Tag Archives: Nutrition

My Favorite Post-Workout Drink

7 May

Happy Monday everyone!  I thought I’d do a quick post on this fantastic concoction I made up to fuel my body post-workout.  The thing I love most about it is that you can tailor it to exactly what you’re in the mood for that day.  As a rule of thumb I strongly urge people to stay away from smoothie chains such as Jamba Juice.  They use way too much sugar and processed gunk and it cancels out all the good benefits and besides the average smoothie there is like 800 calories! Yuck!  Better off controlling what goes in it!

Yummy!

Post Workout Power Smoothie:

– 1 scoop of designer whey protein (I use strawberry)

– ice (the more you add the thicker it is)

– approx. 1/2 cup of Orange Juice

– 2 tbsp of Flax Seed Oil

– 2 tbsp of fiber

– Whatever fruit suits your fancy and you can get in there! (both frozen and fresh)

Whip it all together for a refreshing and healthy drink post-workout.  I use a magic bullet so I just fill it all in the cup and that’s how I “measure”.  I feel that this give you the right amount of protein, carbs, and sugar to help your body recover from a tough workout.  I’ve also experimented with adding veggies, V8, among other things to the mix, with varied success, but the recipe above is my tried and true.  My suggestion to you is to just explore till you find the combination that leaves you feeling your best!

Let me know what your favorite post-workout drink/smoothie/food is!

Keep Sweating!

Blue-Green Algae Dangers

20 Feb

I recently came across an article that I found extremely disturbing.  Proponents of blue-green algae claim it to be “nature’s perfect food”, but a study released by the University of Dundee begs to differ. They found a link between cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and ALS.  The reason the two are linked is because blue-green algae may produced a toxin, BMAA, linked to contributing to neurodegenerative disorders.

Blue-Green Algae is widely used in dietary supplements and is purported to performing a range of tasks from preventing cancer to boosting one’s immune system.  Cyanobacteria is frequently used in food products and labeled as “non-animal protein source”.

What is the bottom line when it comes to Blue-Green algae?  Avoid it!  You can get all the nutritional benefits it may provide from other fruits, veggies, and lean protein sources.  Check the ingredient lists of your processed foods and put it back on the shelf if it says “non-animal protein source”, or better yet skip the processed junk and eat whole!  Even if it turns out there really isn’t a significant link, do you really want to take that risk with you brain?

The Importance of the Food Diary

19 Jan

As I promised earlier this week, I’ll be dedicating today’s post to the food diary.  In your weight loss journey what you eat is 80% of it.  If you don’t write it all down, you might be fooling yourself into thinking that you’re eating less during the day than you actually are. The way to avoid that pitfall is to create a food diary.  There are two “types” of food diaries that I typically talk about when I talk about food diaries. The beginner and the beast! I’ll talk about both options, as well as some great online/mobile options that have been popping up over the last year or so.

The Beginner

A food diary at it’s most basic form is simply a list of all the food that you ate over the course of the day.  It can be kept on an excel sheet, in your phone or a little notebook that you carry with you.  Every morsel that passes your lips MUST go down in the diary (or journal if that sounds less girly to you!).  When you’re first beginning a food diary, keep it simple. Write down what you ate and approximately how much you ate (1/2 an apple, three scoops of ice cream). The key here is to be honest about the size and amount.  Most people underestimate how much of one thing they’re eating. So play it safe and overestimate!  This your basic food diary.  Stick with it until you feel more comfortable, then switch up to a “big daddy” version of a food diary.

The “Big Daddy (or Mamma)”

This is where diaries get fun.  Now that you’re used to writing down every piece of food that you eat, now is the time to add more details. I recommend breaking your day into Breakfast, Morning Snack, Lunch, Afternoon Snack, Dinner, and Anytime.  Now when you eat at one of those predetermined times, write down the time and your hunger level on a scale of 1-5, 1 being I’m still stuffed from my last meal and 5 is “I’ve been in the desert for three days and I’m STARVING!!!”  As a rule of thumb you should never be eating at any of those extremes. In theory you should be eating before you get to the starving place, but you shouldn’t be eating out of boredom.  It’s particularly important to note that you should also be noting if you’re upset or bored, etc.  Remember this is YOUR diary, no one is going to see it but you, so don’t be embarrassed if you at that pint of Ben & Jerry’s because your boyfriend just dumped you.  Because no one will see it but you. But if you’re an emotional eater, you’ll begin to see patterns and learn how to cope with your feelings/issues without eating.  But I’ve digressed, anyways, you also what to get more specific about how much.  Buy a food scale if you have the extra cash, they’re well worth the investment.  If you don’t want to, that’s fine (it does take extra work), but try to be as precise as you can.  Also begin to write down the caloric content of eat of your pieces of food, as well as meal and daily totals.  This will give you a good idea of where/when you’re calories are coming from. You’ll also get to see if you’re meeting or exceeding your recommended caloric intake. It’s important to not fall too below your recommended intake either, because that will slow down your metabolism.

Now What?

Congratulations, you reached your first week of diary keeping (or big daddy keeping!).  Now you need to go back and look at what you ate over the past week.  Look for places where you could’ve cut out sweets or were eating because you were bored.  A food diary will allow you to see a record that can’t be argued with. It will also allow you to set food goals for the next week. Like, I’ll have dessert 4 times this week instead of 5.  It also gives you something to be proud of when you reach those goals!  Also, decide on rewards (non food related) if you reach your longer term goals (like eating at my caloric intake for 1 month) like a book you’ve been wanting to buy or tickets to an event you’ve been dying to see.  These shorter (and obtainable) goals will incentivize you to continue on towards the larger goal of a healthier you!

Online/Mobile Options

I love the mobile option that has emerged in the last few years. Thanks to smartphones, you can now log your food intake on the go! My favorite is Lose It! It’s a fabulous site that has both a mobile app and you can use it on the web. Plus if you have a FitBit, you can link the two accounts and Lose It! recalculates what you can eat and still lose weight based on activity!  Check both products out! Lose It! is free and the FitBit device costs $99, but the online software is free (and it too has a mobile app).

So bottom line here is log your food for successful weight loss!

Keep Sweating!

~Coach Lindsey

Supplements…are they necessary?

12 Dec

If you were to walk down the aisle of your local pharmacy or supermarket you’d more than likely see dozen and dozens of not only brands but types of vitamins and supplements.  Multivitamins, mineral & vitamin supplements, powders and concoctions you can drink to achieve optimal wellness.  It can all be very overwhelming.  It leads me to ask the question is it all worth it?

The supplement industry is a $26B a year industry.  Yes you did read that right, I said BILLION!  A reported 71% of all Americans use or have used a supplement in the past year. 53% of adults (20 & over) take supplements on a daily basis.  Surprisingly, consistent use is more common among women than men.  Interesting huh?! But just what are supplements. Well supplements are a broad term for anything other than food/drink used to supplement your diet.  Some examples are vitamins, minerals, herbal remedies, nutritional powders (that are typically mixed with water and often contain vitamins, minerals, etc).  Before we talk about whether or not you need to supplement your diet let’s deep dive into the basics of vitamins and minerals. Ready? Let’s go!

Vitamins

You’ve probably heard of vitamins in one way or another. Broadly there are 13 vitamins that humans need.  These are divided into 2 categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Water-soluble are not stored in the body and are excreted daily in your urine. Because of this, they need to consumed daily to maintain proper levels.  Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed in the intestinal tract and are stored in your fat cells.  Below is a list of the vitamins that you need on a daily basis.

Vitamin Solubility RDA Uses Food Sources
Vitamin A Fat 900 µg Supports Visual Function Orange vegetables carrots, pumpkin, squash, spinach
Vitamin B1 Water 1.2 mg All B Vitamins: Metabolism; Healthy skin, hair, nails; Enhance immune system; Promote cell growth (including red blood cells); Helps nervous system function Oatmeal, rice, vegetables, kale, cauliflower, potatoes, liver, eggs
Vitamin B2 Water 1.3 mg Dairy products, bananas, popcorn, green beans, asparagus
Vitamin B3 Water 16.0 mg Meat, fish, eggs, many vegetables, mushrooms, tree nuts
Vitamin B5 Water 5.0 mg Meat, broccoli, avocados
Vitamin B6 Water 1.3-1.7 mg Meat, vegetables, tree nuts, bananas
Vitamin B7 Water 30.0 µg Raw egg yolk, liver, peanuts, certain vegetables
Vitamin B9 (aka Folic Acid) Water 400 µg Leafy vegetables, pasta, bread, cereal, liver
Vitamin B12 Water 2.4 µg Meat and other animal products
Vitamin C Water 90.0 mg Slows down sign of aging, boosts immune system Many fruits and vegetables, liver
Vitamin D Fat 5.0 µg–10 µg Assists in the absorption of calcium; helps fight depression Fish, eggs, liver, mushrooms
Vitamin E Fat 15.0 mg Treats burns; reduces signs of aging; assists in formation of red blood cells Many fruits and vegetables
Vitamin K Fat 120 µg Blood Clotting Lots of leafy greens

As you can see they help your body in huge ways!  And you will also notice that you can obtain a lot of these vitamins through natural sources. Those who might struggle with obtaining all these naturally would be vegans and some vegetarians.

Minerals

Now minerals are just as important to you body as vitamins and it’s important that you get the right ones as well. There are a lot of minerals that your body uses, but below is the list of some of the minerals that your body needs!

Mineral RDA Uses Food Sources
Calcium 800-1,200 mg Builds bones and teeth; promotes blood clotting, contraction of muscles and nerve impulses. Primarily in milk and dairy products; also dark-green vegetables, legumes, shellfish, fish with edible bones and tofu; also calcium-fortified orange juice.
Chromium None; 50 – 200 µg suggested An essential nutrient required for normal sugar and fat metabolism; may also help prevent high cholesterol and atherosclerosis. Whole wheat and other whole grains and molasses.
Copper None; 2-3 mg suggested Builds bones, red blood cells and hemoglobin; metabolizes iron, maintains connective tissue and blood vessels; may play a role in cancer prevention. Organ meats, shellfish, whole-grain products, legumes and dried fruits.
Fluoride None Promotes bone and tooth formation; prevents tooth decay. Seafood, tea, coffee and soybeans; sodium fluoride is often added to the water supply to prevent tooth decay.
Iodine 150 µg Helps produce thyroid hormones; adequate iodine intake during pregnancy is crucial to normal fetal development. Saltwater fish, shellfish, sea kelp and iodized salt.
Iron Women: 15 mg; Men: 10 mg Helps produce hemoglobin and red blood cells; delivers oxygen to muscles and other body tissues; protects against effects of stress Iron is poorly absorbed from food. The richest sources are red meat and organ meats; other sources include whole-wheat products, shellfish, nuts and dried fruit. Many breads and cereals are enriched with iron. Vitamin C aids absorption of iron and is often added to iron supplements.
Magnesium Women: 280 mg; Men: 350 mg Builds bones and teeth; involved in functioning of muscular and nervous systems and hear and circulatory system. Legumes, whole-grain cereals, nuts and dark-green vegetables; also meat, seafood and dairy products.
Manganese 2-5 mg Involved in reproductive processes, sex hormone formation; essential for normal brain function and bone development. Tea, green vegetables, legumes, oats and rice.
Potassium None; 3.5 g suggested Helps nerves and muscles function; regulates heart’s rhythm; regulates bodily fluids. Potatoes, dried fruits, bananas, legumes, raw vegetables, avocados and mushrooms; also lean meat, milk and fish.
Selenium Women 55 µg; Men: 70 µg An antioxidant, helps protect cells and tissues from damage by free radicals; may also protect against some cancers. Whole-grain cereals, fish and shellfish, meat and dairy products.
Sodium 2, 400 mg Maintains body’s fluid balance; important for nerve function and muscle contraction; controls heart’s rhythm. Naturally in many foods and is added to many prepared foods.
Zinc Women: 12 mg; Men: 15 mg Involved in growth, skin health and wound healing, development of the reproductive organs, protein metabolism and energy production. Shellfish (particularly oysters), organ meats and lean red meat, yeast, whole-grain cereals, and legumes.

Food Sources vs. Supplement Debate

So now that you’re oh so well versed in the types of vitamins and minerals that are needed by your body to survive, let’s talk about the raging debate in the supplement world. Some people swear by supplements, while others say they do no good and may even pose some harm to your health.  Some experts argue that your body absorbs the synthetic versions exactly like their natural counterparts. On the other hand, other experts say that a large dose all at once is not properly absorbed by the body and therefore you’re simply flushing away your money.

My opinion? It comes down to personal preference and cost. I take a multi every  night before I go to bed (otherwise it does upset my stomach) and it’s more of an insurance policy. Even though I eat healthy and try to get everything I need naturally, I know there’s always a chance that I missed something.  I drink Shakeology as one meal a day and that gives me a lot of what I need (and it’s delicious!). After a tough work out I will also have a whey protein drink/smoothie to recover and restore my muscles.

What’s the Bottom Line?

The key here ladies and gentlemen is to eat a clean diet with lots of fruits and veggies and you should be good to go. However if you’re neurotic like me, you can take a multivitamin as insurance.  Before taking any supplements though, I would really check with your doctor FIRST, especially if you’re on medications.

Keep Sweating!

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!

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