Top 10 Reasons to Practice Mindfulness




Mindfulness means living in the present moment, taking in your surroundings, and not thinking about tomorrow or what happened yesterday. Being mindful will absolutely maximize the quality of your life, and we personally strive to be more mindful everyday.

Here are our top 10 reasons to practice mindfulness:

1. Mindfulness reduces anxiety and stress, including our body’s innate “fight or flight” response.





2. Mindfulness reduces addictive and compulsive tendencies.





3. Practicing mindfulness during a workout greatly improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the exercise.





4. Practicing mindfulness at work increases productivity and efficiency, meaning you can get more done in a shorter amount of time!





5. Mindfulness increases confidence at work and in your social life.





6. Mindfulness leads to clearer thinking to make better decisions.





7. Practicing mindfulness helps to improve relationships with your significant other, friends, family, and at work.





8. Mindfulness improves your memory by increasing attention and focus.





9. Mindfulness prevents overeating and snacking and helps to get you to your ideal weight.





10. Practicing mindfulness increases overall energy and decreases fatigue.





 

7 Benefits of Meditation Backed By Science




There are so many amazing benefits of meditation. Not only does it make you feel good in the moment while meditating, but it also actually changes the way your brain operates, and scientific research has proven it.

You’ve probably heard about all of the elite athletes, business leaders, and other successful people talking about the power of meditation. Here are 7 benefits, backed by science, to help you better understand how a daily meditation practice can improve your life.

 

1. Lowers Stress

“Meditation has been proven to decrease mood disturbances and stress symptoms in both male and female patients…” Read the entire study here

2. Reduces pain

“After four-days of mindfulness meditation training, meditating in the presence of noxious stimulation significantly reduced pain-unpleasantness by 57% and pain-intensity ratings by 40% when compared to rest.” Read the entire study here

 




3. Increases brain grey matter (which helps process information)

“Meditation practice has been shown not only to benefit higher-order cognitive functions but also to alter brain activity. ” Read the entire study here

 

4. Improves happiness

“A short program in mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable effects on brain and immune function. These findings suggest that meditation may change brain and immune function in positive ways.” Read the entire study here



 

5. Improves body awareness

“Results indicated a linear relationship in coherence, with meditators having highest levels… We conclude that the coherence between subjective and cardiac aspects of emotion is greater in those who have specialized training that promotes greater body awareness.” Read entire study here

 




6. Enhanced focus and attention

“Brief mindfulness training significantly improved visuo-spatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning. Our findings suggest that 4 days of meditation training can enhance the ability to sustain attention; benefits that have previously been reported with long-term meditators.” Read the entire study here

 

7. Improves handling of difficult emotions

“Meditation may be associated with structural changes in areas of the brain that are important for sensory, cognitive and emotional processing. The data further suggest that meditation may impact aggregated declines in cortical structure.” Read entire study here

14 Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration You Should Know




Dehydration is extremely common, it’s probably one of the most common conditions I see in practice. Identifying that you are indeed dehydrated can be tricky because the most common symptoms are often very subtle. Understanding the symptoms of dehydration is extremely important to be able to treat the underlying cause of your symptom and make you feel better quickly and easily.

Below are common signs and symptoms of dehydration:




1. You are not sweating during exercise 

A clue that you might be dehydrated is if you notice that you are not sweating in a workout that typically causes you to be drenched in sweat. This is because when you are dehydrated your body will try to hold onto every last bit of fluid in your body and will not want to give any of it up.



2. Your rings are tight 

If you wear a ring(s) this is an easy way for you to notice that you might be dehydrated. If you feel like your rings are getting tighter, this may be a sign of dehydration due to your body holding onto fluid tightly which means this fluid may spill over into extracellular spaces causing puffiness – very noticeable if you can’t get your ring on or off.



3. You have muscle cramps

Dehydration is one of the most common causes for muscle cramps, most notably in the large muscles such as the calves. This is also a common sign of electrolyte imbalances, notably potassium and sodium, so be sure to be also getting electrolytes from vegetables and fruits.



4. You have dry mouth

Having a dry mouth is very uncomfortable, and a common cause for this is dehydration. Drink a couple glasses of water if this is happening and it should relieve some if not all of the dry feeling.



5. You are thirsty

Having the sensation of thirst is one of the most common signs of dehydration. This is especially true during workouts where you are sweating a ton, so make sure to always keep a water bottle on hand!



6. You have no urge to urinate

If you typically have to urinate every two hours or less, and you are now finding you have no urge to urinate and it’s been three hours, this is definitely a sign of dehydration.



7. You feel bloated and puffy

Dehydration can cause you to feel bloated and puffy and can even make your clothes feel tight. Again, this is due to your body holding onto every last drop of water and retaining all the fluid.



8. You feel constipated

To have a bowel movement, this requires your body to pull in water to the colon both mix with the bowel and to help push out the bowel. Without adequate water, this leaves a harder stool that is also harder to pass through the digestive system.



9. You have dark yellow urine

One of the classic signs of dehydration is dark yellow urine. This is because when you are dehydrated your body wants to hold onto every drop of water, and so when you urinate you will release the least amount of fluid possible, leading to concentration of salts and compounds which gives the urine the characteristic yellow color. This is why normal urine is light yellow because the salts and compounds have been diluted by water to make the urine less concentrated.



10. You feel sick to your stomach

When you are dehydrated, you are likely also lacking in essential electrolytes that are required for basic processes in the body. Nausea is a sign that something is not working correctly in your body and is a very common finding with dehydration.



11. You feel dizzy

Dehydration is a common cause for dizziness which may be due to decreased blood flow to the brain due to the lack of fluid in your body being sent to the brain. This may also be due to electrolyte imbalances that are very common with dehydration, notable sodium and potassium.



12. You have a headache

Dehydration is the most common cause of headache that I see in practice. Any stress on the body that causes an imbalance in the body’s normal function, such as with dehydration, can cause a headache.



13. Your lips are chapped

Having chapped, dry lips may be a sign that you need to drink water. Dry lips indicate a lack of moisture in the lips and mucus membranes, which happens when your body is low on water.



14. You gained weight

If you notice you gained 5 pounds in a day or even a week, this is definitely most likely due to fluid retention and/or constipation. Both are due to dehydration and is a sign you need to drink more water. It may seem counterintuitive to drink more water to decrease fluid retention, but when you are dehydrated your body will cling to every last drop of fluid unlike when you are hydrated and your body is shedding fluids as it should be.



Main takeaway…

If you have one or more of the above signs and symptoms consider the cause being dehydration and start drinking water now! The above symptoms are very common causes for dehydration but may also be signs of other serious conditions and so it is always a good idea to consult with your primary care provider. 



References

  1. https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-06-2012/dehydration-signs-and-symptoms.html
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4207053/
  5. https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/73/suppl_2/97/1930742




Top Brain Boosting Foods You Should Be Eating




Your brain is inarguably the most important part of your body, and keeping your brain healthy should be a top priority. There are certain foods that can help to boost parts of your brain involved with attention, focus, and memory and so understanding which foods do this is vital!

 

Read below for a list of the top brain boosting foods:

Leafy greens

This includes vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens. These greens are especially high in Vitamin E and Vitamin K, both of which believed to help prevent brain abnormalities linked with dementia.



Coffee

Coffee is incredibly healthy because it is packed with antioxidants and other compounds that are good for not only your brain but also your entire body. One key brain boosting ingredient in coffee is caffeine, which has been found to be beneficial for your brain for a number of reasons, including keeping you alert and focused, and possibly boosting memory and preventing cognitive decline. Read more about coffee’s brain boosting effects here.

Almonds

Almonds are high in Vitamin E and magnesium, both of which have been linked to improvements in memory, learning and cognition.



Fatty fish

Fatty fish such as salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids EPA/DHA which help protect the brain from inflammation and oxidative stress. These types of omega-3s found in fatty fish may prevent cognitive decline with age. Read more about this here.

Blueberries

Blueberries are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and are fantastic for your health in general. They are especially good for your brain because the types of antioxidants in blueberries have been found to protect against age-related changes in the brain and to help protect against cognitive decline. Read more about this here.



Dark chocolate

Chocolate lovers rejoice! Dark chocolate is considered a brain healthy food due to its high content of compounds called flavonoids. Studies have found that these compounds may slow age-related changes in the brain and prevent mental decline. There is actually a great deal of research on this (who wouldn’t want to research the benefits of chocolate!?) read more about this here.

Egg yolks

Eggs are on just about every healthy food list because they really are incredible. Eggs are good for your brain for many reasons because they are packed with vitamins and nutrients, but one nutrient in particular is choline. Increased levels of choline intake is linked to better memory and cognition. Just make sure you eat the yolks because that is where the choline is located. Read more about this here.



Main takeaways…

Try to get the foods above on rotation in your diet, your brain will thank you!

Works Cited

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20182054

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16216930

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4192974/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23810791

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22717142?dopt=Abstract




Burn Your Own Fat For Fuel Using Ketones


Have you ever heard of a ketogenic diet? A ketogenic diet means your body is using ketones for energy production rather than sugar. Ketones are an alternative fuel source for the body, and are produced when eating a high fat and low carbohydrate diet. This type of diet is called “ketogenic” because your body is in a state of “ketosis” meaning fueled by ketones rather than sugar (aka glucose).

Here are 9 reasons why you want your body to be fueled by ketones instead of sugar:

 

1. You literally burn your own fat for energy


Your body can run on either glucose or ketones. Which would you choose? Well, when you look at what this actually means: Glucose is produced from the breakdown of glycogen (strings of glucose), this means you are burning glycogen to produce fuel for your body. Ketones on the other hand are produced from the breakdown of fat (fatty acids), this means you are literally burning your own fat stores to produce energy. You can make ketones from eating very low carb (sub 50 net carbs), fasting, or consuming a product that can induce or supply the production of ketones (such as MCT oil).



 

2. No more “Hangry”


You know that feeling when are so starving that every little thing is irritating, and you need to eat right. NOW? Terrible feeling right? Blame the carbs! After a blood sugar spike from eating carbs, this will trigger insulin whose job is to get that sugar out of your blood as fast as it can (because sugar in your blood is toxic and inflammatory), resulting in an even lower blood sugar than you started with. Low blood sugar (aka hypoglycemia) is that terrible anxiousness you are feeling. No bueno! And how do you make that feeling go away the fastest? Eating sugar. And the vicious cycle continues.

Fat is the only macronutrient that won’t raise blood sugar, and therefore won’t spike insulin. Yes, that means protein can also raise blood sugar when eaten in excess. That is why a ketogenic diet favors a higher fat and moderate protein intake.



 

3. Ketones favor less mental stress


The presence of ketones increases the production of the primary calm inducing neurotransmitter, GABA, while at the same time decreasing the primary stress inducing neurotransmitter, Glutamate. Ketones do this by assisting in the conversion of glutamate to GABA in the brain, thereby favoring a more calming state. Increasing the activity of GABA is essentially what most anti-anxiety medications aim to do as well – pretty cool you can get the same effects by just changing your diet!



 

4. Ketones favor a more focused state


For the same reason ketones favor calmed brain activity, they also favor a more alert and focused state. As stated above, more GABA compared to glutamate in the brain favors a less stressed state, meaning there is less “noise” in the brain, allowing for greater focus and mental clarity.  This is why medium chain triglycerides (MCT) are marketed as a product that can increase focus and cognition – because they give the body ketones that can be used for fuel without having to be in actual ketosis from eating low carb.



 

5. Ketones are a more efficient source of energy

Ketones and glucose are both used as fuel by mitochondria to produce energy (aka ATP) – mitochondria are the part of a cell that takes fuel (either glucose or ketones) and manufactures energy from it. When comparing the output of energy produced from the use of ketones vs. glucose, more energy is produced when using ketones, thereby making it a more efficient fuel source. The presence of ketones also up-regulates the amount of mitochondria in cells, so more mitochondria means more energy produced. This is another reason for the improved focus and mental clarity seen with a ketogenic diet. 



 

6. Ketones act as antioxidants


Research has found that ketones act as antioxidants because they protect against oxidative damage from free radicals. When ketones are used to produce energy (by mitochondria) this process does not cause the release of free radicals, as does glucose when it is used to produce energy. Free radicals aka oxidative damage cause damage to cells and aid in the development of chronic disease, cancer, cognitive decline and other brain diseases, and aging. 



 

7. Ketones may prevent cancer growth


Compared to normal cells, cancer cells metabolize a much greater amount of glucose meaning they need more glucose to thrive. Cancer cells may preferentially use sugar to fuel their growth and proliferation, and research has shown that they may not be able to use ketones as fuel. Research has also shown greater response to chemotherapy when in a fasting state inducing ketosis. There is more research needed in this area, but ketones as a preventative measure for cancer is looking very promising! 



 

8. Greater absorption of nutrients


Major vitamin, antioxidants, and other nutrients need to be taken with fat to be able to be absorbed. This includes Vitamin D, Vitamin E, lycopene and beta-carotene such as in tomatoes, and the B vitamins.  Making sure you are taking in plenty of fats will ensure you are getting the most out of your food and supplements.  

 




9. Ketones are neuro-protective


Fueling the brain with ketones has shown to help with brain disorders such as seizures, brain cancer, Parkinson’s Disease,  traumatic brain injury (TBI), and Alzheimer’s Disease. There is a widely cited case of a physician who put her husband on a ketogenic diet as treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and he improved within a couple of months. More research is needed on the direct effect of ketones for the prevention of diseases that affect the brain, but so far its looking very optimistic!

Side note: Ketones can supply up to 70% of the energy needed by the brain. It is true that your brain requires some glucose to function, but glucose can come from protein, it does not have to come from carbohydrates. It is a misconception that carbohydrates are necessary in your diet – they are not. Protein and fat are the two macronutrients your body definitely needs to manufacture all of the necessary components of the body.

All works cited can be found in the hyperlinks 

 



11 Best Sources of Protein




The best sources of protein are sources that are highly bioavailable – meaning your body can absorb the protein and use it directly. The most bioavailable protein sources come from animal products because they contain all of the amino acids – this is unlike plant sources that are incomplete and less bioavailable. When choosing an animal based protein, get the greatest bang for your buck by choosing organic, pastured, and/or grass fed products. These products are free from hormones and antibiotics, have twice as many nutrients and antioxidants compared to conventional products, and contain a better ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids (which you want and is hard to find). In practice, when I am advising a patient about how to maintain muscle, lose fat, or maintain their ideal body composition, it all comes down to protein intake.

Below you’ll see I listed typical protein, fat, and carbohydrate  content to give you an idea of how much the food source contains, but it can vary by brand.

Below are the healthiest and easiest sources of protein to use as snacks and meals: 




1. Eggs

One egg has: 

6 grams of protein

5 grams of fat

0.6 grams of carb



2. Egg whites

One egg white has:

5 grams of protein

0 grams of fat

0.2 grams carb



3. Chicken breast

1/2 cup cooked has about:

20 grams of protein

2.5 grams of fat

0 grams of carbs



4. Chicken thigh

1/2 cup cooked has about:

17 grams of protein

7 grams of fat

0 grams of carbs



5. Turkey 

1/2 cup cooked (ground) has about:

17 grams of protein

8 grams of fat

0 grams of carbs



6. Salmon

1/2 cup cooked has about:

16 grams of protein

5 grams of fat

0 grams of carbs



7. Cod

1/2 cup cooked has about:

20 grams of protein

4 grams of fat

0.5 grams of carbs



8. Cottage cheese

1/2 cup has about:

12 grams of protein

5 grams of fat

0 grams of carbs



9. Plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup has about:

11 grams of protein

grams of fat varies widely (no limit on fat advised)

grams of carbs varies widely (look for less than 10 grams of carbs)



10. Beef 

1/2 cup has about:

15 grams of protein

12 grams of fat

0 grams of carbs



11. Whey protein

1 scoop of whey protein has about:

20 grams of protein

grams of fat varies widely (no limit on fat advised)

grams of carbs varies widely (look for less than 5 grams of net carbs)



How to use this guide

The next time you are wondering what to snack on or what protein source you should use for your next meal, choose one of the above to add some variety!

References

  1. myfitnesspal.com
  2. fatsecret.com 



 

EAT THIS, SKIP THAT! At Breakfast




Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because what you eat (or don’t eat) will play a huge part in how you feel the rest of the day. Yes, that one meal in the morning will affect your mood, blood sugar, hunger, and food choices for the rest of the day – wow! So what do you choose when it comes to choosing your breakfast?!

Below lists what to eat and what to skip when it comes to breakfast:




1. If you are craving pancakes…

SKIP: Pancakes 

Pancakes are high carb and low fiber (yes even whole wheat) and low in nutrients – and that’s before you add any type of topping or filler (ie syrup). Pancakes should really just be called “cake” because that’s basically what they are. There are certainly ways to make healthy versions of pancakes, but traditional pancakes are a no-no.

EAT: Oatmeal

Instead go for the gluten-free oatmeal. This way you are still getting the carbs you crave minus the sugar, and some fiber and resistant starch to keep you full. 




2. If you are starving…

SKIP: Breakfast burrito

I get it, you are starving, and a breakfast burrito sounds very tempting, but All of the ingredients in your typical breakfast burrito are filling enough! You don’t need the wrapper which has little to no nutritional value.

EAT: Omelette

Get more bang for your buck with an omelette which gives you a great combination of eggs, veggies, and maybe even a cheese or another protein which will keep you full and satisfied.




3. If you are craving juice…

SKIP: All juices (unless made only from vegetables)

Juice is basically a fruit squeezed of all its sugar and put into a glass for you to drink. When you just drink the juice you are missing out on vital nutrients and fiber which comes from the fruit itself – not it’s fluid.

EAT: Fruit bowl

Always go for the whole food rather than the liquid coming from the food. The food itself has the majority of the nutrients and all of the fiber compared to its juice.



4. If you are craving coffee…

SKIP: Everything but black coffee

When a “coffee drink” has more ingredients other than coffee, it’s not really coffee anymore. Your frappuccinos, mochas, lattes, pumps of different flavored syrups, are not doing you any good because they contain zero healthy nutrients and are just adding chemicals, sugar, and empty calories.

DRINK: Black coffee (i.e. ingredients include only water and coffee beans)

 If you want coffee, stick to the real deal, and if you want to fancy it up then get a cold brew or add a splash of almond milk. 



5. If you are craving a bagel…

SKIP: Bagel

Did you know that a standard bagel is equivalent to four pieces of bread?! This super high carb meal causes your blood sugar to skyrocket and then shoot right back down making you feel lethargic and sleepy – the last thing you want to feel like in the morning! No one needs that much carb in one sitting.

EAT: Open face egg sandwich

Add slices of avocado or another egg or protein source if you are extra hungry. Adding more protein or fat will not cause any blood sugar changes, and will keep you more full and satisfied.



6. If you are craving a bowl of oatmeal…

SKIP: Quick oats

Also referred to as “instant oats” these type of oats have been highly processed meaning they have been stripped of most of their nutritional value. And definitely stay away from the pre-packaged instant oats that have been infused with maple and other sugars.

EAT: Irish oats

Irish oats are also called steel-cut oats and are the least processed of the oats. This means they will give you the greatest nutritional value.



7. If you are cravings a bowl of cereal…

SKIP: Raisin Bran

I can’t even count how many times a patient has told me they are trying to eat healthy and so they started eating Raisin Bran. This cereal has approximately 17 grams of sugar in one serving! To put this into perspective, guidelines recommend no more than 25 grams of sugar per DAY!  And unless you are precisely measuring this serving you are likely taking in even more.

EAT: Fiber One Original

Fiber One is hands-down the best choice in terms of cereal. It is high in fiber, low in calories, and contains zero sugar. However, It’s not gluten-free, but it is the absolute best choice when it comes to choosing cereal.



8. If you are craving yogurt…

SKIP: Flavored yogurt

In general, all flavored yogurts have too much sugar. Anything over 5 grams of sugar is too much, and most have over 10 grams – no bueno. Be especially weary of “fat-free” marketing because this almost always means additional sugar has been added to give it flavor (since the fat has been taken out).

EAT: Plain Greek yogurt

Plain is the main thing you want to look for, Greek is best because this type of yogurt contains the greatest amount of protein. Still check the nutrition label because sometimes plain yogurt still has a ton of sugar in it. To add some sweetness consider adding some berries and nuts.



6 Healthy Desserts To Curb Your Sweet Tooth




Who doesn’t love a treat? Especially when the treat is actually not bad for you – woo hoo! Unfortunately, treats and desserts are either super high calorie and high sugar, or taste like cardboard and make you crave treats even more. What to do? Well, here at The Mindful Tech Lab we have a small dessert almost every single evening and below is a list of our favorite healthy treats. All are low sugar and low calorie, so you don’t have to worry about derailing your diet when consuming them. Hooray!

Below lists our favorite healthy treats:



1. Dark Chocolate

This is our number one favorite healthy treat. Always go for dark chocolate because it has the greatest amount of nutrients and health benefits, as well as being the lowest in sugar of the chocolates. Look for dark chocolate that has over 80% cocoa, because the higher the percentage of cocoa, the lower the sugar – check our the nutritional labels and compare. Note that the higher the percentage of cocoa the  more bitter the taste due to the lower sugar content, so consider starting on the lower end of percent cocoa and work your way up.



2. Berries

We love blackberries and raspberries because they are low in sugar, high in fiber, and taste great! Both fresh or frozen are good choices, just make sure if you buy frozen that it is not sweetened. A good trick is warming up frozen berries in the microwave because when it melts it tastes like pie filling! Stick to one serving of berries which is 1/2 cup, it can be very easy to triple this serving size, so pay attention to the serving size.



3. ARCTIC ZERO

We love ARCTIC ZERO frozen desserts because their products are gluten free and lactose free, and they use only natural ingredients, no artificial sweeteners and no artificial coloring. We also love that they sweeten their products with monk fruit, which is a natural sweetener and has a great taste. The main ingredient they use is whey protein, which gives it some protein and flavor. Our favorite lowest sugar flavors are Salted Caramel and Vanilla Maple.



4. Halo Top

If you are really wanting that ice cream taste and texture without all of the sugar and empty calories, this is your brand! Halo Top makes both dairy based and vegan products, but so far we have only tried the dairy based. The dairy based desserts are high in protein (around 12 grams) because they are made with eggs, milk, and cream, and low in sugar (around 5 grams) because they are sweetened with the natural sweetener stevia (a sweetener we approve of). The vegan desserts are coconut milk based and are also sweetened by stevia. The vegan products are lower in protein compared to the dairy based (about 3 grams) but are also very low in sugar (about 4 grams) which makes this product a great choice as well.



5. Plain greek yogurt with stevia or berries

This means low sugar greek yogurt, around 5 grams of sugar – very important to read nutritional labels here!! Even “plain” greek yogurt can have up to 20 grams of sugar without even tasting sweet – crazy right! Give it some flavor by sweetening with the natural sweetener stevia or monk fruitwith some warmed up berries. Watch the serving size of this and stick to 1/2 cup.



6. Hot chocolate

A low sugar hot chocolate is one of the best healthy desserts because it gives you high volume with low sugar and calories. We really like the brand Lakanto, who makes a drinking chocolate with about 2 grams of carbs and less than 10 calories per serving. We’ve tried A LOT of different products, and this one is the best in terms of taste and ingredients. It is sweetened by monk fruit, which is a natural and zero calorie sweetener. This product is also dairy free, gluten free, and vegan. Mix it with a cup of warmed unsweetened almond milk!

Enjoy!




10 Tips From The World’s Most Accomplished Strength Coach




We recently attended the Bulletproof conference in Pasadena where we got to listen to the top experts in the field of health and wellness. One of these speakers was Charles Poliquin, who is defined as the world’s most accomplished strength coach. He has trained several olympic medalists, professional athletes, and fitness world champion’s. He definitely knows his stuff when it comes to getting and staying fit!

Below is a list of the main takeaways we got from his session, some tips we knew and we’ve shared with you before in other posts on our website, but it was great to hear him echo the same things we teach as well!

1. No Steady-State Cardio

There were some choice words to describe steady-state cardio, but the main takeaways  were that it ages the brain and that it promotes muscles wasting and fat gain. Yikes!



2. Yes to high intensity interval training (HIIT)

He describes exercise in the form of high intensity interval training (HIIT) as not being cardio, and as being a highly effective way to burn fat and gain muscle. If you are a runner or biker add sprint intervals to reap the benefits rather than longer exercise at a steady-state pace.



3. Eat protein on rest days

Rest days are when your muscles are recovering and building back up to be stronger. The building blocks of muscle comes from amino acids which are found in protein.



4. The first thing in your mouth dictates the rest of your day

What you eat or drink first thing in the morning sets you up to burn or gain fat for the rest of the day. For this reason, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.



5. Meat and nuts for breakfast

He does not recommend a specific macronutrient requirement for breakfast, but does recommend starting each day with a mix of meat and nuts to start the day.



6. Magnesium at night time

Taking magnesium at night time aids  muscle recovery and helps with sleep. I didn’t catch how much he recommends, but I recommend 400 mg or more at night time – note that taking too much too can cause diarrhea.



 

7. One hour of strength training 4 days a week

You can get super fit if you workout smart. He recommends one hour sessions of strength training, 4 days a week. If you can’t go for a full hour every day (I normally can’t) then just make the workout sessions shorter and go 5-6 days a week. Note: He is speaking about how to get super ripped for a competition or something of that nature, you likely do not have to even do this much to get fit!



8. More muscle equals longer life

He equates the amount of muscle is an indicator of longevity – the more muscle you have, the longer the life.



 

9. Lose fat with strength training

To lose fat you need to start strength training. Strength training builds muscle, the more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest. Also after strength training this causes your body to expend energy trying to repair itself, meaning you burn an elevated amount of calories even after the workout is done.



10. Stick to basic exercises

Avoid over thinking exercise. Stick to the basics to see the best results. Exercises recommended included deadlifts, squats, chin-ups, and overhead presses.



The Worst Vacation Habits Making You Gain Weight




Taking a vacation is one of the very best things you can do for yourself because it’s a time to make happy memories and to reset and recharge. That being said, vacation can also be a time that you sabotage your healthy diet and exercise routine if you don’t plan accordingly.

Read below the worst vacation choices making you gain weight:

Choosing a hotel without a gym

If your hotel does not have a gym you won’t even have a chance to stick to any sort of exercise routine. If you are new to exercise and aren’t a huge fan of exercise, this can be a slippery slope of getting you back into old habits of not exercising. Not having a gym also means you won’t be able to burn off those extra calories you are consuming while on vacation, which means quicker and more weight gain.



Taking a road trip

A road trip is not doing you any favors when it comes to keeping up an exercise routine and sticking to a healthy diet. Think about the typical road trip snacks – chips, pretzels, and other 7-11 choices – plus the dining options on the road tend to not be the healthiest. 

Not to say you can’t make a road trip healthy, it just takes extra planning in terms of packing healthy meals and scheduling many pit stops to take walks and get exercise.

Staying at an all-inclusive resort

Staying at an all-inclusive means you must eat as much as you can to get your money’s worth right!? Er, maybe not the best plan when trying to stick to a healthy diet 😉 Also keep in mind that resorts understand that most of their guests feel this way and so the quality of the food may suffer to increase the volume available.



Relying on airport food

Lets be real, the majority of the food you will find in the airport is fast-food and it is difficult to actually find something healthy. Plus the food is highly marked up in price so you certainly aren’t saving any money by eating at the airport.

Relying on airplane snacks and meals

Not only is the food more expensive on the airplane, it also tends to not be the tastiest and definitely not the healthiest.



Not packing workout clothes

If you don’t pack appropriate clothes to exercise in, you’re not even giving yourself the option to exercise when on vacation.

You only drink specialty cocktails

Specialty cocktails are one of the worst diet mistakes you can make because they literally have zero nutritional value and are loaded with calories, sugar, and carbs – the recipe for fast weight gain.



Drinking too much

It won’t kill your diet to have one specialty cocktail, but once you start going past one cocktail those calories will add up to extra pounds on fat on your body quickly. Plus, drinking alcohol can make you crave unhealthy meals and lower your will power when it comes to making healthy decisions.

Not making a plan to exercise

If you aren’t making a plan for when you will workout, there is a good chance it’s not going to happen. 



Not packing sneakers

You are setting yourself up for a very sedentary vacation if you choose not to pack sneakers. 

Grazing all day

Snacking all day at the pool is only going to result in overeating, especially when the snacks are tasty foods like fries and chips.



Not utilizing the kitchen

If your hotel room has a kitchen and you aren’t using it, this is a definite mistake! This means you are also missing out on the ability to save some money and to eat healthy.

Personal experience: If we stay at an Airbnb or a hotel with a kitchen we always make a point of finding a market to pick up a few food items that we can easily make into meals and/or snacks. Some of our favorite simple and healthy meals and snacks include cutting up fruit, frying up some eggs, making nut butter banana sandwiches, or buying prepared foods and putting them together to make a meal.

Choosing the buffet

A buffet is doing you no favors if you are trying to stick to a healthy diet. With so many options, it’s easy to over serve your plate and go back for seconds or even thirds! Plus who can pass up all of the desserts.

Main takeaways…

Above are the top vacation habits to break when it comes to sticking to a healthy diet and exercise routine. 




Top 11 Breakfast Practices Making You Gain Weight




Breakfast can either make or break your diet – start off with the wrong breakfast and it can be very hard to get back on a healthy eating track for the day.

There are many mistakes you can make at breakfast time that can definitely derail your diet and expand your waistline. Don’t make the most common mistakes. Read below to learn the top breakfast habits making you gain weight:




1. Choosing granola

Granola is one of the biggest diet mistakes you can make in the morning because it is loaded with sugar, carbs, and a ton of calories. To make matters worse, it is often labeled as a “healthy” meal which can cause many individuals to load up on it because it’s healthy right? No. Step away from the granola, it will make you gain weight without you even realizing.

Professional experience: I had a new patient come in for a yearly physical, she was in her mid 40s and had been gaining weight steadily for the past few years despite having a personal chef (yes!) and seeing a personal trainer a couple of times a week. When I asked about her diet, she said that for breakfast she was eating homemade granola (by her personal chef) made with “all natural and healthy” ingredients like honey and maple sugar, plus yogurt and fruit. I stopped her right there without hearing anything else and told her how that breakfast was definitely sabotaging her efforts to lose weight and was most certainly a cause for her steady weight gain.

A year later I saw the woman back for her yearly physical again and I almost didn’t recognize her – she had lost at least 50lbs! Plus her skin and hair was noticeably smoother and more youthful.

This type of scenario happens in practice ALL of the time. Even with a personal chef AND a personal trainer, this doesn’t mean you will just naturally lose weight.

2. A bowl of “whole grain” cereal with milk

Cereal is in the same category as granola – it’s just sugar and carbs with little to no protein or healthy fat. It’s slightly worse than granola only because it is also highly processed. Not only will cereal not fill you up, it sets you up to be hungrier later because it spikes your blood sugar and then brings it back down just as quickly – meaning a hangry you later. Even worse, when you pair cereal with milk this adds even more sugar because a cup of non-fat milk has around 12 grams of sugar! The bottom line is that cereal is doing you no favors, skip it.

Professional experience: Cereal is definitely the most common breakfast of choice that I hear from patients. It seems to be either Cheerios or Raisin Bran and the patient almost always tells me they eat cereal because they are trying to eat healthy. I generally recommend instead eating eggs because they are easy to cook and are excellent for you.



3. Eating plain toast

Toast is actually better than cereal or granola because it tends to be lower in sugar. That being said, it is still all carbs and will not keep you full for very long, will spike your blood sugar, and make you hungry not too long after eating.

Healthy tip: Make toast part of a healthy breakfast by adding a protein and/or fat to help slow the release of carbs into your bloodstream. I personally love adding almond butter to toast, grass-fed butter, or adding an egg on top.

Don’t add this: Skip the jams and jellies because these are basically pure sugar. One trick I like to do to is warm up frozen berries and add them to almond butter on top of toast – you can see this on our Instagram page.

4. Using flavored coffee creamer

Cream by itself is actually fine as long as you use a tiny amount, but flavored coffee creamer with added sugars and artificial ingredients is doing you know favors. The sugary creamer adds tons of sugar and calories without you even realizing it. The serving size is also normally very small, like a tablespoon or less, so unless you are measuring it out, you are probably at least tripling this.



5. Eating a bagel

Bagels are a no-no in the morning because most bagels are equivalent to four pieces of bread or more – yikes! This means tons of carbs, tons of calories, and very little nutritional value. Eating a bagel will make you hungry not too long after eating and can set you up to crave carbs and sugar for the rest of the day.

Healthy tip: Make a bagel healthier by eating half a bagel and adding a protein and/or fat like eggs or almond butter. Another trick is scooping out some of the middle of the bagel and adding in the eggs or other fat/protein combo.

6. Oatmeal toppings

Who eats oatmeal plain? Probably no one. Oatmeal in itself is fine, but the toppings are what get you and can make you gain weight. Think toppings like brown sugar, milk (FYI milk is loaded with sugar), and dried fruit. All of these make your oatmeal a sugary carby disaster that will most certainly lead to weight gain.

Healthy toppings: There are certainly healthy toppings you can add to your oatmeal. Some of my favorites include walnuts, almond butter, frozen berries (helps to cool it down), unsweetened nut milk, and stirring in an egg white or two.



7. Watching TV while you eat

Mindless eating leads to overeating and not feeling satisfied with the meal – the perfect recipe for weight gain. Take the few minutes you have in the morning to sit down and give full attention to your breakfast. This will cause you to slow down and to fully enjoy the meal.

8. Grabbing a pastry

Hopefully you know that eating a pastry in the morning is not doing your weight any favors. Pastries are loaded with carbs, sugar, and unhealthy fats and can make your body go into fat storage mode.

Professional experience: When I was working in Manhattan, pastries were a super common breakfast food I heard from my patients so I wanted to throw this one in the list.



9. Eating fruit only

Fruit is packed with vitamins and other great nutrients, but fruit is also packed with sugar. Fruit has some fiber to help slow the release of the sugar into your bloodstream, but it will still likely raise your blood sugar rapidly. This means you will be hungrier sooner and can put your body into fat storage mode.

Healthy tip: Pair fruit with a couple of eggs, or add in some nuts for some fiber and healthy fat.

10. Drinking juice

Juice is worse than just eating fruit because juice has zero fiber and is loaded with sugar, meaning a greater blood sugar spike and increased hunger.

Skip the juice and go for whole fruit with a side of protein or fat.



11. Sipping a chai latte

Think you are being healthy by just sticking to a coffee drink in the morning? Unfortunately, nope. Drinking a chai latte as well as any other coffee drink that doesn’t consist of just coffee beans is generally a diet disaster. A chai latte is one of the worst offenders because it sounds like it would be healthier than a mocha or a Frappuccino, but it is actually loaded with just as much sugar (or more!) and has more carbs than a candy bar – yikes!

Main takeaways…

When it comes to breakfast, skip the sugar and carbs and stick to protein, fat, and fiber to keep you full and to prevent you from packing on the pounds.




Best High Carb Vegetables To Add To Your Diet




I feel like I am always bashing carbs, so good news today because this article is all about the carbs I do recommend! While I do advise low carb eating, I don’t advise anyone to be zero carb because all vegetables have carbs and you should be eating as many vegetables as you can. Below lists my top recommended higher carb vegetables:

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of potassium and Vitamin A, as well as many other vitamins and minerals. I recommend adding half a cup to a cup of baked sweet potato to your dinner.



Butternut squash

Butternut squash is very similar to sweet potato. We love baking or steaming butternut squash, or even making it into a mash and adding some grass-fed butter. I recommend half a cup to a full cup serving.



Carrots

Carrots make a great snack because they give you that crunch plus they have great flavor. If you like cooked carrots then try steaming or baking them and adding to your dinner.

Parsnips

Parsnips are a surprisingly sweet vegetable. Parsnips are great to spiralize into noodles, but you can also cut up in slices and bake in the oven. Because parsnips are on the sweeter side, I advise a cup or less for a serving.



 

Beets

I love beets because they have a great mix of sweetness and earthy flavor. I love adding about half a medium beet to a smoothie after a workout or roasting beets in the oven.



Main takeaways…

The above vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, fiber, and good carbs. These higher carb vegetables are nutrient dense, meaning you don’t need very much to get a high dose of nutrition. Unless you are watching your weight or you are very sensitive to carbs, you can eat as much of the above as you want. If you are trying to lose weight or you have a harder time with carbs, then you may want to limit serving sizes to a half a cup to one cup cooked of the above.