Keep Your Workouts Safe: Follow These 10 Rules!

Today I’m going to give you the 10 best practices for a SAFE workout.

The first thing to remember about keeping your workouts safe is to avoid doing too much cardio. Particularly if you’re just starting out in a new routine or haven’t done much cardio lately. More is not necessarily better!

Same goes for strength training. More is not necessarily better. So here are the:

Top 10 Rules for Safe Workouts

  1. It is important to train conservatively and not overdo things. If you are doing resistance training (and everyone should), don’t do any exercise that you aren’t sure how to do. Always get personal instruction from a certified trainer.
  2. Don’t do anything that hurts or doesn’t feel right. There are plenty of alternate exercises for any exercise in any workout program. Just ask a qualified trainer for help.
  3. Whenever you start a new resistance-training program, use lighter weights than normal and perform only one set per exercise. This will minimize the muscle soreness that you can expect with any new program.
  4. If you need extra recovery time within the workout or between workouts, don’t hesitate to take it. Most beginners only think about how they can do more and more exercise to help them lose weight faster. But everyone (from beginners to pro athletes) needs some days of light exercise to allow the muscles to repair. And don’t worry. If you do the right type of exercise, you’ll still lose fat even when you are not working out at the gym.
  5. Check your ego at the gym door and start with the easier alternate exercises, even if you have exercised in the past. New movements, even those that look easy, will cause muscle soreness. This goes for yoga too. Many beginners overstretch and end up with the same kind of injuries often associated with weight training. So no matter what you do, be conservative.
  6. Do not do interval training or hard cardio more than four times per week. Even pro athletes don’t play hard every day. Doing too much cardio is the biggest reason beginners end up hurt, frustrated, and in the doctor’s office. Research shows that all you need to lose fat is three interval-training workouts per week. When you do cardio, you’re doing the same movement thousands and thousands of times in the same workout. If you have even the smallest injury, it will be magnified by this repetition.
  7. Never skip a warm-up. Instead of using the treadmill to warm up, do a general body weight circuit of easy squats, easy push-ups, and ab planks to prepare your body for resistance training.
  8. If you decide to use running as your form of interval training, make sure your shoes are in good shape, always do an extra-thorough warm-up, and pay attention to the running surface. If you use a treadmill, please operate it safely.
  9. If you have any type of injury at all, rehabilitate the injury before you start an exercise program. You are better off committing three weeks to rehab now, before the injury becomes serious, than to neglect your body and be forced to stop exercising for three months later on.
  10. All together now: “Safety first!” Check with your health care professional before starting any new exercise or diet program, if you have any doubts about your health. There is no need to get hurt, no matter how serious you are about getting into shape.

Don’t Let Your Workouts Be the Reason You Can’t Work Out

Those are the top 10 safety tips to keep in mind before you start working out. Don’t make the classic beginner mistake of doing too much exercise too soon.

And know that your diet will have a much greater impact on your weight loss results, so there’s no reason to over-exercise. Your program should include resistance training and interval training to help you burn fat, but you only need to exercise three times per week with total-body workouts.

Hope these guidelines help!

Eat Fat To Lose Body Fat!

Did you know you have to eat fat to lose body fat? For women, that may be the hardest idea to accept in their health-gaining, fat-losing efforts. When I say that, though, it leads to a ton of questions.

Last week a client told me this story. She said, “Shelli, I tried to tell one of my walking buddies that I use coconut oil for cooking and she couldn’t believe it. I suggested she try it too. I think she thought I was trying to kill her. She said her doctor told her to stop eating all saturated fat and that oils like coconut oil are fattening. How do I explain to her that it’s actually good for her?”

This is not uncommon because people have a really hard time believing that coconut oil is not “fattening” or “dangerous”. We have all been falsely led to believe that fat, especially saturated fat, is the cause of our weight gain and health problems. This is only half true. Some fats like hydrogenated oils and vegetable oils do contribute to heart disease and weight gain, but good fats like coconut oil, butter, and olive oil are actually great fats for our bodies. Think about how much healthier people were in the late 1800’s and very early 1900’s. Heart disease was almost unheard of back then.

So let’s tackle some of these MYTHS about coconut oil.

Myth #1 – Coconut oil contains a lot of fat so it must be fattening.

Truth – Not all fat makes you fat. Certain fats do cause weight gain, but other good fats will actually burn unwanted fat off your body and accelerate your metabolism. And most importantly, your body needs fat to survive and thrive!

Myth #2 – Coconut oil contains almost all saturated fat so it must be bad for you.

Truth – Saturated fat is not the cause of heart disease, weight gain, and high cholesterol. Saturated fat has been falsely accused and it is SUGAR that is the “enemy”.

Myth #3 – Coconut oil should be avoided by those who are at risk for heart disease.

Truth – The fat in coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils you can consume. It is rich in lauric acid, which is known for its antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties and contains no trans fat. The saturated fat in coconut oil is different from many other oils in that it is of the medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) variety. The body digests MCFAs more easily and sends these fats directly to the liver, where they are immediately converted into energy. So coconut fat is actually fat that is used to make energy instead of storing fat on our bodies.

I highly recommend everyone use unrefined, organic coconut oil. 1-2 teaspoons for most cooking is more than enough. You can even use it raw if you like. I think it tastes great! I usually consume about 2-3 total tablespoons per day, which is a good amount for a fat burning eating plan. While it’s really good for you, there’s no need to overeat it.

Enjoy your coconut oil!

Want To Shed Fat And Feel Great?

What are my favorite three tips I’d give you if you told me you wanted to shed fat and feel better?

  1. Drink only water and drink lots of it.
  2. Avoid wheat in all its forms (bread, pasta, desserts, pastries).
  3. Don’t drink or eat anything WHITE (rice, potatoes, dairy).

Of course then I get what I call the WHYS. “Why no white foods? Isn’t milk good for you?” “Why no wheat products? Isn’t whole wheat good for you?”

I don’t mind a lot of “why” questions because I have a curious nature and ask a lot of “why” questions myself. And in this case, the answer is pretty simple.

Wheat and the white foods cause a constant state of internal inflammation inside our bodies, which makes it extremely difficult for most people to shed their unwanted fat.

Let me explain because understanding the inflammatory process and how it wreaks havoc on your health is probably the number one most important piece of knowledge that will serve you today, and I’m inclined to believe based on the research I read, well into the future!

Inflammation is your immune system’s response to infection or irritation in the body. We have all experienced the inflammation that occurs on our skin in response to a cut, infection, or injury. This kind of inflammation is visible. Likewise, your internal body systems will respond to infectious and irritating foods with inflammation. This kind of inflammation is not as visible, but makes itself apparent through weight gain and diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and obesity.

It’s almost as if your body just doesn’t know what to do with these foods, so it goes into emergency mode. Then it responds the only way it knows how: through an inflammatory response.

Two of the most inflammatory foods are wheat products and dairy. I know for most of you this isn’t what you want to hear! There are more than just these two, but let’s start with these.

Wheat (this includes whole wheat and refined wheat)

I know, these days most of your are eating whole wheat bread instead of white. But regardless of whether it is whole wheat or refined wheat, the human body was not designed to eat the breads manufactured today. Just look at the health condition of our population and the amount of breads, cereals, pastas, and crackers everyone consumes. Instead, try foods like sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, and millet. Just eliminate wheat for a few weeks and see how you feel.

Dairy

I know you’ll tell me, “But I drink skim milk instead of whole” and ask me, “Where will I get my calcium from?” Regardless of the variety of milk you consume, dairy is not in the form nature intended us to consume it. The high heat of pasteurization kills off all the necessary enzymes in the milk that we need to digest it (thus the high prevalence of lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome). You can argue pasteurization is necessary to kill off bacteria, but in reality, the high heat temperatures of pasteurization are actually not high enough to kill off the pathogens most people are worried about. What happens is that pasteurization kills off the good, but leaves the bad. Know that you will absorb more calcium from green leafy vegetables than any amount of milk you can drink.

When people go off dairy, the results are phenomenal. There are a number of people that may be able to consume dairy in small quantities, but this is done after they have seen a significant drop in weight and improvement in health.

I encourage you to eliminate dairy and wheat from your diet for 14 days. I know you can do it!

After the 14 days are over, you can choose one food at a time and slowly bring it back into your diet. If you, all of a sudden, start to feel bloated, have cravings, or see your weight loss plateau, you may have discovered a possible culprit.

Inflammation is a wonderful, natural bodily response. Without it, we would never heal. But when it comes to internal inflammation, we want to eliminate it or greatly decrease it. Inflammation modulation is key to healthy living.

I highly encourage you to make a strong attempt to go wheat and dairy-less for the next 2 weeks. Let me know how your experiment goes!

Feeling Crappy? Relax Your Ego

We all feel crappy sometimes. There are times we might even say we’re feeling depressed.

60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace defined depression this way: “Sunshine means nothing to you. The seasons, friends, or good food mean nothing. All you do is focus on yourself and how badly you feel.”

My own experience and the lessons I’ve learned from others who have gone through depressing times seems to suggest that this intense inward focus doesn’t seem to help much. I’m going to suggest 9 steps you can take to defeat depression, but first allow me to share some philosophy with you.

I read about this theory and it seems to make a lot of sense. It goes like this…….

There are essentially two impulses in the universe: contraction and relaxation. Everything, every animate and inanimate thing, is, literally, becoming more or less dense at any given moment. The ultimate denseness is a black hole, which sucks in light but gives out none.

As psychological creatures, our consciousness is always in flux between the contraction and the dissolution of the ego. Our egocentric impulses are the source of much of the work we do and the art we create, but they are also the source of tension, sickness, and despair. Our dissolution impulses are the source of our loving relationships. They relax us and prepare us to accept the ultimate dissolution of the ego, which is death.

Contraction gives us the egoistic pleasure of being loved and being acknowledged and appreciated. Relaxation gives us the exocentric pleasure of doing the loving, in our work and in our lives.

Both contraction and relaxation can deliver pleasure, but the pleasure of contraction (the pleasure of the ego) is temporary, whereas the pleasure of relaxation is the enduring pleasure of the soul.

It feels good to have people pay attention to you. But even at its most intense (imagine being a movie star), the pleasure dissipates almost as soon as the attention shifts away. And when the pleasure of the ego leaves, a vacuum of sadness takes its place.

It’s like taking drugs. The effect is temporary. It’s addictive. It leaves you wanting more. And each time you get more, it is not enough. Eventually, it kills you.

“Enough of all this deep thinking,” you say. “What does this have to do with me?”

Just this: The next time you are feeling depressed, sad or angry, recognize that there is a way to become happy again: relax your ego.

Here’s how:

1. Accept the fact that it is perfectly normal to feel crummy sometimes.

Despite your core strengths and your many accomplishments, you will occasionally find yourself down in the dumps. It’s natural for people to feel that way.

2. If you are upset because of something you did to yourself, forgive yourself.

It’s okay. What matters is what you do next, not what you just did.

When I recognize that my mood is being affected by my own prior actions, I say to myself, “It’s okay that I’m angry. But I don’t have to be. I can get through today. And I can have better discipline or make wiser choices tomorrow.” That’s what I tell myself, and it helps me feel better instantly.

3. If you are upset because of something someone else did to you, take a chill pill.

Count to 10. Recognize that you can’t control the behavior of other people. The only thing you can control is your response to their behavior. Nobody can take that away from you.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space,” said Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning. “In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Getting upset when your family, friends, or colleagues made a mistake doesn’t do you any good. And it will make you unproductive, unhappy, and unpleasant to be around. Try learning to turn the other cheek. The moment you can stop resenting others for their shortcomings, you’ll likely feel better about yourself.

It’s amazing how well this works.

4. Don’t allow unrealistic expectations to interfere with your relationships.

Accepting people for who they are does not mean allowing them to make your life miserable. On the contrary, it means being realistic, realizing that 90 percent of the time a person’s fundamental characteristics cannot be changed. If you find a certain behavior unacceptable, you change the way you deal with it (something you can do) instead of trying to change the person (which you can’t do).

5. If you are upset because of circumstances beyond your control, take a double dose of chill pill.

You can deal with your troubles more effectively if you define them as “problems” (which can be solved) or “predicaments” (which can be coped with).

6. If you are unhappy at work, find a way to care about what you’re doing.

As Albert Camus said, “But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?” You won’t experience happiness if you work at a job you hate or if you do poor work on a project you like. But if you learn to care about the work you do, you will find that your energy will improve and you will start to enjoy it.

7. Engage in some sport or challenging exercise – something that is so demanding you can’t do it while thinking.

Walking, stretching, and yoga are great forms of exercise. If you do them with a tranquil mind, they will make you healthy and happy. But if you do them when you are sad and feeling sorry for yourself, they will give you no relief. It’s more likely you will forget about the exercise and focus on your negative thoughts. That will make things worse. Try an exercise that demands your attention. For me, that’s golf.

8. Recognize that the health of your body has a great deal to do with your mood.

If you are feeling bad much of the time, you probably need to make a few lifestyle changes. For example:

  • Eat healthy. Eating too many carbohydrates will make you crazy, cranky, and tired. To have consistent energy all day, use food like fuel. Try eating six smallish meals a day, avoiding junk food and favoring healthy fats, veggies, fruit, and plenty of protein.
  • Sleep and rest adequately. For me, adequate sleep is a major contributor to feeling good. Studies show that people who get seven good hours of sleep a night live longer, suffer from fewer illnesses, and achieve more because they have more energy. If you get tired during the day, take a short nap.

9. Take positive steps to focus “outward” instead of “inward” – to pay less attention to yourself and more attention to others.

A few examples:

  • Make your friends happy. Smile when you see them. Listen to their stories. Become the person they turn to when the chips are down.
  • Be a reliable and steady resource for your work colleagues. Help them achieve their goals, not because you want them to reciprocate in some way but simply because you care about them and want them to succeed.
  • Do something for someone you don’t know: a stranger you meet, a foster child, or a sick or poor person who can benefit from your help.

Make this outward focus a natural part of your daily life. Do it purposefully and deliberately until it becomes second nature. You will know when that happens because you’ll be feeling happy most of the time, and when you become sad or angry, you’ll be able to get over it quickly and easily.

Do You Feel Like Your Metabolism Isn’t What It Used To Be?

Is it true that metabolism decreases with age?

That’s a question I get asked quite frequently.

Do you notice that last year’s clothes are tight on you or that the number on the scale reads higher than it used to?

Whether that happens because of a decrease in metabolism or sloppy nutrition and decreased physical activity, it seems true that with each passing year, most people gain weight.

We hear a lot about childhood obesity numbers increasing. However, the adult rates are alarming as well. In the U.S. 35 percent of adults are obese and over 67 percent overweight or obese.

Some research suggests that susceptibility to permanent weight gain seems to be highest during adolescence, pregnancy, and midlife for women and the period after marriage for men. For most, the weight gain doesn’t end in middle age. Researchers say this is due to an “energy imbalance.”

The concept of energy imbalance is easy to understand: eat more calories than you burn and you will gain weight. Eat fewer and you will lose weight. With 3500 calories in a pound of fat, it doesn’t take much to put on a pound or two per year. It could be as little as a two extra sodas every month or a few too many neglected 20-minute evening walks.
But what is metabolism’s role in age-related weight gain?

It turns out that for most people, age-related weight gain is due in large part to a dramatic decrease in calories burned. While lower levels of physical activity play a large role in the decreased energy expenditure, an age-related decline in metabolic rate is also to blame.

A study evaluating total energy expenditure (TEE), which includes your metabolism, plus the energy required to digest and absorb food, and physical activity, confirmed what most people already know: energy expenditure decreases with age.

Basal metabolic rate, which accounts for about 50 to 70 percent of TEE, is thought to decrease about one to two percent per decade. That is, after a person reaches 20 years old, daily energy expenditure decreases about 150 calories per decade. The decline is probably due to decreased muscle mass (which is highly metabolically-active) and increased fat mass (which is relatively metabolically-inactive).

This decline seems to be most rapid after age 40 in men and 50 in women.

To sum it up,, the number of calories burned per day decreases with age. This reality is widely accepted and is even built in to formulas that estimate resting energy expenditure.

BUT, and this is a BIG BUT, while a small decrease in daily energy expenditure is probably inevitable, with a committed fitness program, “aging” adults (anyone over 20 years old) can avoid sizeable decreases in metabolic rate.

So what’s the key to fighting age-related weight gain and a declining metabolic rate???

Incorporating these elements into a committed fitness program!

  1. Strength training and muscle building to maintain metabolically active muscle mass.
  2. Cardiovascular physical activity to maintain a high level of energy expenditure and prevent increased fat mass.

That’s why I focus on those topics in so many of these blog posts!

How To Manage Your Energy For Optimal Performance

I’m going to let you in on a secret today. But it’s one of those secrets that may not be too secret after all. When I meet other healthy energetic people they seem to be doing the same things I do, so what I do to maximize my health and energy may not be too secretive at all.

We all have 24 hours in the day. However, I’m not convinced that when people want to do more each day, the issue is necessarily time management. I think they need more and better energy!

Many times at the end of the day I say to myself, “Whew, what a day,” and wonder how I accomplished so much. But I have great energy and focus.

So here are the 5 things I do DAILY to keep functioning at my best. See if you do them too.

1. Include a healthy protein source into every one of my meals (this includes snacks as well).

Healthy sources of protein and good fat slow down the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose (sugar) in your blood stream. This keeps your blood sugar stable throughout the day. Many times the “crash” people feel after lunch or breakfast is their blood sugar spiking high and then “crashing” low because they ate a meal that was carbohydrate dense and not balanced with enough protein.

Adding in a healthy protein source like organic eggs, natural meats or poultry, wild fish, or raw nuts ensures your blood sugar doesn’t go on a rollercoaster ride every time you eat. As a snack, raw almonds and fruit will keep your energy levels sustained for the rest of the afternoon.

2. Stay hydrated all day.

Most people know they should be drinking water, but what they don’t know is that it directly affects their energy levels throughout the day. Consider this: your brain is approximately 80% water. Staying hydrated helps you maintain mental energy while avoiding fatigue and headaches. Water also plays a vital role in your body’s ability to flush toxins. Organs have to work harder when you don’t have enough water. This makes you tired, so drink up!

3. Be cautious with caffeine intake.

I am not suggesting you completely eliminate your morning coffee or your breakfast tea. I haven’t. But many people take their one cup and turn it into too many cups. Their cup runneth over all day long! Yes, caffeine will give you a quick boost in energy, but will almost always send you crashing just a few hours later.

Caffeinated beverages will also dehydrate your body, and dehydration will cause you to feel fatigued. Try to keep your caffeine beverages to a maximum of 1-2 per day. I would also suggest drinking those before 1pm as drinking caffeine any later can disrupt your ability to fall asleep at night.

4. Beware of “white” carbs.

“White Carbs” (breads, pastas, cereals, baked goods) break down quickly causing a fast spike in blood sugar. You’ll feel a quick rush of energy, but then a big drop, causing your energy (and your mood) to drop along with it. Also, when too much sugar floods the system all at once, your body can’t use it all for energy and converts it to stored fat.

While it is true that carbs give you energy, too many carbs at once will actually lead to fatigue and lethargy. Keep the “white carbs” to a minimum and eat healthier, fibrous carbs like oats, quinoa, sweet potatoes and a variety of fruits and vegetables. And always be sure to eat those carbs alongside a healthy protein.

5. Do a quick 5-minute mini-exercise circuit at any point during the day.

Yes, even a quick 5-minute exercise routine is enough to get your blood circulating, sending more oxygen to your muscles and brain and giving you a boost in energy. Quick bursts of exercise will also increase your metabolism, not only helping you keep the excess weight off, but giving you a burst of energy as well.

If I start to feel the “afternoon energy crash”, I will get up and do some body weight squats, 1 minute of pushups, 1 minute of jumping jacks, and 2 minutes of lower and upper body stretches. It may not sound like very much, but I assure you that in less than 5 minutes, I am energized and ready to get back to work.

Give the above 5 suggestions a try and you will see firsthand that you do have more than enough hours in each day when your energy levels are at their maximum all day long.

What Is A Detox Diet And Is It Right For You

Many people ask me, especially this time of year, what detox diets are and if they work.

If your holiday diet consisted of eating too many heavily processed and artificial foods, you may be thinking about trying a “detox” diet this new year.

When we think of detox diets we usually have the goal of ridding the body of harmful toxins like food additives, pesticides, pollutants, and other synthetic compounds. The diets offer the promise of increased energy, clearer skin, headache relief, decreased bloating, and perhaps even weight loss.

But do they really work? Can these diets safely help the body rid toxins better than the “normal” metabolic processes of the liver, kidney, skin, lymph nodes, and other bodily systems?

The Basic Ingredients of a Detox Diet

All detox diets are some combination of fasting, food restriction, and supplementation.

They typically begin with a “cleansing phase,” which is usually two or three days of only liquids. Brown rice, fruit, and steamed vegetables are usually added about a week later and then other foods may be reintroduced. This final phase is expected to be followed indefinitely for maintenance.

Of course, with no standard definition of a “detox diet,” programs vary considerably.

Most of them include eliminating caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, and many restrict meat and solid foods altogether. The diets also tend to involve consumption of large amounts of liquid, fiber, and raw vegetables. These are thought to purge the gastrointestinal system of accumulated harmful substances.

A variety of “cleansing boosters” may be incorporated like herbal laxatives, colonics, probiotics to repopulate the natural intestinal flora, and antioxidants.

Some programs even include relaxation therapy, such as massage, sauna, aromatherapy baths, deep-breathing exercises, and walking.

There is conflicting scientific evidence about their usefulness.

For instance, toxicologist A. Jay Gandolfi, an associate dean for research in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Arizona, and Linda Birnbaum, director of the Experimental Toxicology division of the Environmental Protection Agency made the following points in a Los Angeles Times article:

  1. High volumes of liquid consumption could theoretically help remove water-soluble chemicals like arsenic, but not fat-soluble chemicals (which make up most pollutants).
  2. Fiber consumption may help eliminate toxic chemicals that accumulate in the liver, but not chemicals that are located in other parts of the gastrointestinal system.
  3. Raw vegetables have no special detoxifying properties other than that their high fiber content can further help bulk up stools.
  4. Most chemicals of concern are fat-soluble and so are stored in fat. The best way to get rid of these potential toxins is not through a detox diet, but through weight loss. Slender people get rid of toxins more quickly than overweight and obese individuals.

Possible Dangers

While consuming a lot of fiber and staying hydrated are healthy when done in moderation, using colonics and laxatives that are intended to “purify” the digestive tract can be dangerous.

Their use can lead to metabolic disturbances, fainting episodes, dehydration, and muscle cramps. The more extreme programs also leave individuals protein and nutrient depleted. Among other consequences, this can lead to decreased lean muscle mass and slowed metabolism.

But What About the Great Benefits Detox Followers Tell You They Get?

Benefits may exist, but they may not be due to detoxification.

The decreased bloating can be from eating less food; the clearer skin from increased hydration; and the decreased headaches from the exercise and relaxation components of the program.

That’s NOT to say that all detox diets should be strictly avoided. In fact, there may be some benefit in a short-term (1-3 days) laxative-free “detox” program.

As a health-promoting practice, committing to a detox regimen helps people stop and consider the healthy and unhealthy components of their lifestyles. Making changes like eating less, examining health habits, and getting rid of processed foods, nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol will help you feel better.

Some dieticians even recommend a gentle cleanse to clients. This would be a diet consisting of primarily fruits, vegetables, non-meat proteins, and lots of water, while excluding substances such as nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol.

In the end, a short and moderate “detox” diet may serve as an incentive to improve a chronically unhealthy lifestyle, though remember, it does not necessarily purify or cleanse the body of toxins.

Recommendations if You’re Starting a Detox Diet

  • Make sure you understand the benefits and risks of detox regimens, and explore possible alternative methods that might help improve your health (such as an overall healthy diet that is not nutritionally deficient and regular physical activity).
  • Recognize that children and adolescents; pregnant and breastfeeding women; older adults with impaired kidney or liver function; individuals with chronic illness such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or gastrointestinal disease; people with eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia; those with irritable bowel syndrome; and individuals on blood thinning medication are at high-risk for negative health outcomes from following a detox diet.

I hope this helps so that if you’re considering a detox diet you now have some better understanding of what that means and the choices you’ll have.

4 Easy Ways To Eat More Veggies

I’m sure if I mentioned that you’re supposed to get 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day for optimal health benefits, you wouldn’t say, “Gee Shelli, I never heard that before!”

Yet when I read the nutrition journals of new clients, often they are not even getting close to that number.

So here are what I think might be the simplest ways to get MORE vegetables into your diet.

  1. Mix Veggies in Omelets & Casseroles – We just don’t enjoy the taste of every vegetable. If that’s the case for you with say broccoli, a good way to disguise the taste is to use it in omelets or casseroles. This is a great way to get the kids to eat their veggies, too!
  2. Use Raw Veggies as a Late Night Snack – We all get late night cravings. A great way to satisfy those cravings is with raw veggies. They are very low in calories, high in fiber, and have a negligible impact on blood sugar and insulin. And if you’re not crazy about plain raw vegetables, dip or put a small bit of nut butter on them.
  3. Puree then Mix – Put your veggies into the food processor, puree, and then mix the puree into ground beef or ground turkey. Use this idea for meatloaf, burgers, taco meat, or any other recipe calling for ground meat.
  4. Drink your Veggies – Taking a high quality greens supplement is perhaps the easiest way to get the antioxidant and phytochemical benefit of multiple servings of fruits and veggies without having to eat a huge salad with every meal. You can also use greens like spinach in your smoothies. Green smoothies are great.

Try these and see what you think. More veggies equals better health!

What Foods Do You CRAVE?

Do you ever find yourself CRAVING certain foods?

Recently I was reviewing New Year’s resolutions with a client and she wrote, “This year I want to stop craving sweets.”

The previous night while watching TV her appetite started acting up and she began to have some pretty intense cravings.

She found herself in the kitchen rummaging through the fridge, cupboards, and pantry looking for something to satisfy her hunger. It’s a familiar scenario to us all, right?

We talked about this and here’s what I told her.

We are all human, we all have cravings and we always will!

But how to NOT let those cravings get the best of us and sabotage our great healthy eating plan is simple.

Don’t keep your trigger foods in your house.

For instance, I can keep salty foods like pretzels or chips around my house. They don’t tempt me at all. I can even keep cookies or cake around and still no temptation.

But ice cream…..that’s another story. SO, I don’t keep ice cream in my freezer. Simple enough, right?

If you want to end your challenge with late night snacking on the foods you know are “wrong” for you, and you want to increase your adherence to your healthy eating plan then………

Keep your house free of trigger foods.

If they are not available, they won’t tempt you. Trying to use will-power rarely works, and the cravings usually have their way with you.

Try this “off limits” approach with your trigger foods and see what happens. It’s likely that when you go grazing during a craving you’ll reach for a piece of fruit or some nut butter on celery or a protein snack instead.

Let me know if you’ve tried this and how it’s worked for you.

Spice Up Your Life And Burn Fat At The Same Time

Want to spice up your life AND burn some fat? Who doesn’t, right?

Not only can spices save an otherwise boring, though healthy meal, it turns out certain spices can help you burn body fat through the process of thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is heat. And since a calorie is a unit of heat, more thermogenesis equals more calories burned.

A recent issue of The Journal of Physiology and Behavior cited numerous studies on several spices that increase thermogenesis, including these findings:

  1. Capsaicin: This compound gives red chili pepper its heat and increases energy via heat expenditure by up to 23 percent after being ingested at breakfast.
  2. Black pepper increases body heat by bonding to TRPV1 receptors in the brain.
  3. Turmeric has both anti-cancer and pro-thermogenic properties.

Learn about these three spices; red chili pepper, black pepper, and turmeric, and use them liberally. Just be careful not to overdo it. If you do, you’ll likely end up with heartburn instead of fat burn!