Hi there, it’s Lacey! I’m the editor and main writer for A Sweet Pea Chef. I'm a food blogger, health and food coach, professional photographer, and mommy of three. I also run the awesome free Take Back Your Health Community, am the healthy and clean weekly meal planner behind No-Fail Meals, and a little bit in love with Clean Eating. Be sure to check out my free beginner’s guide to eating clean and follow me on YouTube and Instagram to get my latest recipes and healthy eating inspiration. Read More…
There are many health benefits of drinking freshly juiced fruits and vegetables, and it’s a great way to add nutrients from the fruits or vegetables that you normally wouldn’t eat. Fruit and vegetable juices retain most of of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) that would be found in the whole versions of those foods. These nutrients can help protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer and various inflammatory diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis. Valuable compounds called flavonoids and anthocyanins are abundant in a variety of fruits and vegetables and guard against oxidative cellular damage, which comes from everyday cellular maintenance and is exacerbated by exposure to chemicals and pollution.
The Dietary Guidelines state that that intake of at least 2 ½ cups of vegetables and fruits per day is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. In addition, fruits and vegetables contain more fiber when eaten whole, which may reduce your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Fiber can also play a role in providing a feeling of fullness, and promoting healthy laxation. Most Americans don’t consume enough dietary fiber, and should increase their consumption of whole fruits and vegetables to help meet the recommendation for fiber. Since juicing fruits and vegetables can sometimes remove some of the fiber, it is not clear what the relationship is between juicing and health. If you choose to juice, try adding the leftover pulp from your juice to soups or muffins to help add the fiber into your diet.

Between work and the gym, I’ve been getting home pretty late these days. Even though I love to cook, it’s usually just about the last thing I want to do when I finally walk through the door. I’ve been making a lot of healthy sheet pan dinners, and I really love how easy they are. Most of these healthy dinner recipes take only a few minutes of prep and then the oven does the work. And since everything for these easy recipes cooks together on one pan, cleanup is a breeze! Line your pan with foil or parchment for even easier cleanup.


Juice separates the juice from the pulp whereas a smoothie includes everything. The pulp is full of nutrients so it stands to reason that smoothies contain more nutrients. This oft-argued point is not necessarily true, because the high powered machine that makes a smoothie adds heat and oxygen which actually destroys some nutrients. So the difference in nutritional richness between a smoothie and a juice is not worth arguing. They are both worlds better than anything bottled or canned!
A better approach is to make a few small changes at a time. Keeping your goals modest can help you achieve more in the long term without feeling deprived or overwhelmed by a major diet overhaul. Think of planning a healthy diet as a number of small, manageable steps—like adding a salad to your diet once a day. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices.
It's trendy to think "food should be fuel" or that food is something that helps you lose (or, ahem, gain) weight. But thinking only in terms of number on the scale takes away a huge part of what eating is about: pleasure. "If you think of eating as something enjoyable and something you do without guilt or without judging yourself, and you stay active, you're less likely to overeat, have a better diet, and maintain any weight loss for the long haul," says Zied. It's true: feeling guilty about your food choices can undermine weight loss—and even pack on the pounds—while a celebratory mindset gives you more control over your diet and can thwart weight gain, found a 2014 study in the journal Appetite.
Obesity is not the only nutrition-related cause of disease onset and progression. Too much or too little of certain nutrients can also contribute to health issues. For instance, a lack of calcium in your diet can predispose you to developing osteoporosis, or weakening of your bones, while too much saturated fat can cause cardiovascular disease, and too few fruits and vegetables in your nutrition plan is associated with an increased incidence of cancer. Consuming foods from a wide variety of sources helps ensure your body has the nutrients it needs to avoid these health problems.
SS: A juice cleanse may result in short-term weight loss, which may be due to diuresis [the increased production of urine] versus true weight loss. I would not recommend it as an effective, long-term way to lose weight because drinking solely juice is not sustainable. Additionally, when you deprive the body of its favorite foods for an extended period of time you’re more likely to overeat and overindulge — and as a result regain the weight — once you return to your everyday eating habits.
Most dietary supplements for sexual function haven’t been studied scientifically and may be a waste of money or dangerous for health. The supplements often contain hidden pharmaceutical drugs—like traces of PDE5 inhibitors, medications in the same class that includes prescription erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol, and smoking cessation can help boost sexual function without medication. If not, there are medical approaches that can help. (Locked) More »
You know it’s a bad idea to go to the store when you’re hungry, but that’s not the only key to smarter shopping. The biggest mistake people make is not knowing what they need and, instead, browsing the aisles for inspiration. That leads to buying more packaged foods and less fresh, whole foods. Go in with a list based on recipes you intend to cook for the week, and focus your shopping on the store’s perimeter, which is home to the fresh produce, dairy, meat, and fish.
Phytochemicals are compounds found in plants that may benefit human health. For example, carotenoids found in red, orange, yellow, and green plants (cooked tomatoes, carrots, squash, and broccoli) may inhibit cancer growth and cardiovascular disease, and boost the immune system. Flavonoids found in berries, apples, citrus, onions, soybeans, and coffee may fight inflammation and tumor growth. One can get a wide variety of phytochemicals by simply eating a varied diet that includes five to nine servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. (Locked) More »
Dandelion: This is rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids. They are also very high in highly absorbable methylating agents such as vitamin B2, B6 and folate. Rich in minerals such as potassium, iron and zinc, it releases excess fluid out of the body detoxifying the kidney and liver. Dandelions support digestion, reduce swelling and inflammation, and treat jaundice, edema, gout, eczema and acne (13).
Brain iron deficiency should be one of the first considerations when looking for a cause of restless legs syndrome (RLS). However, many doctors don’t know that iron deficiency is one cause of RLS, and therefore don’t test for it, particularly in men, in whom iron deficiency is uncommon. Diagnosing low brain iron is tricky, because doctors have to infer it from blood levels. Several tests are used to measure iron in the blood. The most important for diagnosing iron deficiency measures ferritin, the primary form of stored iron in the blood. (Locked) More »
Now don’t get me wrong – that’s great – and it’s always amazing to see people becoming healthier, but there are some significant problems with the normal style of juicing – problems that especially athletes need to be extremely wary of. While juicing can be healthy and you probably know how nutrient-dense vegetables can be, there are two big juicing problems that you must be warned about: “obesity traps”and “performance drains”.

Schedule it.  For the first month, you have to work your meal prep into your routine, so it is smart to schedule off a block of time dedicated to your meal prep. Set a reminder in your phone. At first you might feel like it’s a chore, but I’m betting once you get going, and you see how AWESOME it is to not have to worry about your meals during the week, you’ll look forward to it!
One of the best ways to have a healthy diet is to prepare your own food and eat in regularly. Pick a few healthy recipes that you and your family like and build a meal schedule around them. If you have three or four meals planned per week and eat leftovers on the other nights, you will be much farther ahead than if you are eating out or having frozen dinners most nights.
If you buy fresh squeezed juice from a store or juicing stand, be aware that these may contain harmful bacteria if they have not been pasteurized, or treated to kill harmful bacteria. Unpasteurized (raw) juices are not recommended for those at risk for foodborne illness, such as children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. Those at risk should look for a warning label before purchasing. More information about food safety can be found on the Food Safety Education page of the FSIS website, or Nutrition.gov’s Food Storage and Preservation page under Shopping, Cooking and Meal Planning.
Juicing should not be used as a quick way to lose weight. Consuming only fruits and vegetables, even though they are nutritious, is not considered a balanced diet. A healthy weight loss goal is ½ to 2 pounds per week, and can be achieved with healthy eating and activity habits. Talk with your doctor about safe and effective ways to control your weight. You can also visit the Weight and Obesity page of the FNIC website for more information and resources.
A nutritious, well-balanced diet – along with physical activity and refraining from smoking – is the foundation of good health. Healthy eating includes consuming high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, heart-healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and water in the foods you take in while minimizing processed foods, saturated fats and alcohol. Eating in this manner helps you maintain your body’s everyday functions, promotes optimal body weight and can assist in disease prevention.

Fruit and vegetables are low in calories and nutrient dense, which means they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Focus on eating the recommended daily amount of at least five servings of fruit and vegetables and it will naturally fill you up and help you cut back on unhealthy foods. A serving is half a cup of raw fruit or veg or a small apple or banana, for example. Most of us need to double the amount we currently eat.
Changing your eating habits can be intimidating, I know. It may even feel like you’re leaving everything you love behind. All the midnight snacks, takeouts, sweets…  But, although it may seem like that at first, soon enough you realize that eating healthy will not only make you feel and look good but can also taste darn good!  The key is finding a lifestyle you love (not one you dread) so that you stick to it.
Schedule it.  For the first month, you have to work your meal prep into your routine, so it is smart to schedule off a block of time dedicated to your meal prep. Set a reminder in your phone. At first you might feel like it’s a chore, but I’m betting once you get going, and you see how AWESOME it is to not have to worry about your meals during the week, you’ll look forward to it!

If you are not used to eating a healthy diet that promotes your well-being, making gradual changes can help you improve the way you eat in the long run. You can substitute water for high-calorie, sugary drinks, for example, and switch from full-fat to low-fat dairy products. Selecting lean meats instead of fatty cuts and whole-wheat grains instead of refined grains can lower your intake of unhealthy fats and increase your dietary fiber intake. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain less sodium than canned, and snacking on fresh, crunchy produce like carrots, apples and cucumber slices is healthier than the fats and salt in chips.
Putting down the salt shaker and skipping sugar in your coffee is a step in the right direction, but that’s not where most people get the majority of their salt and sugar. Sodium and sugar are rampant in most packaged foods from pasta sauce and mac and cheese to rice mixes and soups. Start by checking the nutrition label on your breakfast cereal (some pack up to 20 grams of sugar per serving!).
For the lunch salad, to a large bowl add the kale, tomatoes, bell pepper, walnuts, raisins, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper to a large bowl. Add the vinegar, olive oil, and mix very well. After re-heating the chicken, slice thin and add to the salad. Serve and enjoy. Salad should not be dressed until right before eating, or can be dressed a few hours ahead of time because kale doesn’t get wilted very easily.
Most recipe books you see out there are a picture with a name and ingredients, we want to go a bit further and add our health benefit/conditions in with our juiced nutrition facts to blow all of them out of the water. Again, it's one of those things that we don't want to just make a quick buck on and we want you to love it. It's proving to be a bigger project than we thought, but it's being worked on.
You guys have been asking for meal preps that use the same ingredients to make different meals, so I am hooking you up with 5 healthy weight loss meal prep recipes using the same 10 fresh ingredients. I have all the meals covered in this weight loss recipe, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All of the weight loss recipes are big on flavor and easy to make.

The Dietary Guidelines state that that intake of at least 2 ½ cups of vegetables and fruits per day is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. In addition, fruits and vegetables contain more fiber when eaten whole, which may reduce your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Fiber can also play a role in providing a feeling of fullness, and promoting healthy laxation. Most Americans don’t consume enough dietary fiber, and should increase their consumption of whole fruits and vegetables to help meet the recommendation for fiber. Since juicing fruits and vegetables can sometimes remove some of the fiber, it is not clear what the relationship is between juicing and health. If you choose to juice, try adding the leftover pulp from your juice to soups or muffins to help add the fiber into your diet.
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