Wednesday, November 27, 2013

9 Power Foods For Thanksgiving

Every year on Thanksgiving many people who are into fitness plan their meal around exercise. Some run a half-marathon, others are at the gym early and simply want to burn off as many calories as possible as they can so they can enjoy second helpings without the guilt.

Like many of you, I'm thankful for the gift especially at my age to be active participant in my health and to have a regimen that works for me. I know of little else that has the ability to improve mind, body, and spirit while also allowing for indulgences like pecan pie and gravy.

In addition to the exercise there are there is way to get out of the post-Thanksgiving guilt (over eating blues). All it takes is to include some of the following foods on your table. And if these foods are already on the menu, give yourself a pat on the back and tell your guests that you're giving them the green light on second helpings all in the name of better health.
Beets are naturally rich in nitrates, which the body converts to nitrites (a precursor for nitric oxide). Nitric oxide is helpful for runners because it dilates blood vessels and therefore aids in the delivery of blood and oxygen to working muscles. Nitric oxide is also an important player in many intracellular processes such as muscle contraction. But enough about chemistry and biology--it's the holidays, after all! Just know that dietary nitrates, like the kind found in beet juice and cooked beets, have been found to alter the energy cost of running, which means that by eating them, you can improve your running economy (and maybe even win the pie prize at this year's Turkey Trot).

Broccoli and brussel sprouts: 
Cruciferous vegetables like these green gems prevent oxidative stress; contain a host of valuable metabolites, which are effective in chemoprevention of cancer; contain disease-fighting and immune-boosting phytonutrients; and are rich in essential nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid (while being low in calories, unless you coat them with butter and melted cheese). Broccoli is often served as a first-course soup, or you could roast some brussel sprouts and serve them alongside the bird. You might also include another cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower, mashed and mixed with potatoes (to bring down the calories of the dish while boosting the nutrient content).
Don't forget to include this superfruit at your Thanksgiving feast. Coming in at less than 50 calories a cup, this filling, fiber-rich side will fill you up without filling you out. For more news on how cranberries can protect your health and therefore your training, read up on the Surprising Benefits of Cranberries.
With only 33 calories per cup, this nutrient-dense choice is chock-full of calcium (100mg), iron (1mg), potassium (329mg), and antioxidant vitamins like vitamins A, C, and K. Kale is also a great source of eyesight-protecting lutein, which effectively protects the eyes against macular degeneration, oxidative damage, and the harmful blue light that tends to surround us in our daily lives.
Rich in infammation-fighting antioxidants, this fruit also boasts antibacterial and antiviral properties, which means that it just might help you fight off your next illness without the need for modern medicine. Studies have also found that the pomegranate contains unique antioxidant polyphenols, which may be beneficial to folks working to control Type 2 diabetes. 
No Thanksgiving table is complete until this makes an appearance. A half-cup of canned pumpkin (easy enough to incorporate into soup or bread) contains only 42 caloriesbut still offers 4 grams of fiber to keep your digestive system healthy, 953mg Vitamin A to protect eyesight, and over 250mg of the electrolyte potassium, which is important for heart health and muscle function.
Sweet potatoes: 
Avoid adding lots of butter, sugar, and marshmallows to the traditional sweet potato casserole, and you'll feel a bit better about indulging in all of the antioxidants and other nutrients sweet potatoes have to offer.
Turkey is rich in all the amino acids needed to promote muscle recovery, can easily help you meet your daily needs. Along with being rich in protein, turkey also provides hungry runners with essential nutrients like energizing B vitamins, bone-boosting phosphorus, and all-important zinc (it's hard to find a body process or body structure that isn't impacted in some way by zinc). You might be wondering whether dark meat or light meat is a better choice. Ounce for ounce, either is a good choice; just remember to shed the saturated-fat, calorie-laden skin!
3oz turkey light meat, skinless, roasted: 
134 calories, 25g protein, 3g fat (0.9g saturated), 259mg potassium, 1mg iron, 1.7mg zinc, 59mg cholesterol
3oz turkey dark meat, skinless, roasted: 
159 calories, 24g protein, 6 grams fat (2.1g saturated), 247mg potassium, 2mg iron, 3.8mg zinc, 72mg cholesterol

You might also like:

Other practical tips for a better TG experience

How hard does the average person have to work out to burn off a thanksgiving meal.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hours of exercise to burn off TURKEY DAY CALORIES

Here’s how long it takes to burn off that turkey day treats-binge eating.


GOBBLE GOBBLE---Avoid weight gain: Surviving the Holidays

The skinny on Holiday weight gain: depending on who you read, the average consensus weight gain for people during the holiday season and who are already over-weight/inactive is 7 pounds. For the person who is already fit the weight gain is only 1-2 pounds.

So here are some tips for you to help avoid weight gain this year. Well if you have been following me for a bit you know where this is going, right?

1. The main culprit for most of the weight you with gain during the holidays is ALL THE SUGAR (includes alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, coke). Avoid the sugar at all cost. Well, if you can't avoid the sugar and you love your pumpkin pie or cakes and pastries then eat only half portions. But in any case, drink tons of water before and after. This helps to decrease sugar cravings, especially since the more sugar you eat the more sugar you will want. The other trick I have learned that helps with my sugar cravings is Black Coffee (Tea), even just two or three sips will stop the craving. Try it it works.

2. Skip the bread and stuffing, and if you can't then eat half of what you'd normally eat. Every little bit DOES add up. Skip the turkey sandwiches (eat the turkey if you're hungry) later in the day while you're watching the Ravens-Steelers game.

3. If you're going to have carbs stick with the veges, sweet potatoes have half the calories of white potatoes. You can eat the mashed potatoes because that's better than eating the bread. Other traditional things served that are good for you would be brussel sprouts, green beans and asparagus.

4. If you're invited out to someones house bring a couple of side dishes that you know are healthy.

5. Have more protein and less sides. If you're a Vegetarian BYOF.

6. Have you ever heard this: "Don't spoil your appetite"! Thanks mom :) Whose mom did't say that... Well DO SPOIL your appetite. Most meals are served at odd times so depending on the situation, bottom line--don't go anywhere hungry. You WILL overeat. Eat something before you get there, an apple or protein shake, Greek yogurt, four slices of lean lunch meat or a 1/2 cup of oatmeal will decrease hunger for a while (all less than 150 cal).

7. Sit down and eat, don't stand around picking at stuff, contrary to popular belief those calories count.

8. Don't put on your favorite sweats or relaxed pants before to sit down for food. As you eat and your stomach distends, this provides the feedback mechanism to stop eating. Don't loosen the belt buckle for that matter either.

9. Studies show that having at least 12 ounces of water or vegetable soup right before a Buffet type meal will cause a 14% less calorie consumption. Have water with lemon, not just a lemon peel, squeeze fresh lemon into your water. Lemon actually improves digestion by increasing liver function. Less bloating and indigestion. Daily practice of drinking water with lemon juice (not concentrate) will improve you digestion and decrease bloating.

10.  Chew, chew, chew your food, there are many digestive enzymes in your saliva that breakdown food to help digestion. Got news for you, your stomach has no eat. You will avoid over eating, eat slower and will eat less and then you don't have to take Zantac or tums later.

11.Watch the size of your bites, don't stuff you're face.

12. Talking. Don't just sit there and gobble your food. Have a conversation! For food to be recognized by the brain the signals have to be transmitted from the stomach, blood stream etc to the brain. That can take 20 mins. So enjoy your company, share something other than just food. But don't talk and chew at the same time.

13. No one needs appetizers, enough said.

14. Skip dessert and go back for some turkey left overs later. Protein is Thermogenic (helps burn calories, because it's hard to digest) sugar does the opposite (puts on fat).

15. Don't go lie on the couch after dinner or take a nap grab a couple of people and go for a walk. A 10 min walk will help with the Turkey Somnolence, improve energy and help with digestion.

16. Brush your teeth right after the meal. Go straight to the bathroom to brush, floss, and mouthwash so that your mouth is feeling nice and clean - this  makes it less appealing to eat more (especially before bedtime). Ever try to eat or drink something after brushing your teeth? Not tasty!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Body Fat Percentage vs. Fitness (the skinny on body fat)

Body-fat percentage tests are among the most popular voluntary exams at health fairs and gyms.

Many people who take the test are consumed by their appearance and have created unrealistic goals for themselves and this maybe due to the hoard of fitness magazines, the men and women pictured in them become role models so to speak for what the body should look like. One must understand that a large part is genes, metabolism, behavior, environment, culture and other variables include nutrition and intensity of exercise. 

Others believe reducing the percentage of body fat improves their level of fitness. Being thin isn't the key; it's being fit. A thin person who looks lean can score high in a body-fat percentage (skinny fat).

Less body fat doesn't mean fit ...People should be more concerned about the placement of that body fat and balancing daily exercise with sensible nutritional habits.

To maintain life, a person needs at least 3 percent to 5 percent body fat. Extremely low body fat, can be detrimental to health and fitness. For most women, 11 percent body fat or less is medically unsafe. For most men, 5 percent or less is medically unsafe.One of the immediate effects of extremely low body fat is a great susceptibility to illness.
  • Body-fat levels affect the immune system. It's not unusual for a triathlete or a marathoner two weeks before competition to get sick or catch a cold. 
  • Over the long haul, very low levels of body fat can lead to loss of bone density, which increases the risk of stress fractures
  • Women's reproductive cycles can be disrupted or stop entirely.

One should be less concerned about the amount of fat and more concerned about its type and location. Recent studies indicate that some body fat is good, and some is not.

  • Most of our fat - somewhere between 70 and 80 percent for men, and more for women - is subcutaneous; that is, right beneath the skin. That's the good body fat.

  • The bad stuff is the deep body fat, also called intra-abdominal or visceral fat, most of it in the abdomen around our internal organs. A lot of deep body fat can give a person an apple shape, and it seems to be associated with all health problems on which fat seems to have any bearing. The more visceral fat you have, the higher the level of free fatty acids in your blood. Some of the bad body fat, released into the bloodstream, can clog arteries, And because visceral fat is so near the liver, a lot of the fatty acids it releases go directly into that organ, which may be impaired by too-high fat levels in the bloodstream. 
  • Genes, gender - men have about twice the amount of bad fat as women - and lifestyle determine the amount and type of body fat. And lifestyle is the only factor we should be concerned about, because it's the only one people can control - with physical activity and sensible nutrition.

  • In the context of fitness, people need to balance lean muscle mass with fat:

    The number and size of muscle and fat cells determine the amount of muscle and fat tissue and, consequently, a person's weight. Someone with a great number of large-size muscle and/or fat cells will weigh more than someone with fewer, smaller cells.

    The number of muscle cells is determined before birth and remains the same for most of our lives, with some decrease in our senior years, Gaesser said. The size of these cells increases naturally as a person ages, but the size also can be increased with intense physical activity such as weightlifting.

    Fat cells are a different story. People are born with a given number of fat cells, somewhere between 5 billion and 10 billion. Recent studies show this number stays constant through out life.

    These realities aside, many people obsess about decreasing body fat, sometimes setting themselves up for failure by comparing themselves to athletes.

    The low-fat bodies of many successful athletes - including most swimmers, gymnasts, runners and beach-volleyball players - tend to be perceived as temples of perfection.

    There's no question that body-fat percentage is one of several statistics used by competitive athletes in monitoring fitness. For many types of athletes, it's important because too much fat tissue is really dead weight and doesn't contribute to performance.

    But it's crucial for people to realize that body-fat percentage is just one small component of an athlete's total training program. Athletes burn a lot of fat and calories in training six to eight hours a day. Most of us non-athletes don't train that much in a week. So the bottom line is to not obsess and definitely not compare when you are looking at magazines. It leads to unrealistic goals and disappointment especially in younger age groups and has been linked to depression, anorexia and bulimia. 

Why You Should NEVER Eat Vegetable Oil or Margarine! Part 2

What’s Wrong with Vegetable Oils?

There are many problems with vegetable oil consumption, and in my opinion, no amount is safe. To understand why, let’s look at a few of the biggest problems with vegetable oils:

Our Bodies Aren't Meant to Consume Them!

The fat content of the human body is about 97% saturated and monounsaturated fat, with only 3 % Polyunsaturated fats. Half of that three percent is Omega-3 fats, and that balance needs to be there. Vegetable oils contain very high levels of polyunsaturated fats, and these oils have replaced many of the saturated fats in our diets since the 1950's.

The body needs fats for rebuilding cells and hormone production, but it has to use the building blocks we give it. When we give it a high concentration of polyunsaturated fats instead of the ratios it needs, it has no choice but to incorporate these fats into our cells during cell repair and creation.

The problem is that polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable and oxidize easily in the body (if they haven’t already oxidized during processing or by light exposure while sitting on the grocery store shelf). These oxidized fats cause inflammation and mutation in cells.

In arterial cells, these mutations cause inflammation that can clog arteries. When these fats are incorporated into skin cells, their mutation causes skin cancer. (This is why people often get the most dangerous forms of skin cancer in places where they are never exposed to the sun, but that is a topic for another day!)

When these oils are incorporated into cells in reproductive tissue, some evidence suggests that this can spur problems like Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary. In short, the body is made up of saturated and monounsaturated fats, and it needs these for optimal health.

Vegetable Oils Contain High Levels of Omega-6 Fatty Acids

I've talked before about how the body needs Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats in balance, preferably a 1:1 ratio. Most people consume a much higher ratio of Omega-6 fats, and this can lead to problems.

Vegetable oils contain a very high concentration of Omega 6 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats, which cause an imbalance of these oils in the body. Omega 6 fats are easily oxidized with heat or light exposure. This is another reason that when these types of fats/oils are incorporated into tissue like skin cells, the heat and light from sun exposure can increase skin cancer risk.

Unbalanced levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats have been linked to skin cancer and many types of cancers. As this article explains:

In one study performed at the University of Western Ontario, researchers observed the effects of ten different dietary fats ranging from most saturated to least saturated. What they found is that saturated fats produced the least number of cancers, while omega-6 polyunsaturated fats produced the most. Numerous other studies have also shown that polyunsaturated fats stimulate cancer while saturated fat does not1 and that saturated fats do not break down to form free radicals.2

In another study, Dr. Vivienne Reeve, PhD, Head of the Photobiology Research Group at the University of Sydney irradiated a group of mice while feeding while feeding different groups of them polyunsaturated and saturated fats.She discovered that the mice that consumed only saturated fat were totally protected from skin cancer. Those in the polyunsaturated fat group quickly developed skin cancers. Later in the study, the mice in the saturated fat group were given polyunsaturated fats. Skin cancers quickly developed.

The 3% of our body that is made up of polyunsaturated fats is approximately half Omega-3 fatty acids and half Omega-6 fatty acids and our body needs this balance. Omega-3s have been shown to reduce inflammation and be protective against cancer, while too much Omega-6 fats cause inflammation and increase cancer risk.

Over time, consumption of these oils high in Omega-6s and polyunsaturated fats can also lead to other problems, as the above article elaborates:

The Journal Epidemiology published a study called, “Margarine Intake and Subsequent Coronary Heart Disease in Men.”Authors of the study followed participants of the Framingham Heart Study for 20 years and recorded their incidence of heart attack. They also tracked both butter and margarine consumption.

The researchers discovered that as margarine consumption increased… heart attacks went up. As butter consumption increased… heart attacks declined.

The study also divided the data into ten year increments. What they discovered is that during the first ten years, there was little association between margarine consumption and heart attacks. However, during the second decade of follow-up, the group eating the most margarine had 77% more heart attacks than the group eating none!

Imbalance of these fats can also cause damage to the intestines and along with processed grain consumption can set the body up for a host of food allergies and auto immune problems.


What’s Wrong with Vegetable Oils?

  • Vegetable oils contain very high levels of polyunsaturated fats. 
  • The body needs saturated fats for rebuilding cells and hormone production polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable and oxidize easily in the body. 
  • These oxidized fats cause inflammation and mutation in cells.In arterial cells, these mutations cause inflammation that can clog arteries, leads to heart disease.
  • When these fats are incorporated into skin cells, their mutation causes skin cancer. 
  • When these oils are incorporated into cells in reproductive tissue, can lead to problems like Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Minor Moves Major Weight Loss

If you don't want to change your diet at all you can still lose a lot of weight over the course of a year.

WATCH THIS VIDEO and make huge progress

Coconut Oil Part 2

Coconut oil has been a dietary and beauty staple for a very long time. It’s been touted as powerful weapon against many microbes, from viruses to bacteria to protozoa, and provides your body with high-quality fat that is critical for optimal health.

Why is Coconut Oil So Good?

1. LAURIC ACID: Around 50 percent of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, which is rarely found in nature. In fact, coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance on this planet.

Our bodies convert lauric acid into monolaurin, a monoglyceride which can destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV and herpes, influenza, measles, gram-negative bacteria, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

2. Medium Chain Fatty Acids: Coconut oil is comprised of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that are easily digested and readily cross cell membranes. MCFAs are immediately converted by your liver into energy rather than being stored as fat. This is in part why coconut oil is recommended as an ideal replacement for non-vegetable carbohydrates.

3. Gentle on Digestion: Coconut oil is easy on your digestive system and does not produce an insulin spike in your bloodstream, so for a quick energy boost, you could simply eat a spoonful of coconut oil, or add it to your food. In the video above, I also share my recipe for a scrumptious yet healthful chocolate treat, courtesy of the healthy fat from coconut oil.

4. Additive Qualities: To get more coconut oil into your diet, you can add it to your tea or coffee, in lieu of a sweetener. It will also help improve absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, so taking a spoonful of coconut oil along with your daily vitamins may help boost their effectiveness.

5. Great for Baking and Cooking: Coconut oil is ideal for all sorts of cooking and baking, as it can withstand higher temperatures without being damaged like many other oils, vegetable or canola.

6. Long Lasting and Stable: Furthermore, coconut oil does not go rancid, which is a huge boon when you’re making homemade concoctions. Coconut oil that has been kept at room temperature for a year has been tested for rancidity, and showed no evidence of it. Since you would expect the small percentage of unsaturated oils naturally contained in coconut oil to become rancid, it seems that the other (saturated) oils have a powerful antioxidant effect.

7. Health Benefits: Research has shown that coconut oil rich diets promote a healthier heart, better brain function, better thyroid function, improved immunity and younger looking skin.

Coconut Oil Part 1: Improved Brain Function

Dr. Mary Newport came up with a theory a few years ago after wanting to help her husband who was suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. Her research lead her to believe that Alzhiemers is much like Diabetes of the Brain and that there is a problem with Glucose utilization in the brain. Further investigation lead her to believe that ketone bodies could be an alternative fuel for your brain that when digesting coconut oil (other fats as well), might offer profound benefits in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

Now, Dr. Newport's research is being used to launch one of the first clinical trials of its kind to test her theory. The research is being done at the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute.

Sixty-five patients diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s have been enrolled to evaluate the effects of coconut oil on the disease, compared to a placebo. Dr. Newport hopes to have the results within a year.

This issue strikes close to home for Dr. Newport, whose husband has been battling the disease for years. As reported by CTV News:

“While there is currently no clinical data showing the benefits of coconut oil on the prevention and treatment of dementia, Newport -- whose husband Steve was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 51 -- said she began to see improvements after starting him on four teaspoons of coconut oil per day.

‘Before the coconut oil, he could not tie his shoes. His weird slow gait… That improved. He walked normally and he was able to start running again.

He was able to start reading again, his conversation improved dramatically and then over several months we saw improvements in his memory,’ Newport said. Prior to starting him on coconut oil, Newport said none of the existing medications were working.”
Coconut Oil Appears to Be an Ideal Brain Food

There are only two types of fuel your body can convert into energy: carbs/sugar, or fat. Again, ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat (as opposed to glucose) into energy. And a primary source of ketone bodies are the medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil. In fact, coconut oil contains about 66 percent MCTs.

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are fats that are not processed by your body in the same manner as long-chain triglycerides. Normally, a fat taken into your body must be mixed with bile released from your gallbladder before it can be broken down in your digestive system.

But medium-chain triglycerides go directly to your liver, which naturally converts the oil into ketones, bypassing the bile entirely. Your liver then immediately releases the ketones into your bloodstream where they are transported to your brain to be readily used as fuel.

While your brain is quite happy running on glucose, there’s evidence suggesting that ketone bodies may actually help restore and renew neurons and nerve function in your brain, even after damage has set in. Interestingly, the mechanism of this MCT-ketone metabolism appears to be that your body treats MCTs as a carbohydrate and not a fat. This allows the ketone energy to hit your bloodstream without the normal insulin spike associated with carbohydrates entering your bloodstream. So in effect, coconut oil is a fat that acts like a carbohydrate when it comes to brain fuel.

How Much Coconut Oil Might You Need?

Therapeutic levels of MCTs have been studied at 20 grams per day. According to Dr. Newport's calculations, just over two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 35 ml or seven level teaspoons) would supply you with the equivalent of 20 grams of MCT, which is indicated as either a preventative measure against degenerative neurological diseases, or as a treatment for an already established case.

While more research certainly needs to be done in this area as well, I see no reason not to incorporate coconut oil in your diet, or the diet of a loved one who is exhibiting symptoms of brain degeneration. Coconut oil has so many profound health benefits; it’s not going to do any harm.

It’s worth noting that people tolerate coconut oil differently, and you may have to start slowly and build up to these therapeutic levels. My recommendation is to start with one teaspoon, taken with food in the mornings. Gradually add more coconut oil every few days until you are able to tolerate about four tablespoons. It’s best to take it with food, to avoid upsetting your stomach.
Low-Fat Craze Has Likely Contributed to Dramatic Rise in Alzheimer’s

A number of seriously flawed nutritional guidelines have contributed to more than a few health problems in the US, and the low-fat craze (aimed at preventing heart disease) is toward the top of that list. Not only does avoiding healthful fat promote heart disease, it also promotes brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.

According to neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, fat avoidance and carbohydrate overconsumption are at the heart of the Alzheimer’s epidemic—which is an entirely preventable disease, driven by lifestyle factors such as diet. Dr. Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain, provides a powerful argument for eliminating grains from your diet to protect your brain health. Another major factor is the development and increased consumption of genetically engineered grains, which are now pervasive in most processed foods sold in the US. Unfortunately, despite dire need, there’s little money available for research into treatments using regular food items. As Amanda Smith, Medical Director at University of South Florida (USF) Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute told CTV News:

“The pharmaceutical industry is in this -- of course to make money for their companies, and of course they want to help people theoretically -- but at the end of the day it is about dollars and cents, and so money gets invested in things that are new or patent-able rather than things that are sitting on the shelf already.”

Why You Should NEVER Eat Vegetable Oil or Margarine! Part 1

Trans fat, found in margarine, vegetable shortening, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils became widely popularized as a “healthier alternative” to saturated animal fats like butter and lard around the mid-1950’s. Its beginnings go back 100 years though, to Proctor & Gamble’s creation of Crisco in 1911.

These oils are supposed to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, increase weight loss, and somehow improve overall health. The only problem is that science had not backed up these claims.

In 1961, the American Heart Association began encouraging Americans to limit dietary fat, particularly animal fats, in order to reduce their risk of heart disease. In the decades since, despite low-fat diets becoming increasingly part of the norm, heart disease rates have soared.

It’s been a long time coming, but on November 7, 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it is now considering removing partially hydrogenated oils—the primary source of trans fats—from the list of "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) ingredients.

The FDA will accept comments for 60 days, after which a permanent decision will be made. If finalized, the FDA’s decision means that food manufacturers can no longer use partially hydrogenated oils, i.e. trans fats, in their products without jumping through hoops to get special approval.

This is a remarkable turnaround, and I personally could not be more pleased by this proposed change. This is the first step towards the truth, informing consumers that trans fats are a primary culprit causing premature death. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also called for the elimination of trans fats from the global food supply.

These oils are supposed to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, increase weight loss, and somehow improve overall health.

The only problem is that science had not backed up these claims. Finally, now we are hearing the truth, watch this news clip, it also gives you the sense of how tricky the food manufacturers are with labeling...

What Are Vegetable Oils/Margarine?

Vegetable oils (and margarine, made from these oils) are oils extracted from seeds like the rapeseed (canola oil) soybean (soybean oil), corn, sunflower, safflower, etc. They were practically non-existent in our diets until the early 1900s when new chemical processes allowed them to be extracted.

Unlike butter or coconut oil, these vegetable oils can’t be extracted just by pressing or separating naturally. They must be chemically removed, deodorized, and altered. These are some of the most chemically altered foods in our diets, yet they get promoted as healthy.

Vegetable oils are found in practically every processed food, from salad dressing to mayo to conventional nuts and seeds. These oils are some of the most harmful substances you can put into your body, but more on that in a minute.

How Vegetable Oils are Made

Vegetable oils are manufactured in a factory, usually from genetically modified crops that have been heavily treated with pesticides. This article has fascinating videos contrasting the production of vegetable oils and butter.

Take for instance, the common Canola oil, the beauty queen of the vegetable oil industry. It was developed by making a hybrid version of the rapeseed, and it was given its name in the 1980s as part of a marketing effort organized by a conference on mono-saturates.

Rapeseed oil contains high amounts of the toxic erucic acid, which is poisonous to the body. Canola oil is an altered version, also called Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed (LEAR) and it is commonly genetically modified and treated with high levels of pesticides.

Canola (modified rapeseed oil) is produced by heating the rapeseed and processing with a petroleum solvent to extract the oil. Then another process of heat and addition of acid is used to remove nasty solids (wax) that occur during the first processing.

At this point, the newly created canola oil must be treated with more chemicals to improve color and separate the different parts of the oil. Finally, since the chemical process has created a harsh smelling oil, it must be chemically deodorized to be palatable.

If the vegetable oil is going to be made into shortening or margarine, is undergoes an additional process called hydrogenation to make it solid at cold temperatures. Unlike saturated fats (butter, coconut oil, etc.) vegetable oils are not naturally solid at these temperatures and must be hydrogenated to accomplish this. During this process of hydrogenation, the dangerous transfats are created.

Trans fat, found in margarine, vegetable shortening, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils became widely popularized as a “healthier alternative” to saturated animal fats like butter and lard around the mid-1950’s. Its beginnings go back 100 years though, to Proctor & Gamble’s creation of Crisco in 1911.

In 1961, the American Heart Association began encouraging Americans to limit dietary fat, particularly animal fats, in order to reduce their risk of heart disease. In the decades since, despite low-fat diets becoming increasingly part of the norm, heart disease rates have soared.

It’s been a long time coming, but on November 7, 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it is now considering removing partially hydrogenated oils—the primary source of trans fats—from the list of "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) ingredients.

The FDA will accept comments for 60 days, after which a permanent decision will be made. If finalized, the FDA’s decision means that food manufacturers can no longer use partially hydrogenated oils, i.e. trans fats, in their products without jumping through hoops to get special approval.

This is a remarkable turnaround, and I personally could not be more pleased by this proposed change. This is the first step towards the truth, informing consumers that trans fats are a primary culprit causing premature death. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also called for the elimination of trans fats from the global food supply.

More to follow

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Three Grossest Sentences You'll Read About Chicken Nuggets Today

Chicken nuggets are delicious things as long as you don't have to think about what parts of the chicken they actually are made from. The Journal of American Medicine looked into that question, leading Reuters to produce three sentences that might make you never want another chicken nugget again.

Here's what doctors at the University of Mississippi Medical Center found after studying two different nuggets from two different fast food chains in Jackson, Miss.:

The first nugget was about half muscle, with the rest a mix of fat, blood vessels and nerves. Close inspection revealed cells that line the skin and internal organs of the bird, the authors write in the American Journal of Medicine.

The second nugget was only 40 percent muscle, and the remainder was fat, cartilage and pieces of bone.

Now we've all seen that slime picture, and read the horror stories, and deep down we know that chicken meat comes in more shapes than circles and boots. But nothing is more disturbing than knowing that half of a white-meat chicken nugget is actually just a Frankenstein mix of pulverized avian bone, nerves, and internal organs.

Exercise Makes Middle-Aged People Smarter

High-intensity interval training makes middle-aged people not only healthier but smarter, showed a Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) study led by Dr. Anil Nigam of the MHI and University of Montreal, in collaboration with the Montreal Geriatric University Institute.

The participants all had a body-mass index (BMI) between 28 and 31 (overweight) in addition to one or more other cardiovascular risk factors. Body-mass index is calculated as a person's weight divided by their height squared (kg/m2) -- 25 to 30 is considered overweight, over 30 is obese. High-intensity interval training involves alternating between short periods of low and high intensity aerobic exercise -- for example, a series of 30 seconds of sprinting followed by 30 seconds of walking or jogging.

"We worked with six adults who all followed a four-month program of twice weekly interval training on stationary bicycles and twice weekly resistance training. Cognitive function, VO2max and brain oxygenation during exercise testing revealed that the participants' cognitive functions had greatly improved thanks to the exercise," Dr. Nigam said. VO2max is the maximum capacity of an individual's body to transport and use oxygen during exercise. It impacts on the body's ability to oxygenate the brain and is related to cognitive function.

"Our participants underwent a battery of cognitive, biological and physiological tests before the program began in order to determine their cognitive functions, body composition, cardiovascular risk, brain oxygenation during exercise and maximal aerobic capacity," Dr. Nigam explained. The cognitive tests included tasks such as remembering pairs of numbers and symbols. To see what was actually happening in the brain, the researchers used near-infra red spectroscopy (NIRS), a technique that works with light (in the near-infra red range) sent though human tissue that reacts with oxygen in the blood (light absorption). It is so sensitive that it detects the minute changes in the volume and oxygenation of blood occur in our brains when we exercise or think.

Exercises to Help Osteoarthritic Knees (Knee Pain)

Healthy Knee Joint
There are many kinds of knee arthritis but most common one is known as Osteoarthritis or Degenerative joint disease or garden variety arthritis. 

Osteoarthritis OA is usually a slowly progressive condition which is characterized by a breakdown of cartilage in almost any joint in the body, although it’s most frequently seen in weight-bearing joints such as the spine, hips and knees. Symptoms of this “wear-and-tear” condition include sore joints, pain after increased activity or extended periods of inactivity, joint deformity, and fluid which the joint cartilage gradually wears away.

OA Knee
It most often affects middle-aged and older people. But younger people can be affected especially following a traumatic injury like a fall or car accident or other sports related trauma.

 OA of the knee is one of the five leading causes of disability among older women and men.

One out of three people ages 63 to 94 will develop knee OA, but women are at greater risk than men. Other people at risk include overweight individuals, people with a history of trauma to the knee, or those whose jobs require heavy kneeling or squatting.

While treatment—including physical therapy, weight loss, pain-relieving drugs, anti-inflammatory injections and surgery—is tailored to each patient, experts agree that stretching is a vital component to any OA treatment plan. Stretching can help improve functioning, increase range of motion, and relieve discomfort.

Grab a mat, towel, or strap and read on for four easy knee moves that can be done at the gym or in the comfort of your own home.

Standing Calf Stretch
Stand facing a wall with your right leg in front of you and your left leg behind. Placing your hands on the wall for support, slowly bend your right front knee and lean into the wall, pressing the left heel to the floor. Once you feel a stretch in your left calf muscle, hold for 30 seconds, and then slowly relax. Repeat the stretch twice more before switching sides and repeating.

A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that knee OA patients who performed standing calf stretches as part of an overall exercise routine experienced improved function and reported less pain and stiffness than those who did not.

Seated Hip March 

Sitting up straight in a chair, slightly kick your left foot back a few inches underneath the chair, keeping toes on the floor for support. Lift your right foot off the floor, keeping knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold your right leg in the air for five seconds, and then slowly lower back to the ground. Repeat 10 times. Alternate legs and do another 10 on each side. (With or without theraband)

A University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics study found that stronger thigh muscles can protect women against knee OA symptoms.

Quadriceps Stretch
Lying face down, bend your right knee and grab your ankle with your right hand. (You may want to rest your forehead on your left forearm for support.) Gently pull your right foot towards your buttocks until you feel a gentle stretch in the thigh. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds before slowly lowering your leg. Repeat two more times (for a total of three times), switch sides, and repeat.

A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that patients with OA of the knee who performed this exercise as part of an overall routine experienced improved function and reported less pain and stiffness than those who did not.

Hamstring Stretch
Lie down on your back with both knees bent. Loop a towel or strap around your right foot and, holding onto the strap for support, extend and elevate your right leg to a 45-degree angle. Once you feel a gentle stretch in your right hamstring (behind the knee and thigh), hold for 30 seconds. Slowly lower and repeat two more times, switch sides, and repeat.

A 2010 study in the journal Physiotherapy found that hamstring stretching led to significant increases in knee extension range of motion in subjects with knee osteoarthritis.

When doing these exercises, go at your own pace. If you experience pain during these stretches, stop and talk to your doctor during your next visit to see what he or she recommends. 

Understanding How We Burn Calories When The Exercise is Over

The calories burned after the workout is over is called afterburn.

The afterburner effect is becoming increasingly popular in the world of health and fitness. In fact, many fitness experts are now suggesting that it is possibly the best method for weight loss. 

Obviously you can't ignore your diet, but I won't bore you with a lecture on the importance of diet here. In this article I will be explaining what the afterburn effect is and an outline of the methods used to take advantage of this effect.

So, the big question. Just what is this afterburn effect, and why should you care

What is the Afterburn Effect?

After burn is a term representing the calories you consume after the exercise is over. The afterburn effect is difficult to estimate. But what you do need to know is that it's real and you need to learn how to get the most out of it if you are serious about fat loss. Simply the more intense the exercise, the greater the afterburn effect. For example, sprinting as fast as you can for 30 seconds for 5 rounds will have a much larger afterburn effect compared to jogging for 30 minutes.

What is Energy Expenditure?

Energy expenditure is the total amount of calories you burn. More specifically, energy expenditure refers to the amount of energy a person uses during all bodily activities from movement, to blood circulation, to breathing, to digestion. When it comes to exercise, energy expenditure is the total measure of calorie burn during and after exercise.

Aerobic Exercise
What is Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Exercise?

Aerobic exercise is a type of activity marked by long distances and slow paces like running, or cycling. Anaerobic exercise is marked by activities that require strength, speed, and power like weight lifting, or sprinting.


Energy Expenditure From Exercise: 3 Components

While total energy expenditure is the sum of the following 3 components, the After Burn Effect is the sum of #2 and #3 components:

1) Calories Burned During Exercise (O2)- This is the amount of calories you burn during a workout. A metabolic cart can accurately measure you calorie burn aerobically during exercise. This is because oxygen uptake (how much oxygen your body uses) is proportional to heat expenditure (calorie burn) for aerobic activities. This component is NOT part of the after burn effect.

2) Calories Burned AFTER Exercise (EPOC) – At higher exercise intensities, oxygen uptake is NOT proportional to heat expenditure. An oxygen debt is created, where EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) is used to help restore the body to a resting state and adapt it to the exercise just performed, which requires energy. This component is part of the after burn effect.

3) Lactic Acid Contribution of Exercise – EPOC is NOT enough to fully account for anaerobic contribution of exercise to total energy expenditure. This is a VERY important point and what differentiates Chris’ research. Chris has proposed that by measuring blood lactate reasonable estimates of rapid glycolitic ATP turnover are available and should not be omitted from the estimation of energy expenditure from anaerobic exercise, especially when anaerobic contributions are large. This component is part of the afterburn effect.

Value of After Burn Effect

Energy Expenditure component #2 is typically referred to as the “After Burn Effect”, when it should really be #2 and #3. The after burn effect is minimal for traditional cardio, but can be significant for strength and power related activities.

Why Most Exercise Physiologists Estimate The Afterburn Effect Incorrectly

One reason may be that the exercise industry is dominated by aerobic exercisers like runners, cyclists, and triathletes:

I think that the way scientists have started the origins of exercise physiology are pretty much all aerobic exercise. That’s what it is. Now many people are applying aerobic exercise concepts like long-distance running and cycling, and they’re using what they found there and applying it to resistance training and weight lifting. That’s where I pretty much have drawn the line. I’m not going to do that.

A Possible 4th Component of Energy Expenditure – Hypertrophy

If you’re working your muscle to the point where you’re causing damage at the microscopic level, it’s going to take energy to repair that… breaking proteins and laying down new proteins, that is most certainly going to be raising your energy expenditure…There’s also medical issues, if you will, that increase energy expenditure, and the largest one is burns. If you’re a burn victim, you can literally double your resting metabolic rate with severe burns. The reason why is you look at your skin, which is mostly protein, you’re laying down new protein. Your nutritional demands are literally off the chart.

High Intensity Anaerobic Exercise Burns More Fat Than Cardio

There was a study I saw years ago, and I still quote it, and they were doing these six-second bursts of all-out cycling. It was 10, 15 sets of this, and they found this unheard of amount of free fatty acids that were broken down from fat stores within the muscle. It begs the question why, during an anaerobic activity that clearly utilizes glucose as a fuel, why is so much fat being broken down.

The answer appears to be, well, the exercise component is six seconds long, and that’s using glucose, but however long the recovery component is, that’s when you’re burning fat. If you add all these intermittent periods together…you’re primarily burning lactate and fatty acids, and that’s where the body composition stuff comes in.

The way I was taught years ago was that if you wanted to burn fat you would have to do long, slow, distance activity because that’s going to burn the most fat. The newest research is starting to show this premise is false and that the other way around that during really brief, intense intermittent bouts of strength, speed and power-related anaerobic exercise is far superior.

So if you want to lose weight, lose body fat, get ripped, intermittent bursts of high-intensity activity followed by rest periods, is the best way to do it.

The Afterburn Effect: Research Still Has a LONG Way to Go!

We have a long way to go before we understand this, and that there are times when it’s almost – for me, from a scientific standpoint – it’s almost overwhelming because we’re finding out that isotonic contractions are different than isometric, that are different from isokinetic. Then you add different one repetition maximums or ten repetition maximum, how much exercise time’s involved, number of reps, the number of sets, the number of rest periods in between sets.

We have a long way to go before we find the perfect exercise program, if you will. The truth of the matter is there’s probably not one perfect program. There’s probably dozens of perfect programs. The fun is in finding out what works for you and having a variety of plans you can switch in an out of to prevent boredom.

I will leave it with this!

Nutrition Is Still King For Losing Fat
90% Nutrition and 10% Exercise 

Stretch your Back Muscles With Yoga Poses


These back exercises primarily target your erector spinae muscles, which run the length of your spine. A good low back exercise also strengthens the glute muscles. These muscles stabilize your pelvis, which attaches to the lowest part of your spine. More advanced back exercises may also strengthen your abdominal and leg muscles.

In their quest to obtain a six-pack, many men and women train their abdominal muscles at length while ignoring the muscles of the low back. Although this may lead to a flat stomach, it can also lead to low back weakness and pain. Adding just a few low back exercises to your abdominal routine can strengthen your back, reduce low back pain and add some definition to your body.

Floor Exercises

You can do a number of very effective back exercises lying face-down on a mat. These include back extensions and supermans. When doing a back extension, you lift only your upper-body off the mat. Supermans involve lifting both your upper and lower-body off the mat, so your glute muscles are targeted more than they are when doing a simple back extension. 

The bird dog exercise is done by kneeling on a mat and alternately lifting your opposing arm and leg. Because the bird dog involves being off-balance, it also strengthens your abdominal muscles.

Stability Ball

Back extensions and bird dogs can also be done on a stability ball. Because the stability ball adds an element of balance to the exercise, they are slightly more difficult, but they have the added benefit of also using your abdominals. When first starting back extensions on the ball, place your feet against a wall for better balance. As your balance improves, you can move away from the wall to increase the difficulty.


You can perform deadlifts and good mornings with either dumbbells or a weighted bar. When first beginning these exercises, use a light weight so you don’t strain your back. Keep in mind that a standard bench press bar weighs 45 pounds, but many gyms keep lighter bars on hand. When doing either of these exercises, keep your back straight and your knees soft. Don’t be afraid to ask a trainer for help with form the first time you try them. These exercises will strengthen your leg muscles as well as your lower back and glutes.

Caution: If you have disk or other back issues consult your doctors before starting any new program.

Yoga Asanas to Strengthen Your Back

Unless you've injured it, you don’t really think about your lower back. You don’t even see it all that often unless you pull a contortionist act in front of the mirror. But maybe it’s time you did pay more attention to one of the most vulnerable parts of your body. Use yoga asanas to strengthen your lower back and protect your future self from groaning and moaning with lower-back pain.

 Standing Poses
Although it sounds delicious when you hear a yoga teacher say, "Now straighten up, one vertebra at a time," it won’t strengthen your lower back. If you have disk issues, that method may actually compound the problem. The secret to a stronger lower back is to straighten up from a bent-over pose like Standing Forward Bend with a straight back. In fact, you can use Half Standing Forward Bend pose to strengthen your lower-back muscles very quickly, along with Chair and Warrior III.

Twisting Poses
Warrior III
If you love a story with a good twist, then you’ll appreciate this one. Having strong lower-back muscles by themselves will not prevent injury or strain. You must develop your spine’s flexibility as well. A supple spine will allow you to move with fluidity and that coupled with your strength will offer more protection than just having one or the other. Start with gentle seated twists like Bharadvajasana I and Sage’s pose. How far you twist to either side is not as important as keeping your back straight and remembering to start the twist from your waist. Sit tall and breathe deeply as you train your back to become more limber.
Back Bends
Although mild back bends will strengthen your lower back, make sure you protect it as well. While in poses like Cobra, Locust, Bow and Sphinx, contract your buttocks, but as you do, always make sure to curve your tailbone down toward your pubis. That one little trick will save you from compressing your lower spine, so you can concentrate on strengthening the lower-back muscles.

Other Asanas
Leg lifts, either singly or two legs at once, paired with a traditional asana or on their own, will strengthen your low back muscles. If you decide to perform leg lifts on their own, don’t forget to place your hands palms down underneath your upper buttocks. As with back bends, you don’t want to hurt your lower back on your way to strengthening it. You can also perform single leg lifts from poses like Bridge or Half Locust.



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pool Exercises For a Bad Back

Pool workouts provide gentle exercise without the same force on the back as land exercise can have. In addition, you get gentle resistance from the water to help you gain strength. A 2009 study in the journal “Spine” found that exercises in water better improved the quality of life of people with lower-back pain than exercises on land.

A very simple pool exercise for the lower back is walking in the water. Start with water up to your waist and work toward higher water levels. Simply walk around the pool and swing your arms. Try to use your whole foot while walking and keep your body straight up instead of leaning forward. You can also work up to jogging in the water.


"Fitness" magazine offers a “Wave Maker” exercise that works out the back and the abs, which support the lower back. To perform this exercise, use one hand to hold the pool’s edge and the other hand to hold the pool wall beneath the water. Bring the rest of your body up so it’s almost parallel with the water line. Then, kick in the water with your legs and knees pressed together and
kicking together like a dolphin. Continue for 30 seconds.

Leg Exercises

Try leg aquatic exercises from The Healthy Back Institute to help your lower back. Stand straight with your feet on the bottom of the pool. Bring your legs about shoulder-width apart and bring one knee up to hip level and then lower it. Switch back and forth between legs, doing about 30 total. Then, bring one leg up to the side. Hold it there for up to 20 seconds, using raised arms for balance, and then lower it. Switch sides.

General Water Exercise

Simply swimming and performing general exercise in the pool can be beneficial to your back. The Aquatic Exercise Association explains that water takes a large amount of impact and pressure off your back. In addition, water exercises have many benefits for the back. They strengthen the back muscles and ab muscles, which support the back. The water’s buoyancy makes any exercise have less of an impact on the joints. Finally, water exercise provides a combination of strength training, stretching and aerobic exercise, which are all beneficial for the health of the lower back.

8 Snacks That Fight Heart Disease

Sure, genetics play a big role in heart health. But lifestyle choices, like diet and exercise, play an even bigger part in preventing and reversing heart disease. The eight snacks on this list are particularly powerful -- packed with nutrients that fight heart disease and the risk factors that cause it. And because they're portable, they're a cinch to fit into any busy schedule.

1. Apples

Maybe it's due to their ubiquitous nature, but apples don't get enough credit. Never mind it doesn't get the same health billing as exotic goji berries -- the humble apple is king, especially when it comes to fighting heart disease.

Apples frequently feature in heart health studies, and it's no wonder. When compared to the most commonly consumed fruit in the U.S., apples rank second only to cranberries (not the most snack-friendly food!) in antioxidant activity. They're also chock-full of pectin, a fiber that interacts with other phytonutrients found in apples to deliver a host of cardiovascular benefits.

2. Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

In his book The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, Jonny Bowden cites a study of 10,000 men and women that associated regular consumption of legumes with a 22 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease.

How they help: All beans are a good bet for heart health, but garbanzo beans are the winner when it comes to reducing your risk of coronary heart disease. They're packed with soluble fiber -- which helps lower cholesterol -- in addition to heart-protective antioxidants, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Snack smart: Aim for four servings a week. Grab hummus and whole-wheat pita on the go, or snack on whole chickpeas right from the can (look for brands that list only these three ingredients: garbanzo beans, water, sea salt).

Burn Calories After The Work Out Is Over: Exercises for Women

EPOC or The Afterburn

The afterburn effect has a fancy name called EPOC, which stands for "excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. This is when your body takes in a high amount of oxygen to bring your body back to its resting state and has an increased metabolism. During EPOC, your body continues to expend calories to remove lactic acid in your muscles, repair damaged tissues and deliver nutrients from food to the cells in your body. Depending on the workout intensity, gender and fitness level, EPOC can last anywhere from 15 minutes to 48 hours.


Plyometric exercises involve working your muscles to reach their maximum strength in the shortest amount of time, and the movement is repeated over a short period of time. This high-intensity training stimulates EPOC toward the end of the workout and requires quick reflexes and core stability to perfom them. Samples of plyometrics include vertical jumps, box jumps, sprinting, stair-running and various medicine ball throws.

Strength Training

Traditional strength training, such as weightlifting and body-weight training, can cause the afterburn effect by stimulating muscle growth. Like plyometrics, the level of EPOC you gain depends on your workout intensity. Lifting light weights with a higher number of reps may not stimulate as much of an afterburn effect as lifting heavier weights with fewer reps. Examples of strength exercises include kettlebell swings, dumbbell shoulder presses, cable column chest presses and back rows, body-weight lunges, pushups and pullups.


If you have any cardiovascular or metabolic problems or have pain, check with your doctor before starting any workout routine. Vigorous may not be appropriate for those with high blood pressure, because the arteries stiffen and don't expand to increase blood flow. Stick with low- to moderate-intensity exercises, like jogging and cycling, until your condition improves or recommended by a physician. If you're new to exercise and want to try plyometrics or weightlifting, work with a qualified fitness coach before attempting to do this on your own.

7 Surprising Signs of an Unhealthy Heart

We've all read the signs of a heart attack listed on posters in the hospital waiting room. But what if there were other, earlier signs that could alert you ahead of time that your heart was in trouble?

It turns out there are. Researchers have done a lot of work in recent years looking at the signs and symptoms patients experienced in the months or even years leading up to a heart attack. "The heart, together with the arteries that feed it, is one big muscle, and when it starts to fail the symptoms can show up in many parts of the body," says cardiologist Jonathan Goldstein of Saint Michael's Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey. Here are seven surprising clues that your heart needs a check. Any of these signs -- and particularly two or more together -- should send you to the doctor for tests.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Women and High Protein Diet Benefit

"Many women think foods that are rich in protein are going to be high in calorie and therefore fattening. The truth is that they may only be slightly more in calorie than fruits and vegetables, and if you've been following along it's not the calories that are going to get you in trouble entirely it's the type of calorie you consume.

Protein Dilemma is that they aren't portable as other foods. The best sources of proteins are we know are the animal proteins and you can't just pick them up and go like you would a muffin or PBJ or Fruit for that matter, all this takes planning and that's the pain in eating this way. I usually pack food the night before and keep them in those Sam's bags that keep food fresh for hours.

The time consumption and meal planning may help explain why up to a third of women between the ages of 20 and 40 don't get their RDA of protein, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And in light of the fact that a growing number of nutritionists believe that the current dietary guidelines for this mighty macronutrient are way too low, and women are not getting enough proteins.

A Johns Hopkins University study found that a diet in which roughly a quarter of the calories (about 60 percent more than the recommended 10 to 15 percent) come from lean protein sources reduced blood pressure, LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, and triglycerides better than a traditional higher-carb diet. Other research finds that diets rich in protein can help prevent obesity, osteoporosis, and diabetes.

High-protein foods take more work to digest, metabolize, and use, which means you burn more calories processing them. They also take longer to leave your stomach, so you feel full sooner and for a longer amount of time. The cumulative effect has obvious benefits for anyone who is watching her weight.

In a study published in Nutrition Metabolism, dieters who increased their protein intake to 30 percent of their diet ate nearly 450 fewer calories a day and lost about 11 pounds over the 12-week study without employing any other dietary measures.

And if, like most successful dieters, you're burning calories as well as counting them, protein is doubly essential for making sure you lose fat, not muscle. Your body uses the amino acids in protein to build lean muscle, which not only makes you stronger and more toned but also burns calories even when you're not active. Protein digestion has proven to cause a thermogenic effect and increased metabolism.

It is advisable for women to consume between 0.5 grams and 1.0 grams of protein per pound of your body weight. That's 70 grams to 140 grams a day for a 140-pound woman. Skew on the high end if you're very active, and on the low end if you're trying to lose weight. If both apply, shoot for an amount somewhere in the middle—around 130 grams.

Your goal should be to get at least 30 of those grams at breakfast, (That's roughly the amount you'll get from two eggs and a cup of cottage cheese.) After fasting all night, your body is running on empty and may start drawing on muscle tissue for fuel if you don't replenish its protein stores first thing in the a.m. Plus, studies have found that protein-rich breakfasts can help regulate your appetite all day.

But as you know from the article I posted this morning all proteins are created equal. While nuts, whole grains, and veggies technically count, they don't contain all nine of the amino acids your body needs in order to build lean muscle. Those that do—known as complete proteins—are typically found in animal products. Your best flat-belly bets are skinless white chicken or turkey, seafood, low-fat dairy, pork tenderloin, and lean beef. All of these foods have just one to three grams of fat per 50-calorie serving.

Vegetarians need to be a little more creative. Pairing incomplete proteins—peanut butter on whole-wheat bread, or brown rice and beans, for example—can pinch-hit for complete ones. Or eat complete proteins such as tofu, hemp seed, buckwheat, and quinoa. The beauty of protein is that you have a lot of options.

Choosing the right proteins

Protein Classification: Complete and Incomplete

  • Complete proteins like soy and animal sources, are defined as complete because they contain all nine essential amino acids (EAA), 

  • Incomplete proteins found in most vegetables and grains, and they are incomplete because they lack one or more EAAs. 

Value of protein or ranking in terms of its strength as a protein depends on amino acid content and digestibility or something known as the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS). The highest PDCAAS for a food is 1.0, meaning that after digestion, it provides at least 100% of the recommended amount of essential amino acids per unit of protein

Animal Protein:  Contain all nine EAAs, animal proteins are complete proteins, are also abundant in essential nutrients like B12, calcium, zinc and iron.
  • An ounce of beef or chicken provides 7-10 grams of protein
Vegetable Proteins: need to be combined to create a perfect score. Eating a variety vegetables and then combining them with legumes listed below allows one to get a complete complement of EAA's. 

Seeds: All seeds are incomplete proteins. Flax, sesame and sunflower seeds provide 2-5 grams of protein per ounce. Ditto with trendy hemp and chia seeds. Potent pumpkin seeds triumph with about 9 grams per ounce. Seeds are good sources of healthy fats, vitamin E and essential minerals like magnesium, copper and zinc (USDA 2013).

Nuts: Almonds, walnuts and cashews provide 6-8 grams of incomplete protein per ounce. Packed with healthy fats, fiber, vitamin E and minerals, nuts are an integral part of the Mediterranean Diet (Guasch-Ferre et al. 2013). Nut-rich diets can lower cholesterol (Damasceno et al. 2011); the FDA allows the claim, “Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts (e.g.: almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachio nuts and walnuts) as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease” (FDA 2013).

Legumes: Alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lentils, carob, soy and peanuts are well-known legumes. Of these, soy contains the most protein with about 43 grams per 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving. Edamame, tofu and soy milk are complete vegan proteins (Hughes et al. 2011). Beans and lentils are good sources of incomplete protein, with the added benefits of high fiber and B vitamins.

Indirect Animal Sources:

  • A large egg has 6 grams of protein, with nearly equal amounts in the yolk and white (USDA 2013).
  • Six ounces of yogurt has 6 grams of protein. Most Greek yogurts contain double the protein of regular versions. Yogurt also is a good source of calcium, B vitamins and live active probiotic cultures (NYA 2013).
  • A cup of milk contains nearly 8 grams of protein.