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Health and Nutrition

Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potato Recipie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Servings 6

Ingredients:
3 medium sweet potatoes
1.5 lbs (about 3 smallish) boneless skinless chicken breast
1/4 cups olive oil
3 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
3-4 whole chipotle pepper, minced
2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoon cumin
3 teaspoons chili powder
salt and pepper
2-3 cups spinach
5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish if desired
Greek yogurt, for serving if desired

 

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Wash your sweet potatoes and prick all over with a fork. Place in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until fork tender. Place your chicken in a baking dish and rub with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and peper. Place in the oven with the potatoes and bake for 25 minutes.

Once chicken is cooked, allow to cool and then shred the chicken into a bowl. When the sweet potatoes are done, cut in half and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

In a medium-size bowl combine the rest of the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, chipotle peppers, oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and wilt the spinach and then add to the chicken bowl. Toss the spinach and shredded chicken together and set aside.

Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Scrape the sweet potato out of the peel, leaving a medium size layer of flesh inside with the peel so that it can stand up on its own and place in a baking dish. Brush the skins with with a little of the chipotle sauce and bake for 5-10 muntes until nice and crisp. While the skins bake, mix the spinach, potato flesh, chicken and chipotle sauce together.

Remove skins from the oven and stuff with the chicken mixture and top with shredded cheese if desired. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the skins are hot and crisp.

Serve with fresh chopped cilantro and greek yogurt if desired. You can even add some guacamole or sliced avocado.

*Yogurt and guacamole not included in Nutritional Information.

**You may want to prep but not bake/crisp up the potatoes until serving if you aren’t eating them all that day.

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/

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/

 

 

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

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/

Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong and it’s Making You Fat and Tired

Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere!

 

And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you.  Right?

 

Well, maybe…

 

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat.  This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health.

 

Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.

 

What you eat and drink

 

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important.  Don’t get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.

 

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn’t work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn’t we?

 

You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don’t forget to also pay attention to what you eat.

 

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods).  This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

 

Every day this is what you should aim for:

  • A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads.  Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible.  You don’t need to overdo it here.  Just make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.

 

How you eat and drink

 

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink.

 

Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.

 

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?

 

When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating”.

 

Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

 

This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

 

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less.  Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?

 

Thought so!

 

We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

 

And don’t forget about drinking your food.

 

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.

 

Don’t get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack.  And don’t gulp it down too fast.

 

If your smoothies don’t fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds.

 

Summary:

 

Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.

 

Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere!

 

And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you.  Right?

 

Well, maybe…

 

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat.  This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health.

 

Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.

 

What you eat and drink

 

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important.  Don’t get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.

 

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn’t work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn’t we?

 

You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don’t forget to also pay attention to what you eat.

 

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods).  This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

 

Every day this is what you should aim for:

  • A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads.  Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible.  You don’t need to overdo it here.  Just make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.

 

How you eat and drink

 

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink.

 

Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.

 

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?

 

When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating”.

 

Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

 

This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

 

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less.  Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?

 

Thought so!

 

We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

 

And don’t forget about drinking your food.

 

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.

 

Don’t get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack.  And don’t gulp it down too fast.

 

If your smoothies don’t fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds.

 

Summary:

 

Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.

 

Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie

 

Serves 1

 

Handful spinach

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 banana

1 chopped peach

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

 

Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend).

 

Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the almond milk.

 

Blend, Serve and Enjoy!

 

 

Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions.  Try swapping different greens, fruit or seeds to match your preference.

 

Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they  contain all of the essential amino acids from protein.

References:

 

http://summertomato.com/wisdom-wednesday-salad-dressing-is-your-friend

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/20-reasons-you-are-not-losing-weight/

 

http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal

 

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2

 

 

 

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breast

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 old

 

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!

What’s your body type?

Have you ever wondered why some people can lose weight and build muscle faster than others? Are you one of them or is it a little harder for you?  Well, your genetics may play role. Factors that can affect fat loss, muscle growth, and strength include:

  • Basal Metabolic Rate
  • Number of fat cells
  • Number of muscle fibers
  • Muscle fiber type
  • Muscle insertions
  • Limb length
  • Joint size
  • Digestive differences
  • Food allergies and insensitivities
  • Carbohydrate tolerance

Our genetics are something we cannot alter but knowing your body type will help as you begin on your wellness journey. There are three body types. Don’t worry, we don’t all fit into these neat categories.  You may be a combination of two but its important to know your predominate type.

  1. Ectomorphs – lean, skinny type. Sometimes call skinny fat. They are bony, have fast metabolisms and low body fat.
  2. Endomorphs – larger, have a soft roundness and have difficultly losing body fat
  3. Mesomorphs – muscular types, lean and naturally athletic and gain muscle with ease.

Now identify your pre-dominate type and watch for our next post about what it means and how to get the best results for your body type.

References: 

Venuto, Tom. Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle: The Secrets of the Leanest People in the World. London: Vermilion, 2013. Print.

Precision Nutrition. John Berardi, Ph.D. Body type nutrition: Here’s how to eat right for your body type. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.precisionnutrition.com/eat-right-for-your-body-type

Post Workout Nutrition – Balanced Meals

Post workout your body has different needs.  You also have a “window of opportunity” in which you need to meet those needs. You want to consume your protein and carbohydrates shortly after a workout but for sure within 45mins. I know it can be tough, you’re traveling to and from a gym, maybe heading into work so this is where supplements can help.  I typically don’t like to preach supplements. I always prefer whole foods but in this case it may be warranted. Your body can easily digest liquids (such as a protein drink) more quickly than whole foods. Take a look at the plate and see how it’s change from your “anytime meal” to post workout meal.

On your post workout plate you see a lot more protein to help with rebuilding muscle and much more carbohydrates (veggies and fruits).  You will also see an addition of starchy vegetables added to the perimeter of the plate. If you really like the starchy veggies eat them right after a workout. What’s a starchy veggie you ask?

CARBS
Starchy complex Fibrous Complex carbs Natural Simple Carbs
potatoes broccoli apples, applesauce
yams spinach bananas
sweet potatoes asparagus blueberries
oatmeal cucumber raspberries
beans tomatoes strawberries
brown rice cauliflower blackberries
lentils brussel sprouts nectarines
chickpeas celery plums
black eyed peas onions, scallions, leeks peaches
green peas bell pepper (green or red) pears
corn Cabbage, bok choy grapefruit
pumpkin kale oranges
barley mushrooms watermelon
winter squash eggplant pineapple
quinoa zucchini cherries
millet carrots mango
whole wheat string beans, green beans kiwi
100 % whole grain bread, cereal, pasta lettuce and leafy salad greens melon, cantaloupe

Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle by Tom Veneto

Combine your anytime meals with your post workout meals and you now have a balanced plate.  Continue to think of your plate as being divided into sixths.

  • 3/6 should be health carbs
  • 2/6 protein
  • 1/6 healthy fats
  • Always include a glass of water

 

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