In October: Pink Is The New Black

It’s October and currently I’m thinking… PINK.  As we all know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and that has me concentrating on my breasts – and wondering about all other women’s breasts out there, too.
 
As women, we think a lot about how we look in general – and our breasts in particular.  Are they too small or too big?  Are they too saggy or too perky (such a thing?).  Do we look in the mirror and think they’re lopsided?  Too much cleavage…or not enough?
 
But it’s October now and this month reminds us that what we should be thinking about is not just the physical appearance of our breasts, but what’s going on inside: the actual tissue, the glands, and the general health of them.  The things we can’t see in the mirror.
 
There are no guarantees when it comes to the health of our breasts.  Mammograms are excellent for early detection – but that’s the key: detection.  They’re only good once the problem is pronounced enough for it to be evident in a mammogram.
 
But there are several things we can do as women to empower ourselves in our daily lives and to help maintain and – and/or regain – the health of our breasts, as well as our overall health, too!
 
It is true when they say we are what we eat, drink, breathe, and think.  Food can be the best medicine, but it can also be the biggest poison.   I’ve done some research and put together a few strategies we can use every day to help support healthy breasts. 
 
We are what we eat, so…
Eat organic! Fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats rich in anti-oxidants are all wonderfully nutritious.  Anti-oxidants help fight free radicals that can be harmful to our bodies (and have been connected to cancer and premature aging).  Make sure you get many servings of fruits and vegetables daily – and the more colorful the better.  Eat a rainbow!  And please note this: sugar is the enemy – it is cancer’s best friend.  Sugar can assist in the growth of cancer cells.  So let’s do our best to eliminate as much sugar from our diets as we can.
 
Exercise – the shvitz is good for you!
Don’t think you need to run a marathon or take back-to-back spin classes to stay healthy.  Any amount of exercise – intense or mild – can help reduce our risk of getting breast cancer.  Cardio workouts can actually change the metabolism of estrogen in our bodies and increase the ratio of “good” to “bad” estrogens.  Sweating out toxins through exercise helps our bodies detox which in turn helps our immune systems operate more productively!  Yoga is particularly great because it helps balance and regulate our entire endocrine system, which controls our hormones.  Namaste!
 
 Go ahead, touch yourself!
When was the last time you did a self-exam?  Examining our breasts on a regular basis – in conjunction with our annual mammograms and physicals of course – can save our lives.  This is when we can pick up the possibility of an abnormality before it becomes worse … and the scheduled mammogram is too late.
 
Avoid toxins as much as possible!
Toxins are all around us and sometimes I know they’re hard to avoid.  Below are a few places they can manifest in our lives:

  • Inflammatory foods that are filled with trans fats, artificial coloring and preservatives
  • Household cleaning products that contain chemicals and pesticides
  • BPA plastics, which can be used for storing food and water.  Switch to glass containers and buy your self a Swell Water bottle!   Swellbottle.com
  • Personal care products and perfumes.  Yes ladies, the makeup and perfume we put on our faces and bodies to make us look pretty and smell yummy contain hormone-disrupting chemicals.  Look for all-natural beauty products!

 Get some rest!
I talk  a lot about the importance of adequate sleep with friends and clients.  There was a study done recently showing that there is a connection between less sleep and the development of breast cancer in women.  Work on getting at least 7-9 hours of sound sleep per night (without using drugs of course!).
 
The decisions we make on a daily basis – the foods we eat, the sleep we get, our exercise regimens, and our relationships – all play a vital role in creating a healthier, more amazing life.  Every decision counts. 
 
Make Good Choices!!!!

Mad For Matcha!

Recently I visited Japan with my family (awesome country!) and while in Kyoto, we took part in a traditional tea ceremony.  It’s a super elaborate ritual, which has been part of the Japanese culture for centuries, and we loved it.  A gracious and beautiful tradition, it involves the preparation and presentation of matcha, a powdered green tea.  Matcha is made from high quality leaves, which are very carefully harvested and produced, resulting in its unique flavor and numerous health benefits.

 During our visit, we noticed that matcha green tea was served everywhere we went.  When we got back to the USA, I missed Japan and the special tea ceremony we took part in – but that didn’t stop me!  I may lack the kimono and ceremonial flourishes, but I’m mad for matcha and I’ve been preparing it myself, right in the comforts of my own home!

 Here’s what you should know about the glories of matcha green tea – and why you should start getting into it, too:

 Loaded with antioxidants

One serving of matcha is like having 10 cups of regular brewed green tea!  That's because, when we drink matcha, we’re drinking the entire leaf, which means we’re receiving 100% of the nutrients.  And of course we know that all those antioxidants it has help prevent aging and chronic diseases!

 Aids in weight loss

I have your attention now – and it’s true!  Due to its high concentration of the antioxidant catechin, matcha green tea helps boost our metabolism and burn calories, more than any other tea out there, green or otherwise!

 Energy

Put down that mug:  coffee has competition!  Matcha is a great at providing energy, but without those jitters so many of us get from drinking coffee because it has half the caffeine.  Less caffeine but more energizing?  Order me that matcha latte stat!

 Supports our immune systems

Matcha contains vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc, and magnesium – all effective in help fighting off viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.

 Calming

Buddhist monks use matcha as a health elixir and drink it before meditation, so we know it can soothe, as well as invigorate.  Basically matcha tea calms the mind and relaxes the body, but at the same time provides us with mental acuity and energy.

 OK, now that I’ve captured your interest, let’s review how to obtain – and make – this amazing tea!

 For starters, you can drink matcha on its own as part of your daily routine or simply add it to a smoothie or latte.  It’s readily available and sold in markets like Whole Foods.  To make it the traditional way (which is my favorite way of drinking it), simply take 1-2 teaspoons of matcha and add hot water to it.  Next whisk the powder in a “W” shape until you foam forms at the top (approximately 30 seconds).  Then sip… and enjoy!

 Matcha is trendy right now, but I know it’s here to stay – give it a try and let me know what you think. 

How do you take your matcha?

 

 

 

 

Getting Back On Track

I love summer – it just may be my favorite season.  Kids are away, the livin’ is easy – and we become kids ourselves.  Traveling, eating out, staying up late, drinking Rosé all day… you get the picture! 
 
But let’s face it:  although summertime is super fun, it can really take a toll on our bodies.  Being away from home and our daily routines usually means eating out more and not getting enough sleep.  What I’ve found is that, come Labor Day (or, OK, the day after Labor Day!), I make a few non-negotiable goals for myself to help me feel better and look better quickly!
 
Here are some of my tips for jumping back into your routine after summer vacation:
 

Go To Sleep!
I love sleep and try to get my 7-9 hours every night, but truth be told – when we’re traveling, not sleeping in our own beds, going to parties, eating those fun late-night meals, having cocktails, it all adds up and it all takes a toll.  Now we’re back, we can start catching up on precious sleep!  Try to head to bed a bit earlier than usual.  Even if we’re not sleeping by 9:30, we can still take a break from phone screens, catch up on a book, and help our bodies relax. Sweet dreams!
 

Rehyrdate!
We all know this – it’s not new information.  But it’s important enough to be worth repeating:  Hydrate!  We flush out all those toxins from our bodies, plus it helps us with that bloated feeling we might still have from eating all those sodium-filled meals at our favorite restaurant.  My rule of thumb is this:  drink half your body weight in ounces daily.  Cheers!
 

Stock Your Fridge
If you’re like me, you probably cleaned out your fridge before you left for vacation and now you’re home and have no food!  Hit the grocery store today (or order online) and stock up on lots of fruits and veggies and get back to eating healthy!
 

Eat At Home
Now that you’ve stocked your fridge and cabinets with lots of yummy healthy foods, start making home cooked meals for yourself and your family.  Eating healthy starts at home.  Portions at restaurants are out of control and loaded with sodium.  Jumpstart your routine by preparing meals consisting of lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of fresh vegetables:   Bon Appetit!
 

Drink Something Green Everyday
This tip should be year-round.  Green smoothies are loaded with amazing nutrients for our bodies and will help give us a great energy boost, as well as make us look and feel healthier.  And green smoothies are a terrific way to get in that daily dose of vegetables we know we all need: bottoms up!
 

Get Things Moving Again
Traveling and being away from home can sometimes wreak havoc on our digestion, so now it’s time to fill our bodies with fiber-rich foods and help get our digestive tracks… back on track!  Some great fiber-rich foods we should be incorporating into our diet are chia and flax seeds, oats, berries, and beans.  Also to help “move” things along make sure to include foods like brown rice and, of course, vegetables.
 
Lets start off this week right by hitting the gym, stocking up our fridges, and getting back on track!
 
What are some of your strategies to get your mind and body back on track after vacation? 
 

Beauty Is Skin Deep

 Beauty Is Skin Deep

Beauty Is Skin Deep

Our skin: it’s probably the first thing people notice about us – and also the first thing we notice about ourselves when we look in the mirror.  Having a poor complexion can lead to low self-esteem, which can lead to social anxiety, as well as under-performing at work or in school. 

 What we put on our skin plays a large role on our complexion of course; however, what we put in our bodies is reflected on the outside, too! Making healthy changes to our diet, hydration, and lifestyle will have a positive effect on the largest organ in our bodies: our skin! 

 So what foods can provide healthy benefits, not just on the inside but also on the outside – delivering a beauty boost?  I’m glad you asked!  Below are some of my favs:

 Lemon:  Lemons are rich in antioxidants and help assist flushing toxins out of our bodies.  Lemons also have been shown to help boost collagen.  Squeeze some lemon slices into your water and drink it throughout the day.  Simple, refreshing… and it works!

 Avocado:  I love avocados and eat them everyday.  This super food is loaded with benefits like fiber, anti-imflammatories, and Vitamins E, C, K, and B6.  They’re also a monounsaturated fat, which is great for the ticker, and they contain antioxidants that help fight skin damaging free radicals.  In addition, the fatty acids in avocados will help nourish, hydrate, and keep our skin supple and plump.  A bonus?  They’re yummy!

 Omega-3:  Wild salmon, walnuts, tuna, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.  These fatty acids provide anti-inflammatory benefits, assisting us with dry skin, acne, and free radicals – all of which cause us to age faster (and who wants that?).

 Water, Water, Water:  I am constantly lecturing my clients and friends on the importance of staying hydrated.  Hydrating our bodies has a direct effect on the smoothness and suppleness of our skin.  This maybe the easiest tip for maintaining beautiful glowing skin.  Drink up!

 Limit dairy intake:  Dairy products like milk, cheese, and ice cream can cause complexion problems – unfortunately growth hormones added to these products are also to blame. These hormones can have an inflammatory effect on the skin, clogging pores and causing acne.  If you or a family member suffers from acne, try giving dairy a break for a bit and watch your skin start to clear up!

 Go with your gut:  There have been several studies done on how beneficial probiotics are for our gut health.  It has also been shown that people who have skin problems (eczema, psoriasis, acne) also have intestinal issues. Over 60% of our immune system is in our intestinal tract so having a healthy gut is essential for a healthy body and skin!  You can take probiotics in pill or powder form, and you can also find them in foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir.

 I’m not suggesting you cancel your next Botox appointment or throw out that moisturizer you just bought! It takes a village! You cannot have one without the other.  By adding these foods to your diet, I promise you will not only look good on the outside, but you will be healthy on the inside! 

It's a win win!

 Hello Gorgeous!

 

 

 

 

You Got To Be In It To Win It

We’ve all heard how important exercise is – keeping active is essential if we want to live healthy lives, we know that.  But let’s face it: eating healthy and working out isn’t always fun, right?  Even though I’m a health coach and preach about fitness and eating healthy, I sometimes have a tough time motivating myself to get my butt to the gym.  So I’m always trying to find ways to make my workouts more enjoyable.

 Whether you’re marathon trainer, a couch potato, or somewhere in between, here are some guaranteed tips to ignite that fire and get you out there (and keep you out there) exercising:

 Change is good!

Is that same workout getting you down?  Mixing up our workouts not only helps with boredom, it’s actually important for lasting results!  When we perform the same activity over and over, our bodies begin to adapt.  This can make the exercise easier, but, as a result, we’re actually burning fewer calories than we did at the beginning.  We’re plateauing!  To avoid this and stay more engaged in our workouts, I recommend trying different kinds of exercises. There are so many ways to break a sweat – strength training, yoga, dance, running, swimming, biking: the options are endless, so enjoy them!

Phone A Friend

You’re meeting your bestie for lunch anyway, so instead of catching up over a meal, why not catch up while working out together?  Working out with a buddy is supportive and helps holds each of us accountable.  We’re all more likely to show up to a workout when we know we’re meeting a friend than when we go at it alone.  Plus it’s actually more fun! 

 Also this:  if you’re the competitive type  (you know who you are!), a bet with your pal to see who can be the first to achieve a fitness goal can push you to that finish line.  Just make sure the prize is a good one!

 Gear up!

Everyone feels good when they look good!  I don’t know about you, but when I buy something new, I can’t wait to wear it.  And, if it happens to be workout gear, I’m that much more excited to put it on – and get that workout in!  Investing in new, flattering workout gear not only helps boost our confidence, it also helps give us that extra boost when we go to the gym!

 Set goals!

Weight loss goals are great, but fitness goals can be fun and motivating! For example, you can set distance goals for running, the amount of weight we lift, how long we can hold a plank, or how many push ups and pull-ups we can do.  Record your progress and have your workout buddy hold you accountable (there’s that word again!).  For me, setting goals pushes me out of my comfort zone.  And when we’re out of our comfort zone, we start seeing results!

 Let the Music – and Podcasts and Books – Play On!

I don’t know how people can work out without listening to music.  There have been studies done on the positive effects of listening to music while we exercise.  Music increases our sense of motivation and also creates a distraction: listening to our favorite songs makes us less aware of the crunches we’re doing!  So take a minute to create the perfect playlist for your workout. 

 Another great distraction is listening to books on tape or podcasts.  There are tons of interesting podcasts out there on a myriad of subjects.  Listening to something we love – whether music, a book on tape, or a podcast – gets us motivated and moving!  What’s your favorite song to work out to?  Right now mine is the soundtrack to “Hamilton" - slightly obsessed.

 Teamwork makes the dream work!

When we know there’s a group of people counting on us, we’re more likely to show up than blow them off, right?  Group fitness and team sports are also a fun way to exercise and make new friends.  Sports are great because we’re distracted from the fact that we’re actually getting a great workout.  Join a sports league or a running or walking club – and if you aren’t finding anything interesting?  Create your own! 

 Social Butterfly

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat:  posting our goals and updating our followers on our progress is a great way to hold ourselves accountable.  When our friends on all our social media platforms are following our progress, we’ll be much more motivated to achieve our goals!  And social media has great tips and blogs.  Follow your favorite celebrity trainer, chef, or health coach  for inspiration and ideas for fitness, recipes and all over healthy living!

 See you at the gym!

 

 

 

 

Just "D" It!

 

We all hear a lot about supplements:  what to take, what not to take, do they work, don’t they work – it can be overwhelming! 
 
In my opinion, the way to get the most nutrients is through the food we eat – whole foods that aren’t processed or refined such as, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats…all containing high levels of nutrients.    
 
Of course, in a perfect world we would all eat the exact type and amount of food to give us the precise amount of nutrients our bodies need for optimal health. But we know that the world isn’t perfect and this is not always a realistic goal. 
 
Nutrients in food work differently than nutrients in supplements, but there are occasions where a supplement can be beneficial.  Think of it as “insurance” for a healthy diet!  If you think that your lifestyle, taste in food, energy level, and/or priorities make it challenging for you to get all the nutrition you need through your diet, then I have to admit:  some supplementation is going to be appropriate for you.
 
I recommend a variety of supplements to my clients depending on their needs and routines; however today I want to talk about the one supplement I think is truly important – and not easily attainable due to our lifestyles and diet.  And this Super Vitamin is…
 
VITAMIN D!
 
In my opinion, D is the Rock Star of Supplements and totally worthy of the buzz it’s been attracting.  D is a fat-soluble nutrient that plays a key role in almost all our physiological functions.  It's the only vitamin that our body makes itself – and is actually a hormone!
 
There are 2 types of Vitamin D:  D2 and D3.  Both offer benefits, but Vitamin D3 is more readily absorbed and utilized by our bodies, proving to be more effective than D2. 
 
Benefits include:

  • Absorption of calcium
  • Maintenance of healthy bones and teeth
  • Prevention against osteoporosis
  • Assistance in immunity, cell growth, and fetal development
  • The reduction in risks of certain cancers
  • An aid in combating depression

 Unfortunately there are only a few sources of Vitamin D and most are avoided unintentionally.
 

Let the Sun Shine In.  Exposing our bodies to sunlight is the simplest way to get Vitamin D (our bodies makes it naturally).  However, the amount of sun we need to meet our Vitamin D requirements vary widely, depending on our location, time of day, skin type, air pollution, body parts exposed, age, and lifestyle.  And many of us stay out of the sun due to the risk of skin cancer.  
 
Food for Thought.  We can find Vitamin D in fortified foods such as dairy, cereals, and some grain products.  We can also find Vitamin D naturally in whole foods such as fatty fish, egg yolks, cod liver oil, and beef liver.
 
Some of my friends are vegan and, if you are, too, the above whole food suggestions are not options.  Just know that – regarding fortified foods – many of these items have been processed and can contain different ingredients, additives, preservatives, and pesticides (yuck!).    If you must substitute in a processed food item, just make sure at least it’s organic!
 
Ingesting a supplement is a great way to ensure we get the adequate amounts of Vitamin D we need.   It’s easy and removes the guesswork.   When purchasing Vitamin D supplements, just make sure that is D3, not D2. 
 
The bottom line here is that, if you want to THRIVE and live life to your highest health potential, D3 is the nutrient you need to consider as part of your daily routine.
 
How much sunlight are you getting everyday?  How much Vitamin D is in your diet naturally?  Take stock and remember to include this “sunshine vitamin” in your diet either through supplements or your food intake – or both!
 
What supplements do you take?
 
Let me know how you are doing. I would love to hear from you!
 

Snack Your Way To Health

Snacks.  Just looking at the word used to make me think of Doritos, Oreos, or my personal fav, DEVIL DOGS!!  But if we’re smart snackers, snacking can actually help us lose weight…  Really?

OK, for some of us, snacking can be the reason we gain weight – not all snacks are created equal.  That’s exactly why, though – if we choose the right snacks – they can be essential to maintaining high energy levels and helping to prevent overeating!

Say adios to that three-meals-a-day mantra – that’s just so…2015!  Lately I’ve seen a ton of research extolling the benefits of eating smaller and more frequent meals.  Here are some reasons why healthy snacking is the way to go:

Improves Satiety:  Studies show that people who snack between meals are less hungry and eat less at meal times.  Spacing out our calories makes sense actually.  It takes a few hours to digest a meal OR a snack. 

We’re not starving:  How many times have you been ravenous before a meal?  I know I have.  You meet a friend for dinner, haven’t eaten since lunch, and there you are – grabbing the first thing you see:  the breadbasket!  The worst!  We can avoid this by keeping a small snack on hand at all times.  10 almonds before dinner can subdue that starved feeling, helping us to make smarter food choices at mealtime. 

Shrinks our stomach capacity:  Sign me up.  Research has found that people who eat smaller and more frequent meals begin to feel more satisfied with less food over time.

Improves our mood:  Put down the Prozac and pick up a snack!  Snacks put us in a better mood and improve our mental sharpness. When my husband is hungry, look out:  he’s super cranky and irrational (sorry honey!).  But give him something to eat and his mood changes immediately.  There is a definite link between snacking and mood management.

So now that we agree snacking is actually good for us, let’s review the perfect snack.  Ideally it should include some fresh produce, fiber, and a little fat or protein.  A handful of carrots or celery won’t do the trick – we need a balance of these macronutrients to help energize us and tide us over until our next meal. 

Here are some of my favorite go to's:

-       Celery sticks w/ 2 teaspoons of almond or peanut butter (all natural of course!)

-       10 walnuts and 3 dried apricots

-       1 tablespoon of hummus with carrot sticks

-       Popcorn (made with coconut oil, not butter)

-       1 cup of blueberries with some turkey slices

-       1 cup of your favorite green juice w/ 10 raw cashews

-       Guacamole w/ 2 fiber rich crackers

Try to always have snacks on hand where you spend most of your time – in your office or your car, for example. If you know you’re going to be out all day, be prepared with pre-made snacks – otherwise a few nuts or a healthy snack bar can do the trick.  And if you don’t have snacks on you and you want to buy something, no worries – just be sure they’re whole-ingredient snacks like fruit, veggies seeds, and nuts.  Don’t be fooled by packaged snack foods – always read the labels!!

Adding these healthy snacks into our diets not only gets our bodies into “thinking thin,” but it also helps increase our intake of nutritionally dense foods. 

So don’t just sit there… snack on something!

What’s your favorite HEALTHY snack?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wanna Bone?

OK, get your mind out of the gutter – I'm talking about bone broth, silly! 

I don’t know about you, but everywhere I go, someone is talking about how fantastic bone broth is.  It's the uber- trendy beverage that is taking our country by storm!

We all know that bone broth is warming and nutritious (think grandma’s chicken soup!).  But I bet you didn't know that drinking bone broth could actually turn back the clock. 

It not only helps us shed those unwanted pounds, it can smooth out those wrinkles and sculpt our bodies – basically trimming years off our faces and figures!

So you’re asking yourself:  what makes bone broth that powerful?  Well, here’s your answer:  it’s PACKED with super duper anti-aging nutrients!

Here are just a few:

Collagen.  This protein helps build strong skin, protecting against aging and wrinkling.  It’s far superior to using the collagen in skin creams because consuming dietary collagen is far more impactful because it goes right to our cells once its digested.   In addition, the gelatin that comes from the collagen helps heal our digestive tract, which assists in the prevention of inflammation that leads to aging.

Minerals.  These fantastic anti-aging minerals include calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous, which help keep our bones healthy and help them grow and repair.

Glucosamine.  This nutrient, along with chondroitin and hyaluronic acid, help keep our joints young and flexible.

Glycine.  This nutrient helps get rid of all the toxins that we get attacked with on a daily basis that age us.  It assists in re-energizing and “de-aging” these cells.

Iodine.   Fish bone broth is rich in this nutrient.  Iodine protects against a sluggish thyroid, which is a major cause of weight gain and loss of energy as we age.

Bone broth is one of the oldest healing remedies in the book.  Our ancestors had it right, and now current science concurs with what these ancient healers have been saying for centuries.  So why don’t you give it a try?

A Basic Bone Broth Recipe

This recipe calls for beef bones, but you can also make bone broth using whole organic chicken, whole fish (including the head), fish bones, or pork. Each will render a different flavor.  Consider starting with chicken because it has the mildest flavor (beef tends to be more overpowering). If you're using chicken, simply place the entire chicken, raw, into the pot in place of the beef bones and proceed with the recipe

Note:  if cooking a whole chicken, the meat should start separating from the bone after about 2 hours. Simply remove the chicken from the pot and separate the meat from the bones. Then place the bones back in and continue to simmer. You can even use bones from a roasted chicken or turkey carcass to make bone broth, which is incredibly cost-effective since we know we would otherwise throw them away!

Ingredients

·       3-4 pounds beef marrow and knuckle bones

·       2 pounds meaty bones such as short ribs

·       ½ cup raw apple cider vinegar

·       4 quarts filtered water

·       3 celery stalks, halved

·       3 carrots, halved

·       3 onions, quartered

·       Handful of fresh parsley

·       Sea salt

Method

1.     Place bones in a pot or a crockpot, add apple cider vinegar and water, and let the mixture sit for 1 hour so the vinegar can leach the mineral out of the bones.

2.     Add more water if needed to cover the bones.

3.     Add the vegetables bring to a boil and skim the scum from the top and discard.

4.     Reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 24-72 hours (if you're not comfortable leaving the pot to simmer overnight, turn off the heat and let it sit overnight, then turn it back on and let simmer all day the next day)

5.     During the last 10 minutes of cooking, throw in a handful of fresh parsley for added flavor and minerals.

6.     Let the broth cool and strain it, making sure all marrow is knocked out of the bones and into the broth.

7.     Add sea salt to taste and drink the broth as is or store in fridge up to 5 to 7 days or freezer up to 6 months for use in soups or stews.

Bon Appétit!

 

 

 

 

The Power Of Protein

Have you ever wondered why sometimes you are hungry an hour after eating a meal and sometimes you aren’t?  Well I have, and you know what the difference is?….PROTEIN!  Science tells us that eating high quality protein will improve satiety, help manage weight loss, and even assist in preventing chronic diseases!
 
We have all heard conflicting opinions about protein.  Some diet trends encourage increased protein consumption while others believe that we don’t need a lot.  It’s not uncommon to hear a nutritionist say, “My way is the only way!”  However, nutrition is not so black and white.  We’re all different and we need to see what works best for our bodies and lifestyles.
 
That said, I do believe a certain amount of protein is key.   Protein is a powerhouse nutrient and needs to be part of our diet at some level.  In addition to controlling appetite, it helps keep our metabolism revved up, builds stronger bones, keeps our blood sugar in check, and helps build, maintain and repair muscles.
 
So…  Should we be concerned about how much protein we’re getting?  YES!  Too little protein can cause sugar and sweet cravings, fatigue, feeling weak, anemia, and change in hair color and texture of skin (ugh).  But too much protein can cause low energy, constipation, dehydration, weight gain, lethargy, halitosis, and give us that tight, stiff feeling in our joints (double ugh!).
 
So how much protein is enough?
 
Next to water, protein is the most abundant substance in our bodies.  It is a part of every cell, tissue, and organ.  The amount of protein we need depends of course on our activity level, body weight, gender, and health and fitness goals.  For example, the more active we are, the more protein we need.  And the older we are, the more protein we need.
 
I advocate for 20-30% of our total calories coming from protein.  The best way to get protein is from animal sources like eggs, poultry, fish and grass-fed beef.  Vegans and vegetarians may find meeting their protein quota a bit more challenging, but there are plenty of plant-based high protein foods such as quinoa, legumes, nuts, and seeds.  Hemp and chia are also excellent sources of protein.
 
To get the optimal amount of protein, a moderate amount at every meal should be consumed.  For the average adult, this translates to approximately 20-30 grams of protein at each meal.  You should also include a couple of smaller protein-packed snacks in between meals, such as nuts and seeds.
 
I know you’re asking yourself:  what the heck does 20-30 grams of protein look like?
Here are some examples of foods with approximately 30 grams of protein:
 

  • 4 oz. of grilled chicken, wild salmon or grass-fed beef (about the size of an iPhone J)
  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt with almonds and hemp seeds
  • ¾ block of tofu or 6 ounces of tempeh
  • 1 cup of kidney beans or lentils with ½ cup quinoa

 
Of course, if you‘re on the run and don't have time for a balanced meal, then a protein shake is a great alternative. Just be careful with all the stuff you’re adding in!    
 
If you’re looking for protein bars, stay away from those glorified candy bars masquerading as protein bars!  Make sure your bars have around 20 grams of protein and less then 10 grams of sugar.  As I always tell my clients, READ INGREDIENTS!!  And look out for items you can’t pronounce, fake sugars, and bars with multiple “natural sweeteners”. 
 
Whether it’s chicken or fish, quinoa or tempeh, I promise:  you will see the benefits!
 
What’s your favorite protein? 
 
Let me know how you are doing.  I would love to hear from you!

Rise And Dine!

This blog is for all my breakfast skippers out there:  do you want to maintain a healthy, happy weight your entire life?  Hmmm…..Yes please!  Then it’s easy:  begin – literally – by eating a healthy breakfast! 
 

We’ve all heard our mothers and grandmothers lecture us on how breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Well, my friends, I'm here to tell you that grandma was right, as always!
 
Thanks to several studies on the subject, below are just a few of the well-known benefits a healthy breakfast can give us:
 
Speeds up metabolism:  Starting our day with a healthy breakfast wakes up the metabolic process and who doesn’t want that? Our bodies burn calories while digesting food – this way, when we eat our oatmeal in the morning, we can burn calories through digestion and boost our metabolism. 
 
Aids in weight loss and maintenance:  One weight loss study found that the men and women in the control group lost 30-300 pounds and maintained this loss for over five years.  And guess what the common denominator was?  You got it:  78% of this group ate breakfast everyday.  Many of us think skipping breakfast is a great way to save on calorie consumption.  But by skipping breakfast, we aren’t boosting our metabolism – we become like a car that’s idling… and not going anywhere.  We need to fuel our bodies with food!   
 
No more overeating:  Eating breakfast keeps us satiated so that, when it’s lunchtime, we aren’t starving.  When we skip breakfast, we end up hungrier at lunch, which we all know can result in overeating.  We may think, since we skipped breakfast, we can have a larger lunch – but the problem is, the amount of calories we consume at lunch is more than we would have if we’d eaten that healthy breakfast!   
 
Grazing is good: Eating smaller, more frequent meals are better than having fewer, larger ones.  This way we keep burning energy while digesting our food!
 
Increased memory retention:  Eating breakfast is likely to improve cognitive function related to memory and test grades.  In other words, eating breakfast is a smart move! 
 
Healthier overall diet:  Many of you may be saying, “but I’m never hungry in the morning” or “all I need is coffee.”   Try having a morning snack, such as an apple with almond butter or some healthy trail mix. This will help kick-start your metabolism and you can then have a bigger “breakfast” later when you arehungrier.   When we eat breakfast regularly, we get more nutrients into our diet.  There are so many yummy healthy choices to include in breakfast that are loaded with vitamins and minerals, such as whole grains, fruit, and lean proteins!  
 
If you’re still not entirely convinced, just try drinking a smoothie in the morning.  Even this small change will make a difference and I promise you will see the benefits.

Don’t know what to eat for breakfast? Here are some of my faves:
 
Cereal breakfast

  • ½ cup of steel cut oats
  • ½ cup berries
  • 2 teaspoons almond butter

 Eggs breakfast

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 slice whole grain toast (I like Ezekiel toast) w/ avocado
  • ¼ cup berries

 Smoothie

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 2 teaspoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds

  

Finally this:  if you don’t have time in the morning, try waking up a bit earlier.  Eating breakfast is good for your health and worth setting that alarm!
 
What do you like to eat for breakfast? Please share your favorites, I’d love to hear from you!
 
Rise and Dine!