Archive | September, 2011

Fats, Fats, & More Fats–The Real Scoop on Fats

29 Sep

I know what you’re thinking…how in the world can fats be healthy?  Well believe it or  not some fat in our diet is actually good for us, but it has to be the right types of fat.  Ready for a 10 second lesson in nutrition? Okay, well maybe a little longer than 10 seconds…

There are five types of fat: Saturated fat, hydrogenated fat (includes partially hydrogenated fats), polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and trans fatty acids.  They’re scary words I know, but I’ll break them down into lay person’s terms and explain how they affect your body, where you find them and which to avoid and keep in your diet!  Let’s go!!

First let’s talk about the wholly bad, which should be avoided at all costs…

Hydrogenated/Partially Hydrogenated Fats: during food processing, some fats go through a chemical alteration know in the industry as hydrogenation.  Hydrogenation is basically where hydrogen is chemically injected into the fat oils at high temperatures.  Food companies add hydrogenated fats to foods to make them more stable in order to increase their shelf lives.  A twinkie’s shelf life is reported to be 27 years!  That’s ridiculous! And probably an urban myth, Hostess (the makers of Twinkies) say the shelf life is more around 25 days, but others say they’ve seen Twinkies that are 25 years old and could very possibly still be eaten!  Hydrogenated oils are proven to raise levels of your LDL cholesterol (the bad type!) and leads to an increased risk

Trans fatty acids: Also know as trans fats has finally been shown to the majority of the public as being public enemy#1 and with good reason!  Trans fats are created through the hydrogenation process that I talked about above. Trans fats are used to make overly processed food taste yummier. Which is why you can never just have one bite, it’s so unnatural tasting that it makes our taste buds go haywire!

It is recommended to either eliminate trans fats completely from your diet, or limit it to no more than 1% of daily intake.  It’s great to finally see food manufactures being required to say how much of the trans fats are in their food. But be warned, they can legally put “0 trans fats” on their labels if they have less than .5g per serving. Which means since hardly anyone ever eats just one serving (another problem associated with overeating) and you are still ingesting trans fats!

Now let’s talk about one that is okay in moderation if you’re fairly healthy:

Saturated Fat: saturated fat is mostly found in animals and animal by-products (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc). Therefore it’s naturally occurring and our bodies do need the other nutrients that these animals and animal by-products provide!

This means it’s not horrible for you IF you limit it in your diet. BUT red meat is the most often eaten food in America, and consequently saturated fats are the main dietary cause of high blood cholesterol.  You can avoid over consumption of saturated fats by drinking skim milk (or 1% or soy), eating low-fat dairy products, also limiting red meat.  I want to pause momentarily to derail to eggs.  Eggs are a great source of nutrition!!!  The yolk has been vilified in the past and is finally being redeemed, unless you  need to watch your intake of cholesterol, eggs are a great way to start your breakfast! Just remember everything in moderation!  Animal & their by-products help with cell function, brain and nervous system function, contain fat-soluble vitamins, and helps strong bones just to name a few!

Some plants contain saturated fats, such as coconut, coconut oils, palm oil, palm kernel oil, vegetable oil, and cocoa butter. So just make sure you watch how much of these products you use.

Now for the healthiest of fats (and the ones you shouldn’t cut out of your diet!) DRUMROLL PLEASE…

Poly & mono unsaturated fats: now I won’t get hung up on the chemical differences between mono & poly and instead, I’ll focus on the fact that they’re both heart healthy and GOOD for you! It is considered the best type of fat you can consume. They are found mainly in fish, nuts, seeds and oil from plants.  They may help to lower blood cholesterol when using them in place of saturated or trans-fats options.

For example, olive oil is a great thing to cook with and use in your food.  Just note that olive oil (I always use extra virgin olive oil or EVOO) has a lower cooking temp than vegetable oil, which means it will heat up faster than other oils, just beware when cooking!

So here’s the bottom line for you who don’t want to read the whole thing.  AVOID AT ALL COSTS: hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated fats, trans fats (check the ingredients label for these, yes you do need to start reading the ingredients label).  EAT IN MODERATION: saturated fats. Especially if you have high cholesterol or heart problems, try to limit to one or two times per week.  GOOD FOR YOU: poly & mono unsaturated fats!  Things like EVOO are good for you and have health benefits, but like everything, they need to be consumed in moderation.  You can’t just eat EVOO all day, that wouldd be a. gross and b. not good for you!

The lesson of the day is, moderation, moderation, moderation! Unless they’re trans fats or hydrogenated then put it back on that shelf or throw it out of your pantry! Hope that helps!

Healthy Living!


Is going Organic worth it?

29 Sep

Today’s latest trend is going Organic and all-natural.  But Organic comes at a cost. So just where is it worth it to splurge and forgo?  Now there are two reason one chooses to go organic, one can be for health reasons, one can be because of environmental. Or both! Personally, for me it’s both, but the focus on this blog is health, so I’m going to address the health benefits of going organic.

I’m a big proponent of avoiding processed foods in general.  Processed foods can cause blood sugar spikes and are packed with chemical fillers and crap that your body just doesn’t need!  So go all-natural whenever you can.  It doesn’t mean you need to run out and buy everything that’s labeled “all-natural”.  Just focus on what has been minimally processed. If it doesn’t have a mother or didn’t come out of the ground leave it out of the cart! Get whole grains, they have the nutrients that are stripped away in processing of white flour.

Organics…that’s the new buzz term in the grocery word. But just because your Mac&Cheese is now “organic” does not mean that it’s now magically healthy for you.  Organic simply means it was grown or raised without chemicals, hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics. The Mac&Cheese might not have any pesticides sprayed on the wheat it’s made from, but it’s still not a healthy option. Instead buy nonorganic whole grain pasta and organic tomato sauce.

The places you want to splurge on organics is with your milk & dairy products and all meats (beef should be grass fed!).  I strongly urge you to buy your dairy products as organic wherever possible, DON’T SKIMP!  Some recent studies have shown that our children are launching into puberty earlier and earlier and it could be because of the hormones that are found in the dairy we are consuming.  Especially for girls, a recent study showed a link between the risk of breast cancer and the age you enter puberty.

I recommend eating all fruits & veggies as local and organic.  But, I understand that budgets are tight these days, so buy organic fruits and veggies that you either eat the skin or the skin is thin and the rest of them you can buy non organic.  Try to buy fresh and local wherever possible! I even have my own garden that gives me fresh veggies and fruit all summer long and I know what’s gone onto my food!

Bottom line is: don’t buy into the hype food manufacturers are trying to build around their “organics line”.  They’re trying to ride the organic train, but what’s best for you health is to try to avoid the processed crap as much as possible regardless of its “organic” status.

I encourage you to watch Food, Inc. It revolutionized the way I thought about food. It’s a must for everyone!

So Just What IS Shakeology?

29 Sep

So as promised, this post will focus on Shakeology. Shakeology is a meal replacement powder from BeachBody.

BeachBody claims that in order to meet the equivilant nutrient content in one scoop of Shakeology you have to eat: 

  • 1 bowl of exotic fruit 
  • 4 cups of raw broccoli 
  • 7 large carrots 
  • 10 cups of raw cauliflower 
  • 3 cups of romaine lettuce 
  • 4 cups of raw mushrooms 
  • 3 raw onions
  •  1 cup of peas
  •  4 cups of raw radishes
  •  4 cups of non-fat yogurt
  • 1 shot of wheat grass

All that in ONE scoop??? Sounds too good to be true right? That’s what I thought.  But then I saw the video that they’ve put out that claims that 100 doctors are putting their weight behind Shakeology and claim that Shakeology is a great product nutritionally.

Shakeology combines over 70 all-natural ingredients. Researchers combed the globe looking for the highest quaility ingredients from all over the world including Acai & Goji Berries! Shakeology employs the digestive enzymes and probiotics in the shake to aid in the elimination of waste and toxins in your body. Shakeology is also rich in antioxidants, which are proven to help eliminate free radicals which basically eat away at our DNA which causes us not only to age, but is thought to contribute to your risk of heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimers, and hypertension (fancy for “high blood pressure”).

Shakeology is also considered a low glycemic food, meaning it keeps your blood sugar more even (the higher the Glycemic Index, the more roller coasters your blood sugar levels experience).  In other words, this could be a perfect option for diabetics!

Shakeology was found in an independent study to drop bad cholesterol by 38% & reduce cardiovascular risk factors by 24% in participants.

In the same study, Shakeology was shown to curb participants appetite which more than likely aided in the participant’s weight loss.  Daily (and religious) users of Shakeology swear they see an energy increase when they replace just one meal with Shakeology and exercise right.

But I cannot stress enough, that you can’t just eat Shakeology one meal, but then pig out the other 2 or 4 meals you have in the day.  You still need to smart the rest of your meals and don’t forget to exercise!

Shakeology works for me because it’s all-natural with nothing that was created in a lab! But it might not be for everyone, it is definitely a personal decision.

Healthy Living!

My First (and unbiased) Shakeology Review

28 Sep

So I had my first sip of Shakeology the other day, and I’m here to give you a full and un-biased report.  The short-story?  It went from kind of gritty to actually quite delicious!  Surprised? So was I.  Before biting the bullet I tried to do research on what Shakeology actually tasted like, but what did I keep finding? Team Beachbody Coaches going on and on about how amazing it was!  Now full disclosure I am a Beachbody Coach, but I promise to give it to you straight because I don’t want people to have to struggle to find the truth among the “Buy Shakeology from me because it’s great!” folks.

So I whipped up a chocolate Shakeology the other morning. I tried the Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake that comes on the recipe calendar that came with my order.  First thought? Hmm realllly chocolatey and had a slight grit to it. So I blended it some more and the grit taste went away. So it was much better the next sip. Now I’m a chocoholic (as are many women and some men too!) so the chocolate taste was great for me, but my boyfriend? He said it smelled like Ovaltine aka too chocolatey.  So clearly the Chocolate Shakeology was not his thing.  But it sure is mine!!!!

The bottom line is Shakeology is a personal decison. It’s a costly upfront investment ($119.99/month on home direct), but if you think about it, it is a meal replacement, so it is like having lunch for $3.99/day for 30 days.  So it’s not too bad if you have the money upfront every month and you’re not living pay check to pay check.   I am on home delivery alternating every month with Chocolate & Greenberry. I will give my review for Greenberry when I get it next month!  BeachBody has a new flavor coming out, Tropical, which I have on good authority is by far the best tasting Shakeology to date, so I’m looking forward to trying that out the moment it gets released.

Just what is Shakeology?  I’ll write a post shortly explaining what Shakeology is, but if you need to know NOW, here is my site where you can find out more about Shakeology and purchase it if you like. I highly recommend purchasing it on Home Direct if you’re going to order, you get free shipping that way!


**UPDATE 10/3**: So I keep trying Shakeology and depending on the recipes it can taste kind of chalky if you don’t have enough extras added in. Which honestly seems a little counterproductive if it’s supposed to be an all-in-one scoop shake.  I’ll keep using it since they have the bottom of the bag guarantee and I’m trying to give it a fair shot, but I might be reverting back to my usual fruit smoothies with Whey. 🙂

Health is more than just the number on the scale…

23 Sep

I got a question from a client today about trying to lose weight and after just two weeks the scale just wasn’t budging and she was disheartened by that.  Now she’s of a healthy BMI (body mass index) and is active.  It got me thinking…people, particularly women are so focused on that 3-digit number on the scale, but there’s so much more to health than how much your Driver License says you weigh (and let’s be honest we all are magically a good 10-20 lbs lighter on our DL!).

We females have a harder time losing weight than our male counterparts (those lucky dogs!). Oftentimes people are too impatient and throw in the towel when they don’t see results! It’s so important that you don’t do this! Weight loss is a patience game! Sometimes it just takes time to see all your hard work pay off!  As the old adage goes, “slow and steady wins the race!”  That crash, 3-day “detox diet” that’s guaranteed to make you lose 10 lbs in 3 days? Don’t believe it. While it might be good for a last minute high school reunion or if you desperately want to fit back into a dress for a big party, but just be prepared the next week to see that you’ve gained most (if not all) of it back.  These quick fixes are nothing more than a temporary fix.  It is mostly water weight and crap floating around your intestines that you’re body would’ve gotten rid of eventually.  The problem with crash diets is that they’re not sustainable for true weight loss (aka fat loss).  Oftentimes you gain back MORE than what you lost in the first place!

If you truly want to achieve permanent weight loss, focus on eating whole foods (like apples instead of apple juice), cut out refined grains and processed foods.  As Jillian Michaels (who is my HFIT role model by the way!) is fond of saying “if it didn’t come out of the ground or didn’t have a mother don’t eat it!” Use this great saying as your food mantra.

You should NEVER be drinking your calories (except for maybe a fruit smoothie you make at home [NOT JAMBA JUICE!], Shakeology shakes, a glass of red wine, and Crystal Light [on occasion]).  If you’re currently drinking regular sodas, try to switch to diet.  If you’re currently drinking diet (which is not really that good for you either: high in sodium and contains the controversial aspertame) try weaning into water.  If you don’t like the taste of just plain water! I squeeze lemon into it or I’ll have Crystal Light.

Try to avoid excessive amounts of sodium (rampant in processed food & sodas) because it can cause you to retain water & raise your blood pressure (really bad). Water Bloat=Weight gain.  Although table salt and naturally occuring salt in food is okay in moderation and table salt is NOT the enemy like some have made it out to be.

The key is everything is okay in moderation.  EXCEPT for processed foods, partially hydrogenated fats, trans fats & high fructose corn syurp, those are ALWAYS a no no.  Yes this means you really do need to read the labels on food that didn’t come out of the ground!

Proteins, just because that beef says 80% fat free doesn’t mean it’s your best option.  20% of that pound of ground beef is still FAT and saturated fat at that!  Choose 97 or 98% fat free and you’ll be golden! If you think it has no flavor either add more spices or do 3/4 extra lean and 1/4 at 80/20.

Carbs, the poor carb, they’ve been vilified in the past. Luckily now just refined grains are getting the brunt as they should!  I have a gluten intolerance so I had to relearn how to eat my carbs. I had already swapped out my white bread to whole grain, white rice to brown & wild rice, and my pasta to whole wheat pasta. But when I found out I couldn’t have gluten I was forced to find new ways to eat carbs.  Luckily, I found a plethora of new grains that I didn’t even know existed! And they’re so much better than wheat (both in taste and quality!).  Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), brown rice, buckwheat, and oats just to name a few!  Whole grains are full of fiber (keep you full & regular!) and other nutrients that are stripped away during the processing of grains.  And by the way…popcorn (the non movie theater butter kind!) is a super grain when you want something salty!  It’s all-natural, low cal and has fiber in it!

Now I’ve rambled on and gotten off the topic of this post which is IS THE NUMBER ON THE SCALE THE ONLY THING?? My answer? NO!  I think what is more important than the number on the scale is how do you feel?  Do you feel better/happier the days you work out than the days you skip? How are your energy levels on the days you eat well as compared to the days that you stopped at the golden arches or had that second piece of dessert?   It’s important to have a healthy lifestyle more so than be your “perfect, dream” weight.  If you live a healthy life you’re so much more likely to live to 100 than your unhealthy counterparts.  And more importantly you’ll be more likely to live to see 100 independently and outside of a nursing home!


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