Monday, February 26, 2018

Metabolism-boosting protein smoothies

In fact when a new client comes to me  one of the very first things I have them do is start on what I call my "Magic green smoothie".  A few episode back I did share the recipe with you.  Real quickly here, just for any new listeners the recipe  its just a couple of handfuls of spinach, a handful of kale, a handful of arugula, and either a 1/2 cup of berries or you could add something called "stevia berry". Stevia berry taste just like berries without the sugar and you should be able to find it in any health food store.   Or you can click on my amazon click located in the show notes and order from my store. Finish your smoothie by just adding a cup of any unsweetened liquid of your choice and blend. Once my client gets started on this simple green smoothie I may customize it so as to meet the needs of each client individually. For example, a client may be suffering from inflammation therefor we could add collagen power, MSM or even turmeric power to the smoothie. and so on.

I don’t know about you, but if you’re anything like me or my clients, finding, preparing, and eating nutritious meals at EVERY meal of EVERY can be tricky to say the least. But I want to share some great news with you: Not ALL of your meals have to be food meals.

In fact, healthy eating may not get any easier than the secret weapon that I’m about to share with you: A metabolism-boosting protein smoothie!
That’s right, you can enjoy delicious and nutritious smoothies, packed with metabolism-boosting protein, healthy fats, fresh fruits, and even vegetables, which provide fiber and all-important, health-promoting micronutrients.
In fact, nearly every one of my clients drinks 1 – 2 tasty, easy-to-make metabolism-boosting smoothies per day as a meal replacement.
In a recent randomized control trial published in the Nutrition Journal, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that overweight women who combined two metabolism-boosting protein smoothies just like I’m talking about along with a balanced dinner each day for 8 weeks lost 56% more weight and TWICE as much belly fat as women who followed a standard food-based reduced-calorie diet. Amazing!
Unfortunately, most smoothie-shop smoothies are a health and weight loss nightmare. They contain way more calories than you expect, and they’re loaded with sugar, which is linked with obesity, weight gain, and health complications. Would it surprise you that these smoothies contain as much as THREE TIMES more sugar than a can of soda and the equivalent of 25 teaspoons?
They are barely different than a fast-food milkshake! On top of that, they generally void of both fiber and protein.
You see, protein revs up your calorie-burning metabolism, helps keep you feeling fuller longer, reduces appetite, fights cravings, improves blood sugar, and accelerates fat loss while building sexy, toned muscles.
So, how do I go about making these metabolism-boosting protein smoothies? Great question! Here’s the exact template that my clients and I use:
  • 2 – 3 scoops of high-quality protein (providing 25 – 30+ grams of protein)
  • 2 fists full of frozen veggies (I use spinach; I promise, it’s tasteless!)
  • 1 – 2 cupped handfuls of carbs (e.g., berries, banana, oats)
  • 1 – 2 thumb-sized portions of fats (e.g., mixed nuts, avocado, coconut oil)
  • Liquid (e.g., water, unsweetened almond milk or skim milk)
Tip: put your bags of spinach, kale or any of your leafy greens in the freezer. By freezing them they will keep longer and add coolness to the smoothie, so then you won't have to add ice.

If you’re craving something sweet and need a snack to quickly nip it in the bud, a smoothie can be a great option.
The sweetness of the fruit combined with the filling effects of yogurt can satisfy your need for something sweet, all while providing lots of beneficial nutrients.
If you’re having a smoothie, make sure you use the whole fruit, not just the juice, so you can retain the healthy fiber.



Sunday, February 25, 2018

What is Metabolism?

Hey There!

Do “calories” really count?

Well, yes they do, but they're not the only thing that matters when it comes to how much you weigh and how much energy you have. In other words it's all about your metabolism.

In a nutshell metabolism is how you take in oxygen and food and use them for energy, heat, and storage. But what's really more important is how fast your metabolism works i.e. your “metabolic rate”. And you may have heard of RMR and TDEE, which are ways to measure your metabolic rate.

But, what you may really want to know is what affects your metabolic rate, and how can you use that to your advantage. Of course it's not just about how much you eat but also your hormones, body composition, and even what you eat counts!

What is Metabolism?

This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.

You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight. But what exactly does this all mean?

Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body. It's how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive. And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:
● Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).
● Allow activities you can't control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).
● Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”.

Metabolic rate

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:
● Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).
● Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).
● Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate. One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you're not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

What affects your metabolic rate?

In a nutshell: a lot!

The first thing you may think of is your thyroid. This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism. Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you'll burn.

But that's not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.

How big you are counts too!

Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial!

As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does. So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be. Even when you're not working out.

This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program. Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you.

The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don't want to happen. So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.

Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they're doing “work”.

The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food. This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).

You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently.

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%. By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow. By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

And don't forget the mind-body connection. There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.

Recipe (Lean Protein): Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

2 lemons, sliced
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
dash salt & pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 425F. Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.

Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper. Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!




Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Grain-Free Pizza

MAKES One 10-inch pizza
PREP TIME 15 minutes
COOKING TIME 25 minutes
EQUIPMENT Parchment paper, high-speed electric blender or food processor
Crust option 1: Sunflower Seed (or Cashew)  
1 cup raw sunflower seeds or raw cashew nuts
½ cup filtered room temperature water
2 tablespoons whole psyllium husk
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Pulse the sunflower seeds in the blender until the
  3. consistency of flour.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the pulsed sunflower seeds
  5. with the water, psyllium husk, olive oil, and salt and
  6. knead with your hands. The dough will be runny.
  7. Line a baking tray with the parchment paper, place
  8. the dough on the parchment paper, and spread it
  9. using your fingertips to form a round 10-inch crust.
  10. If the dough sticks to your fingers, dip them in water
  11. and continue.
Topping Option 1: Medicinal Mushroom Topping
2 tablespoons Herbal Pesto (page 288)
¾ cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
¾ cup sliced maitake or oyster mushrooms
½ cup thinly sliced leek, white part only
1½ teaspoon dried tarragon
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  1. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and finish with the topping of your choice.
  2. In a circular motion, spread the pesto onto the crust.
  3. In a medium bowl, add all of the remaining ingredients and toss to combine.
  4. Spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the crust.
  5. Bake 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Serve right away.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Coffee - Who can drink and who should avoid?

Coffee is one of those things - you either love it or hate it. You know if you like the taste or not (or if it’s just a reason to drink sugar and cream). You know how it makes you feel (i.e. your gut, your mind, etc.). 

Not to mention the crazy headlines that say coffee is great, and the next day you should avoid it! 

There is actual science behind why different people react differently to it. It's a matter of your genetics and how much coffee you're used to drinking. 

NOTE: Coffee does not equal caffeine. Coffee contains between 50-400 mg of caffeine/cup, averaging around 100 mg/cup. Coffee is one of the most popular ways to consume this stimulant. But a cup of coffee contains a lot of things over and above the caffeine. Not just water, but antioxidants, and hundreds of other compounds. These are the reasons drinking a cup of coffee is not the same as taking a caffeine pill. And decaffeinated coffee has a lot less caffeine; but, it still contains some. 

Let's look at caffeine metabolism, its effects on the mind and body, and whether coffee drinkers have higher or lower risks of disease. Then I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding if coffee is for you or not. 

Caffeine metabolism 

Not all people metabolize caffeine at the same speed. How fast you metabolize caffeine will impact how you’re affected by the caffeine. In fact, caffeine metabolism can be up to 40x faster in some people than others. 

About half of us are “slow” metabolizers of caffeine. We can get jitters, heart palpitations, and feel "wired" for up to 9 hours after having a coffee. The other half is "fast" metabolizers of caffeine. They get energy and increased alertness and are back to normal a few hours later. 

This is part of the reason those headlines contradict each other so much - because we’re all different! 

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body 

NOTE: Most studies look at caffeinated coffee, not decaf. 

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body also differ between people; this is partly from the metabolism I mentioned. But it also has to do with your body’s amazing ability to adapt (read: become more tolerant) to long-term caffeine use. Many people who start drinking coffee feel the effects a lot more than people who have coffee every day. 

Here’s a list of these effects (that usually decrease with long-term use): 
  • Stimulates the brain 
  • Boosts metabolism 
  • Boosts energy and exercise performance 
  • Increases your stress hormone cortisol 
  • Dehydrates 

So, while some of these effects are good and some aren’t, you need to see how they affect you and decide if it’s worth it or not.  

Coffee and health risks 

There are a ton of studies on the health effects of coffee, and whether coffee drinkers are more or less likely to get certain conditions. 

Here’s a quick summary of what coffee can lead to: 
  • Caffeine addiction and withdrawal symptoms (e.g. a headache, fatigue, irritability) 
  • Increased sleep disruption 
  • Lower risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's 
  • Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes 
  • Lower risk of certain liver diseases 
  • Lower risk of death (all cause mortality") 
  • Mixed reviews on whether it lowers risks of cancer and heart disease 

Many of the health benefits exist even for decaf coffee (except the caffeine addiction and sleep issues). 

NOTE: What’s super-important to note here is that coffee intake is just one of many, many factors that can affect your risks for these diseases. Please never think regular coffee intake is the one thing that can help you overcome these risks. You are health-conscious and know that eating a nutrient-rich whole foods diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep and exercise are all critical things to consider for your disease risk. It’s not just about the coffee. 

Should you drink coffee or not? 

There are a few things to consider when deciding whether you should drink coffee. No one food or drink will make or break your long-term health. 

Caffeinated coffee is not recommended for: 
  • People with arrhythmias (e.g. irregular heartbeat) 
  • People who often feel anxious 
  • People who have trouble sleeping 
  • People who are pregnant 
  • Children and 
  •  teens. 

If none of these apply, then monitor how your body reacts when you have coffee. Does it: 
  • Give you the jitters? 
  • Increase anxious feelings? 
  • Affect your sleep? 
  • Give you heart palpitations? 
  • Affect your digestion (e.g. heartburn, etc.)? 
  • Give you a reason to drink a lot of sugar and cream? 

Depending on how your body reacts, decide whether these reactions are worth it to you. If you’re not sure, I recommend eliminating it for a while and see the difference.  

Recipe (Latte): Pumpkin Spice Latte 

Serves 1 

3 tbsp coconut milk 
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon) 
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp pumpkin puree 
½ tsp maple syrup (optional) 
1 cup coffee (decaf if preferred) 


Add all ingredients to blender and blend until creamy. 

Serve & enjoy! 

Tip: You can use tea instead of milk if you prefer.