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It’s Like Butter!

Want to know the best diet, best keep coffee secret, fat zappers and surprising health facts? You’ve come to the right place. As part of the health and nutrition industry, I am consistently being introduced to new products, tidbits and procedures. As always, I will continue to share these ideas to my devout co-fitness/nutrition comrades.Good-Fats-Vs-Bad-Fats

Food delivery. Ok, the food the delivery market has expanded tremendously since my husband first worked for Plated, one of the only 2 initial players in the market. Now there are dozens. And have I found a treat. Responsibly sourced, organic, delicious, healthy meals with pre-measured ingredients, delivered to your door step every week with step-by step instructions on cooking gourmet recipes in under 30 minutes. Whew! No brainer. Did I mention organic? For four free meals click here: http://greenchef.com/invite/nqzrd4

Butter coffee. Most of you have probably heard about Bulletproof® (grass-fed) butter coffee. But did you know the benefits of drinking it and that you can make your own??

Grass fed organic ghee butter has:

  • The good fats that regulate cholesterol and have the best ratio of omega-6 to omega 3 fatty acids (translation: reduces body fat)
  • Is a good source of Vit K (reduces heart disease)
  • Is a healthy fat source for your brain and body and increases energy while being anti-inflammatory
  • Drinking it in the morning prepares your body to burn fat all day
  • “They” say it can be a meal replacement in the early morning (essential fats and calories provide higher performance than carb)

How to make it: Start with organic brewed coffee, organic grass-fed ghee butter, and if desired, Brain Octane or XCT oil (I do not use this but great benefits!). I simply add a ½ tsp of the butter to my coffee in the am. For more details, Google “home-made butter coffee”.

Endermologie treatment – I just had my first at Just Be Smooth in Millburn, NJ. It is a sub-dermal approach to treating and reducing cellulite, love handles/saddlebags, muscle soreness or aches, toning/smoothing your skin, improving circulation and reshaping your body. It’s non-invasive, safe and completely natural.

You slip into spanks-like full body tights and the machine vacuums each part of your body. It was extremely relaxing and rejuvenating. Although I only did 1 session (it typically takes approx. 14 sessions to reap the benefits), I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I have a few discounted coupons for anyone that would like to try it. Just email me: info@heelstolaces.com

Eat more fat. I recently found myself very sluggish and fatigued – all the time. I eat very healthy and pure (minus weekend indulgences) and could not figure out the culprit. One of the trainers I work with at YB suggested I needed to up my fat/protein intake and further reduce my carbs/sugars/dairy. So, I tried it. It wasn’t hard or too deviant from what I have already been doing. The result? A big surge in energy and big decrease in inflammation. Some things I have added/increased: butter coffee, nuts, seeds, oils, avocados, eggs (the whole egg), pure lean meats/fishes.

Walking. Most of you know, I teach HIIT (high intensity interval training). I am a huge believer in its steadfast results and efficiency. However, recently I have been adding walking to my weekly routine. Walking is how I initially lost my baby fat, very quickly. Why walking? I was looking for a way to get more centered…contemplating yoga or even barre. Quickly remembered I am too ADD for those classes. I now use walking to:

  • Decompress
  • As a form of quiet meditation
  • For a boost of energy if I am tired
  • To destress
  • To build long, lean muscles
  • For added stretching and flexibility
  • To breathe fresh air

A brisk, quick walk will also prevent or manage heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, strengthens your bones and muscles, improve your mood and adds balance and coordination. Try it. You’ll see what I mean.

Protein Cookies. Received this amazing recipe from K2 Fitness and altered it a bit. Super easy – takes 15 minutes to make (including cooking time) and is full protein snack. My kids love it!:

  • Mash 2 bananas…add 1 cup quick oats, ½ c vanilla protein powder (I used pure Whey protein, unflavored), ¼ cup almond, peanut OR soy nut butter (for those with allergies), 1 tsp vanilla extract, ¼ cup dark choc chips (use as many organic ingredients as possible). Scoop balls of dough onto lined cookie sheet – bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Wa-lah!

The Rapid Egg Cooker. Life changer. Thank you, BFF. The Dash Rapid Egg Cooker cooks hard boiled eggs in about 6 minutes. No more old school boiling water. And, they peel perfectly. Great, quick meal or snack. Done and done. Find it here or at Home Goods/TJ Maxx.

The SKIMM. I have talked about this before and I will continue to tout what an incredible edition this has been to my life. I-am-so-informed. Cheeky, quick daily review of the biggest news topics in an easy to read, easy to understand, hilarious format. Why is this part of health and nutrition? Because it makes me feel so much smarter and well informed, which triggers positive endorphins and knowledgeable conversations . It’s how I start my day with my morning coffee: Sign up here.

That’s this month’s version of “Healthy Finds”. Until next time…

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Sick Of It

athlete-fatigueDo you work out, eat well and take care of yourself yet often find you are sick or tired all the time?

Despite taking such good care of your body, if you are an avid exerciser and fitness enthusiast you can actually break down your immune system with overtraining. Many factors associated with overtraining compromise an athlete’s immune system. In fact, upper respiratory infections are actually very common in athletes.

This was a big topic during the training for my Nutrition Certification I just completed this past week. Let’s break it down.

What Happens?
When you exercise, there is an increase in stress hormones which leads to high inflammatory markers (bi-products of chronic stress). There is also a decrease in innate and acquired immunity.

Interesting Fact: 90 minutes after strenuous activity, your immunity is the lowest and you are more apt to get sick! It’s important to refrain from putting your hands near your mouth or eyes (the most susceptible areas of the body) post exercise & wash your hands immediately.

How Do I Keep The Sickness and Fatigue Away?

Protein
Protein is a key component to building immunity. Make sure you are getting adequate amounts. Your daily protein intake should be between 0.8-1.8 grams per 2.2 lbs. The high or low range depends on your activity level. An average adult needs about 0.8 – 1.2 g/2.2 lbs. where a strength athlete needs between 1.4-1.8 g/2.2 lbs.

Example: For a 150 pound active woman: divide 150 by 2.2lbs and multiply that number by about 1.2 grams of protein. Total = 82 grams of protein per day.

Vitamins and Minerals
There are several vitamins and minerals that work as anti-oxidants and help keep your immunity strong including Vitamin A, E, B6, B12, C and Folic Acid. Zinc and Iron are also important, but they should be ingested in moderation as too much can actually have the opposite effect and lower immunity. Most of these vitamins/minerals can be ingested in the food you eat: green leafy veggies, beans, eggs, dairy, lean meats, fruits and whole grains.

Ingest Carbs
Eating carbs post-exercise is said to help build your immune system and reduce stress hormones. We are not talking about eating a box of crackers or bag of pretzels – try to keep to “real” foods such as fruits, veggies and healthy grains.

Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is critical to helping your body function. Dehydration can be the main reason for fatigue. When you exercise, especially in hotter weather, it’s important to rehydrate 125-150% of fluid loss during exercise. Thirst is regulated in the brain. You are already very dehydrated when you even begin to feel thirsty.  You have to stay ahead of it.

Probiotics
I have professed my belief in probiotics for years – studies suggest probiotic and prebiotic ingestion in athletes reduces sick days.

Polyphenols
Polyphenols are abundant micronutrients in our diet, and evidence for their role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases is emerging. They are said to be great stress inhibitors and promote immunity. These can be found in foods like kale, hot peppers, onion, apples, etc. Here is a list of 100 richest dietary sources of polyphenols.

Sleep
As I preach to my clients all the time, adequate rest is crucial for an athlete’s recovery and keeps stress hormones low and repairs mental and physical function. Consistent sleep patterns and getting enough sleep to repair your body is crucial in keeping your immunity & performance levels high and stress hormones low.

Stress
And of course, keeping regular stress at bay is a big component. The more stressed you are, the lower your immunity levels and higher your fatigue. Your body may even start to hold onto some fat. The unfortunate result is when we are chronically stressed by life crises and work-life demands, we are prone to getting an extra layer of “visceral fat” deep in our bellies.

Nutrition is a big component of your day to day. It dictates everything – how your body responds to stress, your energy level and a strong immune system. Getting enough anti-oxidants, keeping stress levels in control and being able to replenish & repair your body are key to optimizing your health and energy levels.

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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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