Tag Archives: diet

What are Probiotics and why do you need them?

Beachbody-blog-probiotics
What are Probiotics and why do you need them?

The short answer:
Your gut is filled with bacteria, good and bad. Good bacteria aids digestion, boosts immunity, and combats a number of gut-related illnesses. Emerging research shows it may also impact weight loss and influence mood. Bad bacteria hampers good bacteria and can make you sick in an assortment of ways, oftentimes involving repeated trips to the bathroom.

The two fight constantly.

Probiotics contain good bacteria. You’ll find them either in supplement form or through real foods like yogurt, tempeh, kimchi, miso, and kombucha. By taking them, you’re fortifying the troops. While they’re generally an excellent idea, they’re particularly important after you’ve had an infection or you’ve taken a round of antibiotics, because these things tend to wipe out the populations in your gut.

The long answer:
The therapeutic use of probiotics is an excellent example of ancient wisdom existing long before Western science could pull its head out. There are references to curdled milk in the Bible (Genesis 18:8 and Isaiah 7:15 if you’re keeping score), but the party really got started around the start of the 20th century when Nobel Prize–winning scientist Dr. Elias Metchnikoff reported that Bulgarian shepherds tended to live almost twice as long as urban Parisians where he was living. He pinned this on the formers’ intake of fermented milk, which he felt contained “good” and “anti-putrefactive” microorganisms.

It’s unclear how Metchnikoff made the connection between these two rather disparate groups, but it gave birth to the modern investigation of probiotics, so let’s not complain. For the last hundred plus years, science continues to discover more and more good things about the bugs living in our intestines.

The 100 trillion (give or take a trillion) bacteria that live in your gut can be divided into over 500 types. Many of the important ones fall into one of two genera, Lactobacillus andBifidobacterium. Under that, there are several species, many of which have specific benefits. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus has been shown to be especially effective in combating lactose intolerance and Montezuma’s Revenge (or “traveler’s diarrhea” if you want to be boring about it). However, unless you have a specific issue that you’re trying to address, you probably don’t need to stress about all the species.

Fun fact one: the bad bacteria you’re working to keep in check include Helicobacter pylori,Escherichia coli (E. coli), and salmonella.

Fun fact two: we’re born without bacteria in our guts, but the populating begins when we pass through the birth canal. Our first gasps of air provide yet more bacteria, as does breast milk, which is especially rich in probiotics.

It’s well-established that probiotic consumption helps with almost any intestinal issue you can think of, including constipation, lactose intolerance, GI infections, gas, diarrhea, Crohn’s disease, IBS, and IBD. It’s been shown to be effective in treating vaginal and urinary tract infections and atopic eczema. There’s also research showing probiotics may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

There are a few theories as to how this all happens. One is that good bacteria simply take up the space in the gut that the bad bacteria would take over. There’s also the fact that some good bacteria stimulate the immune system by promoting the release of various white blood cells that kill pathogens. A third idea is that many bacteria use the same fuel sources. For example, Clostridium difficile, which causes diarrhea and inflames the colon, is dependent on sugar—but so are many good bacteria. It all comes down to balance. If you have plenty of good bacteria in your gut, they’re going to dominate the monosaccharide buffet.

Look beyond GI issues, and current science on gut bacteria and probiotics gets even more amazing. A Washington University study on identical twins—one overweight and one thin—showed that they had entirely different gut microbiota, suggesting certain bacteria in your system promotes weight gain. (A separate UC Berkeley study suggests the evolutionary reason for this is that people in northern climates need more body fat, so their gut bacteria actually shifts to promote weight gain.)

But if you think popping the right probiotics will soon be the key to dropping pounds, don’t get too excited. Yet another study on mice shows that “weight loss bacteria” doesn’t seem to thrive on a high in saturated fat, low-fiber diet. However, they tend to propagate when fed a diet filled with fruits and veggies.

Researchers are also looking seriously into the gut-brain axis. In other words, those little bugs in your belly might actually have a say in your decision-making process. For instance, gut bacteria produce 95% of your serotonin, a powerful “feel-good” neurotransmitter.

And a Texas Tech University study on mice found that feeding mice the bad bacteriumCampylobacter jejuni drove up their anxiety levels.

So, yes, you should consume probiotics. How many depends on your situation. Antibiotics wipe out the microbes in your gut, so a supplement is an excellent idea after a round of those. Beyond that, if you have a gut-related issue, it’s worth researching which probiotic might help and supplement thusly.

Quality probiotic supplements can be pricey though. For most people, a solid diet filled with probiotic foods should do the trick. (For the record, Shakeology contains Bacillus coagulans, an especially hearty probiotic that can survive at room temperature when many probiotics require refrigeration.)

Yogurt is also a great source. However, it’s important to read the label. The bacteria that make the flavor and texture that Western society considers yogurt can’t survive the voyage through our GI tract, so manufacturers enhance the stuff with other strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum.

Kombucha, or fermented tea, is another great probiotic food that’s especially trendy right now. It may take a while to learn to appreciate its tangy taste, but it’s worth it. Another benefit of kombucha is that it’s incredibly simple to make.

Beyond that, there are tons of other foods out there that are technically probiotic, including tempeh, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, and various cheeses. Unfortunately, these foods are often heated or pasteurized in such a way that kills the bacteria, so check on the label to verify if the probiotics are still active. Another option is to seek out a boutique producer who deliberately maintains the bacteria in their foods. Or you might want to make them yourself.Sandor Ellix Katz’s The Art of Fermentation is an excellent resource for your bacterial DIY needs.

On a final note, remember that fruit and veggie thing a few paragraphs up? Well, it applies to all the benefits of probiotics. Gut bacteria thrives on certain foods called prebiotics, so it’s crucial to make them part of your diet. Foods especially high in prebiotics include asparagus, onion, leek, garlic, artichokes, oats, and bananas. Yacon root, which you’ll find in Shakeology, also contains prebiotics.

So make prebiotics and probiotics a cornerstone of your diet because if you’re good to all those little bugs in your gut, they’ll return the favor tenfold.

Ready to try adding some amazing probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, and whole-food nutrition to your diet? CLICK HERE!

Chemicals of Concern Quiz:

 

 

Our Global Challenge:

We realized early on that household pollutants negatively impact our health and our environment. Most of the chemicals in products in our homes have never been assessed for their impact on human health. Indoor air pollution is one of the top five highest ranking environmental health problems in America with chemical levels up to 70 times higher than outside. Research and information on the health effects of manufactured chemicals has not kept pace with their development and use.

  • In the last 50 years, the global production and use of manufactured chemicals has increased substantially. More than 80,000 new chemicals have been created.
  • Indoor air pollution is one of the top five highest-ranking environmental health problems in America.
  • Evidence shows homes have chemical levels up to 70 times higher than outside.
  • Most of the chemicals that people are exposed to every day have never been assessed for their impact on human health.
  • Parabens utilized in personal care for decades have been shown to have potential harmful effects.

What we do know is the harm chemicals have on humans is extensive. Most concerning are the growing links to chemicals that surround us in everyday life. They are linked to serious diseases such as birth defects, cancer and psychological abnormalities. Many today believe the extensive use of chemicals indoors contributes to many of our ‘modern’ diseases such as allergies and asthma.

Our Mission at Norwex is to improve quality of life by radically reducing chemicals in our homes. In addition, the Norwex products make cleaning faster and more cost effective than traditional cleaning products.

Beautiful Globe (Earth) resting on a vibrant green leafThe Norwex Solution

  • With Norwex Microfiber System, you will not breathe, touch or ingest chemicals – you simply create a cleaner, healthier indoor environment.
  • Naturally Timeless personal care products offer cutting-edge technology coupled with organic and natural ingredients – without harmful parabens or preservatives.
  • SAVE Time – the Norwex Cleaning System decreases cleaning time by 75% or more.
  • SAVE Money – An average household spends $600-$800 a year on chemical cleaning products and supplies. By using Norwex products you can realize up to a 90% savings!
  • Norwex helps make cleaning fast,fun and easy and teaches your family how to improve their health and environment!

At Norwex, our Purpose is simple but powerful: The idea that working together, with trust, integrity and honesty as our Core Values and radically reducing chemicals in our homes as our Mission, we can improve the world around us. The Norwex Purpose touches many facets of life with the end result being the ability to collectively make a powerful and positive difference in the world we live in and the lives we touch.

Go get yourself some great toxin-free cleaning supplies for your home and body – and for those you LOVE. Click HERE!

Will alcohol keep me from reaching my fitness goals?

 

Ready to start on YOUR fitness journey? CLICK HERE.

 

Want to clean up your eating? Click HERE for a FREE 14 day meal planner.

Ask the Expert: Will Drinking Alcohol Hurt My Results?

By Steve Edwards

When it comes to getting fit and healthy, alcohol is one of the first things you’re told to eliminate from your diet. Yet studies regularly show that those who drink live longer and healthier lives than those who don’t. So, what’s the deal? Is alcohol a magic potion for a long and healthy life, or is your fitness the only thing it’s going to take the edge off?


Woman Sunning Near a pool with a Glass of Wine


The consumption of alcohol in some form or another has been around since the first caveman left some fruit in the sun too long, causing it to ferment (what a crazy night around the fire that was). Since we’ve always had it and, if history is any indication, we always will, we should have a strategy about how to use it.

What is alcohol?

Alcohol starts out healthy enough, as a plant, where it’s the byproduct of the decaying process (fermentation). Although it’s technically a depressant, its effect on the human body manifests as making you feel giddy, powerful, and awesome on the dance floor. And because it’s natural, you know, like tobacco and opium, it’s got to be good, right? Oh, wait. Maybe not.

And just like other natural things, the food industry has found unnatural ways to create alcohol that tend to be cheaper and even less healthy. But, I’m nitpicking because ultimately alcohol is alcohol. You’re going to get hammered whether you drink Night Train or single-malt Scotch—although all the chemicals in the rotgut might give you a worse hangover.

Glass of LiquidAnd for you out there who think you’re beating the system with your Diet Coke® and rum, alcohol has calories. A lot of them. At 7 calories per gram, alcohol has more calories by volume than both carbs and proteins and slightly less than fats. (Plus, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine,1 drinking diet soda with alcohol could get you drunk faster.)

More importantly, these calories have no food value. That’s right. Nada. Zilch. You’re adding calories to your diet, the only performance enhancing quality of which is to help you brag about yourself down at the pub.

The big question people usually ask me is whether or not they should drink alcohol while doing P90X®, INSANITY®, or one of our other boot camp–style programs. When you’re trying to change your body, the crux is making the nutritional switch from high-calorie/low-nutrient foods to low-calorie/high-nutrient foods. Since alcohol is a very high-calorie/no-nutrient food, you can see why it never ranks very high onMichi’s Ladder.

Keep in mind that we’re not telling you to abstain from alcohol forever. We’re advising you cut down on it—or completely cut it out—while you’re trying to transform your body.

What about all the studies showing alcohol is good for you?

The lifestyle studies that show up on the wires almost ubiquitously champion alcohol consumption because moderate drinkers always outlive everyone else. In fact, one major study showed that even excessive drinkers lived longer than teetotalers. There is no scientific surface explanation as to why this would be the case, so most experts chalk it up to lifestyle. Those who drink tend to be less stressed about life, in general, and stress is intricately linked to shorter life spans.

This is why our nutrition guides also generally give parameters for moderate drinking. If it makes you happy then, by all means, don’t quit. Just learn to be a healthy drinker.

But as I said above, when you’re doing one of our programs, the rules of nutrition shift slightly. You’re pushing your body harder, so it behooves you to keep nutrition tiptop. Furthermore, if you can’t go 90 days without a drink, you might want to consider your relationship with alcohol. It is, after all, an addictive substance.

The Dark Side of Drinking

And on that topic, alcohol has a dark side beyond calories. It can easily lead to an excessive path. If you’re a clever writer, you might make a nefarious career out of being a boozer, but it wreaks havoc on most of us.

Behavioral issues aside, let’s take a quick look at how alcohol can add up from a dietary perspective. A 12-ounce beer is about 150 or so calories. Ditto a 5-ounce glass of wine. One shot (1.5 oz) of the straight stuff has between 85 and 115 calories, depending on what proof it is.

Man Lying on the Floor next to a Glass of LiquidUnfortunately we tend to have more than that one serving. Often a lot more. Those longevity studies give the best numbers to folk who have 1–2 drinks a day, not those taking the Silver Bullet Express to every sporting event on TV.

When you pound a twelver during a weekend double-header, you’ve done serious dietary damage. Factor in that in our tendency to offset a drunken state-of-grace with greasy indulgences and it’s easy to see how Monday Night Football® at Cheers might result in unnecessary roughness. And despite the advice you’ll get on Good Morning America®, a quick jog the next day is not going to fight the beer belly you’ll get from those binges.

So the short answer here to whether it’s okay to drink when you’re working out is, “Sure. In moderation.” If you don’t already drink, I don’t think you need to start, but if you’re already a drinker, limit your intake and take the occasional time off, especially if you’re into a serious training cycle.

Do that, and I’ll raise a glass to you!

 

Want to clean up your eating? Click HERE for a FREE 14 day meal planner.

Leptin, Hormones, Hypothalamus, and Resetting Your System

 

What is Leptin?

So…this might be a lot for you all to take in: Leptin, hormones, hypothalamus, immune system, thyroid, weight loss / gain, energy levels, nutrition, health, fitness. Yes, it’s all intertwined.  I believe that most people know this to be true, yet few are willing to do much about it.

I’m taking part in a 6 Day Reset – where I am addressing my health at a hormonal level.  It’s more than just being healthy on the outside (weight, muscles, endurance and such). It’s also about being healthy on the inside (energy, mental state, and brain function).

Click HERE to get more information on the 6 day reset.

leptin, hormones, energy, hypothalamus, brain function, weight loss, hormones, thyroid

What is Leptin?

The short answer is: it’s a hormone that comes from your hypothalamus.  If you remember, the hypothalamus is something that I’ve been researching and teaching about for over two years now.  It’s what regulates your hunger, thirst, mood, relationships, and sleep.  That’s sums up who we are, doesn’t it? The hypothalamus is regulated by glucose and sends out hormones to the rest of our system.  Leptin is created there…in the hypothalamus.  Read more about my findings and beliefs concerning the hypothalamus here.

Read more about Leptin herehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leptin I’ve spent most of my day researching this for you. Basically – it’s the hunger hormone. It tells us when we are full.  It regulates appetite to achieve energy homeostasis. In obesity, a decreased sensitivity to leptin occurs, resulting in an inability to detect satiety despite high energy stores.

The purpose of Day 2 of the 6 Day Reset is to fix this imbalance or decreased sensitivity.  We need to reset our brain…don’t think “I have no will-power” or “I just can’t seem to put the fork down,” think “what’s going on in my brain that is making me keep eating?”  The thing is, it’s an addiction.  It has to do with dopemine and our nutrition.

What peripheral systems (non-Hypothalamus) does Leptin effect?

Circulatory, reproduction, bone, brain (hippocampus), and the immune systems are affected by Leptin in a variety of ways. Wikipedia says, “…, chronically elevated leptin levels are associated with obesity, overeating, and inflammation-related diseases, including hypertensionmetabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.”  

Thyroid, gut, heart, brain…what else is there? This stuff is for real, and it’s important to not develop a decreased sensitivity to Leptin…and if you already have, there’s a chance to reset!

You need to RESET your relationship with FOOD

How? If you specifically fight belly fat, it very well could be something as simple as too much fructose in your diet.  Fructose? That’s the stuff in FRUIT.  That’s what makes fruit sweet.  Can you get too much? Yes and no. The interesting thing I just discovered is that about 60% of adults have difficulty processing sugar from fruits: FRUCTOSE.  And the thing is, it’s added to a lot of processed food.  First: HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. Yes, that’s right. That’s why people were taught to believe that HFCS was “good” for you – the sugar comes from fruit, so it can’t be all that bad, right?  Well, if you’re not burning off that extra fructose, or if you have trouble processing it on your own, it WILL turn to fat.

Here’s how to reset your sensitivity to Leptin:

  1. Stop eating fruit for three days.  No sugar, no fruits, no added fructose, no sweets.  Try to keep your fructose levels to less than 20 grams per day.  Some veggies (true veggies, not tomatoes) will still have some fructose.  That’s okay.  But stick to true veggies.  True veggies are foods without seeds (this is debatable, but just for now, humor me).
  2. Eat protein with your first meal.  Eggs, meat, tofu, etc.  Give it a go.  If you need ideas of high-protein foods, just Google it!
  3. Eat at least one pound of vegetables eat day…for three days. Again, real vegetables are key here.
  4. Increase the good fats: coconut oil, fish, avocados, olives.
  5. Eliminate alcohol for three days.

You can always look into Leptin food lists, hormones in the body, and fructose intolerance.  The findings are interesting.  You can get lost in the research, but if you believe that you have these issues…it’s worth the look.

It is important to know that everyone is different. While some will respond very well to this reset, some will need an extra boost.  Ask me for more information on Leptin, the hypothalamus, and how nutrition can reset your entire system.

Here are some new ways to get rid of toxins in your body and environment: CLICK HERE!

Check out our free program to help you reach your goals:

GOAL TRACKER

 

Self-Sabotage

 

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Self-sabotage.

What is it? Seriously, what does that even mean? Does it really mean that people would actually stop themselves from being the best they can be?  How does something like that even get a name?

If we were created to be amazing, awesome, and fabulous…why would WE be the ones to stop ourselves from reaching that potential? Why do we self-destruct? How are we so good at procrastination when it comes to our hopes and dreams? Our goals?

I would think (hope) that no one would intentionally self-sabotage, that no one would consciously make that choice. But, what IS it? What causes those habits and inner voices to take over our will-power and natural instincts to be great?

self-sabotage, self-destruct, procrastination

How is self-sabotage creeping in?

Mostly, self-sabotage comes in the form of procrastination and talking yourself out of reaching goals. It undermines our potential. We believe these acts to be helpful – to be saving us from some disaster, but in the long-run, these acts lead to us wanting more, being discouraged, and losing ourselves.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

You imagine yourself being healthier. Not even losing weight or body-building…but just being healthier because it’s good for you. It’s the right thing to do. Perhaps you would like to stop eating sugars, or maybe it’s processed food that you want to cut out. Dairy? Alcohol? Something as simple as chips?

Of course there is always one more event, one more birthday party, one more holiday that’s just around the corner.  For me, every Wednesday at work is treat day. Every. Single. Wednesday.   There are doughnuts, cupcakes, cookies, Chex Mix, bagels and cream cheese, more cookies, pita chips, hummus, dips, crackers, banana bread…oh – and the occasional fruit and veggie tray (and those all come with dips and sauces).  But seriously, it’s every Wednesday. Then, there are the staff birthdays.  It seems like we might go a month or two with no birthdays, but then (like April) there are five in a row…almost every other day we are having special treats.

And, it’s not just healthy habits that I’m talking about.  I am talking about finding the perfect relationships (just when you find a good one, you do something stupid that causes it to end before it ever really starts). Or maybe it’s your job…you know, staying where you are even when a GREAT offer comes along; it must be too good to be true, you’re comfortable where you are, you’ve made such good friends, it’s close to your favorite bar…

self-sabotage, self-destruct, procrastination

Here’s what I’ve learned about Self-Sabotage and Self-Destructing behaviors:

1. The first step is to recognize it. Spot it.  Call it out: why am I thinking this way? Is there really a lot of risk involved, or am I just being a chicken? Why am I procrastinating? What are the effects of procrastination?

2. Try to understand the message. What is your conscience trying to tell you? Is it throwing up a red flag of “OMG, you better stop right now!!!”  or is it just a yellow “hey, use a little caution here, friend” type of flag?

3. Perhaps you are experiencing the “upper limit problem.”  Are you getting comfortable with your current level of success? Are you afraid of failing? Are the risks not worth the possible outcome?

Once you figure out the why of that negative self-talk…it’s easier to start on the why not?!

I encourage you to Google images for self-sabotage.  I keep trying to think of words to describe all of the Google images that come up – but that’s just it…a picture is worth a thousand words. Just go Google it.

This website is an amazing source of information. Check it out!

Here is another great article about self-sabotage and how it can ruin a perfectly good plan.  Click here.

If you are looking to better yourself, reach your goals, be the amazing person you were meant to be…follow this blog, friend me on Facebook, comment below. I’m here to be your encourager!

History of New Year’s Resolutions

 

People have been making resolutions for generations. Thousands of years, literally, humans have been making promises to themselves about ways to improve their lives, turn over a new leaf.

Babylonians used to make promises to the gods that they would return borrowed objects and repay debts.

Romans would make promises to their god, Janus (January).

Knights would re-affirm commitments to chivalry and the land at the end of the Christmas season.

Current religions still have parallels to this tradition. Reflections, atonement, fasting, sacrifice, improvement…all common themes among year or seasonal transitions.

In the 1940s, about 25% of Americans made New Year’s resolutions. Currently, about 40% make them. Question is: how many last?

What are some current examples of New Year’s Resolutions?

Donate more to the poor.
Become more assertive.
Be more environmentally responsible.
Improve physical well-being
Lose weight
Exercise more
Eat better
Drink less
Quit smoking
Get rid of clutter
Career improvements
Start or finish school
Learn something new (hobby or language)
Read more
Become more organized
Manage time more efficiently
Watch less TV
Play fewer video games
Volunteer to help others
Spend quality time with family
Pray more

What is the success rate of New Year’s Resolutions?

Despite the fact that 52% of people are confident of success at the beginning of the year, about 88% of those who set New year resolutions fail.

Goal setting seems to be a key factor in success.

Set up a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying “lose weight”).

Also, make the goals public so friends and family can offer support and accountability.

What are your goals and resolutions?

How are you going to hold yourself accountable?

Are you going to be rewarded for maintaining your resolution for small increments?

What have been your past goals?

Were you successful at those? Why or why not?

The Best Diet … Counting Calories

 

Counting Caloriescounting calories, best diet, plexus slim, healthy diet, weight loss, how many calories are in,

Counting calories can be very complicated. There are so many things that go into figuring out how many we are supposed to have daily, how much each activity burns, and the “good vs. bad” calorie…where do we even start?

Calorie Counting through the Ages

Although it may seem like you’ve been counting calories forever…it’s a relatively new idea.  Around the beginning of the 20th century, scientist Wilbur Atwater created a machine that burned and measured food ashes to find out how much energy was released and how much energy was in the food. This was the beginning of a calorie – and counting them.

Is there a difference between different types of calories?

Pretty much, a calorie is a calorie.  Some foods might make you feel fuller – so you will consume fewer calories, but overall – the energy needed to burn the calorie is the same.  A calorie of celery is the same as a calorie of chocolate.  Common sense tells us that there is a lot more celery in one calorie than chocolate. Carbohydrates and proteins have four calories per gram. Fats have nine calories per gram. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram.

Eating foods high in fat – or drinking alcohol will cause you to use up your calorie allotment much quicker. Say you eat eggs and bacon, with a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast…and you’re wanting to lose weight by only consuming 1200 calories per day…you’ve used up most of your calorie intake by 8:30 am.

  Where “a calorie is a calorie” doesn’t apply

Different foods product different effects on the body – some foods cause the body to release hormones that say store fat…some say release sugar…some say build muscle. Different proportions of fat, carbs, and proteins will result in different amounts of lost weight.

Why It’s Hard to Keep Count of Calories

 Most Americans claim to count calories – however most calculate incorrectly. People either have no idea how much calories they need daily or how much they are actually consuming.  We need about 2,000 calories on average to maintain life.  If you consume more calories than you burn – you are going to gain weight.

Restaurant entrees and bigger portions make it more difficult to gauge the calories in a meal. For example – most people are able to guess about how many calories are in an egg or an apple. But, lasagna, apple pie, omelets, and a cheeseburger? People greatly underestimate the calories of these dishes.

Calorie Counting Alternatives

Start counting calories burned for workouts.  We usually pay attention to our heart rate, time, or distance during exercise.  We should look at how many calories we are burning.  Instead of saying, “I’m going to get on the treadmill for 30 minutes.” We should say, “I’m going to get on the treadmill until I burn off 300 calories. (which is a soda and an extra slice of cheese on a sandwich)”

Here are some tips on what to do instead of counting calories:

  • eat smaller portions. 
  • choose foods that use more calories. (high-fiber, protein foods)
  • make sure you consume the right kind of calories. (nutrient rich foods instead of sweets and alcohol)

Don’t worry so much about counting calories. Consider making your calories count!

What can you do if you’re convinced that counting calories is the way to go? Read this!

What is the best diet…Raw Food Diet

 

Raw Food Diet

So, here is the fourth entry…Raw Food Diet. Don’t forget to look back at the VLCD, no-carb, and Frequent Small Meals diets to get a full review of your options.

Raw Food Diet

raw food, raw food diet, best diet, diet review

How it works: 

The Raw Food diet is pretty self-explanatory. Believers and followers eat only raw foods. To be considered raw – the foods you eat must not have been cooked, microwaved, heated about 115 degrees F, genetically engineered, treated with herbicides or pesticides, or processed in any way.  Foods naturally have vitamins and minerals that they body uses to build new cells - and the theory is that cooking and processing food kills the integrity of the food.  Many raw food dieters are vegan (which means they don’t consume ANY animal products: butter, cheese, milk, meat, gelatin, etc). However, some will consider eating raw milk, fish, and certain kinds of raw meat – although eating raw milk and meats / fish is a risk of a different matter.

Does the Raw Food Diet help to lose weight?

Typically, following the raw food diet will result in weight loss simply because fewer calories are consumed overall – no carbs, no chips, no soda, no candy, no ice cream, no cake, no cookies, no lunch meat, etc. Since everything is fresh – and needs to be planned out ahead of time, there is very little chance of random snacking from a vending machine or at a party / office food event. You’ll just have to pass on everything.

Does the Raw Food Diet help with overall health?

I think the answer to this question is obvious. Yes…eating whole foods free of additives and artificial junk is tremendously important to your overall health and wellness. This doesn’t just apply to your body (weight, health, disease fighting, etc) but also applies to your mind and mental health. Eating REAL food keeps your brain working better. Remember – what you eat is what creates cells to replace old and dead cells.  If you are replenishing cells with processed food – it’s just not going to work the same as a cell replenished with natural food.

Pros of the Raw Food Diet

The raw food diet is super trendy. It’s the cool thing to do these days: eating organic, whole foods…it’s a definite conversation starter.  People tend to use this as a way to be better than their counterparts. Especially if they can get their kids to eat raw food diets as well.

An option that some are doing is the mostly raw food diet…or the raw food diet detox / cleanse - eating raw foods for a few weeks every so often to jump-start a weight loss, detox after a while of “bad” eating, or just as a cleanse.  That might be easier for most to handle.

Cons of the Raw Food Diet

Rare food dieting is the opposite of convenient. Buying and preparing fresh food is time consuming…even if there is no actual preparation – finding, sorting, storing, washing, cutting, and storing again is work. There are few raw food restaurants available – and while most grocery stores have organic foods, the selection isn’t close to that of processed, treated, GMO foods.

For those with a family – getting the whole family on board is a trick. Even just getting a husband to eat raw is difficult, but with kids it’s virtually impossible to shield them from the outside world of “un-whole” foods.  Not to mention party planning, celebrations, holidays, etc.

Besides the planning and coordinating aspect…it’s very expensive.

 

How to quit drinking soda

 

First of all – congratulations! You are on the right track to a healthier you! It’s important that, like with all recovery situations, you acknowledge the problem.  It sounds silly, like an intervention, but by searching ways to quit drinking soda, you are admitting that there is a problem.

soda, how to quit soda, how to quit drinking soda, how to stop drinking soda, diet soda, dangers of soda,

Soda is Addictive

Over half of Americans drink soda every day.  That’s 7.5 billions of gallons of soda every year…just for Americans. That’s literally tons of soda. Why is it so addictive? For some people to quit, they need to understand what makes it addictive in the first place.  It’s like when my husband finally decided to quit smoking: it wasn’t the money, the stained teeth, the smelly clothes, the health implications even…it was the science behind the addiction that made him quit. Once he discovered that his addiction was a game that the tobacco companies where playing with his mind, body, health, and wallet – that’s when he had to quit.  He didn’t like being a puppet.  So, even if that’s not what motivates you to quit – maybe it will help you to understand why you are addicted.

Why is soda bad for you?

It’s a very simple mixture of extremely dangerous ingredients: extremely high levels of sugar / high fructose corn syrup, corrosive phosphoric acid, ‘natural’ caramel coloring, and a well-known drug that has a powerful effect on your brain chemistry – caffeine.

A regular Coke (I’ll talk about diet sodas later) has about 10 – 17 teaspoons of sugar. At any given time, we should only have about one teaspoon of sugar in our blood.  That means – our body is able to healthily handle just a smidge of sugar…and ideally that sugar would come from fruits and veggies, but even straight up sugar or corn syrup…one teaspoon is about all it needs to function.  What happens to that extra sugar? It makes your blood sugar crazy – causing highs and lows, mood swings, hunger binges, diabetes, hypoglycemia, obesity, and hormonal imbalances. You become addicted to the sugar in ways you can’t understand without a science degree.

What about diet sodas? The lack of sugar doesn’t make it any better. The aspartame or artificial sweetener can kick start kidney problems, cause metabolic syndrome, disrupt your body’s method of processing calories, damage cells, and rot your teeth. Not to mention that drinking sweet stuff promotes sweet addiction – so you’ll still crave sweets in other forms.

The phosphoric acid in soda is a 2.5 ph…battery acid is a 1 and water is a 7. The body uses other much-needed minerals to bring that acid to safe levels…minerals that are needed to keep osteoporosis and bone fractures at bay. If you are pulling those minerals out of your system to combat acid…they aren’t doing their intended job.

The ‘natural’ caramel coloring in sodas like Pepsi and Coke is made by reacting sugar with sulfites and ammonia under high temperatures – which, even though I can research how this is bad for us, I don’t need to. It just sounds wrong.

Then…there’s CAFFEINE.  Caffeine is, besides sugar, one of the most addictive things we put in our body. It’s legal and most (80%) of Americans use it daily.  Again, I can tell you all about adenosine and how its job is to slow down nerve activity…and caffeine blocks that from happening…so you speed up. But, caffeine is addictive…like sugar. So – you’re addicted to soda. Your brain is dependent on soda. It craves soda. It needs soda to function at a “normal” level. And it’s extremely difficult to break that addiction. Read here for more on addiction.

So, How Do I Quit Drinking Soda?

HYDRATE

Drink at least half your body weight in water each day. If you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink a minimum of 75 ounces of water daily.

SEEK SUPPORT

If you drink soda in social settings, tell your friends to help you stop. Sometimes, joining a Facebook or online support group is enough to hold you accountable. Or – just being verbal about your desire to quit is enough. Do lots of research about it.

OTHER CAFFEINES

There are lots of safer ways to get caffeine than a soda. The sugar, chemicals, and “refreshing” nature (carbonation) of soda also play into their appeal – but play into their dangers as well.  Green tea and cacao  – even coffee – offer safer alternatives to soda. Caffeine isn’t the only bad thing in soda. It’s a complete, awful package all rolled into one.

The Number One Way that I Kicked my Soda / Diet Soda Habit

A balanced diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables.  Join our next Clean Eating Challenge or check out our Facebook Support Group here:  http://facebook.com/groups/fitnessandnutritionsupport

 

How to keep to 1200 calories to lose weight

 

First, most people have no idea how many calories they consume every day.  I am never honest with how many calories I eat - I usually restrict my meals, but snacking is what gets me.  At night, while fixing my kid’s sack lunches for the next day, I’d eat a spoonful of peanut butter…that’s about 200 calories right before bed.  Then I might eat a little jelly, or a little more peanut butter…it was awful for me! While I’d fix dinner, I’d snack on some tortillas or cheese, or even veggies / fruit. Then I’d eat dinner – then eat a little of what was left on my kids’ plates…then a bite or two of left-overs (that’s not enough to save for tomorrow, but not enough to throw away!) then I’d eat that peanut butter.  No exercise.  Maybe a glass of wine or a cocktail…I’d sabotage every effort that I made that day during a two or three hour time-frame at night.  That’s one of the main reasons that I decided to give Plexus Slim a try. I needed to feel fuller, stop the cravings, increase my will power, and just feel better about life and myself so I’d be less likely to emotional-binge.  And it worked! Plexus products really made a difference – so much that I did more research on what all it takes to lose that extra weight.  Here’s what I discovered:

Calorie needs

I went to a calorie needs calculator to find out about my caloric needs. I googled “calorie needs calculator” and this is what I decided to use – there are 100s of options – I just picked the first one.

http://caloriecount.about.com/tools/calories-goal

Then, I filled out the little form. I’m 5’2″ and currently weigh 120 pounds. That might not sound like a lot, but it’s 12 pounds more than I want to weigh. Keep this in mind: if you are 5’8″, you are 6 inches taller than me.  Each inch over 5 feet is about 5 pounds.  That means that I weigh the equivalent of you weighing 150 pounds.  I want to weigh 108 – so that’s the equivalent of 138.

So, the form determined the following:

Results

You should consume about 1,200 calories a day to reach your goal weight of 108 lbs . This is at a reasonable weight loss average of 0.38 lbs per week, which should be reached by February 20, 2015.

Experts recommend weight loss at the rate of 0.5-2 lbs/week. Remember that this estimate is based on your body weight, height, age, gender, and activity level. It may vary slightly depending on other factors.

Generally, women should not consume any less than 1,200 calories per day, and men should not consume less than 1,500 calories per day.

Read that again…    .38 pounds per week!  That’s such a small amount – and they recommend that I take until February to lose 12 pounds.  WOW!

Keep in mind that I’ve already lost 20 pounds since starting Plexus products in February 2014 (it’s July 2014 now)…and I’d lost 14 pounds two years ago from using a super low-calorie diet.  I had a baby in 2009 (and as with the other two pregnancies, I bubbled up to 175 pounds). Since I was almost 40 for the last baby, it was 50 times more difficult to drop that last baby weight.

How much is a pound?

Another thing I discovered is that 3500 calories equals one pound. So – overeating 3500 calories will result in gaining a pound.  Not burning 3500 calories results in gaining a pound. Restricting your calories by 3500 calories will result in losing a pound.  Burning an extra 3500 calories will result in losing a pound.

BUT…consider the fact that if you’ve been gaining a two pounds a month…you are eating 7000 calories too much every month.  If you want to maintain your current weight, you’ll need to cut out 7000 calories every month.  But if you want to lose two pounds a month – you’ll need to cut out 14,000 calories a month from what you eat right now!  Read that again.  That’s a lot of calories.  Now – what if you want to lose two pounds a week?  That’s a lot to cut out!

So – losing .38 pounds per week sounds like nothing, but it’s (as we know) harder than it sounds…it always is.

I’ve decided to count calories for a month to see what I really eat and what I really burn.  I’m supposed to eat 1200 calories a day to lose weight. They say not to consume less than 1200 calories a day (in order to stay healthy), but I also believe a day or two of fasting is good for me.  If I need consume less than 1200 calories in order to lose weight – I’m making a commitment to actually burn the extra. So – I’m going to focus on a 1200 calorie intake – with a 300 calorie burn every day.  I’ll see where that takes me.

Calorie counter

I’m going to use MyFitnessPal to count calories when I can’t use my pre-counted food.

I’ll post my pre-counted food for the week tomorrow – since I’ll be grocery shopping, juice-prepping, and bagging up everything. Also…my walking / mom-ercise will start…more on that tomorrow as well.

If you are curious about how I lost that 20 pounds, or what I’m doing to feel so much better about life, and more motivated to get healthy – browse around this blog. There is a ton of health and science information concerning my recent journey.

Follow this blog to follow my next weight-loss challenge and success (or failures) to come!