All posts filed under: Fundamentals of Wellness

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs, Day 8

Condiment Caution! It may seem negligible, but ketchup can sabotage you!  Hiding behind it’s pretty red “I’m a vegetable” mask is actually a food that has a fair number of carbs.  Let’s look at condiments, some of the common ones.  Everybody knows jam and jelly have sugar, so I won’t address those.  Just the usual common condiments we eat every day with food. I did NOT use the same measurement for each one, for obvious reasons.  You would probably not eat 3 TBS. of mustard, but you could easily have that much mayo with tuna salad, or dipping french fries in either ketchup or mayo (yes, some people prefer mayo to ketchup on fries!). So, here they are.  Now, the calories are important, but not NEARLY as important as what happens to your blood sugar and insulin levels after you eat anything.  Yes, calories matter, but carbs are the driver behind the steering wheel of your insulin response.  More carbs, more insulin.  More insulin, more fat storage, more hunger.  In order to break the cycle, …

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs: Day 7

Avoid, or at least be skeptical of anything labeled “non-fat”. This is the biggest scam around.  We were taught, since the 1960’s that fat was to be avoided.  Now that recent research has cleared that stinkin’ thinkin’ up, we still see recipes calling for low fat cheese, low fat milk, low fat yogurt.  WHY?!?  Because habits are hard to break!  Yes, it is ok to eat low fat cheese and yogurt, but NOT if you choose one that has had carbs added to make up for the taste of taking the fat out!  That’s how food companies get low fat/non-fat items to taste better.  Additives, carbs and thickeners.  (chemicals!) I’m going to pick three common foods and compare them side by side.  Full fat is often better, keeps you full longer, and won’t spike insulin.  Dr. Atkins had some of it right, and with the exception of avoiding dairy, I basically eat a low carb diet. Example 1: Peanut Butter Low Fat Peanut Butter is a joke, because they add sugar to make it taste …

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs, Day 6

T2T Restaurant Carb Hacks. It’s not as hard as you think to go low carb at a restaurant.  Here are some of my favorite tricks to stay low carb and still enjoy yourself: I want to say something first.  If you eat out once a year, or it’s your birthday, use the 90/10 rule:  decide when you’re going to have that 10% “blow my rules” meal, and then ENJOY it!  If you order something and then feel guilty about eating it, what’s the point?  For the rest of the time, use these hacks: Look for entrees that offer a simple fish, meat, or poultry option.  Stay away from pasta and things with sauces that may contain cornstarch, flour, sugar, or other thickening agents. When rice or potatoes are served, ask for two servings of the vegetable instead. Order a salad with dinner, and specify you want a dressing without sugar.  Oil and vinegar are usually available, and many restaurants make their own vinaigrettes, you just have to be assertive and ask what is in it.  …

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs, Day 5

Today is a very important one.  I’m not posting these in order, and maybe this should be considered #1.  EAT MORE FIBER.  Sounds simple, but here’s a trick that can help you get healthier, thinner, and lower your cancer risk.  A win/win! The Role of Fiber in Weight Loss, Heart Disease and Diabetes: Dr. Dennis Burkitt, an English physician, studied the differences between indigenous African bushmen and western people like you and me.  The bushmen seemed to be free of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.  They ate a ton of fiber every single day.  In fact, the bushman had a stool weight of 2 pounds and the westernized men had a stool weight of only 4 ounces (yes, 87.5% smaller!).  Today, the average American eats about 8 grams of fiber a day. But the average hunter and gatherer ate 100 grams from a raw whole foods diet (roots, berries, leaves and plant foods). And the fiber is what helped them stay much healthier than the average American today. Why is fiber so great? Fiber …

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs, Day 4

This one is simple once you see it in facts.  Stop drinking ALL juice.  Here’s why: Let’s take something you’d never eat on a diet.  How about a “fun size” snickers bar?  That’s clearly in the “no-no” zone, right?  Well, what if I told you that when it comes to blood sugar, insulin, and weight gain, orange juice is worse?  Would you be incredulous?  Here are the facts, based on TWO tiny snickers vs. 1 cup of OJ: So, the calories are a bit higher in the snickers bars.  But, although nutrient devoid (and that’s another post), they have less sugars than the OJ!  Now, this does not mean I want you to go out and eat snickers, but it does mean your use of juice should be negligible to NONE.  These calories go straight into your bloodstream, as there is no fiber in the juice to slow digestion.  Juice is not an item you want in your food plan at all.  In case you’d like more information, all the juices are listed here.  I …

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs: Day 2

Watch out for fructose and sugar in disguise. Fructose is in many natural foods.  But where we get into trouble is the HIDDEN addition of sugar into processed foods. If you stick to a low carb diet, you’ll lose weight in part because you’ll ingest less fructose.  Fructose can be converted by our bodies into body fat very quickly.  The bottom line is that if your only source of fructose came from eating an apple or orange a day, keeping your total grams of fructose to below 25 per day, then eating it would not be an issue. Here’s the problem:  the typical person is consuming 75 grams of fructose each and every day. Because fructose is so cheap it is used in virtually all processed foods. The average person is consuming one-third of a pound of sugar every day, which is five ounces or 150 grams, half of which is fructose. This is 300 percent more than the amount that will trigger biochemical havoc, and this is the average — many consume more than …

10 Days, 10 Ways to lower carbs: Day 1

The secret to staying healthy is lowering your carbohydrate intake. And I don’t just mean losing weight, I’m talking about lowering your cholesterol, triglycerides and inflammation.  The stuff that makes us chronically sick. I’m going to post 10 days/10 ways you can lower your carbohydrate intake. DAY ONE: Ditch Dairy, specifically Milk MILK is nutritious, but it’s also fairly high in carbs because it contains a type of sugar called lactose. (Remember, its purpose in life was to GROW baby cows!). An 8-ounce (240 ml) glass of full-fat or low-fat milk contains 12–13 grams of carbs. This is especially important if you drink milk by the glassful or in lattes or shakes. SWITCH TO: coconut, almond milk, hemp milk. (Again, this isn’t about dairy, it’s about CARBS:  case in point?  Rice milk is a dairy alternative, but is FULL of carbs, and isn’t any better than milk, in fact it is the highest in carbs.). Look for unsweetened varieties that have less than 2 carbs per serving (carbs minus fiber = total carbs).  Look at …

Boost Your Metabolism

Mark Hyman posted this great list on his blog this week.  If you follow these 7 simple rules, losing weight and/or having more energy is much easier!  I especially like #4.  Read it, and avoid putting your body into starvation mode, where it “hangs on” to fat.  You have to EAT to get THIN! Eat plenty of healthy fats. Healthy fats like avocados, nuts and seeds, along with wild, fatty fish are your mitochondria’s preferred fuel. My favorite “gasoline” for your mitochondria is medium-chain triglycerides or MCT oil, which is found in coconut oil. Go for color. While nutritionists often disagree, one thing nearly everyone concurs with is that we need to eat plenty of fresh vegetables and other plant foods. Colorful, antioxidant-rich plant foods become essential for healthy mitochondria and reducing oxidative stress. (I’ll add eat organic as much as possible…) Avoid sugar and flour. High-glycemic, high-carb foods put tremendous stress on your mitochondria. In fact, quick absorbed carbs are the biggest driver that damages your entire system.  This is what drives triglycerides and …

The Right Receipt!

Last week we were in Denver to see my son.  My son and husband had lunch together, and our son wanted to take him to a local restaurant that he liked.  I loved his choice for so many reasons:  1. It was a great restaurant that cooked local, often organic food. (they do pay attention when I talk!!!)  2. It provided them with low carb options for a lunch  3.  It gave me an idea for a post.  WIN-WIN-WIN!   Here’s what amazed me today as I scanned in receipts.  THEIR RECEIPT GAVE THEM THE NUTRITION INFORMATION FOR THEIR MEALS!  Why doesn’t every restaurant do this?  How cool is this?   My only comment is most people probably don’t want a 2,500/day calorie intake — but in Denver, which is one of the healthiest cities, it may be accurate due to the amount of biking/hiking/exercise most people get. But in all other regards, this is an awesome idea more restaurants need to follow! Tell your favorite local restaurant to try doing this, it appears that this …

Grass Fed Beef ONLY

Updated Nov. 1, 2015 Changing your shopping habits to purchasing grass fed beef only is probably one of the best things you can do for your family’s health. I’ve updated this post with some new research and tables to make my point.  We live in a culture where beef, chickens and pork are all fed grain, and (especially for beef) grain is not their natural diet.  So, why spend the money on grass fed beef?  Simple.  All the research we were taught about red meat causing heart disease and cancer was based on evaluating data of people in US eating corn fed beef.  But, when you look at populations who ONLY eat grass fed beef, they don’t have the same issues with heart disease.  Even butter, long thought to be “evil” is actually pretty healthy if you buy “pasture” butter a.k.a. grass fed butter.  So, if you are not vegetarian, you CAN enjoy a steak or hamburger and not feel guilty!  Want to see more research?  Click on links at bottom of this article. Why …

Fasting 101

Okay, there’s been a lot in the media lately about fasting.  Here’s my take on it based on research and what I learned at Food As Medicine. There are amazing immune and cardiac benefits to fasting, in addition to weight loss.  But, you must do it correctly. The benefits are so startling it is worth considering incorporating fasting into your lifestyle as a routine practice.  The type of fasting I will talk about here is INTERMITTENT fasting, and specifically, the kind that only goes for 15-18 hours.  According to the latest research, you get most of the benefits of a fast without the torture of not eating for long periods without eating. Intermittent fasting is: A 15-18 hour period of not eating (eg;  eat dinner, then eat your next meal 15-18 hours later) done 1-2/week on average You can drink water, tea and coffee while you are fasting (non-calorie beverages – NO SODA) People who intermittently fast get benefits in 14-18 hours.  Here’s why:  increased Autophagy.  Autophagy is a normal physiological process in the body …

Common myths about food.

I’m going to do a post on diet, food and myths that absolutely need to be de-bunked. Cheese is bad for you. Low Fat Foods are Better for You.  This is the WORST misconception of them all. Don’t use Butter, use margarine. Juice is healthy and good for you. Don’t eat eggs, they will make your cholesterol too high. Brown rice is better than white rice Don’t eat avocados, they have too much fat Agave is better than sugar.  Agave is a natural sweetner. If you test negative for celiac, it is ok to eat wheat. When it comes to nutrition, sometimes it’s hard to tell the fact from the fiction. Certain foods get a reputation as “bad for you,” whereas others get promoted as “natural” or “good for you” when they are really not. Sometimes myths about foods are based on urban legends that just get perpetuated for years until we actually believe they are research-based. Other myths are based on old research that was not done in a scientific manner. Whatever the reason, …