Q: How can I can I control my appetite so that I don’t gain weight?
A: People often respond to situational stress by eating comfort foods, which can quickly become a chronic pattern. Natural Chinese medicine uses magnolia to break the pattern: magnolia bark encourages weight loss, improves digestion, and regulates appetite. Studies show that magnolia contains a phytochemical called honokiol with anti-stress properties that are useful in appetite control and weight management. You can take a magnolia supplement by itself or in formulations with other herbs, or as a tea. Look in health food stores, online, and from acupuncturists and Chinese herbalists.
Another natural appetite suppressant is water, which also flushes out toxins and keeps body functioning optimally. Drink at least 60 ounces of water (about 8 glasses) a day.
Another thing to keep in mind: it has been found that consuming large amounts of coffee and caffeine can lead to food cravings, increase one's appetite, and induce stress-related eating. Green tea is a wonderful alternative to coffee in that it does provide a little caffeine but also contains beneficial antioxidants. When paired with lemon, it has been found to aid in weight loss.
Also, click here to learn more about the Tao of Wellness natural weight loss dietary supplement, which can help you lose weight in a balanced, natural way.
Q: Can you advise me on meal plans that will help me lose weight and keep it off?
A: We are natural beings that need a balance of nutrition from all sources. To reach your ideal weight and stay there, your diet should consist of a balance of organic sources of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Follow this formula:
• 25 percent of your diet should be animal protein (unless you are vegetarian): seafood, egg, chicken, turkey, and lamb. Eat three 4-ounce portions, about the size of a deck of cards, per day.
• 50 percent of your diet should be made up of fruits and vegetables, for their beneficial antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Especially favorable for weight loss are chlorophyll-rich foods such as broccoli, kale, spinach, asparagus, and dandelion greens.
• 25 percent should be divided among raw nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains, especially brown rice, whole wheat bread, quinoa, amaranth, millet, sorghum, and buckwheat.
Also, cut back on rich, fatty foods, dairy, and carbohydrates, including sugar, white flour, pasta, white rice, and alcohol. Don’t eat red meant more than three times a week, and if possible, be sure all meat is free-range, grass-fed, and hormone- and antibiotic-free lean meat.
Here are some meal plans:
• Warm whole grain cereal topped with nuts
• Multigrain toast spread with organic peanut butter
• soft tofu scrambled with veggies and wrapped in whole-grain tortilla
• Greens with steamed beets sprinkled with pine nuts, walnuts, and shredded chicken or crumbled tofu.
• Organic skinless chicken (or soy product) with steamed kale and mushrooms
• Brown rice with sautéed veggies.
• Baked sweet potato with Swiss chard (or any green vegetable)
• Homemade soup is a simple lunch that won’t weigh you down—in fact, studies have found that people who eat a serving of soup daily lose more weight than those who eat the same amount of calories but don’t eat soup.
Q: I have been going to the gym three times a week to gain more muscle. What else can I do to bulk up naturally?
A: You are already on the right track by going to the gym, where hopefully you are in a consistent and balanced routine. Additionally, for natural and healthy weight gain, it is important that your digestive system is working optimally.
For optimal digestion, everything you eat and drink should be warm and cooked. Avoid cold drinks and cold foods, especially ice cream. Refined sugar and soft drinks should be avoided as much as possible. Do not eat greasy, fried or processed foods. Instead, include more vitamin- and nutrient-rich organic foods, especially yams, rice, oatmeal, cooked greens, and vegetables in your diet. Meat in small quantities is a good source of protein. Try to drink 8 glasses of filtered water a day. Finally, keep stress to a minimum, as it puts great strain on the body and weakens your digestive system.
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is an amino acid that is a strong antioxidant that bolsters your immune system. It has recently been discovered by bodybuilders because it helps to build muscle and promotes the burning of fat.
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!