With summer hitting – everyone wants their best beach body. Going in with great intentions as always, we forget that indulging on beers on patios, grabbing ice cream and eating hot dogs while camping are always on the table for summer.
“Oh summer is going to be easy to be healthy.” Not so fast. There’s always a need to stick to good intentions. Giving your body that metabolic boost may just give it the support it needs.
So what exactly is metabolism? I always used to think of it as that energy that could somehow assimilate that extra piece of cheesecake. I just need to boost my metabolism!
Somewhat true. Metabolism is essentially the chemical transformations that occur in our body to sustain life.
Although it describes both build up and break down it is more commonly used to describe the efficiencies that we can convert or break down calories through means of digestion and conversion to energy.
The only difference between summer and winter is now we have more prospects for body exposure where the results of our indulgences may be more readily visible to the rest of the world!
So how to give your body a healthy metabolic boost?
The great part is with a few daily contributions to the diet and key exercise techniques your metabolism will be off to a good start.
Whether looking to lose weight or actually just have a more efficient fuel burning body follow some of these recommendations.
When it comes to exercise: build muscle and interval train. John Berardi, author of “The Metabolism Advantage” says your body will burn more energy an hour or two after these two types of workouts, called the “afterburn” effect, which can even last up to 24 hrs.
And remember every pound of muscle burns more energy, up to an additional 50 calories just doing nothing. So up the strength training slightly and give your heart rate some boosts for even just 15 minutes a day.
On the food front you want to eat foods that take more energy to digest.
Whole foods of course. Eating junk food is just wreaking havoc on your body.
You want clean fuel.
High-protein foods will require more energy to metabolize over fats or carbs. You will also want to eat foods that are high in fiber and have a lots of phytonutrients to help support ongoing detoxification in the body.
Choose foods like black beans and lentils, and use spices like chili peppers and cinnamon. Chia seeds are also known to boost metabolism and aid in weight loss as they are highly satiating and high in fiber as well.
Drinking green tea throughout the day also helps regulate hormones and is known to improve cravings and improve metabolism.
Set some goals this summer to incorporate one serving of metabolic building food each day along with your exercise regiment and see what kind of boost you get. Try this burger recipe to spice up your summer.
Spicy Black Bean Burgers
Yield 7 ¼ Cup Patties or 14 Mini Sliders (2 Tbsp each)
1 Cup Baked Sweet Potato (approx. 1 medium sweet potato baked 30 minutes 375F)
1 Cup Black Beans
½ Cup Cooked Quinoa
1/3 Cup Red Pepper, diced
1/3 Cup Sunflower Seeds
¼ cup Corn Meal
3 Tbsp Green Onion, minced
3 Tbsp tamari
2 Tbsp Cilantro, minced
2 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Sea Salt
a pinch or two of sea salt
Start with the baked sweet potato and mash until smooth in a medium sized bowl. Add Black beans and rough mash so the beans still hold their shape. Add rest of ingredients and combine. Scoop out desired sized patty and form with hands. Pan fry each side until golden brown.
Kristin Fraser, BSc, is a holistic nutritionist and local freelance writer. Her column appears every second Thursday. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.