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8 Easy Ways to Make Chinese Food Healthier

8 Easy Ways to Make Chinese Food Healthier

Chinese food is one of America’s top ethnic cuisines, and it has also become a Christmas Day tradition for thousands of families. Therefore, the odds are high that you enjoy Chinese food on a regular basis. Whether you make it yourself, dine in or grab some carryout, there are many ways that you can increase the healthiness factor. In fact, with the following tips, you don’t have to feel guilty about not cutting this food out of your life during your post-holidays diet.

1. Ask for Sauce on the Side

pic of soy_sauce_and_green_beans

    Image by Rachel Hathaway, via Wikimedia.org

    The typical brown or white sauce that comes with Chinese food may taste delicious, but it’s also high in sodium and offers very minimal essential nutrients. Fortunately, you can dramatically reduce your sodium intake and cut out some of the calories and fat by choosing to get your sauce on the side. Simply cut the portion provided in half, or even more if you’d like, for a tasty and healthier final result.

    2. Add Spicy Options

      Image by 27707, via pixabay.com

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      Spicy food contains anti-inflammatory agents. For examples, all peppers provide a valuable source of capsaicin, and this is known to inhibit inflammation. If you struggle with inflammation, it is definitely wise to choose spicy items from the menu. A good example is Authentic Dan Dan Noodle Sauce because its ingredients include three red chili peppers. Even if your local Chinese restaurant doesn’t offer this sauce, you can utilize Z & Y Chinese Restaurant’s recipe to make your own. Adding a spicy twist to your food is a healthy choice, especially for those with an autoinflammatory disease.

      3. Increase the Veggies

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        Image by Zamani Sahudi, via pexels.com

        It’s wise to consume a minimum of five servings of vegetables per day. Unfortunately, only 13 percent of Americans actually fulfill this daily requirement. This can lead to many health complications, including nutrient deficiencies and gastrointestinal issues. Although many people automatically equate Chinese food with meat, the reality is that there are many vegetarian friendly options. Even if you don’t decide to get a fully vegetarian meal, you can ask for a larger quantity of vegetables to give yourself a healthier dining experience.

        4. Substitute Meat with Tofu

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          Image by Suzette – www.suzette.nu, via Flickr

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          Another way to feel fulfilled with Chinese vegetarian food is to choose tofu as your protein source. An examination of 3 ounces of chicken versus 3 ounces of tofu showcases the fact that tofu is an overall healthier choice. Tofu is lower in calories and saturated fat. Tofu also has zero cholesterol, as opposed to the staggeringly large amount of cholesterol in each serving of chicken. Additionally, tofu offers larger amounts of fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and folate.

          5. Stay Away from Fried Food

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            Image by Candisgn, via Wikimedia.org

            Rice is a staple of Chinese food, but you typically have a choice between steamed and fried. Even though you may prefer the taste of fried rice, it’s important to know that it contains a lot more calories than the steamed alternative. A large serving of fried rice typically contains 1,719 calories. Meanwhile, the same 1,023 gram serving of steamed rice has a significantly lower calorie count of 1,317. Choosing steamed cuts out approximately 402 calories. Even better, you could order a small serving of steamed rice instead to get your calories down near the 200 mark. It’s also vital to be aware that dumplings can be ordered steamed instead of fried. Many of the appetizers on a Chinese menu are fried, so it’s best to skip them altogether.

            6. Order Tea with Your Meal

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              Image by Kanko from Nagasaki, Japan; via Wikimedia.org

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              If you want something other than water to accompany your meal, consider choosing tea to take advantage of all of the natural antioxidants. Green and white teas are especially high in antioxidants. This matters because antioxidants help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. There is some evidence that increasing your consumption of antioxidants can reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer, and it’s also believed to make skin healthier. Make sure you avoid sweetened tea to prevent yourself from accidentally ingesting a large quantity of sugar.

              7. Steer Clear of Sugary Sauce

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                Image by the Lovable Wolf, via Wikimedia.org

                Speaking of sugar, anyone who is diabetic, hypoglycemic or attempting to lose weight should avoid Chinese sauce that is very sweet. General Tso’s sauce, honey orange and sweet and sour sauce are especially high on the list of overly sugary offenders. Each of these sauces has at least 7 grams of sugar per serving, and honey orange packs a staggering 16 grams into a relatively small amount of sauce. Studies have found that sugar is the number one enemy of weight loss and healthy weight management, so be sure to cut as much of it out of your diet as possible.

                8. Ask for Low Sodium Alternatives

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                  Image by By MOs810, via Wikimedia.org

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                  Another major health problem that many Americans are dealing with is an excess amount of sodium in their diet. As a result, 33 percent of Americans develop high blood pressure. Elevated quantities of sodium also increase your risk of stomach cancer, stroke, osteoporosis, kidney disease and heart failure. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans consume at least double the daily recommended amount of sodium.

                  You can get this under control by choosing healthier alternatives such as low sodium soy sauce. For comparison’s sake, regular soy sauce typically has 879 mg of sodium in one tablespoon. Low sodium soy sauce is a much better choice with its 176 mg of sodium per serving. You can also skip adding salt to your Chinese food, and don’t be afraid to ask the restaurant to avoid adding extra salt on their end.

                  Taking these steps will make your food taste a bit different, but people can usually adjust to such changes after only a few meals. You can also take inspiration from the weight loss benefits of eating your food like they do in China. This is a cultural viewpoint of food that includes skipping snacks, always eating at the same predetermined times and dining with family members. Even if these ideas aren’t feasible for your lifestyle, it’s still possible to lose some weight and feel healthier by incorporating a diet that is lower in sodium and higher in vegetables.

                  Featured photo credit: karriezhu via pixabay.com

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                  Holly Chavez

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                  Last Updated on September 10, 2019

                  7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

                  7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

                  Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

                  Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

                  This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

                  One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

                  Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

                  Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

                  1. Gratitude

                  Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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                  The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

                  Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

                  So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

                  Gratitude-Quotes

                    2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

                    This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

                    For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

                    What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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                    Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

                    3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

                    This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

                    Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

                    An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

                    Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

                    write down goals

                      4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

                      According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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                      There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

                      5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

                      Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

                      Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

                      6. Rise Earlier

                      The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

                      For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

                      So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

                      Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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                      7. Listen to Uplifting Music

                      Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

                      Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

                      It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

                      Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

                      More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

                      Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
                      [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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