When it comes to food and nutrition we are overwhelmingly inundated with mixed messages and misinformation.
Every diet rationale comes with an equally convincing counter argument. It’s no wonder we are exhausted before we have even started.
I’ve spent countless hours, attending classes, reading books, listening to nutrition lectures and even testing diets on myself to try to decipher the perfect way of eating. My most recent resource has been podcasts. While entertaining, there seems to be an awful lot of self proclaimed experts when it comes to food. I feel it’s because food is a subject that everyone participates in and has emotions attached to. I am at once fascinated and annoyed by all of the conflicting thoughts.
During the process, I totally gave up on the idea of coming up with the perfect diet. The fact is, everyone is different and many diets or eating plans can have positive effects on an unhealthy body. Instead, I decided to focus on finding the common thread. There had to be some universal ideas that in some way connected most food plans and were in line with my nutrition education and experience. Through this process, I was able to put together some universal truths. Of course there will be a few extreme diet outliers, but most scientifically backed diets have many of the items I have outlined below. I call them the “Fueling Fundamentals”, and I feel they are the easiest things you can do to reap the largest rewards.
Establish your eating window to be no more than 10-12 hours. I personally start eating at 6am and stop between 4-6pm
Listen to your body and eat when hungry during your window. That doesn't mean eat the whole time - just start really paying attention to the signals, and respond appropriately
This means fewer processed foods. Choose foods that are grown in your area, require minimal transportation to get to you and are grown or raised humanely with less pesticides and additives.
If it’s in season locally, buy and eat it. That means don’t eat strawberries from Spain in the winter. Your choices should require less assistance to be ripe at the appropriate time, be more budget friendly and support your health needs during that time of year. It makes it fun and provides motivation and opportunities to try new things and get out of meal ruts.
Ok this where most meal plans go off the rails. It doesn't have to be so complicated. Eat a mix of foods that consist of:
Proteins: Good quality proteins. Both meat or non-meat sources can work, though you do have to apply more effort into your selections to get balance if you go a non-meat route. Protein should be a part of all of your daily meals.
Carbohydrates: Lots of vegetables, kale and chard, carrots, peppers, mushrooms to name just a few - Eat green - Get lean.
Fats: Yes they are great but don’t go crazy because too much of even a good thing will ultimately be stored as body fat. Fat sources such as olive oil, avocados, egg yolks and nuts are great natural ways to improve skin, hair, and overall health - Just keep it to small amounts.
I think by now, almost all food has been considered a food you should never eat . But I will address some of common ones here:
Dairy - If you're allergic or lactose intolerant, this is obviously not a good choice.If dairy is not a problem I still suggest selecting high quality whole milk over processed and skim - just not a gallon a day. A small organic, grass-fed, full fat, greek yogurt , a little chèvre or some feta are all good choices. When it comes to cooking and added milk in recipes, I recommend almond milk or preferred non-dairy source, provided it’s not soy
Fruit: One - two pieces a day - some berries, a banana, apple, or pumpkin all have nutrition we need but avoid fruit juicing where fiber is lost and calories from fruit sugar add up too fast.
Sweets: Most people enjoy a treat every now and then, some more than others. Once you are eating healthy, you will crave sweets less and when you do, I think it’s best to eat a small piece of what you want, rather than more items trying to avoid the one you have deemed to be bad. My favorite is a small piece of dark chocolate or a tiny cup of dark chocolate mousse. Choosing small amounts of good quality flavorful treats on occasion will make you less interested in the typical halloween candy that always seems to hang around too long.
Bread: If you have celiac or a real gluten intolerance, then you can skip this part. If you are going to indulge in bread, choose a whole grain product with minimal processing.
Pasta: A small serving of pasta on occasion is fine if you enjoy it but keep it more as a side than a main dish.
Emotional Mindful Eating
We all eat for emotional reasons. People eat when stressed, or sad or happy. I eat sometimes just because it’s Fall - whatever your trigger is, just take a moment before you eat and think if you are really hungry. The more you do this, the more aware you become of fueling your body and less about trying to heal another need.
Be realistic. There are no evil or bad food is just food. When you eat something you think you shouldn’t, or you ate too much of don't beat yourself up. Just regroup, think about why you ate it, and come up with a way to deal with it differently
Remove Triggers. Other people don't have more self control or willpower than you . They most likely have just reduced the number of triggers around them. We will all break down and do something we shouldn't if faced with constant temptation. Don't make yourself work that hard. Simply reduce the opportunities for your body to give in. Don't buy food you have a hard time resisting. If it’s not around, it’s not part of your daily eating equation.
Set yourself up for success. Do food prep to make healthy cooking less of a chore when you are hungry. Have good to go snacks. Bring food with you when healthy food options are not available.
Don’t listen to others
Just because Johnny lost 30 lbs eating only meat and drinking bullet coffee and wants you to do the same doesn’t mean this is the path for you. Politely tell him you are glad that worked for him and then You Do You. You don't need don’t need to talk about or explain your healthy eating plan just go about it. Develop a positive relationship with food and you will feel and (bonus), look amazing.
This summer, many of us will be stepping away from our regular lives to get some much needed R&R. The best way to have a great trip is to not come home with extra pounds and cravings that are hard to kick. Don't worry - staying on track and making the most of your vacation can go hand in hand.
Managing The Food
The best tip I can give, is to stay away from the buffet. These staples of resort dining can lead you to pile on unnecessary calories, and send you into a craving tailspin. It's best to order a la carte, but if you must eat at the buffet, I suggest using two smaller plates. The first one is for your nutritious green vegetables and items that typically make up your normal eating routine. The second is for sampling a few of the things that look interesting. This will allow you to fill up first on healthier things, as well as give space for some dietary cheating. After all, it is a vacation.
Getting Your Work Out In
When I'm away from my usual gym, I also think of it as a break from the way I would normally work out. If you are somewhere that offers group classes, then take one that you have never taken before. That will make it fun and will give you something to look forward to. I also like to do two short sessions rather than one long one. For example, if I take a yoga class in the morning, I may do 20 minutes of core later in the afternoon. It's a good idea to coordinate your later session with happy hour. You can avoid unnecessary afternoon calories and alcohol by keeping this appointment with yourself. I feel much fresher going to dinner knowing I did something good for myself over having that extra Mai Tai. And that's not even mentioning those bar snacks that always seem to disappear...
I like to do a little exploring when I'm in a new place - I get a feel for the culture and sometimes I can even learn something new. I enjoy trying activities like a day tour on a bike, or paddle boarding to a more remote snorkeling spot. These non-motorized outings can often lead you to locations that many people don't get to see and really add to the beauty of the place you are visiting. Hidden gems are hard to find, but of you are willing to put in a little work, the locals will show you why their home is such a special place. Try this - make a one to one trade - if you rent jet skis, then next you are going to try windsurfing. You won't regret trying something new.
Hit The Road!
This summer, take a trip and get away from it all. Just don't come home with work to do to get back to where you were before you left. Proper food choices, staying hydrated, and getting a couple of short work out sessions a day in can all come together to making it your best trip ever. Just remember...Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen.
Eat Healthy Real Food. And Enjoy it.
That means shop the perimeter of the store. Avoid the aisles where processed food resides. Instead choose seasonal and diverse food. Enjoy eating and you will eat less. Take some time to not only plan your meals, but where you will eat them. Make where you eat as appealing as what you eat. If you need inspiration, Pinterest is great for this.
Develop Good Skincare Habits Early
In Europe, this often begins as early as 10 years old for both girls and boys and usually starts with their first facial. Teaching your son or daughter the importance of good skincare leads to a lifetime of healthy skin.
Make Facials and Massages a Part of Their Health Plan.
It’s really not a luxury. Skin is our largest organ — and it needs to be protected. Adults carry some 8 pounds and 22 square feet of it. This fleshy covering does a lot more than make us look presentable. In fact, without it, we would literally evaporate.
Move Their Bodies
Hike, lift weights, walk, ride a bike, take a class. We have wonderful weather here and there is really no excuse for not taking advantage of it. Your body is designed to move, and to do so frequently. When you think you are too tired, that is usually when you need it most. People who exercise always look better, feel better and have youthful energy
Smile More and Be Happy
Ok, maybe you're thinking “I can’t just be happy.” But actually, you can. The reality is that our thoughts create our experiences, because our thoughts determine what we notice, how we think, and therefore, how we feel. "Happiness" is not only a choice, but an active decision. Even if sometimes you don’t feel like it, smiling and positive thoughts can become contagious and lead to genuine happiness.
Less Media, More Interaction
While I believe there is a place for social media and computers in our lives, it is also important to be sure to disconnect. People who consciously turn off all electronic stimulation - yes, that means your phones, computers and headsets - and focus on the world around them are happier and more productive. Consider it the new conscious uncoupling ;)
More Maintenance, Less Extremes
While I always support doing what makes you feel better about yourself, there is more to be said for balance. Those who maintain their health and wellness will find more extreme measures less appealing. Ask Christie Brinkley. Small tweaks as you go result in a beautiful, more natural appearance. Asking an unhealthy body or neglected skin to respond well from extreme measures is unrealistic and will often result in a more artificial appearance. Start with the basics and build from there.
Develop a Sense of Style
You aren't missing the style gene. A sense of style is typically a learned and practiced skill. It is also one of the benefits of aging. As we realize what looks better on us, we care less about the fads and instead focus on our personal style. Getting a color analysis done to determine what works with your skin tone is a great start. Look towards cuts that flatter your body. Nowadays, it's less about dressing your age and more about dressing for your body.
It's something that you already know, but let's go over it again. You can lose weight and rev up your metabolism simply by walking. You can also elevate your mood and in many cases, crack the code to overcoming the cravings that often come at the end of each day. By taking a walk after dinner, every night, you are going to become a believer. I'm not talking about some arduous pilgrimage through rough terrain or walking the local shopping mall. I'm talking about getting up from your meal, passing on dessert, and walking in your neighborhood for even just two tiny miles. In a month, even if you only walk four days a week, you will cover forty miles, and burn 4000 calories. Those are results that everyone has time for.
It Fixes More Than You Think
When you keep this appointment with yourself, the benefits really go beyond what exercise offers. I do my walk without my phone. Don't be scared. You can do it. Just leave it at home, and walk out the door. The freedom you get may surprise you. Not only that, but in the absence of your phone, you may understand how reliant you are on this technology - which is not always a good thing. Simply be present in your walk, and see what 40 minutes can do. A tech diet is good for everyone. You really won't miss a thing.
Killing The Cravings
It can take 20 minutes for the signal to go from the receptors in your stomach to your brain that tell you to stop eating. By eating a sensible dinner, and getting up and heading out, you give time for that process to occur. I have never come home after a walk and been hungry. I find that the method of "Eat and Walk" will also completely erase my desire for something sweet. I don't know how. It just does.
Sticking With It
When I return from my walk, I make a little note on my calendar (yes - my paper one) so I can see how far I've gone in a "week by week" and "month by month" basis. It makes it more fun, and if something isn't fun, chances are, you won't stick with it. I keep it fresh by walking different routes and exploring streets I haven't been down. I like seeing the different landscaping designs and color schemes that people use on their homes. It gives me something to look forward to, and I use a very simple "20 minutes is a mile" method to track my distances. It's not exactly accurate, but for this, it's close enough.
You Have The Time
I had friend tell me a long time ago, that no matter what you do, the time will pass. So this summer, get out there and walk after dinner. I bet by August, many of you have gone beyond 100 miles. That is real. So, as the summer passes, you can get out and be a part of it and cover the distance of a few marathons, or you can have that second helping everyday and complain that your bathing suit must have shrunk. Totally up to you.......
Dramatic, but true. I know you realize that sugar is bad for you - but sometimes a little reminder is a good thing. High levels of dietary sugar will erode your quality of life. It will age you prematurely, both inside and out, and put you on a path to numerous health issues. Sugar is hidden in products we use everyday. It has created generations of unknowing addicts that have suffered physically and emotionally as it has taken hold and become a major part of our diets.
The "No Added Sugar" LIE
I read the label on everything I buy. I have noticed that some products are trying to hide added sugar by labeling the ingredient as another form of sugar such as fructose. To be perfectly clear, this fruit derived sugar is sugar. In nature, we are meant to eat an orange or an apple, not have some factory extraction process delivering us the juice without the fibrous material inherent to the fruit itself. So, when you see products with "no added sugar", look to see if they have simply added a sugar analog. It's a dirty trick that harms your health. Sugar can even sneak in to seemingly innocent products like taco seasoning and almond milk. Stay informed, read labels, and make good choices.
Do You Have A Wine Gut?
Let's be honest - no one is a fan of the beer belly. Wine will do the same thing. I do enjoy a very occasional glass of wine (and by glass I don't mean bottle) - but I partake with the caveat that I'm going to pay for it the next day in the form of additional cardio. I think of an alcoholic drink as a glass of sugar, because it is. Alcohol places your metabolism in low gear, and leaves it there until you work it out of your system. It also erodes your will power. How many of us have over eaten as a result of having a couple of drinks? All of us. Also, the terrible sleep you will have on nights you drink is due to the alcohol and the sugar being processed out at different rates. Be aware that a serving of wine is 5 ounces. Many restaurants will pour a 10 ounce double serving. So if you have two glasses of wine, you have had four servings. No one has ever stopped drinking and gotten less attractive. If you want to drop your wine gut, drop the wine. It's fine occasionally - which means on occasion - the daily arrival of 5:30 doesn't qualify.
The Sugar Emotional Roller Coaster
Sugar is a jerk. The more you eat it, the more you want it. It gives you amazing highs only to drop the bottom out with soul crushing lows. It's a major player in depression, mood imbalances, attention disorders, and completely sends your hormones into a spin trying to regulate your levels. If you aren't quite feeling yourself, maybe all you need is to reduce your sugar intake and reassess. Sugar depresses immunity, making you vulnerable to colds and flu, not to mention diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease, and, new research shows Alzheimer's can be linked to the damages caused by this sweet little creep.
Completely eliminating sugar is very, very hard. Reducing it is an attainable goal that can be done today. Read your labels, make good choices, and show your body the respect it deserves. Sugar is a tough one - but you are tougher.
There is a lot of talk today about turmeric and it's potential health benefits. With every trend, I like to take a step back and go to the science to separate the hype from the facts. I gave turmeric a solid skeptical hippo gaze, and here's what I found out.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice that has been used in India for centuries. It gives curry that beautiful yellow color and adds the flavor that is distinctive to many East Asian dishes. It has recently been hailed as an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and provides relief for a whole host of ailments.
What Makes Turmeric Effective?
The active ingredient that provides the benefits is curcumin. Unfortunately, there is only about 3% curcumin in turmeric, making it virtually impossible to get the healing benefits from just turmeric alone. You just couldn't consume enough of it to hit a meaningful therapeutic threshold. Curcumin is also very poorly absorbed in the bloodstream, so you need to combine it with piperine - which is found in black pepper. Once those two get together, their absorption rate can go up as high as 2,000% over just taking curcumin alone. Knowing this, taking turmeric is pretty pointless.
Curcumin Is The Real Hero
Now that we know turmeric won't give us all the benefits the mob is telling us, what is curcumin good for?
1 - It's a proven anti-inflammatory that in some tests proves as potent as a pharmaceutical agent
2 - It increases your anti-oxidant capacity - and getting rid of those free radicals is always a good thing
3 - In your brain, there is a hormone called "Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor" (BDNF) - This hormone helps create the pathways for neural activity - which happens in childhood. Studies show that curcumin can increase your BDNF levels, and put those pathway crews back to work. It can help repair and potentially slow some of the aging processes in the brain. Amazing.
4 - Heart Disease is a killer - and curcumin works to improve the function of the lining of the blood vessels. When the lining isn't functioning properly, the negative impact of heart disease can accelerate rapidly. Combine better function with reduced inflammation and you are on your way to a happier heart.
The list truly goes on and on. When I turned my hippo gaze deeper into my bowl of curry, I found the answer was not turmeric, but curcumin. Remember, curcumin alone is not enough - it needs piperine or you will literally be flushing your supplements down the toilet.
So Here's What You Do...
When the hype tells you to take turmeric, get on some curcumin with piperine - and keep the spices in the kitchen. Hey - don't be sad turmeric - being delicious is a big benefit too....
I like things to be easy when it comes to nutrition. My gluten free She-Hulk shake is about as easy as it gets. It's power packed with protein and iron and easily processed fat from avocado. If you are training hard, or just needing a meal replacement pick me up, it's the perfect fuel to power you through any challenge - and the best part is that everything you need is at your local Costco.
The She Hulk Shake
1 & 1/2 Scoops of ON Vanilla 100% Whey Protein
1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
2 Cups Spinach
1/4 Sliced Fresh Avocado
Put all the ingredients in the Magic Bullet. It's just that simple. It works out best to put the almond milk in first. The protein is less likely to stick to the bottom that way. If you want a smoother shake, just add a little water and give the Bullet another spin.
1 - High in niacin and zinc - for healthy skin and hair
2 - Low in calories, high in protein
3 - Rich in fiber
4 - Vitamin packed to help with mental clarity and brain function
5 - Did I mention the antioxidants?
Calories = 287
Fat = 10.5
Protein = 40
Carbs = 4.6
It's a delicious , protein rich shake that is a great addition to any diet. The caloric count is perfect for me and keeps me going through a tough work out. It's easy to make, feels great to drink, and once again, Costco has it all.
I’m always trying new things in the kitchen, and let me tell you, they are not always winners. Recently, I created a gluten free “bread” from riced cauliflower, and it has become a staple of my diet. Easy to make, delicious, and every ingredient comes from Costco.
I have two pans that I make the “bread” in - a standard muffin pan, and a whoopie pie pan. I end up with two different thicknesses, but they taste almost identical.
My Now Not So Secret Recipe
4 Teaspoons Almond Flour
3 cups riced Cauliflower
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ cup Shredded Parmesean Cheese
Organic No Salt Seasoning (I don’t know the measurement here – I just put it what looks right)
Preheat the oven to 375 and spray your pans with non-stick canola oil spray
Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well mixed, and place equal amounts in the cups of the pan. Put a little pressure on it as you put the mixture in to sort of pack it down. Bake for 20-25 minutes (My oven is good at 23 minutes, so somewhere in that range should work)
When I take them out , I give them a few minutes to cool just a little before removing them from the pan to finish on the rack.
That’s all there is to it. They are good in the fridge for about a week, or you can freeze them for later. I like to heat them up in a toaster oven to keep the edges crispy.
I use these “bread bites” under poached eggs for breakfast, to make grilled cheese for lunch, (only in the toaster oven – a pan or panini press destroys them), or even under a nice piece of grilled salmon at dinner.
Makes 12 Bread Bites
Each Bread Bite contains:
Calories = 60
Protein = 7.6
Fat = 5.3
Carbs = .6
Super easy to make, super delicious, super good for you and everything comes from Costco too. What could be better than that?
With every New Year comes the inevitable New Year’s resolution. One of the most popular of these is the vow to clean up the diet, eat healthier and hopefully drop a few pounds along the way. In order to provide my clients with real evaluations I test every new cream, treatment and diet trend out on myself. The day after Christmas, I started the trending ketogenic diet.
The basic idea behind this diet is that you convert your body from burning carbohydrates to using fat as your main fuel source. This means eating more fat. Lots of fat. Lots and lots of fat.
If you look at my normal food intake, you would probably say that I’m a very clean eater. I track my macros, and in the past, have always been able to tweak what I’m already doing to drop weight. This diet was a complete departure for me, and I fully committed to it just to see what would happen.
The most interesting thing for me was that I never got the “Keto Flu”. I think this is probably because I don’t eat a lot of refined sugar or processed carbs, so the purge wasn’t so bad on me. I did feel less mentally sharp. I know this will happen when you diet, but this was different. It felt bad. It wasn’t craving or hunger related. It just made me feel less capable of functioning at my normal mental ability.
I also found that I didn’t enjoy eating all that fat. It just felt wrong. I recognized that it would not be sustainable in the long run. It’s not a diet that you can put to work out in the real world. It takes a lot of in-home prep, which is normal on a restricted diet – but to create a ketogenic lifestyle, it seems a bit consuming.
I lost a pound. That’s all. It was a painful pound to lose. After diving into the ketogenic diet, I am positive it ‘s not for me. I prefer a rounded, heathy diet that keeps me feeling good and holds the scale in check. I went back on my regular diet and dropped two pounds in the first four days. The results speak for themselves.
That being said, I understand the therapeutic use of this diet for certain medical conditions and that it can be a vital part to health for people meeting specific criteria. If your doctor tells you that the keto diet is best for your individual medical needs, as always, follow his/her advice.
I feel that the solutions for managed health and wellness through diet can be summed up with eat lean, eat green, and eat clean. There is no mystery. If you are eating wholesome healthy foods in the right amount, you are going to see your health improve. Be good to yourself in a way that’s sustainable each and every year. That’s a resolution we can all live with.
Ok. You worked hard to get ready for vacation. You took care of your skin. You exercised regularly, ate well and, frankly, are ready for some fun. But you can enjoy yourself and still not lose all the progress you made. By making the majority of your selections healthy, there is room for some treats, drinks and yes, fun on your vacation. :)
Unfortunately for most of us, looking naturally great doesn't just happen. It usually involves a conscious effort to maintenance that includes a combination of nutrition, skin care and fitness. Below is a general outline of what can be included in a plan to get you looking and feeling your best and eliminating the need for a major overhaul. The following guide encompasses many things that make up a wellness plan. Let us know if you would like a plan customized for you.
Carb lovers, have you heard the awesome news? Scientists in Sri Lanka have figured out a simple cooking trick that could potentially slash the calories of rice and other starchy carbs by up to half of their conventionally cooked counterparts. Yes, you read that right: half the calories in the same amount of food. And it's super easy to do with stuff you already have in your kitchen.
To try this at home: Add a scant teaspoon of a healthy oil like coconut or olive to the cooking water for every ½ cup of uncooked rice (use 1 cup of water per ½ cup of uncooked rice). Cook rice as you normally would, (ideally simmer for 40 min) but then let cool it over night (12 hours) in the fridge, and bam!—you're left with rice that tastes just like rice, but has fewer usable calories.
Rice that had been "improved" to produce higher yields, had 10 to 12% fewer calories when cooked via this method, says Sudhair James, the undergrad researcher who presented these findings at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society. But James is optimistic that using this method on traditional heirloom varieties, particularly some varieties of red rice—could result in a calorie reduction of up to 50 to 60%. And yes, even if you reheat your rice, the caloric count won't change.
How it happens: The cooling process, along with fat from the oil, increases rice's amount of resistant starch (RS), an indigestible form of carbs that your small intestine can't break down and convert to glucose.
Better still, the trick may also work for other starchy foods like pasta, beans, cereals such as oatmeal, and tubers like potatoes: A similar study showed that cooking, cooling, and then reheating these foods significantly increases RS levels.
Finally, RS isn't just good for cutting calories, either. This magical starch has been linked to improved insulin sensitivity, better gut function and digestion, greater feelings of fullness, and increased fat burn.
While I was thrilled to hear this further research is needed. We should consider it a potential bonus and not build our caloric intake around it or add more carbohydrates to our diet due to the potential reduction. I will post some delicious cold carb recipes that meet these cooking parameters. Try them out let me know if you notice a difference. Another note, carbohydrates are to be eaten hot or cold please do not leave cooked carbs at room temperature which increases the potential for bacteria to grow.
It will soon be Valentine's Day. It is the perfect reason to review one of my favorite topics: chocolate, dark chocolate to be exact. Though I have been aware of it it for quite awhile, recent studies have further confirmed and expanded on the multiple health benefits of chocolate. In fact, cocoa and chocolate products have been used as medicine in many cultures for centuries. Here is a brief overview of what numerous scientific studies have shown:
Altogether, this means that by regularly eating cocoa, you will cut your appetite, increase your body’s potential to burn fat, and directly push fat out of your fat cells!
What is the best way to consume it?
Remember, only dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao (or cocoa, which is cacao in its roasted ground form) will have significant amounts of cocoa in it. Cocoa powder is 100% cocoa, and thus you will get the most amount of cocoa per calorie by using it. Cocoa nibs are another option, see below for details. Because cocoa is not sweet and considered not as tasty, you can add it to foods to make it more palatable. Cocoa powder can be added to coffee. You can also add it to skim milk or milk alternatives in a blender or shaker. Personally I like to sprinkle some in with my oatmeal.
Ok back to the Valentine’s Day part.
Eating chocolate leads to higher levels of desire, arousal, and sexual satisfaction according to a study from an Italian university reported in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Female participants who consumed at least one square of chocolate a day experienced more active libidos and better overall sexual function than those who didn't indulge. It contains a compound called phenylethylamine (PEA), which releases the same mood-altering endorphins that flood our bodies during sex and intensify feelings of attraction between two people. Although the amount of PEA absorbed from a few squares is most likely mild and fleeting, one thing is for sure—eating chocolate makes us happy.
I am intrigued by a new chocolate I recently came across; Innocent Chocolate. I had read a few articles about them and was interested. So I emailed them with my questions about how they were different than other “healthier” chocolates on the market. I have now ordered some to taste test. I will post my feedback soon. It is definitely promising. Here is what they have to say about Innocent Chocolate
Innocent Chocolate™ is even better for you than other dark chocolates because we add extracts and fat-binding plant fiber, plus enzyme inhibitors from sea vegetables. The extract slows enzyme activity of sugar and starch carbs, helping block their absorption, and preventing spikes in blood glucose levels. And our plant fiber binds the tails of fatty acids so your enzymes can’t grip or digest them. You get the smooth and creamy taste of the fat, but you don’t absorb it. You digest ZERO NET CALORIES. ( They had me at zero :)
When I first heard of Cocoa nibs I had no idea what a nib was. Cacao nibs are basically raw chocolate, pieces of cacao beans that have been roasted, hulled, prepped and processed into bars.
Nibs, on their own, taste vaguely similar to roasted coffee beans. Nibs are a bit crunchier than coffee beans, since some coffee beans can become quite delicate after roasting, but give primarily the same textural effect when covered in chocolate. Cacao nibs are always found in small pieces, rather than coffee bean-sized pieces. The flavor is slightly nutty and, while there are definitely some chocolate notes in there, they are primarily going to contribute texture and a hint of bitterness (think raw cocoa powder). Cacao nibs draw out darker notes in chocolate, which is why they are such a popular addition to products.
The cacao nibs are also sugar-free and contain 11 grams of fiber per ounce.
Citrus and Chocolate - elaborate versions with lemon yogurt and pepper or lemon oil
Vegetables in Chocolate - although still niche, there has been a launch of vegetable chocolates especially in Asia, purple sweet potato chocolate, edamame covered with chocolate and wasabi chocolate among others.
Floral Chocolate - such as hibiscus peach and rose chili, delicious!
Whatever form you choose to fulfill your chocolate quota, as with all things, moderation is key . Dark chocolate should be incorporated as part of a balanced and healthy overall diet. See you on the dark side.
If you really want to be healthy, have a fit body, tons of energy and glowing skin the answer is actually quite simple. But you can't buy it in a bottle, eliminate one food group or drink only juice for weeks. You need to change your lifestyle. Sound overwhelming? It doesn't have to be. Start by implementing the following changes into your life:
Not convinced and think you should do a quick detox? In most cases the ideas behind the detox are fine. They usually involve consuming less sugar and increasing your intake of greens, which is great. The issue is that these should be permeant livable changes that become a part of how you eat every day, not for a week or by only consuming certain beverages. And its important to understand the truth behind the idea of detoxing. This will help you to make informed decisions when you come across the latest and greatest health product. Here is an excerpt from an article about detoxing and the many other ways people get lured into the fitness marketing hype. Take a read and let me know what you think.
There’s no such thing as ‘detoxing’. In medical terms, it’s a nonsense. Diet and exercise is the only way to get healthy.
Whether it’s cucumbers splashing into water or models sitting smugly next to a pile of vegetables, it’s tough not to be sucked in by the detox industry. The idea that you can wash away your calorific sins is the perfect antidote to our fast-food lifestyles and alcohol-lubricated social lives. But before you dust off that juicer or take the first tentative steps towards a colonic irrigation clinic, there’s something you should know: detoxing – the idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean and raring to go – is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical concept designed to sell you things.
“Let’s be clear,” says Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, “there are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn’t.” The respectable one, he says, is the medical treatment of people with life-threatening drug addictions. “The other is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins you’re supposed to have accumulated.”
If toxins did build up in a way your body couldn’t excrete, he says, you’d likely be dead or in need of serious medical intervention. “The healthy body has kidneys, a liver, skin, even lungs that are detoxifying as we speak,” he says. “There is no known way – certainly not through detox treatments – to make something that works perfectly well in a healthy body work better.”
Yet, inexplicably, the shelves of health food stores are still packed with products bearing the word “detox” – it’s the marketing equivalent of drawing go-faster stripes on your car. You can buy detoxifying tablets, tinctures, tea bags, face masks, bath salts, hair brushes, shampoos, body gels and even hair straighteners. Yoga, luxury retreats, and massages will also all erroneously promise to detoxify. You can go on a seven-day detox diet and you’ll probably lose weight, but that’s nothing to do with toxins, it’s because you would have starved yourself for a week.
To read the full article click here
I was reminded of the importance of portion control when I was going through client food logs the other day. Typically when clients begin a food lifestyle change we take a look at what they have been consuming up to this point. As part of that process they log their food intake for a week. I noticed logged calories seemed low yet they had been gaining weight. I realized that the problem was in their estimation of food portions that they did not have an opportunity to measure or weigh. So I pulled out some visual portion control reminders that I am posting here. They are easy ways to gauge the amount of food eaten when dining out and just good reminders in general. You can also see by the portion distortion visual what a significant impact underestimating the food portions can have on your diet.
Fit In a Peanut Butter World is a blog created to provide information as it relates to skin, body and food health.