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What are Probiotics and why do you need them?

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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!

Will alcohol keep me from reaching my fitness goals?

 

Ready to start on YOUR fitness journey? CLICK HERE.

 

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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.

The Best Diet … Counting Calories

 

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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!

Making it Right…how to get a child to actually “be” sorry / apologize

 

For years, it has been debated on whether or not to have a child say “I’m sorry” to someone who they have wronged.  I’ve seen parents and caregivers have 12 month olds say “I’m sorry” to peers – when obviously there is no feeling behind it.  I have always felt that when we do that, we are actually demoting the sincerity of the apology and creating children who don’t really care about their actions.

My history of being sorry and apologizing

I’m a firm believer in not ever apologizing for something more than once.  If I wrong you, repeatedly, then it means that I have a character flaw and can’t or won’t do anything about it.  For example, if I cheat on you after a night of drunkenness – then I will feel regret. But, when I get caught, and say “I’m sorry” what am I sorry for? Getting caught? Cheating? Getting drunk? Breaking the rules of relationships? Hurting you?  So – to say I’m sorry that one time…yes, that’s understandable as long as it’s sincere and NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN. If it happens again, then that’s not a fluke. That’s a character flaw.  Okay – so drunken cheating is a bad example….let’s say that I have a texting relationship with someone far away. Texting something inappropriate one time…then thinking about it….realizing it was inappropriate and NEVER DOING IT AGAIN – that’s something to be sorry for. But carrying on a texting relationship for years? That’s a character flaw. It’s premeditated. It’s just wrong.  Okay – so that’s another strong example. Stealing? Same thing. Heat of the moment – not thinking straight.  Feeling regret and making it right and never doing it again… that’s feeling sorry about something.

An adult should never have to apologize for something twice.  If it’s who you are, you can’t change that. If you’re a cheater, drunk, thief – that’s no reason to apologize. That’s a reason to get help.  Also, don’t ever apologize for how I feel: “I’m sorry you’re mad” is not an apology. Think about that for a bit.

A less extreme example?  I don’t know – being an adult is complicated and extreme by nature. Let’s talk about how to do “sorry” with kids.

How to get a child to say “sorry” and mean it

Let’s say that two children are playing nicely in the sand box.  Bobby has a blue shovel;  Katie has a red shovel. Katie takes the blue shovel from Bobby and makes him cry.  Now she has two shovels. What now? The caregiver (parent, nanny, babysitter, teacher) goes over and talks to Bobby first.

Adult: Bobby, tell me what happened. Why are you crying? (don’t infer feelings by asking “why are you sad?” He might not be sad…)

Bobby: Katie took my shovel.

Adult: Oh Bobby, you go talk to Katie and tell her how you feel.

Bobby: Katie, I don’t like that. I’m not done.

Katie: But, but, yadda, yadda…

Adult: Katie, you took that shovel without asking for your turn.  Tell Bobby that what you did was wrong.

Katie: Bobby, I shouldn’t have taken that shovel from you. It was wrong to not ask first. I won’t do it again. Do you forgive me? May I have a turn when you are finished?  (with lots of coaching)

Adult: Bobby, do you forgive her? Can she be next?

Bobby: Of course! (Hugs Katie) I forgive you, here’s to blue shovel!

Yeah, right!

Okay, so you get the point:

The “victim” gets the attention first.

Don’t assign feelings to either one. Just make observations about behavior.

Help the “victim” address the “attacker” by using his or her words.

The “attacker” needs to say that what they did was wrong, why it was wrong, that they won’t do it again, and ask for forgiveness.

There must be a resolution of some sort with closure or further action needed.

Here’s another example of getting a child to apologize

Sara and Mike are riding tricycles. Their wheels get tangled up and both are screaming mad. Mike gets off his trike, bites Sara on the hand, and pushes her off the trike.

Adult: Sara! Are you okay? That looks like it hurt. What happened?

Sara:  He…he…he…MY TRIKE!!!!

Adult: Mike, you get off the trike and come make this right with Sara, do you understand? You bit her and that is not okay. Talk to Sara and see if you can help her feel better.

Mike: Sara, I shouldn’t have bitten you. It was wrong for me to get so angry and hurt you. I won’t do it again. Do you forgive me? (of course with lots of adult help to say these things when the children are so young)

Sara: No, I don’t. I’m very hurt and angry right now. Maybe I’ll talk to you again soon, but my hand really hurts…

Anyway – so you get the idea. It’s not ever going to happen like this, but this is an example of where you’d like it to go eventually.  Getting the children to just say sorry – that’s a piece of cake.

What if the child won’t apologize?

Then the child needs to go sit out until he or she is ready to at least make an attempt. By 24 months old, a child should be able to offer hugs. Then, the adult needs to role play the situation for the children – saying the words, getting the children to look at each other, nodding and hugging – that sort of thing. It will become increasingly more elaborate and self-regulated as the children age and have more exposure to this routine.

I have 30 month olds in my care that can do this on their own with very little coaching from an adult. They are able to complete the cycle from beginning to end – even putting themselves in “time-out” until they are ready to start the apologizing process.

Now…getting adults to apologize –  that’s a different story! If people would just stop screwing up, there’d be no need!

 

 

 

 

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.

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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!

 

How to change a husband’s eating habits

 

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This is true…Dennis shopping

How to get a husband to take care of himself.

I got Dennis to eat better – because I was going to live a long, long time – and he didn’t want to leave me (read: die) to live out the rest of my happy, healthy life alone.  Maybe it was when we had the last baby. He was 40ish when she was born.  Maybe it was all the science studies he was doing. He discovered a ton of information about genetics, disease, diet, and longevity. Maybe it was his commitment to quit smoking. He learned about our body’s reaction to addiction. Whatever the case may be, Dennis now juices and eats vegetables. My husband never, ever ate greens. Well, occasionally he would take a nibble of broccoli or a bite of cauliflower.  He would eat salad, but pile on the cheese and ranch dressing first.  And bacon.

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It doesn’t have to be like this…

Introduction to health -

After introducing him to Joe (Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead) and his amazing work, my husband started eating veggies, juicing at dinner (and still eating, but drinking his juice and eating his veggies first), and avoiding fast food at lunch.  Dennis has never had a weight problem – that WAS the problem.  He is fit and trim. Every time he would go to the doctor (about once every five years) he was told that he was fit as a fiddle and everything looked great. I wish the doctor would have told Dennis a lie. Something like: oh my gosh, you’re over weight, your lipids are all out of whack, your heart is screwy!  But, nope. He always got a clean bill of health – so why would he ever stop eating junk?  Once he decided to quit smoking – in 2011 – he realized how addictive things are in our lives: cigarettes, sweets, carbs, fat, etc.  So, we decided to make the change.  More organic, real food. Juicing at least 4 times a week. Very, very little processed foods.  Of course, there is no marker of improvement on his health – again, he was always given a clean bill at the doctor.  BUT, we feel great! We’ve incorporated some other lifestyle changes (other than smoking and eating) and supplemented with some probiotics and such.  My oldest daughter has started juicing – and is encouraging her younger siblings to do the same…mostly so she’s not the only one left to take care of us when we are 150 years old.

What to juice – All About Juicing

 

Juicing is pretty intense.

I put a lot into it every week:

selecting the ingredients, cutting, washing, sorting, storing, then the actual juicing. But, it doesn’t have to be all that daunting.

What I Buy

Every week, I buy:

1 bunch of kale

1 bunch of bok choy or collard greens

1 bag of brussels sprouts

5 small beets (with or without the greens)

2 bunches of celery

2 pounds of carrots

sometimes ginger

1 bag of red apples

1 bag of green apples

5 small grapefruit

Preparing to Juice

On Saturday or Sunday, I cut, wash, and separate all the ingredients except the apples and grapefruit. Those I wash and cut the night of the juicing. I have a washtub that I keep in the fridge that holds 5 bags of prepared juice veggies…

The above weekly ingredients will make about 5 bags for juicing.

There will be about 3 or 4 carrots, 4 or 5 celery stalks, one small beet, small handful of kale, bok choy, and / or collard greens, 3 to 5 brussels sprouts, very small amount of ginger in each bag.

I use as much of the stalks as possible.

I use organic as much as possible – especially the kale, celery, carrots, and apples. Those absorb the most bad stuff when not organic.

I don’t really peel anything, except the beets.

The Night of the JUICING…

So, while I’m fixing dinner…I core the apples and peel the grapefruit. I get out the bag that was prepared over the weekend, and I juice away. It makes about 20 ounces – which I split with my husband.

I drink mine with a straw -  Dennis just guzzles. He literally downs it with one big gulp!

I also add diatomaceous earth and chia seeds. Again…that is for another post – but I love these two products!

Juicing is sometimes daunting. But, it doesn’t have to be overly time consuming or challenging.

I still eat a little dinner – but not nearly as much. I try to drink the juice first…on an empty stomach. And really, after drinking 8-10 ounces of juice, I’m not that hungry. There just isn’t room for all those calories…I mean greasy meat and fatty pasta…I mean other food.

Of course juicing is just one option for a healthy diet.  For most people, just eating a well-balanced diet is enough to maintain optimum health.  Be sure to join our Clean Eating Challenge!

 

 

 

Earth Day should be every day

I’ve been seeing a lot about Earth Day…and just saying, but everyday should be about taking care of yourself and taking care of the planet. My husband, Dennis, and I juice fairly regularly. We go through bursts of every night…then, baseball, soccer, school, crying kids, late nights at the park…get in the way. So – mostly, we juice 3 – 5 times per week. I’ll post our tried and true recipe in a bit, but first:

My older daughter, 17, juices with us – especially during cross country and track season. She doesn’t mind the juice at all, it’s just a matter of getting her home to eat dinner with us so she CAN drink  the juice.

My son, 12, pretty much refuses to drink it. He’ll try occasionally. Usually, if he’s had stomach problems from sneaking too much junk or chocolate (yes, chocolate is NOT junk…it’s just chocolate).  Anyway, my daughter got so frustrated with him on night, she yelled, “Come ON!  Drink the juice! Mom and Dad are going to live to be 150 years old…and I’m not going to be the only one left to take care of them! Drink. The. Juice!”   He drank about 6 ounces. We were happy.

So, yes…take care of the Earth. Take care of yourself. We are the same matter that’s been around on this planet for 4.6 billion years. Nothing new is actually created – it just gets shuffled around.

We are the beets, rocks, stardust, and kale.