Archives for posts with tag: diet

I will admit that diet and nutrition talk is not my forte. It just doesn’t give me the tingles the way talking about deadlifting or fixing knee pain does.

Did I creep you out yet?

 

 

 

 

…..How about now?

 

Aaaaannyway… I try to keep up with diet and nutrition information via books, blogs, and research. This week I just wanted to keep it simple with the basics of macronutrients: Carbs, protein, and fats.

Do Carbs Make You Fat?

Carb consumption gets a lot of attention these days since diets like Atkins and Paleo have become more and more popular. It can make people carb-phobic and do things as radical as cut out fruit from their diet! Too much of any macro-nutrient will make you fat, but all 3 have their place. This is a great explanation of choosing the right carbs and using them effectively.

The Ultimate Guide to Protein Supplements

I’m a big fan of protein shakes for a couple reasons. First, if you’re like me, you’re busy. Protein shakes take about 5.3 seconds to make and they’re portable. Second, it’s a quick and easy way to get an extra 20 or so grams of protein; and I usually aim for ~100g/day. Lastly, it’s a little extra hydration and I frikken love the taste. This article is a great explanation of which type of protein supplement might be best for you, if you’re interested in trying one.

What Are Safe Cooking Fats and Oils?

Many people think olive oil or seed oils (think canola or peanut oil) are healthy to cook with, but believe it or not there are better options. This blog explains why.

 

Happy Learning!

-L

 

Advertisements

First and foremost, happy new year! I hope everyone celebrated the holidays safely and rung in the new year with friends and family.

I had a fantastic week off of work. Christmas was relaxing, and I caught up on family time, laundry, shopping, cleaning and miscellaneous get-my-ish-together errands. Here’s a shot of my two brothers and I on Christmas Eve… we joked that our gifts were very symbolic ūüôā

Photo: So symbolic

My Family Knows Me Too Well

Needless to say- I am not above the holiday eating shenanigans and I’m looking forward to being on a normal eating plan again. I actually had a lot of free time the past week so I got some great training sessions in. Although it seemed like every time I went I ended up giving deadlifting lessons… but I don’t mind that ūüôā

Anyway, I wanted to share my new years resolutions with you guys, and maybe give you some ideas. For some reason, I keep seeing things like “don’t make resolutions make GOALS.” I don’t understand what the big deal is with the word resolution. By definition it means “a firm decision to do or not do something.” In other words, to make a commitment. Goals are great, but without commitment they’re useless. So I stand by my statements of ‘New Years Resolutions’. Boo-yeah!

Health/Fitness Goals

1) Remember to take my fish oil every day. 

The benefits of fish oil are too long to list, and unless you’ve been living under a rock you know what they are. I’m not big on supplements but I think fish oil is one everyone can benefit from. ¬†I keep a gigantic bottle right next to my computer and somehow manage to forget to take it sometimes. So my commitment is to remember to take it every day!

2) Drink a big glass of water WITH every meal. 

“Vodka water hold the Vodka”

I’m usually pretty good with drinking enough water, so hydration is not really my intention with this resolution. A lot of nutrition advice tells you to stop eating when you’re mostly full… My issue is I rarely feel full. If I listened to that advice I’d grossly overeat at every meal. So I’m hoping by slowing down and filling up with some H2O I will feel more satiated at meal time. However if you feel like you don’t drink enough water to begin with, this is a good solid goal to start with… it’s concrete and certainly doable. The idea is to make this a habit so you won’t even have to think twice about it.

3. Eat 2 bites less of every meal/snack

This is easier said than done people! I’ve practice this before and it really does work for shedding a few pounds over time. If you’re like me, you were raised to finish your plate (before you could have dessert that is). This is an easy version of portion control; again it’s concrete and doable. It’s just a matter of getting into the habit.

4. Deadlift 225lbs!

You didn’t think I could get through this whole category with out some sort of show-off goal did you!?!

 

Work Goals:

1. Start giving presentations

Luckily I’ll have an opportunity to do this thanks to a good friend of mine in the UMass Lowell department of Physical Therapy. I get to pick any topic I want to present to doctorate students, PTs, OTs, and MD’s! Prrreeetty excited about that. The hard part will be picking a topic!

2. Find a PT to volunteer for

The field of physical fitness is constantly changing. Which is awesome because that’s what makes it challenging and fun. I’m a firm believer of continuing education, and I’d like to get another mode of learning besides books, blogs and personal trial and error. That’s why I’d like to find a physical therapist to volunteer for. Of course, the ultimate goal is to gain more tools to better serve my clients ūüėČ

Life/Happiness

1. Try something awesome that I’ve never done before

Sky diving? Swim with dolphins? Volunteer in Africa? The gallon challenge?? Decisions, decisions…..

2. Do something completely by myself and appreciate it. 

I’m the type of person that likes to be surrounded with people. The more the merrier in any situation. When I’m by myself I get pretty bad FOMO (fear of missing out), and I can never just relax and appreciate my solitude. I haven’t quite decided what this will be yet; but I’m thinking a long hike, a road trip, or maybe I’ll just try some meditation.

3. Get back in the habit of reading on the train

For the first year or so of my commute to Boston, I flew through books on the train. It was great; it makes the time fly and I can learn a thing or two. Then for some reason I got into the sleep/listen to music habit which is not as helpful in life. So I’m aiming for 1 work related and 1 non-work related book per month.¬†Aggressive¬†but doable.

 

Channing Tatum says “You can do it, Laura”

Welp, that’s all I got! I hope you’ve got some good goals to reach for in 2013. Just remember… you can’t go down the same road expecting different scenery. Whether you’re striving for a better physique, better job, more happiness… choices must change in order to improve!

 

Good talk see ya out there-

L

Just cause it’s cute

Believe it or not, there are other components to health besides exercise. (I hope you all sense my sarcasm there.)

Although I’m obviously partial to the ‘exercise’ piece of the puzzle, sometimes it doesn’t have to be your primary focus, per se.

The holidays are around the corner, the year is coming to an end, and people are generally busier with work deadlines, vacations and the likes. Formal exercise is usually not on the top of people’s priority lists. So instead of falling off the wagon completely, ¬†it’s a good time to pay more attention to the other aspects of wellness.

1. Sleep

Instead of setting goals for strength or aesthetics this December, set goals for sleep. It is the most vital part of recovery, brain function, and even body composition. Logging hours in the sheets can be just as vital as logging hours in the gym.

2. Stress Management and Recovery

As I mentioned, the end of the year can be a stressful time. Make a conscious effort to take 5 minutes out of your day to de-stress. Sip a green tea without looking at your computer, read a magazine article, do some breathing drills, get up and stretch, call your mom, put your headphones on etc, etc. The key is to do something that actually relaxes you, and actually do it. 

If you have the means, I highly suggest scheduling a massage. I don’t know about you, but it’s on my list of Top 10 Most Awesome Things Ever. It’s one of the best things you can do for your muscles, and it makes you feel like a million bucks.

Buy a foam roller. Come on they’re like 20 dollars. I guarantee everyone reading this can find 15 minutes to spare at night to spend foam rolling. It’s a close second to an actual massage.

3. Nutrition

You had to know this one was coming. I understand this is the month of holiday parties, office treats, and the cop-out gifts of chocolate and disgusting flavored popcorn.

I may or may not have gotten this for Steve last year…

I challenge you to challenge that. Be the annoying one that brings a veggie platter instead of cupcakes. Trust me, people will eat it… and you might even get some thank you’s for the relief of the constant sugar binges.

Offer to make a healthy side dish to your holiday parties like garlic spinach or pumpkin quinoa.

Please: Go easy on the alcohol. I’m not gunna sit here and tell you to not have a good time during this season of celebration– but it’s no excuse to be a sloppy lush at every event. Besides, you don’ t want to come into work on Monday hearing that you ruled the office Stanky-Leg competition that you don’t remember participating in. It’s bad looks!

4. Enjoy Yourself!

The holiday’s are a time for reflection, gratitude, and celebration. Taking a second to think about all the positive things in your life can do wonders for your mental health and state of mind. Take it a step further and make someone else’s day. It can be a random compliment to a stranger, or a conversation thanking your best friend for always being there for you. Deposits in the bank as Stephen Covey would say (author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People– highly recommend it).

For most people, it’s probably not realistic to expect to lose a lot of weight during the month of December. ¬†Now is not the time to stress about an imperfect diet or missing a workout. Enjoy life and live a little.

However that is not a free pass to go buck-wild. If you plan appropriately and are at least conscious of your physical health, you can avoid gaining holiday weight and setting yourself back for the new year.

Happy December!!

-L

Hey All,

Today’s post is inspired by a new client of mine, who’s diet issue is one I hear almost daily.

“I don’t have the time to cook. Frozen dinners are just faster and easier.”

Listen, I get it. I work 12 and 13 hour days too. The last thing I want to do when I come home at 8 o’clock is come up with some elaborate meal that’s going to take 50 ingredients and an hour to cook. And I only have myself to worry about, so not to mention most of my clients have a family to take care of on top of that.

So what’s the solution? I revert to an annoying but true saying: the 5 P’s. Proper preparation prevents poor performance. I get that any plan needs flexibility in order to be compliable and successful, but if you have a good base to work around, your chances of failure decrease significantly. Here are some things you should focus when doing your meal planning:

Figure out your go-to healthy essentials

Make a list of your favorite proteins, veggies, fruits and packaged foods. Make a¬†list of the healthiest options that you’re most likely to eat. To give you an idea of what it might look like, this is what mine usually entails:

Protein: Always chicken breast, eggs, and whatever fish is on sale. About once a month I’ll pick up a pack of lean beef, bacon, or all natural turkey sausage just to mix it up. Dairy includes plain greek yogurt, low fat cottage cheese or sour cream, goat cheese, and coffee cream.

Veggies: 2-3 bags of spring mix, red onion, green onion, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, avocados, baby carrots,¬†eggplant and zucchini. This honestly doesn’t stray too much because I have enough variety in my essentials. And um.. I hate broccoli.

Fruit: Apples + bananas and one other seasonal fruit. Summer is usually watermelon or pineapple, winter is usually grapefruit.

Prepackaged Foods: Almond or peanut butter, quinoa, quick oats, salsa, dark chocolate (yes that is an essential), almonds,¬†flax wraps,¬†salt-free rice cakes, coffee. Every once in a while, I too will have some frozen food. (Remember I told you, I get it?) However you will not catch me eating Hungry Man meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I’m selective with my frozen foods. Some favorites are Garden Lites Souffles, Nature’s Promise Breaded Chicken Strips, and Amy’s Organic quinoa veggie burgers.

Pick a day you have some extra time for food prep, and use it wisely

I would venture to guess that this is usually Sunday’s. Chop your veggies, marinate or cook your meat, display your fruit to resemble an Edible Arrangement (joke (kinda)).

The swan melon… super easy…

Individually pack your snacks or lunches.  Snacks are usually baby carrots and chopped veggies, greek yogurt, oatmeal or a protein shake. Lunches are usually a pre-made salad, tuna, left over chicken, hard boiled eggs, or veggie burgers.

Make a list of your go-to quick meals

Without giving you formal recipes, I can tell you what some of my usual meals are:

  • 1/2lb of the fish that I bought, pan cooked with coconut oil and spices + store bought taboule or 1/2 an avocado
  • pan cooked chicken breast with dry spices (usually cajun or lemon pepper) with¬†oven baked zucchini with marinara sauce, baked sweet potato fries (with olive oil and cinnamon), or sauteed spinach with grass-fed butter and lemon juice
  • ranch tuna salad (i make it with greek yogurt and dry ranch seasoning)
  • mixed greens/veggie salad with goat cheese and almonds
  • eggplant parm is always a staple (no breading and light on the cheese)
  • taco salad (chopped romaine, lean beef or turkey with taco seasoning, red onions, tomatoes, shredded cheese)
  • mixed greens wrap with chicken
  • scrambled eggs, frittata, or veggie omelet with salsa and avocado
  • if i really don’t feel like cooking, i’ll probably have an Amy’s veggie burger with BBQ sauce with greens, or heat some breaded chicken

Here are some other lists of great ideas (eggplant pizza?? yes please)

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/10-primal-meals-in-15-minutes-or-less/#axzz2BTfAXOqZ

http://www.greatist.com/health/cheap-healthy-recipe-collection

Clean your kitchen

I aint talkin’ Windex folks. The best solution for not eating crappy food at home is not HAVING crappy food at home. Stop buying it, and stop keeping it in the house. That way you can separate actual cravings from ‘just eating cause it’s there.’

Conclusion

Alright so I understand I just basically laid out my entire diet plan for you to read. But the point is that the format of the planning and the importance of food prep should be standard; you have to adjust things to your taste. If you hate eating plain chicken breast, don’t cook it that way. If grilled zucchini sounds…’meh’ to you …don’t buy it. ¬†But you do have to take some responsibility in finding what works best for you. The idea is to just put thought into it and actually pay attention.

I hope this helps! Feel free to use the comment section to share some of your go-to easy meals.

Get cookin!

-L

To a certain degree, I would consider personal trainers allied health care professionals. I believe a good personal trainer helps his/her clients go beyond exercise. It’s pretty standard for a trainer to ask a new client about their nutrition; however I like to take it a few steps further and dig into sleep habits, water intake, stress levels, energy levels, and just life in general. Obviously, I’m not a doctor, but I would be so bold as to guess that I have a much closer relationship with my clients than they do with their doctors. I need to get the whole picture to improve my client’s lives. Who am I if I’m not helping others?

Today I wanted to share with you a little bit about a personal health journey.

A fellow trainer wrote a blog post once about how he ate an unusually unhealthy dinner one night, proceeded to get terrible sleep, and felt like crap the entire next day. Then it¬†occurred¬†to him that¬†that’s some people’s normal.¬†¬†And we just accept it as ‘it is what it is.’

For the past few years I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that I have a mild case of hypothyroidism. I have a list of mild yet annoying symptoms that until recently I didn’t really put much thought into piecing them together. Obviously when I was younger, I just accepted these things as ‘it is what is it’ and that’s just how I am. When I started to think about it.. I wondered if all these things were connected in some way. Here’s what I came up with:

1. I’ve always had very dry skin. Even in the summer time I can’t go a day without putting lotion on or else my skin resembles the Sahara.

2. I bruise like a peach. Like… a super old peach. The littlest¬†whack¬†to the shin can cause a gigantic deep purple contusion.

3. My overall energy is not bad, but could be better. When I was in college (and clearly had too much time on my hands) I would take 2-3 hour naps DAILY. Obviously I don’t have anywhere near that amount of free time now, and I find myself barely being able to keep my eyes open on the T ride home.

4. My eyes get puffy and sensitive to unnatural light (especially fluorescent).

5. Most noticeably, my hair has gotten very brittle, and breaks very easily.

6. I have poor temperature control. I’m either sweating or freezing.

7. I’ve always been in a healthy body fat range, thanks mostly to good exercise habits (re: lifting) and a good diet. However, it takes a pretty significant effort for me to get in the teen range (usually entails two-a-days and VERY strict diet). Hypothyroidism can cause weight gain, or difficulty losing weight.

About a year ago I had my doctor check all my hormone levels. According to her all my levels were ‘normal,’ and I had nothing to worry about. Yeah… thanks for nothing doc. An analogy I read while doing my research talked about the RDA for vitamin D. Basically, it’s just enough to not get rickets. But many people question if it’s enough for optimal health.

‚ÄúHealth is not simply the absence of sickness.‚ÄĚ ¬†~Hannah Green

But.. I figured doctors know best and it just… is what it is.

So a year goes by. One morning about 3 weeks ago I found my lab report for my ¬†thyroid levels. I was on the low end of normal. I decided to type all my symptoms into Google just to see what popped up. Not surprisingly,¬†every single result said hypothyroidism. I also have it in my family; my grandmother takes a thyroid pill every day of her life. But I thought… there has to be a better way. I wanted to get to the root of the problem.

So I did some more research. What are the underlying causes of hypothyroidism? Does it just get out of whack for no reason or can something be done to fix it? And then I found it.

Iodine Deficiency. 

Iodine is an essential dietary element because it aids in producing thyroid hormones. According to the WHO, a deficiency in iodine can cause hypothyroid-like symptoms,  miscarriages in pregnant women, or even mental retardation and brain damage.

Iodine deficiency is actually pretty rare for the standard American diet because we eat so much processed, high sodium foods. (Most of the salt we consume is fortified with iodine). However, if you eat a better-than-average diet with minimally processed food and lots of fruits and veggies, you can actually be missing iodine! My diet significantly improved after college, when my symptoms got more noticeable, so I put 2 and 2 together.

Now, supplements are good but real food is better. So the next step in my research was to find foods naturally rich in iodine. Big shocker: seaweed. Ahh, the light bulb turns on. So obvious. Needless to say, I got pretty pumped about where my research had taken me so I went out that afternoon and got me some ever-so-delicious kombu.

Seaweed soup anybody?

 

Luckily, I live in an area with a large Asian population and we have a gigantic Asian food market down the street. The seaweed was easy to find and pretty cheap. I’ve tried to consume some at least every other day for the past few weeks, and I can honestly say I already feel a difference. My eyes have been less puffy, my energy is better, and my skin is (slightly) less dry. All of the other things will probably take some more time to really see changes, and I will surely keep you updated.

Admittedly, I put ‘fat loss’ in the title to get your attention. Although everything about iodine, thyroid, and weight loss is true, the intention of this article is not to get you to think seaweed is the magical key to weight loss and you should go eat a crap ton and you’ll lose ten pounds by next week. ¬†(Yes grammar freaks I realize that’s a run-on sentence. Cuff me.)

The intention of this article is to get you to take a second look at your health. Can things you just accept as normal be improved? I encourage you to dig a little deeper and solve your issues from the root instead of just putting a band-aide on them. Ask questions. Do research. Think critically. Everybody deserves to feel good every day.

‚ÄúTo insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.‚ÄĚ ¬†~William Londen

In Best Health,

-L

References:

1. http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/idd/en/

2. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/iodine-deficiency/#axzz29f3jQqOp

3. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/a-visual-guide-to-sea-vegetables/#axzz29f3jQqOp

4. http://www.livestrong.com/article/336014-nutritional-therapy-for-hypothyroid/

5.http://jonnybowdenblog.com/thyroid-fish-oil/

6. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/kombu-egg-soup/#axzz29f3jQqOp

7. http://www.wellfedhomestead.com/what-to-do-if-you-are-low-in-iodine

8. http://freetheanimal.com/2010/01/the-hidden-benefit-of-the-sad-iodine.html

9. http://www.womentowomen.com/hypothyroidism/foods-naturalthyroidhealth.aspx