Top 5 Superfoods for Sex and Healing

Top 5 Superfoods for Sex and HealingSuperfoods are the most potent, nutrient-rich foods on the planet. They are great for improving overall health, boosting immunity, enhancing sexuality, lowering inflammation, alkalizing the body, and more.

1. Cacao (raw chocolate) [In Shakeology]

Cacao is the highest antioxidant food on the planet! It’s very nutrient dense, loaded with magnesium, iron, and anandamide (also known as the “bliss chemical”). It can be used in a powder form for smoothies, or the bean (cacao nib) can be sprinkled atop your favorite ingredients. Raw chocolate improves cardiovascular health, is a natural aphrodisiac, lifts mood, decreases depression and increases overall wellbeing.

2. Goji Berries (Wolfberries)

The Goji berry is the top Chinese medicine and has been used for over 5,000 years. (Why are we not eating Goji berries instead of processed raisins?!) Goji berries contain 18 amino acids, including all eight essential amino acids. They are also very nutrient dense with up to 21 trace minerals and high amounts of antioxidants. They are best purchased moist and certified organic.

3. Maca [In Shakeology]

Maca increases energy, endurance, strength and libido, and also helps with fatigue, infertility, symptoms of menopause, and sexual dysfunction. It is typically taken as a pill or a liquid extract or a powdered root.

4. Camu Camu Berry [In Shakeology]

The camu camu berry provides 50 times more Vitamin-C than an orange. It’s also one of the most nutrient-dense berries and is great for building immunity, rebuilding tissues, purifying the blood, and increasing energy. With Flu Season right around the corner, consuming Camu-Camu should be part of your daily ritual.

5. Medicinal Mushrooms (Reishi, Chaga, Shiitake, etc.)

These are typically tree mushrooms and are some of the best superfoods on the planet! In particular, the reishi mushroom has some amazing benefits: it can boost the immune system, decrease blood pressure, decrease cholesterol, decrease chronic fatigue and help with chronic lung conditions such as asthma. They are great for many people, and even good for babies.

Lower Blood Pressure – Avoid These 7 Foods

Lower Blood Pressure – Avoid These 7 FoodsOrangesWith high blood pressure it’s important you follow a diet low in sodium and low in fat (particularly saturated and trans fat).

Here are 7 foods to avoid:

1. Pickles

Pickles are low calorie, which is great. However, they are loaded with sodium. One medium pickle (~5 inches long) can have around 570 mg of sodium. That’s over 1/3 of your sodium limit (1500 mg) for the day.

2. Canned Chicken Noodle Soup

I know, the thought of chicken noodle soup sounds warm and comforting . . . but beware! A one cup serving can contain up to 880 mg.

3. Sauerkraut

It’s a low calorie and a great way to add vegetables to a bratwurst, right? Nope. A half cup may only have ~13 calories, but it also provides you over 460 mg of sodium.

4. Fast Food French Fries

Yes, many fast food chains are now frying their fries up in trans fat free oil (but not all!); French fries still provide a large dose of fat and sodium. A medium serving of fries provides ~19 grams of fat and 270 mg of sodium.

5. Bacon

I don’t really count this as a meat. It’s mostly fat with three slices carrying 4.5 grams of fat and ~270 mg of sodium. Opt for lower sodium varieties and try turkey bacon instead of pork. Even with these switches bacon should remain a “special treat” not an everyday indulgence.

6. Whole Milk

Dairy is a great source of calcium, but high fat dairy sources provide more fat than you need. A one cup serving of whole milk provides 8 grams of fat, 5 of which are saturated.

7. Frozen pot pies

A single pot pie equals a serving of ~1300-1400 mg of sodium PLUS ~35 g of fat. The fat includes trans fat which you want to eliminate from your diet completely and an unhealthy dose of saturated fat. Clear out your freezer.

7 Foods with Healing Powers

Healing Foods
Spending time on my grandparents’ farm taught me the connection between fresh food and good health at an early age. In addition, my grandmother’s pantry was our pharmacy and, over the years, many of the things I was taught by Grandma have been backed by “science.” Here are seven fresh and natural foods with the potential power to heal you physically and mentally.

The Magnificent 7
1. Blueberries
These nutrient-packed berries can help bruises disappear. They are a rich source of flavonoids and a good source of vitamin C, which together improve blood circulation (thus reducing swelling) and help form collagen, the tissue that holds skin together.

2. Lemons
Squeeze two whole lemons into your tea, seltzer, and other beverages or on salads and other food to get your daily requirement of vitamin C. This major antioxidant not only fights heart disease and boosts immunity but it also helps form the collagen we need to heal tendons, ligaments, bones, and blood vessels.

3. Garlic
Two garlic cloves a day may keep what Grandpa called “hardening of the arteries” away. We now call it arteriosclerosis, but the garlic works just the same. In a German study recently presented at an American Heart Association conference in Washington, D.C., it was stated that taking two cloves of garlic a day reduces the formation of arterial plaque by up to 40 percent. And 42 other clinical trials have shown that garlic can improve cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure.

4. Lettuce
If getting to sleep is a problem, a sedative you may not have known about is lettuce, which contains a sleep-inducing substance called lectucarium. Its effects have been compared to the sedative effects of opium, but without the accompanying excitement.

5. Chocolate
Dark chocolate is packed with healthy nutrients, including flavonoids, that are part of a group of antioxidants known as polyphenols that decreases LDL (bad) cholesterol oxidation, reduces the risk of blood clots, increases blood flow in arteries, and may lower high blood pressure. In addition, most of us can agree that chocolate improves mood and pleasure. It does that by boosting serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain. Plus, chocolate contains a number of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

6. Apples
Give in to temptation when it comes to one of the earth’s healthiest foods. They are a great source of fiber. They’re also a source of the phytochemical quercetin—a compound widely recognized for its ability to fight heart disease and cancer. “Apples are one of the best sources of flavonoids—as long as you leave on the peel,” Kristine Napier, RD, writes in Eat to Heal. “Their complement of phytochemicals helps them fight heart disease, stroke, cancer, infections, inflammation and colitis.” Because of the combination of fiber and fructose, apples help maintain blood sugar levels, which is key in fighting that afternoon blood sugar low. In fact, a successful dieting tip is to crunch into an apple for your afternoon snack—you’ll end up eating a lot less during dinner.

7. Avocados
This tropical fruit wasn’t grown in the United States until the 1830s. It is rich in potassium, beta-carotene, and “good” fat—the same monounsaturated fat that’s found in olive oil and has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Avocados are also a rich source of the essential fatty acid (EFA) omega-9 that helps promote hormone regulation, the transportation of fat through the body, and the breakup of cholesterol. Because avocados are higher in calories than other fruits—two-thirds of an avocado has about 150 calories—you might not want to eat the “alligator pear” at every meal, but you can increase the delicious quotient of your favorite sandwich by adding some slices or making it a fiesta by digging into some guacamole.

Feeling groggy? Blaming it on not enough sleep?!?

Sleep
You’ll be surprised at all the other possible reasons!

  • Dehydration – Now that we are experiencing such a CRAZY hot summer, BE SURE to stay hydrated. No, this does not mean drink soda, alcohol or sugary juices. Water, milk, and homemade smoothies will keep your body going and make you feel more energized!
  • Medication – If you are on meds for whatever reason (cold, fever, high blood pressure, can’t sleep and etc.), take the meds BEFORE bed. Some pills have chemicals in them that will make your body more susceptible to wanting to sleep, so taking them in the morning right before work is a big no no! There are also meds out there, over the counter and prescription, that thin the blood, so ask your doctor for more information before popping those happy pills!
  • Cellphones – Study shows that 20% or more teens get waken up in the middle of the night due to a call or text, disrupting the deep sleep REM cycle. Put your phones on silent people! If you’re expecting a call, then keep it on vibrate so that you don’t wake up the rest of the people in your house, but don’t let this be a daily routine! No one really wants to talk to you on the phone at four in the morning, not even your significant other.
  • Low iron levels in blood – When your blood is iron deficient, you feel fatigued. Iron is present in hemoglobin, the transport protein that delivers oxygen to your red blood cells. Putting two and two together, low iron=low oxygen levels. Try shooting hoops or playing football with half a lung. You’ll be gasping for breath. If you have low iron levels, do yourself a favor and eat some spinach, take some Flinstone vitamins, or go see your doctor and ask for other options.

7 Foods That Can Lower Blood Pressure

7 Foods That Can Lower Blood PressureOranges

Stock up on this citrus fruit the next time you hit the grocery store. Oranges are bursting with vitamin C, and some studies suggest that people who get lots of vitamin C in their diet may reduce their risk of developing high blood pressure.
Best bet: Drink the juice (it’s loaded with other compounds that may reduce blood pressure) or eat the whole fruit for some extra fiber along with the vitamin C.
Other sources of vitamin C: Guava, grapefruit, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, bell peppers, kiwi
Try this: Toss together a fresh citrus salad of peeled sliced oranges, shaved fennel, thinly sliced onion, olives and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, recommends Aglaia Kremezi, author of Mediterranean Hot and Spicy.

Cranberry Orange Fruit Bars

The cranberries in these scrumptious treats boost their vitamin C content up a notch: One bar boasts 25 percent of the Daily Value recommended for C.
Get the recipe here.

Low-fat or skim Milk

Getting enough of the white stuff isn’t just good for your bones. Milk and other dairy products contain a trio of nutrients that may push down your blood pressure: calcium, potassium and magnesium. These nutrients are so important that the DASH diet (short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) includes two to three daily servings of nonfat or low-fat dairy products.
Best bet: Stay away from artery-clogging saturated fats by choosing nonfat dairy products.
Other sources of calcium, potassium and magnesium: Hazelnuts, wheat bran, calcium-fortified orange juice
Try this: Whip up a healthy version of an old-fashioned milkshake by blending skim milk, frozen strawberries and nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt.

No-Bake Macaroni & Cheese

Don’t like to take your milk straight? You don’t have to! This grown-up version of the kiddie fave is studded with broccoli – and the cheese in the creamy sauce bumps of the dish’s calcium content to 40 percent of the Daily Value.
Get the recipe here.

Bananas

If your blood pressure has been inching up lately, make bananas your go-to fruit—they’re rich in potassium and fiber. “A diet with plentiful potassium-rich foods has been shown to help lower blood pressure,” says Joan Salge Blake, R.D., author of Nutrition & You: Core Concepts for Good Health.
Best bet: Bananas taste sweetest when their skins are slightly speckled with brown but they’re still firm.
Other good sources of potassium: Potatoes, tomato paste, apricots, lentils
Try this: “For a guilt-free dessert or breakfast, top banana slices with plain low-fat yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon,” Kremezi suggests.

Banana Pudding Pops

These frozen treats taste way more decadent than they are: One popsicle has just 1 gram of fat and only 82 calories.
Get the recipe here.

Sweet Potatoes

This super-sweet Thanksgiving staple packs a powerful potassium punch, which is why it deserves a spot at the dinner table year round. “Potassium causes the kidneys to excrete excess sodium from the body, and keeping sodium levels low can help drive down blood pressure,” Salge Blake says.
Best bet: Eat them with the skin for a tasty fiber boost.
Other sources of potassium: Beet greens, white beans, plain nonfat yogurt
Try this: Bump up the potassium content of potato salad. Boil sweet potatoes, then combine them with chopped apple, diced celery and sliced scallions. Toss with a dressing of olive oil, cider vinegar and honey.

Black Bean Smothered Sweet Potatoes

In less than 15 minutes, you can have this potassium-packed treat on the table: While the sweet potato is cooking in the microwave, just toss the black beans with tomatoes and Southwestern spices.
Get the recipe here.

Herbs and spices

Salt may be off-limits when you’re trying to lower your blood pressure, but you can spice up your dishes with fresh herbs. Even easier, raid your spice rack. “It’s no doubt stocked with wonderful dried herbs and spices that are naturally sodium free,” says Salge Blake.
Best bet: If you like fresh herbs but don’t have time to chop them, try herbs in a tube, like the ones from Gourmet Garden.
Other sources for flavor: Onions, garlic, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice
Try this: Make an exotic spice mix by combining Aleppo or Maras pepper (available at Middle Eastern markets or Kalustyans.com) with ground cumin, lemon zest, Greek oregano and chopped cilantro, Kremezi suggests.

Herb & Onion Frittata

The best thing about this single-serving egg dish is its versatility: Any combo of your favorite herbs will work – you can make it different every time.
Get the recipe here.

Salmon

Few foods have more heart-healthy benefits than this nutritional superstar. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which studies suggest not only lower blood pressure, but may also boost good cholesterol, cut triglycerides and slow the growth of arterial plaque.
Best bet: Turn it into a supper staple. Salmon and other omega-3-rich fish are so good for your heart that the American Heart Association recommends eating two 3.5-ounce servings per week. No time to cook? Canned or pouched salmon is just as good: Instead of tuna, mix it with nonfat yogurt and diced celery to make a tasty sandwich spread, or toss it with greens and other veggies for a main-dish salad. It’s available with or without bones and skin.
Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids: Herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies
Try this: Give grilled or broiled salmon steaks or filets a tropical flair with a fresh and spicy salsa. Combine diced papaya, mango, pineapple, red bell pepper and red onion with chopped cilantro, olive oil and lime juice.

Black Bean & Salmon Tostados

A cut above fish tacos, these tasty tostados are made with canned salmon; leave in the bones (so soft you won’t notice them) for a shot of calcium to go along with the ample omega-3s and 12 grams of fiber.
Get the recipe here.

Dark Chocolate

The next time you crave chocolate, give in. Besides their mood-boosting effects, the flavonols in dark chocolate may protect against high blood pressure and stroke, in part by improving the elasticity of blood vessels.
Best bet: When choosing chocolate, go as dark as your taste buds can stand. Check labels for the percentage of cacao, which is the source of all that antioxidant goodness. Dark chocolate typically ranges from 45 percent to 80 percent cacao. And eat a square, not the whole bar.
Another healthy chocolate treat: Sugar-free hot cocoa—in one study it lowered blood pressure, but the sugared kind did not.
Try this: “Toast slices of chewy whole-wheat bread, then brush them with fruity extra virgin olive oil while they’re still warm. Sprinkle the slices with Aleppo or Maras pepper to taste, and top with shavings of good quality dark chocolate,” says Kremezi.

Chocolate Crunch

The bittersweet chocolate in this sweet-and-salty snack is a good source of flavonol-rich cacao and it has less sugar than semisweet chocolate, bumping its health benefits up a notch. Most important, it’s addictive!
Get the recipe here.

Fat, Not Glucose, is the Preferred Fuel for Your Body

Dietary FatWhile we may consider ourselves to be at the pinnacle of human development, our modern food manufacturing processes have utterly failed at improving health and increasing longevity.

During the Paleolithic period, many thousands of years ago, our ancestors ate primarily vegetables, fruit, nuts, roots and meat—and a wide variety of it. This diet was high in fats and protein, and low in grain- and sugar-derived carbohydrates.

The average person’s diet today, on the other hand, is the complete opposite, and the average person’s health is a testament of what happens when you adhere to a faulty diet. Humans today suffer more chronic and debilitating diseases than ever before.

And there can be little doubt that our food choices play a major role in this development. Quite simply, you were not designed to eat large amounts of refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, cereal, bread, potatoes and pasteurized milk products.

As Mark Sisson states in the featured article1:

“If you want to live a better life and eat the best foods nature provided for health and fitness, then it’s time to ditch the old paradigms and climb on to the primal approach to eating better.”

Is Glucose Really Your Body’s Preferred Fuel?

The notion that glucose is the preferred fuel for your body is a pervasive one. Everyone from diabetics to top athletes are advised to make sure they eat “enough” carbs to keep their systems from crashing. This is unfortunate, as this misguided advice is at the very heart of many of our current health failures.

As Mark so succinctly spells out in his article, FAT is actually the preferred fuel of human metabolism, and this can be traced back to our evolutionary roots.

Historically speaking, carbohydrate intake has always been quite low. Likewise, the diseases we now know are associated with insulin resistance—which is primarily caused by excess consumption of refined carbs—have been quite rare.

The evidence is both clear and overwhelming: Carbohydrate intake is the primary factor that determines your body’s fat ratio, and processed grains and sugars (particularly fructose) are the primary culprits behind our skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates.

“It follows logically that if you can limit carb intake to a range of which is absolutely necessary (and even up to 50 grams a day over) and make the difference up with tasty fats and protein, you can literally reprogram your genes back to the evolutionary-based factory setting you had at birth – the setting that offered you the opportunity to start life as a truly efficient fat-burning organism and to continue to do so for the rest of your life as long as you send the right signals to your genes,” Mark writes.

Why the Low-Carb/High-Fat Diet Works for Weight Loss

Switching from a carb-based diet to a fat- and protein-based diet will help rebalance your body’s chemistry, and a natural side effect of this is weight loss, and/or improved weight management once you’re at an ideal weight. One explanation for this is that you don’t really get fat from eating too much and exercising too little. Nor do you get fat from eating fat. One researcher that has clearly established this is Dr. Richard Johnson, whose latest book, The Fat Switch, dispels many of the most pervasive myths relating to diet and obesity.

Dr. Johnson discovered the method that animals use to gain fat prior to times of food scarcity, which turned out to be a powerful adaptive benefit. His research showed that fructose activates a key enzyme, fructokinase, which in turn activates another enzyme that causes cells to accumulate fat. When this enzyme is blocked, fat cannot be stored in the cell. Interestingly, this is the exact same “switch” animals use to fatten up in the fall and to burn fat during the winter. Fructose is the dietary ingredient that turns on this “switch,” causing cells to accumulate fat, both in animals and in humans.

In essence, overeating and excess weight could be viewed as a symptom of an improper diet. It’s not necessarily the result of eating too many calories, per se, but rather getting your calories from the wrong sources. In simple terms, when you consume too many sugars and carbs, you set off a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that makes you hungry and craving for sweets:

  1. First, fructose is metabolized differently from glucose, with the majority being turned directly into fat because fructose stimulates a powerful “fat switch.”
  2. This rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity (“beer belly”), decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure—i.e., classic metabolic syndrome.
  3. Dietary carbohydrates, especially fructose, are also the primary source of a substance called glycerol-3-phosphate (g-3-p), which causes fat to become fixed in fat tissue.
  4. At the same time, high carb intake raises your insulin levels, which prevents fat from being released.
  5. Fructose further tricks your body into gaining weight by turning off your body’s appetite-control system. Fructose does not suppress ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) and doesn’t stimulate leptin (the “satiety hormone”), which together result in feeling hungry all the time, even though you’ve eaten. As a result, you overeat and develop insulin resistance, which is not only an underlying factor of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and a long list of other chronic diseases.

The resulting equation is simple: fructose and dietary carbohydrates (grains, which break down into sugar) lead to excess body fat, obesity and related health issues. Furthermore, no amount of exercise can compensate for this damage because if you eat excessive fructose and grains—the primary ingredients NOT found in our ancestral diet—it will activate programming to cause your body to become, and remain, fat.

How Much Glucose or Carbs Do You Really Need?

The debate about whether or not you really need glucose, and if so, how much, is by no means settled. Earlier this year, I ran a series of articles featuring the back-and-forth discussion between two well-researched experts on this topic, Dr. Jaminet and Dr. Rosedale.

Dr. Jaminet is a proponent of so-called “safe starches,” and is of the conviction that depleting your glycogen store can stress other systems to provide the glucose your body requires to perform. Dr. Rosedale, on the other hand, points out that because glucose consumption will undoubtedly spike blood glucose levels and increase insulin and leptin, promoting resistance, glucose consumption is always associated with some incremental degree of damage and/or increased risk of mortality. His diet is subsequently extremely carb-restrictive.

Yet another diet similar to Drs. Jaminet and Rosedale’s is the GAPS diet, created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, which is specifically designed to help “heal and seal” your gut. As such, it primarily consists of easily digestible, lightly cooked foods that are high in protein, fats, and fermented foods, and low in fiber and carbs.

Mark Sisson also adds valuable insight to this discussion2:

“At any one time, the total amount of glucose dissolved in the bloodstream of a healthy non-diabetic is equivalent to only a teaspoon (maybe 5 grams). Much more than that is toxic; much less than that and you pass out. That’s not much range for a so-called “preferred” fuel, is it?

Several studies have shown that under normal low MET conditions (at rest or low-to mid- levels of activity such as walking and easy work) the body only needs about 5 grams of glucose an hour. And that’s for people who aren’t yet fat-adapted or keto-adapted. The brain is the major consumer of glucose, needing maybe 120 grams a day in people who aren’t yet on a low carb eating program.

Low carb eating reduces the brain’s glucose requirements considerably, and those who are very low carb (VLC) and keto-adapted may only require about 30 grams of glucose per day to fuel the brain… Twenty of those grams can come from glycerol (a byproduct of fat metabolism) and the balance from gluconeogenesis in the liver (which can actually make up to a whopping 150 grams a day if you haven’t metabolically damaged it with NAFLD through fructose overdosing).

Bottom line, unless you are a physical laborer or are training (exercising) hard on a daily basis, once you become fat-adapted, you probably don’t ever need to consume more than 150 grams of dietary carbs – and you can probably thrive on far less. Many Pbers [Mark’s diet, Primal Blueprint] do very well (including working out) on 30-70 grams a day.” [Emphasis mine]

Key Point: Replace Carbs with Healthful Fats

As I see it, this is really a non-issue for most people as few people anywhere near Dr. Jaminet’s recommendation of cutting carbs from the standard 50 percent down to 20-30 percent of total calories. However, if you’ve already begun to seriously address your carb intake then you may want to experiment with various amounts of “safe carbs” like rice and potatoes. As Mark describes, the actual amount of carbs could vary anywhere from 30 to 150 grams a day, depending on whether your body has adapted to burning ketones and your level of exercise.

Keep in mind that when we’re talking about harmful carbs, we’re only referring to grains and sugars, NOT vegetable carbs.

When you cut grain/sugar carbs you actually need to radically increase the amount of vegetables you eat since, by volume, the grains you need to trade out are denser than vegetables. You also need to dramatically increase healthful fats such as avocados, coconut oil, egg yolks, raw grass fed organic butter, olives and nuts.

You would not want to use highly processed and genetically engineered omega-6 oils like corn, canola and soy as they will upset your omega 6/3 ratio. Of course you want to avoid all trans fats, but contrary to popular advice, saturated fats are a key component of a healthy diet that will promote weight loss.

A reasonable goal will be to have as much as 50-70 percent of your diet as healthy fat, which will radically reduce your carbohydrate intake. It can be helpful to remember that fat is far more satiating than carbs, so if you have cut down on carbs and feel ravenous, this is a sign that you have not replaced them with sufficient amounts of healthy fat. Sources of healthy fats that you’ll want to add to your diet include:

  • Olives and Olive oil (for cold dishes)
  • Coconuts, and coconut oil (for all types of cooking and baking)
  • Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
  • Raw Nuts, such as, almonds or pecans
  • Organic pastured egg yolks
  • Avocados
  • Pasture finished meats
  • Palm oil
  • Unheated organic nut oils

Most people will likely notice massive improvement in their health by following this approach as they are presently consuming FAR more grain and bean carbohydrates in their diet, and any reduction will be a step in the right direction. To help you get started on the right track, review my Nutritional Plan, which guides you through these dietary changes one step at a time.

Recent Research Confirms Benefits of Low-Carb/High-Fat Diet

Conventional advice has focused on low-fat diets for weight loss and heart disease prevention, but again and again, studies demonstrate that this advice is diametrically opposed to reality… In one such study, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Heart and Vascular Institute compared the effects of two diets on vascular health; one low in fat, the other low in carbs. The study in question was presented at this year’s meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Denver, on June 33.

The study included a total of 46 men and women weighing on average 218 pounds. The six-month long weight loss program consisted of moderate aerobic exercise and strength training, and one of two diets, either:

 

  • Low-carb, high-fat: Less than 30 percent of calories from carbs (pastas, breads and sugary fruits), and up to 40 percent from fats (meat, dairy products, and nuts)
  • Low-fat, high-carb diet: Less than 30 percent of calories from fat, and 55 percent from carbs

The low-carb group on average shed 10 pounds in 45 days, while the low-fat group took 70 days to lose the same amount of weight. In terms of vascular health, the low-carb, high-fat dieters showed no harmful vascular changes, which is the primary reason for why so many are afraid of high-fat diets.

According to the lead investigator, professor of medicine and director of clinical and research exercise physiology, Kerry Stewart, Ed.D:

“Our study should help allay the concerns that many people who need to lose weight have about choosing a low-carb diet instead of a low-fat one, and provide re-assurance that both types of diet are effective at weight loss and that a low-carb approach does not seem to pose any immediate risk to vascular health. More people should be considering a low-carb diet as a good option.”

Stewart also believes that the emphasis on low-fat diets has likely contributed to the obesity epidemic in the US by promoting overconsumption of sugars and grains. I couldn’t agree more. The simple reason for this is that grains and sugars raise your insulin levels, which causes insulin resistance and, ultimately, weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.

Listen to Your Body

The evidence is quite clear that chronically raising your blood glucose through consumption of grains and sugars will increase your insulin resistance, which in turn will increase insulin and leptin resistance. And avoiding insulin and leptin resistance is perhaps the single most important factors if you seek optimal health and longevity.

That said, the degree to which you choose to reduce carbs however is, ultimately, up to you. And certain individual biochemical differences can make one diet more beneficial for you than others. The key point is to be aware that consuming sugar, grains and starches will promote insulin resistance to some degree or other, depending on the amount you consume.

As always, remember to listen to your body as it will give you feedback if what you are doing is right for your unique biochemistry and genetics. So listen to that feedback and adjust your program accordingly.

Shakeology

Shakeology FREE ShippingI am seriously in love with Shakeology.  Because it’s something that I believe in so much, I’ve decided to write my very first post about it!

For the past fourteen months I’ve been using Shakeology.  I’m a hard gainer, so I drink my Shakeology with my breakfast every single day. It’s interesting how I came about using this product, after leaving Corporate America for Academia and then back to Corporate America I was just burnt out!  My 5-6 days a week in the gym simply to manage stress lead me on a path to becoming a personal trainer which led me to Beachbody via a tweet.

I received a sample of Greenberry and Chocolate from my friend Bob and I figured I’d try the Greenberry first, thinking I probably wouldn’t like it.  So I’ll just get that one out of the way.  I immediately loved Greenberry.  Often times I am asked to describe the flavor, and my answer is always the same.  “It’s just one of those flavors you are either going to LOVE or HATE.  There really is no in between.”  I immediately decided to buy Shakeology on Home Direct so that I received it each month, saved on the S&H, plus the 25% discount was a nice bonus.

By this time I was already running an independent personal training business and was tired of handing over my commissions to GNC.  Plus I needed balance for myself, workout solutions for my traveling business professionals and homework for my Personal Training Clients.  So it was time to take a deeper look into our Fitness Programs.

I started talking about it to friends, family, people that I coach/train, and many people decided to get involved, and that’s when the amazing Shakeology reviews began rolling in. Now, a bunch of my friends and family use Shakeology on daily basis, and have seen amazing results from it. I have clients who have lost up to 45 pounds in 3 months, others who have brought their cholesterol and blood pressure back into safe ranges, and the list goes on and on! Shakeology works! I credit Shakeology as one of the main factors that has helped me not only get my 6-pack abs (sometimes 8-pack), but also keep it for almost 2 years now!

One of the best videos about Beachbody Shakeology that Beachbody has created is the “100 Doctors Don’t Lie” video. Here, 100 doctors explain why Shakeology is such a unique product and why it should be used on a daily basis.

How does one justify the cost? Before I started using Shakeology, I was going out for lunch every day, spending anywhere from $8-$15 at places like McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Jimmy John’s, but then 2-3 hours later I would be starving again.  When I started using Shakeology as a meal replacement shake for lunch, I started saving money because it only costs me about $3 per serving. Plus, who knew what I was putting into my body from the food at the restaurants, but now I know that I’m eating something 100% healthy. Even if you don’t eat out for lunch every day, you can’t look at it as an extra cost on top of what you’re already spending at the grocery store, but rather replacing what you would spend to for lunch supplies every day.  It makes a quick and healthy breakfast or even a late-night snack. There are dozens of ways to prepare it so you never get bored. It just makes sense!

If you’re interested in Shakeology and want to try it first before you spend the money on it, then I have Shakeology samples to send out. However, I will ONLY send you a Shakeology sample on 2 conditions: (1) I’m your coach, and (2) You’re 100% serious about purchasing if you enjoy the taste. It costs me about $6 to send out 1 sample, so it’s important that you’re serious about it. If I’m not your coach, you can make me you coach by clicking here.

Shakeology truly is an amazing product, and one that I’m completely passionate about because I’ve seen it impact not only my life, but the people I care about most, my friends and family. If you’re looking to purchase Shakeology, click here. If you have any questions about it, feel free to email me, Hank Rouse, at HankFit247@LBHank.com

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Hydration for Athletes

Water
Possibly the most under-emphasized aspect of sports nutrition, hydration can make or break an athlete’s performance. While fuel depletion during exercise can impair performance, inadequate water not only impairs exercise capacity, but can create life threatening disturbances in fluid balances and core temperature. With as little as 1% of body weight lost in fluid, athletes can experience thirst, fatigue, and weakness. (1) Thirst drives a person to drink, but it can actually lag behind the body’s need. When too much water is lost from the body and not replaced, dehydration develops. Dehydration refers to an imbalance in fluid dynamics when fluid intake does not replenish water lost. On the flip side, water intoxication occurs with excessive water intake or kidney disorders that can reduce urine output. In healthy individuals, dehydration is more common than water intoxication, but appropriate water balance is crucial to optimal performance and ultimately survival.

  • Water and Body Fluids

Water constitutes about 60 percent of an adults weight and it is the medium in which all life processes occur, including:* Carrying nutrients and waste products through the body* Maintaining the structure of large molecules* Acting as a solvent for minerals (i.e., sodium and potassium) and other small molecules* Acting as a lubricant and cushion* Maintaining blood volume* Helping the body regulate temperature.  Every cell in the body contains fluid specific for that cell called intracellular fluid, and around it is extracellular fluid. These fluids continually lose and replace their components, but the composition of each compartment remains remarkably constant. Because an imbalance can be devastating, the body continually adjusts water intake and excretion as needed. This type of balance is referred to as homeostasis. The body must excrete a minimum of about 500ml (about 2 cups) of water each day as urine to eliminate waste products that the body makes through metabolism. Above this amount, the body adjusts by excreting excesses to balance intake. In addition to water lost in the urine, the body also loses water from the lungs as vapor and the skin as sweat. The amount of fluid lost depends on the environment (heat and humidity), and physical conditions such as activity. On average, the body loses about 2.5 liter/day. Fluid maintains blood volume, which influences blood pressure. The homeostatic balance of fluids and solutes in the body is carefully regulated by the kidneys with assistance from several hormones including antidiuretic hormone (ADH) and aldosterone. The primary solutes that are involved in maintaining fluid balance are sodium, potassium, proteins, and glucose. Adequate intakes of water and electrolytes maintain hydration levels and regulate fluid shifts between the intra- and extra-cellular compartments. To maintain water balance, intake from liquids, foods, and metabolism must equal losses from the kidneys, skin, lungs, and GI tract.

  • The Needs of the Athlete

One of the primary functions of water for all individuals, especially athletes, is thermoregulation. A person can tolerate a drop in body temperature of 10 degrees (c), but an increase of only 5 degrees (c). Heat generated by active muscles can raise core temperature to levels that would incapacitate a person if caused by heat stress alone. (2)The body uses three mechanisms to dissipate heat:* circulation* evaporation* hormonal adjustment. The circulatory system works to deliver warm blood to the body’s shell. This produces the typical flushed face. Sweating begins within several seconds of the start of vigorous exercise and this evaporative cooling controls heat dissipation during exercise. Lastly, because sweat contains water and electrolytes, the body makes hormonal adjustments to help prevent the loss of salts and fluid. When the fluid lost in thermoregulation results in dehydration and a drop in blood volume, the end result produces circulatory failure and core temperature levels can increase to lethal levels.

  • Water Replacement

Total water intake at the reference level of 3.7 liters for adult men and 2.7 liters for adult women per day covers the expected needs of healthy, sedentary people in temperate climates. The obvious dietary sources of water are water itself and other beverages, but most foods contain some water as well. Most fruits and vegetables are almost 90% water, and many other foods like meats and cheese are approximately 50% water. The body also makes water during metabolism, when energy-yielding nutrients break down and their carbons, hydrogens, and oxygens combine to make carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O).According to the Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements, published by the Institute of Medicine (3), most people get adequate fluids by drinking when they’re thirsty. However, the report does add that prolonged physical activity and heat exposure will increase water losses and therefore may raise daily fluid needs. Very active individuals, who are continually exposed to hot weather, often have daily total water needs of six liters or more. Both heat acclimatization as well as nutrition intervention is indicated for this population. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, general guidelines for fluid replacement are as follows: (5) Consume a nutritionally-balanced diet and drink adequate fluids during the 24-hr period before an event. Drink about 500 ml (about 17 ounces) of fluid about 2 hours before exercise to promote adequate hydration and allow time for excretion of excess ingested water.* During exercise, athletes should start drinking early and at regular intervals in an attempt to consume fluids at a rate sufficient to replace all the water lost through sweating or consume the maximal amount that can be tolerated.* It is recommended that ingested fluids be cooler than ambient temperature [between 15 degrees and 22 degrees C (59 degrees and 72 degrees F])] to enhance palatability and promote fluid replacement.* Addition of proper amounts of carbohydrates and/or electrolytes to a fluid replacement solution is recommended for exercise events of duration greater than 1 h since it does not significantly impair water delivery to the body and may enhance performance. Water loss by sweating peaks at about 3L per hour during intense exercise in heat. However, just about any degree of dehydration can impair performance. Adequate fluid replacement sustains the body’s potential for evaporative cooling. Rehydration protocols are often based on water lost as measured either by urine color, urine specific gravity, or changes in body weight.(4) If collecting urine is not feasible, sweat loss as reflected by weight loss can be used. An athlete’s pre and post workout (or event) weights are taken and whole body sweat rate can be calculated by dividing the sweat loss by the time period of collection. The following equation can be used to determine volume of fluid lost: (5) Sweat loss = (body weight before – body weight after) + amount of fluid intake – toilet loss. Alternatively, taking a simple measure of body weight each morning after emptying the bladder can show a pattern of hydration over time, provided gains or losses of fat and muscle tissue are not also taking place. Fluid balance, electrolyte homeostasis, cardiovascular function, and thermoregulatory control are intimately linked to fluid consumption and each has a major impact on health and performance. Fluid replacement helps maintain hydration and, therefore, promotes the health, safety, and optimal physical performance of individuals participating in regular physical activity. Athletes and their coaches should be aware of fluid replacement needs, and develop strategies and protocols to insure athletes drink enough to keep pace with sweat loss.