Nutrition

Creating an Effective Balance by Eating Fruits & Vegetables

This journal entry stemmed from a conversation about making effective dietary changes without placing too many limits. For a lot of people, the problems arise when there are disruptions in the normal day. It just takes an hour or two to sit down, identify potential inconsistencies and work around them. By keeping protein sources and snacks with you at all times, you can prevent long lapses in your day and intense bouts of hunger, all while keeping your calorie count down. If you’re hungry, EAT! But only if you’ve worked on a plan and have developed some sense of control.

I counted somewhere near 20 fruits and veggies on here! Every little bit counts, it can be done!

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Protein Shakes After a Workout

Protein shakes are often associated with bodybuilding and elite athletes. The reality is that most people don’t consume nearly enough protein or carbohydrate, if at all, after a strenuous workout. There is so much confusion surrounding the question of whether or not to “eat back” exercise calories. In the grand scheme of things, you want to be able to utilize physical activity to create a deficit conducive to a healthy, consistent weight loss. You shouldn’t necessarily consume more because you exercised, but you should consume smart.

After a workout, your body is broken down and depleted of many essential nutrients. The two that require the most attention after any type of prolonged or strenuous physical activity are carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates are our primary source of energy before we get into our fat stores. They drive all of the internal processes that allow us to function and perform on a daily basis. Proteins or amino acids make up the tools necessary to respond, repair, and adapt. They’re used as a building block for muscle tissue. The two go hand in hand. Your body needs the carbs for energy to repair your damaged muscles and the protein to carry out the repairs. If you want to get stronger, boost your metabolism, and generally feel less fatigued, it’s extremely important that you consume both within 30 minutes. This can be a challenge. Whole food choices like your meats, grains, nuts, etc. take far too long to break down. Any added fats will slow down the process even more (fats are metabolized very slowly). On the other hand, protein shakes are already in liquid form and are therefore metabolized and utilized more readily. Many protein powders actually already contain an optimal ratio of carbs to protein.

If you don’t take in the fuel you need to replenish your depleted energy stores, your body can actually begin to break down muscle tissue in order to make more carbohydrates. This can be extremely debilitating and frustrating over time.

We wish there was a simple equation that could tell you how many calories to consume based on the intensity level and overall burn of your workout. In a way, it doesn’t matter as much as you would think. Immediately following a workout, your body is in an extremely anabolic state. This means that you’re burning significantly more calories than you would at normal resting times. It can be scary to workout, see a large burn, and then seemingly take away some of your hard work. Rest assured, it doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t always boil down to the numbers. If it was all numbers all the time, it would be much easier to lose the weight! Protein shakes are your friend. Like anything else, consume in moderation!

The Truth About Smoothies

the truth about smoothies

Smoothies are refreshing and delicious, especially during the heat of Summer. But, unfortunately, like anything else, many smoothies are made to be ultra fattening, contain high doses of sugar, or some combination of the two. Couple that with the fact that those liquid calories will get digested and absorbed pretty readily, and you’re “healthy choice” could quickly send you running for help.

Here’s the truth about smoothies!

Food, by definition, makes up what (and how) we choose to nourish our bodies. In determining what’s appropriate to eat and when, we promote proper balance and education. We have to weigh the positives and the negatives to do determine if we should consume something, but we need the education to weigh things properly. So how do smoothies stack up? They should be a valued asset to your overall fitness regime.

Read on to find out whether your smoothie is working against instead of for you….

Does It Have Fruit Juice?

If your smoothie relies on fruit juices to give it some added punch, your smoothie may not be as healthy as you think. Since fruit juice is often jam-packed with flavor-enhancing sugars, you’d be smart to keep fruit juice well away from your morning pick-me-up. Have a killer recipe that can’t do without fruit juice of some sort? No problem. Just be sure to pick all-natural homemade squeezed fruit juice or coconut water. The best way to make sure your fruit juice is nothing but fruit juice is to squeeze it yourself, so start squeezing! And don’t forget the fiber-rich pulp!

Do You Have to Add Sugar?

For the same reason you don’t want a smoothie with store-bought sugar-laden fruit juice, you want to sidestep any smoothie that requires you to toss extra teaspoons of sugar or syrup in. The fruit you add to your smoothie should have plenty of sugar (often too much!) to give it the sweetness you desire. Anything else is excessive and will serve to slow you down and encourage fat storage.

Do You Toss in Yogurt?

Smoothies that include yogurt can come out on the healthy or unhealthy side of things. It all depends on what kind of yogurt you use. For the same reasons above, if your favorite type of yogurt is stuffed with added sugars and flavors, it’s not going to be a good way to power yourself up for the day. On the other hand, if you’re careful to only use homemade, organic, or Greek yogurt, your smoothie can be a superbly healthy start to your day. Just think about whether or not you still need the whole container to achieve the same consistency you’re looking for.

Is It Super Sized?

No matter what healthy ingredients you shove into your smoothie, it can still sabotage your weight and health goals if you over-consume. Portion control is extremely important. Remember, you can jam pack a lot of nutrition into a small glass. Think 8 ounces and stick to it! Before you serve yourself a 48-ounce smoothie, or purchase a 60+ gram of sugar Naked juice or Odwalla, really consider your weight goals and your bodies ability to process that many carbohydrates at once. The solution? Split your morning smoothie into appropriate portions so the whole family can join in. Serve it as part of a well-balanced breakfast on the weekend! Or, drink down one portion in the morning and save the rest for a small afternoon snack or finish it off the next morning.

Do You Ever Color It Green?

While fruit smoothies are incredibly delicious, it’s a great idea to switch it up by making a veggie smoothie on occasion. You may even want to go green the majority of the time. The deep green color is sure to give you some vitamins and minerals that your body is likely missing, and skipping the fruit on occasion will remind your taste buds that good things don’t always have to be so sweet.

Does It Contain Ice Cream?

Okay, this may sound like a joke, but if your smoothie contains three scoops of ice cream, a squirt of chocolate syrup, and a cup or two of milk, you’re not drinking a smoothie. It’s a milk shake. And it will not get your day or diet off on the right foot.

Before you laugh too loudly, you should know that some people think that anything cold and creamy that comes out of blender is a smoothie. So if you’re lounging at a friend’s house and he or she offers you a delicious homemade smoothie, ask what’s in it before accepting!

Getting Started

Smoothies are great for a lot of reasons. The rapid nutrient uptake/absorption and the potential to really balance off your day is exciting. If you’re not accustomed to eating breakfast, try to drink your breakfast! We all need the energy and nutrition early, to provide our body with what it needs to perform how we expect it to perform on a daily basis, in and out of the gym. You can read on to see how to supplement your workouts with protein derived shakes and the added benefit we see there.

smoothie nutrition factsIn the meantime, check out this (simple) sample smoothie. Note the balance in the nutrition line from carbs to protein to fat. With this and any smoothie, you can always add in some greens, healthy seeds, and the protein source of your choice.

7 Ways to Avoid Falling off the Healthy Eating Wagon

Whether you’ve been riding the healthy eating wagon for a week or a decade, it may always seem like a roller coaster ride- and that’s okay! It’s so easy to get side-tracked for days, weeks, even months at a time.

It’s Summer, so that means it’s barbecue season. That also means it’s bathing suit season. It’s this kind of back and forth struggle that’s enough to make someone go mad!

Keep reading to learn seven ways to protect yourself against the temptation to fall—or even jump off of your healthy eating wagon—on a daily basis.

1. Don’t Starve Yourself

Eating is a basic human need. Cut your calories in half over night or slash any specific food group out altogether for a prolonged period and you’ll land flat on your face in no time flat. When you’re eating for good health, you still need to eat. You’ll just need to go with healthy options and avoid eating more than your body needs to, to fuel itself throughout the day.

2. No Excuses

There are as many excuses to fall off the healthy kick as there are days in a year. So if you’re going to stay on board, you’re going to have to ignore the excuses and focus in on your goal: eating the right stuff. So, what do you do?

3. Stay Focused

Being mindful of your healthy eating ways is easy during the first few days. After all, you’ve spent years eating one way and now you’re changing everything up. In a week or so, however, it can be difficult to remember your desire to eat healthily and even harder to remember why you made that decision. Stay focused on your choices and why you made them by maintaining some level of accountability. Track your foods, practice portion control, step up your exercise game, etc. It’s all about building that positive momentum!

4. Get on the Right Wagon

Every person’s health goals and expectations are different. If you make drastic changes for the first time in your life and expect to shed 30 pounds in a week, you’re going to be disappointed as you yo-yo your way back to reality. Setting appropriate goals will help you stay on the wagon and help you surpass that next goal, as your wagon gets easier and easier to coast to the finish line.

5. Avoid Naysayers

Always struggled with your weight? Tried every diet plan known to man without success? Then you’re going to have a lot of folks who scoff at your desire to eat healthily. People will always judge and think/speak critically – it’s the world that we live in. Surround yourself with people who you know will love and support you, especially when times get tough. As many of you know, they certainly will and do. Once your lifestyle changes start to pay off, make sure to strut by the folks who said they’ll believe you’re serious about healthy eating when they see results and watch their jaws drop.

6. Stay Away from Triggers

One reason healthy eating is difficult for so many is that unhealthy eating tastes so good! Understanding this and understanding when you most want unhealthy food options will help you stay on the fast track. Eat everything in sight when you’re alone? Give someone a phone call when no one is around. Practice the art of self-distraction and you’ll find self-discipline.

7. Know How to Get Back On

You should aim to stay on the healthy eating wagon all day, every day. But you should also be ready when you fall off. While you can find any number of ways to get back on the wagon, the best is to just do it! Admit you goofed up, recommit yourself to healthy living, and start living the healthy life you deserve once again. Don’t wait for that next big event to prompt you to initiate change. Dig down deep, find the internal motivators and make it happen.

Strawberry MicroGreen Salad

Microgreens are tiny leafed vegetables that are harvested when less than two inches tall. They have remarkably intense flavor and high levels of vitamins and minerals. Pair this salad with a piece of lean meat for an excellent, light meal.

Servings: 4

Here’s what you need…

  • 3 cups organic microgreens
  • 1 cup sliced strawberry
  • strawberry dressing (6 strawberries, 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon olive oil, dash of salt and pepper — blended)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Toss the microgreens with strawberries and dressing. Sprinkle with walnuts.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 124 calories, 6g fat, 8g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, and 2g protein.

Time for a Summer Shape-up

It’s that time of year again! No more excuses and no more halfway doing it. You’ve got to go all out to look and feel your best, just in time for Summer. But before you set up shop in the corner doing 3.7 million sit-ups, you should know that as helpful as it is to have a strong core for overall health, there are much more effective ways to get the results that you crave.

FITNESS
What you need is a full-body exercise routine that really gets your heart pumping. That means on top of a solid foundation of strength-training exercises, you’ll want to pile on plenty of high intensity cardio exercises to really jump-start your metabolism. Try a class that takes you out of your comfort zone or sit down with one of our health & fitness specialists for a complimentary consultation. We’d be happy to help you develop a routine that makes the most sense for you and your schedule.

NUTRITION
Food journaling is a critical component to weight management. Documenting what you eat throughout the day makes you more accountable for the choices you make. The simple action of tracking your food intake is a constant reminder that you are choosing to pay attention to your health and well-being. In time, you’ll start to understand where your calories are coming from and the nutritional balance of your meals and snacks. This knowledge will make it easier to make the necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle. Then, if your stomach is upset, you feel unusually tired or sluggish, bloated, unsatisfied, etc., you can look back and see which foods made you feel this way.

Follow this link to set up an online food journal through MyFitnessPal!

Fitness Oatmeal

This oatmeal is packing a powerful ingredient – protein. Mix a scoop of your favorite protein powder into your oatmeal to transform it into a quick and healthy breakfast.

Servings: 1

Here’s what you need…
½cup whole grain oats
1 cup water
dash of sea salt
1 scoop high quality protein
1 tablespoon chopped macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon golden raisins
Mix the oats, water and salt together in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 to 4 minutes.
Stir in protein, top with nuts and raisins.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 325 calories, 7g fat, 41g carbohydrate, 10g fiber, and 26g protein.

Anti-Aging Foods?

Anti-Aging Foods?
It’s no secret that we are what we eat. So much of our health and overall well-being is determined by what we choose to put into our bodies. So, how can we ensure we’re making the best choices?

More Meat, Please

Like getting your protein fix from meats? If you’re in the market for young-looking skin, you’ll be pleased to know that eating meat can help you get there. Just be careful, because not all meats are created equal.

For increased collagen that keeps your skin elastic, and vibrant, lean meats are the way to go. More into fish? Then get your fill of salmon. Full of the amazing omega-3 fatty acids that has been the talk of the medical community for years, salmon helps improve your circulation, all while giving your skin that healthy glow you want, and keeping your skin from getting too dry.

Fruits & Veggies, Too

Beside your meats (or in lieu of them if you’re not a meat-eater), you’ll want a healthy helping of fruits and vegetables.

What kind of fruits and vegetables can help you out? When it comes to your skin’s health, any fruit or vegetable is useful. Just remember that the more color a fruit has, the more nutrients it holds. The more nutrients, the better it is for your skin!

A few of the best include the following:

  • avocados—they provide healthy, monounsaturated fats that help your skin stay well hydrated
  • oranges—full of cell-hydrating water, vitamin C does double duty by helping create collagen, which keeps your skin plump and smooth
  • grapes—a particular chemical called resveratrol comes from grape skins and is remarkably efficient at fighting inflammation and bringing the aging process to a nice, slow pace
  • pomegranates—on top of fighting free radicals, they help preserve the collagen you’ve worked so hard to get in the first place
  • blueberries—they’re small and full of antioxidants that fight the damage to your skin caused by free radicals, sun damage, and stress
  • kale and spinach—these and other leafy greens serve to protect against damage done to your skin by the sun, improve your skin’s elasticity (which helps you look younger), and keep your skin as hydrated as possible
  • cauliflower and Brussels sprouts—they may not look like much, but they’re loaded with antioxidants and give your immune system a boost, while cauliflower even works to keep your teeth whiter (little know fact).

And a Little Grain

It’s hard to eat meal after meal without getting a little bit of grain in your diet. Fortunately for you, there is a way to make your grain intake lend your skin a helping hand. How? By eating oats. Oats, such as those found in oatmeal, are made up of complex carbohydrates and are low on the glycemic scale. Additionally, oats are full of plant-based chemicals that are responsible for preventing skin cell damage. When you have healthier skin, you have a healthier you — who looks young and happy and is ready to take on the world!

To look even younger, a challenging and consistent exercise program is a must. Here’s why…

Exercise is the only proven way to drastically combat aging and to regain your youthful body. In fact, most people are able to regain up to 1/3 of their muscle strength and mass after participating in an exercise program for just a couple of months. Many studies have also shown that seniors who exercise regularly live longer than those who don’t. No real surprise there!

Call or email us today and we’ll get you started on an exercise plan that’s designed to get you looking and feeling younger than you have in decades!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Here’s a simple, delicious dinner that your whole family will love. Simply throw the chicken ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning, and come home to a healthy, flavorful meal.

Servings: 8

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 bell peppers (any color), thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 (4oz) can green chiles, chopped (I use mild!)
  • 1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16oz) jar green salsa
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped plus more for garnish
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon fajita seasoning
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Large lettuce leaves
  • Avocado, sliced
  1. Combine all of the ingredients, except the lettuce leaves and avocado, in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
  2. Remove the chicken thighs, shred with a fork, and mix back in. Serve, using a slotted spoon, on the lettuce leaves. Garnish with sliced avocado, chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of fajita seasoning.
  3. Enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 202 calories, 6g fat, 589mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, and 20g protein.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Here’s a simple soup recipe using only fresh ingredients. Soup that’s made fresh is so much more nutritious and delicious than soup from a can. Seek out organic produce for the highest nutrition and the purest flavor.

Servings: 4

Here’s what you need:

  • 5 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon of nutritional yeast
  1. Roast the bell peppers on a grill pan. Let them get really blackened. Place in a closed paper bag for 15 minutes. Peel off the skin, remove the seeds and stem.
  2. Transfer the roasted peppers and the remaining ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor. Blend until smooth then heat on the stove. It’s really delicious chilled, too. Garnish with a Tablespoon of coconut milk and chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 227 calories, 18g fat, 512mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, and 6g protein

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