Archive for category Healthy Eating

Brown Fat Burns Ordinary Fat, Study Finds –

Interesting!  Another good reason to exercise! 🙂  Also of note- in reference to my last post about Hcg- the claim to fame of that diet is that it prevents muscle loss and ‘mobilizes’ ‘pathological brown fat’…. Hmmmm not so good, after all!!

Brown Fat Burns Ordinary Fat, Study Finds –

Brown Fat, Triggered by Cold or Exercise, May Yield a Key to Weight Control

Fat people have less than thin people. Older people have less than younger people. Men have less than younger women.

It is brown fat, actually brown in color, and its great appeal is that it burnscalories like a furnace. A new study finds that one form of it, which is turned on when people get cold, sucks fat out of the rest of the body to fuel itself. Another new study finds that a second form of brown fat can be created from ordinary white fat byexercise.

Of course, researchers say, they are not blind to the implications of their work. If they could turn on brown fat in people without putting them in cold rooms or making them exercise night and day, they might have a terrific weight loss treatment. And companies are getting to work.

But Dr. André Carpentier, an endocrinologist at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec and lead author of one of the new papers, notes that much work lies ahead. It is entirely possible, for example, that people would be hungrier and eat more to make up for the calories their brown fat burns.

“We have proof that this tissue burns calories — yes, indeed it does,” Dr. Carpentier said. “But what happens over the long term is unknown.”

Until about three years ago, researchers thought brown fat was something found in rodents, which cannot shiver and use heat-generating brown fat as an alternate way to keep warm. Human infants also have it, for the same reason. But researchers expected that adults, who shiver, had no need for it and did not have it.

Then three groups, independently, reported that they had found brown fat in adults. They could see it in scans when subjects were kept in cold rooms, wearing light clothes like hospital gowns. The scans detected the fat by showing that it absorbed glucose.

There was not much brown fat, just a few ounces in the upper back, on the side of the neck, in the dip between the collarbone and the shoulder, and along the spine. Although mice and human babies have a lot more, and in different places, it seemed to be the same thing. So, generalizing from what they knew about mice, many researchers assumed the fat was burning calories.

But, notes Barbara Cannon, a researcher at Stockholm University, just because the brown fat in adults takes up glucose does not necessarily mean it burns calories.

“We did not know what the glucose actually did,” she said. “Glucose can be stored in our cells, but that does not mean that it can be combusted.”

A new paper in The Journal of Clinical Investigation by Dr. Carpentier and his colleagues answers that question and more. By doing a different type of scan, which shows the metabolism of fat, the group reports that brown fat can burn ordinary fat and that glucose is not a major source of fuel for these cells. When the cells run out of their own small repositories of fat, they suck fat out of the rest of the body.

In the study, the subjects — all men — were kept chilled, but not to the point of shivering, which itself burns calories. Their metabolic rates increased by 80 percent, all from the actions of a few ounces of cells. The brown fat also kept its subjects warm. The more brown fat a man had, the colder he could get before he started to shiver.

Brown fat, Dr. Carpentier and Jan Nedergaard, Dr. Cannon’s husband, wrote in an accompanying editorial, “is on fire.”

On average, Dr. Carpentier said, the brown fat burned about 250 calories over three hours.

But there is another type of brown fat. It has been harder to study because it often is interspersed in the white fat and does not occur in large masses. Investigators discovered it in mice years ago. Now, in a recent article, Bruce Spiegelman, professor of cell biology and medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and his colleagues report that, in mice at least, exercise can make it appear, by turning ordinary white fat brown.

When mice exercise, their muscle cells release a newly discovered hormone that the researchers named irisin. Irisin, in turn, converts white fat cells into brown ones. Those brown fat cells burn extra calories.

Dr. Spiegelman said the brown fat he studies is different from the type that appears in large, distinct masses in rodents, the type Dr. Carpentier was examining in his subjects. That brown fat is derived from musclelike cells and not from white fat.

Dr. Spiegelman suspects that humans, like mice, make brown fat from white fat when they exercise, because humans also have irisin in their blood. And human irisin is identical to mouse irisin.

“What I would guess is that this is likely to be the explanation for some of the effects of exercise,” Dr. Spiegelman says. The calories burned during exercise exceed the number actually used to do the work of exercising. That may be an effect of some white fat cells turning brown.

Many questions remain. The only brown fat that can be easily seen in people is the muscle-derived fat that shows up in scans. And that brown fat, notes Dr. C. Ronald Kahn, chief academic officer at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, is visible in people only when it is turned on by making them cold.

Almost everyone of normal weight or below shows this brown fat if they are chilled, although individuals vary greatly in how much they have. But this brown fat almost never shows up in obese people. Is that one reason they are obese, or is their extra body fat keeping them so warm that there is no reason to turn on their brown fat?

There is also an intriguing relationship between the brown fat that emerges under the skin and the density of bone. Dr. Clifford Rosen, a professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, is studying mice that cannot make brown fat and was astonished by the state of their bones.

“The animals have the worst bone density we have ever seen,” Dr. Rosen said. “I see osteoporotic bones all the time,” he added, “but, oh my God, these are the extreme.”

And while exercise may induce brown fat in humans, it remains to be seen how important a source of calorie burning it is, researchers say.

As for deliberately making yourself cold if you want to lose weight, Dr. Carpentier said, “there is still a lot of research to do before this strategy can be exploited clinically and safely.”


This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: January 24, 2012

An earlier version of this article misstated the academic affiliation of Dr. André Carpentier. He is at the University of Sherbrooke, not Laval University.



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Does Diet Soda Slow The Metabolism? | LIVESTRONG.COM

So glad I quit this stuff!!

Does Diet Soda Slow The Metabolism? | LIVESTRONG.COM.

Your metabolism will play a major role in your success or failure to lose weight. Elevating your metabolism causes your body to expend more calories, making it simpler for you to control your body weight. If this is a feat you are determined to accomplish, abstain from behaviors that may derail your attempts to live a healthier lifestyle. That may include limiting some of your favorite food and beverage items like diet sodas.

About Metabolism

Metabolism is the rate that your body expends calories. Everyone has a BMR, or basal metabolic rate, and an AMR, or active metabolic rate. The key to any successful dieting program involves increasing your BMR. Depending on the intensity, engaging in cardio exercise can boost your metabolism for up to 24 hours, according to a study published in 1999 by the American Council on Exercise.

Diet Sodas and Metabolism

Artificial sweeteners in diet sodas, such as aspartame and sucralose, cause your metabolic rate to slow by confusing your body. Normally when you consume foods or beverages that have a caloric value, your body responds by speeding its metabolism via the feedback loop involving the stomach, brain and hormones. The sweet taste of the diet soda tricks your body into thinking it is ingesting calories when it isn’t. If it becomes a regular occurrence, your body will compensate for the calories it isn’t getting by slowing its metabolism to preserve its energy stores.

Weight Gain

Many dieters choose diet sodas over other beverages because they assume that it will not impact their efforts to lose weight but according to researchers, it may cause you to gain weight. In August 2008, “Obesity” published a study conducted at the University of Texas Health Science Center that evaluated the effects of artificially sweetened beverages on long-term weight gain. The findings indicated the more diet soda the subjects consumed, the more weight they gained.

Calorie Deficit

The only way to lose weight is to create a calorie deficit. That is, you must expend more calories than you consume. Over time you may notice that your dieting efforts have reached a plateau. This occurs because your body reconfigures its caloric needs to match its caloric allowance and compensate for the calories you are no longer providing. Engaging in moderate intensity exercise for 150 minutes per week accompanied by a healthy diet that limits diet soda consumption will boost your metabolism and help you shed pounds.

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Are You Addicted to Sugar? – Diet and Nutrition Center –

The first step in recovery is admitting that there is a problem…. The one thing this article doesn’t discuss is if the cravings will go away over time.. As with drug users, once the withdrawals are over it takes a good amount of time befo

re the need for the drug dissipates… and certain triggers- people, places, memories, smells will set of the addiction even years later. I don’t know if there is good research on Sugar Addiction Recovery just yet…

Are You Addicted to Sugar?

Yes, it’s possible your sweet treat cravings could be a sign of sugar addiction. Here’s what you should know about the addiction — and whether it’s time to get help.

If you’re like many people, most nights after dinner, you get a craving for a little something sweet. But a chronic sweet tooth — an increasing problem for Americans, who are conditioned to crave sugar because of constant exposure from processed foods — isn’t just bad for your teeth or your waistline. More and more research links excessive sugar intake to serious health issues, includingtype 2 diabetes, blood pressure, stroke, and dementia.

So how much sugar is too much sugar? The amount your body can metabolize is slightly different for everyone, but the American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day for women — less than the amount of sugar in a single 12-ounce can of non-diet soda — and no more than 9 teaspoons a day for men. A 2009 survey by the American Heart Association found that adult Americans consume an average of 22 teaspoons of added sugar daily, mostly from soft drinks. You can calculate the number of teaspoons of sugar you’re getting per serving of a particular food or drink by taking the number of sugar grams in one serving as listed on the product’s nutritional label and dividing it by four.

A Sweet ‘Drug’ Habit

Once you’re in the habit of eating too much sugar, it becomes harder and harder to stop. “Sugar addiction is a real phenomenon,” says Nicole Avena, PhD, a food addiction researcher and assistant professor of neuroscience at Princeton University. “Research indicates that changes to brain chemicals after sugar consumption are similar to changes seen after drug use, and constantly overeating sugar leads to addiction andobesity.” Sugary foods and drinks activate the “reward” centers of the brain, which lead to more cravings for the sweet stuff.

The issue isn’t limited to obviously sweet snacks like candy and soda — it’s also the sugar added to processed foods that don’t even taste sweet, like ketchup and salad dressing, and also those found within white starchy foods like pasta and bread.

So how do you know if your hankering for sweets is harmless, or if you’re consuming an unhealthy — and possibly addictive — level of sugar?

Do You Have a Problem With Sugar?

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of Beat Sugar Addiction NOW!, is an internist who studies sugar addiction and has identified four types of sugar addicts:

  • People who are constantly tired and turn to sugar for an energy boost
  • People who are extremely irritable when they go without eating for too long and turn to sugar for a quick snack
  • People who constantly crave “a little something sweet”
  • People with hormonal imbalances who turn to sugar as a way to boost their mood

“Constant anxiety, fatigue, and constant sugar cravings are all signs of an addiction,” Dr. Teitelbaum says. “There’s no one amount of daily sugar that is a sign of sugar addiction, it all depends on whether a person feels poorly and exhibits the symptoms of the four types of sugar addicts. At that point, it’s time to figure out your addiction type and how you can treat it.”

If you’re constantly turning to sugar for an energy boost or craving a sweet treat, Teitelbaum says you can typically treat your addiction by drinking more water, eating a more balanced diet, eliminating soda, and sleeping more. Some addicts are triggered by stress, so identifying and eliminating the source of your stress is key. If you’re suffering from a hormonal imbalance, you might want to talk to your doctor about hormone therapy or supplements.

7 Ways to Control Your Sugar Cravings

Whether it’s bread and pasta or chocolate and cookies you crave, here are seven easy ways to take control of your sugar habit — and your health.

If you think your habit is out of control, take a step back, analyze how you feel, and figure out what’s at the root of your sugar cravings. One way to properly assess your sugar intake is by using a food journal such as My Calorie Counter that calculates the total amount of sugar you’re consuming. Once you’ve done that, Everyday Health nutritionist Kelly MacDonald, MS, RD, LDN, suggests a few easy adjustments that will help you survive the sugar season that begins at Halloween and continues through the end of the year — and help you keep your sugar intake (and the scale) in check year-round:

  1. “Psychoanalyze” your eating habits. Ask yourself why you’re reaching for carbs and soda. Do you really want the food itself, or is it an emotional response triggered by stress or habit? Eating carbs and sugar triggers the release of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin, which can make you think you want the sugar when what you really want are the calm, happy feelings it produces.
  2. Switch to whole grains. Compared to white bread and rice, the complex carbs in whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats are packed with filling fiber, which prevents the blood sugar spikes and dips that lead to sugar cravings. Eating whole grains has been linked to a lower diabetes risk and sustained weight loss over time.
  3. Reach for healthier sweet snacks. When sugar cravings hit, try to satisfy them with a healthier option such as whole fresh fruit or nonfat yogurt. Although both contain natural sugar, they also have other healthy nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins, protein, and fiber.
  4. Keep sugar out of the house. On Halloween, it’s tempting to fill up on candy for trick-or-treaters or leftovers from your kids’ loot. Avoid temptation by handing out non-sugar options to trick-or-treaters, such as school supplies, small toys, or small bags of nuts.
  5. Plan your meals. As holiday season begins, it’s hard to avoid sugar temptation. Plan ahead to make sure you’re not caught around the office cookie plate on an empty stomach. If you’re throwing or cooking for a holiday party, bring a fresh fruit salad instead of a pecan pie, for example. Chances are, there are other sugar-minded dieters at the party who will thank you for it.
  6. Be honest with yourself. The only way you’ll really stop or prevent a sugar addiction is to constantly keep yourself honest. Use a food journal to keep tabs on your diet. If you’re eating more sugar than usual or find yourself constantly battling cravings, add more fresh produce and whole grains.
  7. Stop after a few bites. Teitelbaum says a little dessert every night is fine, but the key is to limit the portion. Your taste buds are saturated with sugar after just a few bites, so it’s best to have a few spoonfuls of Ben and Jerry’s to satisfy your sweet tooth and put the rest back in the freezer.

Are You Addicted to Sugar? – Diet and Nutrition Center –

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“Sooo…. What’s for Dinner?” – The SOLUTION!

I am SO EXCITED about this project!!!!  I have been working on it for about a month and it is finally a reality! 🙂  I really believe it is going to help us so much in terms of healthy eating, saving money, saving time and the stress and arguments over “What’s For Dinner?!??!?!?”

It’s 4:00 pm and the dreaded call from my husband…

Him: “So, What’s For Dinner?”

Me: “Well, I don’t know!  You tell me!  I’ve been working all day- have not given it one thought.  I’m a busy person & don’t have time to come up with a new and exciting meal every night.  Why does this responsibility always somehow end up in MY lap?  Why don’t you figure it out?”

Him: “I’m easy- whatever you want, honey.”

Me: “No.  That is not an acceptable response.  That does not make it ‘easy.’  I still have to do the thinking, the planning and the figuring out if we have all of the ingredients for whatever I come up with and then if we don’t I have to re-think and re-plan…”

Him: “Jeez!  I’m sorry I asked!”

Okay, so to give him some credit- he does occasionally come up with dinner plans.  And, he doesn’t mind if I suggest eating out- but then he still wants me to decide WHAT we will be eating from outside.. and trying to come up w/ healthy options from outside is not easy, nor cheap, nor necessarily any faster… uggg.  Honestly, the hardest part ISN’T the cooking.  It’s the PLANNING.  And planning for healthy, cheap and easy is NOT easy!

I considered various methods: creating a google calendar, writing it down on a physical calendar.  I even tried using a dry-erase calendar on the fridge.  I tried the meal planners online- spark people etc. but they always included recipes i wasn’t familiar with and didn’t have the ingredients for… None of it seemed like a great solution- for a variety of reasons.  I am a visual person- I needed something that I enjoyed looking at- that would make me inspired, motivated & happy.  A black & white calendar or even one printed in color just wasn’t doing it for me… and if I got on the computer to create it I’d be tempted to look up new recipes all the time- which I don’t have the time or energy to incorporate into our routine on a regular basis- even with my best intentions.  I’ve been wanting to make butternut squash SOMETHING for months- I’ve bought at least 3 and they’ve all gone bad b/c I didn’t have what it took to find a good recipe and go do it.  And it takes a WHILE for those to go bad!!


So, I came up with a list of the meals we eat the most frequently that are healthy, cheap and easy.  That part wasn’t really that difficult.  I chose meals like Turkey Burgers, Grilled or Baked Salmon, Chicken Salad, Roasted Veggies, Steak, Cranberry Chicken- things that are easy to pre-prepare in the freezer, throw in the crockpot, in the oven or on the grill.  I selected healthy veg side items: roasted brussel sprouts, simple salads, stir-fried veggies and healthy carb sides: quinoa, low GI rice, sweet potatoes, whole grain breads…

Then, I made codes for: if I’m going to make extra of that meal to put in the freezer for later, if it’s already in the freezer and just needs to be pulled out, if we are having guests, eat with friends, out of town, if it’s a holiday and who will be cooking! (It seems to fall mostly on me but it’s just by default b/c he doesn’t seem to be able to do the planning and so I think of meals that I can make easily.. plus, the things he comes up with are not always the healthiest options… like, eggs & hot dogs…??) So, now he’ll be more involved in cooking, too! *evil laugh* *cough* I mean… 🙂

Here’s the prototype (before it transformed into a LIVE creature!)

ANYWAY.  This process took a while… measuring, formatting, coming up w/ how many magnets I would need etc.  It wasn’t super cheap- it cost around $65 I think, altogether.  But I LOVE IT! 🙂  And, I think it will be great when there are kids- they’ll love playing w/ the magnets and it’s a good opportunity to teach about diet, nutrition and meal planning.  And, I can recycle these over and over and over and over… you get the picture!!  I’m still looking for the ‘perfect box’ to hold my magnets- will have to make a trip to the container store… But I like this one for now.

Several of my friends have already asked for one!  I’m working on a smaller version that will fit on a fridge.

I am seriously considering selling these if I can figure out a way to lower costs… probably by buying in bulk…  I could sell a set of standard meals or customized magnets. 🙂

Haven’t decided if making a Breakfast/Lunch calendar would be worth it… that seems like a little much… breakfasts are fairly easy to come up with on the fly- shakeology, oatmeal, fruit, a protein bar if you’re in a hurry, eggs… would seem a little silly to plan that.  Lunches are another matter, though… But I’m afraid to try to plan too much at once.  I usually pack fruit, leftovers from the previous night, throw a salad together in the morning or make a stir-fry if I’m at home…  I should probably keep other quick-to-grab items ready… like frozen grilled chicken strips to throw on the salads… That’s a project for another day!

The final product?  Well… I can’t share the whole thing b/c I’ve already set it for this month and well.. I don’t like to display when we are out of town on the internet.  (I couldn’t wait to start it at the beginning of the month!! lol)

But, here’s a sample:




Oh, and did I mention that it’s COLOR CODED?!?!  Ahhh!!!  I love it…

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Dr. Andrew Weil: Fat or Carbs: Which Is Worse?

Very Interesting!  Perhaps Saturated Fats are not so bad after all… My husband will be pleased… Of course, you still need to be vigilant about the calorie content (Fat has more calories per gram than carbs or protein.)  Protein should also be moderated if you have liver or kidney issues.  Avoiding highly processed carbohydrates is the new recommendation since it has been shown to be damaging to blood lipids.  Low Glycemic Index foods are still favored. This doesn’t necessarily mean eating more meat, just eating less refined carbs and not worrying quite as much about the gristle in your steak…  What are your thoughts?

Dr. Andrew Weil: Fat or Carbs: Which Is Worse?.

In my home state of Arizona, a restaurant named “Heart Attack Grill” does brisk business in Chandler, a Phoenix suburb. Waitresses in nurse-themed uniforms with miniskirts deliver single, double, triple and quadruple “bypass burgers” (featuring one, two, three and four hefty patties, respectively) dripping with cheese, to patrons who wear hospital gowns that double as bibs. The motto: “Taste Worth Dying For!”

Now, there is much for a medical doctor (as opposed to “Dr. Jon,” the stethoscope-wearing, burger-flipping owner) to dislike in this establishment. If you visit, I implore you to steer clear of the white-flour buns, the sugary sodas and the piles of “flatliner fries” that accompany the burgers in the restaurant’s signature bedpan plates. This is precisely the sort of processed-carbohydrate-intensive meal that, via this and other fast-food establishments, is propelling the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in America.

But the Grill’s essential, in-your-face concept is that the saturated fat in beef clogs arteries, and hamburger meat is consequently among the most heart-damaging foods a human being can consume. As the Grill literature puts it, “The menu names imply coronary bypass surgery, and refer to the danger of developing atherosclerosis from the food’s high proportion of saturated fat…” Aimed at a certain crowd, this is clever, edgy marketing. Some people enjoy flirting with death.

The problem? It’s not true. The saturated fat lauded in this menu won’t kill you. It may even be the safest element of the meal.

Saturated fat is made of fatty acid chains that cannot incorporate additional hydrogen atoms. It is often of animal origin, and is typically solid at room temperature. Its relative safety has been a theme in nutrition science for at least the last decade, but in my view, a significant exoneration took place in March of this year. An analysis that combined the results of 21 studies, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that “saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk” of coronary heart disease, stroke or coronary vascular disease.

Although this was not a true study, it was a big analysis. It aggregated information from nearly 348,000 participants, most of whom were healthy at the start of the studies. They were surveyed about their dietary habits and followed for five to 23 years. In that time, 11,000 developed heart disease or had a stroke. Researcher Ronald M. Krauss of the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Center in California found that there was no difference in the risk of heart disease or stroke between people with the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat.

This contradicts nutritional dogma we’ve heard repeated since 1970, when a physiologist named Ancel Keys published his “Seven Countries” study that showed animal fat consumption strongly predicted heart attack risk. His conclusions influenced US dietary guidelines for decades to come, but other researchers pointed out that if 21 other countries had been included in that study, the association that Keys observed would have been seen as extremely weak.

Meanwhile, in the years since, there has been increasing evidence that added sweeteners in foods may contribute to heart disease. Sweeteners appear to lower levels of HDL cholesterol (the higher your HDL, the better) and raise triglycerides (the lower the better). That’s according to a study of more than 6,000 adults by Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and published in April inThe Journal of the American Medical Association.

People who received at least 25 percent of their daily calories from any type of sweetener had more than triple the normal risk of having low HDL levels than those who consumed less than five percent of their calories from sweeteners. Beyond that, those whose sugar intake made up 17.5 percent or more of daily calories were 20 to 30 percent more likely to have high triglycerides.

Science writer Gary Taubes has done more than anyone else to deconstruct the Keys mythos and replace it with a more sensible view, informed by better science. I recommend his book, Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control and Disease. It presents more than 600 pages of evidence that lead to these conclusions:

    1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease or any other chronic disease of civilization.
    1. The problem is the carbohydrates in the diet, their effect on insulin secretion, and thus the hormonal regulation of homeostasis — the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body. The more easily digestible and refined the carbohydrates, the greater the effect on our health, weight and well-being.
    1. Sugars — sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup specifically — are particularly harmful, probably because the combination of fructose and glucose simultaneously elevates insulin levels while overloading the liver with carbohydrates.
  1. Through their direct effects on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes. They are the most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic diseases of modern civilization.

My point here is not to promote meat consumption. I’ve written here previously about humanitarian and ecological reasons to avoid a meat-centric diet, especially if the meat comes from factory-farmed animals. Instead, my purpose is to emphasize that we would be much healthier as a nation if we stopped worrying so much about fats, and instead made a concerted effort to avoid processed, quick-digesting carbohydrates — especially added sugars. The average American consumes almost 22 teaspoons of sugars that are added to foods each day. This obscene amount is the principal driver of the “diabesity” epidemic, sharply increases coronary risks and promises to make this generation of children the first in American history that will die sooner than their parents.

My Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid emphasizes whole or minimally processed foods — especially vegetables — with low glycemic loads. That means consuming these foods keeps blood sugar levels relatively stable, which in turn lowers both fat deposition and heart-disease risk. If you make a concerted effort to eat such foods and avoid sugar, you’ll soon lose your taste for it. The natural sugars in fruits and vegetables will provide all the sweetness you desire.

While saturated fat appears to have no effect on heart health, eating too much can crowd out vitamins, minerals and fiber needed for optimal health. So I recommend sticking to a “saturated fat budget” which can be “spent” on an occasional steak (from organic, grass-fed, grass-finished cattle, see LocalHarvest for sources), some butter, or, as I do, high quality, natural cheese a few times a week.

Andrew Weil, M.D., invites you to join the conversation: become a fan on Facebook, follow him onTwitter, and check out his Daily Health Tips BlogDr. Weil is the founder and director of theArizona Center for Integrative Medicine and the editorial director of

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50 Fitness Facts you Need to Know

50 Fitness Facts

  1. Carbohydrates, protein, fat, and alcohol have 4, 4, 9, and 7 calories per gram respectively.
  2. It takes a 3500 calorie deficit to lose 1 pound.
  3. Insulin and growth hormone have an inverse relationship.
  4. The average person can store 500 grams of glycogen.
  5. Only fat and protein are essential macronutrients – carbohydrates aren’t.
  6. Muscle glycogen is about 3 parts water to 1 part glucose.
  7. You burn more calories during the 23 hours you don’t exercise than the 1 hour you do.
  8. You don’t need to do cardio to lose weight.
  9. The fat burning zone does not burn more total fat calories – only a higher percentage of calories from fat.
  10. You’re never too old to do squats.
  11. Weight loss is not a physical challenge – it’s a mental one.
  12. The scale cannot measure body fat percentage.
  13. You can eat anything you want and still lose weight – but weight doesn’t always equal fat.
  14. You can’t target fat loss – fat loss is systemic.
  15. Muscle does not weigh more than fat – it’s just denser than it.
  16. 0 grams of fat on a label doesn’t always mean there’s no fat in the food product.
  17. Whole grain bread is still a processed food.
  18. Eating healthy is not more expensive than a junk food diet.
  19. You can’t calculate body fat percentage from height and weight alone – you need to physically measure it.
  20. You can get glucose from both protein and glycerol – not just carbohydrates.
  21. Just because a box says “whole grain” on it, it doesn’t make it healthy.
  22. You should never attempt weight loss at the expense of your health.
  23. Being vegetarian doesn’t just mean you don’t eat meat – it means you follow a plant-based diet.
  24. Workout times and negative side effects are positively correlated.
  25. Gym membership prices are negotiable.
  26. Cooking your food can both lower some nutrient content, and make some more bioavailable.
  27. There’s a high correlation between the fitness level of the people close to you, and your own physical fitness.
  28. It’s harder to put on 10 pounds of muscle than it is to lose 10 pounds of fat.
  29. Once an adult, fat cells can be created, but they cannot be lost – only shrunken.
  30. Eating at night does not make you fat – overeating does.
  31. You don’t need to do curls to get good biceps.
  32. Being skinny does not automatically mean you have a low body fat.
  33. The perimeter of the grocery store is where 90% of the healthy food is.
  34. If bad food is in the house, you’ll be more likely to eat it.
  35. Thyroid hormone output and exercise intensity are positively correlated.
  36. Healthy levels of testosterone are good for both men and women.
  37. You don’t need a gym membership to strength train.
  38. Unless you weigh less than 100 pounds, it’s unlikely you need less than 1000 calories to lose weight.
  39. Workout intensity is positively correlated with the degree of EPOC – the afterburn effect.
  40. There are 3 types of skeletal muscle fibers – type I, type II-A, and type II-B.
  41. 80% of people who begin an exercise program will quit.
  42. The body has 3 energy systems – ATP-PC, anaerobic glycolysis, and aerobic.
  43. Strength gains come from muscle hypertrophy and improved muscle fiber recruitment.
  44. Dehydrating a muscle by 3% can cause a 10% loss of strength.
  45. The thermic effect of food (TEF) is highest for protein.
  46. Lactic acid is not the cause of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
  47. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest.
  48. Direct abdominal exercises are not necessary to get good abs.
  49. You can lose weight and still gain muscle; likewise, you can also gain weight while still losing fat.
  50. Consistency and patience are key to long term successful weight loss.

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Probiotics may Heal Stomach Ulcers!

H. Pylori and Gastrointestinal Ulcers

Up to 50% of the world population is colonized with Helicobacter Pylori- a bacteria that lives in the gut.  The trouble is that this bacteria can overgrow and cause stomach ulcers (which can present as heartburn, acid reflux and other GI upset.)  Up to 80% of all ulcers are caused by H. Pylori.  The majority of people will never show symptoms.  However, these people will always be at risk for developing ulcers- especially as they get older and their immune system does not function as well.  This colonization also puts folks at a higher risk of Stomach Cancer.

Many people will never ask their doctor about their symptoms- they figure it’s common to have heartburn and so they will use antacids (tums, zantac, prilosec) indefinitely, treating the symptoms but never resolving the cause of their discomfort.  Left untreated, stomach ulcers put you at a higher risk for other problems down the road including Stomach Cancer and GI Bleeds (these can go very bad, very quickly!)

Other people who do ask their MD’s about it may never be tested.  Many doctor’s don’t test for H. Pylori (the tests are expensive, some are unpleasant and many MD’s may not realize how common the problem is.)  They may mis-diagnose your condition as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – prescribe Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix or other Rx-strength antacid and the symptoms will resolve but you are still in the same predicament as if you never saw the MD!

If you ARE tested and found to be positive (also a problem because the most common tests are unreliable…) your MD may prescribe a long-term regimen of Antibiotics, GI protectants and Antacids.  These regimens are EXPENSIVE and difficult to follow.  You may not be able to afford it or may not take it properly which could result in (at best) a failure to cure and (at worst) antibiotic resistance and further illness (including an overgrowth of Clostridium Difficile – a horrible diarrheal infection that is difficult to treat.)

But, there’s great news! Probiotics (specifically Bifidobacterium) may actually Heal ulcers caused by H. Pylori!  Why is this such great news- besides the fact that it will eliminate your ulcer and your symptoms?  There are several reasons: Probiotics are easy to take (usually only once a day), there is no risk of developing other infections like with the use of antibiotics, they are relatively inexpensive AND they have additional health benefits including: seasonal allergies (YEP), eczema, IBS and others.  🙂

And guess what?  Bifidobacterium is actually one of the ingredients in Shakeology… 

So, what exactly are some of the symptoms of an H. Pylori infection and when should you see a doctor?

Signs & Symptoms

  • An ache or burning pain in your abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent burping
  • Bloating
  • Weight loss

When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice any persistent signs and symptoms that worry you. Seek immediate medical help if you experience:

  • Severe or persistent abdominal pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bloody or black tarry stools
  • Bloody or black vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
Want to learn more about H. Pylori and Bifidobacterium? (without using Google..) 🙂

Bifidobacterium Study Abstract:

Helicobacter pylori is considered one of the major risk factors underlying the development of gastritis and gastric and duodenal ulcers. Moreover, 50% of the population carries this bacterium, and consequently, when it is detected, eradication of H. pylori is strongly recommended. Regarding the use of probiotics as functional agents, several studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between the addition of certain probiotic bacteria and in vitro inhibition of H. pylori; however, in vivo studies showing bifidobacterial activity against H. pyloriremain scarce. In this study, a Bifidobacterium bifidum strain which proved activein vitro against H. pylori has been isolated, with inhibition levels reaching 81.94% in the case of the supernatant and even 94.77% inhibition for supernatant purified by cationic exchange followed by an inverse phase. In vivo studies using a BALB/c mouse model have proved that this strain partially relieves damage to gastric tissues caused by the pathogen and also decreases the H. pylori pathogenicity ratio. This novel strain fulfills the main properties required of a probiotic (resistance to gastrointestinal juices, biliary salts, NaCl, and low pH; adhesion to intestinal mucus; and sensitivity to antibiotics). Furthermore, the absence of undesirable metabolites has been demonstrated, and its food safety status has been confirmed by acute ingestion studies in mice. In summary, the results presented here demonstrate that Bifidobacterium bifidum CECT 7366 can be considered a probiotic able to inhibit H. pylori both in vitro and in vivo.

Questions?  Comments?  Shakeology Samples? 🙂

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Tumblr Took Over! – Update!

Tumblr!!  Oh I am ashamed… Well, not really.  But, yes, it’s true.  I have been tumbling!  “Micro-blogging” is so easy!  I’ve been very busy with my pharmacy school rotations and DRIVING to rotations (or taking the bus- which is the best thing that ever happened to my downtown commute.)  But, that means I have been neglecting my “main” blog here on WP – because I feel that this deserves more valuable posts… a little more thoughtful and a little lengthier.  And, they take a little more time.  So, if you want daily updates please follow me on Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook. 🙂

So, where am I with my fitness?

Well – looking back over my Beachbody SuperGym Workout Calendar I could be doing better.  I definitely had more time in January and so my workouts were much more consistent.  I am still exercising regularly- probably 3-4 days a week instead of 5-6.  But, my Turbo Fire schedule has been all thrown off.  😦  I started going to Fit Club- which is fun but we’ve done things besides Turbo Fire, of course.  And, I’ve been going to Boxing Class at the gym once in a while.

I have such early mornings- I have to leave the house at 5:40am!!!  There’s no way to workout before that!  I get home around 5:45-6:00 and have to do my workouts pretty much right when I get home or they don’t happen.  If I haven’t made plans for dinner or have something else going on it makes it very difficult to get them in.  So lesson?  Have dinner plans already made and ready to go!!


I’ve been having Shakeology once a day for around a month now. I usually have it in the morning for breakfast but sometimes for lunch or dinner or as a snack.  I have honestly been enjoying it and miss it if I don’t get it!  Yesterday, actually, I was planning to have it as a snack on my way home from work but left it in the fridge!  I was so sad!  All the way home… Plus, it messed up my evening routine because I was hungry when I got home and so had to delay my workout which is a problem because sometimes it doesn’t happen if I put it off…

So my current thoughts on Shakeo:

I enjoy the shakes- both chocolate & tropical.  My GI system LOVES it!  Evidently I didn’t know what ‘regularity’ was before this… and I wasn’t a horrible eater!  I ate plenty of fiber, fruits, veggies, roughage… so it shouldn’t have been an issue.  Just that makes me feel much better.  Since starting it I haven’t wanted soda or ‘needed’ caffeine.  I haven’t had Starbucks at all and used to have it nearly every day!  It’s $3-4/serving which seems expensive at $120 a month.  Well… I spend at least $5 on lunch everyday if I don’t pack something ahead of time (then I still spend $2-3 depending on what I pack.)  So, having it for lunch is more cost effective than having it for breakfast (I could have oatmeal or fruit w/ yogurt for $0.20..)

BUT – If it is truly giving me everything it says that it is… a full day’s worth of fruits & veggies, antioxidants, pro & prebiotics (there is a difference), digestive enzymes etc… then it is worth it to me.  Could you get these things in other ways with other supplements and a balanced diet?  Probably.  There are Fruit & Veg supplements and pre/probiotic supplements etc.  They can add up too and would probably cost between $1-3/day themselves.  And doing that you aren’t replacing a meal so you are still spending $ on food.  And, a balanced diet is kind of like the loch ness monster- I’m not sure it’s possible with this kind of hectic life!

The closest alternative I have found is Vega meal replacements.  I intend to try them just to compare- but they are still around $3/serving so you aren’t saving a ton of money.  The convenience factor of Shakes can’t be overstated!  This is SO EASY to do everyday- it makes a great to-go breakfast, lunch or snack.  I don’t have to THINK, PLAN, SHOP for what I am going to eat for that meal.  This saves me TIME in my schedule to worry about other pressing things.  I don’t have to buy multiple products to achieve the same effect.  What about the quality of the products?  I trust Beachbody.  I don’t necessarily have the same faith in GNC if you know what I mean… I know the story behind Shakeo and am thrilled that they support local farmers- helping communities around the world.  Okay, okay, enough about shakeo- I’ll write another post later.  I’m really not trying to sell it.  I am a resource if people are interested in it but right now I’m really just interested in finding out what it can do for me.  (And, I am making a lab rat of my husband- he has high cholesterol so I’m having him try it for 30 days to see if it will help bring it down!)  It’s not magic!  It’s not a weight-loss shake like Body by Vi or Medifast but it can help with weight loss.  It is a nutritional supplement intended to help your HEALTH not just your scale!

Other Meals- 

They haven’t been fantastic but haven’t been horrible.  Mostly this has to do with my lack of planning.  I’ve been eating lunch in the hospital cafeteria- usually a salad, sometimes chicken wings with veggies… I try to pick a protein and veggies with a small carb side.  Dinner has been challenging!  We had fish the other night but then burgers (I only had 1/2), chicken wings, chicken noodle soup.. It’s just kind of been all over the place!  Again- it’s not that I don’t WANT healthy food- I’ve just been lazy to plan for it!  😦  I will do better!!

Beachbody Coaching

This seems to be coming along, actually!  My mom signed up as a coach (I’m not sure if she’s really interested or just did it for me…)  But, she’s also doing Insanity and Shakeo!  I am SO EXCITED to see her results!  I will be just THRILLED if she is successful!  I love being her accountability partner- she texts me everyday when she’s finished her workout and logs them in the SuperGym.  I am SO PROUD of her!  So, with ‘Emerald’ status Beachbody gives me clients- they  all have different needs.  Some purchased programs and are not interested in the site while others are very involved in the message boards, use the meal planner etc.  I’ve been able to get several people started with various fitness programs and a few are trying Shakeology.  So far it’s a fun hobby.  I LOVE going to Coach events!  I love the atmosphere, excitement and enthusiasm everyone has for fitness!!

My weight loss/ results?  Well, I have continued to lose- slowly.  I believe if I am able to get my diet under better control and my workouts back up to 5 days/week I’ll see results more quickly.  Since January I’ve lost around 10 lbs, 1″ from my hips, 1″ from my thighs, 1 1/2″ from my waist, 1 1/2″ from my chest and some other inches… about 10″ all over… slowly shrinking. 🙂  I’ll post some photos probably next week.

“Ain’t No Fool” April 2nd Challenge Group! – 1 Spot Left!

This will be my first challenge group! 🙂  I’m excited!  We have 4 people so far so we have 1 spot left!  If you are interested let me know.  I am super excited because I will be doing a P90X/ Turbo Fire Hybrid!!!  I haven’t done P90X- have always been too intimidated but now I am READY to do this!  (Will probably have to skip out on Fit Club- cut back to once a week so I can keep on track!)  I promise to plan my meals!!

That’s all I’ve got for now and sorry that it was so scattered!  I have many things on my mind and will try to write some more topic-specific posts soon! 🙂

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Water & 20 Tips For Getting Your 8 Glasses Daily

As I have discussed before… I REALLY struggle with getting enough water!  This article may have helped convince me that I MUST do better if I want to see the results I am looking for… It’s really sad- even when I exercise I don’t drink enough (partly because I really hate having to go pee in the middle of a workout…)  BUT I WILL DO THIS!  My poor, poor kidneys… I will be nicer to you, I promise!

Water & 20 Tips For Getting Your 8 Glasses Daily.

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Natasha – A Real Life Superhero

Meet my friend, Natasha Rusilko from New Mexico.  She’s 19 years old and pursuing a degree in culinary arts, practicing her craft in the Dairy Queen Bakery.  She is somewhat (or maybe a little more than somewhat) obsessed with Michael Jackson, Horror Movies, Star Wars, Christina Aguilera and Pirates of the Caribbean (roughly in that order.)   But, it’s not her love of the King of Pop that brings her story to my blog.  Natasha is a hero of mine. Over a period of 1 year she managed to shed more than 40 lbs off of her petite 5’1″ frame.  Her transformation is truly admirable.

At the beginning of her journey she created a Weight-Loss Blog on Tumblr called “Imgonnamakeachange.”  Her blog is no longer just about weight loss but has shifted focus and alongside the expected ‘fitspo’ you will find the Moonwalker, Star Wars, Aguilera, Gaga, Cake Decorating and thousands of answered questions.  What’s extraordinary about Natasha is that, having achieved success in her weight loss journey, she has not abandoned her Tumblr family.  She’s amassed a following of more than 6300 Tumblrs.  She continues to offer advice to her blog followers and to keep them motivated.  She responds to around 40 ‘Asks’ every day.  She’s become somewhat of a Tumblr celebrity- her before & after photos have been ‘reblogged’ thousands of times.

So, the burning question- HOW did she do it? The way it should be done- eating right & exercise!  She went from eating >3000 calories a day to around 1300 but didn’t count calories, per se.  She focuses on eating healthy foods and allows herself a ‘splurge’ day around once a month.  She did a variety of exercises- she has an elliptical in her house, does pilates, works out with her mom (Who happens to be a personal trainer) but the workout she swears by and continues to do is Shaun T’s Insanity.  

In her blog she says, “I also do Insanity, which I swear by.  I should be a walking billboard for them.  It is a workout DVD program that costs a lot, but it is WORTH it.  It is very intense and hard to do, but very worth it..”She really did turn into a Superhero!  Every time I visit her blog or Facebook page I am inspired.  She is a great motivator and has a fabulous story to share.  I am so proud of her.  Her story makes me anxious to try Insanity myself! Since achieving weight loss success she has also become passionate about fitness and wants to become a personal trainer.  In just 2 weeks she will be turning 20 and moving across the country to live with her boyfriend, Mitch.  (He’s almost as popular a topic on her blog as Michael Jackson…)  She’s been saving her money for moving expenses and, at the encouragement of her followers, set up a ‘Donation’ box.  When I met her I was blown away by her story.  I was surprised that she wasn’t already a Beachbody coach considering her obvious passion for Insanity and her motivation to raise funds for her cross-country move.

Much to her chagrin, other Beachbody Coaches with less integrity have already been using her photos to promote their businesses without her permission. She and I discussed Coaching and decided that it wasn’t the right time for her to sign up now but that her story should be told- that she would allow me to share it and split any proceeds with her- because she deserves it!  Every day she recommends Insanity to her followers.  Over the past year there is no telling how many of them have purchased it.  She worked very hard for her success and there is no reason that she should not also benefit from it financially as others seek to achieve similar results through her guidance.

Does Natasha inspire you?  Are you ready to take control of your life?  To push yourself?

Are YOU ready for INSANITY?  

Visit my Tumblr Site to sign up for a Free Team Beachbody account and to order INSANITY (go to “Store”.)  Want Natasha to be your coach?   Do you want to invest in your own fitness and help her reach her goal of moving across the country and becoming a personal trainer and culinary creator?  Send me an email with your order: with “Natasha” in the subject line and your name.

To learn more about Natasha or make a direct donation- visit her Tumblr Site.  You can also find her on Facebook.


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