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    5 Reasons Your Healthy Salad Could Be Making You Gain Weight

    5 Reasons Your Healthy Salad Could Be Making You Gain Weight

    Original article by Matt Weik may be found directly on Nutrabio Supplements site.

    When trying to lose weight, what is one particular food that everyone tells you to consume more of?   Salad.  Yes, everyone assumes you need to eat like a rabbit in order to tighten your waistline and drop body fat.  While salad isn’t the only nutritional change you should be making to your diet, when used incorrectly, it could actually cause you to GAIN weight unexpectedly.

    To help you better utilize salad during your weight-loss journey and allow these green leafy gems to work for you rather than against you, there are five things you need to be aware of so you aren’t left frustrated when looking at the scale.  I also provide a bonus tip at the end for good measure.  But first, let’s dive into the reasons you need to watch out for salad.

    You Don’t Pay Attention To Your Dressing

    This is one of the simplest things to change, yet one of the hardest for people to fully grasp and understand.  If you were looking at salad dressing and wanted to reduce the number of calories you consume, there are two things you need to focus on.

    1. The type of salad dressing you are using
    2. The amount of salad dressing you are using

    Seems so simple, right?   Wrong.  The first thing people tell you is to stop using regular salad dressing as it is full of fat.  They tell you to opt for the “fat-free” versions instead to drastically cut down how many calories are coming from your dressing alone.  

    I’m here to tell you that’s a terrible idea.  For starters, a little fat with your salad can help you better absorb some of the nutrients found in your salad.  Also, depending on the kind of fat you use, it’s not necessarily “bad” for you.

    Because both lettuce and fat-free salad dressings are low in calories, you probably won’t feel satiated from the meal – this will cause you to overeat later in the day.  Also, most fat-free salad dressings are using corn syrup (when you look at the ingredient list, it’s normally one of the first ingredients listed) to replace the fat for it to taste good.

    Skip the fat-free dressing, stick with the regular.  All you need to focus on is reducing the amount you use, and if possible, choose some sort of vinaigrette which includes some healthy fats.  If you are getting a salad when you’re out and about, ALWAYS ask for your dressing on the side.  Otherwise, you’re at the mercy of however much (generally WAY too much) dressing they pour on top.

    Adding Croutons

    While adding some texture and crunch to your salad, croutons are one of the worst things you can add as a topping.  Essentially, all the store-bought croutons you find are full of nothing but processed white flour that provides you with no health benefit at all.  Many times, croutons are fried, which adds unhealthy fat to your diet.

    Sure, you could use bread and make your own croutons at home, but again, all you’re doing to your salad is adding carbohydrates which increases the total calorie count.

    My suggestion?   Skip the croutons altogether.   When you go to a restaurant, ask the waiter if you can have your salad without croutons.  They will be more than happy to accommodate your request.

    Skipping The Protein

    As mentioned earlier, lettuce does not contain many calories. It’s mostly made up of water.   Even after adding a little vinaigrette to your salad and tossing in some healthy vegetables like tomatoes, onion, carrots, cucumber, and even some peppers, you’re still not left with a satiating meal that provides any sort of bulk to your meal.  If you want to increase satiety, consider adding some protein to your salad.

    Protein is necessary for building lean muscle mass as well as needed to maintain and preserve it.   Protein is also very filling and can add some quality macros to your salad.  

    Additionally, protein has the highest thermic effect of food (TEF), which means it takes your body more energy to digest, absorb, and utilize this macronutrient than any of the others.  What this means is that your body will burn more calories when you consume protein with your meals.

    Consider adding some lean cuts of steak on top of your salad, some hardboiled eggs, shrimp, grilled salmon, or even the most commonly used protein source, which is grilled chicken.   If animal protein isn’t your thing, you can use tofu or other plant-based protein alternatives to add to your salad to increase the overall protein content.

    Another topping that includes protein that many people forget about is chickpeas.  These delicious little balls of protein goodness can spruce up any salad you add them to.

    Using Too Much Cheese

    While not the worst offender when it comes to toppings on your salad, cheese quickly causes the calorie count to shoot up due to the fat content.  If you get a salad from a restaurant, they tend to go a little overboard with how much they put on top.  When putting cheese on your salad at home, many people have a difficult time eyeballing the correct serving size and don’t necessarily want to weigh or measure everything out.

    The best thing to do would be to skip cheese as a topping with your salad or put on a TINY amount just to add a little flavor if you absolutely must have cheese on your salad.

    The Type Of Salad Matters (They’re Not All Created Equal)

    Without getting into the plethora of names given to salads these days, I just want you to think about what’s available and what you generally find in all of the various salads out there.  

    A salad can come with a taco shell, glazed nuts, dried fruit, wontons, nuts, seeds, processed meat, fried toppings – the list goes on and on.  Every little thing added to your salad will alter the macros and calorie count.

    Many of the toppings mentioned can definitely alter and improve the flavor of a salad and make it more palatable, but at the expense of causing your salad to become more calorie-dense.

    BONUS TIP!

    If you’re packing a salad for a meal on the go or for lunch, there are a few things you need to know.   First, ALWAYS wash and dry your greens before you package them in a container to take with you.  If you pack them up wet, your salad will go limp, and it can ruin the flavor and texture of your salad.  

     The second tip is to never add your dressing on top of your salad if you don’t intend on eating it right away.  Similar to what happens when you don’t dry off your greens, the leaves will wilt, and the flavor will be altered.  Pack your dressing separately and take it with you to add when you’re ready to sit down and eat.

    Original article may be found directly on Nutrabio's site.

    Want to be featured by ICON Meals? Submit your stories to info@iconmeals.com or send us a DM on IG or Facebook!

    A Sit Down With Jessy Jess

    A Sit Down With Jessy Jess

    This week we're excited to feature Team ICON Member, Jessica Rose-Clark! Better known as "Jessy Jess" she is an Australian mixed martial artist who competes in the women’s Bantamweight division of the UFC. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Jessy and ask a few questions!

    How long have you been doing mixed martial arts (MMA)?

    I’ve been training for 12 years and fighting for 10.

    What made you want to do what you are doing? What’s your story?

    I was dating a guy who took me to kickboxing one day, and just fell in love with it! I legitimately never looked back. It was the first thing in my life that I ever truly fell in love with.

    What has been your favorite fight in UFC so far?

    Probably my debut. I’ve had some good fights, but nothing will ever compare to the feeling I had, walking out for my first UFC fight, in Sydney australia in front of ALL of my family and friends.

    Why ICON Meals? What makes us different?

    I’ve actually been using ICON Meals for almost 3 years, in and out of camp. I love ICON Meals because they always have so much flavour. A lot of other pre made meal companies that I have sampled, were bland and tough when reheated. Not the case with this crew!

    What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

    Wooooooo that’s a good question. There’s been so much! - you can help someone but you can’t control what they do with that help - gotta take one step at a time to climb Mt Everest - doing something 80% well is better than not doing it at all because you were worried you couldn’t do it perfect.

    Who is your biggest inspiration? Why?

    This is probably going to sound conceited, but honestly, I inspire myself. It’s been a long and arduous journey, not just through my career but through life. I don’t need to turn to what someone else has done, in order to inspire me to keep going.

    How do you balance your UFC career and life demands?

    Also a good question. I don’t believe in balance. My UFC career is my only priority. It is what allows me to keep a roof over my head and my dogs fed. Everything else comes secondary.  

    What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered?

    Honestly, just as being a good person. In a world where there’s so much trauma and heartbreak, I just want to be kind to people and bring joy to my surroundings.

    What is your current focus? Any plans for the future?

    Fighting fighting fighting. We all want gold.

    What are your favorite ICON Meals? Or favorite thing about ICON Meals?

    Literally all of the pasta dishes. Especially the lasagne. My other fave is the keto meatloaf. It’s soooooo good!!!

    Stay connected with Jessica on

    Want to be featured on ICON Meals? Submit your stories to info@iconmeals.com or send us a DM on IG or Facebook!

    Recipe: Brisket Baked Sweet Potato

    The 4th of July around these parts means brisket. Combine Texas’s favorite cut of meat with a baked sweet potato and you’ve got a dangerously delicious and easy meal. Make it even easier by having us ship the brisket and seasoning directly to your door.

    The Recipe

    Prep time: 45 minutes (mostly baking the sweet potato)

     

    Ingredients

    • Large sweet potato
    • 1 lb brisket
    • ¼ cup ICON Tennessee Whiskey Flavor
    • 2 cups diced tomatoes (fresh if possible)
    • 1 cup water
    • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese (more to taste)
    • ¼ cup green onions (more to taste)

    Instructions

    1. Wash and dry all fresh produce.
    2. Drizzle olive oil on sweet potato, wrap tightly in aluminum foil and bake in oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees until tender.
    3. In a large saucepan combine brisket, water, tomatoes, and ICON Tennessee Whiskey Flavor. Mix until thoroughly combined. Cook on high until simmering, then drop to medium low heat for 15 minutes.
    4. When the sweet potato is done baking, remove from foil and place on serving plate. Cut one deep slice lengthwise and slightly squeeze ends to create a hollow “canoe.”
    5. Fill sweet potato canoe with brisket mixture. Top with cheddar cheese and green onions.

     

    Click here to buy 1lb of brisket

    Click here to buy Tennessee Whiskey Seasoning

    Growing Muscle Faster by Optimizing Protein Synthesis

    Growing Muscle Faster by Optimizing Protein Synthesis

    Building vs Breaking Down

     

    Throughout the day your body switches between synthesizing and breaking down protein. To build muscle you want your muscle protein synthesis (MPS) to exceed protein breakdown rate (PBR).

     

    When you are fasting your PBR rises, and if PBR is higher than MPS the result is muscle loss — negative protein balance. When you eat protein MPS goes up, and when MPS exceeds PBR the result is muscle gain.

     

    The Basic Formula

     

    PBR > MPS = muscle loss

    MPS > PBR = muscle gain

     

    How To Do It

     

    The most important part of growth/retention is consuming enough protein, and you can optimize synthesis rates with numerous high-quality protein feedings during the day. These also ensure you retain muscle while you’re in a deficit.

     

    For example (and I’m generalizing): whey protein elevates synthesis rates for 4 hours while casein does so for 6. The idea is to re-spike MPS rates when they begin to fall so MPR doesn’t exceed them. That’s one good reason whey is preferred during the day, while casein is better for sleeping/longer periods between feedings.

     

    It’s About Speed

     

    This isn’t to say if you decide to fast most of the day muscle starts “falling off” your frame. The body stubbornly holds onto muscle and fat. But, if you want faster progress in strength, size, and energy, numerous quality feedings is the way to go.

     

    I don’t find myself hungry during the day and prefer to bank calories until my last meal. However, ensuring I consume protein several times a day makes a huge impact on my progress, especially when I’m trying to build muscle and strength.

     

    Get them feedings in!

     

    Michael Mastrucci (Follow on Instagram)

    The Macro Diabetic, Host of Diabetically Speaking