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Healthy Eating Guidelines for Healthy Eating Plans


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It’s spring, which means that for much of the United States, it’s crawfish season. Crawfish, also known as mudbugs, crayfish and crawdads, are freshwater crustaceans similar to shrimp, but larger. They also happen to be lip-smackingly good eating, and attending a crawfish boil is both a much-anticipated delicacy and a major social event.

But is it healthy?

Many people think of crawfish boils as indulgences. Like a summer barbeque or Thanksgiving dinner, a boil can be a stuff-yourself-silly occasion. But even if you leave completely full, it doesn’t have to be a major setback in your diet plan.

Let’s look at the ingredients:

  • Crawfish: Crawfish themselves are extremely healthy for you. Like most seafood and shellfish, they are relatively low in saturated fats (compared to other meat and dairy products) and they contain fatty acids that are potent antioxidants. Since they’re very low on the food chain, they’re less likely to contain contaminants like larger fish do.
  • Water: H2O can help you burn fat and lose weight.
  • Lemon juice: Citrus fruits are good for you, and while lemon juice is no nutrition powerhouse, it’s better than the base of most sauces.
  • Herbs: Herbs contain virtually zero calories and some have health benefits.
  • Chili pepper: Peppers contain capsaicin, which is actually good for you.

On its own, boiled crawfish is one of the healthiest dishes you can eat. If you like to slather your crawfish in butter (we don’t blame you), you’re picking up extra calories there – but a low-fat vegetable oil spread, and simply learning to use less, will offset that.

The real culprit in this Cajun classic is the side dishes. Crawfish is usually served with corn, potatoes, or both, which are healthy on their own but often loaded with butter or cream. Of course, many all-you-can-eat boils will tempt you with an array of filling, unhealthy side dishes so you eat less crawfish. And any family gathering will usually involve a dessert table. Outsmart the restaurant by foregoing the coleslaw and french fries, and wait twenty to thirty minutes before going for dessert – you’ll feel fuller by then, and eat less.

The same trick can be used to cut down on calories from drinking. Have a glass of water between every beer or cocktail and you’ll not only take in fewer calories, you’ll feel better in the morning.

So is crawfish healthy? It can be if you think about what you’re eating and drinking with it. Of course, no matter what diet plan you’re using, taking the right supplement can bolster what it does for you. Check out Metabo 223 X to boost your metabolism and help burn off some of those calories!

Four Ways to Get More Antioxidants

February 6, 2013 | No Comments | Healthy Eating Guidelines, Nutritional Supplements

Antioxidants are all the rage in the fitness world. Everything from energy drinks to health bars emphasize how many antioxidants they have. But what do antioxidants do for your body that makes them so valuable, and how do you get enough in your diet?

The buzz over antioxidants is actually well-founded. Antioxidants are naturally occurring compounds that can hunt down and stop free radicals in your body. Free radicals are essentially rogue particles that cause serious damage on the cellular level. They’re unstable and need an extra electron to become stable again – which they’re happy to steal from particles in your body’s crucial cellular structures. This can cause damage related to aging, inflammation and neurological health. But antioxidants actively bond with free radicals, rendering them stable and harmless.

How do you get more antioxidants in your diet? Here are four easy ways:

  1. White tea: White tea, green tea and black tea are all made from the same plant, but at different stages in its life cycle and under different circumstances. White tea uses tender young tea leaves and buds, and is not as heavily processed as green and white teas. Every cup is rich in antioxidants and has a light, easy flavor. Most grocery stores sell white tea, but green tea is a good runner-up.
  2. Berries: Fresh berries of all kinds tend to be packed with antioxidants. In particular, the skins of berries are packed with them. Different types of berries have different natural compounds, but blueberries are particularly good antioxidant sources.
  3. Red wine: In moderation, red wine is a heart-healthy beverage that contains the antioxidant resveratrol (which we’ve talked about before) found in grape skins. Too much alcohol is bad for you, however, so doctors urge limiting yourself to an average of one glass per day (women) or two per day (men). Remember, if you pour an extra-large helping it counts as more than one glass.
  4. Pomegranate: One of the most popular antioxidant sources out there is pomegranate, an extremely tasty red fruit from the Mediterranean which has been a crowd favorite since ancient times. Fresh pomegranate can be hard to find, but pomegranate juice is deliciously refreshing and can make a good alternative to red wine for non-drinkers.

While all of these antioxidant sources are easy to find, they can also be expensive. Many people don’t have room in their budget for daily fresh berries and pomegranate juice. For an easy, cost-effective source of numerous antioxidants, check out our newest offering, Prograde Genesis.

How Kale Boosts Any Diet

January 30, 2013 | No Comments | Healthy Eating Guidelines, Nutritional Supplements

Healthy green kale.You probably know that certain foods are good for you; what is it that makes them good choices? What exactly do certain foods do for you, that other foods don’t?

One veggie that’s been getting a lot of attention by nutritionists and fitness pros lately is kale. Kale seems to be showing up more and more in meal plans, health restaurants and green drinks. We’ve called out kale before as a superfood, but what does it do?

As a member of the cabbage family, kale starts off with a lot of health benefits right out of the gate. Leafy greens are pretty much always good for you. They’re jammed full of water and healthy vitamins, they’re low in calories and they’re arguably one of the best sources on earth for dietary fiber, which slows your digestion, reduces the bad cholesterol in your body, and reduces the urge to overeat.

And kale doesn’t disappoint in the realm of vitamins and minerals. The vegetable is a very rich source for vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, beta carotene, and lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that may act as strong antioxidants in the human body.


But that’s just the beginning. What really makes kale remarkable is not just its high vitamin content, but the fact that it contains two separate compounds with potentially life-changing effects on human health.

The first of these is sulforaphane. Exactly how sulforaphane works is not fully understood, but researchers believe it actively fights cancer cells. Sulforaphane has showed promising results in laboratory conditions and is currently involved in clinical trials to fight prostate cancer.

A second compound in kale also has potentially remarkable properties. Indole-3-carbinol is believed to aid your body in DNA repair and, like sulforaphane, may help prevent or fight cancer. Further research is being carried out to understand the role indole-3-carbinol plays in protecting and repairing your body’s cells, but what’s clear is that it has a positive effect and kale is one of the best places to get it.

Kale also brings a unique flavor and texture to a meal. For the best results, it’s recommended not to stew or boil kale, as this reduces the amount of sulforaphane your body can absorb from it. Other methods of preparation however, including stir frying, steaming, and mincing will still deliver the great health benefits of fresh kale, so there are many ways to fit it into your recipe book.

Of course, not everyone has time to prepare lots of fresh greens. If you want to get the benefits of a diet rich in greens without ponying up for piles of salad, consider Prograde Genesis.

A friend offering cakeYou started with the best intentions. You planned what you’d be eating and how much you can have. You thought about how to work this into your everyday life, and so far – so far! – you’ve been sticking to it. (Well, mostly).

And now you’re going out to dinner.

Or it could be a party at a friend’s house, an informal get-together, a lunch meeting or a happy hour. However it happens, the problem remains the same: you might be committed to eating healthy, but the rest of the world isn’t.

When you get together with friends or family, there can be significant pressure to indulge in sweets, fatty foods, or calorie-laden drinks. And that’s normal: When people get together we want to have fun, and for many of us, food and drink is a major part of how we manage our emotions. Eating isn’t only about health, it’s also social. That means that the pressure to join in can seem overwhelming.

So how do you keep eating healthy when there are parties to attend?

There are a couple steps you can take to maximize your willpower and, thus, your success – without dodging your friends. They include:

  • Sensible diet goals: We’ve all heard this before, but a dramatic fad diet is simply not as effective for long-term fitness success as a more moderate, sustainable eating plan. If you already have room in your diet for the occasional indulgence, you can breathe easier at parties and social events.
  • Advance planning: Many of us think we can enforce our diets by pure willpower, but that’s unrealistic. If you know you have a social outing where there will be good food and drink, remind yourself in advance that this will be a chance for temptation. Make a plan for how to handle it, such as eating a healthy meal just before you go or checking out the restaurant menu in advance.
  • Friend support: Trying to get all of your friends to share your diet objectives is impossible – and pushy. But you can probably identify one friend who shares your fitness goals. Talk to them and see if they can help support your healthy eating choices when you’re out together.

That last tip is easily the most powerful. Social pressure is powerful, and being the only healthy eater at a gathering is very daunting. You’ll feel a lot more comfortable if even just one other friend stands with you when everyone is trying to feed you cookies.

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A healthy stir fry with peppers, shrimp and pea pods.Planning ahead for your diet needs can mean many things, from smart choices at the grocery store to looking at a menu online before you go out with friends. But most people have busy lives, and it’s just not always possible to find a healthy food option (or the time to whip one up) at every meal.

We find that cooking food in advance dramatically lowers the amount of willpower a meal plan demands, and reduces the chance of going off-diet when you suddenly feel hungry. When you cook in advance, you always have something on hand to eat that matches your meal plan.

So how do you start building your stockpile of grab-and-go healthy meals? It’s all about preparing things that will keep well and taste great when reheated later.

We recommend a few favorites that are easy to do:

  • Chili. Making your own pot of chili gives you a huge amount of control over what goes in, whether using white meat instead of red meat or going completely vegetarian. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised by the range of vegetables that taste great in chili (especially if you lightly saute them in healthy olive oil before tossing them in the pot), adding more fiber, flavor and vitamins without a ton of calories. You can make endless varieties and it reheats easily.
  • Stir fry. Another dish with endless variation, a stir fry is a great way to include lots of vegetables in your diet without feeling like a rabbit. For the ideal results in a stir fry, use a small amount of a healthy oil and get it very hot before adding the vegetables. The outside should sear and the inside remain crunchy. Once they’re cooked, toss them with a light sauce and add crushed cashews, bean sprouts or other goodies.
  • Wraps. When you use whole grain tortillas, a wrap can be a healthier alternative to a sandwich. Try rolling your usual sandwich fixings inside a soft tortilla, or fill them with scoops of hot meals for a great lineup of lunches.
  • Salads. Ordering a salad at a restaurant can be expensive, and often what you’re served is underwhelming. But it’s easy to make a flavor-packed and healthy salad at home. Aside from greens, consider throwing in handfuls of chopped apple, raisins or dried cranberries, a small amount of meat, and as many seeds and nuts as you want. Leave out cheese, fatty dressings, bread crumbs and fried meat. To keep your salad fresh and crunchy for days, put it in an airtight container and leave the dressing off till just before you eat it.

These are just a few ideas for easy-to-make dishes that will stay fresh for days. Do you cook ahead? What are some of your favorite dishes to prepare in advance?

Incorporate small, sustainable changes to your diet

Apples, walnuts, blueberries, blackberriesEverybody says you need to eat better. It’s a message most of us hear countless times a week. But making changes in your diet can be hard – and not just because of willpower. Many diet plans present unrealistic ideas about what you can afford to shop for or what you can cut out of your life without going crazy.

So what can you do?

Nutritionists recommend making small, sustainable changes in your diet. Ideally your meal plan should be something you can live with long-term, not just through the holidays. This allows you not only to lose a few pounds, but to keep them off and start gaining the many other health benefits that come from a balanced diet.

How to Start

To make a sustainable meal plan, it helps to understand a little of the science behind your diet. Following a science-based diet is not only easier than many fad diets; it can help reduce your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and serious conditions like heart attacks and strokes.

Humans are designed to be omnivores – we eat a little of everything. But most people today take in way too many refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta, and sweets. These foods don’t need to be entirely cut out, but should be reduced and balanced with healthy options like fruits, greens, and nuts.

Step 1: Plants

There is almost no such thing as eating too many vegetables and fruits. If there’s only one change you make in your diet, including more fresh produce is it. Snacking on fruit during the day, and eating a salad before dinner, aren’t just healthy on their own – they reduce how hungry you’ll be when tempted with other dishes.

Step 2: Fiber

Dietary fiber fights high cholesterol and helps your body digest more slowly, reducing appetite. Dietary fiber comes from foods like nuts, whole grains, and fruits and veggies. Any time you want a carb-heavy meal, consider ditching white bread or pasta for whole grain bread or rice. And snacking on nuts can be a great way to stave off the mid-afternoon munchies.

Step 3: Antioxidants

Antioxidant-rich foods are linked to a huge variety of health benefits. They fight free radicals, particles that damage tissue throughout the body. And antioxidants may even help fight the effects of aging. Berries, grapes, and green or white tea are great sources of antioxidants.

Having a healthy diet doesn’t have to mean making life-changing sacrifices. A meal plan with simple changes like these can be an easy way to shift your health for the better – and not break the bank.

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Fiber itself will not help you lose weight fast and control your appetite.  But fiber, in combination with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise can lead you to a trimmer waistline and help you fight some common diseases associated with being overweight.

Fiber occurs in two forms, soluble and insoluble fiber.  Both are important nutrients to include in your diet.  Soluble fiber is quickly broken down by water, while insoluble fiber is not and travels through your system “cleaning” it out.  One reason why fiber is so effective in weight loss is because it takes longer to digest and leaves you feeling full.  Fiber rich foods are low in calories and contain plenty of water leading you once again to feeling full.

So chewing on a carrot or piece of celery will help me lose weight?  Yes!

Fiber rich foods like vegetables take longer to chew therefore giving allowing our bodies to catch up and reach a feeling of fullness.  Due to the water content found in fiber rich foods, we have more fluid in our stomachs making us feel fuller for longer periods of time.   This is a good thing because we will not have the desire to eat more after consuming a snack or meal with plenty of fiber.

Here is a list of some high fiber foods you can enjoy:


Raspberries- a one cup serving has 8.0 grams of fiber
Pear (with skin)- 1 medium pear provides 5.5 grams of fiber
Medium Apple with skin- 1 medium apple provide you with 4.4 grams of fiber
Banana and orange- 1 medium banana or orange gives you 3.1 grams of fiber


Peas (cooked)- 1 cup of cooked peas gives you a whopping 8.8 grams of fiber
Broccoli- 1 cup of boiled broccoli gives you 5.1 grams of fiber
Sweet corn (cooked)- 1 cup of cooked sweet corn gives you 4.2 grams of fiber
Potato with skin (baked)- 1 medium potato baked with the skin gives you 2.9 grams of fiber
Lentils (cooked)- 1/2 cup cooked lentils gives you 6.6 grams of fiber
Navy Beans (cooked)- 1/2 cup cooked navy beans gives you 9.5 grams of fiber

Other foods

Bran Flakes- ¾ of a cup gives you 5.3 grams of fiber
Oatmeal (cooked)- 1 cup gives you 4.0 grams of fiber
Black Beans (cooked)- 1 cup of black beans gives you 15.0 grams of fiber
Almonds- 1 ounce of almonds gives you 3.5 grams of fiber

So next time you are reaching for a snack pick a fruit ,vegetable or other high fiber food to help curb your appetite.     This will help you lose weight fast and maintain that weight loss for years to come. 

Spirulina isn’t just responsible for making your Cravers nutrition bars green, but in fact, has an outstanding nutrition profile that outshines most other plants.

Yes, that’s right, spirulina is a plant. More technically, it’s a form of micro-algae that is blue-green in color and rich in vitamins and minerals. This microalgae is the same type of algae that you’d find on freshwater ponds and streams, thermal springs and saltwater lakes. It’s a hearty organism that can adapt to many different environments and thrive where many other organisms cannot, requiring only a drop of water and a beam of sunshine to survive. This heartiness makes it even more nutritious for you.

Spirulina’s popularity comes from it being a rich source of vegetarian protein and natural vitamins and minerals. It’s one of the highest protein-containing plants, being 60-70% protein by weight, and also contains substantial amounts of vitamin B12 and iron (usually only found in meats), vitamin K and beta-carotene.  

For people looking to either reduce the animal protein load of their diet, or for vegetarians, spirulina is a great substitute and source of quality protein and amino acids. It does tend to be lower in certain amino acids than animal proteins, but when eaten in a mixed diet, it compliments other vegetarian proteins, like beans and nuts.

Therapeutically, spirulina has several health benefits. In a variety of different human and animal studies, spirulina has been shown  to improve blood cholesterol profiles, boost immunity, enhance the population of healthy gut bacteria, control blood sugars and help people lose body fat safely.

For your heart health, a study of 30 men with mild hyperlipidemia (high blood cholesterol), took 4.2 g of spirulina each day for 8 weeks, or spirulina only for 4 weeks with 4 weeks off. Those who took it for 8 weeks had a significant reduction of LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and a significant reduction in their atherogenic index (a measure of fat deposition in arteries). The men who only took Spirulina for 4 weeks and nothing for another 4 weeks also had the same results at the midpoint mark, but then a return to baseline values after they stopped taking this green goodness.

So, if you’re struggling with high LDL cholesterol, spirulina may be one way to lower it and decrease your risk for heart disease.

With its high protein content and rich source of vitamins and minerals, spirulina is a great addition to any person’s diet.  You can get 1 gram of Spirulina in each Craver Spirulina bar.


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Attention Spirulina Lovers!

What do you like about Spirulina? Why did you decide to give Spirulina flavored Prograde Cravers a try?






Current knowledge on potential health benefits of Spirulina. Belay A, et al. (1993) J Appl Phycology 5: 235-41.

Cholesterol lowering effect of Spirulina. Nakaya N, et al (1988) Nutr. Rep. Int. 37: 1329-1337.



healthy eating plans for a bowl of potato chips_200

People who plan out healthy meals every day might still be susceptible to weight loss sabotage.

The problem is in junk food.

Eating fatty, greasy foods that lack good nutrition every time a person wants it can create an addiction.  Frequently eating these types of food causes the levels of a dopamine receptor in the brain to drop, just like in alcoholics.

Healthy diets that include junk food as rewards for eating healthy meals can create these addictions.

The best way to break or prevent a junk food addiction is to remove the source.  Don’t give yourself the opportunity to fulfill the harmful craving.

Fill your diet plans with healthy meals and snacks to stop the addiction before it even starts.




healthy eating tips say no to hamburger_200


Following healthy diets before bedtime means avoiding certain foods that could prevent a good night’s sleep.


As we learned before, insufficient sleep contributes to the onset of serious illnesses and diseases, including obesity.


To have a better chance of getting a full night of restful sleep, avoid the following foods close to bedtime:

  • Spicy
  • Greasy
  • Heavy
  • Highly refined sugar
  • Caffeine (chocolate or energy drinks, for example)
  • Alcohol


If you eat before you go to sleep, healthy meals and snacks can make a difference in your health and weight loss.