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We all know that if you want to lose weight then you have to follow a pretty structured exercise plan, if left to your own devises although it is likely that you will exercise, chances are you will lose motivation and enthusiasm along the way. But just as important as getting your training right is, so to is getting your nutrition right. As you might imagine it is a lot harder to see the benefits of your training if you are mainly consuming fast food compared to a healthy and balanced diet.
Why are processed foods that bad for us? Well they contain a lot of refined sugars and artificial chemicals that have been added to make the food last. As these refined sugars are relatively new additions to the human diet our bodies tend to store them as fat. Therefore if you were to replace these processed foods with more natural ingredients such as fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and proteins then it is likely that you will shed fat a lot quicker. Fibre is also very important to consume when you are trying to lose weight as it is high in antioxidants and nutrients that help regulate blood sugar levels, though you will be pretty hard pressed to get much fibre from a processed diet.
Whatever exercise and meal plan you decide to take there are several tips that are essential to helping you see the most improvement in your body.
Drink Lots of Water
It has been said many times before but we’ll say it again, water is absolutely integral to burning fat. Water helps with the transport and burning of fat and it is also a net trick to help make you feel full so you resist the urge to snack or be unhealthy.
Get Your 5-A-Day
It’s more like 10-a-day now but replacing all your high sugar snacks with fruit and vegetables is an essential way to improve your diet and get rid of stubborn fat. Okay so consuming 10 portions a day might be quite the challenge but you should definitely try and get as much as possible throughout the day.
Reduce Those Starchy Carbs
If you are fond of eating lots of pasta and bread then it is likely you are giving your body too much glycogen stores and this will end up becoming fat. An immediate way to improve your diet is to therefore reduce the frequency in which you eat these things.
Don’t Abuse Supplements
A lot of people look to quick solutions when trying to lose weight such as fat burning supplements but you definitely don’t want to be relying on them. People also tend to think that because they are taking these supplements that they can slip back into their old diet and lifestyle without seeing the consequences and this simply isn’t true. These supplements are to be used alongside a healthy diet and strong fitness plan if you want to see the best results.
With all the fad “superfoods” going around these days it is easy to think that nutritionists are always eating something obscure and tasteless, but of course this isn’t true and so we thought it would be beneficial to take a look at the most important meal of the day and how nutritionists go about making it. For most of us breakfast is a very rushed affair that often results in us having a coffee and pain au chocolat and you don’t need a nutritionist to tell you that having this 5 times a week isn’t going to do you any favours!
Here are some of our favourite suggestions from nine of the top nutritionists and hopefully they’ll spark your imagination too.
Greek Yoghurt Bowl
If you want a healthy protein boost in the morning then why not try adding a scoop of vanilla protein powder to Greek yoghurt. Throw in some pomegranate for freshness and a handful of walnuts for some natural fats. If this doesn’t sound too special then consider the facts; Greek yoghurt has twice the protein and half the carbs of regular yoghurt, pomegranate is one of the most powerful antioxidants around and walnuts will give you large amounts of omega-3.
This one is for the weight conscious coffee drinker out there. A tall 16-ounce skim milk latte has the same protein as two eggs and half of your calcium requirements for the day. Finish it off with a handful of seasonal fruit to get some solids into you.
These pancakes are a healthier alternative to starchy white pancakes. The egg whites and high-quality protein powder give you energy throughout the morning and help to keep those hunger pangs at bay. Throw in some whole grain oats to add some rich fiber and you’ll be resisting the urge to snack before lunch.
If you are a fan of a more savory breakfast then a veggie omelet could be the one for you. Opt for an egg white omelet and fill it with anything from broccoli, onions, spinach, peppers and even a bit of feta for a lower calorie cheese option. Throw in a smoothie and some water, and you’ll be wishing you could have this every morning. The great thing about this dish is that it will keep you full for hours and it is packed with protein that will help keep your blood sugar levels under control.
Havarti Cheese and Pitta
For a slightly alternative take on breakfast why not make a Havarti cheese and egg scramble, throw on some chopped tomatoes and peppers, then place it all on top of a some toasted pitta. It is well worth having a solid breakfast like this is your body is running on empty after 8 hours of sleep, so loading it up with low-fat protein and good carbs is a must. The cheese also gives an added sharpness to proceedings as it is aged for several months, it all adds up to a well-balanced breakfast that only comes up to 300 calories.
A lot of people get lost along the way when they are trying to be healthy and although the internet can be a great source of inspiration and information, it can also be confusing and contradictory when it comes to health and healthy eating. So to keep you on the right track we have taken a daily meal plan from private chef, culinary marketing consultant, and professional recipe developer Amie Valpone, to show you exactly what kind of healthy and fun foods you should be looking to eat throughout the day.
This is the perfect time to load up on slow release energy and there is no better way to go about it than with oatmeal. Be sure to opt for a healthier alternative to fattening milk in almond or coconut milk too! These alternatives will give you healthy protein without all the harmful chemicals that are in normal milk. Use the simplicity of the oats to allow you to add lots of fiber from flax seed and some flavour with fresh sliced fruit.
Warm lemon water is a go-to drink in colder weather and it gives the body an immediate detox that is an ideal way to start the day.
Even healthy eaters can’t always managed waiting till lunchtime, but if you are going to snack then you might want to consider opting for a healthier one over a packet of crisps. Instead choose a banana with some cashew nut butter, this will provide you with a hit of protein and the banana’s carbohydrates will give you an energy boost till lunchtime. This is an ideal snack if you need a quick and simple pick-me-up and you are avoiding all the unnatural sugars you would come across in processed foods.
If you haven’t tried it before then roasted cauliflower is a simple and delicious treat that is another great alternative to a bag of oily crisps. If it doesn’t hit the spot by itself then consider adding some homemade guacamole too. The cauliflower will load you up with a great deal of natural fiber and the guacamole is a great way to introduce some healthy fat into your diet through the avocado.
Dinner is your opportunity to be a bit more creative with healthy vegetables and a great way to enjoy them is in a bake. If you haven’t tried an eggplant bake then now is the time! Throw in some shredded chicken if you like a bit more protein, along with tomatoes, onions, seasoning and herbs. If you are feeling like you need an extra bit of richness then add a dollop of Greek yoghurt for a creamier texture.
For those of you with a sweet tooth almond flour, gluten-free bread can be a delicious and less processed alternative to a lot of desserts on offer in shops. Or you might want to consider making your own fruit crumble and this will allow you to control the amount of sugar in it.
It’s a funny thing but no matter how often you tell some people they still can’t get the idea of how important staying hydrated is! We all have a friend who complains of persistent headaches and when you ask them if they’ve been drinking much water they’ll reply that they haven’t. In fact more people than ever will have noticed the effects of thirst and dehydration after the erratic summer weather.
The fact is that your body’s main way of cooling down is through sweat and when the sweat evaporates from your body it also take some of the heat with it too. For this cooling system to remain functional it requires us to consume water, if we don’t then the body has a very limited store to fall back on. The results can be pretty severe if you don’t stay hydrated and in the summer can range from exhaustion to heat stroke.
So to keep you hydrated and healthy, here are some of our top water tips.
Do A Sweat Test
There is a little science in this but you can do it yourself at home or at the gym. The idea is to weigh yourself (without clothes) both before and after exercise, the drop in weight that you will notice is from losing sweat. To rehydrate yourself correctly it is stated that you should drink 2 cups of water for every pound of weight lost. You don’t have to do this all in one go by the way!
Forget The Classic “Eight Glasses A Day” Advice
We have all heard this recommendation but unfortunately it is a little to generalized for most of us. How much water you drink should really be measured by a variety of factors, these include your weight, diet, the temperature you live in and how much you exercise. You can always resort to the classic indication of seeing how dehydrated you are from your urine colour or pay more attention to when you are thirsty.
Don’t Like Drinking Water? Then Eat It
Plenty of people will come up with the excuse that they don’t like drinking water and if that is the case then tell them to eat it instead! Eating plant-based foods is a great way to stay hydrated and it will give you added flavour too. Whether you choose to eat fresh fruit or vegetables, they will not only provide your body with water but also important electrolytes too.
Too many people notice they are dehydrated when their head begins to hurt or once they are urinate. A good way to prevent this from happening is always having a drink to hand so you can sip consistently throughout the day; this also stops you from doing the classic “I just drank a 2 litre bottle of water in a few minutes so I can’t be dehydrated”. Look for natural drinks with electrolytes in them to help you not only stay hydrated but to give your body the minerals it needs.
If you are stuck for finding healthy staples for your fridge and cupboards then we have compiled a list of some of the most nutritious and cheap foods that will have you and your family well on the way to a happy and healthy lifestyle. Healthy foods not only make you less likely to become overweight but they also help to reduce the risk of developing serious diseases and can importantly improve your mood. So anyone who has a couple of energetic kids should definitely consider replacing those bags of sweets with some healthier alternatives.
These are some of the foods that are considered to be the healthiest around!
These little berries are surprisingly rich in fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients (the chemicals found in plants). These phytonutrients are amazing at helping to prevent disease and keep the body in tip-top condition. Research has even found that if elderly people eat a lot of berries (including blueberries) in their diet then they are less likely to suffer cognitive decline compared to those who don’t consume berries.
If you haven’t gotten into eating raw broccoli then it is definitely worth a go. The vegetable is rich in fiber, potassium, calcium and phytonutrients. All of which can help to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and even some forms of cancer. It is even believed that eating broccoli in large quantities can help shorten the duration of a cold.
Not only are they an excellent source of antioxidants but they also happen to be delicious too and incredibly versatile! They combat free radicals that tend to damage substances generated in the body and are responsible for speeding up the ageing process and certain diseases. Some animal based studies have even found that apples can potentially extend the lifespan.
There are plenty of fish under this category, from salmon, sardines, trout and mackerel. They are classed as oily fish because their lean fillets tend to contain around 30% oil, which we most commonly refer to as omega03 fatty acids. As well as fish being a healthier alternative to a lot of meat, these oils are also believed to provide numerous benefits for the heart and the nervous system. These fish also tend to be vitamin rich and provide many other benefits such as being beneficial for people who have inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
Or more specifically leafy greens! It has been found that if you have a high intake of dark-leafy greens such as cabbage and spinach then you will be significantly lowering your risk of developing type-2 diabetes. These leafy greens are known for being very rich in antioxidants, especially when they are raw, and they also contain numerous nutrients and vitamins from A, B, C, E, selenium, zinc and folic acid to name but a few.
Vegetables In General
Of course most vegetables are integral to a healthy and balanced diet, from your greens to the likes of sweet potato and carrots.