Tag Archives: Healthy Weight

What Are You Hungry For: 7 Tips to Get (and Stay) Healthy

oc-nutrition-weight-loss-food-fact-3-1By Dr. Sue G. Decotiis

Running a specialist center for medical weight loss, each day I see patients who have struggled for a long time with failed attempts at losing weight. And without a doubt, hunger has been their biggest obstacle.

Although calorie restriction is necessary for weight loss, extreme and constant hunger shouldn’t be a side effect. Experiencing this type of hunger means that the body is not functioning optimally, and that you are not eating the nutrient-dense foods needed to get through the day.

Often, other issues like fluctuating blood sugar or hormonal imbalances like poor thyroid function, alongside nutritional deficiencies, are preventing your body from running properly. This can lead to a range of symptoms, including extreme hunger.

If you have struggled with hunger and want to make a new intention to lose weight and improve your health, here are some simple steps to get you on the right track.

1) Ask some key questions

Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself “How do I feel?” Consider how you feel today, this week and longer term. Then ask yourself, “Do I like what I see?”

If the answers to these questions are negative, it’s probably time to consider how you can improve the way you look and feel.

2) Assess the facts         

If you want to deal with your hunger and lose weight, it’s important to equip yourself with some essential basic data. First, find out what your body fat percentage is, and where the fat is located – hips and thighs? Abdomen?

Also find out your BMR or basal metabolic rate, which indicates how many calories your body naturally uses each day.

Your doctor can help with these assessments and tell you exactly how much fat you have in your body at present. Tracking body fat is essential to assessing progress in both weight loss and health improvement. Be sure to get a complete assessment – BMI alone is not an accurate measure of health, as it is just a ratio of your weight and height.

3) Consider Appetite

Hunger is a normal physiological response when your body has not been given fuel for a while. But experiencing constant hunger and cravings — even shortly after eating — can be a sign that your body is not functioning optimally. That’s why it’s wise to see your doctor if hunger is a real problem for you.

Control of appetite is essential for effective weight loss but there is good new for those who struggle with it. There are now many FDA-approved medications that were not available even a few years ago which can make a real difference.

I use these medications with my patients in conjunction with a healthy eating plan and physical activity, tailored to the individual’s needs. Remember, consuming nutrient-dense foods is important to how you feel, how your body is functioning and how your appetite is controlled.

4) Diet and eating plan

For weight loss success and weight maintenance, calories must be controlled. However, it is not just a question of reducing the number of calories. Instead, close attention must be paid to the balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat in specific grams. A doctor and dietitian can help you with this.

Ideally, you should have an eating plan customized to your own metabolism and specific needs. This means a plan based on your metabolic rate, body fat percentage, and muscle percentage, which are used to determine the amount of calories, protein and carbohydrates your body needs to run properly. A tailored plan like this will help control hunger and appetite, setting you on the path for success.

Once the plan is set, progress can be tracked on a Body Composition Scale to ensure fat is being lost and muscle is maintained.  

5) Physical Activity         

Physical activity revs up your metabolism, burns calories and strengthens your muscles, making it essential not only for weight loss, but especially for weight maintenance. This is why I always prescribe my patients key exercises to help them achieve – and maintain – their weight loss goals.

That’s why it’s important to track not just overall weight, but body fat and muscle percentage. Patients who maintain muscle mass throughout the weight loss process have higher success rates in keeping the weight off and staying healthy.

6) Nutritional support

Nutritional support in the form of pharmaceutical grade vitamins and supplements are also key to my patients’ success. These high quality products are more effective than over-the-counter products, which can often be cheap imitators.

I recommend a multivitamin, fish oil and probiotic to all patients, as well as adding tailored formulas depending on individual needs. This is dependent on age, medical and nutritional status, health history and possible allergies.

One of the most popular and most effective supplements I use is the Slim Plex supplement, which contains Green Tea Leaf Extract in addition to other herbs and vitamins.

7) Maintenance

The most important thing to realize about weight loss maintenance is that you may gain a few pounds back. The key is regular follow-up with your doctor and understanding that this requires lifelong management. Weight loss is not just following a “diet” and going back to old habits once you reach your goal weight.

To keep yourself on track, always keep healthy foods on hand, continue to schedule time for physical activity, be aware of external stressors and try to stay in tune with your body. If you don’t feel well or it seems that your body is not functioning as it used to, consult your doctor!

The key to our patients’ success is the multifaceted approach we take in treating them and helping them achieve their goals. Oftentimes weight control is not just a matter of “calories in versus calories out”. It’s about getting to the bottom of what’s going on in the person’s body, especially when it comes to hunger and appetite.

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 Dr. Sue G. Decotiis has over 20 years experience helping women with complex weight issues. 

This blog is part of our “What Are You Hungry For?” series with Sports Club LA and to celebrate the release of Deepak Chopra’s latest book. Find out how you can win a copy of your own here and tell us what you are hungry for in the comments below. If you don’t want to wait for the give away you can purchase a copy of Deepak’s book today. 

How Eating at Home Can Save Your Life

Portrait of a family saying grace before eating dinnerThe slow insidious displacement of home cooked and communally shared family meals by the industrial food system has fattened our nation and weakened our family ties.

In 1900, 2 percent of meals were eaten outside the home. In 2010, 50 percent were eaten away from home and one in five breakfasts is from MacDonald’s.

Most family meals happen about three times a week, last less than 20 minutes and are spent watching television or texting while each family member eats a different microwaved “food”. More meals are eaten in the minivan than the kitchen.

Research shows that children who have regular meals with their parents do better in every way, from better grades, to healthier relationships, to staying out of trouble. They are 42 percent less likely to drink, 50 percent less likely to smoke and 66 percent less like to smoke marijuana.

Regular family dinners protect girls from bulimia, anorexia, and diet pills. Family dinners also reduce the incidence of childhood obesity. In a study on household routines and obesity in U.S. preschool aged children, it was shown that kids as young as four have a lower risk of obesity if they eat regular family dinners, have enough sleep, and don’t watch TV on weekdays.

We complain of not having enough time to cook, but Americans spend more time watching cooking on the Food Network, than actually preparing their own meals. In his series Food Revolution, Jamie Oliver showed us how we have raised a generation of Americans who can’t recognize a single vegetable or fruit, and don’t know how to cook.

I believe the most important and the most powerful tool you have to change your health and the world is your fork.

The family dinner has been hijacked by the food industry. The transformations of the American home and meal outlined above did not happen by accident.

Broccoli, peaches, almonds, kidney beans, and other whole foods don’t need a food ingredient label or bar code, but for some reason these foods—the foods we co-evolved with over millennia—had to be “improved” by Food Science.

As a result, the processed-food industry and industrial agriculture has changed our diet, decade by decade, not by accident but by intention.

That we need nutritionists and doctors to teach us how to eat is a sad reflection of the state of society. These are things our grandparents knew without thinking twice about them. What foods to eat, how to prepare them, and an understanding of why you should share them in family and community have been embedded in cultural traditions since the dawn of human society.

One hundred years ago all we ate was local, organic food; grass-fed, real, whole food. There were no fast-food restaurants, there was no junk food, there was no frozen food—there was just what your mother or grandmother made. Most meals were eaten at home. In the modern age that tradition, that knowledge, is being lost.

The sustainability of our planet, our health, and our food supply are inextricably linked. The ecology of eating—the importance of what you put on your fork—has never been more critical to our survival as a nation or as a species. The earth will survive our self-destruction. But we may not.

Common sense and scientific research lead us to the conclusion that if we want healthy bodies we must put the right raw materials in them: real; whole; local; fresh; unadulterated; unprocessed; and chemical-, hormone-, and antibiotic-free food. There is no role for foreign molecules such as trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup, or for industrially developed and processed food that interferes with our biology at every level.

That is why I believe the most important and the most powerful tool you have to change your health and the world is your fork. Imagine an experiment—let’s call it a celebration: We call upon the people of the world to join together and celebrate food for one week. For one week or even one day, we all eat breakfast and dinner at home with our families or friends. For one week we all eat only real, whole, fresh food. Imagine for a moment the power of the fork to change the world.

The extraordinary thing is that we have the ability to move large corporations and create social change by our collective choices. We can reclaim the family dinner, reviving and renewing it. Doing so will help us learn how to find and prepare real food quickly and simply, teach our children by example how to connect, build security, safety and social skills, meal after meal, day after day, year after year.

Here are some tips that will help you take back the family dinner in your home starting today.

Reclaim Your Kitchen

Throw away any foods with high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats or sugar or fat as the first or second ingredient on the label. Fill your shelves with real fresh, whole, local foods when possible. And join a community support agriculture network to get a cheaper supply of fresh vegetables weekly or frequent farmers markets.

Reinstate the Family Dinner

Read Laurie David’s The Family Dinner. She suggests the following guidelines: Make a set dinnertime, no phones or texting during dinner, everyone eats the same meal, no television, only filtered or tap water, invite friends and family, everyone clean up together.

Eat Together

No matter how modest the meal, create a special place to sit down together, and set the table with care and respect. Savor the ritual of the table. Mealtime is a time for empathy and generosity, a time to nourish and communicate.

Learn How to Cook and Shop

You can make this a family activity, and it does not need to take a ton of time. Keep meals quick and simple.

Plant a Garden

This is the most nutritious, tastiest, environmentally friendly food you will ever eat.

Conserve, Compost, and Recycle

Bring your own shopping bags to the market, recycle your paper, cans, bottles and plastic and start a compost bucket (and find where in your community you can share you goodies).

Invest in Food

As Alice Waters says, food is precious. We should treat it that way. Americans currently spend less than 10 percent of their income on food, while most European’s spend about 20 percent of their income on food. We will be more nourished by good food than by more stuff. And we will save ourselves much money and costs over our lifetime.

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Get started today!  Get your copy of The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook  today.  

Originally posted on my site, DrHyman.com

 

The Best Grab-N-Go Superfood Breakfasts

tumblr_mj4j59lg5R1rnp953o1_500If you’ve read some of my recent articles, you’ll know that I not only believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but that it should also be the largest. Not just for the reasons you likely heard as a child (i.e. improved mental focus and test scores), but because a big, nutrient-dense meal at breakfast also supports things like:

  • A healthy body weight
  • Stable energy due to less fluctuation in blood sugar levels throughout the day
  • Improved digestive function (a.k.a, stimulation of a regular, healthy bowel movement)
  • Manifesting your modern day superpower (mine happens to be finding decent parking spots)

Most days, I don’t have the luxury of a leisurely breakfast, and more days than I’d like to admit, breakfast happens while driving in my car. So, after many years of perfecting my need for grab-n-go breakfast options that meet my nutrition requirements, I landed on a few favorite options that give me everything I need to feel great and get my day off to a healthy start.

Superfood Muesli 

This is a recipe I was given while in naturopathic medical school. It can be eaten warm or cold, and it’s super easy to make. You can store a big batch for weeks and then place a scoop in a Pyrex dish the night before so you can literally grab it out of your fridge and go. I like to use soy milk as the liquid and add some honey for sweetness. It is incredibly dense and gives you a “stick to your ribs” kind of feeling which is great if you have a busy day ahead.

Superfood Smoothie 

One of the reasons I love smoothies is that I can throw supplements like vitamin D, fish oil and multivitamins into the mix to streamline my morning ritual even more. This recipe was my go-to breakfast almost every morning through both of my pregnancies. I’d often grab a handful of peanut butter pretzels as well to balance out some of the sugar from the fruit. Tip: Put all your smoothie ingredients into a large mason jar before going to bed so all you have to do in the morning is take it with you (if you happen to have a blender at work), or blend at home and then put back into the mason jar to use as a travel container.

Nut Butter Balls 

I came across this recipe while looking for snack options to have on-hand for my boys to eat. It turns out this recipe is not only easy to make and kid-approved, but a great on-the-go breakfast option. I like to add lots of goodies like chia seeds, flax seeds and fresh shredded coconut. You can make a big batch and keep in a large Pyrex container (create layers in the container using wax paper) for up to a week. Two or three of these balls and you’re satisfied until lunch, no problem.

Nut Butter Toast

When your best attempts at planning and prepping don’t manifest, there’s always basic nut butter toast. I like to trade between almond and sunflower butter, and when I know I have a big day planned, will make this into a toasted sandwich using two slices of stone-ground bread with a thin layer of jam. Basic and perhaps a tad boring? Yes. Super fast to make and easy to eat while driving? Absolutely.

Like this post?

 

Photo credit: Instagram @riiaberg

Weight Maintenance: The True Story

Free coiled tape measure healthy living stock photo Creative CommonsHave you ever gone on a diet? Lost weight on it? Gained it back? Tried yet another diet? Lost weight? Gained it back? Most people who eventually lose weight and do keep it off, have done just that. They have tried various diets and found that they do, actually work. However, any diet you “go on” you eventually “go off”. And when you go off that diet, then what?

This is where the real weight loss work comes in. It’s not so much losing the weight, although that can be challenging for sure, but what follows that determines one’s success, or lack of it, at keeping the weight off.

For my book, I did a lot of research and also relied on the best study to date of weight loss masters. They are people who have lost at least thirty pounds and maintained that loss for at least a year. I am proud to say that I am in the weight loss master category, having lost fifty pounds and maintained that for twenty three years.

So what sets the masters apart from the others? That is a really good question and can actually be answered with data.

Weight loss masters understand that maintaining weight loss takes work. They continue to monitor themselves and stay awake to the food and exercise choices they make so they can maintain their weight. They weigh themselves on a regular basis. They exercise and many of them keep food records. They also understand that weight maintenance is actually the state of gaining and losing small amounts of weight over, and over, again.

In my book I talk about “gaining weight successfully”. What that means is that we begin to understand that it is normal to gain a pound, or two, or three and then to work it back down. It’s only when a two pound weight gain turns into a twenty five pound weight gain that it really becomes a problem. We learn that we cannot expect to lose weight, get to our goal, and stay at exactly that number for life. We live in a range of weight that feels comfortable. When we get to the high end of that range, we do what we know we need to do to bring it back down. That is, keep food records, eat a healthy diet, exercise and keep track of our weight carefully until we get back to a comfortable place. Weight maintenance is not staying at exactly the same number, everyday, for life.

The other aspect to keep in mind with maintenance is that it is kind of dull. Losing weight can be exciting. You see changes, you look better, feel better and people are noticing. I lost weight quickly and the compliments were constant. Even the guy at Starbucks would comment. “Wow, you look great. Have you lost weight?” Those compliments were very motivating.

Once you get stable at a weight, the compliments either slow down, or stop. Instead of , “Hi Irene. OMG, you look fantastic. Have you lost weight?” It would just be, “Hi Irene.” I’d be waiting for the OMG part and it wouldn’t come. People will get used to the new you. It then becomes harder to keep up the work because you don’t have that steady outside stream of motivation reminding you just how worth it the work is.

So, my goal is to help you know and accept these things upfront so you can be successful long-term and be prepared ahead of time for the work that weight maintenance requires. It’s worth it!

That’s it for now. Good luck and let me know how you’re doing.

5 Ways to Stop Self-Sabotaging and Lose Weight Once and For All

Waldgeist Restaurant in Hofheim. Just make sure to take your Lipitor before bed.By Orion Talmay

The adage goes that you are the average of the five people you hang out with the most. So, it would logically follow that hanging out with people who eat fatty junk food will sabotage you and your diet.

Few of us consider that one of the things preventing us from committing to our weight and fitness goals is our environment – and that includes the people around us. This is especially true in America, where fast and “super sized” are glorified. We are surrounded by a junk food friendly environment – whether it’s the muffins offered to you in your company break room or the Italian “family style” dinner with friends. Everywhere you turn, advertisers are trying to hypnotize you into buying. We are bombarded with commercials for food which show joyful anorectic models enjoying chocolates and cheeseburgers. We were taught by our mothers to dutifully finish what’s on our plates. This world full of temptation, misconceptions, and immediate gratification just might affect our ability to get back into our jeans size from high school, don’t you think?

We are drowning in a flood of false information, thanks to all this pervasive and persuasive advertising. These advertisements train our brains to link unhealthy food with pleasure. As you pass a billboard showing a hot celebrity drinking Coca Cola, subconsciously you make a connection between what he or she represents to you – namely health, happiness, athleticism, vitality and success – and drinking Coke. In reality this sugary, toxic and chemically addictive drink is the epitome of unhealthiness, addiction, and obesity. In many cases, junk food is marketed to us as “healthy,” “natural” or even “organic,” but the opposite is more true. Even TV shows about weight loss such as The Biggest Loser glorify rapid, dramatic weight loss that unfolds before our eyes in an hour. And of course it doesn’t tell the whole story; we are spared the gory details, the high risk of injury, and the non-sustainability and unhealthy methods they use on the contestants. The TV magic and the glaring omissions give legitimacy to extreme rapid weight loss and create unrealistic expectations for the audience.

As I alluded to earlier, your peer group can also alter your decision-making. In general, people like people who are like them. For example, heavy drinkers prefer to hang out with heavy drinkers, and overeaters prefer feasting with fellow gluttons. The unspoken (or sometimes spoken) pressure is on, to fit in and be liked. Most social gatherings center around food and alcohol, so if you are dieting, you will need premeditated strategy and willpower if you don’t want to sabotage your diet.

Friends and family tend to appease each other when they fall off the wagon. When you look for consolation, they will tell you “It’s okay, it’s not that bad to take a day off; come on and live a little!” People become very forgiving because they want you to like them. They don’t hold you to a higher standard, in part because that’s not what you want to hear.

Unfortunately, not everyone wants you to be successful. Sometimes it can even be someone close to you like a spouse, family member, or friend who will try to talk you out of your goal. They might be afraid that if you feel better about yourself, you will neglect them or leave them. They might be afraid of “new competition” they will have when you accomplish your weight goals. Or, they may feel in competition with your “gym time” or even with your trainer. Bottom line is that most of the time they do it not because they don’t love you but precisely because they do. For instance, spouses may worry a “new you” may be less attracted to them. Sometimes, simply reassuring them of your love and friendship, keeping open communication and involving them in your health journey can solve these issues.

So, if you agree that the environment that surrounds you can sabotage your progress, what do you do? Well, since living on a mountaintop in Tibet is (probably) not an option, the best way to deal with misinformation or saboteurs is to plan for your success. When your mindset is stronger, achieving your outcome will be your priority. Nothing and no one will deter you. When you are prepared for success, you will win.

How do you prepare for success?

1. Surround yourself with supportive people. If your loved ones aren’t supportive of your health and fitness goals, convince them to change and be a part of your team or find some supportive peers to cheer you on. Succeed regardless.

2. Make sure you have accurate information about fitness and nutrition. Consult with a personal trainer and/or nutritionist. Nothing beats having a coach who can guide you to win the game the right way.

3. Plan your food shopping, plan your meals and plan your exercise time.  Don’t let anyone or anything distract you or steal your time.

4. Watch less TV. The number of commercials for garbage processed food is mind-boggling. These companies are paying a lot of money to sell to you and have mastered the art of influence. They (mis)use popular words like “healthy” and “natural,” but one glance at the label reveals how supposedly healthy, low fat, and natural it really is. Put your TV watching on a diet too, and it will facilitate your dieting and help you avoid unnecessary temptations.

5. Remember that you are a rock star. You can do it regardless of what anyone tells you, including your own inner critic. I believe in you. You put your mind to it and you will succeed.

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picOrion Talmay is a fitness expert and life coach who helps her clients transform their bodies and their lives. Her fitness skills include yoga, weight training, kick boxing, Aikido, MMA (mixed martial arts) and Krav Maga. Orion completed the Tough Mudder, a 12-mile extreme obstacle course with an ice pool, electric wires, buttered monkey bars, and more. She’s not all hard-core though; she is also a woman of the arts — loves to dance and sing, went to acting school, and speaks three languages. She is a graduate of the American Academy of Personal Training and is AAFA, AAPT, KBA, and Zumba certified. She is currently working on an online coaching program for weight loss and self development, designed to empower people across all aspects of their lives: physical, mental, social and spiritual. Orion is also working on her first book, about transformational change. Originally from Israel, she currently lives in sunny Santa Monica, California.

Lean, Toned, or Buff: What It Really Means to Be Fit

Flying In A Blue Dream

Different people have different reasons for starting a fitness program. Some want to lose weight, others want to build muscle, others want to reduce cholesterol, and the list goes on. If you’re a wellness-enthusiast, you’ve undoubtedly come across countless fitness philosophies, and it can be hard to know what’s really important in a workout routine. Do we need to be as big and bulky as, say, a body builder? Is that the epitome of fitness? Or rather should we focus on toning and building functional strength?

To help us answer some of these questions, we interviewed Sports Club/LA fitness expert Rob Kram.

There’s so much health information going around these days, but what does “fitness” really mean to you?

To me, fitness is the physical component of the entire health and wellness continuum. It fits right in with the importance of nutritional health, mental acuity and the holistic view that includes stress management leading to overall happiness. When you consider the body’s ability to move properly and painlessly, fitness encompasses many levels from an elite athlete focused on performance enhancement, to a grandmother simply wanting to be able to bend over and pick up her grandchild.

Is it more important to be thin, toned, buff, or what?

There are plenty of people with buff bodies who cannot functionally perform well in athletic activities. There are also very toned people who are functionally weak. Fitness is relative to one’s activities. For example, an elite marathoner and a world class sumo wrestler are both probably very functionally fit for their activities. But, switch their roles and both would fail miserably. Quality of one’s movement relative to their targeted activity is the most important factor.

Is muscle-building a sure-fire route to fitness? And if not, what’s your number one rule for building muscle for fitness?

Nothing is sure-fire in the fitness industry, simply because everyone’s body is so different. Muscle-building is as important as any other factor in overall fitness. It is a forgotten component for many who focus only on cardio exercise. As for a number one rule for building muscle – “surpass the ignition point every time.” Regardless of the exercise or goal, if you don’t reach the point of discomfort during your workout, you simply do not realize the benefit of that exercise. This point of discomfort is what I call the “ignition point” and many people waste their time working out and going through the motions without ever, or rarely getting past this point.

If someone comes into the club who is struggling with weight, endurance or a specific health concern, what are some of the first fitness tools you would suggest?

Each of those struggles are very different from one another and require different tactics. One thing that they do have in common is the need for professional guidance. Without a trained professional the struggles will simply continue through trial and error. Most people get their information, and therefore fitness advice, from the mass media. Although this raised consciousness is a positive thing, the application of exercise science needs to be specific to each individual. There are simply too many factors that create the person that you are for mass marketed trends to be effectively applicable to everyone. One exercise that yielded great results for one person may be detrimental to the health of the next person. If I had to pick one fitness tool that I would suggest to everyone, it would be a Private Trainer consultation.

What daily lifestyle practices would you encourage people incorporate in order to stay fit and strong, apart from (or perhaps in addition to) a formal fitness routine?

Move daily and stay conscious of how you are moving. Do things hurt? Does life get in the way of moving at all? Whatever you have to do to remind yourself to raise these questions in your own head, do it. Sign up for a fitness blog, hire a Private Trainer or coach, buy products that remind you to move and track movement. Create the conversation with everyone in your life (who’s willing to talk about it) so that they are all involved as a support system to continue to motivate you.

Add fitness to your calendar and make it a priority. Even picking a favorite tv show and starting a habit for yourself to do an “at home” workout whenever it’s on, works well. Everyone has time to do a set of push-ups, so there is never a reason to go extended periods without some type of strength training. Look for opportunities to challenge yourself and see if you can lift, move something or engage in any manual labor. Getting and staying strong needs to be a priority. The penalty is that if you don’t make time for it now, your body will deteriorate sooner and make you spend that time later in life.

 

Rob shared some great tips, and we hope this inspires you to get out there and get active!

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SPortsClubLA2012Sports Club/LA has been recognized as an urban lifestyle brand that serves as the ultimate health and wellness destination. Visit a Sports Club/LA location in Boston, Chestnut Hill, Miami, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and New York Upper East Side as well as their sister club, Reebok Sports Club/NY. For more information visit www.SportsClubLA.com.

10 Ways To Ditch Your Cravings for Sugar, Salt, and Fats

medusa

According to a recent article in the New York Times, “Food Corporations Turn to Chefs in a Quest for Healthy Flavor,” Big Food companies like PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, and even fast food giants like Taco Bell, are changing their ways in response to the increasing public demand for healthier food options. To improve their image as healthy food manufacturers, Big Food corporations have called upon top chefs to help them create healthy menu makeovers, infusing real, fresh, whole food into old recipe favorites.

Why is this happening now? Intense pressure brought on by politicians and their constituents (you and me!) has given these food manufacturers no choice but to respond to the public outcry for healthier food. It’s no longer enough for these companies to earn a profit by selling food that tastes good. People are beginning to use the power of the pocketbook to show these companies that the food they sell must also be nutritious.

That’s because people everywhere are waking up. They are beginning to see the dangers of genetically modified ingredients and all the sugar, salt, and fats hidden in our food supply. From fancy restaurants to fast food chains, chefs are catching on that people want their food to make them feel good, not just while they are eating it but hours, days, and years afterward.

Really, this news shouldn’t make the headlines. This is common sense! Paying for food that makes us sick is as crazy as shooting ourselves in the foot. It just doesn’t make sense.

Big Food is finally getting the message and getting on board.

But remember, no processed or fast food option will ever be better than a healthy home-cooked meal. The best way to ensure you are eating the highest quality, most nutritious food possible is to prepare your own food in your own kitchen. We are all chefs. You don’t have to be trained at Le Cordon Bleu to know your way around a kitchen. You just need a little knowledge, some imagination, and a sense of adventure.

A desire for real food is a fundamental part of our basic biological blueprint. Given the chance, our taste receptors will naturally gravitate toward the inherent sweetness found in vegetables, fruits, and even nuts and seeds.

So, how do you reprogram your taste buds to ditch the cravings for sugar, salt, and fats? You can start by eating real, fresh, whole foods. Avoid fake, commercialized foods that come in convenience packages or are made in a lab.

Here are 10 more tips to get you excited about ditching the sugar, salt, and fats:

  1. Sauté or roast your veggies to bring out their natural sweetness. Properly searing your chicken or meat brings out the inherent sweetness by way of the Maillard reaction. This is a fancy name for what happens when you create that nice, brown crust on your meat. Want more cooking tips like this? Check out The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook!
  2. Play with herbs like cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, and oregano to add flavor and phytonutrients! Finish a meal by adding fresh herbs before plating or serving. This last-minute addition kicks the flavor up a notch!
  3. Healthy fats found in avocado, coconut, and tahini not only increase the flavor of your meal, they also add that creamy, luscious texture found in many rich foods. See for yourself just how healthy and tasty desserts can be by trying my Dark Chocolate Silk Pudding from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook!
  4. Try creating a savory, umami (Japanese for “delicious”) flavor. Add moderate amounts of tamari, umeboshi plum paste, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, dried mushroom, or sea vegetables to your next stew, soup, sauce, or stir-fry.
  5. Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and even cayenne or chipotle pepper powder are all extremely flavorful additions to a meal. Spices like these excite your taste buds and grab your attention. This is helpful, because, as studies show, when we are focused on actually tasting our food rather than mindlessly gobbling it up, we actually need less food to feel satisfied.
  6. Befriend some kitchen must-haves like real vanilla extract or vanilla bean or coconut butter. Or use common, every-day foods like lemons in some creative ways. For example, use lemon zest to add real zing to any meal!
  7. For the most flavor, eat seasonally and locally. Canned or packaged foods or foods that have traveled great distances in the back of a truck just can’t compare to the succulence of a fresh piece of locally grown fruit.
  8. Check your hydration. Digestion starts in your mouth with your saliva, which helps us taste all the magnificent flavor in food. If you are dehydrated and not producing enough saliva, you won’t really be able to enjoy your food.
  9. Check your medications. Believe it or not, most medications interfere with the body’s ability to taste and smell. Some of them can even create an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth. Wondering how you might decrease the number of pills you take? Learn more about functional medicine.
  10. Got nutrition? Nutrient deficiency is an important cause of improper taste perception. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals can markedly impair your ability to smell and taste food. Most Americans have several nutrient deficiencies, but there is one in particular that can especially keep you from enjoying your next meal: zinc. Try adding foods like oysters, pecans, sunflower seeds, and lentils to increase your daily intake of this important mineral. Try the recipe for Hearty Lentil Soup from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. If you are deficient, you might also need to take a zinc supplement. Work with one of my nutrition coaches to ensure your nutrition status is up to par.

* * *

For more ways to use your kitchen to take back your health, check out The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. Get tips and tricks for making healthy and tasty meals. Learn what foods you should eat to boost your metabolism, balance your blood sugar, and lose weight. Try more than 175 tasty recipes that appeal to a variety of budgets, taste preferences, health goals, and lifestyles.

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com.

Kick Tush Tuesday: Weight Loss Through Creativity

sunskayThis morning, while taking a long walk through the desert (yes, this is the desert; no, I wasn’t walking the Sahara) with Our Lady of Weight Loss by my side (always), she and I were (once gain) discussing the difference between trying to control the day, control our lives, control what we eat and creating a kick tush day. That’s right–the difference between control and create–and it became abundantly clear that the answer to our struggles is to not struggle.

Ohhhh…I like that: The Answer to Our Struggles is to NOT Struggle! Simple enough. How to do that? How to put a new spin on the topic, create a fresh take? Explore the words “control” and “create”! Ready? Okay!

The word: Control

According to Webster’s dictionary control means to exercise restraint; to hold in check; curb; to eliminate or present the flourishing or spread of.

I don’t know about you, but when I look at those words, especially “exercise constraint” – I’m like ‘get me outta’ here.  It sounds restrictive and feels exhausting. My world view starts to close in on me. Did you have a similar visceral reaction to the word ‘control?’

The words we use are important and if one doesn’t ‘fit’ our psyche, best we look for a new word, a new experience, a new way to frame and reframe. Create a new empowering perspective!

Rather than trying to control food, control our habits, control our thoughts and ourselves; let’s look at the word create.

The Word: Create

From Webster’s Dictionary, “create” means to bring into existence. (God created the heaven and the earth. — Genesis 1:12) To produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior to make or bring into existence something new. Wow!

Doesn’t the word create feel expansive? Doesn’t it sound like we are more likely to succeed if we move out of control and straight into create? Can you feel the door to infinite possibility opening? (I hear creaking noises; does it need to be oiled?)

Control vs. Create

Control = constrictive, limiting
Create = expansive, limitless

INTENT of the DAY:  Instead of battling control, let’s CREATE! Today, let’s choose to be CREATORS. Let’s open up to the possibilities and create a fun-filled, fabulous, healthful day!

IF you are hungry for more creative weight loss, as well as motivation, inspiration, fun, play, then visit Our Lady of Weight Loss’s BLOG: this past week’s posts include but are not limited to: Puzzled? The Watermelon Angel; #OneWord Thursday-Dare to be #YOU!; Review of Healthy Choice’s Steamers–and much more!

AND to discuss all, be sure to join Our Lady of Weight Loss’s Club: Kick in the Tush Club/FB.

Deliciously yours,

Janice Taylor
wise * fun * utterly useful

Rebecca Pacheco: My Best Diet Advice

IMG_3825-580x773Are you vegan?
Have you heard of this juice cleanse?
Are you gluten free?
Have you heard of that juice cleanse?
What do you do for cardio?
How often do you run?
Do you do Pilates?
What do you think of Crossfit?
Do you lift weights?
Do you wear a heart rate monitor, Nike Fuel Band, Jawbone, etc.?
Which yoga poses will strengthen my core?
And lift my butt?
Do you think I should do a juice cleanse?

I get a lot of questions about my personal and professional approach to fitness, including those above and many more. Each time I’m asked by a reader, yoga student, Om Athlete, curious media type, or casual acquaintance at, say, a dinner party, I’m delighted to – forgive me – weigh in. I enjoy the fact that people trust me; it means I’m doing work I’m meant to do, helping people become more healthy and mindful, and I’m happy to share knowledge acquired over the years. I’ve studied a lot, experienced a lot, and been exposed to a lot, through a lifetime of playing sports, 18 years of practicing yoga, 13 years of teaching it, and the privilege of working with some of the fittest and fastest athletes in the world about what it means to look, feel, and perform your best.

But my favorite piece of advice is the same for everyone, and it has nothing to do with explicitly choosing a diet or type of exercise. It’s about choosing a mindset or, possibly, a heart set. Because the truth is not about what you do, but rather, why you do it.

I believe the intention behind anything colors everything, which is why my diet advice is not a diet. My most killer workout secret is not some grand secret. I’m not hiding stealth spa procedures or supplements in my bicycle basket. I’m not fired up by fitness fads or new technology that tracks my every calorie taken in or burned off. (I respect that many people like and benefit from health trends and technology; I just don’t think they’re essential to my point or your wellness).

Personally, I do a lot of yoga. I run a lot. I eat a lot. What I eat has read like Michael Pollan’s advice long before he wrote In Defense of Food and other books widely regarded as manifestos for eating mindfully: eat real food, not too much. Mostly plants. But, sometimes, chocolate covered salted caramels. (I added that last part). Professionally, I’m like a sherpa for surpassing mind/body limitations, and my approach to yoga might cause your kid to turn to you and say, “Wow, Mom, you’re STRONG! You’re stronger than Daddy,” as the child of one of my clients did at the beach over the weekend when she tossed him high in the air so that he landed in the ocean with delight like it was no big deal.

In the past, I’ve been too thin and too heavy. I ended up too thin by accident, at a time when I felt very heavy—as in emotionally. I wasn’t trying to lose weight. It just happened as a result of the stress of what was happening in my life. I couldn’t have cared less about scales or pant sizes. Ironically, I was too heavy while trying too hard to be thin. Roughly around college, as the current often pulls women that age. It was my personal heyday of low fat frozen yogurt, Diet Coke, and other fake foods about which I didn’t know better and were the diet de rigueur of the time. Now, I know better, and I stay away from that stuff. It’s not a diet. It’s chemical junk that messes with your hormones and doesn’t add any nutritional value anywhere. I don’t eat other non-food stuff like Play-Doh or glue. That’s not a diet. It’s common sense.

And, ultimately, that’s the secret weapon I want people to rediscover. Good sense. Stop cleansing. Start sensing. Ask yourself this one essential question:

What do you want to embody?

Seriously. Think about it. Because the answer will be telling, and the actions needed to achieve your desired state will be clear. If you know how you want to feel, you’ll intuitively know what to do to get there. You don’t want to embody artificial colors, flavors, or feelings. You don’t want to embody scarcity and deprivation.

If you want to embody strength or confidence, you can’t choose diets, fitness inspirations, or yoga teachers that encourage diminishing or depletion. It’s that simple. If you want to feel joyful and light, you can’t choose workouts that are drudgery or self-talk that is demoralizing. Maybe you’ll lose weight on a certain diet, cleanse, or workout regime, but will you feel light? Will it last? Or, will it dissipate—like anyone’s capacity to stay on a diet or regime, and you’ll have to search for the next fitness fix during the next dinner party conversation. If you want to embody speed or endurance, your workouts must prioritize the same. If you want to feel energetic and endorphin-drunk, then you’ve got to get up and move like your life depends on it (because it does). If you want to embody beauty, you’ll have to do things that genuinely make you feel beautiful. They are not usually available in stores. They frequently include smiling or laughing. Remember: mindset. Heart set.

The way we move our bodies and how we nourish them are beautiful opportunities every day. Meanwhile, getting too caught up in how we label ourselves according to what we eat (i.e. vegan, paleo, gluten-free, etc.) and forgetting that the best wellness resource we have is our own mind only leads to more of the same. Change how you think. Start with what you want to embody, and let that word, feeling, or mantra dictate the health choices you make.

Embody grace. Eat energy for breakfast. Run with heart-pumping, leg burning, soul exhilarating speed. Balance with confidence. Breathe with love. Put on your clothes with joy. Take them off with acceptance. Embody yourself fully. It’s a beautiful thing.

Originally published on my website, Om Gal.

Why George W. Bush’s Stent Should Get Us Talking About Heart Disease

george-w-bushAs you may have heard, former president George W. Bush underwent a heart procedure today to treat a blocked artery. In line with common procedure, doctors inserted a stent, a small mesh tube, to open the blockage and return normal blood flow to the heart. Bush is expected to be up and kicking by tomorrow.

Roughly half a million people in the United States every year have stents inserted, and just over 11% of non-institutionalized adults have diagnosed heart disease. It is the number one cause of death in the United States, claiming nearly 600,000 lives every year.

Bush is 67 years old, a year older than the average age for men’s first heart attacks. Men, in general, tend to have a higher risk for coronary artery disease and heart attacks earlier in life, though genetics, weight, and other heath conditions play a larger role in determining risk. “Metabolic syndrome” is a pre-diabetic condition heavily associated with heart disease, and it is diagnosed when three of the following are present:

  • Abdominal obesity
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • High triglyceride levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance

Given all of this, are the measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of heart disease? The American Heart Association recommends the following lifestyle changes:

  1. Stop smoking – For more reasons than one, of course!
  2. Maintain a good diet – Including plenty of vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and high-fiber foods
  3. Reduce blood cholesterol – Through diet, exercise, and, as a last resort, medication
  4. Stay active – To lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and maintain a healthy weight
  5. Reduce stress – Important at all ages!
  6. Limit alcohol – Too much can raise blood pressure and add to weight gain

We wish George W. a quick recovery, and we hope this very public incident helps raise awareness about the prevalence and dangers of heart disease. Take measures now to reduce your risk, and stay healthy everyone!

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