Kaizen Keto NOtella

 

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By popular demand, here is the recipe for my Kaizen Keto NOtella!  It is very simple to make and has no added sugar.  It’s so good!!!

INGREDIENTS:

16 oz raw hazelnuts

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4 Tbsp coconut oil

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2 Tbsp dutch process cocoa powder

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1 tsp organic vanilla extract

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dash of sea salt

Stevia or erythritol to taste

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You can use any sweetener you prefer, but for Keto, these two are your best options.  I like NOW Foods Organic Erythritol.

Another option is to add a few squares of 85% dark chocolate.  This does have some sugar, but gives it a great taste and adds some sweetness!

DIRECTIONS:

Put hazelnuts in food processor and blend until finely ground and stop before it turns to butter.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.

Refrigerate to harden, will be more liquid at room temperature.

Enjoy!

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Drink Your Greens! 

Not eating enough vegetables? How about drinking them! Start your day off right with a delicious and nutritious green smoothie! 

🌿🍉🍋💚👌🏼

Ingredients: 

1 cup spinach

1 cup watermelon

1/2 cucumber 

1 serving IsaGreens

3 slices ginger

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp lime juice 

1 tsp chia seeds

A few mint leaves

Water and Ice

I recently just got this Ninja blender and it’s great for making smoothies, juices, soups, sauces and nut butters.

Blend and enjoy!


Cheers to your health! 

Summer Salad


A beautiful summer salad at the Mandolin restaurant in Miami. Simple and delicious! I will definitely be re-creating this dish at home!

Ingredients:

Beets (red and gold)

Watermelon

Mint 

Onions

Feta 

Champagne vinaigrette dressing

Papaya and Chia Pudding

Papaya LOVE and a Spirulina Chia Pudding

I recently discovered Chia Seed Pudding.  Not only does it have many health benefits, it is easy to make and delicious!  Living in South Florida we are lucky to have access to amazing produce and tropical fruits including one of my favorites, PAPAYA!

(Re-post from http://www.poppiesandpapayas.com)

papayalove (12 of 38)

 

There are many ways to eat papayas. Recipes can be very simple or a little more complex.  Have you tried diced papaya with a squeeze of lime? Absolutely delicious! Or blended together with ginger and turmeric in a Balian Smoothie? So refreshing! And what about a savory green papaya salad? One word…YUM! You can even make papaya breakfast boats, filled with your favorite yogurt and fruit topping.

Papaya LOVE

Rich in vitamins A and C, this fruit is an antioxidant powerhouse, which can be especially helpful for those struggling with chronic inflammation. Although it doesn’t taste sour, 1 cup alone provides over 200% of your daily vitamin C. Feeling like your immune system is low?? Then reach for papaya instead of Emergen-C. Plus the vitamin A will help keep your skin looking and feeling great!

But what really sets the papaya apart from other fruits, is that it contains a very unique enzyme called papain, which helps digest proteins. Have you ever purchased digestive enzymes?? Well, they probably contained papain from papaya!! This enzyme is more concentrated in green and unripe papayas (which are great for green papaya salad) but you will also get papain if you eat a ripe papaya. So next time you have a protein heavy meal, have a little papaya on the side. Plus research has also found that the enzymes in papaya, papain and chymopapain, can help reduce inflammation in people struggling with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

Whats Cookin’ Good Lookin’?

Today I will highlight the papaya as a simple topping to a delicious chia pudding. This treat can be a light breakfast, simple dessert, or quick snack. When it’s hot out…this totally hits the spot. So bring on the summer and bring on the GLOW, because this recipe will make you feel soooooo gooooood from the inside out!

In this recipe papaya is paired with the best of the best…spirulina, chia seeds, and coconut milk. Plus I like to add in hydrolyzed collagen and probiotic powder to increase the GLOW factor of this recipe. The hydrolyzed collagen supports skin and joint health, while the probiotic powder provides all the good bacteria to support your gut health. So along with the chia seeds (a source of soluble fiber which feeds the good bacteria), full fat coconut milk (which helps absorb fat soluble vitamin A), and the spirulina (which supports detoxification), we got a super tasty and super healthy treat.

Oh and the lemon zest and fresh mint, just add the extra ZING that makes this UBER delicious. So are you ready?? Here you go!!

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Spirulina Coconut Chia Pudding with Lemon & Mint

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

½ cup homemade nut milk

½ cup full fat coconut milk (my favorite is Aroy-D)

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon spirulina

1 tablespoon maple syrup

¼ teaspoon lemon zest (~ ½ large lemon)

Pinch of sea salt

2 ½ tablespoons chia seeds

Optional: 2 tablespoons hydrolyzed collagen and ¼ teaspoon probiotic powder

Diced fresh PAPAYA, strawberries, or any other fruit

Fresh mint, finely minced

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl add the nut milk, coconut milk, vanilla, spirulina, maple syrup, lemon zest, and sea salt. Whisk until combined and the spirulina is dissolved (some of the spirulina will remain in little clumps..that is okay it will dissolve over time). Add the chia seeds, optional collagen/probiotic powder, and whisk some more. Pour into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator overnight or at least 8 hours to allow the chia seeds to plump up. Alternatively, you can add all the ingredients into a mason jar, screw the lid on tight, and shake vigorously for a minute or two.

Note: you may need to stir or shake the chia pudding one or twice while it sits for the 8-12 hours so that the chia seeds are evenly dispersed.

To serve divide the chia seed mixture into bowls (or into small melons), and top with PAPAYA (or your fruit of choice), and a sprinkle of fresh mint. Sometimes I add a little extra coconut drizzle for extra creaminess.

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11 Universal Truths in Nutrition That People Actually Agree On

11 Universal Truths in Nutrition That People Actually Agree On

There is a lot of controversy in nutrition.

Sometimes it seems like people can’t agree on anything at all.

But there are a few exceptions to this… some nutrition facts that aren’t controversial.

Here are 11 universal truths in nutrition that people actually agree on.

1. Artificial Trans Fats Are Extremely Unhealthy

There is ongoing debate about fats in the diet, but most people agree that trans fats are harmful.

Put simply, trans fats are polyunsaturated fats that have been chemically altered to resemble saturated fats.

This is done by exposing polyunsaturated fats to high heat, high pressure and hydrogen gas, in the presence of a metal catalyst.

This “hydrogenates” the fats, making them resemble saturated fats in consistency, which dramatically improves shelf life.

These fats can raise small, dense LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (the good) cholesterol, cause insulin resistance and belly fat accumulation, while drivinginflammation (123).

There are now studies showing that trans fat consumption is strongly linked to many serious diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes (456).

These fats are found mostly in highly processed foods. The best way to avoid them them is to read labels and avoid anything that has the word “hydrogenated” on the ingredients list.

A little known fact is that refined vegetable oils like soybean and canola oils also contain significant amounts of trans fats, from 0.56-4.2%, although it’s usually not listed on the label. It’s best to avoid these too (7).

Bottom Line: Trans fats are man-made fats, made by “hydrogenating” polyunsaturated vegetable oils. These fats can cause severe harmful effects on metabolism and contribute to many diseases.

2. Whole Foods Are Better Than Processed Foods

There is growing consensus that processed foods are harmful.

Woman Holding a Salad and a Cake

Humans evolved eating unprocessed “real” foods… which retain all the nutrients and fiber found in foods in their natural state.

Most highly processed foods don’t really resemble real food at all… they consist of refined ingredients and artificial chemicals, assembled in a package that looks and tastes like food.

Processed foods are harmful for various reasons… they tend to be high in harmful ingredients like sugar, refined carbs and processed oils. At the same time, they are very low in micronutrients, fiber and antioxidants.

But what many people don’t realize is that the food industry puts a LOT of science and effort into making processed foods as “rewarding” (and addictive) as possible.

The way foods are “engineered” effectively short circuits the brain mechanisms that are supposed to regulate our appetite (8910).

This is why people tend to eat much more than their bodies need if they base their diet around processed foods, which leads to obesity and metabolic disease.

There are also studies showing that we only burn half as many calories digesting processed compared to whole foods, so people who eat mostly processed foods will burn fewer calories throughout the day (11).

Bottom Line: Whole foods are much healthier than processed foods, which tend to be low in nutrients, high in harmful ingredients and designed to drive overconsumption.

3. Getting Enough Omega-3 Fatty Acids is Important

Fish

Humans can not produce polyunsaturatedOmega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

However, they are needed for optimal function of the body and are therefore termed the “essential” fatty acids.

There is actually quite a bit of controversy regarding polyunsaturated fats… but most of it revolves around Omega-6 fats.

The other kind, Omega-3, is actually not controversial at all. Pretty much everyone agrees that it is needed and that most people aren’t getting enough.

Omega-3 fatty acids are required for various purposes. They are structural molecules in cell membranes, especially in the brain (1213).

Omega-3 consumption is linked to improved neurological health… including improved intelligence, reduced depression and a lower risk of dementia (1415).

But they also play critical roles in other cellular processes, such as inflammation, immunity and blood clotting (1617).

The modern diet is low in Omega-3, but extremely high in Omega-6. This is a terrible combination… because eating a lot of Omega-6 actually increases the need for Omega-3 (1819).

The best way to get enough Omega-3s is to eat fatty fish and grass-fed/pastured animal foods. If that is not an option, taking an Omega-3 supplement like fish oil is important.

Omega-3s are also found in some plant foods, including flax seeds and chia seeds. However, the Omega-3s in plants are not nearly as potent as the Omega-3s in animal foods (20).

Bottom Line: Omega-3 fatty acids are very important. They function as structural molecules in the brain and play key roles in important cellular processes.

4. Added Sugar is Unhealthy

Sugar cubes

Added sugars, like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup, are harmful.

People mainly disagree on how harmful andwhy they cause harm.

Some think they are chronic metabolic toxinswhile others think they’re merely a source of empty calories.

But pretty much everyone agrees that, at the very least, most people are eating too much sugar and would be better off eating healthier foods instead.

Right now, Americans are eating about 70 pounds (32 kg) of sugar per year, and within those averages many people are eating a 100 pounds or more (21).

There is mounting evidence that sugar may be partly responsible for the worldwide pandemics of chronic, Western diseases (2223).

However, keep in mind that most people aren’t deliberately eating this much sugar. They’re getting a lot of it from conventional foods that have sugar added to them.

The best way to avoid added sugar is to read labels and familiarize yourself with the many names they use (such as corn syrup, evaporated cane juice and more) for sugar.

Bottom Line: Most experts agree that sugar is harmful and that people are eating too much of it. There is mounting evidence that sugar may be partly responsible for many chronic, Western diseases.

5. Green Tea is a Healthy Beverage

Young Woman Making a Cup of Green Tea

Although coffee is controversial, most people agree that green tea is healthy.

It is very rich in powerful antioxidants, including a bioactive compound called EGCG.

Many studies show that the people who drink the most green tea have a lower risk of serious diseases like heart disease and cancer (242526).

There is also evidence that the bioactive compounds in green tea can boost metabolism and increase fat burning (2728).

Green tea also contains certain amino acids that may help improve concentration and brain function (2930).

Overall, green tea is a super healthy beverage that has been intensively studied, with almost every single study on it showing impressive health benefits (31).

Bottom Line: Although coffee and caffeine in general are controversial, most people agree that green tea is healthy. It is loaded with antioxidants and has led to major health benefits in many studies.

6. Refined Carbohydrates Should be Minimized

Carbs are controversial.

Some think the majority of our calories should come from carbs, others that they are completely unnecessary and may even cause harm.

Man Unhappy About Eating a Banana

But even the most extreme low-carbers agree that unprocessed carb sources are, at the very least, less bad than their refined counterparts.

Refined grains, for example, have had the bran and germ removed from the seed. These parts contain the most nutrients, but they also have fiber that mitigates the blood sugar raising effect of the carbs (3233).

When you remove the fiber, the carbs spike blood sugar and insulin rapidly. This leads to a subsequent drop in blood sugar, making people crave another high carb snack. This is one of the ways that refined carbs stimulate overeating (3435).

There are numerous studies showing that consumption of refined carbohydrates is linked to obesity and many Western diseases (363738).

If you’re going to eat carbs, stick to unprocessed sources that include fiber.

Bottom Line: Although carbs are controversial, almost everyone agrees that whole, unrefined sources are much healthier than their refined counterparts.

7. Vegetables Are Healthy Foods

Vegetables

Vegetables are healthy… pretty much everyone agrees on that.

They are the default “health foods.”

Vegetables are among the most nutritious foods in existence, calorie for calorie.

They are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and thousands of trace nutrients that science is just beginning to uncover.

Numerous studies show that eating plenty of vegetables is linked to a reduced risk of almost every chronic disease (3940).

Vegetables are also among the most weight loss friendly foods. They have a low energy density, lots of fiber and make people feel full with a low amount of calories.

Bottom Line: Vegetables are low in calories, but very high in micronutrients, antioxidants and fiber. Many studies show that vegetable consumption is associated with good health.

8. Supplements Can Not Compensate For an Unhealthy Diet

Supplements

The composition of whole foods is incredibly complex.

They contain way more than just the standard vitamins and minerals that we’re all familiar with.

Whole foods contain hundreds, if not thousands, of various trace nutrients… many of which have powerful health benefits.

Science has yet to uncover many of these nutrients and modern nutritional supplements are far from being able to replicate all the nutrients found in foods.

Although many nutritional supplements can have impressive benefits, most experts agree that they are not able to compensate for an unhealthy diet.

For optimal nutrition, the foods you choose to eat are by far the most important.

So… take care of your diet first, then add supplements to optimize (if applicable).

Bottom Line: Whole foods are incredibly complex and contain thousands of trace nutrients, many of which science has yet to uncover. No amount of supplements can replace all the nutrients found in whole foods.

9. Olive Oil is Super Healthy

Olive oil is the default healthy fat.

Chef Pouring Olive Oil on a Salad

It is part of the Mediterranean diet and has been a dietary staple for some of the world’s healthiest populations.

However, getting the right kind of olive oil can be tricky these days.

It is critical to choose extra virgin olive oil from a reputable seller, because many of the lower quality versions have been refined and diluted with cheaper oils.

Quality extra virgin olive oil is very high in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and loaded with powerful antioxidants (41).

Many studies have shown that it has various benefits for metabolic health (42).

It also contains anti-inflammatory compounds and the antioxidants in it have been shown to help fight various steps in the heart disease process (434445).

All things considered, quality extra virgin olive oil may just be the healthiest fat on the planet.

Bottom Line: Extra virgin olive oil is high in healthy monounsaturated fats and loaded with powerful bioactive antioxidants, many of which have anti-inflammatory effects and protect against heart disease.

10. Optimal Health Goes Beyond Just Nutrition

Healthy Man Holding a Grocery Bag

Nutrition is important… but it’s still just one part of a bigger picture.

There are other aspects of life that can be just as important when it comes to feeling good, living long and avoiding disease.

Exercise is a big one. Although it seems to be mostly ineffective for losing weight, it has incrediblebenefits for mental wellbeing and metabolic health.

Other lifestyle factors, that unfortunately are often ignored, are sleep and stress levels.

If you don’t exercise, are overstressed and chronically under rested, then you won’t be even close to optimally healthy… no matter how good your diet is.

Bottom Line: There are many aspects besides nutrition that are just as important for overall health. This includes exercise, managing stress levels and getting adequate sleep.

11. The Best Diet (or “Way of Eating”) For YOU is The One You Can Stick to

Blueberries

There is a lot of debate about the different diets.

There are the paleo folks, the low-carbers, the vegans, the balanced diet folks and everything in between.

But the truth is… all of these approaches can work.

The problem is not which diet (or way of eating) is “best,” the key is finding something that is sustainable for each individual.

Losing weight and improving health is a marathon, not a race.

What matters in the long run is finding something that is healthy, that you like and can live with for the rest of your life.

 

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What The Weight On The Scale Really Means

What The Weight On The Scale Really Means

What the Number on the Scale Really Means: A Primer on Weight Fluctuations

Originally published on Richard “Dick” Talens website. Richard is the co-founder and chief growth officer of Fitocracy, one of the web’s most popular fitness tracking sites.  To learn more, check out his site and follow him on Twitter.

 

Standing on a Scale

 

There are few morning things that have the power to absolutely dictate my mood for the day. A loss in my fantasy league, for example, will pretty much ensure that I’m scowling, even on the nicest of days. More relevant thing to you, my dear reader, is the number that I see when I step on the scale while on a fat-loss diet.

Fortunately the scale reading is only a number. Like all pieces of data, this number may or may not be an accurate reflection of whether or not you are losing fat. Let’s look at problems with over-relying on your scale weight and how we can better interpret said weight.

MODELING SCALE WEIGHT

Let’s say that there were a hypothetical universe where someone’s weight had no variability. In this universe, Joe has 150 lbs of lean mass and 50 lbs of fat mass. That means Joe weighs 200 lbs at 25 percent  body fat.

Now let’s transport Joe to our universe. The one where the scale can be a fickle bitch. How much does Joe weigh? Joe would probably weigh somewhere between 196 and 208 lbs. Why the difference? One’s “scale weight” can be broken down into the following formula:

Scale Weight = True Weight + Weight Variance (AKA weight of the annoying little gremlins that mess with your weight)

True Weight: The weight that you would be in our hypothetical universe above (there are ways to get close to this).

Weight Variance: A value that adds or subtracts from your weight, given the conditions below.

Something interesting that I’ve seen from clients is that the upper and lower limits are asymmetrical. The upper limit of one’s scale weight is about +4 percent of his/her true weight, whereas the lower limit seems to be about -2 percent of his/her scale weight. Hence, why Joe’s scale weight is 196 to 208.

UNDERSTANDING VARIATIONS IN WEIGHT

Here are a few things that factor into “weight variance:”

  • Glycogen stores. This amount depends on your current consumption of carbohydrates. For every gram of carbohydrate that your body stores via glycogen, it also stores three grams of water. If you are carbohydrate-depleted, you will be at the lower end of your variance. Conversely, if you consume a crapola of carbohydrates, you will be at the upper end of your variance.
  • Water retention/depletion from sodium. If you suddenly consume more sodium than you are used to, you will likely retain water. Conversely, if you suddenly consume much less sodium, you will release water. Your body adjusts to the new levels accordingly via the hormone aldosterone, so don’t think that you can keep this value low just by cutting sodium out from your diet.
  • Cycle bloat. Women will retain water during their cycle. For this reason, it’s best for women to only compare weight from month-to-month.
  • Dehydration. This obviously comes into play, but we’re going to assume that everyone here is well-hydrated.

SCALE WEIGHT FLUCTUATIONS

Why does the scale seem so erratic when you are dieting? The foremost reason is that glycogen is a much more volatile substrate than fat. That is, fat loss occurs slowly, while glycogen levels can swing wildly.

Let’s see what happens at both ends of glycogen storage.

The High End: Full Stores (i.e. bloat, often from binge eating)
What happens when people go on a binge? Typically they will retain a ton more glycogen afterwards and see a massive increase in the scale. This is only water weight. Too often, I’ll see people defeated because they “gained all of the weight back.”

One thing that you rarely hear about water bloat is that it makes you look fatter than actual fat. Yes, that means that a person whose true weight is 190 lbs and bloats up to 195 lbs will look fatter than if his/her true weight were 197 lbs.

Try this for yourself. When you are on a diet, take weekly pictures of yourself when you adhere to your nutrition plan. After you’ve lost some weight, take pictures again after eating wildly for a day.

Find the two pictures that match up with the same weight. You’ll notice that you will look fatter in your latter pictures, even if your true weight ls lower.

If you find yourself gaining a ton of weight after a bad day of dieting, remember, this is only temporary. Your true weight hasn’t moved much; it’s still subject to the laws of thermodynamics.

(Funny story: As a test I once consumed 1,200 grams of carbohydrates in one day with only trace dietary fats. Research predicts that almost none of this turned into fat. The next day, I looked like the Michelin man and my “skin” felt hurt and bruised. Yes, my skin. Interpret this as you will.)

The Low End: Carbohydrate Depletion
Those who go on Paleo or ketogenic style diets usually cite the rapid loss of weight at the very start, as well as the rapid influx of weight when they cease their low-carb diet.
This isn’t due to some magical powers from copying the diet of pre-historic man. Rather, this is due to the rapid depletion and replenishment of glycogen.

Similarly, the rapid drop in weight that occurs when one starts a diet can usually be attributed to a drop in carbohydrate intake.

Other reasons: Lyle McDonald talks about “the whoosh effect,” in which scale weight will often lag behind true weight loss. If you haven’t read this article yet, I highly encourage you to do so. I take this one step further by showing that you can use certain measurements to determine an impending whoosh, as you’ll read later.

Clients will also often gain lean mass and/or increased glycogen capacity during a diet, especially with a mild deficit. For that reason, scale weight may remain the same even if fat loss is occurring.

INTERPRETING THE SCALE

The true secret to interpreting the scale is building a story. Most people use the scale as a final number, rather than piece together a story using relevant pieces of data. The scale number alone is useless when you need to troubleshoot.

Instead, we can create a powerful story by pairing scale readings with the following data:

  • Waist measurements. This is the most powerful piece of accompanying data. That’s because waist measurements are far more useful at determining overall direction of fat loss. Take measurements at the navel, two inches above, and two inches below. Compare with last week’s measurements and assign the measurement either -1, 0, or +1 if the new measurement decreases, stays the same, or increases respectively. Now add the numbers together to determine overall direction that fat loss/gain is occurring.
  • Strength as determined by PRs. Assuming that you have reasonable programming for a deficit, PRs are a good indicator of how far you are from your caloric deficit in the natural trainee. If your strength is increasing, then you are likely increasing your weight from lean body mass as well.
  • Bloat. This tells you how much variance is going into your measurements. Be keen on noticing whether or not you are holding water in key parts. This will vary from person to person, but it will be areas that seem to swell up after a binge. My face balloons in size for example, but my thighs always look the same.

Remember our hypothetical universe where scale weight is equal to “true” weight? We want to replicate this as much as possible. For this reason, you should not interpret measurements when bloat is high. Either wait for it to go away (if it’s caused by your menstrual cycle) or eat normally for a few days (if it’s from a binge).

After that, use the following chart to interpret your data.

 

How to Tell if the Scale is Wrong