Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

Carbohydrate TimingIlovecarbs

High levels of insulin and insulin resistance puts fat burning on the back burner.  If you can limit your carbohydrates so that you are only eating them during the time periods when your insulin sensitivity is at its highest (low insulin), you will make your goal of losing fat a whole lot easier.  When are these time periods?

(1) Your first meal of the day – After a night of not eating, your insulin sensitivity is higher than normal. This is because your body has been using the glucose in your blood and the glycogen stored in your liver to maintain body functions throughout the night. Upon waking, your body’s stores of glycogen are lower – resulting in a lower amount of insulin needed to store the carbohydrates you’re about to eat.

(2) Your pre-workout meal – Most people don’t think of insulin sensitivity being high just before your workout. And really, it isn’t. However, during exercise, your insulin response is muted. Your pre-workout meal is a great time to get in some carbohydrates and some much needed energy for your workout.

(3) Your post-workout meal – Your post-workout meal is the time when your insulin sensitivity is at its highest, and it’s a great time to implement nutrient timing principles. While you work out, your muscles use glycogen to fuel your exercise. So much so, that after your workout, your muscles just soak up the glucose in your blood. Your muscles are so starved for glucose that they are able to take the carbohydrates you eat and convert it into glycogen without any real need for insulin.

Knowing that these 3 time periods are preferred for carbohydrate intake, we can then start to formulate a diet plan. Depending on your carbohydrate demand and your goals, I would prioritize my carbohydrate intake like this:

Carbs post-workout only

Carbs post-workout and first meal of the day

Carbs pre and post-workout, and the first meal of the day

If you have a stubborn metabolism and have trouble losing body fat, eat the majority of your carbohydrates post workout. This meal should consist of protein and carbohydrates and very little fat. The remaining carb-less meals should consist of protein, healthy fats, and veggies. Planning your meals this way enables you to get all the benefits from the 3 macronutrients (fat, carbs, and protein).

It also puts you in a prime metabolic state to mobilize fatty acids. Nutrient timing is your answer to successful fat loss. By eating your carbohydrates at specific times of the day, you enable your body to remain in a fat burning state for a longer period of time.  If your energy is low and you feel you need more carbohydrates, add additional ones first thing in the morning.  If you workout early, then add them post-workout and before 2pm.  For those high energy, high volume exercisers, you could probably get away with all three, pre and post workout as well as first meal of the day!!!


If you think drinking 3 glasses of milk a day or eating your morning yogurt will prevent, cure, or treat osteoporosis, think again. There are so many other factors to consider. First, let’s discuss the common causes of osteoporosis:

1) Genetic history – Did you inherit weaker bones from your parents? Some studies estimate that 80% of our skeletal strength comes from our parents.

2) Vitamin and mineral deficiency – not just calcium but many others play a role in the whole process of bone health.

3) Soda consumption (even diet) – The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who consume just one soda daily have 5-7% less bone material than women who limit soda to just once a month.

4) Lack of fruits and veggies – a wide array of rich nutrients buffer the breakdown of bone. The British Journal of Nutrition reported that post-menopausal women who ate 5 servings of fruits and veggies daily were between 200-400% better in terms of their bone mineral density loss.

5) Lack of weight-bearing exercise – technology has impacted how much we sit.

How much calcium do you need? Most recommendations say for women ages 19-50 about 1000 mg/per day. For 50 + or post-menopause, 1200 mg/per day. But, like I said earlier, it is not that simple. The vast majority of the world population consumes much less calcium than we do in the US and have less cases of osteoporosis.

Too much calcium can actually inhibit the absorption of another key mineral the body needs for bone health, magnesium. Magnesium aids in bone formation and helps regulate calcium transfer as well. Most of us need more of this mineral. To do so, eat more leafy greens, seeds, nuts, and fish. On the same note, Vitamin D, is absolutely essential for bone density and quite possibly more important than calcium. If you don’t get daily sunlight, supplement by taking Vitamin D3. An added benefit would be one with magnesium included.

I cannot understate how important diet is in the balance of minerals and calcium absorption. The body is always trying to maintain homeostasis (balance). The typical American diet, rich in processed food increases acidic levels throughout the body. In order to get a balanced PH level, the body breaks down certain vitamins and minerals to stabilize, one of which is calcium. Other factors that wreak havoc on calcium uptake are excessive caffeine, alcohol, and chronic stress.

In order to get better bone health one must improve nutrition, increase activity level, and maintain proper hormone regulation. Start by changing your diet from highly acidic to more of an alkaline based. Include large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. Most of these have good amounts of potassium that help regulate the acidic load. Choose limited dairy products (milk based) and cut back on red meat as both will increase acid levels. Also, begin a strength training program. Weight training will overload not only the muscles but the bones as well. This overload will help lay down new bone and increase bone formation. Incorporate weight training a minimum of 2-3 times a week. Be active and walk daily for heart health, bone health, and mental health. Grab a pair of 3-5 lb dumbbells to carry with you. This will also help overload to form new bone. To reduce stress and balance hormone levels, get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night. Stretch, meditate daily or engage in Yoga a few times a week to lower cortisol levels. Cortisol (stress hormone) will also inhibit calcium uptake and prevent bone formation.


It’s that time of year again.  Thanksgiving is upon us, Christmas and New Years are right around the corner.  Holiday festivities, parties, gatherings, and lots of processed, unhealthy food awaits.  You’ve been working hard all summer to get the physique you’ve been longing for.  Maybe you’re healthy lifestyle just started.  What steps do you need to take to insure a positive outcome? First and foremost, I would set the bar low.  Instead of continuing to try and lose weight and reduce body fat, I would suggest going for maintenance.  There are too many temptations out there to overcome.  Telling yourself that you will remain at or near a certain number until the end of the year will bode well for your confidence and allow you to pick things back up where you left off starting in January.  Doing otherwise, could set you up failure and derail your motivation.  Take these tips and begin your holiday journey:

  • Get/Stay Moving – If you are consistently going to the gym 3-4 times a week then continue doing so. If you have to miss because of a party, schedule another day/time.  If you are not currently exercising, get the blood flowing and make the commitment.  Start small, be consistent. And it doesn’t have to be structured exercise. Maybe do some extra cleaning around the house.  Take a long walk with a friend!
  • Limit Alcohol to a minimum – For many people, the holidays are a time for drinking and toasting.  The expectation is enjoy a few extra cocktails.  This is not the case if you are trying to maintain.  Have a little fun but take into consideration all the hard work you put in the previous 10 months of the year. And alcohol reduces the amount of fat your body burns.

Wine 4 oz glass:  62 – 160 calories
1.5 oz liquor shot:  115 – 200 calories
Gin and tonic:  280 calories
Frozen creamy drink:  800 calories
12 oz can of beer:  140-200 calories
Alcohol + carbonated drink:  200 calories/12 oz
Eggnog + jigger of rum:  343 + 97 calories
Seltzer with a splash of lime:  0 calories

  • Fruits & Veggies – Aim for seven-a-day.  Making sure you eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day is a great way to help fill-up your stomach but not your calorie level.  When compared to other snack foods like chips, crackers and cookies, gram for gram, fruits and vegetables contain fewer calories and tons more nutrients.  What’s more – the fiber in fruits and vegetables fill you up faster than traditional snack foods.  Pack your refrigerator with bags of cut-up vegetables and whole or cut-up fruits.  Grab a bag while on the go or at work.  Make a pact with yourself that you’ll eat your five-a-day before you snack on any cookies or other holiday treats.  You’re sure to take in fewer calories overall.
  • Keep the Serving dishes off the table – This has been shown to reduce caloric intake.  Think about it, if the food is right in front of you, it is much easier to grab and eat.  But, if you have to get up and walk into another room to grab your serving, you may think twice about it.
  • Control the risk for temptation – Controlling even the slightest chance of coming in contact with ‘tempting’ foods is one way to effectively reduce your intake.  While you won’t be able to control all situations, focus on the many ones you can.  For example, do you keep candy or cookies at your desk or workspace?  Do you frequent the dining room table or pantry where you store all your holiday goodies?  Make a mental note of tempting places and try to control them. For example, make a pact with co-workers that goodies will be kept solely in the break room, not at the front desk or in various offices.  Mentally plan out how you will avoid tempting situations.
  • Limit to one-a-day – While you can’t control every situation, you can control how much food goes into your mouth.  If you are constantly bombarded with holiday parties and displays of desserts or candies you can still effectively help prevent overeating and weight gain.  One way is the one-a-day method.  Allow yourself one small serving of a cookie or piece of candy each day during the holiday season.  Remember that you may have to compensate for it later in the day by reducing your total caloric intake or by burning a few extra calories while exercising.  If you aren’t confronted with holiday foods that day, just skip your one-a-day – but don’t compensate and double-up on your serving the next day.
  • Eat Slow and Take Breaks – Studies have shown that people who scarf down their food eat up to 52% more before they feel full than those who chew small bites for at least 9 seconds.  They are also over three times more likely to be overweight according to a study in the British Medical Journal.  That’s because it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you’ve had enough so you get way more into your stomach.  So, chew your food a bit longer.  People who chew each bite 50 times usually feel full and stop eating after consuming less food.  Take lots of breaks and eat mindfully.  Instead of living to eat, eat to live.  Be present.  Put down your utensils or crescent roll or that drumstick between bites.  As you slowly chew your food, savor the flavor.  Breathe deeply and count to 20.  Take a sip of your beverage.  If you’re eating with others, talk to them.  You’ll get full and fully satisfied eating much less food.
  • Get More Sleep – Sleep is a major factor in weight control.  This is the time when all of your systems regulate, especially that of your hormones.  Inadequate sleep wreaks havoc to your hunger hormones.  You will not have enough discipline and willpower to overcome these hormones, trust me.   People who sleep too little, 5 hours or less each night, gain nearly 2½ times as much abdominal fat as those who sleep 7-8 hours.  This needs to be consistent as well.  Naps in the middle of the day don’t count.  Don’t take this step too lightly!

For some other Holiday Eating Tips from a previous post and a funny way to look at things, click on the link below. But, I assure you, these will probably not work that well 🙂 LOL

Insulin – a hormone produced in the pancreas regulates the amount of sugar in the blood.  In diabetics, the pancreas produces no insulin at all, too little, or it is defective.  Only about 10% of the people with diabetes are Type I where their bodies do not produce insulin.  The majority of the diabetic population produce too little or the system is defective.  The major function of this hormone is to distribute the broken down food (glucose) to leave the bloodstream and enter the cells of the body for energy.

Obesity is the excess accumulation of fat.  The excess fat is stored in the fat cells (adipose cells), which, collectively make up the adipose tissue.  So, how does this fat get into the fat cells?  The answer is Insulin.  It’s well known that insulin stimulates an enzyme on the surface of the fat cells that moves the fat into the cell.  So, if you produce a lot of insulin, there is going to be large amounts of fats moving into the fat cells.  People always ask about the fat in their diet.  You would assume a lot of fat in your diet would increase your fat storage.  That is not the case.  Take a look at Type I diabetics.  They can have large amounts of fat in their diet and eat ravenously but cannot store fat because their bodies don’t produce insulin.  So, dietary fat, even in enormous amounts, won’t even find the way to the fat cells without insulin.  The opposite holds true for a low amount of insulin.  With it low, insulin’s sibling, glucagon, plays a role in retrieving energy from the fat cells for usage.  Problems arise when this system becomes defective, which most commonly happens when people develop insulin resistance.  Insulin talks, but the cells don’t listen.  In other words, the pancreas keeps producing insulin and the blood levels continue to rise until the cells finally get the message.  But it’s a message that has taken a lot of insulin force to deliver. 

If all the different types of cells developed resistance to insulin at the same rate, we wouldn’t have as much of a problem.  But they don’t. Different cells develop insulin resistance at different rates.  Typically the first cells to become insulin resistant are the liver cells.  The liver cells are continuously producing sugar and dumping it into the blood.  Insulin shuts this process down.  If the insulin level drops to zero, as it does in type I diabetes, the liver dumps a huge load of sugar in the blood causing all the blood sugar problems associated with this disease.  Under normal circumstances, just a little insulin stops the liver cells in their tracks.  But if these cells are resistant to insulin, much more is required to get them the message to turn off the sugar flow.

In most people, the fat cells develop insulin resistance later, which creates the problem.  If insulin levels are high to control the liver’s sugar output, then these elevated insulin levels are sending a strong message to the non-insulin-resistant fat cells.  The message is take this fat and store it.  High insulin not only drives fat into the fat cells, it prevents it from getting out.  Fat is packed into the fat cells and kept there.

Between meals when insulin levels would normally fall, allowing the fat to freely feed all the body’s tissues, insulin remains high in an effort to keep the liver in check.  Fat can’t get out of the fat cells, and the tissues begin to starve.  Even though there is plenty of stored fat, the body can’t get to it because elevated insulin is preventing its release.

Starving tissues send a message to the brain, saying ‘we’re hungry.’  The brain responds by increasing the drive to feed.  We eat, and the carbs we eat are consumed by the cells for immediate energy, and insulin stimulated by the dietary carbohydrate drives the fat into the fat cells where it is trapped with the rest of the fat already there.  The fat cell mass gets larger and larger, and we become obese.

We make too much insulin because we eat too many carbohydrates, especially sugar and other refined carbohydrates.  The key is to stay away from these kinds of foods, increase your amounts of lean proteins, choose healthy fats, and moderately eat fresh fruits and vitamin packed veggies.


It’s been awhile.  The last month or so I’ve been doing some research on various topics.  Today, I’d like to share some information on Dairy and help you determine whether or not you should include it in your nutritional game plan.  So, I’ve been sticking with this Paleo diet a little over 2 months now and I’m seeing amazing results.  Not only am I more energized, I’m sleeping better, my joints don’t ache, and my acid reflux is non-existent.  Just a basic rundown of the Paleo diet:

  • No starches of any kind including bread, pasta, grains, and everything else that is processed in a box.
  • No dairy. Milk products and all things included from yogurts to cheeses. Eggs are allowed.
  • No legumes. This one I didn’t understand because of their great balance between protein and carbohydrate.
  • What do I eat? Well, all protein sources from lean animal meat preferably organic or grass-fed.  These items include lean beef, turkey, chicken, and pork. Also, wild-caught fish as fresh as possible.  Fruits and veggies with limited amounts nuts and seeds.

Being dairy free I believe is the reason for most of the change.  In the past few months, two of my clients both went on different diet plans, one Vegan and the other Paleo from above.  The common denominator with both is the No-dairy approach.  The two had their cholesterol tested pre and post diet.  The results were amazing.  One decreased their total cholesterol by 60 points.  The other increased their good cholesterol by 30 points.  Unbelievable numbers!

We are the only mammal that drinks milk beyond infancy.  In 2001 the average child consumed 104 quarts of cow’s milk.  The milk myth has spread around the world based on the flawed belief that this protein and calcium-rich drink is essential to support good overall health and bone health in particular at any age.  It is easy to understand that the confusion about milk’s imaginary benefits stems from the fact that it contains calcium – around 300 mg per cup.

But many scientific studies have shown the detrimental health effects directly linked to milk consumption. And the most surprising link is that not only do we barely absorb the calcium in cow’s milk (especially if pasteurized), but to make matters worse, it actually increases calcium loss from the bones. What an irony this is!

Here’s how it happens.  Like all animal protein, milk acidifies the body pH which in turn triggers a biological correction. You see, calcium is an excellent acid neutralizer and the biggest storage of calcium in the body is – you guessed it… in the bones.  So the very same calcium that our bones need to stay strong is utilized to neutralize the acidifying effect of milk.  Once calcium is pulled out of the bones, it leaves the body via the urine, so that the surprising net result after this is an actual calcium deficit.  Research statistics show that the countries with the lowest consumption of milk have the least amount of fractures in their population.

I’m not even going to get into the way our milk is produced in this country.  Hormone and antibiotic injections along with the genetically modified feed the cattle gorge.  That’s a whole other ball of wax.  Check out the following reasons why you should stop eating dairy:

1. Cow’s milk is intended for baby cows.  We’re the only species (other than those we are domesticating) that drinks milk after infancy.  And, we’re definitely the only ones drinking the milk of a different species.

2.  Hormones. Not only are the naturally-present hormones in cow’s milk stronger than human hormones, the animals are routinely given steroids and other hormones to plump them up and increase milk production.  These hormones can negatively impact humans’ delicate hormonal balance.

3.  Most cows are fed inappropriate food.  Commercial feed for cows contains all sorts of ingredients that include:  genetically-modified (GM) corn, GM soy, animal products, chicken manure, cottonseed, pesticides, and antibiotics.  And, think about all the pesticides that are sprayed on the feed for the cattle. Very toxic!

4.  Dairy products, when metabolized, are acid-forming.  Our bodies are constantly striving for biochemical balance to keep our blood at 7.365 pH.  Eating excessive acid-forming products can cause our bodies to overuse some of its acid-balancing mechanisms, one of which is the bones.  Alkaline calcium is stored in the bones and released to combat excessive acidity in the body.  Over time, bones can become fragile.

5.  Research shows that the countries whose citizens consume the most dairy products have the HIGHEST incidence of osteoporosis.

6.  Most dairy cows live in confined, inhumane conditions, never seeing the pastures of green grass they were intended to eat.

7. Most dairy products are pasteurized to kill potentially-harmful bacteria.  During the pasteurization process, vitamins, proteins, and enzymes are destroyed.  Enzymes assist with the digestion process.  When they are destroyed through pasteurization, milk becomes harder to digest, therefore putting a strain on our bodies’ enzyme systems.

8.  Dairy products are mucous-forming. They can contribute to respiratory disorders.  When I remove dairy and sugar from the diets of my clients, they stop experiencing hay fever and seasonal allergies.

9.  Research links dairy products with arthritis. In one study on rabbits, scientist Richard Panush was able to PRODUCE inflamed joints in the animals by switching their water to milk.  In another study, scientists observed more than a 50% reduction in the pain and swelling of arthritis when participants eliminated milk and dairy products from their diet.

10  Most milk is homogenized, which denatures the milk’s proteins, making it harder to digest.  Many peoples’ bodies react to these proteins as though they are “foreign invaders” causing their immune systems to overreact.  Research also links homogenized milk to heart disease.

Happy Friday everyone! The weekend is here and March Madness has begun.  The roundball games will be aired all across the tube. A perfect time to gather with family and friends.  I’m sure there will be some cocktails and toasts in the air.  I just wanted to give you some tips to aid in helping you maintain your weight.  First off, drink alcohol in moderation.  Always have H20 on the side to stay somewhat hydrated.  This will minimize the chances of overindulging the heavy carbohydrates, especially the next morning after a binge.  When dining out go with the triage principle – assign your priorities based on urgency.

  • Your  number one conern is to get a main dish that is not a starch based food.  Avoid sandwiches with bread and pastas for dinner.  Typically, if you’re out with friends, chances are you will have a few drinks and enough carbs right there.
  • Next, try to choose a lean protein source like meat or seafood, etc.  Make sure it is cooked simply with no added breading or extra fat.
  • Always to get some fresh fruit or non-starchy veggies at every meal!
  • Finally, KISS, keep it Simple, Stupid! The fewer the ingredients, the better.  If you a have wide array of choices on your plate, the chances of overeating and gorging will be much greater.

Stick with these principles.  Use moderation as a defense.  And, most of all, enjoy life and don’t beat yourself up if you happened to falter.  Tomorrow is another day to pursue success. Go Big Blue! CATS CATS CATS

I’ve been doing a lot of research lately studying the kinds of foods we eat and their effect on cholesterol and in turn heart disease.  Just last night I read an article from a feed shared by one of my colleagues.  The article, written by an author and well-know cardiologist, states that cholesterol is not the enemy but inflammation caused by numerous substances are the real death sentence.  This same doctor has performed over 5000 heart surgeries and has been named as one of the top doctors in the country for many years.

Here’s a little history regarding how the war on cholesterol began.  Back in the late 40’s, scientists and researchers assembled in Framingham, NY to study the cause of, and hopefully find a cure for heart disease. This group, known as the “The Framingham Study” made some headway into discovering some things that contribute to heart disease. Then, in 1961, they stumbled upon cholesterol and with incomplete research decided this was the real cause of heart disease.  All other research studies fell to the wayside and the war on cholesterol began.  At this time, the big drug companies and lobbyists saw the writing on the wall and the money that could be made. Soon after, the low-fat theory was born and the Food Pyramid came into play promoting manufactured, low-fat foods filled with sugar, processed starches and unhealthy oils.

These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated. The established dietary recommendations from the 60’s have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which are not only affecting older adults but to the kids of the future.

Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before. The numbers don’t lie.  Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. 

Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended.  It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.  Inflammation is not complicated — it is quite simply your body’s natural defense to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders.  However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process, a condition occurs called chronic inflammation.  Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial. 

We have simply followed the recommended mainstream diet that is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. This repeated injury creates chronic inflammation leading to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.

Let me repeat that: The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.

What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.  Pretty much everything you find in the middle aisles of the grocery store. 

 From the book of the cardiologist: The process of inflammation

Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding. You kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.  Regardless of where the inflammatory process occurs, externally or internally, it is the same.  I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day, every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation.

 This stiff brush is the continuous sugar we eat on a day to day basis.  And, it’s not only the sugar.  Add in the toxic chemicals in various areas from plastic containers to the sprays on our produce.  As our blood sugar rises from all of the processed foods, the carryover is distributed and binds with certain proteins that injure the arterial walls.  It’s kind of like taking sandpaper and scrapping the walls of your arteries.  We didn’t even get into the unhealthy oils and the unequal balance of Omega 6’s to Omega 3’s.  That’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.  So, stay away from the processed foods the best you can.  Choose the whole foods you enjoyed as a child and eliminate the manufactured foods in the middle grocery aisles.  In doing, you will reverse the aging process and have a better chance of minimizing arterial damage and heart disease.