Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong

Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong

Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere!

And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you.  Right?

Well, maybe…

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat.  This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health. 

Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.

What you eat and drink

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important.  Don’t get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone. 

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn’t work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn’t we?

You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don’t forget to also pay attention to what you eat. 

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods).  This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

Every day this is what you should aim for:

  • A colorful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack.  You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Here’s my go-to cheat for better nutrition: Concentrated fruits and veggies!
  • Enough protein.  Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones).  There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads.  Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible.  You don’t need to overdo it here.  Just make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.

How you eat and drink

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink.

Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?

When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating”.

Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savor every bite.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less.  Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?

What do you think about that?

We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

And don’t forget about drinking your food. 

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness. 

Don’t get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack.  And don’t gulp it down too fast.

If your smoothies don’t fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax, protein powder or chia seeds.  Here’s my favorite protein powder for smoothies.

Summary:

Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.

Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie

Serves 1

handful spinach or mixed dark greens (kale, spinach, chard)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 banana

1 chopped peach

10 ounces water or coconut water

1 teaspoon almond butter

Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend).

Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the water.

Blend, Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions.  Try swapping different greens, fruit or seeds to match your preference.

Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they  contain all of the essential amino acids from protein.

References:

http://summertomato.com/wisdom-wednesday-salad-dressing-is-your-friend

https://authoritynutrition.com/20-reasons-you-are-not-losing-weight/

http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2

3 Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

3 Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

Sometimes those holiday and birthday feasts are just amazing.  And it’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance.  It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.  But it doesn’t always stop there.  Sometimes we overeat on regular days.  Or at regular meals.  Or All. The. Time.  Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.

(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)

Tip #1: Start with some water
When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it’s too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.

But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger?  Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten.  And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (…just sayin’).

Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.

Win-win!

Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”
You’ve heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?
This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.  Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.

Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savoring every mouthful.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating lessWhen you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full. So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.

Tip #3: Start with the salad
You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish. But don’t start there.  (Don’t worry, you can have some…just after you’ve eaten your salad).  Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they’re full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.  Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller.  They’re “satiating”.  And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a large meal.

Summary:

Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.  Recipe (Water): Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Water Ideas

If you’re not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:

  • Slices of lemon & ginger
  • Slices of strawberries & orange
  • Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick
  • Chopped pineapple & mango
  • Blueberries & raspberries

Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning.  They’re already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-of-water/

http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal

Shifting your thought pattern for success

Shifting your thought pattern for success

Have you ever acted against your better judgment? Ummmm, of course you have. We all have. Sometimes you do things that you later regret. And this keeps you from achieving that lean, sexy body that you want.

  • You hit snooze rather than waking up early to exercise before work.
  • You blow off your healthy eating plan to indulge in a hamburger and fries.
  • You start an exercise program only to drop out two weeks into it.

These regrettable actions prevent you from achieving your goals and keep you stuck.

Most of us are all too familiar with this frustrating paradox. It’s almost as if there are two sides inside of you, raging war on each other. Your sensible side versus your emotional side. What you want versus what you do.

A psychologist named Jonathan Haidt came up with a mental model that explains exactly why you do things that you wish you hadn’t – and how to take control to finally do the actions necessary to get what you really want.

“The image I came up with for myself, as I marveled at my weakness [of willpower], was that I was a rider on the back of an elephant. I’m holding the reins in my hands, and by pulling one way or the other I can tell the elephant to turn, to stop, or to go. I can direct things, but only when the elephant doesn’t have desires of his own. When the elephant really wants to do something, I’m no match for him,” explained Haidt in his book, The Happiness Hypothesis.

Human decision making is like a tiny rider on a massive elephant. The rider may think he’s in charge, but the elephant’s will always wins. The Elephant, The Rider, and The Path are a great framework for understanding yourself and what drives you. All human change depends on it.

Here’s Haidt’s mental model for creating lasting change in greater detail…

The Rider: is your rational and analytical side. The Rider is a visionary that has the ability to think long-term, to plan, and that is willing to make short-term sacrifices for long-term payoffs. The Rider loves to contemplate and analyze, has limited reserves of strength, suffers from paralysis by analysis, and relentlessly focuses on problems rather than solutions. Most crucially, the Rider is so small compared to the six-ton Elephant that anytime they disagree about which direction to go, the Rider will lose.

The Elephant: is made up of your emotions and instincts. The Elephant prefers the comfort and security of a well-trodden path, even if a new path leads to a better outcome – this is why it’s so difficult to change your habits. The Elephant has enormous strengths: love and compassion and sympathy and loyalty. The Elephant is the one who gets things done.

The Path: is your surrounding environment, the context in which the Rider and the Elephant operate. A rocky Path makes change hard, if not impossible, even when the Rider and the Elephant work together.

There are three steps to lasting change:

  • Direct the Rider
  • Motivate the Elephant
  • Shape the Path

1) Direct the Rider:

Change begins with a plan, and it’s the Rider who comes up with plans. Direct your Rider to analyze what’s right, and what works. When you’ve lost weight and made progress towards your fitness goals in the past what worked for you? Focus on these bright spots rather than on potential problems related to your desired change. Once you’ve come up with a plan, move on. It’s important to move quickly and to avoid getting bogged down with paralysis by analysis.

2) Motivate the Elephant:

In order for the plans of your Rider to succeed, your Elephant must feel emotionally invested in the outcome. Find an emotional connection that you feel deep down in relation to the goal. Don’t just think about why you want to achieve your goal – feel why you need to achieve your goal.

3) Shape the Path:

Make change easy. Reduce obstacles in your life, so that the new desired behavior is frictionless. Move the barriers between you and the actions that you want to take. Lay out your workout clothes the night before. Spend time in the morning to prep all of your healthy daily meals. Get a trainer to hold you accountable to showing up to your workouts.

The key to effective change is getting the Elephant and the Rider moving together on a smooth path to success. Do this and you’ll stop doing things that you later regret.

Fasting or Small Meals?

Fasting or Small Meals?

What’s the best eating strategy for fat loss? This is the question on the mind of those who are ready and motivated to transform their physique. A quick online search produces two popular eat-for-fat-loss strategies: Intermittent Fasting versus Six Small Meals.

Which strategy works best? And which should you follow? Let’s find out…

Intermittent Fasting: this eating strategy cycles between periods of eating and periods of fasting. The content of your meals during eating periods is not a factor. Some cycle between eating and fasting each day, creating a small window for eating and fasting for at least 16 hours, while others cycle eating and fasting across several days, taking as much as 48 hours at a time to fast.

Pros: Humans have been fasting for thousands of years. Our bodies are well equipped to handle periods of fasting. Research shows that fasting produces benefits for disease prevention, metabolic health, weight loss and even life extension. Some find it less work to fast rather than to plan for several small meals. During eating periods you get to eat whatever you want.

Cons: Abstaining from nourishment for long periods of time can be challenging, especially when food is all around you. Socially it can be awkward to skip meals while your friends and family break bread together. Some find themselves overeating during eating cycles, and some find the ongoing absence of food to aggravate food obsession and to produce an unbalanced focus on food.

Six Small Meals: this eating strategy, of breaking the traditional 3 square meals into 6 smaller meals that are spaced 2-3 hours apart, has been used by body builders and fitness competitors for years. The content and size of each meal is an important factor of this eating plan. Meals early in the day contain lean protein, fiber-filled veggies and a small portion of complex carbs, while meals later in the day are smaller and do not contain any complex carbs. All meals are low in fat.

Pros: You never feel hungry. By fueling up every 2-3 hours you never get the feeling of deprivation that comes with fasting. Energy levels are steady and high due to the constant supply of wholesome calories. Fat loss results are steady, and, when done with an exercise plan, muscle is maintained.

Cons: You have to plan ahead. Every. Single. Day. Get used to carrying around a small cooler filled with containers of chicken, broccoli, brown rice and sweet potatoes. Each meal is small, so restraint is required. Unless you are including the occasional cheat meal, or cheat day, there is no room in this diet for empty calories or comfort foods.

Conclusion

The facts are out there to prove that both of these eat-for-fat-loss strategies work. There are photos of real, actual people who have subscribed to each of these methods and have gone from flabby to lean. Both methods irrefutably work.

But why? How can two methods that utilize opposing strategies both produce fat loss results? And which one is better? Let’s dive deeper into what makes these eating strategies work…

1. Meal Timing: When you eat is a factor with both of these eating plans. This means that subscribers to both plans are required to wait until the appointed time to eat. So mindless snacking, or grabbing a muffin just because it’s there, is out of the question. This reduces overall calories, which is key to weight loss, and explains why both plans produce results.

2. Meal Content: The Six-Small-Meals plan focuses on the content of each of your small meals in great detail. Your meals contain lean proteins, fiber-filled veggies, and limited complex carbs. This detailed control of calorie content is largely why this plan is a sure bet for fat loss, not just weight loss.

Intermittent Fasting does not consider the content of your meals during eating periods.

3. Meal Size: The Six-Small-Meals plan also focuses on the exact size of your meals, which makes sense since you are eating six times each day, and excess calories would quickly add up. Typically this is done by weight, so as you pack your meals for the day you’ll be using a food scale to ensure that you have exactly the right amount of lean protein and complex carbs. Veggies are often measured rather than weighed.

Intermittent Fasting does not consider the size of your meals during eating periods.

So What’s the BEST Eating Strategy for FAST Results? As we’ve discussed, both of the eating strategies above are capable of producing results. This is due to the fact that both plans result in a lowered caloric intake.

When it’s all said and done, weight loss comes from caloric balance.

Remember the junk food diet where the professor lost weight eating restricted calories of only vending machine food? As long as you are taking in fewer calories that you are burning, you will end up losing weight.

While both of the strategies above end up curbing your calories, only the Six-Small-Meals plan encourages wholesome calories that are ideal for burning fat and building muscle, which is why this is the plan most used by body builders and fitness competitors.

When it comes down to you choosing your own eating strategy it’s important to determine what will work best with your lifestyle. If carrying a cooler with you and making time to stop every 3 hours to eat a meal is simply not something you can see yourself doing, then Intermittent Fasting may produce better results for you. The key is to figure out a plan for restricting calories that you would realistically be motivated to stick with. And the more wholesome the content of those restricted calories, the better and quicker your results will come!

31 Protein Shakes

31 Protein Shakes

31 Flavors of Protein Shakes

Protein is an essential macronutrient for building lean muscle mass and so there’s no disputing the fact that protein shakes are an important tool for fitness gains and fat loss.

Not only does a protein shake meal replacement take only a few minutes to prepare, it keeps you on point with your nutrition while making it easy to avoid unhealthy fast food alternatives for a quick meal. However, blending up the same combination of protein powder, ice and water sure does get boring.

The following 31 Flavors of Protein Shakes will destroy your protein shake boredom once and for all! For each of the recipes below simply combine the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add extra water, almond, soy or quinoa milk or ice as needed to create your desired consistency. Serve immediately and enjoy! My go-to protein power is organic, vegan and non-GMO and it comes in vanilla and chocolate flavors. Follow this link to order yours.

Oatmeal Shake

  • ¼ cup dry oats
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 ½ cups water or milk
  • handful of ice cubes

Banana Nut Shake

  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup milk or water
  • 10 almonds
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • handful of ice cubes

Vanilla Coffee Shake

  • ½ cup vanilla almond milk
  • ½ cup cold brewed black coffee
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • liquid stevia to taste
  • handful of ice cubes

Café Mocha Shake

  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup cold brew black coffee
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • liquid stevia to taste
  • handful of ice cubes

Sunny Morning Shake

  • 1 seedless, peeled orange
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 scoops unflavored protein powder
  • handful of ice cubes

Orange Creamsicle Shake

  • ½ frozen banana
  • ½ cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • handful of ice cubes

Thin Mint Shake

  • ½ frozen banana
  • 1 cup milk or water
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 4 fresh mint leaves (optional)

Bright Berry Shake

  • 1 ½ cups water or milk
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 8 raspberries
  • 4 strawberries
  • 12 blueberries
  • handful of ice cubes

Strawberry Vanilla Shake

  • 1 ½ cups water or milk
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1 handful of ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ frozen banana
  • 3 frozen strawberries

Raspberry Cheesecake Shake

  • 1 ½ cups water or milk
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 15 frozen raspberries
  • 2 Tablespoons low-fat sour cream
  • liquid stevia to taste

Peanut Butter Cup Shake

  • 1 cup water or milk
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • handful of ice cubes

Creamy Chocolate Shake

  • 1 cup water or milk
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons low-fat sour cream
  • liquid stevia to taste

Papaya Ginger Mint Shake

  • ½ cup fresh chopped papaya
  • ½ teaspoon fresh minced ginger
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup water or milk
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • handful of ice cubes
  • drizzle of honey to taste

Blueberry Mango Shake

  • ½ cup fresh or frozen chopped mango
  • ¼ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup water or milk
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder

Spinach, Kiwi and Chia Seed Shake

  • 1 ½ cups water or milk
  • 1 cup packed spinach
  • 1 ripe kiwi, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • handful of ice cubes

Oatmeal Cookie Shake

  • ¼ cup dry oats
  • 1 ½ cups water or milk
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • ½ frozen banana, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of ground ginger, nutmeg and salt

Peanut Butter and Jelly Shake

  • ½ frozen banana
  • 1 cup milk or water
  • 2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • handful of ice cubes

Vanilla Matcha Avocado Shake

  • 1 ½ cups milk or water
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ an avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 2 teaspoons matcha powder
  • 1 handful of spinach

Cherry Almond Shake

  • 1 cup water or milk
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • ½ cup frozen, pitted cherries
  • 2 Tablespoons almond butter
  • handful of ice cubes

Honey Banana Shake

  • 1 ½ cups of water or milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • sprinkle of ground nutmeg

Carrot Cake Shake

  • 1 ½ cups water or milk
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • ¼ cup shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg and ground ginger

Key Lim Pie Shake

  • ½ cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup milk or water
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • stevia to taste
  • handful of ice cubes

Peach Oatmeal Shake

  • 1 ½ cups water or milk
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • ¼ cup dry oats
  • 1 peach, pitted, peeled and chopped
  • handful of ice cubes
  • ½ frozen banana, peeled and chopped
  • stevia to taste

Vanilla Chai Shake

  • 1 cup milk or water
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • ¼ cup strong brewed, chilled tea
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of ground cinnamon, cloves and cardamom
  • handful of ice cubes
  • sprinkle of chia seeds

Apple Pie a la Mode Shake

  • 1 cup water or milk
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon apple butter
  • ½ teaspoon ground apple pie spice
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • stevia to taste

Cinnamon Roll Shake

  • 1 ½ cups water or milk
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup dry oats
  • ½ banana, peeled

Hawaiian Sunrise Shake

  • 1 cup milk or water
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • ½ banana
  • ½ cup pineapple
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • stevia to taste
  • handful of ice cubes

Snickerdoodle Shake

  • 1 cup water or milk
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • ½ banana
  • 1 Tablespoon creamy almond butter
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Chip Cookie Shake

  • 1 ½ cups milk or water
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • ¼ cup dry oats
  • ¼ teaspoon imitation butter flavor
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • handful of ice cubes
  • 1 Tablespoon mini chocolate chips
  • stevia to taste

Chocolate Brownie Shake

  • 1 frozen banana, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup brewed coffee, chilled
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon mini chocolate chips

Pina Colada Shake

  • 1 frozen banana, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1 Tablespoon shredded, unsweetened coconut

There you go! 31 Flavors of Protein Shakes to keep you happily sipping those fitness friendly macronutrients needed to achieve your big transformation goal. Now your only protein shake dilemma is deciding which of these amazing shakes to try first! Remember my recommendation? Want to give it a try? Follow this link or call me to place an order. For $2/day you could be adding top notch protein to your shakes!