Differences between losing fat and losing weight.

Today, in our blog, we are going to talk about the difference between losing body fat and losing weight.

Many people talk about losing weight or losing fat as the same thing. But in reality, they are very different things.

Our body is a collection of muscles, organs, bones, fat and water. So, when we talk about losing weight we must refer to losing fat, since losing muscle mass or even bone density can be dangerous for our health.

Variants of our body.

Surely you have weighed yourself at different times of the day and seen how your weight varies.

The factors of these variations can be mixture of: the time of day, if we weigh ourselves before or after eating, the type of food we eat, if we drink a lot of water, if we go to the bathroom regularly, if we do exercise, our hormones, etc.

We also cannot forget the other important factors such as age, sex, physical condition, habits and diet.

For this same reason, we shouldn’t let ourselves get carried away with what the scales tell us. We must have control, but not obsession.

What do we do wrong?

One of the things that can really help us burn fat is knowing what we are doing wrong: bad diet, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, excessive stress, anxiety or taking medication.

When we recognise what it is, we can act.

But wait a minute…

Before we go on a diet or join the gym, we need to stop and think about other small things we can change first. These can be simple things like stop using the lift and take the stairs; or ditching the mid-morning croissant and replacing it with a piece of fruit.

And we must also clarify that losing fat does not mean stopping eating it. Fats are essential for the functionality of our body, but we have to differentiate between bad fats (saturated fats, cakes, fast food) and good fats (nuts, avocadoes, extra virgin olive oil, fish)

How much exercise do you do?

Another activity that can help you lose fat is exercise.

If you follow an exercise program the results probably won’t be immediate but after a few weeks you should notice your agility improve and more importantly, your mood should get better.

Also remember if you exercise you increase your muscle mass, so you may find that your weight doesn’t go down but it stays the same or even could go up. Muscle weighs more than fat.

Effective exercises to lose fat.

Below, we leave you with some compound exercises that require you to use several muscles at the same time, producing a higher caloric gastro.

– Burpees. They are a set of optimal movements that help you gain strength and lose fat at the same time.

– Squats. These movements work the power of the lower body and contribute to the rapid burning of fat.

– Push ups. Exercise that we all know and that work the upper part of our body.

– Mountain Climbers. Or also known as the “climber’s movement”. Exercise that tests all parts of the body and, above all, one’s resistance.

Once again, remember the scales don’t always have the answers, what’s more important is how we feel. Don’t pay attention to diets which we believe can give us a miracle. Instead, simply lead a healthy lifestyle including both diet and exercise.

Alimentos típicos temporada.

Seasonal products: properties and benefits

Summer is coming and with it comes new flavours in the kitchen! We open our doors to welcome the new seasonal products.

As we know, nowadays you can consume any product, practically all year round. And although they are available, it’s better to consume them in their natural harvest as it’s less artificial.

If you want eat cheap and tasty food, seasonal fruits and vegetables are ideal! They are cheaper because their production, transport and storage costs decrease; they are tastier because they do not need additives. Also they are more sustainable because they need less refrigeration.

Vegetables:

Summer is ideal for consuming vegetables in all their possible forms. Those typical this time of year are:

Courgettes, pumpkins, onions, green beans, turnips, cucumbers, radishs, peppers, beetroot, tomatoes and carrots.

In addition, these foods don’t contain too many calories, as they are very low in carbohydrates and protein. They contribute to the proper functioning of the body and contain phytochemicals that act as antioxidants in your body.

Fruit:

Without a doubt, summer is the best time to eat refreshing and tasty fruit.

Cherry’s, apricots, raspberry’s, figs, mangoes, plums, melons, peaches, nectarines and watermelons.

They are a great way to hydrate your body which is important in summer, due to their high-water content. They also contain vitamins C, E and provitamin A, which help maintain your cells. They contain carbohydrates from sugars such as fructose (the riper the fruit, the more sugar it contains). But, the best thing about this product is that, apart from eating it, you can drink it!

The vegetables we eat in summer provide our bodies with a great deal of nutrients, as well as adding colour and flavour to our menu. Despite its many advantages, we know that you don’t want to spend all summer eating fruit and vegetables… So, we have selected seasonal meat and fish, just for you!

Meat:

The best choices for summer are the following products:

Beef, cow, pork, chicken, chicken, turkey and rabbit.

Seasonal meat preserves its nutritional, vitamin and mineral properties intact. Please note that our selection includes both red and white meats. The white ones contain less fat so they can be consumed more frequently. Red meats have a higher content of saturated fats so you should moderate your consumption.

Fish:

It’s the season for blue fish:

Tuna, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, horse mackerel.

They are healthier, rich in vitamins A, D and omega 3. It is recommended to consume them up to 2 or 3 times a week. They facilitate digestion and do not have a high caloric value. They prevent cardiovascular, eye and brain diseases and help to reduce bad cholesterol.

In the summer, you can take advantage of the opportunity to consume all these types of products, taking advantage of the weather conditions to have a picnic, or perhaps a barbecue. In any case, we hope that our list has helped you to get to know both the products that this new summer season brings, and their multiple properties and health benefits.

bulgur wheat - samsara healthy holidays

Bulgur Properties

Food is key to a healthy lifestyle. We know sometimes it is difficult to achieve varied eating habits without getting tired of finding new meals. That is why today we want to talk to you about Bulgur, one of the most used cereals in the Middle East and African cuisine.

Bulgur is a great food to include because you can prepare it in many different ways. It is made by cooking the grains of tender wheat in water and stirring constantly so that they are cooked evenly and slowly. Once cooked, it is drained and left to dry for several days. There are several types of bulgur, very fine grains, normal or thick

Bulgur is rich in fibre

Bulgur is a derivative of wheat and its nutritional composition is similar: 342 calories per 100-gram serving and 12 calories of protein plus 18 grams of fibre. In addition, bulgur has 35 mg of calcium, a nutrient necessary for good bone and tooth health. It also provides vitamin A, as well as magnesium and up to 2.5 mg of iron.

It should be mentioned that fibre is a hydrate that aids in the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Numerous studies have shown that people with a fibre-rich diet maintain their weight much more easily, in addition to having better cardiovascular health.

Bulgur is also very rich in starch, as well as in carbohydrates of high biological value, which makes it an interesting food for athletes.

Bulgur slows down the absorption of sugar

Again, its high fibre content is a benefit for of slowing down sugars. The positive effects of bulgur consumption on blood sugar levels have been shown, in addition to helping people with diabetes achieve a slower increase in blood glucose compared to white, wholemeal or rye bread.

Bulgur helps weight loss

If you combine bulgur with soups or broths you will have a greater feeling of satiety. In addition, its low-fat content is very interesting in slimming diets and focused on a high cholesterol reduction as it reduces it naturally.

Bulgur improves the functionality of the immune system by providing antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that fight against oxidative stress. This process is responsible for the oxidation of cholesterol and the accelerated aging of cells.

Considering that bulgur is a derivative of wheat, for those who are intolerant to this cereal and gluten can acquire a variety of bulgur prepared with spelt.

If you are looking for new options and alternatives in your daily diet, bulgur is the perfect food for you. Have you tried it yet?

girl doing sport - samsara healthy holidays

Start the year with the best exercises routine

Going back to your exercises routine after Christmas can really be tough. Here we give you some advices on how to start the year on the right foot.

First of all, it might seem obvious but going back to your exercise routine after Christmas is very necessary. A few days for disconnecting are fine, but we should not exceed , specially if we have purposes and objectives to meet this new year.

Little by little

Do not intend to resume the exercise routine by doing the same sessions you did before holidays. The best thing for our body is to start slowly at the beginning. This way, we will avoid injuries and/or general hassles. Start progressively and challenge yourself little by little.

Innovate

New Year New Life! Take the opportunity to make your routine more fun. Try new exercises, new routines or go to classes you’ve never been to …

Define a schedule

When we set a schedule for our exercises routine, it is much more likely to complete it; if we can’t find a spot in our agenda for sport, we will surely postpone it, specially if we lost the habit of doing it on a daily basis.

Exercise routine

Warm up

Go for a 10-15 minute run on site, alternating knee lifts to the chest and heels to the bottom. You can rest by alternating these exercises for a few seconds while continuing to march in place.

Exercise routine

Ideally, do 3 sets of 12 repetitions for each one and if it is too much, start by doing just 12 repetitions. Do not rest between them for more than 2 minutes.

  1. Push-ups: separate the hands to the width of the shoulders and make sure they are aligned with them. If it is too difficult, you can place your knees on the floor.
  2. Squats: if you are a beginner you can do it with the help of a chair in front of you. The feet should be separated from the width of the hip and we should lower the bottom, make sure the knees do not pass from the tip of the foot. If you already have experience you can do this exercise with a bar or other weights, make sure to hold it in front of your chest.
  3. Triceps dips: with the help of a chair or a bench, place your hands on top and separate your feet while lowering your hips, flex your elbows and bring them back. If you already have experience with this exercise, place your feet on another bench of the same height.
  4. Strides alternating legs: remember, the flexed knee should not pass the tip of the foot.
  5. Lateral elevations of arms: using weights in both hands, like water bottles, dumbbells, sandbags, stones or flour packages, elevate the arms but do not exceed the shoulders.
  6. Biceps curl alternating arms: also using weights, like the previous exercise, flex your elbows and bring your arm, one at the time, towards your shoulder.
  7. Bicycle (abdominal): lying on the ground, lift the torso without forcing the neck and try to simultaneously join the elbow with the opposite knee, simulating a constant pedaling movement with the legs.
  8. The table: place your forearms on the floor and make sure the tips of your feet are supported, contract the abdomen isometrically to keep the body in a straight line for approximately 20 seconds.
  9. Horizontal rowing: with weights in both hands and your torso forward, raise both hands simultaneously.
  10. Jump rope: at your own pace and as many times as you can.
  11. Stretching: it is important to spend 10-15 minutes to stretch and avoid stiffness.

The idea is to work, little by little, and to finally incorporate aerobic exercises and a good intensity in order to burn fat.

 

christmas time - samsara healthy holidays

10 Tips to disconnect on vacation

Every year, we look forward to those days of relax to disconnect from the responsibilities we have and the daily routine, to enjoy a few days outdoors and everything we cannot do throughout the year.

However, when vacations arrive we are not able to disconnect from work at all, and we remain aware of all those responsibilities that do not allow us to rest.

Why is it important to disconnect? Working means giving up daily, and to be able to do so it is essential to be able to disconnect fully when you are not working. Holidays mean not only a rest on a physical level, but also a mental rest. It means forgetting everything that causes us stress. That is why it is essential to take a few days off and disconnect to keep productivity at work around.

From Samsara we give you a series of tips to achieve the main objective: DISCONNECT.

  1. No one is essential. The first thing you have to do to disconnect is to be aware that nobody depends on you and that you are not essential.
  2. Resolve the most important issues. Before going on vacation, try to leave everything well finished, as this will help you disconnect more easily.
  3. Inform that you will be disconnected. There is nothing so urgent that someone other than you cannot resolve, so before going on vacation, inform your co-workers that you will not be contactable during those days.
  4. Doses the use of the computer and mobile. It may be the most complicated to comply with, but close the email and use your mobile phone as little as possible, since this implies receiving calls and messages and will prevent you from completely disconnecting.
  5. Enjoy yours. Collect happy moments and not selfies, put the phone aside.
  6. No schedules. The rush and running everywhere is over. Changing the pace is important to disconnect. Throughout the year we wake up early, we go to sleep late, we follow a routine, we go accelerated… but the holidays are the ideal time to slow down and leave the rush out.
  7. Change the routine. During the holidays you should take the opportunity to do what you don’t usually do. Spend more time doing everything you like and that, however, you don’t have time to do throughout the year.
  8. Take care of the food. Do not change eating habits, but give yourself some gastronomic pleasures from time to time to remind yourself that you are on vacation.
  9. Sleep more hours than usual. Forget about the alarm and the schedules, take the opportunity to sleep at least eight hours a day and enjoy long naps.
  10. Avoid work conversations. Remember that you are on vacation, take the opportunity to enjoy other conversations that do not make you think about your work.

In short, vacation time can be a boost for our lives. It strengthens us, we take care of ourselves and restart physically and mentally. The holiday period is made to enjoy, without fear of wasting time, relaxing and enjoying the company of others.

 

 

 

 

 

bulgur wheat - samsara healthy holidays

Recipes with bulgur

After the summer excess eating, we all want to go back to our good habits by eating healthy and doing sports.

In the post from a few weeks back we talked about bulgur, its properties and benefits. Bulgur is a food made from wheat and is very important for maintaining a balanced diet. It is an easily digestible cereal, with a high fiber content and  slow metabolization, which means that the glucose it contains is absorbed little by little, in addition to favoring weight loss. Eating healthier means learning to eat properly, therefore, in this post we will show you two simple recipes made with bulgur.

 

Salmon and bulgur salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of warm water
  • 1 1/2 cup of bulgur
  • juice of a lemon
  • olive oil
  • fresh fill
  • chopped arugula
  • pomegranate seeds
  • sliced cucumber
  • sliced green scallion
  • fresh skinless salmon fillet
  • salt and black pepper

Elaboration

  1. Mix the warm water and the bulgur in a big bowl. Cover it and let it sit for an hour and strain it after.
  2. Preheat the oven at 220ºC.
  3. Rinse the salmon and dry it using paper towels. Put it in the oven tray and add the salt and pepper.
  4. Cook it, depending of thickness, until it can be torn apart with a fork.
  5. Cut it into large pieces
  6. In another bowl mix the lemon juice, oil, dill and salt. Add the arugula, cucumber, scallions and the strained bulgur.
  7. To serve, put the bulgur mix in the bottom of the plate and the salmon on top. To finish, add pomegranate seeds on top of the fish.

 

Vegetarian Chili With Bulgur

  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • diced half onion
  • diced red pepper
  • 2 jalapeños(optional)
  • 4 diced garlic cloves
  • 3 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper(optional)
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can of natural diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans of black beans
  • sour cream, cheddar cheese and cilantro for decoration

 

Elaboration

  1. Add the oil to the pan. Make sure the heat is medium-high.
  2. Add the onion, pepper and jalapeños. Cook them until they are transparent.
  3. Add the garlic, chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, cinnamon and cayenne. Stir everything and cook it for a minute.
  4. It is time to add the bulgur, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, salt and two cups of water.
  5. Let it cook and when it starts to boil reduce the heat. Cover it and let it simmer at low temperature for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the beans and continue cooking, but this time without the lid, until the bulgur is soft.
  7. Serve it with sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, cilantro or some diced jalapeño peppers.

 

 

 

woman sports - samsara healthy holidays

How sport benefits your brain

Did you know that physical exercise protects your brain as well as providing a stimulator for learning and memory?

It has been proven that the benefits of doing sport don’t only affect our physical form but also help to reduce the risk of diseases, as well as having great benefits for our brain neurons.

For a long time, scientists believed the brain was the only organ in our body that was not capable of generating new cells, called neurons. However, this is not the case, in a process called neurogenesis, our brain is able to generate new cells, the neurons.

There are many benefits to our brain from doing sport

It helps to produce happiness chemicals

Exercise promotes the release of endorphins, chemicals that produce a feeling of euphoria and happiness. Some studies have shown that you can even alleviate symptoms of depression, improving the quality of life.

Reduces stress and relieves anxiety

Exercise also increases the production of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. So, it reduces tension and distress considerably. Neurotransmitters released during and after exercise can help calm people who are anxious.

Prevents cognitive decline and improves flexibility

As we get older, the risk of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia increases. Regular exercise improves memory and the ability to learn new things. This is because it increases the production of cells in the hippocampus that are responsible for memory and learning. After numerous scientific studies, we realised that there is a direct relationship between exercise and the improvement of a person’s cognitive flexibility. Cognitive flexibility is a person’s ability to pay attention to several tasks at once or the ability to switch quickly from one to the other.

Sport and exercise, therefore, are not just about burning fat or gaining muscle. It will help you improve your quality of life, reduce stress, relieve anxiety, generate more brain cells and improve your cognitive ability.

 

mindfulness - samsara healthy holidays

Mindfulness for beginners

We’re sure you’ve heard people talking about mindfulness in recent years. It’s a trend which is spreading fast and today we’re going to tell you the basic principles to help you start your journey to mindfulness.

Mindfulness is seen as a philosophy of life that implies full attention and awareness of your surroundings. The practice has a close link with meditation although there are some differences. It is an experience because when you practice it because you gain a deep knowledge of yourself as well as your body, mind and emotions. It helps you become more aware of what you think, what you feel and how you act.

The basic principles of Mindfulness:

Acceptance

We must learn to see things as they are in the present and accept them without worrying or trying to change them.

Acceptance is usually the final and most challenging step in any intense emotional process or change. The first phase is often denial, followed by anger. This long and often painful process can be avoided by accepting the experience from the beginning. This acceptance is important to be able to live peacefully, as it’s simply impossible to be able to change or control everything if it is not within reach.

Patience

We must be able to respect the natural time frames of events. This is a process which takes time to learn but also essential to avoid forcing things or being disappointed when they don’t happen when we want.

We must have an open mind to new situations which occur without trying to change anything or alter it in any way.

Trust

We must be able to trust in ourselves and learn to listen to ourselves internally. We must be sure about what we want before we start looking elsewhere for advice or guidance from others. Self-confidence is very important and we must learn to listen to our own feelings and follow our instincts.

Do not judge

This principle can be the most complicated as we are used to constantly evaluating experiences as good or bad. However, our reactions shouldn’t be based on prejudices but on how we actually experience the situation or moment. Sometimes it can be difficult to visualize the situation without judging or evaluating it. In those moments it is important to stop and think for a few seconds and acknowledge how stressful situations occur in your daily life. We often make decisions based on our own beliefs and judgments and most of the time in a negative way.

Do not exert yourself

As strange or contradictory as it may sound we shouldn’t try to achieve results. Through the practice of Mindfulness, results will appear by themselves without us having to force the situation.

If we’re looking for results we’re trying to change something and this is contrary to having patience and accepting the situations and experiences of the moment.

Start slowly

We must start with Mindfulness by letting go of previous expectations and keep our minds free. Then we won’t have past expectations stopping us from seeing things as they really are. Many times, we are at our peak but when we start judging it limits us greatly.

It is very important to keep in mind these basic principles to ensure the understanding of Mindfulness.

You can start practicing Mindfulness for just 10 minutes a day once you get more used to the practice you can start to add more time and do around 30 minutes a day. We recommend to do it in a quiet, safe place. But it could be at home, in the park, on the bus or anywhere you have time to sit quietly.

If you want more information about Mindfulness check our post about Mindfulness as a lifestyle.

 

lose weight - samsara healthy holidays

Best advices for a flat stomach

Daily life habits have a huge influence on different aspects of our body, inside and outside, more than we can think. That is why having have a flat stomach is not an easy task. You can do thousands and thousands of crunches, planks, obliques or isometric exercises without getting rid of the fat around your belly or the bloating sensation.

If this is your case you should take in consideration that food, proper rest, exercise routine and lifestyle play a huge part. Adjusting some small changes, you can have that flat stomach you desire so much.

Food habits
Once again food is the key element and several factors can affect this matter, because it’s not only about what you eat but also how you eat. If you want a flat stomach you need to start eating more fruits and vegetables apart from limiting the amount of french fries, sauces, breaded foods or “bar tapas”. We recommend you start including in your diet foods that are rich in probiotics and prebiotics, they favor the intestinal flora and can help you lose your belly fat. Include also yogurt, onion and artichokes.

Truth be told, it is hard indeed to fight the “gluttony war” but you must listen to your stomach and not your mind. While it’s recommended that you eat whenever you are hungry, having small dishes and quantities of food, will make you feel satiated.

Exercise
Do not focus only on doing crunches, it’s one of the biggest mistakes in your battle against belly fat. Combine your exercise routine with aerobics ones. Cardiovascular exercises will help you flatten your stomach and if you combine them with strength ones, the improvement will be much bigger. We recommend as good aerobic exercises either cycling, swimming or running, from three to five times a week.

Drink water
The benefits of water are multiple and its proven that drinking two liters of water daily, prevents fluid retention. It also helps digestion, prevents constipation and its satiating effect can help you to eat less, lose weight and feel better.
Ignore sodas and beer, because all that gas will swell your stomach up. In exchange, try having soft drinks and say farewell to your bloated stomach.

Rest properly
It’s important to enjoy moments of rest and relaxation. Lack of sleep and stress can be as harmful for you as bad food or the lack of exercise. Meditation is what we recommend to fully disconnect from the daily routine in order to have a calm moment with yourself.

Be committed
It’s probably the key factor in achieving your goals. In order to feel good with yourself you must be committed to your routine and food habits all the time. That is why we insist in these final thoughts regarding lifestyle and healthy habits, you have to be committed on a daily basis. So be strong and when you will achieve your goals your satisfaction will be huge.

sleepy woman alarm clock - samsara healthy holidays

Tips on how to get back to the routine

Holidays are beneficial and very necessary for our physical and mental health, but time goes very fast and before we know it, we are back to our daily routine.

After a few days of rest, not being aware of the time, relaxing, without any worries, resting on the beach or sightseeing, getting back to our daily chores can be very hard.

That is why today, we would like to share with you some tips on how to avoid post-vacation syndrome and at the same time, how to have a smooth transition from vacation to routine.

  • Go for a walk. Move your body, either returning to your pre holiday exercise routine or going for a walk on home from work. This habit will make your return to the routine more pleasant and also will help you disconnect and breathe fresh air. Remember that walking and exercising is very beneficial for your body and mind.
  • Watch out for your diet. If this summer you have treated yourself but you want to go back to the good eating habits, it is time to eliminate the bad eating habits. Include foods that provide energy for your return to the routine, introduce fruits and vegetables, fish and legumes. They will provide you with with extra energy and vitamins.
  • Be flexible with your obligations and yourself. The adaptation period in these cases is very important and with it, your tasks, appointments, commitments, etc … Try to go back to your normal pace and as the days progress introduce gradually your chores. Prioritize tasks and objectives, don’t lose focus and go forward little by little.
  • A positive attitude. Facing chores with a good mentality and a positive attitude can make a big difference in your everyday life. It is much easier and more productive for your mind to focus on the good moments of the day than thinking about what is pending or what has not gone as expected.
  • Organize and plan your new vacation or maybe start new projects. Being excited is the key to maintaining a positive attitude and to remain motivated.
  • Sleep for at least 8 hours and rest properly. It is important to not go to bed too late during the first days in order to decreese the tiredness of returning to the routine. Try to relax before sleeping or even doing some meditation exercises in a quiet environment, breathing, without noise, controlling our thoughts and going for positive ideas.
  • Time for yourself. Find the time to do those things you like so much, go for a walk near the sea, meet with your friends, meditate or enjoy your own hobbies.

Incorporating these small habits and customs into your daily routine will make things much easier.