Nutella has been a staple in my diet for as long as I can remember. Those "chocolate sandwiches" kept my taste buds satisfied for a big chunk of my life. Giving up animal products is the only reason I ditched Nutella, not the ridiculously high sugar content, lack of nutrients or its crack-like addictive qualities. There are vegan alternatives for Nutella but they tend to be pricey and somewhat hard to find. I finally bought a food processor, hazelnuts and dark chocolate and created my own vegan chocolate hazelnut butter aka Homemade Nutella.
I recently bought a food processor and started experimenting with homemade nut butters. Since I grew up on Nutella, I decided to try and make a chocolate-hazelnut butter. Unfortunately, I accidentally bought raw rather than roasted hazelnuts. Nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter...) are made from roasted, not raw nuts. Before processing into a nut butter, the nut should be roasted. The process of roasting hazelnuts is fairly simple.
Differentiating between beneficial and harmful foods is the foundation of creating a healthy lifestyle. Good nutrition improves overall health, helps manage weight, increases energy level, improves body composition and decreases disease risk. Good nutrition isn't only for those looking to shed a few pounds. Everyone, regardless of weight goals, benefits from making healthy food choices.
As of 2010, approximately 70% of Americans were either overweight or obese as defined by their Body Mass Index or BMI. Obesity related health issues are significant because they increase health care costs, decrease productivity and result in premature death. Discussing BMI invokes a great deal of passion because it creates undesirable classifications for some (overweight and obese). As accurate as the BMI label is for many, no one wants to be designated as unhealthy, overweight or obese, especially when their own lifestyle choices have lead to those classifications. Rather than accept the truth and change, many simply point to flaws in BMI (even flaws that are completely irrelevant for their own circumstances) making it much easier to justify unhealthy actions and dismiss the negative BMI classification. It's much easier to criticize than change unhealthy habits.
Fats, carbohydrates and proteins are a group of nutrients known as the macronutrients. Macronutrients are the body's source of energy (calories) fueling daily activities, exercise and recovery from injuries. Protein is a special macronutrient because unlike fats and carbs, it provides the building blocks for all tissue within the body. The body uses protein to build new tissues and repair damages ones. The gym-community sees protein as a muscle building miracle food; more protein=more muscle. Unfortunately this isn't always the case. Many people eat way too much protein leading to excessive increases in body fat rather than faster muscle growth.