Tuesday, November 27, 2012
12 Ways To Eat Clean All Season LongLive a little!
We've got the 12 cleanest, healthiest, low- and no-carb picks found throughout the holiday season. Healthy holidays are happy holidays! Email
More by Amy Zavatto Nov 20, 2012
The holidays are almost upon us—and with them, a not-so-merry minefield of edible indulgences. Becoming savvy about the chemical makeup of what's on the buffet table—be it pre-packaged cookies, frozen hors d'oeuvres, processed grains, or refined sugars—can keep you lean and fit without your missing out on the fun.
"Clean eating is about avoiding packaged products and engaging in a diet rich in non-processed foods—things that come from the earth," says Manhattan-based nutritionist Sharon Richter, R.D. "Think fruits, vegetables, and lean protein sources, like fish."
Give yourself the gift of good eating this season with 12 of our favorite ways to indulge in the flavor of the holidays without packing on pounds.
1 / Dark Green Vegetables
These healthy finger foods are a powerful source of cardiovascular-boosting folate and also very low in carbs (four spears of asparagus contain only 2.5 grams). So, whether it's raw broccoli, asparagus, or baked kale chips, these slimming snacks have the satisfying bonus of crunch.
2 / Shellfish Found on many a holiday-party table, shrimp cocktail, raw oysters, and clams with a spritz of lemon add a super-low-fat, no-carb protein punch to festive snacking, with an added boost of zinc and vitamins B and D.
3 / Cinnamon
Not only does this spice conjure up images of warm kitchens and festive baked goods, it also happens to be incredibly good for you.
A natural bacteria fighter and memory booster, cinnamon is also a great flavor enhancer on treats like baked apples, Richter says. One teaspoon has only two grams of carbs and six calories.
4 / Matcha It's easy to be tempted by a high-calorie, cream-laden latte, but one tall Starbuck's peppermint white-chocolate mocha has 410 calories and 15 grams of fat. Instead, opt for matcha.
This powdered, whole-leaf green tea has zero carbs and is loaded with antioxidants that boost energy and improve brain function.
5 / Lean Meats
Opt for lean, baked turkey or chicken breast at the party's carving station and you can have a clean, protein-packed meal with half the fat of beef. Bonus: A three-ounce serving is a low-carb treat with nearly 20 grams of protein.
6 / Pomegranate
Pomegranates are abundant during the winter months (and make a festive centerpiece at any holiday gathering). They're also a potent source of antioxidants kicking bad cholesterol, jacked-up blood pressure, and carcinogens to the curb. A half cup of seeds has 16 grams of carbohydrates, but it's also got three healthy grams of fiber and 15 percent of your daily dose of
7 / Tomatoes Condiments are a big no-no when trying to eat clean, so instead of reaching for corn-syrup-laden ketchup or sodium-packed salsa, go for chopped tomatoes with slivered fresh basil for minimal carbs and plenty of vitamin C.
8 / Dark Chocolate
It's kind of hard to believe something that tastes so decadent could be good for cardiovascular health—not to mention can help fight premature aging and cancer.
But it's true: A one-ounce square is only a 13-gram carbohydrate indulgence.
9 / Roasted Garlic Aromatically irresistible and delicious as a spread on whole-grain toast points, garlic is also a powerful antioxidant and immune-boosting power food that increases blood flow and lowers cholesterol.
That's not all: One clove of roasted garlic has only one gram of carbs.
10 / Citrus
Abundant in the winter months, citrus fruits are versatile, colorful, immune-boosting beverage companions. Yes, fruit does have carbs—that six-ounce glass of orange juice has 18 grams per ounce—but it's accompanied by a whopping 150% serving of your daily requirement of vitamin C.
11 / Salmon
At your next holiday party, feel free to indulge in that plate of salmon. You'll get not just a healthy shot of omega-3 fatty acids but a jolt of B3s and 12s to boot, says Richter.
Just make sure you look for wild-sourced versions, as they tend to be healthier than farmed fish.
12 / Whole Grains Refined grains have their healthy bran and germ stripped away, so all their good-for-you properties are lost in the process, too.
Whole-grain crackers, bread, pita, popcorn, and brown rice, on the other hand, are great sources of munchable complex carbohydrates (a one-ounce serving of whole-wheat crackers has about 19 grams of carbs, and the carb content of one cup of airpopped popcorn is only six grams) with loads of magnesium, selenium, and fiber. They're also low in fat but big on texture and flavor
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Beginner’s Guide To Workout Nutrition:
Before, During And After TrainingEating around your training is vital to your progress. Find out the best way to get the nutrients you need for the best results in the gym! Email
More by Matt Biss Oct 17, 2012
At this point, you should know that nutrition has a significant impact on your results. Abs are built in the kitchen, you are what you eat, and all the rest. "Yeah, yeah," you mutter, "I've heard it all before."
Seriously, though: You might be wreaking utter havoc in the gym, but research indicates that what you eat before, during, and after your workout may be the difference between meeting your goals and falling short.
Here's how to harness the power of peri-workout nutrition so you can perform, recover, and grow faster than a weed.
Nutrition Before Your Workout
There are few things in the fitness world that incite more arguments and controversy than carbohydrates. Will they make you fat? Do you need them? What kind? At what times? The questions seem endless. There are varying approaches, but if you want to get the most from your workouts and train at your peak, quality fuel is critical.
Carbohydrates are your body's preferred fuel source. I'm not saying you should plow through plates of mashed potatoes and chomp candy bars all day, but you need to fuel your body so it can train at its best.
You want every gram of carbohydrate you consume to be utilized as an immediate fuel source or to restore glycogen levels—you don't want it to be stored as fat. Don't eat more carbs than you need and don't worry about spreading them evenly throughout the day. You can eat the majority of your carbs around your workout.
I like clients to have at least two meals under the belt before training. Your first two meals should include complex carbohydrates like stone-rolled oats or sweet potatoes. Your first meal will provide a couple hours for carbs to get digested and go to work, ensuring blood sugar levels are up and glycogen levels are full
prior to training.
Consume your second meal roughly one hour before lifting. Don't get worked up about counting the minutes and seconds, as if five minutes will be the difference between 17- and 18-inch arms. Do the best you can, and try to time it so you can begin training without a lot of food in your gut—running to the garbage can to yak just isn't fun. Most people can benefit from 40 grams of carbs before they train.
Fast-Absorbing Protein ///Research has indicated that users of whey protein prior to training will illicit better results than those using other protein sources (or none at all). This is most likely due to the anti-catabolic and anabolic signaling effects of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) present in whey protein—particularly leucine. Whey has a considerably higher concentration of BCAAs than other proteins.
There are many other benefits, as well. Studies have shown that pre-workout protein intake will increase resting energy expenditure by an average of 6-6.5% for up to 48 hours1. Pre-workout protein will also blunt cortisol through the day, an effect that wasn't seen in control groups that were fasted or had ingested carbs only.
Protein and amino acids also spare carbs. People often assume that when the body runs out of carbohydrate fuel, it switches to fatty acids for fuel. That process is typically too slow for high-intensity training. To provide fuel more quickly, amino acids are rapidly broken down and converted to sugar in a process known as gluconeogenesis. If those amino acids aren't in the blood supply, guess where they come from? Yep, your 18-inch biceps. For those of us who are dieting, some extra aminos in our bloodstream may help preserve our lean mass.
Now some of you heavy macro-counters may have reservations about consuming protein pre-workout, especially if you are dieting down. If that's the case, use 10-15 grams of BCAAs instead.
This should provide similar effects and elevate net protein synthesis. Pre-workout BCAAs may even help low-carb dieters burn more fat.2
Creatine Monohydrate ///For people with strength or hypertrophy goals, consider supplementing with creatine monohydrate. While there are many forms of creatine available, I prefer micronized creatine monohydrate because it's the most studied, solid, tried-and-true creatine on the market.
The body has three primary methods for developing its ultimate energy source, ATP. Which method your body uses depends on the intensity of the activity. For the most intense activities—like weightlifting—the body uses creatine phosphates to produce energy.
Creatine supplementation of 2-5 grams per day will provide greater stores to call on when training, enabling you to train more intensely. In short, creatine can help you train heavier for more reps; it also draws water into the muscles, making you look "full" in appearance.
The timing on the creatine is not critical. You can use it before or after your workout, or anytime throughout the day. If you've been using creating for a while, 2-5 grams once per day will do the trick. If you just started taking creatine monohydrate, you can "load" your muscles with 20-30 grams of creatine per day for 4-5 days.
Creatine helps provide energy to complete each and every muscular contraction.* Creatine can be the driving force behind your workouts.*
Get your Creatine Monohydrate today
Beta Alanine ///Basically, beta alanine helps conserve muscular energy. One of the main causes of fatigue is intramuscular acidosis. When your body produces ATP using the glycolytic and phosphagen systems, the result is metabolic byproducts like excess hydrogen ions. When these hydrogen ions are not cleared fast enough, they bind with pyruvate to produce lactic acid, and elevated levels have been shown to hinder performance, coordination, and skill.
The body can use the L-carnosine to correct this imbalance. L-carnosine is formed from the amino acids L-histidine and beta-alanine. In addition to decreasing hydrogen ion production, it acts as an antioxidant. The limiting factor in carnosine production is the availability of beta-alanine. Research has demonstrated that supplementation can increase muscle carnosine content, eliciting improvements in high-intensity athletes.
This also applies to endurance athletes. The most recent research indicates that the optimal dose of beta-alanine is 4-5 grams3. Ideally, the dosage should be spread throughout the day, but 800 mg should come just before a training session.
Nutrition During Your Workout
Most people don't train long enough per session to need additional fuel while they train, especially if they've hit their pre-workout nutrition needs. Depleted dieters, like people preparing for physique competition, may benefit from extra fuel. One of the primary concerns for physique athletes is muscle loss as they whittle down to mid-single-digit body-fat levels. In this state, protein turnover is increased; your body actually needs more protein in a depleted state than it does when you're trying to gain muscle.
In this scenario, branched chain amino acids are a great intra-workout supplement. The amino acids provide some protection from catabolism for those folks in drastic conditions. It probably wouldn't hurt a physique athlete to keep additional BCAAs flowing throughout the day. Increased blood amino acid levels during training may also help elevate net protein synthesis.
Athletes who have unusually long training sessions or burn up extreme amounts of energy may also need intra-workout fuel. This isn't the majority, mind you. Most people drinking Gatorade don't actually need extra fuel for their five-minute warm-up and six-machine training routine. Extra workout fuel is necessary for people who train at a high intensity for well beyond an hour.
An intra-workout cocktail for these individuals should include water, electrolytes, BCAAs (or hydrolyzed protein), and carbohydrates. There are other possibilities, but this is a solid baseline.
Nutrition After Your Workout
Protein ///Protein is essential for tissue growth and repair. Since the body is continuously breaking down proteins, our diet must provide sufficient quantities. Although recommended intakes vary and depend on body size and activity, a post-workout protein is almost universally helpful to kickstart muscle repair, recovery, and growth.
Whey protein is incredibly popular because it is rich in BCAAs, digests quickly, is highly bio-available, and has a perfect Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score. While whey is excellent after a workout, recent research suggests that a combination of fast- and slow-digesting proteins—like whey and casein—may provide the ultimate post-workout protein cocktail.4
Most sources agree that at least 20 grams of whey is necessary to boost muscle repair and recovery.5 Hydrolyzed whey protein may spike blood amino acid levels faster than regular whey, but won't provide a long-term protein source. To cover your bases, consume a shake containing 40 grams of mixed protein (whey and casein) after your workouts.
BCAAs ///In cases of calorie restriction or during periods of long or intense exercise, catabolism of muscle tissue could occur when glycogen and blood sugar are not present in sufficient quantities to fuel activity. Amino acids via dietary protein become very important for any athlete. This is especially true of BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, and valine), which studies have shown muscles prefer as a source for fuel.6
I've included BCAAs after training for the same basic reasons I included them earlier: You can't really do any wrong—unless you decide to drink the entire container in one sitting—and you may provide a fast boost to blood amino levels. I recommend 10 grams of BCAAs after your lifting session, especially if you are in a caloric deficit.
Fast Carbs (Optional) ///After a tough workout, your fuel of blood sugar and glycogen should be low. You may have even tapped into reserves to complete your training, especially if you are dieting. Most of us understand the need for protein after training, but many overlook the benefits of fast-acting carbohydrates.
From a physiological perspective, your body's first priority is correcting blood sugar balance and replenishing glycogen, not making your biceps pop. Consume fast-digesting carbohydrates in order to spare protein, replenish glycogen, spike insulin, and speed recovery. Dose recommendations differ, but to maximize recovery, ingest 50-75 grams of high-glycemic carbs after exercise.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
3.J Appl Physiol: Derave, W, Özdemir, MS, Harris, RS, Pottier, A, Reyngoudt, A, Koppo K, Wise, JA, & Achten E , Beta-alanine supplementation augments muscle carnosine content and attenuates fatigue during repeated isokinetic contraction bouts in trained sprinters. 2007
4.C.M. Kerksick, C.J. Rasmussen, S.L. Lancaster, B. Magu, P. Smith, C. Melton, M. Greenwood, A.L. Almada, C.P. Earnest, and R.B. Kreider, "The effects of protein and amino acid supplementation on performance and training adaptations during ten weeks of resistance training." Journal of strength and conditioning research / National Strength & Conditioning Association, 2006.
5.Ingested protein dose response of muscle and albumin protein synthesis after resistance exercise in young men. Moore, DR, Robinson, MJ, Fry, JL, et al. Exercise Metabolism Research Group, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2009, Jan;89(1):161-8. Epub 2008 Dec 3.
6.Chang T. W., Goldberg A. L. The metabolic fates of amino acids and the formation of glutamine in skeletal muscle. J. Biol. Chem. 1978;253:3685-3693
Saturday, April 07, 2012
by Shannon Clark Jun 21, 2011
What a ripped-to-shreds, super-toned bod really needs is PROTEIN!
It may be hard for us fitness lovers to accept, but protein skeptics still abound. The starvation-dieters, the women who think they'll get bulky, the anti-fat crew-for them, the myths and misperceptions about protein have a strong hold.
If you're like me, you may have a friend who has sworn to eating only iceberg lettuce with vinegar at every meal. In her mind, she's just calorie cutting, and she'll end up with a ripped six-pack before summer is in full swing.
Of course, I ask her, "Hey, where's the protein?" To which I get this response: "I don't need protein. I want to be thin, not bulky. I'm not a female bodybuilder, okay?"
To use a popular acronym, I say, "OMG." People still believe this crap? Well, here are 5 reasons we can give to those poor, deprived dieters to convince them that what a ripped-to-shreds, super toned bod really needs is PROTEIN.
Protein powder is an easy way to get the protein you need! Choose from a variety of protein types and delicious flavors!
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Protein Won't Make You Bulky
Let's just get this out of the way before moving on to the benefits of protein:
Protein is only important for bodybuilders?
Women shouldn't use protein powder because they'll get bulky?
Wrong and wrong.
First of all, if you don't want to be a bodybuilder, that's okay. You won't be unless you try really, really hard.
It takes years of effort, discipline, and lucky genetics to build that kind of muscle. But, you should know that lean muscle is the foundation of some of the hottest bodies out there. Just look at Jamie Eason, Jennifer Nicole Lee, or any of the Team Bodybuilding.com athletes-women and men alike!
Second, ladies, you won't bulk up from eating protein or taking protein powder. You won't even get bulky from lifting heavy weights, bodybuilder style. You don't have the testosterone for it. Instead, you'll support lean, sexy muscle that creates a toned and curvaceous physique.
If you ate 20 chicken breasts a day, would your body grow 20 extra inches of muscle as a result? Of course not.
The muscle mass you build will largely depend on whether you're doing physical training like lifting weights. And any excess protein that isn't broken down by the body and used as an energy source (depending on how many carbs and fats you're consuming, as well as your activity level) will be stored as body fat.
Even those 10 "naked" burgers could still make you fat if you're a couch potato. Muscle tissue is largely composed of protein, but it's not where protein is stored.
The body can't physically store protein as a nutrient. It'll break protein down into its building blocks, amino acids, and either use them, store them in fat cells, or get rid of them.
High Protein Foods Won't Make You Fat
Still worried that you'll be over-consuming protein? Then learn to choose your protein wisely. Picking the right high-protein foods will actually help you shed fat and look like a cover model.
If it's the fat content you're worried about, consider this: cooked chicken breasts only have 2 to 3 grams of fat per serving; low-fat cottage cheese only contains 1 to 2 grams; even lean red meat only contains 6 to 8 grams; and egg whites and many varieties of fish are as close to fat free as you can get.
But here's a note on fat: you need it too. If you strip your diet of healthy fats then you could negatively impact hormone levels, brain function, energy levels, and more.
Olive oil on your salad, peanut butter with an apple, avocado and lemon with your salmon-all great ways to keep your body fat-happy.
And no, you don't have to eat your protein raw, yeesh.
Want Hunger Control? Eat Protein
Is it any wonder why "appetite suppressants" fly off the store shelves? Because being hungry sucks, and dieters want an easy solution to help them suppress cravings for chocolate, pizza, and ice cream donuts. (Wait--am I the only one who imagines that combo?)
The solution: Eat some protein with every meal and even snacks!
Protein has a different relationship with your digestive system than other foods-basically protein doesn't cause the intense spike in blood sugar that carbs do. With a smaller effect on your blood sugar comes a smaller crash. That means sustainable energy throughout the day and fewer cravings.
Protein can keep you fuller for longer, too. So skip the low-fat blueberry muffin for breakfast and opt for a three-egg omelet. You'll be giving your muscles much-needed nutrient support, helping to stabilize your blood sugar, and minimizing the chance of mind-bending food cravings.
How is that for diet support? Protein earns 10 gold stars.
If you're someone who's always on the go, one of the hardest parts of sticking to your diet plan is taking the time to prepare all your meals. Having a protein bar on hand can help you feel guilt-free by providing a good amount of protein, carbs, and calories.
Get all your Protein Bar products
Everybody Needs Protein-Even Endurance and Cardiovascular Athletes
Maybe you hate lifting weights, and you know that protein is important for weight training. But what about cardio training-biking, running, swimming, playing volleyball, and the like?
Yep, you guessed it, sista from another mista. You need protein. Endurance athletes often require even more protein than their strength-training counterparts because they are burning up so many calories during exercise.
And if you're on a diet that wouldn't adequately feed a bunny rabbit while also doing tons of cardio, your body is going to break down muscle. Even when you're a size 0, you'll look soft and stringy. Sound attractive? Maybe to a cephalopod-but the 8-beefy-armed octopus may, in fact, scorn your skinny-fat body, too.
Saying goodbye to skinny fat never felt so easy!
Fact: There are 10 essential amino acids that your body needs because it can't make them. And you can get them from protein. So not only do you always need to consume some protein, but if you're burning tons of calories doing cardio, you need a lot more protein than you think.
One study that was published in the journal Sports Medicine assessed the association between protein intake and athletic performance. The study suggests that endurance athletes may require 50 to 100 percent more protein over that of what a sedentary individual requires.
Regular exercise will normally increase calories burned and muscle being broken down, so it's only normal that you'll require more protein to help re-build muscle tissue and replenish your nutrient needs.
You Should Consume 1 Gram of Protein Per Pound of Body Weight
Now let's assume everyone is in agreement: We need protein! But how much? Here's an easy rule of thumb: 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight every day. If you want to make progress with your workout program and be in the healthiest and sexiest shape of your life, protein will be an integral component.
Do a quick check over your current diet. Figure out how much protein you're getting. If you're not even coming close to 1 gram per pound per day, focus on protein-rich foods.
Some people may tell you that you should only eat 20 grams of protein in one sitting, max. But then if you only eat four meals a day, you'll fall short on your needs. While it's not recommended to eat all your daily protein requirements in one sitting, don't worry about consuming a larger dose of protein when you need it.
Did you think nutritional number-crunching was just for "mathletes"?
What's more important is that you get the protein you need in for the day. If you consume 30 grams of protein at breakfast, then your body will digest that protein faster than 50 grams.
Digestion will take place regardless of how much food is consumed. It's just a matter of how long the entire digestion process lasts.
Protein Recap: What Should You Eat?
The most concentrated forms of protein in the human diet are animal meat products, meaning you can eat a small amount and get a lot of protein, comparatively.
So to get your 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, here's a list of great protein choices:
„X Lean steak
„X Skinless chicken breast
„X Skinless turkey breast
„X Fish, like Tuna and other seafood
„X Dairy products like low-fat Cottage Cheese, low-fat Greek Yogurt
Some dairy products are high in fat and may not be helpful to a fat-loss diet. But others can be great options to help you lose weight and keep it off.
Protein powders (whey, casein, soy, egg and more)
Some nuts, vegetables, and whole grains have small amounts of protein too. But often the protein found in these foods is called "incomplete" because it's missing some of the amino acids compared to foods like tofu and chicken.
However, you can still pair incomplete proteins with complete proteins to boost your protein intake.
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Bodybuilding and fitness nutrition don’t have to feature the same ol’ boiled chicken breasts, baked potatoes and broc. I help you turn plain and boring into amazing and delicious!
by Dave Ruel Mar 19, 2012
Q-Hey Dave, I'm not sure which spices to use in my healthy diet. Do you have any suggestions?
I certainly do! I wish more people thought about cooking with spices. Quite simply, they're a great way to add flavor and additional nutritional benefits to your meals. Plus, they're calorie-free. If that's not spicy, nothing is!
Which spices you use will largely depend on your taste preferences and the food that you're preparing, but some of my favorites are turmeric, cayenne pepper, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, and mustard.
Strong is the New Cinny!
Add cinnamon to baked recipes or to a vanilla- based protein smoothie for a dash of blood-sugar control. A sprinkle of cinnamon on your morning oatmeal can help increase your sugar metabolism.
It's cinnfully delicious!
Turmeric for a Tight Tummy
Among a great number of other health benefits, turmeric can reduce inflammation and help you fight fat. Turmeric may also help lower blood-sugar levels.
Turmeric is great on Asian recipes, and gives your food a nice golden color.
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which helps increase your metabolic rate for hours after you consume it. Chili peppers will provide the same benefit.
So, if you're looking for some fat-loss help, make your food hot, hot, hot!
(Some like it hot. I love it.)
Ginger is great in stir-fry and can be added to almost any veggie dish for added flavor. It also improves the digestive process and may ease gastric secretions.
She's way better than Mary Ann, anyway.
(Gilligan's Island, anyone? Anyone?)
Black Pepper Beauty
Black pepper stimulates hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach. Hydrochloric acid is essential for the digestion of proteins and other foods. Without enough hydrochloric acid, your food can sit in your stomach, causing indigestion, gas and other intestinal nasties.
Two teaspoons of black pepper make a great source of manganese and vitamin K.
A sprinkle of nutmeg on your morning chai tea might kick more than your taste buds! Nutmeg has antibacterial properties, which means it might be good at killing mouth bacteria that causes cavities. It's also known to aid digestion and relax muscles.
You can actually have too much of a good thing, though - huge doses of nutmeg may cause psychiatric disorders!
Hot dogs and mustard: the two go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you aren't into eating processed pork by-products, the mustard alone is something you can feel good about putting in your body.
Mustard seeds are nutrient-dense, high in antioxidants, and contain omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Consuming mustard seeds may increase metabolism and lower blood pressure.
Add some mustard seeds to sauces, salads and soups
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
12 Ways to Better Eating: The Mental Approach
By Brandon Fokken
2. Have Realistic Expectations
4.Consistency is Keys
6.Don’t be so Hard on Yourself
7.Stick with your Plan
9.Give yourself Praise
10.Don’t Rush into this
11.Focus on the Journey & not the Destination
12.Measure Success & Set New Goals
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