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Surprise, surprise.

In my many discussions with clients over the past few months, I continue to find common misconceptions about certain foods. You may be surprised to hear the truth.

Let’s clear up some confusion:

Chocolate milk is the perfect post workout drink. The initial thought behind milk as a replenishing snack post workout is actually pretty solid. It’s a great source of natural carbs and proteins and can help build and repair muscles after you sweat it out. The “chocolate” part? Not so much. It’s just added, refined sugars that have no benefit. There is natural sugar in NesquikChocolateMilkmilk – there is no need to add more. Yes, cocoa has been called a powerful antioxidant – but most chocolate milks contain a minuscule amount. Common brands of chocolate milk (ie. “Nesquik” which I often see kids drinking) are full of artificial ingredients and chemicals: Reduced Fat Milk with Vitamin A Palmitate and Vitamin D3 Added, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Less Than 2% of Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Nonfat Milk, Sugar, Calcium Carbonate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Guar Gum, Salt, Carrageenan. This is not chocolate milk. You are much better off with just plain milk. And Nesquik went so far as to claim their chocolate milk beverage as the “official beverage of AYSO and USYS” soccer leagues. No wonder we have issues with the American diet and obesity with our children. Thank you, Big Food companies.

American cheese is good for you. As one of the most commonly used cheeses in food establishments, American cheese is actually not really cheese. It is a processed factory creation that includes milk fats, solids, whey, emulsifiers and food coloring and is high in fat. It was once made from a mixture of cheeses, but now that it is fully processed, it cannot be legally called “cheese” and has to be labeled as “processed cheese”, “cheese product“, etc. Sometimes, instead of the word cheese, it is called “American slices” or “American singles”. Check it out in the supermarket and notice it doesn’t say “cheese”. Under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, American cheese is a type of pasteurized processed cheese.

A food labeled “Natural” is better for you. The word “natural” is actually a marketing term and is not defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It can mean almost anything. Even products labeled “all natural” can be highly processed and contain high fructose corn syrup, pesticides, GMO’s, antibiotics, growth hormones and much more. Just because it sounds good – don’t buy into it. It’s all hype.

Wheat bread is always better for you. Next time you are in a supermarket, pick up a package of whole wheat rolls or breads and you are most likely to see ingredients like: Enriched Bleached Flour, Modified Wheat Starch, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Mono- and Diglycerides, Datem, Caramel Coloring, Guar Gum and Gum Arabic. Not so appetizing – especially when you can’t pronounce them. In actuality, healthy bread should say “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” on the package: that means the bread is made from unrefined wheat, which has more than double the fiber and is also higher in selenium, potassium, and magnesium. There are even healthier options available like sprouted bread. To really be safe, purchase bread that is organic and made with minimal ingredients. Your body will thank you.

Diets shakes are going to help me lose weight. Enter Isagenix, Special K and Shakeology. It’s the same story – once you go off of these shakes, your body will be unable to regulate itself and you will most likely gain the weight back. It is unsustainable. And the ingredient list is mile high and includes additives like guar gum and gum arabic. You are much better off eating real food vs. processed food shakes.

Microwave popcorn is healthy. Popcorn, maybe – microwave popcorn is a whole notha animal. Almost all microwave popcorn varieties come in a bag lined with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This chemical is the same toxic stuff found in teflon pots and pans. It can stay in the environment and in the human body for long periods of time. When heated, this chemical has been linked to infertility, cancer and other diseases in lab animals. No long term studies have been conducted on humans, but the EPA lists this substance as a carcinogen. Not to mention, most microwave popcorn brands include ingredients like hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors and added colors. Stick with organic popcorn in a bag or, better yet, make your own.

Yogurt is healthy. Well, yes, organic plain Greek yogurt is healthy for you. However, most of the yogurt consumed is flavored with sugar and come with toppings. For example, a Yoplait strawberry yogurt has 170 calories, 15 g fat, 33 grams carbs, and 27 grams of sugar. And the kid varieties of YoCrunch include options like m&ms, Crunch bar, Reeses Pieces and Oreos. Let’s call it what it is…dessert.

All organic foods are healthy. Organic foods have to adhere to strict regulations by the USDA on how foods are produced to earn the organic seal of approval. However, you still have to watch the ingredients and read the nutritional facts. For example, Nature’s Path Organic Frosted Cherry Pomegranate Toaster Pastries are a glorified organic Pop Tart with 200 poptart2calories per pastry, 3 grams of saturated fat, 37 grams of carbs and 17 grams of sugar. The ingredient list is also a mile high. Be sure to read the labels.

Gluten free foods are better for you. “Gluten free” is the latest buzz word in the food industry. Gluten free does not necessarily mean healthier. Gluten free products are often made with white rice flour, milled corn flour, even potato or corn starch and typically include carbs with less fiber and higher glycemic indices than the original foods people are trying to avoid. There is a small percentage of people that it is a medical necessity to eat gluten free as they have celiac disease – an autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestine. Millions of others may have a diagnosed gluten sensitivity that causes inflammation throughout the body. Research suggests the epidemic of sensitivities is a result of the refined, GMO processed foods that our bodies are unable to digest. Gluten free is not necessarily a solution to a healthier diet or weight loss.

Foods marked “Whole Grain” are healthy. Companies actually pay fees to belong to the Whole Grains Council, which administers the program.  A food only has to have 8 grams of whole grains to bear this stamp. For example, a 2 oz serving of pasta (56 grams) with 8 grams of whole wheat could actually come with 48 grams of white refined flour. You will commonly find the whole grain stamp on sugary cereals like Lucky Charms – giving a false sense of what is healthy.

The best thing you can do for yourself is learn to read food labels and nutrition facts. They often give all the insight you need into making healthy choices.

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Protein Powders Explained

As I promised in my last blog, (http://heelstolaces.com/protein-questions-answered) below is a description of the most common types of protein powders on the market. Protein powders have grown in popularity and are no longer just for elite body builders. They are a way to ensure you are getting enough daily protein, serve as a quick meal substitute or provide a post-workout recovery. I like to add mine to smoothies, make a shake after a workout or add a scoop to my oatmeal or pancake batter for a protein filled breakfast. It’s important to remember, protein powders are supplements and are best used to supplement a healthy diet of nutritious whole foods.

The Basics First:

‘Concentrated’ or ‘Isolated’. In order to make the powder, the non-protein parts are removed from the food source. ‘Concentrated’ powders are about  70-85% pure protein (with the remaining 15-30% consisting mostly of carbohydrates and fat). Powders that are ‘isolated’ take the process one step further, and remove even more of the non-protein content resulting in a protein powder that is up to 95% pure.

Complete vs. Incomplete Protein: Amino acids that cannot be produced by the body are known as essential amino acids. Complete proteins contain all 10 essential amino acids, whereas incomplete proteins contain some, but not all, of the essential amino acids.

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WHEY PROTEIN

Whey is the most popular protein supplement on the market. It is the by-product in the process of turning milk into cheese and is a complete protein that is quickly absorbed into the body.  Whey has been shown to promote lean muscle growth and fat loss. It can also help repair and rebuild muscle especially when consumed within 60 minutes of a workout. Look for whey protein isolate—not concentrate—as it contains the highest protein concentration and very little fat.

Cautions: Because it is a by-product of milk (aka lactose), people with allergies to lactose may find it hard to digest. Additionally, be wary of the artificial sweeteners and chemicals added to many of the different flavors available. Be sure to read the label.

CASEIN PROTEIN

This protein is also derived from milk, but uses a separation process that isolates the milk protein from the carbs and fat. Because casein digests over a long period of time, it is a good choice for a meal replacement, as it helps you feel fuller longer. It is can also be taken right before bed to prevent muscle breakdown and promote muscle growth while you sleep.

Cautions: As a by-product of milk, casein can also be difficult to digest for those with lactose allergies. Look for “calcium caseinate” on the label to be sure that you are getting the purest form of this protein. And, again check for artificial ingredients, which are often used to improve the taste of casein as it doesn’t mix as easily with liquids. Lastly, expect casein to be more expensive than whey.

SOY PROTEIN

Soybeans are one of the few plant protein sources that are a complete protein. The protein is concentrated or isolated after the soybeans have been hulled and dried into soy flour. Soy can be a good option for vegetarians and those with milk intolerances. Soy has been shown to improve immune function and bone health.

Cautions: In recent years, soy has come under heavy scrutiny because it is often genetically modified to produce greater crop yields at a very low cost. Many foods are already full of soy and, depending on your current diet, it may not be wise to add yet another source of soy. Additionally, some studies have linked soy consumption to health concerns. If you do choose soy, consume it in moderation, and be sure to look for labels that read soy protein isolate, which contains more protein and isoflavones, and less cholesterol and fat as compared to soy protein concentrate.

EGG PROTEIN

Egg protein is just that – protein from eggs. It is a complete protein made by separating out the yolks and dehydrating the egg whites. These powders also contain valuable vitamins and minerals found in whole eggs.

Cautions: Egg protein is also one of the most expensive protein supplements available and can be a problem for anyone with egg allergies.

BROWN RICE PROTEIN

Yes, there is small amount of protein in rice! It is extracted from the rice to make the powder. Brown rice protein is hypo-allergic and easily digested, making it an excellent alternative for anyone with a sensitive stomach or allergies to soy or dairy.

Cautions: Brown rice protein is not a complete protein and is best when paired with other plant-based options like hemp or pea powder to ensure that you are getting all the essential amino acids.

PEA PROTEIN

This plant-based protein, derived from the yellow split pea, is highly digestible and has a fluffy texture (no mushy peas here!). Pea protein is high in glutamic acid, which helps convert carbs into energy so they won’t be stored as fat. It is considered a highly satiating protein, which may help promote weight loss. And if those reasons aren’t enough, it often has few additives or artificial ingredients, and is closest to its whole-food source.

Cautions: Isolated pea protein is often labeled as complete because it can contain many of the essential amino acids, but it is still deficient in certain amino acids. So, like rice protein, pair it with other vegan sources of protein, such as brown rice or hemp.

HEMP PROTEIN

Hemp protein is derived from the seeds of the cannabis plant. A complete plant-based protein, hemp also offers the inflammation-fighting power of omega-6 essential fatty acids and is high in fiber. It is hypoallergenic and excellent choice for those following a vegan diet. Some studies have also suggested hemp protein may be more helpful in weight loss than other protein powders, due to its high fiber content.

Cautions: Since hemp is only harvested in select countries due to its association with cannabis, it is often the most expensive protein powder available.

There are lots of choices out there to fit all different nutritional needs. Don’t be afraid to try different blends and options to see what works best for you. And lastly, be wary of very low cost powders as they often use inexpensive protein blends that are hard to digest and may contain many artificial ingredients.

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A Few Of My Favorite Things…

Ala Oprah style (without the freebies)

The more I read and learn about health and fitness, the more amazing products and trends I discover. Many of you have been asking, so here is a list of some of my current favorite things:

Green Vibrance
Green Vibrance is the “original concentrated green superfood”. It contains 58 certified organic, concentrated foods and extracts, all of the highest quality, along withan industry-leading 18 billion probiotics per serving. It’s a nutritional powerhouse that improves energy and endurance, strengthens immunity and improves digestion and circulation. According to the package, Green Vibrance has more nutrient density than any other green-food product on the market.

Where to get it: Found the best price on Amazon – but also available at the Summit Health Shoppe on Springfield Ave in Summit (which is one of our sponsors offering Heels To Laces members a discount on products! hint, hint).

Latest version with protein:
I originally used Green Vibrance daily and mixed in my own protein…until Maximum Vibrance came out! Each serving has 23 grams of protein, in addition to the original multi-vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes and probiotics to increase vitality, energy and achieve
optimum health. Maximum Vibrance contains 120 ingredients including 80 plants, 26 antioxidants, 6g of fiber, 7 servings of fruits and vegetables, 7 vegetable based digestive enzymes, 23 grams of protein and is gluten free.

Where to get it: Amazon & Summit Health Shoppe

Whey Factors 100% Whey Protein
I have searched high and low for a pure high quality protein without artificial or added ingredients. And I finally found it:

Whey Factors, 100% natural whey protein powder, is a pure source of high quality whey protein. No GMO, BSE, rBGH or added sugar. No artificial preservatives, colors, sweeteners, starch, wheat or yeast. It is unflavored but still tastes good. It’s perfect to add to a protein shake or smoothie (suggest blending with fruit and/or milk to make it more tasty).

Where to get it: Summit Health Shoppe

Natural Vitality CALM – Anti-Stress Drink
Natural Calm is the most effective, fast-acting, pH-balanced magnesium available. It is a 100% natural, water-soluble magnesium powder of the highest quality. Magnesium is said to have powerful healing properties and most Americans do not ingest nearly enough of this beneficial mineral. It is said to help you:

  • sleep better
  • relax the nervous system
  • elevate your mood
  • build bigger, stronger muscles
  • have better flexibility
  • help with regularity
  • return the body’s natural pH balance
  • hydrate
  • and prevent several health conditions like diabetes

I use it as a natural anxiety remedy – and it works brilliantly. It comes in raspberry lemon or lemon.

Where to get it: In addition to the larger container, The Summit Healthe Shoppe on Springfield Ave sells single-dose packets for $1.00 each. Awesome for travel and convenience 😉

NOW Foods Liquid Vitamin D-3 1,000 IU Dropvitd
I was continually looking for a vitamin D my kids could take since my son couldn’t swallow any pills. I found this vitamin D with a dropper – which lasts forever and is super easy to dispense. The kids love it! And you all know by now after reading our blog how important Vitamin D is.

Where to get it: Summit Health Shoppe and Amazon.

Cruncha ma-me Edamame Veggie Snack salt n pepper
Yum, yum, yum! Salt n’ Pepa here!

Rich in protein (8 gram per bag) same as a large egg, high in fiber (3 gram per bag – same as an apple), gluten-free, non-GMO ingredients and great edamame taste!Perfect filling snack when you need a little somethin’ somethin’. Comes in several flavors including Salt and Pepper, my personal fav.

Where to get it: Kings, Whole Foods & Amazon

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacomole97951-reduced-guilt-chunky-guacamole-di2
I eat it by the tub.

Made with low fat greek yogurt, it has 50% less fat and 40% fewer calories that the regular guac with the same awesome benefits and it is DE-Lish! Simplest ingredients ever: low-fat Greek yogurt blended with hand-scooped avocados, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, garlic, black pepper, fresh lime juice, and a bit of jalapeño.

Where to get it: Trader Joe’s, of course.

Yurbudsyurbuds
Not gonna lie – our super amazing, young, hip, gorgeous cousin works for the company. She sent me a pair and I loved them. Ergonomically designed silicone ear buds to fit women’s ears. They twist into place so they won’t fall out during the most intense workout and feature water-resistant protection that lets you train in any conditions. Other features:  includes two sizes of enhancers, sweat, water and germ-resistant, “ambient noise awareness” and four-foot cord. And they’re super-cute too. Love the packaging.

Where to get it: They are all over – but found them at Target.

Riondo Prosecco
Pretty sure I wrote about this one before. Perfect summer drink. Cross between white wine, champagne and beer. My husband loRiondo Prosecco-500x500ves it too, so it passes the “manly” drink test. Refreshing and light, not too sweet, and no morning hang-over (even when you drink the whole bottle – for those seasoned drinkers like myself ;-).

Where to get it: I buy it by the case for a 15% discount at A&P Liquor in Summit right off Summit Ave by the Delta gas station (looks like a dive, but it’s a great deal!).

Tabata
Had to include this one. For the past couple of months, I ditched my old-school one-hour workouts and replaced them with 30-minute Tabata classes– a form of HIIT (high intensity interval training).  Tabata has anaerobic and aerobic benefits – it is a perfect combination of cardio and strength training. Most of you know Lisa and I teach Tabata locally and our clients have had tremendous results! At the end of our first 8-week program, our Tabata Bootcamp group lost a total of 41 inches and dropped 7.9% body fat!

I have literally cut my workouts in half and have seen a huge difference.

Where to find it: Summit, NJ with Lisa and Debra. Email us for the latest schedule:  info@heelstolaces.com 😉

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