A quick anatomy class refresher for you. Our bodies burn calories through a process called metabolism. Metabolism is when our bodies convert what we have consumed (food and drinks) into energy. Calories from food and beverages are combined with oxygen and release energy to our body for proper functioning. Our bodies use this converted energy for every single process, including cell growth and repair, blood transportation, and even the physical tasks that we perform on a daily basis, such as breathing, walking, and exercising. Even at a resting position, such as sitting or sleeping, we are burning calories through what’s called resting metabolic rate (RMR).
For a large percentage of people, having a slow metabolism is an ongoing difficulty. It creates symptoms like sugar cravings, digestive issues such as gas and bloating, and high blood sugar. Typically, the most common mistakes that lead to slow metabolism are either not having sufficient caloric intake or intaking calories from processed, unnatural foods.
The good news? If you are looking to increase your metabolism and, as a result, feel your healthiest and look your happiest, there are many delicious foods that can help support this.
Kelp Noodle Bowl with Baked Salmon
Kelp is highly nutrient-dense, high in iodine, iron, and calcium, making it one of my favorite superfoods. Research is beginning to show that the natural source of fiber contained in kelp, called alginate, can actually aid in weight loss because it acts as a fat blocker in the gut. Salmon is a rich source of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids and a lean source of protein. Getting adequate protein and healthy fats helps to reduce cravings.
Prepare kelp noodles as you would pasta. While the noodles are cooking, bake a serving of wild-caught salmon. Drizzle avocado oil and freshly grated ginger on top of the salmon and bake in the oven at 375° F for 15-20 minutes. In a saucepan or cast-iron skillet, saute asparagus and zucchini until browned and fragrant.
Once the noodles and vegetables are done, toss lightly with soy sauce and add the salmon on top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and pickled ginger. *Use mushrooms in place of salmon, for a vegan/vegetarian option.
Oatmeal with Stewed Cinnamon Apples
This recipe is packed with three metabolism-boosting foods—oats, cinnamon, and apples. Oats are one of the best sources of whole grains, which aid in burning calories because of their high fiber content. Cinnamon contains polyphenols, which help to stabilize blood sugar, preventing hunger-induced spikes and crashes. Apples are high in a soluble fiber called pectin, which can aid weight control, and the skin of an apple contains a compound called ursolic acid, which can help boost metabolism and regulate blood sugar levels.
Prepare two pots of boiled water on the stovetop—one a quarter full and the second according to the serving for your oatmeal. While the water boils, chop up an organic apple into small cube-like pieces (apples are on the dirty dozen list, so if you’re going to eat the skin, make sure it’s organic). Once chopped, toss the apples in a bowl with cinnamon and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt.
Once the water has boiled, in the second pot, add the oats and reduce heat to a high medium. Occasionally stir until fully cooked and water has been absorbed. In the first pot (¼ water), add the apples and continuously stir until the apples have softened down. Once everything has cooked, turn the stove off and add oats to a bowl and apples on top. Sprinkle more cinnamon if you choose, some sliced almonds and bee pollen, or a drizzle of honey.
Quinoa Salad with Beets, Citrus, and Avocado
Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it has a complete chain of amino acids (building blocks of protein) that are necessary for muscle-building and fat loss. It also has a very high amount of betaine, which helps in increasing metabolism. Both beets and citrus fruits are low in calories and high in nutrients and vitamins such as vitamin C and folate. Avocados are high in soluble fiber, which can help to speed metabolism and balance blood sugar.
In a salad bowl, add together mixed greens, cooked quinoa, raw and sliced or roasted beets, sliced orange, and sliced avocado. Toss together with olive oil and lemon juice.
To roast beets, peel the skin and cut into cubes and add to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Cover with foil and roast at 400° F for 45-60 minutes. Beets are cooked when they are soft and easy to cut through.
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