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Spice It Up.

What if you were told you could prevent inflammation, burn more fat, stop infections…all simply by spicing up your life? The health benefits associated with adding spices to your foods spices
are immense and have received a lot of traction lately in the health industry. Some spices have been known to benefit your heart, provide anti-bacterial and antiviral properties and are high in vitamins and trace minerals. Not to mention they can help boost the taste of so many meals without adding extra calories.

Some of the most common spices and their benefits include the following:

Cayenne pepper – “hot” due to its capsaicin content, a substance that helps heat up your body and fire up your metabolism to burn extra calories and fat. It has also been known to relieve aches and soreness. Other benefits may include improved circulation, heart health and fighting some cancers and ulcers.

Ginger – commonly known to treat upset stomachs, ginger may also help gas and bloating, sore throats, colds, arthritis and motion sickness.  It has also been known to lessen workout induced soreness and inflammation and may even be attributed to higher memory. It can be ingested in multiple ways and is readily available.

Cinnamon – has one of the highest antioxidant values of any spice and has been shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar and triglyceride levels, help with nausea and help the body in burning fat. It is also a great source of manganese, iron and calcium…and can reduce risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. Oh…and it kills bacteria! I add cinnamon to my coffee every day.

Fennel – high in calcium and rich in niacin, fennel is also high in vitamin C and can help promote a strong immune system and is an excellent source of dietary fiber and iron – helping to boost your metabolism and keep your digestive tract healthy. And, it’s a natural appetite suppressant and can help detoxify and exfoliate the skin.

Turmeric – a common ingredient in mustard, butter and cheese to add to their yellow hue. Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory and has been known to provide pain relief and may have benefits to treating Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and breast, stomach and colon cancer. It also contains anti-bacterial properties and helps digest fat quickly.

Oregano – has been known to have antiviral, antibacterial, anticancer, antioxidant and antibiotic properties. It contains vitamin K, which has bone-building properties, and can help fend off the stomach flu. The oil and leaves of the plant have been used medicinally to body aches and illnesses.

Basil – known for it’s powerful antioxidant properties that can protect the body from premature aging, skin issues and some types of cancer. The plant pigments are said to protect your cell structure from oxygen and radiation damage and can also be applied to wounds to help prevent bacterial infections.

Cumin – super rich in iron, cumin helps keep your energy level high and your immune system strong. It has also been associated to boosting brainpower, especially memory.

It’s especially important to keep your spices fresh and use them before the expiration date. Your best option is to buy the plant source and use it directly to spice up your meals.

Experiment with your recipes and add a little extra spice to your life.

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Burn Baby, Burn

You might be diligent about going to the gym and spending hours doing cardo on a treadmill or eliptical machine – which is great for your cardiovascular health- but are you left without burn-fat-970x727noticeable results?

In a cardio session, you burn calories, but the calorie burn ends when you finish your cardio session. If you want to maximize your calorie burn, you have to take it up a notch and achieve something called EPOC, or “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption”. It is a “measurably increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity intended to erase the body’s ‘oxygen deficit.'”

What does that mean?

It means, “afterburn” – the continual burn of calories after a very high-intensity workout. It also means your metabolism, highest post exercise, is fired up much longer after you finish a workout session. Your body is working hard to re-coup a normal heart rhythm and resting state. You burn calories by consuming more oxygen. Therefore, the longer it takes you to regulate your oxygen intake, the more calories you are burning. This post-consumption state can burn as much as an additional 150+ calories throughout your day. More calorie burn & a higher metabolism = more results, faster.

So how do you achieve it?

Higher intensity workouts. This means bringing your heart rate to 75% or more of your resting heart rate. The longer you perform high intensity exercise, the larger the EPOC effect. It also means performing a high intensity workout for 30 minutes is much more effective than a steady state on a cardio machine for one hour.

Resistance training (with weights or body weight), especially with high intensity interval training, is one of the best ways to increase EPOC.

Guidelines to reach EPOC:

  • Perform at a high intensity (out of your comfort zone) – at least 75%+ of your resting heart rate
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes
  • Include resistance training in your workout
  • Incorporate interval training

Although high intensity workouts are effective, it is recommended that you limit this type of workout to only a couple of times/week as you need time to rest and recover your body.

Try to push yourself and work past your current limits and there’s a good chance you will start to see results much faster.

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How many people do you know that crash diet like a yo-yo yearning to spin to the top, only to spiral down again? Attention crash and fad dieters…it’s time to stop the gave up dietingmadness. Repetitive crash dieting has serious health consequences and can be detrimental in the long run.

Over the decades, we have been exposed to a plenitude of “crash diets”. From the latest juicing craze to the original Master Cleanse of water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Seriously…who designed that one? Aunt Jemima – we are on to you and your marketing ploys.

Why crash diets don’t work
Research has repetitively shown that rapid weight loss can:

  • Slow your metabolism (no wonder you gain the weight back so quickly!)
  • Deprive your body of essential nutrients
  • Weaken your immune system
  • Increase your risk of dehydration
  • Lead to heart muscle loss & loss of tissue in your liver, kidneys, brain and other organs
  • Damage your blood vessels (the shrinking and growing causes micro tears that lead to disease)
  • Increase heart palpitations and cardiac stress
  • Increase your risk of heart attack
  • Lead to osteoporosis
  • Almost guarantee you will gain back all the weight you lost after you go off the “diet”

Now here’s the science
For one, our bodies do not need help eliminating waste. Truth. That’s what you have a liver for.

Once you start your new diet, your body starts to go into starvation mode. Your body will lose weight quickly, but not lose any fat. You are actually losing your body’s stored carbohydrate glycogen…and your water supply. Both of which make you think you are losing a lot of weight.

Your metabolism quickly slows down and you become irritable, tired and lethargic from the lack of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. You become hungrier and your body begins to break down muscle for energy.

When you start eating again, your body works to ensure you regain not only the fat you lost, but some extra fat to protect you from future starvation. It can take months to years for your body to readjust. Crash dieting can easily become a never-ending cycle of rapid weight loss followed by rapid weight gain.

Shh…We are about to reveal a huge secret
How do you maintain your weight for years and stop being married to the scale? Practice a healthy, non-processed balanced diet and regular exercise routine. No crash diet can speed up your metabolism. Only exercise can.  There. We let the cat out of the box.

D-I-E-T is a four letter word that should be eliminated from your life.  Make healthy eating and exercising part of a daily lifestyle and something you actually enjoy – not depriving yourself repeatedly and temporarily until you are forced to binge out of pure withdrawal. As my father always said, everything in moderation.

Think of all the time, energy and money you will save if you stop scrutinizing over your next weight loss scheme and live your life without obsessing over what you will eat (or not eat) tomorrow.

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