High Fat Diets

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The Truth About Fat-Heavy Diets

The Truth About Fat-Heavy Diets

PHOTOGRAPH BY STOCKFOOD/CLINTON HUSSEY

Headlines scream about fat-loading for endurance, butter-drenched “bulletproof coffee,” and how bacon is good for you, but here are four truths that you really need to know.

This article appeared in the June edition of; The Training Edge, a publication by N.A.S.M. This is neither for or against a fat heavy diet, but raises a rational awareness.

1. It’s easy to overdo it.
“A gram of fat has nine calories, while carbohydrates and protein have four calories per gram,” notes registered dietitian Courtney M. Sullivan, founder of Nutrition for Body and Mind (cwnutritionforbodyandmind.com) in Beverly Hills, Calif. “Healthy fats are important for a balanced diet, but moderation is key.”

2. Good fats can aid post-workout recovery.
In a University of Florida study, people who took a supplement that included an omega-3—found in fatty fish like salmon—had less inflammation after exercising. “Get some every day,” advises Sullivan.

3. Animal fats can raise the risk of heart disease.
In a recent case study from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a 39-year-old man who worked out regularly saw his LDLs (“bad” cholesterol) rise 55 points after he began eating more meat and cheese on the Paleo diet and then added a daily cup of bulletproof coffee (coffee laced with a tablespoon of butter and a medium-chain triglyceride oil). Bottom line: Butter, bacon, and fatty red meat are high in saturated fat, which can increase your risk of heart disease.

4. “Fat loading” for ultra-endurance isn’t ready for prime time.
The theory that high-fat eating lets you “tap into your body fat” for energy, saving carb stores for later or slowing their use during exercise, has had mixed results in human studies.

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Breakfast Shake and Calorie Count

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IMG_20150413_073148_949       I didn’t feel like cooking breakfast this morning and thought I would throw together a shake. A good mix of carbohydrate, fat and protein to get me through till lunch or mid-morning snack.

This past weekend, I hit a high speed of 31 MPH on my bike, twice, on flat ground and was rather proud of myself. Shakes are a good fuel before and after riding or exercise, since they rehydrate and refuel the body.

I made my shake in the Ninja blender since I use oatmeal, to break it down a little.

Into the blender; 2 Cups unsweetened almond milk, 1 medium banana, 1/2 Cup instant oats, 1 scoop protein powder, (Now Sports Pea Protein), 2 Tbsp. PB2, (powdered peanut butter).

IMG_20150413_071958_828      This was not overly sweet, and you could add a sweetener of your choice. I would have chosen Stevia to keep from adding to the carbs.

This came out to be a ratio of 50% carb, 30% protein, and 20% fat. A total of 495 calories, with 11g fat, 64g carb, and 37g of protein. The other vitals were 785mg sodium, 802mg potassium, 11g fiber, 17g sugar, 22% RDA Vit A, 17% Vit C, 93% Calcium, and 54% Iron.

Meal replacement shakes can be a great addition to your diet, provided they give you a healthy mix of macro-nutrients and you still have a sensible meal.

If you have a favorite flavor or mix that you use for a breakfast shake, please feel free to share it with me. Have fantastic week!

In fitness, Bob

Seaweeds and Eggs

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IMG_20150210_093412_110   Seaweed is actually a sea vegetable. It has been used for thousands of years for it’s ability to prevent disease, prolong life, and for overall health and beauty. In biology and myth, it is the sea that all things begin and return to. We begin life in the womb in a saline solution.

Seaweeds are classed by color. Their particular color depends on the depth at which they grow, the tide, temperature, light exposure and region. They contain up to twenty times more mineral content than land plants, and are a source of vitamins and fiber. Each seaweed has it’s own nutrient profile as well.

Seaweeds are used for lowering cholesterol, reducing fat in the blood, and in weight-loss programs. Other uses include the reduction of inflammation, as a diuretic, and the treatment of cancer and fibroid tumors.

I received Paul Pitchford’s book; Healing with Whole Foods, as a gift from my wife this past Christmas. It is a vast resource of information such as presented here, along with uses and recipes as an addition to whole body health.

Due to the high salt content of seaweed, you may need to rinse or soak, before using it. I have been using the roasted, shredded Nori as an addition to soups and eggs, and enjoy the flavor as a hot tea. Mixed with a little garlic, ginger and cayenne, it is helpful in treating congestion, (Head cold). Nori has the highest protein content and is the most easily digested of the seaweeds.

IMG_20150210_074319_434  I am not sure how the thought popped into my ever wandering mind, but I added some Nori and garlic to scrambled eggs. The flavor was what I would describe as a seafood omelette. Not that it tasted fishy, but the sea salt, roasted flavor was good. An exotic twist to a spinach omelette if you will. Additions to this could easily be any variety of mushroom, chilies, onion, whatever you choose.

IMG_20150210_075230   For one serving, I used 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, 1/4 t minced garlic, and whisked it together along with approximately 1 1/2 Tablespoon crushed, shredded Nori. The Nori is easily crushed in the palm of your hand, as it is already dried. I only did this step so I did not have longer strands.

I poured the mixture into a skillet with olive oil, and cooked as I normally do my eggs.

IMG_20150209_073234    This was served with fresh tomato and was very good! As I mentioned, you could add many different ingredients and top with a sprinkling of cheese. Try adding some seaweed to an Asian style salad, stir-fry, soup, casserole or recipe of your choice.

In fitness, Bob

Are Artificial Sweeteners Bad?

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I always thought I was doing myself a favor when I would use an artificial sweetener or sugar substitute in my tea, cereal, or anything else I would sprinkle it in, or on. Now all of a sudden I hear advertising claims for the use of sugar.  What gives?

Artificial sweeteners can raise insulin levels, which in turn will send a message to the brain to store fat, which leads to weight gain. It may be psychological as well. When we are told that something has no calories or less calories, we automatically believe that there is room for more. Maybe by cutting calories in your diet soda intake, you justify the burger, fries, chips, second portion of mashed potatoes or whatever you have.

Did you know that as little as one diet soda a day can increase your risk of diabetes or metabolic syndrome? Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that includes increased cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, larger waistlines and elevated glucose. This raises your risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease. Other negative affects can be headaches, tooth enamel loss and an increased risk of depression. Lower bone mineral density in female soda drinkers, raises the chance of osteoporosis as well.

Nutritional Value? Forget it. Not with an artificial sweetener. Do yourself a favor and drink water. So you like the bubbles? Get sparkling water, or put a straw in the glass and blow bubbles. Just kidding about the straw, I wanted to see if you were still reading. But I enjoyed it as a kid. My dad wasn’t so thrilled with me though.

If you are weaning yourself off of regular soda, a diet alternative soda may be for you, but only if it is short term. Our brains are wired to receive the signal that it had sugar, Not an artificial sweetener.

Our brain responds to sweets by telling us to have more. When we take in a sweet flavor without calorie content, the craving is not satisfied and we drink or eat more sweets to try to make up that difference, thus taking in more calories. Remember that the excess is stored as fat. Sugar actually sends a signal to the brain that it has received it’s reward, Sucralose, (my sweetener of choice),will not do that. So the viscous cycle continues. I will throw a word of caution about the excessive use of refined sugars. Moderation!

I am not a licensed medical professional, registered dietitian, nor do I claim to have all the answers. I am trying to raise your awareness of the possible dangers or hurdles you could face with a weight loss program. If you question this, please research for yourself. Knowledge and the application of it will take you extremely far. 

In fitness, Bob

Pineapple Coconut Smoothie

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IMG_20141121_083252_991                                    I wanted to start my day off with a flavorful  and nutritious breakfast, as we all should. I had made my wife a bowl of Coco Wheats, with an addition of coconut flakes and a small amount of coconut oil. It was a very well rounded blend of macro nutrients. Oh yeah, and it tastes just like a Mounds bar. (She loves this and requested it!)

For my pineapple coconut smoothie I used a farm fresh, raw egg. Disclaimer: I am aware of the dangers and risks of salmonella and am not advising that anyone takes my choice to do so, as a prescription to do the same.  That being said, I also added;                              

     8 oz plain Greek yogurt                                                                  1 c fresh pineapple                                                                          2 Tbsp coconut flakes                                                                    1 Tbsp honey

All ingredients were put into the blender and swam together happily for about 30 seconds. This made approximately 20 oz of deliciousness.

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According to MyFitnessPal, which is an app that I use to monitor my calorie intake, this smoothie came out to be 394 calories; with 54 g carbs, 32 g protein, and 10 g fat. This is a good blend! I typically stay on the high side of the recommended protein intake, due to my exercise and martial arts routine. You could easily add 1/4 of a banana to this and increase the carbohydrate ratio. A sprinkling of cinnamon in your smoothie wouldn’t hurt to keep insulin spikes down as well.

In fitness, Bob

Weight Loss Plateaus

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Have you ever started a diet or weight loss plan, only to hit a plateau or hump that you just couldn’t get over? Were the goals that you set for yourself reachable in the time frame you allotted? Did you find yourself cheating occasionally or skipping workout days.

Some of you may know that in order to lose weight you must expend, or use, more calories than you take in. You will need to workout a little more to get rid of the extra weight that you have put on as well.

When beginning an exercise routine, most people experience their best results, however the body adapts to the exercise routine and is no longer challenged the way it was before. If all you monitor is the scale, you may not even see the results. This is due to the fact that you are burning fat and losing mass. You may even see an increase in your weight because you are building muscle. This new muscle growth will help you achieve the results you want.

You must hold yourself accountable with every bite you take. If you consider how much movement is required to burn the food energy you ingest, you may achieve greater results. This is not to say that you should starve yourself either. In a starvation mode, your body will adjust by storing the food it takes in as fat, so that it does not burn it as fuel. You will actually begin to lose muscle mass.

Try to keep an honest journal of what you consume and how you were feeling at the time you ate it. Were you angry, happy, with other people or alone? Condiments and drinks will add to your intake of “invisible” calories quickly. I love eggs, but at 70 calories each or 17 for the white only, sometimes I sacrifice a yolk or two. This helps my cholesterol as well.

Change up your workout routine. As I said, the body will become accustomed to the exercise, and your nutrition needs will change. Do you fidget? Maybe you should. Movement uses energy. Sing to yourself and tap your foot, or get up for a quick walk to a friends cubicle, the restroom even if you don’t need to use it, just start moving more. And if you increase your water intake, (hint hint), you will have the need to get up and move.

Don’t fall for for rapid weight loss pills, gimmicks, machines, or diets of whoever is famous at the time. If you do not make this a lifestyle change, then you won’t have a life changing event. Consider hiring a Certified Personal Trainer that will help guide you through your journey. Stay motivated, accept that you may have setbacks, and overcome them.                                                                          In fitness, Bob

Breakfast Matters

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IMG_20140710_083331_603 (1)                                    Do you ever skip breakfast or grab something from a fast food place, only to be left unsatisfied or feeling ready for a nap within a few hours? You have heard it before and probably more than you wanted to. Breakfast matters! The fact is that your body needs fuel to recover from the nights rest you had and to prepare you to start your day. A good plan is to have some form of breakfast within a minimum of two hours after waking and preferably within the first thirty minutes.

You don’t want your body to start going into a starvation mode and eating muscle. When you start skipping meals, your brain tells your body to store food as fat as part of a self preservation strategy. Breakfast need not be elaborate, a certain percentage of your daily intake, (depending on your activity level or timing for a workout), or standard breakfast menu fare. Leftovers are fine as long as you have a healthy blend of macro nutrients. Just a hard boiled egg, banana or handful of trail mix first thing will give you an edge before you finish your breakfast.

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I recently discovered refrigerator oatmeal, or summer porridge as it is called. I stumbled upon it through theyummylife.com and am glad I did. The fact that oatmeal helps keep cholesterol levels in check and keeps you feeling fuller longer due to a high satiety level are bonuses.

Using a one pint canning jar with a plastic screw on lid or similar container makes this portable as well. These can be packed to work for breakfast, midday snack or a lunch alternative. The variations are limited only to your taste.

The use of steel cut oatmeal instead of rolled oats is a texture preference for me.  I add chia seed to these recipes since discovering that they are an excellent source of fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seed. Another healthy addition is PB2. This is powdered peanut butter without all the extra fats and sugar. I also sprinkle in ground cinnamon to help regulate blood sugar. (Grapefruit and sweet potato are good breakfast choices for low sugar spikes as well)

The first recipe I tried uses 3/4 c almond milk, 1/4 c steel cut oats (quick cook), 2 Tbs chia seed, 2 Tbs PB2, 1/2 banana (quartered), 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1 Tbs agave (or sweetener of your choice). Simply pour the milk into your jar, add the banana, oats, seeds, sweetener and shake. Put the lid on and refrigerate overnight. You can stir the fruit in after refrigeration if you prefer or even add more.

The other variation I have tried uses Qi’a seed, (chia, buckwheat, hemp), oatmeal, walnuts, pure maple syrup, almond milk and cinnamon. This one came out moister than I liked, but I think it was due to the lesser amount of chia seed. Chia expands to 16x it’s size. Next time I will cut the almond milk back 1/4 c.

For this recipe I mixed 3/4 c almond milk, 1/4 c steel cut oats, 2 Tbs chopped walnuts, 2 Tbs Qi’a seed mix, 2 Tbs pure maple syrup, and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon in the pint jar, shook and set in the fridge overnight. The flavor of this one was outstanding as a cold cereal. I like banana, however this one edged it out.

Try adding in some yogurt, fresh or dried fruit, nuts, sunflower seeds or a couple tablespoons of your favorite protein powder to switch it up. The key point is to start your day off fueled up. Pair this up with just five minutes of exercise and see what a difference it makes in your day. You will think clearer and feel less stressed.

In fitness, Bob