Megan Cooper, Author at Studio ME Fitness - Page 3 of 9

Megan Cooper

Success Story Update

Remember Aaron? Read about his initial success here.

Aaron has continued to work hard since the first post. Talk about a total transformation! Check out an animated before and and now pic. It is crazy how his body has changed.  Read Aaron’s full story below:

“In January of 2016, my cousin Rachel suddenly passed away at age 44 due to a massive heart attack. Like me, she struggled with her weight and it was a wake-up call for me.

For the past 10-15 years I had slowly gained a bunch of weight. As pant and shirt sizes increased, I would tell myself “This is it, I’m not moving up another pant size”, but I still got bigger and bigger and kept sizing up. It was seemingly endless.

However, I knew with a little bit of work, it was possible to shed some of this fat. My wonderful wife had, over the course of a year or so, worked her ass off and lost a bunch of weight. While she got fit, I made excuses. After Rachel’s passing, and a little gentle encouragement from Larissa, I decided to make a change.

A year ago last week (3/14/2016, to be exact), I started down the path of trying to be healthier. I had my first “Bootcamp” class at Studio ME Fitness (in St. Anthony Main). I about died. It was hard. I was very fat. I was very sore afterwards, but I came back to the next class. Before long, the soreness subsided as the muscles I had been wasting became acclimated to a little bit of physical activity. Pounds weren’t flying off, but I was losing weight.

I was having success, but I would sometimes “plateau” and when I talked to my doctor in May, he suggested using a calorie tracking app, My Fitness Pal, to track what I was taking in. It turns out that eating a little bit less (like one bowl of hotdish rather than 2 and a half) and exercising regularly can help a ton in dropping pounds.

So over the past year, I’ve lost a lot of weight. It wasn’t fast (and as one person said, you didn’t gain all that weight in a couple months, you won’t be able to lose it in a couple months), and it took commitment. No excuses. Sometimes I’d be a little hobbled because I did something wrong, or was just too sore, and Megan at Studio ME would suggest a slightly different exercise that avoided the problem, but still allowed me to keep that heart rate up.

Am I done? Well no, I’ve still got work to do. I havedays where I eat or drink a bunch of crap, but I’m honest with myself. I’ll just work harder next time I exercise, or be smart with my diet over the next couple days. Considering my job is sitting at a computer all day, I might always need to take these steps to remain physically fit. But I feel great now, and I don’t want to lose this feeling.

As of today, I’ve lost 65 pounds. That’s four pants sizes, two shirt sizes and 11 notches on my belt. I’m fitting into clothes that I had when I was in my early 20’s. I’m not an expert at this, but if you’re looking to lose some weight, I’m more than willing to talk about what I’ve done (send me a private message if you don’t want to talk about it on this post). I don’t feel like I’ve sacrificed much. I still drink beer. I still eat pizza. I still LIVE and I’m happy doing it.

Thanks to everyone that has helped or given me moral support: My rock star wife Larissa, Megan at Studio ME, The Studio ME bootcamp crew (Tamara, Erin, Sue & Larissa)

Take care of yourself!”

 

 

 

 

Three supplements you should be taking if you are over 45

3 Supplements You Should be Taking if You’re Over 45 Years Old

 

Yes, while I always say that it’s better to get your nutrients from food first sometimes supplements are necessary.

 

Unfortunately there are just some all-too-common nutrients that we simply don’t get enough of.  And they’re absolutely critical to optimal health and wellness.  Especially as we age.

 

Here I sifted through the supplements that are available on the market and boiled them down to three that can have the best effect.

 

Supplement #1: Vitamin D

 

If you live in North America chances are you are low in vitamin D.  It’s the “sunshine vitamin” and we just aren’t able to hang out in shorts every day of the year.  Even if we did we’d wisely use a bit of sun protection too.

 

Vitamin D is very important for everyone but especially women over 45.  Want to know why?

 

It helps to protect our bones!

 

Vitamin D helps our body absorb and keep the calcium we get from our food and drinks.  And we all know that calcium is one of the main things our bones are made of.

 

Want to know something funny about vitamin D (but it’s true, I swear)?

 

People who get enough vitamin D tend to fall less frequently.  Especially as we get older.

 

Seriously!

 

Vitamin D can help your bones stay strong and help you fall less.  Win-win!

 

Magnesium

 

Magnesium is an essential mineral needed for over 300 reactions in your body.

 

Yes, 300!

 

As with vitamin D it’s very common for us to simply not get enough.  Not even the 320 mg per day that’s recommended.

 

Low levels of magnesium have been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, low bone density, and even migraines.

 

Magnesium is found in so many healthy whole foods like beans, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables.  In fact, the magnesium element is central to a plant’s chlorophyll – it’s actually what causes green plants to be green!  And most of us just don’t get enough green plants into our bodies on a regular basis.  (You know I have a recipe with green leafies for you below, right?).

 

Magnesium is a very common supplement and is often added to multivitamins.

 

Omega-3s

 

We’ve all heard that we need to get more omega-3 essential fatty acids, right?  They’re good for our hearts, brains, and help to reduce inflammation.

 

These are all good things when it comes to our health and wellness.

 

But not all of us are ready, willing, and able to eat fish three times per week.

 

While fish oil supplements contain the “brain healthy” fats called EPA and DHA, those two are not technically the “essential” fats.  The plant omega-3 known as ALA is essential and that is because our bodies can convert ALA into EPA and DHA when necessary.

 

Omega-3 supplements can be found in forms of flax oil, algae oil, fish oil, or even fish liver oil.

 

Pro Tip:  Fish liver oil (e.g. cod liver oil) also contains vitamin D so check your labels and add the amounts together to know how much vitamin D you’re actually getting.

 

Conclusion:

 

Three supplements to consider now that you’re 45 are: vitamin D, magnesium, and omega-3s.

 

Always read the supplement labels to see if there are warnings that would make them inappropriate for you.  And, of course if you have any medical conditions or take medications or other supplements it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting anything new. 

 

Salmon Quinoa Buddha Bowl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 cups baby spinach

1 cup quinoa (cooked)

1 can wild salmon

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

½ red onion (diced) (optional)

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

dash salt and pepper

 

Split spinach, quinoa, wild salmon, sesame seeds, and onion (if using) between two bowls.

 

Mix sesame oil, rice vinegar, and lemon juice together and pour on top of prepared Buddha bowls.

 

Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Serve & Enjoy!

 

Tip:  When looking for canned salmon try to get the ones with the most vitamin D and make sure cans are BPA-free.  Good quality canned fish is usually in the “natural foods” section of many large groceries.

 

References:

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-natural-menopause-tips/

https://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+D/

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/

May Member of the Month

MEET NICHOLAS

Congrats on your successes in just four short months! In February, only one month after joining Studio ME, Nick participated in our semi-annual Rowing Challenge and came in fifth place rowing a total of 94,913 meters in one month. That’s equivalent to 58 miles! We are so glad to have him as part of our crew and are looking forward to sharing even more success with him.

“In high school, I was over 200 pounds and lost 60 pounds through a restrictive dieting that I loathed. I said to myself, never again, as it was an unhealthy and not sustainable lifestyle. After moving to Minneapolis in July 2015, I gained 30 pounds and started hating how my body looked again. I said to myself, “I really want to be fit,” which is something I never considered myself to be. I was looking for a small gym that was close to home and provided friendly competition all while giving me a butt-kicking workout. In January 2017, I became part of the crew at Studio ME with my partner, Justin, and still have fond memories of our first class—Total Body Row. I was hooked! I loved the indoor rowing aspect that was low impact.

As someone with lupus, I was especially concerned about my ability to optimally participate. I did not want to be perceived as a “lazy” person not willing to participate. I remember my first e-mail to Megan about this and she was so helpful and let the rest of the trainers know about my situation. She also told me to always ask for modifications on an exercise if it is too much of a strain on my joints. The flexibility, yet full result of the workout has been great.

Some of my goals include to have my body fat in the “fit” category and to continue to build muscle. I have lost weight since starting Studio ME, which has been thanks to the rowing and helpful food tips. However, instead of worrying solely about weight loss, I am focusing on losing body fat, building muscle, and more stamina. Since my first work-out with Siri, where I was barely able to finish 100 meters in 30 seconds, my personal best is now 18 seconds. Also, I can engage in rowing and barre classes without much pain, other than the “after-burn” of the workout.

I attribute my rekindled love for fitness through the patience, care, and guidance of Studio ME. I love the unique instruction styles of the instructors and have enjoyed getting to know this great community!”

 

Three Must Eat Breakfast Foods

Do you love your breakfast?  Do you have a short list of “go-to” recipes?  Do you need a bit of inspiration to start eating breakfast again?

 

Getting some protein at each meal can help with blood sugar management, metabolism and weight loss.  This is because protein helps you feel fuller longer and uses up a bunch of calories to absorb and metabolize it.  So I’m going to show you how to get the protein, as well as some veggies and healthy fats for your soon-to-be favourite new “go-to” breakfasts.

 

Breakfast Food #1: Eggs

 

Yes, eggs are the “quintessential” breakfast food.  And for good reason!

 

No, I’m not talking about processed egg whites in a carton.  I mean actual whole “eggs”.

 

Egg whites are mostly protein while the yolks are the real nutritional powerhouses.  Those yolks contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats.

 

Eggs have been shown to help you feel full, keep you feeling fuller longer, and help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin.

 

Not to mention how easy it is to boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in the fridge for a “grab and go” breakfast when you’re running short on time.

 

And…nope the cholesterol in eggs is not associated with an increased risk of arterial or heart diseases.

 

One thing to consider is to try to prevent cooking the yolks at too high of a temperature because that can cause some of the cholesterol to become oxidized.  It’s the oxidized cholesterol that’s heart unhealthy.

 

 

Breakfast Food #2: Nuts and/or Seeds

 

Nuts and seeds contain protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Nuts and/or seeds would make a great contribution to breakfast.

 

You won’t be fooled by “candied” nuts, sweetened nut/seed butters, or chia “cereals” with added sugars – you know I’m talking about the real, whole, unsweetened food here.

 

Nuts and seeds are also the ultimate fast food if you’re running late in the mornings.  Grab a small handful of almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds as you’re running out the door; you can nosh on them while you’re commuting.

 

Not to mention how easy it is to add a spoonful of nut/seed butter into your morning breakfast smoothie.

 

Hint: If you like a creamy latte in the mornings try making one with nut or seed butter.  Just add your regular hot tea and a tablespoon or two of a creamy nut or seed butter into your blender & blend until frothy.

 

Breakfast Food #3: Veggies

 

Yes, you already know you really should get protein at every meal including breakfast; but this also applies to veggies.  You know I would be remiss to not recommend veggies at every meal, right?

 

Veggies are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and water.  You can’t go wrong adding them into every single meal of the day so if you don’t already you should definitely try them for breakfast!

 

And no, you don’t need to have a salad or roasted veggies for breakfast if you don’t want to but you totally can!  You wouldn’t be breaking any “official” breakfast rules or anything like that.

 

Adding some protein to leftover veggies is a great combination for any meal.  Including breakfast.

 

I’ve included a delicious recipe below for you to try (and customize) for your next breakfast.

 

Veggie Omelet Recipe

Serves 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 or 2 eggs (how hungry are you?)

¼ cup veggies (grated zucchini and/or sliced mushrooms and/or diced peppers and/or spinach)

dash salt, pepper and/or turmeric

 

Add coconut oil to a frying pan and melt on low-medium heat (cast-iron pans are preferred).

 

In the meantime grab a bowl and beat the egg(s) with your vegetables of choice and the spices.

 

Tilt pan to ensure the bottom is covered with the melted oil.  Pour egg mixture into pan and lightly fry the eggs without stirring.

 

When the bottom is lightly done flip over in one side and cook until white is no longer runny.

 

Serve & Enjoy!

 

Tip:  Substitute grated, sliced, or diced portion of your favourite vegetable.  Try grated carrots, chopped broccoli or diced tomato.

 

References:

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/eggs-worse-than-fast-food

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/eggs/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/eating-healthy-eggs/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/12-best-foods-to-eat-in-morning/

Five Cholesterol Myths and What to Eat Instead

Five Cholesterol Myths and What to Eat Instead

 

You knew there was a bit of an over-emphasis (border-lining obsession) about cholesterol, right?

 

Before we jump into some myths let’s make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to what exactly cholesterol is.

 

Myth #1: “Cholesterol” is cholesterol

 

While cholesterol is an actual molecule what it is bound to while it’s floating through your blood is what’s more important than just how much of it there is overall.  In fact depending on what it’s combined with can have opposite effects on your arteries and heart.  Yes, opposite!

 

So cholesterol is just one component of a compound that floats around your blood.  These compounds contain cholesterol as well as fats and special proteins called “lipoproteins”.

 

They’re grouped into two main categories:

  • HDL: High Density Lipoprotein (AKA “good” cholesterol) that “cleans up” some of those infamous “arterial plaques” and transports cholesterol back to the liver.
  • LDL: Low Density Lipoprotein (AKA “bad” cholesterol) that transports cholesterol from the liver (and is the kind found to accumulate in arteries and become easily oxidized hence their “badness”).

 

And yes, it’s even more complicated than this.  Each of these categories is further broken down into subcategories which can also be measured in a blood test.

 

So “cholesterol” isn’t simply cholesterol because it has very different effects on your body depending on which other molecules it’s bound to in your blood and what it is actually doing there.

 

Myth #2: Cholesterol is bad

 

Cholesterol is absolutely necessary for your body to produce critical things like vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun, your sex hormones (e.g. estrogen and testosterone), as well as bile to help you absorb dietary fats.  Not to mention that it’s incorporated into the membranes of your cells.

 

Talk about an important molecule!

 

The overall amount of cholesterol in your blood (AKA “total cholesterol”) isn’t nearly as important as how much of each kind you have in your blood.

 

While way too much LDL cholesterol as compared with HDL (the LDL:HDL ratio) may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease it is absolutely not the only thing to consider for heart health.

 

Myth #3: Eating cholesterol increases your bad cholesterol

 

Most of the cholesterol in your blood is made by your liver.  It’s actually not from the cholesterol you eat.  Why do you think cholesterol medications block an enzyme in your liver (HMG Co-A reductase, to be exact)?  ‘Cause that’s where it’s made!

 

What you eat still can affect how much cholesterol your liver produces.  After a cholesterol-rich meal your liver doesn’t need to make as much.

 

Myth #4: Your cholesterol should be as low as possible

 

As with almost everything in health and wellness there’s a balance that needs to be maintained.  There are very few extremes that are going to serve you well.

 

People with too-low levels of cholesterol have increased risk of death from other non-heart-related issues like certain types of cancers, as well as suicide.

 

 

 

Myth #5: Drugs are the only way to get a good cholesterol balance

 

Don’t start or stop any medications without talking with your doctor.

 

And while drugs can certainly lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol they don’t seem to be able to raise the “good” HDL cholesterol all that well.

 

Guess what does?

 

Nutrition and exercise, baby!

 

One of the most impactful ways to lower your cholesterol with diet is to eat lots of fruits and veggies.  I mean lots, say up to 10 servings a day.  Every day.

 

Don’t worry the recipe below should help you add at least another salad to your day.

 

You can (should) also exercise, lose weight, stop smoking, and eat better quality fats.  That means fatty fish, avocados and olive oil.  Ditch those over-processed hydrogenated “trans” fats.

 

Summary:

 

The science of cholesterol and heart health is complicated and we’re learning more every day.  You may not need to be as afraid of it as you are.  And there is a lot you can do from a nutrition and lifestyle perspective to improve your cholesterol level.

 

Orange Hemp Seed Dressing (to go with your salad)

Makes about ¾ cup

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup hemp seeds
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • dash salt and/or pepper

 

Instructions:

  • Blend all ingredients together until creamy.
  • Serve on top of your favorite salad and Enjoy!

 

Tip: Store extra in airtight container in the fridge.  Will keep for about a week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-cholesterol

http://summertomato.com/how-to-raise-your-hdl-cholesterol

https://authoritynutrition.com/top-9-biggest-lies-about-dietary-fat-and-cholesterol/

Waist Size. Does it Matter?

Why Your Waist Circumference Matters 100x More Than What Your Weight

 

You totally want to ditch your scale, don’t you?

 

You may have this weird kind of relationship with your “weight”.

 

I mean, it doesn’t define you (obviously).

 

What you weigh can matter but only to a certain extent.

 

Let’s look at your waist circumference (well…you look at yours and I’ll look at mine).

 

Waist Circumference (AKA “Belly Fat”):

 

Do you remember the fruity body shape descriptions being like an “apple” or a “pear”?  The apple is kinda round around the middle (you know – belly fat-ish, kinda beer belly-ish) and the pear is rounder around the hips/thighs.

 

THAT is what we’re talking about here.

 

Do you know which shape is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes) and heart issues (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases).

 

Yup – that apple!

 

And it’s not because of the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat that you may refer to as a “muffin top”.  The health risk is actually due to the fat inside the abdomen covering the liver, intestines and other organs there.

 

This internal fat is called “visceral fat” and that’s where a lot of the problem actually is.  It’s this “un-pinchable” fat.

 

The reason the visceral fat can be a health issue is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure.

 

And the apple-shaped people tend to have a lot more of this hidden visceral fat than the pear-shaped people do.

 

So as you can see where your fat is stored is more important that how much you weigh.

 

Am I an apple or a pear?

It’s pretty simple to find out if you’re in the higher risk category or not. The easiest way is to just measure your waist circumference with a measuring tape.  You can do it right now.

 

Women, if your waist is 35” or more you could be considered to have “abdominal obesity” and be in the higher risk category.  Pregnant ladies are exempt, of course.

 

For men the number is 40”.

 

Of course this isn’t a diagnostic tool.  There are lots of risk factors for chronic diseases.  Waist circumference is just one of them.

 

If you have concerns definitely see your doctor.

 

Tips for helping reduce some belly fat:

 

  • Eat more fiber. Fiber can help reduce belly fat in a few ways.  First of all it helps you feel full and also helps to reduce the amount of calories you absorb from your food.  Some examples of high-fiber foods are brussel sprouts, flax and chia seeds, avocado, and blackberries.
  • Add more protein to your day. Protein reduces your appetite and makes you feel fuller longer.  It also has a high TEF (thermic effect of food) compared with fats and carbs and ensures you have enough of the amino acid building blocks for your muscles.
  • Nix added sugars. This means ditch the processed sweetened foods especially those sweet drinks (even 100% pure juice).
  • Move more. Get some aerobic exercise.  Lift some weights.  Walk and take the stairs.  It all adds up.
  • Stress less. Seriously!  Elevated levels in the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase appetite and drive abdominal fat.
  • Get more sleep. Try making this a priority and seeing how much better you feel (and look).

 

Recipe (High fiber side dish): Garlic Lemon Roasted Brussel Sprouts

 

Serves 4

 

1 lb brussel sprouts (washed, ends removed, halved)

2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

dash salt and pepper

 

Preheat oven to 400F.

 

In a bowl toss sprouts with garlic, oil, and lemon juice.  Spread on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper.

 

Bake for about 15 minutes.  Toss.

 

Bake for another 10 minutes.

 

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: Brussel sprouts contain the fat-soluble bone-loving vitamin K. You may want to eat them more often.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/research-abdominal-fat-and-risk

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/visceral-fat-location

 

http://www.drsharma.ca/inspiring-my-interest-in-visceral-fat

 

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-definition/abdominal-obesity/

 

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/weights-poids/guide-ld-adult/qa-qr-pub-eng.php#a4

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/6-proven-ways-to-lose-belly-fat/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/20-tips-to-lose-belly-fat/

 

 

Why is my metabolism slow?

You may feel tired, cold or that you’ve gained weight.  Maybe your digestion seems a bit more “sluggish”.

 

You may be convinced that your metabolism is slow.

 

Why does this happen?  Why do metabolic rates slow down?

 

What can slow my metabolism?

 

Metabolism includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy.  And there are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories).

 

But don’t worry – we know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”!  In fact it’s so complicated I’m only going to list a few of the common things that can slow it down.

 

Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:

  • low thyroid hormone
  • your history of dieting
  • your size and body composition
  • your activity level
  • lack of sleep

 

We’ll briefly touch on each one below and I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”.

 

Low thyroid hormones

 

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism.  When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down.  The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active.   Ideally it should work to keep your metabolism just right.  But there are several things that can affect it and throw it off course.  Things like autoimmune diseases and mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium) for example.

 

Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your thyroid hormones tested.

 

Your history of dieting

 

When people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down.  This is because the body senses that food may be scarce and adapts by trying to continue with all the necessary life functions and do it all with less food.

 

While dieting can lead to a reduction in amount of fat it unfortunately can also lead to a reduction in the amount of muscle you have.  As you know more muscle means faster resting metabolic rate.

 

Tip: Make sure you’re eating enough food to fuel your body without overdoing it. This is where I see a lot of my clients falling off the bandwagon.  They are eating far less calories than they should be so their bodies are in starvation mode so it stores everything and actually causes you to gain weight. 

 

Your size and body composition

 

In general, larger people have faster metabolic rates.  This is because it takes more energy to fuel a larger body than a smaller one.

 

However, you already know that gaining weight is rarely the best strategy for increasing your metabolism.

 

Muscles that actively move and do work need energy.  Even muscles at rest burn more calories than fat.  This means that the amount of energy your body uses depends partly on the amount of lean muscle mass you have.

 

Tip: Do some weight training to help increase your muscle mass.

 

Which leads us to…

 

Your activity level

 

Aerobic exercise temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move and do “work” and you can tell because you’re also getting hotter.

 

Even little things can add up.  Walking a bit farther than you usually do, using a standing desk instead of sitting all day, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can all contribute to more activity in your day.

 

Tip:  Incorporate movement into your day.  Also, exercise regularly.

 

Lack of sleep

 

There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.  The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

 

Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

 

Recipe (Selenium-rich): Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

 

Serves 4

 

½ cup Brazil nuts

2 cups water

nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth (optional)

½ cup chia seeds

¼ cup unsweetened cacao powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

 

Blend Brazil nuts in water in a high-speed blender until you get smooth, creamy milk.  If desired, strain it with a nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth.

 

Add Brazil nut milk and other ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined.  Let sit several minutes (or overnight) until desired thickness is reached.

 

Serve & Enjoy!

Tip:  Makes a simple delicious breakfast or dessert topped with berries.

 

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/metabolic-damage

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/thyroid-and-testing

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-balance

https://authoritynutrition.com/6-mistakes-that-slow-metabolism/

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-ways-to-boost-metabolism/

http://summertomato.com/non-exercise-activity-thermogenesis-neat

Bye Bye Sleeping Through the Night…

Have you said “bye bye” to sleeping through the night?

 

Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?

 

Do not fear, I have some great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!

 

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing

 

Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we’re just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

 

Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind.  People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation.  And don’t forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.

 

Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp!)

 

OMG – What aspect of health does sleep not affect???

 

Knowing this it’s easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:

  • To restore our body and mind. Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep.
  • To improve our brain’s ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.
  • To conserve some energy so we’re not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.

 

Do you know how much sleep adults need?  It’s less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it’s recommended that all adults get 7 – 9 hours a night.  For real!

 

Try not to skimp!

 

(Don’t worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.)

 

Tips for better sleep

 

  • The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule. Make it a priority and you’re more likely to achieve it.  This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off. I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.

 

  • Balance your blood sugar throughout the day. You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber).  Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavored snack).  Make sure you’re getting some protein every time you eat.

 

  • During the day get some sunshine and exercise. These things tell your body it’s daytime; time for being productive, active and alert.  By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.

 

  • Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12pm. Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it’s the “added” sugar we’re minimizing.  Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte.  Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be come evening. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).

 

  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 – 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off). This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.

 

So how many of these tips can you start implementing today?

 

Recipe (Caffeine-free latte for your afternoon “coffee break”): Caffeine-Free Chai Latte

 

Serves 1-2

 

1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)

2 cups of boiling water

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)

2 dates (optional)

 

Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes.

 

Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter into a blender.

 

Blend until creamy.

 

Serve and Enjoy!

 

Tip:  You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavour combination you like the best.  Cashew butter anyone?

 

References:

 

http://www.thepaleomom.com/gotobed/

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/hacking-sleep

Member of the Month and Rowing Challenge Winner

MEET BETH!

Beth has been a member of Studio ME pretty much since its inception in 2014. She is a pretty amazing person!  During the month of February, we challenged our members to a Rowing Challenge. Something we typically do twice a year. During this challenge they set forth to row as many meters as they can during the month. Beth stepped up to the plate with one thing on her mind…winning. See she came in second place last June and she was going to make sure she won this time. Boy did she!  Beth rowed 320,414 meters which is about 200 miles. She set her mind to it and didn’t let anything get in her way! I am amazed at what she accomplished and the changes her body saw as a result. I’ll give you a sneak peak…4″ off the waist and a reduction in her resting heart rate by 10 bpm. This is HUGE!!!!

Not only is Beth a kick ass rower but she also kicks ass in the conference room too! Here is a picture of her in her new tank top.

Let’s hear from Beth!

“I tried StudioME on a recommendation from another member Kathyrn. I love supporting local, woman-owned businesses and wanted a workout that would keep me from getting bored/plateauing. I have done every type of workout program you can imagine including P90X, Insanity, T25 – a mix of all 3, Discover Strength, Gyrokinesis, biking, running, yoga but they always ended up gathering dust. I am a believer in primal living/eating so I was always trying to mix a program that would combine strength, sprints, yoga and responsible cardio and I have been with StudioME now for over 2 years and love it.

My goals have always been to feel good in my body and be able to move my body the way I want to and that is what StudioME has given me. Those of you who know me know that I don’t believe in scales but I did take one measurement before the rowing challenge this month around my low waist and after the rowing challenge I had lost 4″. Not only that, but my resting heart rate went down 10 bpm!!! I am pretty excited to see what other changes will come before my 40th bday in January 2018.”

Men…Losing Strength? This Hormone Can Help

Yes, we’re talking testosterone.  That muscle-building hormone.  But I’m not going to recommend that you take any anabolic steroid hormones or anything like that.

 

I am going to give you two solid tips on how you can boost your testosterone levels naturally with supplements.

 

Tip #1: Get enough zinc

 

Zinc is an essential mineral that helps with a number of processes in your body (it helps over 300 enzymes).  Zinc helps your immune system, helps to produce critical proteins and DNA, and also helps with wound healing.  Enough zinc is necessary to maintain healthy skin and for optimal ability to taste and smell.  Zinc is an antioxidant and can be supplemented to support optimal levels of testosterone because it helps the enzymes that converts cholesterol into testosterone.

 

Zinc is found mostly in red meat, poultry, egg yolks, and shellfish.  Some plants can also provide zinc such as beans and nuts.  The best dietary source is oysters.

 

The daily recommended dose of zinc for men is 11 mg/day (for women it’s 8 mg/day).  Low zinc levels are rare but tend to occur in vegetarians/vegans, athletes, and people who sweat a lot (zinc is lost in sweat).  And low zinc levels have been linked to low testosterone levels.

 

Of course if you don’t get enough zinc in your diet you can always supplement.  Before you do, however, consider a few things:

  • It is possible to get too much zinc so unless your doctor tells you never take more than 40 mg/day. For many people just 5-10 mg/day is enough to prevent deficiency.
  • Zinc supplements can also interact with certain medications so be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out if zinc supplements are safe for you.
  • Zinc supplements are best taken 2-hours away from any medications (if it’s safe to use it at all while taking those medications) and should be taken with food.

 

Tip #2: Get enough vitamin D

 

Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin” is actually the most common nutrient that we in North America just simply don’t get enough of.  Not only is it not very abundant in foods but most places far from the equator don’t get enough sunlight to produce adequate levels year round.

 

Hello winter; goodbye sunshine vitamin.

 

Vitamin D is known to help us absorb calcium from our foods and is also necessary for our immune system, nervous system, and muscular system.  As with zinc if you’re deficient in this nutrient you may experience increased testosterone levels after supplementing.

 

Vitamin D deficiency is most commonly associated with bone conditions such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

 

It is a fat-soluble vitamin and is found in fatty fish, organ meats, and egg yolks.  Unfortunately it isn’t abundant in most other un-fortified foods.

 

The bottom line with vitamin D is that you may need to supplement.  Of course if you’re always outside in the sun or eat fatty fish every day you may be the exception.  You can always ask your doctor to check your blood levels to be sure because vitamin D is another one of those nutrients where more is not always better.

 

Here are a few tips to supplement with vitamin D safely and effectively:

  • Read your labels and don’t overdo it. Never supplement with more than 4,000IU/day unless supervised by your doctor.
  • As with zinc (and most other supplements) you should check with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re taking any medications.
  • Take your vitamin D with some fat to help your body absorb this vitamin. It is often recommended that you take it with the largest meal of the day.
  • Note that vitamin D is also found in cod liver oil, and multivitamins, so you may not need to take it separately (read your labels).

 

Summary:

 

If you aren’t getting enough zinc and/or vitamin D every day your testosterone levels may be a bit low but don’t overdo these two essential nutrients.

 

Recipe (vitamin D and zinc): Honey Sesame Salmon

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2-3 lbs salmon fillets

¼ cup soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos

¼ cup sesame oil

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons honey or coconut nectar

1” of ginger, shredded or 1 teaspoon ginger powder

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 tablespoons diced green onions or chives

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Honey Sesame Salmon

Instructions:

Mix soy sauce/tamari/aminos, sesame oil, lemon juice, honey/coconut nectar and ginger together to make a marinade.

Place salmon in a glass dish and cover with marinade.  Let sit for a few hours or overnight.

Heat a large cast iron frying pan over medium heat and add coconut oil.

Place salmon in pan skin side down and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Pour marinade into the pan, lower the heat and cook for 3-5 more minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.

Sprinkle with diced green onions/chives and sesame seeds.

Add some veggies and quinoa, serve and enjoy!

Tip:  Wild salmon can contain up to 4 times the amount of vitamin D as farmed salmon.

 

References:

 

https://examine.com/nutrition/how-can-i-increase-testosterone-naturally/

 

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/reference/table/ref_elements_tbl-eng.php

 

http://thewellnessbusinesshub.com/yes-nutrient-deficiencies-heres-proof-can/

 

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/

 

http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=zinc.mono&lang=eng

 

https://examine.com/supplements/Zinc/

 

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/

 

http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=183&lang=eng

 

https://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+D/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/8-ways-to-boost-testosterone/

 

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show?ndbno=15087&fg=&man=&lfacet=&format=Abridged&count=&max=25&offset=0&sort=c&qlookup=&rptfrm=nl&nutrient1=328&nutrient2=309&nutrient3=&subset=0&totCount=5376&measureby=m

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/9-foods-high-in-vitamin-d/

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