however, the better he understood the importance of simply moving more.

“In the beginning, when I was 400 pounds, I didn’t realize how many calories I could burn by doing simple things like walking,” he says. “People think they have to walk five miles or do big stuff exercise-wise, not realizing that any movement burns a tremendous amount of calories. I could walk 30 minutes and burn 700 calories in the beginning, even though I was winded and dead tired. Now, I would have to run about an hour at a six- or seven-mile pace.”

A few months later — and 40 pounds lighter — Alvarez tried a spin class. “Totally kicked my ass, but I kept up with it,” he says. “I also found Heath, a coach who helped me add some strength training to complement all the cardio I was doing. After losing another 40 pounds, I decided to add swimming to my routine. Once I got under 300 pounds, I decided to try jogging. Those first 100 pounds were about figuring out what worked for me.”

Today, with hard work, dedication and nearly 600 consecutive days of logging into MyFitnessPal, Alvarez has lost 180 pounds. “My initial goal was to weigh 200 pounds by my 45th birthday in December 2017, and I’m now down to 216 pounds. I had a secondary goal to get below 17 percent body fat and I’m now below that,” he says. “I’m finding the fun in being with people who are also into fitness. I’ve done most of the work so far alone. Now that I’m at the finish line, I need to find friends who like to do the same things I do now.”

Speaking of finish lines, Alvarez completed a half marathon in Olathe, Kansas, this spring in just under 2 and a half hours and is now setting new goals, including doing half marathons on back-to-back weekends and a full marathon. Eventually, he wants to venture into triathlons and is even considering an Ironman-distance race.

“It was the most amazing experience of my life,” he says of his first half marathon. “I was never the athletic kid growing up, but having my family there to cheer me on was … the one and only time I have cried during this entire journey. And it was only partially because I hurt so bad from running 13.1 miles.”

At this year’s Comic Con, Alvarez was back in line to have this picture taken with Amell once again. This time, however, he was 179 pounds lighter.

“I brought the picture we’d taken together in 2015, held it up and flexed when they snapped the shot,” he says. “I was getting ready to walk away when Stephen told me to hold on and gave me a big bear hug. He said, ‘You’re incredible. I’m so proud of you.’”

Written by Danny Bonvissuto, a lover of words, writing for a living, independent bookstores, chips, salsa and queso, sunshine, jeans, tank tops and running — but only if ’80s rock is involved. Her work has appeared in Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Food Network Magazine, HGTV, WebMD and Plate magazine.

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