Tuesday, September 18, 2012
If you haven’t noticed yet, your local grocery store’s produce department is overflowing with nutrient-rich and healthy food options.
Forget about the apples, cherries, pears, and bananas though.
The items you need to know about are some of the most-underutilized products on the market today.
Which is a definitely a shame! These foods are bursting with flavor, vitamins, and overall super ingredients that may do everything from lower your blood sugar to boost your fat burning.
These foods, sometimes termed superfoods, may not be on your radar of foods to eat, but they should be!
Superfoods are called that because in essence, they truly are super. They contain vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols that may do everything from lowering blood sugar to fighting some cancers.
Examples of superfoods commonly overlooked are: turnips, cauliflower, asparagus, flaxseeds, avocados, kale, spinach, dandelion green, and fennel.
Some of these foods are bitter to taste, but they could pack a day’s worth of fat-fighting and cancer-fighting nutrition in a single serving.
So before you turn your head, here are some of the top ways to sneak superfoods in to your day.
4 Sneaky Ways to Better Nutrition
Sometimes it is harder to get all the foods you need into one or many meals.
From rushing around in the morning to soccer games in the afternoon, many people find it very difficult to maintain healthy nutrition on the go.
You may intend to carry healthy snack options in your purse or glove compartment, but it is just easier to stop at the local drive-thru.
The problem with this is that you are missing out on a world of healthy and nutritious foods that add benefit to your overall health.
Some foods fight cancer, some foods may control blood sugar, therefore diabetes. Some may even reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure, which may add years to your overall heart health.
Superfoods, are commonly found in your grocery store’s produce section. However, they may be overlooked, due to preparation time and lack of a creative way to cook and serve them.
Avocados, onions, and berries are extremely easy to add to almost any plate. But take Kale, fennel, turnips, and dandelion greens, and the choices may become limited.
However, these 4 Sneaky Ways may help you to enjoy nutrient-rich foods, with no fuss at all.
Top 4 Sneaky Ways to Get More Superfoods
Prep Way #1: Got a Blender? Good!
If you have a blender, then you are one step ahead of making a healthy, nutritious, low-sugar smoothie.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, should be held back from a blender.
A protein and nutrient-packed smoothie can provide you a day’s worth of nutrition in a single serving.
Plus, you can add anything (kale, spinach, dandelion greens, etc.) to fat-burning yogurt, coconut milk, or almond milk to make a tasty shake packed full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients that may not only ward of colds and flus, but may be helpful at reducing your weight.
Throw in a few berries (raspberries especially) and you will increase the nutrition of your shake, plus improve on the taste and fat-burning potential.
Other options: add a tablespoon of flaxseed oil to include omega-3 fats (heart healthy fats) as well as some additional protein and fiber.
Prep Way #2: Switch out Your Faves
If you are a person who loves pasta, then this easy switch may be for you.
One type of squash, called spaghetti squash, is overflowing with vitamins and minerals that are needed by your body for optimal functioning.
Plus, this low-calorie alternative can easily resemble your favorite stringy pasta.
Top it with a tablespoon of olive oil (polyunsaturated fat source) and a homemade, low-sodium tomato sauce (full of the antioxidant lycopene), and you have the fixings for a healthy version of your favorite Italian plate.
You will get nutrients and antioxidants that may help fight off free radical damage (leads to inflammation) and improve your overall health.
Prep Way #3: Mash ‘em
If you favorite side happens to be mashed potatoes, then do I have an alternative for you.
Turnips, which are a root vegetable, have been shown to reduce cancer-causing substances found in your body.
Plus, turnips are filled with iron, calcium, and vitamin C, which are all nutrients that your body needs.
Instead of loading up on butter and salt, mash and keep this vegetable “naked,” and reap all the wonderful health-promoting benefits.
Not one for turnips: try cauliflower instead. This flowery vegetable is packed full of nutrition, all without adding many calories to your overall plate. This could be the perfect alternative to starchy potatoes.
Prep Way #4: Need a New Topper?
There are many different and unique ways to spice up your food. You can add fiery hot sauce to eggs, yogurt to breads as the “new” mayo, or you simply can add a dash of cinnamon to anything to make it better.
Changing out your food toppers is one way that you can add more superfood power to your daily nutrition.
Top off your oatmeal, coffee, or tea with cinnamon, for a healthy alternative that may even control your blood sugar.
There are many studies that show that cinnamon may be effective at controlling blood sugar.
For a different approach to salads, sprinkle a few walnuts, almonds, or flaxseed onto your salad to up your intake of high-quality proteins, fiber, and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
This is one easy way to spice up your salads.
Start Your Day off on the Right Foot
In order to get more superfoods into your diet, you should consider these four steps.
Not only are superfoods good for you, they provide your body the essential nutrients it needs in order to burn fat, ward off colds and flus, and prevent chronic disease development.
Who's lookin' out for ya? ;-)
Lean Body Specialist
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Since football season is upon us, and that I have been to a couple of football games engaging in tailgating myself already, I thought I would give you some healthier tailgating snack ideas that are lower in calories and/or fat for your upcoming tailgate. Enjoy!
Baked Buffalo Chicken Bites
Skip the deep-fried Buffalo wings and call an audible for tasty, lean, shredded, cooked chicken breast. Combine the meat with hot sauce, non-fat cream cheese and chopped green onions; spoon into bite-size balls and coat in whole-grain breadcrumbs.
Sloppy Joe Sliders
Choose at least 95% lean ground meat and add mashed kidney beans for additional protein and fiber. Top it off with tomatoes and spices for an adult spin. Serve on mini whole-grain buns, and you’re in the red zone!
Low-carb and packed with flavor, deviled eggs are delicious, filling and super-portable. Toss a skinny post to your eggs by using only half of the yokes to cut back on fat. Then, combine with plain Greek yogurt, onions, diced peppers, and top with paprika for a spicy, high-protein bite.
Bite-Sized Greek Salad
Chunks of low-fat feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives, and skewers are all you need for a healthy salad you can eat on a stick. Easy to make and easy to pack without fumbling, add some grilled chicken cubes to your kebab for a lean protein boost.
Salsa Black Bean Guacamole Dip with Baked Lentil Chips
While avocado is a healthy fat, too much of any fat is a turnover. Try a guacamole dip that substitutes half of the avocado with low-calorie, spicy salsa and high-protein black beans. And while you're at it, skip the fried, trans fat-laden corn chips and opt for saving about 6g of fat per serving with baked lentil chips.
Grilled Chicken and Veggie Skewers
Loaded with protein instead of fat, grilled chicken is a staple at most tailgate parties. Grill your chicken with your favorite vegetables the night before the big game, stack ‘em on skewers, and you won’t get sacked come game time.
Mini Reuben Sandwich
Make your own bit-sized, gourmet-to-go sandwiches and avoid overindulging on large portions of red meat. Stack each sandwich with extra-lean pastrami, low-fat Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut on rye bread. Then, cut the stacks into mini, bite-size portions and score a touchdown with a healthy taste of an all-time classic.
California Flatbread Pizza Squares
Make your own healthy flat bread pizza using whole wheat dough, low-fat mozzarella, and topping it with chunks of chicken, tomato, and sliced avocado. What’s better than pizza served fresh out of the oven? Pizza served cold the day of the game in one hand, and an ice-cold brew in the other.
Grilled chicken, corn, and bean salad
Skip the fatty, Mexican layer dip this football season by calling a QB option and creating a salad with the same tasty ingredients, minus the cheese and sour cream. Throw in some grilled corn and chicken mixed with black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, and fresh lime juice, and you’ve got yourself the perfect pass.
Swapping ground beef for ground turkey breast can save you 100 calories and 7.5g of fat per 4 ounce serving (that's about four meatballs). Whip up a batch of turkey meatballs at your next tailgate to score the protein you need and throw a stiff arm to the fat you don’t want.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
What is fat loss eating
Fat loss foods have three things that set them apart; high volumes of water, high amounts of fiber and/or elevated protein content. Water, fiber and protein are all very filling. This is the reason many people can sit down and eat five or six cups of cereal and still feel hungry (cereal has no water, a high starch to fiber ratio and almost non-existent protein). Try eating 5 cups of broccoli or 5 boneless skinless chicken breasts. If you can finish either you certainly aren’t going to be hungry after.
And just for fun, lets calculate the calories. For the sake of trying to be fair, lets choose the best cereal out there (or at least the one the nutrition divas tell you to eat), Kashi Go Lean. 5 servings (5 cups) = 950 calories (via www.calorieking.com). 5 boneless skinless chicken breasts (6oz each) = 936 calories. 5 cups of broccoli = 273 calories. You could eat 5 chicken breast and 5 cups of broccoli and still have only eaten just over 200 calories more than 5 cups of Kashi.
The reality is, you can take any lean protein source and pair it with as many non-starchy vegetables as you can eat (corn, potatoes, peas, beans etc = starchy vegetables if we can even call them vegetables, they are actually starches). You can also throw in as much low sugar fruit as you want for your sweet tooth (things like berries, apples, pears and citrus). And you will end up with more food than you can eat, less calories, less insulin and more nutrients than most any low fat, whole grain diet a nutritionist can dream up.
Fat loss eating means eating more of the right things more often. The right things = lean protein, vegetables and low sugar fruit. In clinical research almost everyone (upwards of 90%) who eats this way sees substantial improvements in body composition and health. That is the difference between healthy eating and fat loss eating. Fat loss foods are both healthy AND help with body composition, while “healthy foods” may not help with either one.
Here is my list of the top 10 healthiest fat loss foods based on the same criteria above. High water, high fiber and higher protein along with power packed nutrition including vitamins, minerals, essential fats and healthy plant chemicals. Eat from this list of food 90% of the time and my bet is your body’s appearance and its health will improve dramatically.
1. SALMON & SARDINES - High protein, good essential fats and low mercury conten unlike most fish
2. BERRIES (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries) - Low sugar, and a potent source of antioxidants
3. BISON - All the best elements of chicken and red meat rolled into one (no, bison is not an animal that is part chicken and cow). It is low fat like chicken, and loaded with nutrition like beef.
4.CRUCIFEROUS VEGGIES (cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, kale, etc) - low amounts of starch compared to fiber and phytonutrients that help estrogen metabolism.
5 .EGGS (lose all or some of the yolks if you have a ton of fat to lose)- The yolks are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet and the whites are the perfect protein.
6. GREENS (lettuce, spinach, chard, kale, dandelions, etc) - Almost negative calorie with power packed nutrition
7. WATER VEGGIES (celery, cucumbers, etc) - Eat a dump-truck full of this stuff and you probably still won’t break 1,000 calories.
8.APPLES - Great for a sweet tooth, loaded with water and soluble fiber and plenty of nutrition.
9.BONELESS SKINLESS CHICKEN BREAST - low fat, satiating and every ones favorite protein.
10.COCOA POWDER - Virtually zero calories, high fiber and loaded with bioactive compounds that raise energy, blunt hunger and reduce cravings. Add 1 tablespoon to a mug, pour hot water on top while stirring and you have the worlds best diet aid. It also lowers blood pressure, has the same blood thinning effect as aspirin, balances blood sugar, and more.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
As any dieter will tell you, skipping meals is a no-no when trying to lose weight.
Skipping meals slows down your metabolism, makes you hungrier at your next meal (tendency to overeat), and could alter your calorie intake.
However, for some reason people tend to skip at least one meal per day, even though they know that it is wrong.
Which one is the most commonly skipped meal: breakfast!
Breakfast jump-starts your day by providing a good nutritional foundation that you can build on with every meal.
It boosts your metabolism, keeps you alert (through those boring office meetings), and may even keep you fuller, for longer periods of time, potentially preventing overeating at your next snack or meal.
There is still one problem that needs to be discussed, and that has to do with time.
Most people are under a time crunch to get the kids off to school and to get to the office or morning meeting on time. This leads to skipping the most important meal of the day, which could seriously alter eating habits throughout the rest of your day.
Why Breakfast is Important
When you skip breakfast, you are fostering an environment of tiredness, grogginess, moodiness, and starvation, which could lead to poor food choices when you finally do get to eat.
If you include the right foods at breakfast, you may find increased energy, increased alertness, and best of all, you are not hungry and daydreaming about the next chance to eat.
Including a complex carb (sprouted whole-grain bread, oatmeal, etc.), a moderate amount of high-quality protein (eggs, cottage cheese, etc.), a fruit or a vegetable, and some essential fats, you may find your appetite is in control and you are ready to finally face your day.
The following is a list of the Top Four Best Breakfast Foods to Eat on a Time Crunch:
Quick Food #1: Berries (raspberries especially)
Raspberries or berries, in general, are a great pick-me-up in the morning.
Full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, the tiny little fruits are great for filling up your stomach and controlling your appetite.
One cup of raspberries touts eight grams of fiber.
Plus, most berries (raspberries included) are a slowly digested fruit, which means your blood sugar creeps up slowly, which causes a slow release of insulin in your body.
This may prevent the “peaks and valleys” that you experience throughout the day, due to this slow release of sugar into your blood.
Berries have also been shown in research to boost brain power and improve cognitive function as you get older.
Quick Idea: Combine these tasty little nutritional powerhouse’s with low-fat yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese to start your day off on the right foot.
Quick Food #2: "Real" Oatmeal
What can be said about steel-cut oats?
Most people know that you need to eat real oatmeal (not the processed, instant kind) for heart health and cancer prevention, but most people still do not eat it for breakfast.
Oatmeal, which contains plenty of fiber, has been shown to slow digestion, which could keep you feeling full until your next meal.
The fiber in oatmeal has been shown to control appetite, reduce cholesterol, and may even contribute to weight loss.
In one study, they showed that eating a bowl of oatmeal a few hours before your workout, may boost fat burning.
Quick Idea: Steel-cut oats only takes five minutes to cook on the stovetop. Top it off with some flaxseeds or almonds for a great protein and essential fatty-acid source.
Quick Food #3: Homemade Smoothie
If you have ever stopped and got a commercial smoothie, then you are running the risk of sabotaging your weight loss results.
Most commercial smoothies are packed full of added sugar, which could result in increased insulin levels and greater fat storage.
Homemade smoothies, when made with coconut milk, skim milk, almond milk, low-fat yogurt, and frozen fruit or berries will provide you a whopping serving of nutrition, essential fats, and plenty of vitamins and minerals that will keep you alert and focused through the morning hours.
Quick idea: Invest in a good blender, some low-fat yogurt, frozen fruit, and make your own smoothie at home, saving extra calories from sugar and higher-fat content.
Quick Food #4: Almond Butter
Almond butter is made by crushing almonds and making a paste out of it.
Almonds, in general, are a highly-nutritious food that contains fiber, protein, essential fats, vitamins, and minerals that your body needs in order to function at its best day-in and day-out.
You get healthy levels of Vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus, all which are vital for the health of the cells in your body.
Plus, almonds contain essential fatty acids (in the form of ALA), which depending on what your body needs at the time, can convert these fats into the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA.
Quick Idea: Spread a couple tablespoons on two pieces of sprouted grain bread, and you have a quick, nutritious, breakfast that you can take on the go!
Boost Your Morning Brain Power
Including breakfast in the morning will stave off hunger fits, control your appetite, and could even boost your metabolism, priming your body for fat loss.
Who's lookin' out for ya? ;-)
Lean Body Specialist
Friday, September 07, 2012
Fat Loss vs. Weight Loss
I like to really illustrate to my clients to focus on fat loss, not weight loss. It is important to understand you may be burning calories and losing weight, but you may or may not be burning or losing fat. Ironically, the things you do for weight loss (i.e., eat less and exercise more) can work against your fat burning physiology.
Consider the way elite sprinters look vs. elite long distance runners (illustrated in the picture below). What is obvious to most people when they watch professional track and field events is how much more muscular sprinters are when compared to long distance runners. What is less understood is that sprinters usually have less body fat as well.
That is where most people become a little confused. They are confused because they usually understand long distance athletes like marathon runners burn much greater amounts of calories. Keep in mind that long distance runners exercise for hours when training for and engaging in their sport. Sprinters on the other hand exercise in short bursts lasting seconds to minutes and then have long periods of time where they rest and recover before they repeat. The calorie comparison between the two activities is not even close with marathon runners burning hundreds if not thousands more caloires.
So, the idea that you can exercise less and still develop a lean muscular physique is something that is revealed in the example of these two athletes.
Caloric weight loss vs hormonal fat loss
The question then becomes why? If it is not calories that are making the sprinters more muscular and leaner, then what is it? Where “weight loss exercise” is about burning calories, “fat loss exercise” is about changing hormones. The fact that hormones impact fat storage is easily demonstrated by looking at the fat distribution of men vs. women. Women store their body fat in hips, thighs, and butt while men store fat in the middle. Hormones determine whether you burn mostly sugar or fat and where on the body that fat may be burned (belly vs butt).
Consider a doughnut and a chicken breast. Which has more calories? A Dunkin Doughnut Kruller and a chicken breast with the skin each have 250 calories. The doughnut is high in fat and sugar and very low in protein. The chicken breast is high protein, has moderate fat, and contains no sugar/starch. If you eat a doughnut for breakfast vs a chicken breast which is going to keep you full, balanced in energy and free from cravings before lunch? The chicken will win every time.
Not because of calories, but because of the hormonal signal induced by the protein/carb/fat ratio present in each food. Another thing to consider; most people can easily eat 5, 6 or more doughnuts. On the other hand, it is very difficult to overeat chicken breast. Most people would be lucky to get down two.
To illustrate further how powerful hormones are consider 2 meals.
Meal 1: 2 cups Kashi Go Lean Cereal, Skim Milk, and a large glass of OJ.
Meal 2: 8 egg white omelet stuffed with 1 cup each of mushrooms, spinach, tomato. 1 large apple and a cup of blueberries on the side.
Many people would be surprised to know meal 1 has more calories. But, it is obvious meal 2 contains much more food. Before you think I am simply reverting back to talking about calories, consider what meal 2 does. The large volume of food leads to a balance of hunger hormones. This results in the feeling of being full and satisfied much earlier in the meal.
Another key distinction of weight loss compared to fat loss is the impact on shape and tone of the body. If you play the weight loss game, you will shrink in size, but remain the same shape. If you are an apple shape, you will end up being a smaller apple shape. Likewise, many people who focus on weight loss lose muscle making their bodies saggy and soft. It is healthy to lose the weight if you are overweight, but it is not fat loss. Fat loss is not only healthier, but only fat loss results in the body changing its contour an increasing its tone. Eating meals like meal 1, may be considered “healthy” but they will do little to help you burn fat.
A healthy diet does not equal a fat loss diet
There are plenty of healthy foods that will not aid fat loss. This is why many people struggle with body transformation. Because they are getting advice from those who do not get the distinction of weight loss vs. fat loss and a healthy diet vs. a fat loss diet.
Similarly, healthy exercise does not equal fat loss exercise. Aerobic exercise is certainly healthy for you, it just is not ideal for fat loss. Aerobic exercise results in both the loss of fat AND muscle. In time, this results in a less efficient metabolism. This is why runners who get injured or can no longer keep up the mileage will often develop soft and saggy bodies. Contrast that with runners who engage in weight training and other more intense activities. In the later scenario, they are able to stay leaner and maintain more muscle mass.
Short intense exercise and long and very relaxing exercise (i.e. leisure walking)do not have the same impact. Just because an exercise is healthy does not mean it will optimize fat loss.
Like nutrition, exercise can't be one size fits all either. Treating everyone as if they are a teenager (they usually respond to any change in diet or exercise), athlete, or fit celebrity will not work for most people. Teens, athletes, and most celebrities usually have “highly functioning metabolisms” and/or have an internal motivation for staying healthy and fit looking. Their livelihood depends on it. High intensity programs built to simply work people into exhaustion or improve athletic performance usually don’t work for the average fat loss seeker.
Weight loss does not equal fat loss. The tools for weight loss, eating less and exercising more, are different than the tools for fat loss. Fat loss involves eating more of the right food more often. Remember the 8 egg white omelet? It also involves exercising in a way that stimulates fat burning while you are resting, not just during exercise. In other words, fat loss exercise is about working smarter not longer. Similar to a weight loss diet and exercise approach, a healthy diet or healthy exercise habits are not the same as fat loss diet and exercise.
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