Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Good Fats Vs Bad Fats: Just the Facts on Fats

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

There’s plenty of talk about fats. It’s actually the a huge popular topic when discussing fitness and healthy nutrition. Sadly, most people feel that simply eliminating fat from their diet will help them lose weight.  There are good fats vs bad fats and the key is to learn about them both.

This could turn out to be a huge mistake, though. If you completely cut fat from your diet, there are serious health repercussions. There are fats that are important for digesting certain vitamins, some that help to keep our skin soft and smooth, and others that are absolutely required for normal biological functions.good fat bad fat

But, with everyone blaming the obesity epidemic on fats, it can be easy to get mixed up. In this guide, we’ll set the record straight with some simple facts on fat.

Overview of contents:

  • Bad fats, and why we should avoid them
  • Good fats, and why you need them
  • A simple solution to getting the right fats while avoiding the bad fats

Bad Fats – Why You Must Avoid Them

Saturated fats are your worst enemy when you’re trying to improve your appearance. They clog your arteries, go straight to your thighs (uh oh!), and have even been related to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Yuck.

But they taste so great, well kinda! You’ll find them lurking in just about every delicious snack or meal that you eat, but they’re particularly plentiful in fried foods, baked goods (cakes, cookies, pies, pastries), and red meat.

They’re also calorie-dense. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories. Carbohydrates, by comparison, have only 4 calories per gram. Carbohydrates have been demonized in the last few decades, but they’re nowhere near as calorie-dense as saturated fats.

It will be impossible to cut them from your diet completely, though. They’ve also been shown as an essential part of a balance diet in studies performed by Harvard. Pay attention to the amount of saturated fats in your diet to make sure that they don’t make it more difficult for you to get into the best shape of your life.

Trans fats are the absolute worst enemy of anyone hoping to build an awesome body. They’re also known as hydrogenated fats, and they’re found in plenty of processed foods. You might love eating special edition holiday Oreos but they’ve got way too many trans fats to be eaten regularly.

Thankfully, food-label laws have made it easier than ever for us to identify the foods that are high in trans-fats. Look out for them and make sure to avoid them all together, if possible.

Good Fats – Why Do You Need Them?

You might feel like a department of homeland security employee who just heard that there are “good terrorists.” You can’t possibly imagine a world in which fats could do anything good for your body. But, as outlined above, they’re essential for biological functions.

Unsaturated fats also provide several additional health benefits. Monounsaturated fats can help to lower your bad cholesterol levels (LDLs) while improving your good cholesterol levels (HDLs). Polyunsaturated fats are also known to help with this process, but provide additional health benefits.good fat

For instance, they provide an abundance of Omega-3 fatty acids (when consumed through sources like fish, oils, nuts, or seeds). These are essential fatty acids that are important to proper neurological functions, metabolic processes, and the production of certain oils in our body.

You can’t produce omega-3 fatty acids, so you’ll have to consume them from an external source. Polyunsaturated fats deliver.

Make it Simple – Get Rid of the Bad and Keep the Good

One of the best ways to make sure that you maintain a good balance of good fats and bad fats is by using my favorite meal replacement shake  Shakeology for a number of reasons.

First, the shakes are designed to compliment your fitness efforts through Team Beachbody programs like Insanity, P90X2, Les Mills Combat and other workouts like Slim in 6. They deliver the essential nutrition that you need to recover from these workouts, but they don’t have any of the junk that you might be consuming with your own cooking.  With over 70 super food ingredients in one super tasty shake you really can’t go wrong.  I have one everyday for breakfast and love them!  They also help with weight loss, digestion, lowering cholesterol, energy gain and much more. Yum!

shakeologyThese shakes don’t provide a “full-time solution.” You’ll find it incredibly tough to survive on nothing but Shakeology shakes. Instead, you can use them to replace one or two meals per day (follow the instructions closely, and consult with a physician if you have existing health conditions). By doing this, you’ll eliminate the likelihood that you consume too many calories, but you’ll also increase your chances of avoiding the bad fats.

They also taste great. They come in a number of flavors and they’re easy to make. You can even get a set of 24 packets that are great for when you’re on the go.  If you want a free sample of Shakeology just let me know.  Click here!

Have you had any experiences with Shakeology, or eliminating bad fats from your diet in any other way? Share your experiences in the comments below to help everyone else on their fitness journey!  We welcome you to join our Challenge Groups or just ask us for free advice or coaching.  Email us or just go here for information about free fitness coaching.

Abs Are Made in the Kitchen – You Earn a Six Pack from Eating Well

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

One of the benefits of getting into great shape is having a body that looks great. Most people consider a six pack to be the most important part of a sexy physique. But, if you’re working out and not experiencing results, it may be that you’re just not eating properly.mens six pack abs

Working out can help to keep us looking great. It’s an essential component for anyone looking to sculpt their body. But all by itself, working out won’t do more than improve your health. While we all want to feel our best, spending hours in the gym working out or doing our wonderful Beachbody workouts without visible results can really eliminate your motivation.

Learning how to eat to increase your chances of showing your abs is essential. In this post, I’m going to cover:

  1. Three eating habits that are keeping your abs from showing through
  2. What you should eat instead, so that your melt that belly fat
  3. A great program that can help jump start your journey towards having killer abs

Three Eating Habits that Hide Your Abs

It’s simple to understand how you develop abs. You lose fat and gain muscle. But if you’re working out on a regular basis, you might wonder why your abs aren’t haven’t shown up yet. It probably has to do with the eating habits that are left over from before you changed your lifestyle to focus on fitness.

The first is eating late-night snacks. There are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t eat before you going to bed – you’ll get better rest, wake up earlier, and have more energy. The biggest challenge with eating before bed, though, is that you’re filling your body with calories just before it goes into a low-metabolic state.

This means everything that you eat before you go to bed is more likely to end up stored as fat. Don’t eat anything three hours before you go to bed. It’s as simple as that.

The second bad habit you probably have is eating “three square meals” a day. You need to divide your caloric intake between six meals. Ideally, each meal should be two hours apart. It can be tough to eat like this, but it has great benefits when it comes to boosting your metabolism.  Check that P90X Nutrition Plan or your Insanity Nutrition and you will notice that you won’t be eating “three squares” a day.

If you’re having trouble figuring out how to squeeze these extra meals into your day, check out the article that I recently released that shows five simple snacks that will help with your fitness efforts.

The third bad eating habit that most people have is simply eating the wrong things. I’m not going to tell you to cut out carbohydrates or deserts. That would be totally insane! But, you do need to focus on making each meal well balanced.

There are plenty of great resources that can help you do this. Myplate.gov is one of the most popular. The Team Beachbody club member’s only area also has a customized meal planner, though, that’s far more advanced. Get in touch with me to learn more about how you can gain access to this part of the Team Beachbody website.  Learn more about Club membership here.

Bonus Tip – avoid red meat! It’s best that you find your protein through sources like chicken and fish. They’re lean proteins, and they’re less likely to collect in your digestive tract. One of the reasons so many people seem to have large bellies is because of the red meat that’s collected in their gut. Limit your consumption of red meat to no more than once every ten days to see amazing results.

What You Should Eat to Melt the Belly Fat

There’s no miracle food that burns more calories than it puts in your body. Sure, broccoli, brussel sprouts and other forms of roughage (like lettuces and cabbage) can help to jump start your metabolism and digestive process, but they’re just not going to help you burn calories.female six pack

Instead, you should focus on eliminating the processed foods that probably make up the majority of your diet. Build your entire diet around organic alternatives to the foods you’re used to eating, and you’ll see that you experience results in no time at all.

Jump Start the Process and See Those Abs Fast

Everyone wants a shortcut. I’m here to tell you that there’s really no way to get to six-pack abs without a little bit of hard work and dedication. You can, however, jumpstart the process.

Consider signing up for the Shakeology Home Direct meal replacement system. You can replace one of your six daily meals with a shake, which makes everything much easier.  If you want to learn more about Shakeology just go here.

The Team Beachbody Ultimate Reset program can help you boost your energy, lose weight, and lower your cholesterol. It’s a perfectly formulated body detox that can also help to clean out all of the junk that’s built up in your digestive system in as little as 21 days.

Give it a try and don’t be surprised if you find that your belly fat disappears in about a month. Get in touch with me here if you have any questions about Shakeology or the Ultimate Reset.

Leave your comments to let everyone know what experience you’ve had with eliminating belly fat and getting those abs to show up!

Remember for free fitness coaching please feel free to contact us!  We LOVE to help.

5 Quick and Easy Snacks That Are Healthy

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

If you’re hoping to get in great shape, then you’ll need to focus on eating healthy, too. It can be tough, though, as our lives are rather hectic. Finding the time to prepare many of the healthiest snacks can prove to be all but impossible. Use these five quick and easy snacks to keep your metabolism running at high speed.

Contents at a glance:

  • Shakeology Home Direct
  • Super Scrambled Eggs
  • Breakfast on the Run
  • Granola and Yogurt
  • P90X Protein Bars

Shakeoloy Home Direct – Quick and Easy Snacks without Any Work

If you’re looking to cut back on calories without sacrificing nutrition, then Team Beachbody’s Shakeology Home Direct program might be your best bet. Not only do you get a meal replacement shake that’s packed full of the stuff your body needs to stay healthy and more, but you’ll also have them sent to your home on a monthly basis. Shakeology is absolutely amazing. It has been my go to meal for breakfast for two years now. Totally addicting!

shakeologyYou can choose to purchase 24 single serving packets, which is best if you find yourself frequently on the go. You can also choose the thirty day supply to keep in your kitchen. They’ve been designed to accompany your weight loss efforts with Team Beachbody work out programs, like P90X, Insanity, and TurboFire, and many more. If you want a free sample just click here.

They’re a great way to jump start your weight loss efforts, but they’ll also help keep you nourished when you’re on the go.

Super Scrambled Eggs

Combine three eggs, 1/3 cup grass-fed organic milk, ¾ tablespoon of salt, 1/8th table spoon of pepper, and ½ tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.

Beat the eggs, milk, and seasonings together. Fry for six to eight minutes. Stir often.

This you can double the ingredients to provide a healthy, protein-rich breakfast for two.

Breakfast on the Run

Combine two whole frozen bananas, a cup of milk, a half cup of plain yogurt, a quarter cup of wheat germ, one raw egg, and two tablespoons of vanilla extract in a blender. Puree until well blended.

Consider adding nutmeg for additional flavor. Avoid adding sugar to sweeten the shake. You can also experiment with using less milk and more yogurt, as well as additional fruits. Blueberries, raspberries, and black berries are my favorite.

It’s a healthy snack that will provide plenty of nutrition for your busy day. Don’t let the name fool you, though, as it’s a great snack even in the afternoon or in the evening.

Granola and Greek Yogurt

Granola and greek yogurt is one of the fallbacks that most fitness buffs turn to when they need a quick snack. Be careful and make sure that you use a low-fat, plain greek yogurt. Granola is a healthy and nutritious snack, but it packs a lot of calories.granola and yogurt

Keep the calories in check by limiting your snack to a half cup of granola and one cup of yogurt. Mix and match different flavors of granola to find which you like best. Just be sure to check the nutrition details to make sure you aren’t consuming more calories than you realize.

P90X Peak Performance Protein Bars

P90X Peak Performance Protein Bars may very well be the best quick, healthy snack on this list. They provide 20 grams of protein to help your muscles develop properly. This is important even if you’re not hoping to become “buff” or “ripped.”

Having healthy, strong muscles helps to boost your metabolism, even when you’re at rest. All of the Team Beachbody workouts – from Body Gospel to Turbo Fire – have some component to help you develop strength throughout your entire body.

P90X Peak Performance Protein Bars help to provide the nutrition that your body needs to recover from these workouts. They come in four different flavors (chocolate fudge, Café Mocha, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Wildberry Yogurt), so you’re sure to find something that you like. You can try all of them with the variety pack to find the one you like the best.p90x protein bars

The protein also helps to keep you satiated. Controlling your cravings is important when you’re making a lifestyle change that focuses on fitness. Your old eating habits have trained your body to eat certain amounts of food at certain times of the day.

If you’re working on reducing your daily caloric intake, these bars will help to keep you full so that you don’t turn to your old eating habits when you find yourself with a craving. They’re relatively affordable, too. A twelve pack starts at $23.95, and if you only eat one bar per day they’ll last for nearly two weeks.

They’re a staple in my fitness plan, because it’s always great to have a quick snack handy that can provide essential nutrition before and after workouts. They also fill in as a great quick snack in the middle of a busy day at the office. I love the two chocolate flavors, I have one daily at work as a snack, they are absolutely delicious!

Have you tried any of these snacks? Let me know what you think by commenting below and contact us if you are interested in our free coaching program, we’d love to hear from you.

Win Money with a Valentine’s Shakeology Challenge

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Get ready to lose weight, win money, get fit and be healthy for February with a 30 Day Shakeology Challenge!  It can’t better than this right?  If you want details about this amazing Shakeology Challenge just pop me an email at jobrandes@overactivelife.com and I will get you the scoop.

shakeologychallengeflier

What’s New with the P90X2 Nutrition Guide?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Denis Faye, the Wellness Expert and Fitness Advisor for Beachbody, wrote a wonderful article recently about what is new in the P90X2 Nutrition Guide.  As we prepare for the upcoming arrival of  P90X2 we should also prepare our stomachs for the new improvements in the nutrition guide.  The changes are good and we should all be very happy that Beachbody has made these wonderful improvements.  Read Denis’ article below and get prepared for this new workout and nutrition plan that will be here in the next couple months!

veggies

By Denis Faye

Everyone wants to know how we went about breaking down the P90X® Nutrition Guide and rebuilding it into the P90X2 Nutrition Guide. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

In a way, that’s true. Just as Steve Austin was a great astronaut before Oscar Goldman and the OSO spent $6 million to turn him into the Bionic Man, the P90X guide is still a great resource. However, you, our customers, have changed. We’ve spent the last 9 years watching you evolve into better, stronger, faster fitness fanatics. Our job was the make sure the guide evolved with you. Our job was to make a bionic nutrition plan.

When P90X first came out, Beachbody® had a fairly uniform customer base. Today, however, our customers come from all walks of life, so we need to address a much broader spectrum of needs. For example, a 105-pound mother of five just isn’t going to have the same nutritional requirements as a professional basketballer. (Everyone knows the mom’s life would be much more physically challenging.

Furthermore, our original customers, after one or more rounds of P90X, with possibly a little INSANITY®thrown in for good measure, have become incredibly aware of their nutritional needs. They’ve learned exactly how much protein, carbs, and fat they need to perform. They’ve also started experimenting with various nutritional philosophies. Although I’m neither a vegan nor a primal eater, the sheer volume of questions about each on the Team Beachbody® Message Boards has forced me to become an expert on both.

So we took these factors, combined them with the latest research, and voilà! Welcome to the P90X2 Fuel Your Performance Nutrition Guide, a collection of 27 different subplans, among which you’ll hopefully find a way of eating that works for you.

 

Out with the old

In order to offer all this variety, we decided to do away with the menu plan. The vast majority of P90X users preferred the portion plan anyway, so we focused on that. However, everyone loves a good recipe, so we reached out to some of our favorite chefs, including Tony’s personal chef Melissa Costello, and asked them to design a host of meals for every occasion. In this new guide, you’ll find scores of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, soups, salads, and Shakeology® recipes. Because we also have grain-free and vegan plans in P90X2, we made sure to have plenty of recipes to suit both of these dietary approaches as well. As was the case with P90X, each recipe lists the portion boxes to check when you eat it.

And don’t worry, all your favorite recipes from the P90X Nutrition Guide will still work with P90X2.

We also tossed out a lot of the junkier food options featured in the P90X portion lists. At that point, many of you were still transitioning to healthy eating. At this stage, you should have no need for veggie dogs, V8®, or that fast food portion conversion list in the back of the old guide.

 

In with the new

For every low-quality choice we eliminated from the portion lists, we added two healthy and delicious choices. You’ll find new fats, snacks, proteins, and more.

The three calorie “levels”—1,800, 2,400, and 3,000—are still there, as are the different macronutrient balances. However, given that the latest research is making the importance of dietary fat increasingly obvious, we upped the fat in all three “phases.” We’ve also redubbed them “plans,” because while we encouraged you to work your way up the three phases with P90X, by now you should have a pretty good idea what works best for you when it comes to performance, shedding fat, or both. In P90X2, you can just pick the one that works for you and run with it, changing plans whenever you feel like it.

That said, if you’re still not sure if you should be eating the “Fat Shredder 2.0” approach, the “Energy Booster 2.0” approach, or the “Endurance Maximizer 2.0” approach, we’ve included a section to help you figure that out.

As mentioned above, we’ve also added vegan and grain-free options that work for all three calorie “levels” and all three macronutrient “plans.” If you’re familiar with these lifestyles, you can jump right in. Otherwise, the book includes plenty of information on how to implement them. Also, we acknowledge that some of you cowboys (and cowgirls) don’t like to be restrained by portion lists. You just want to know how many calories or grams of carbs, protein, and fat to eat so that you can use your own foods and measurements. For y’all, we’ve provided charts listing all the numbers you need if you decide to forego the portion plan and just hit the macronutrient numbers on your own. Yee-hah!

Finally, we’ve let our top-notch design team rework the guide. They’ve taken a potentially dizzying amount of information and placed it in charts and graphs that should make it easy to digest. A nutrition plan never looked so beautiful.

In the 9 years since we launched P90X, we’ve watched umpteen diet fads come and go, each one claiming to be the final word in sports nutrition. It’s absurd, really, considering there’s no one single plan that works for everyone. The P90X2 Fuel Your Performance Nutrition Guide doesn’t claim to do that. Instead, it’s a wide-ranging guide intended to offer you all the tools needed to work with the only nutrition expert in the world who can truly tell you the right way to eat. That nutrition expert? You.

Becoming the Real You…a Lifestyle Change

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

I have had a lot of people come to me wanting to change the way they eat, workout, and go about their daily life.  They want to make a complete lifestyle change.  These people used to be like me.  The Jo-Anne Brandes I used to know was overweight by about 100 pounds, was lazy, didn’t workout, ate a lot of fast food and loved drinking soda.  The Jo-Anne Brandes I know now is the true me.  I do not eat fast food anymore, I cut out red meat completely, I do not drink soda, I lost over 100 pounds, and I enjoy exercise in all forms.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I will still have a dessert once in a while because I sure do love chocolate and there are days that I just don’t feel like exercising but I make up for it because I have made a lifestyle change.

I have talked to many people who log everything they eat on myfitnesspal.com or livestrong.com and that is great.  I have done it, trust me!  How are you going to learn how to figure out what to eat if you do not track your calories?  The P90X and INSANITY Nutrition Guide are there to guide you for that reason.  Every workout program from Beachbody comes with a detailed plan so you can learn how to eat right.  Yes, in the beginning you will be weighing your portions, tracking your calories, and it will be a bear.  I understand, I have been there.  You will wonder to yourself how on earth you can do this for every meal for the rest of your life.  Relax, you won’t have to.  Just like anything new to you it takes practice.  After you do it for a while you will learn it.  Eventually you will understand what is a normal portion size and how many carbs and proteins you need in each meal and you won’t need to track it.  Remember, you learned how to eat poorly over a long period of time so learning the right way will take a bit of time.  It is ok.

The same goes with your workouts.   For example, say you are starting with TurboFire, you are going to be a bit lost watching Chalene jumping around the screen.  I was very lost, I am so uncoordinated.  After you do the workouts for a few days (or weeks in my case) then you will adjust and you will have it down pat.  You will get the hang of it and you will know exactly what you are doing.  You will probably even start inviting friends over and laugh at them being as lost as you were.  It just takes time.

The bottom line is to not be discouraged.  Do not give up so quickly.  There are a lot of folks in your position and they are all struggling.  I am available and will be happy to work with you.  All the people on my team will be happy to encourage and motivate you.  We offer free fitness coaching and have a great support group on Facebook also that we would love you to join.  Just send me an email, friend me on Facebook, or contact me here.  It is no bother at all, I would really love helping you and my teammates would to.

Simple Carbs vs. Complex Carbs

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Carbs are just carbs right? Wrong. Different carbohydrates have different effects on your body and could either give you that energy you need or just plain slow you down. So which is which?

Carbohydrates in general provide a majority of the “fuel” your body needs to keep going and doing so efficiently. What is important is the kind of carbohydrates you choose to put in your body and knowing the effect those carbohydrates will have.

    • Simple carbohydrates, like soft drinks, candy bars and donuts give you that brief “fix” of energy and then you’re tired again and looking for that boost of energy, so you grab something else that consists mostly of sugar and unhealthy fat to relive that ‘fix”. It’s unhealthy and unproductive in your quest to becoming a healthier, more energetic person. The other down side of simple carbohydrates is that for the most part they have no nutritional value, can cause quick highs and lows in your blood sugar levels and make visits to the dentist frequent due to your intake of sugar.
    • Complex carbohydrates consist of beans, grains and some vegetables that have nutrients in them such as B-vitamins, iron and fiber. Complex carbohydrates are more beneficial due to their staying power in the body and work as an on-going energy source releasing those nutrients throughout the day. Not only are complex carbohydrates beneficial for supplying “healthy” energy to your body, these carbohydrates can help regulate your blood sugar levels, help lower blood cholesterol and they don’t give you that “fix” and energy drop like simple carbohydrates do.

whole grain breads and pasta picture

So, in a nut shell, the best carbohydrates for you to have, which would be considered complex carbs, are the following:

  • Oatmeal (combining it with honey, yogurt and raisins not only gives plain oatmeal extra flavor, but also gives you added energy.
  • Bananas (having one/day limits and/or prevents stiffness that could come from having a sedentary job).
  • Beans (jelly beans don’t count in this food group)
  • Many veggies are perfect complex carbs!  They are high in water, low in fat, have lots of great vitamins and minerals. Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, potatoes, yams, corn, carrots, onions, all types of lettuce, celery, cucumbers, cabbage, artichokes and asparagus.  Yum yum!
  • Whole grains, which are high in fiber and they contain antioxidants similar to fruit and vegetables. Look for whole grain breads, pastas and rice.
  • Dried fruits like apricots, raisins and figs, which are low-fat and high-energy snacks. **Commercially packaged dried fruits contain sulfur dioxide-increases your risk of asthma, so be aware of the way you purchase the fruit.

Choose wisely and not just what looks and sounds good for that moment. Your body will thank you for it later and appreciate your decisions time after time.

Why Am I So Bloated?

Monday, July 4th, 2011

“WHY AM I SO BLOATED???”

Here are some things to consider as to why you might be feeling bloated, even though you have been exercising, which does help decrease being bloated.

  • You are not drinking enough water. Water will not make you bloated. It might make you feel full, but it is not the cause of you being bloated. (8 glasses a day). **Stay away from carbonated drinks which will cause bloating.**
  • Eat more fiber. Such as blueberries, strawberries, dried apricots and dried plums, but do it in moderation. If you eat to0 much fiber too quickly, then you will feel more bloated that you originally were. 5 grams of fiber is suggested. Vitafusion Fiber Gummies are really good and you can purchase a decent amount (220 gummies) at Costco for $17.00. They are sugar free.
  • Moderate eating of beans and vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli will minimize bloating and gas.
  • This one might sound strange, but chew with your mouth closed. One huge cause of bloating is swallowing too much air when you eat. Think about how often you chew gum and workout. That is a lot of mouth movement at one time.
  • If you like milk, yogurt or other dairy products, start with a small amount and slowly increase it over time to minimize bloating.
  • Eat more protein. Too little protein in your diet can cause you to be bloated.
  • Salt, salt and more salt. Bad, bad, bad. Even a small amount of excess sodium will cause you to be bloated. Dang Chinese Food.

I hope these suggestions help. If you have decided to drastically change your diet since you have started working out, you might want to evaluate what your putting in your mouth and how much. This sudden change to “get fit” could be that cause of you feeling bloated.

 

Healthy Summer Foods

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

As summer begins we all want to look good so we can go to the beach and pool in a little less than a parka and snow pants, but to do that we need to realize that exercise only does not cut it. You need to continue to eat well, and I don’t mean fat free ice cream. Let’s discuss some ideas for healthy summer foods that are still tasty but will help you stay in shape throughout the summer.

The first goal is to keep the foods light and refreshing. No one wants to eat a heavy meal in 100 degree weather. Nor do you want to cook that heavy meal and heat up your kitchen with the weather being hot outside. The beauty of the summer is that is when the farmer’s markets come to town, the fruit is abundant and the veggies are at their peak. Not only do they taste great, well, most of them, but they are low in calories, they have lots of vitamins, minerals, fibers and other great stuff that is good for you. Of course, the best part is that fruits and veggies are very refreshing when the temperatures peak.

Besides tasting good, being super refreshing in the summer, fresh fruits and veggies are what I call “free”. Do not worry about overeating these items, but do make sure you are getting fresh fruit and fresh veggies, not the canned stuff that soaks in syrup. You can happily eat these without worrying about how much you are eating. Free!

Just think how tasty a piece of watermelon on a hot summers day sounds or a cold salad with some grilled chicken instead of a heavy peace of steak. Next time you think about eating on a hot day, try some fruit and vegetables instead of something heavy.

Climb Michi’s Ladder

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Michi’s Ladder is not a diet. It’s a simple substitution plan. To lose weight, try swapping the foods you eat for similar foods in tiers 1 and 2. The more you eat in tiers 1 and 2, the more you’ll increase your chances of losing weight.

There are some healthy foods in lower tiers, but they’re either calorie dense or nutrient deficient. To lose weight, you want to maximize the nutrients in every calorie you consume.

Note on frying: Foods should be eaten raw, steamed, grilled, poached, baked, or broiled. Frying automatically drops even the best foods into tier 5.

Click here to download a PDF of Michi’s Ladder.

Flatulence

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

People don’t only want to look good and feel good, but also smell good as well. That is why tonights blog I choose to discuss flatulence. We all have it, we all do it, no matter how loud or silent we are…it’s a natural way of life. A way to express oneself to put it mildly.


What makes flatulence? Well, it is what we eat for one thing and I am here to help you recognize those foods that are healthy for you, but might make you excuse yourself from the table for a second or “toot”. Apricots, carrots, lemons, bananas, oranges and lets not forget prunes to name a few fruits to be aware of. They have an excellent amount of fiber in them, some more than others, but be aware.


Some healthy carbohydrates that influence flatulence are: beans, peas, soy, sprouts (Brussels), celery, cucumbers, cabbage and cauliflower. (One reason why my momma told me to eat my vegetable and I chose not to.) If you chose to eat pan fried or deep fried foods, your result will be the same as eating any of the healthy items mentioned above, but stick with the healthy and go for tuna instead. Yes, tuna is also a contributing factor to flatulence.


Fruits and vegetables are good for you in more ways than one, but eating smaller amounts should result in less bloating and discomfort. Which brings me to ways to protect yourself from getting bloated. Eat the healthy stuff in moderation, especially if you are starting a “I am gonna get myself into healthy eating diet.” Your body needs to adjust to this sudden change in processing food so shoving in the healthy stuff will not allow your intestines to work properly at breaking down the food. Slow down.


I hope this helped a bit. Stay away from carbonated drinks as well to help prevent this. Drink plenty of water because it is the most healthy and natural resource we have at our disposal.


Michelle

A little about nutrition

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Look, the way I ended up losing all of the weight was by portion size, eating better (not having those hamburgers and sodas) and of course exercise. There a lot of fad diets out there that push cutting carbs or drinking Slim Fast all day long. That may work temporarily, but unfortunately it is not a healthy or happy lifestyle to live by.

You will lose weight in the short term, but what do you do after that? I want to give you a few short ideas on how to feel better about yourself and live a healthier and happier lifestyle. You actually need to eat food throughout the day (what a concept). Eat a few small meals every few hours. Small healthy meals that would consist of fruit, dairy, minimal carbs, protein, vegetables.

For example, start your day with yogurt and egg whites. (Michelle likes to add a mucho amount of Tabasco to egg whites, which will stimulate your metabolism.) A few hours later, you could have a snack of almonds and string cheese or a banana and some peanut butter-almond butter is very tasty. Remember to always have carbs with proteins. Having as many vegetable as you want is not only good for you, but would not cost your waistline anything (except dousing it with cheese, ranch dressing, butter will add to that waist of yours).

At dinner time try and bake your chicken in lieu of frying your red meat or chicken. White meat is healthier than red meat and in fact I cut out all red meat, which contributed to me losing weight. When cooking rice, use brown instead of white and use whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta.

Smaller portion sizes is key as well to losing weight and getting the healthiest I have been. These little changes will result in HUGE changes down the road you will feel better and look better.