Stress causes are just about everywhere…

and our natural “fight or flight” stress response can sometimes go a little overboard. This response is designed to help us avoid injury or death in emergency situations and then return to normal after we have fought or flown. However with high and constant stress causes in our society, the going back to normal doesn’t happen as often, meaning this response is ongoing and then it becomes chronic.

You may have heard of the main stress hormone, named “cortisol.”  Your adrenal glands release cortisol as a response to stress. This hormone is also naturally higher in the mornings to perk you up and get you going, and then slowly fades away through the day so you can sleep. These are good and healthy processes.

However did you know that levels of cortisol, when higher than normal are associated with belly fat, brain fog, high blood pressure, poor sleep, high blood sugar, and even low immunity?

Can you relate with any of these? If so, keep reading as I’m sure you’ll find my list of foods, nutrients and lifestyle suggestions helpful in getting you to a place where you’re enjoying lower stress hormone responses naturally!

 

Food and Nutrition changes to lower cortisol

I’ll start with what you should really get into to help reduce cortisol and wrap up with the biggest no-nos for reducing cortisol.

Water
Dehydration increases cortisol, therefore be sure you are drinking more than enough water as it appears many fall short of this, because they don’t “feel” thirsty (that’s another discussion for another day).

Tea and Dark Chocolate
Real dark chocolate (really real – not the sugar and milk kind) and tea help lower cortisol and are great in little portions as you unwind.

Remember probiotics and prebiotics!
As I mentioned in a previous post on the brain and gut connection, there is so much new research about the digestive system and it’s connection to the brain. Creating a good digestion environment with your friendly gut microbes is key! Be sure to eat probiotic rich fermented foods and get healthy doses of prebiotic fiber.

Variety
Enjoy a variety of foods that are nutrient dense as this will always improve all aspects of your health, as well as lower cortisol levels.

Now reduce these to reduce cortisol-

Sugar
This is one of the biggest causes of cortisol increase. Reducing sugar intake whether by eating or drinking is a huge step toward better health and reduced cortisol levels.

Caffeine
Caffeine in high doses is also a cause of high cortisol levels, so if coffee has a jittery or “anxious feeling” effect on you, then cut back on your coffee. I’m actually one of those that can relate to the coffee jitters, so it’s a no for me.

 

Lifestyle strategies to lower cortisol

In addition to food, here are some lifestyle techniques that will directly help you lower cortisol levels

Mindfully reduce stress 
Studies show that renewing your mind (purposefully reducing stressful thoughts, worry, control, anxiety, offense etc) reduces cortisol, so it’s time to capture you thoughts and choose life giving thoughts.

Get good exercise (but don’t overdo it).
Mindful movement and exercise is a must for your health as your body was designed to move a lot and then rest intermitently. Although the intensity of some exercises can increase cortisol levels temporarily, it can reduce overall cortisol levels; while certain types of exercise, like constant running can also increase cortisol. A variety of exercises, therefore will be of greater benefit to your health. Our clients, after working out well at the variety of classes in our studio love the pampering and restorative release of our Santu Stretch class. 

Get adequate sleep!
Getting enough sleep is seriously underrated in our modern societies, especially. Therefore, in addition to improving your health in many ways, sleep reduces cortisol levels – it’s as simple as that.

Have more fun and relax 
Getting out with nature; deep breathing; massages, and listening to relaxing music all reduce cortisol, so how about a walk outdoors; earthing or grounding (barefoot walking on natural surfaces) etc

Curb loneliness and be social
It wouldn’t just be my personality type talking when I tell you there are actually health risks involved with isolation and loneliness. Seriously, there are studies shown to support it! Spending more time with friends and family you like and who support you (and vice versa); and maintaining healthy relationships is key in reducing stress and living a longer quality of life.

 

Summary
An overactive response of the stress hormone cortisol can have many negative impacts on your health. There are several helpful ways to reduce cortisol levels naturally.

Good diet changes for reducing cortisol levels include cutting sugar and caffeine, while taking in more water, fruit, tea, dark chocolate, probiotics, and prebiotics.

Lifestyle changes are effective when it comes to lowering cortisol, therefore, get proper exercise, more sleep, relax, have more fun and engage with friends and family.

So finally, will you try these suggestions? In the comments below, let me know your favourite ways to bust the stress hormone cortisol!

RECIPE: De-stressing Chocolate pudding

 (Prebiotic and High in Fiber)

Serves 6
Ingredients:
3 ripe avocados
¼ cup cacao powder (unsweetened)
¼ cup maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 dash salt

Instructions:
Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Serve and enjoy!

Tip:
Add a little bit of cinnamon to get a deeper flavor.


References:
https://authoritynutrition.com/ways-to-lower-cortisol/
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-cortisol
https://authoritynutrition.com/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety/
https://www.thepaleomom.com/managing-stress/
http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response
Image by Photoduet/Freepik

 


B.T.Dubs. If you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you! Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! You have the option to try 3 Classes for $33 or 2 weeks of unlimited classes for $49! We match attendance points with donations to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve!
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre 😉

Maybe you love your breakfast and have your go to list of breakfast foods; or maybe you need some motivation to start eating breakfast again? Well here are some great strategies to make sure you’re getting what’s truly important out of what has been touted as the most important meal of the day.

Unknown to still too many – adding a substantial amount of protein at each meal can help with blood sugar management, metabolism and weight loss. The reason being that protein grants satiety (feeling full) longer and puts to use (burns) a lot of calories to absorb and metabolize the same protein. So I’m going to share some tips on how your can get the protein, as well as vegetables and healthy fats for your new and hopefully favorite list of breakfasts foods.

Top Breakfast Food #1: Eggs

Eggs really do reign as breakfast foods, ad for good reason!

But to clarify first – I’m not speaking about those “egg” white in a carton. I mean singing about real ,actual actual whole eggs that come in a shell and all.

Egg whites are mostly protein while the yolks are the real nutritional powerhouses. Those yolks contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats.

Eggs have been shown to help you feel full, keep you feeling fuller longer, and help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin.

Not to mention how easy it is to boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in the fridge for a “grab and go” protein “bullet” breakfast when you’re running short on time.

Also, to calm your “fears” –  the cholesterol in eggs is not associated with an increased risk of arterial or heart diseases.

One thing to consider is to try to prevent cooking the yolks at too high of a temperature because that can cause some of the cholesterol to become oxidized. It’s the oxidized cholesterol that’sunhealthy for the heart.

Top Breakfast Food #2: Nuts and/or Seeds

Nuts and seeds contain protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Nuts and/or seeds would make a great contribution to breakfast.

You won’t be fooled by “candied” nuts, sweetened nut/seed butters, or chia “cereals” with added sugars – you know I’m talking about the real, whole, unsweetened food here.

Nuts and seeds are also the ultimate fast food if you’re running late in the mornings.  Grab a small handful of almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds as you’re running out the door; you can nosh on them while you’re commuting.

Not to mention how easy it is to add a spoonful of nut/seed butter into your morning breakfast smoothie.

Hint: If you like a creamy latte in the mornings try making one with nut or seed butter.  Just add your regular hot tea and a tablespoon or two of a creamy nut or seed butter into your blender & blend until frothy.

Top Breakfast Food #3: Vegetables

Yes, you already know you really should get protein at every meal including breakfast; but this also applies to veggies.  You know I would be remiss to not recommend veggies at every meal, right?

Veggies are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and water.  You can’t go wrong adding them into every single meal of the day so if you don’t already you should definitely try them for breakfast!

And of course not – you don’t need to have a salad or roasted vegetable for breakfast if you don’t want to but you really can!  You wouldn’t be breaking any “official” breakfast rules.

Add some protein to your leftover vegetables to make a great combination for any meal, including breakfast.

Included below is a delicious recipe for you to try or customize for your next breakfast.

RECIPE: Veg-Melet

Eggs and Vegetables

Serves 1
Ingredients:
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 or 2 eggs
¼ cup vegetables (grated zucchini and/or sliced mushrooms and/or diced peppers)
A dash of salt, pepper and turmeric
Instructions:
-Add coconut oil to a frying pan and melt on low-medium heat (cast-iron pans, preferably).
-While the oil is heating up, grab a bowl and beat the eggs with your vegetables and spices.
-Tilt pan all over to ensure the bottom is well covered with the melted oil. Pour the egg mixture into pan and lightly fry the eggs without stirring.
-When the bottom is lightly done flip over in one side and cook until the egg white is no longer runny.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:
Substitute grated, sliced, or diced portions of your favourite vegetable. Try grated carrots, chopped broccoli or diced tomatoes


References:
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/eggs-worse-than-fast-food
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/eggs/
https://authoritynutrition.com/eating-healthy-eggs/
https://authoritynutrition.com/12-best-foods-to-eat-in-morning/
Image by By Smastronardo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons


B.T.Dubs. If you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you! Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! Your first trial class is only $15, or you have the option to try 3 Classes for $33. We match attendance points with donations to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve!
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre 😉

Losing strength?

You’ll find this hormone will help you or some of our men regain strength!

It’s the hormone that helps you build muscle… naturally. Testosterone, that is. And what I’m about to share with is not going to suggest taking anabolic steroid hormones or things of that sort that people often think of when it comes to building buff bodies!

Rather, I’ll get into a couple of solid strategies on boosting this hormone level in a natural way with food based supplements!

Strategy #1: Get enough zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral that helps with a number of processes in your body (it helps over 300 enzymes). Zinc helps your immune system, helps to produce critical proteins and DNA, and also helps with wound healing. Enough zinc is necessary to maintain healthy skin and for optimal ability to taste and smell. Zinc is an antioxidant and can be supplemented to support optimal levels of testosterone because it helps the enzymes that converts cholesterol into testosterone.

Although this mineral is mostly found in red meat, poultry, egg yolks, and shellfish; some plants also provide some zinc such as beans and nuts. The best dietary source, however is found in oysters! You can also get some more Zinc through your interaction with dirt! That’s right, the outdoors, earthing (barefoot walking), the sandy beach etc

The daily recommended dose of zinc for men is 11 mg/day (for women it’s 8 mg/day). Low zinc levels are rare but tend to occur in vegetarians/vegans, athletes, and people who sweat a lot because zinc is lost in sweat. And low zinc levels have been linked to low testosterone levels.

Of course if you don’t get enough zinc in your diet you can always supplement. Before you do, however, consider a few things:

It is possible to get too much zinc so unless your doctor tells you never take more than 40 mg/day.  For many people just 5-10 mg/day is enough to prevent deficiency.

Zinc supplements can also interact with certain medications so be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out if zinc supplements are safe for you.

Zinc supplements are best taken 2-hours away from any medications (if it’s safe to use it at all while taking those medications) and should be taken with food.

Strategy #2: Get enough vitamin D

Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin” is actually the most common nutrient that we in North America just simply don’t get enough of. Not only is it not very abundant in foods but most places far from the equator don’t get enough sunlight to produce adequate levels year round.

Hello winter; goodbye sunshine vitamin.

Vitamin D is known to help us absorb calcium from our foods and is also necessary for our immune system, nervous system, and muscular system.  As with zinc if you’re deficient in this nutrient you may experience increased testosterone levels after supplementing.

Vitamin D deficiency is most commonly associated with bone conditions such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

It is a fat-soluble vitamin and is found in fatty fish, organ meats, and egg yolks.  Unfortunately it isn’t abundant in most other un-fortified foods.

The bottom line with vitamin D is that you may need to supplement.  Of course if you’re always outside in the sun or eat fatty fish every day you may be the exception.  You can always ask your doctor to check your blood levels to be sure because vitamin D is another one of those nutrients where more is not always better.

Here are a few tips to supplement with vitamin D safely and effectively:

Read your labels and don’t overdo it. Don’t jump into supplementing with more than 4,000IU/day unless supervised by your physician.

As with zinc (and most other supplements) you should check with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re taking any medications.

Take your vitamin D with some fat to help your body absorb this vitamin.  It is often recommended that you take it with the largest meal of the day.

Note that vitamin D is also found in cod liver oil (my favortite is Fermented Cod Liver Oil), and multivitamins, so you may not need to take it separately (read your labels).

Summary:

Lower Testosterone levels may be due to a Zinc or Vitamin D deficiency, which are essential to the building blocks of proper nutrition. Try boosting these, but you don’t  want to overdo it.

RECIPE: Honey Salmon and Sesame 

Vitamin D and Zinc

Serves 4
Ingredients:
2-3 Pounds, salmon fillets
¼ Cup soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos
¼ Cup sesame oil
1 Lemon, juiced
2 Tablespoons honey or coconut nectar
1 Inch of ginger, shredded or 1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 Tablespoon, coconut oil
2 Tablespoons, diced green onions or chives
2 Tablespoons, sesame seeds

Instructions:
-Mix soy sauce/tamari/aminos, sesame oil, lemon juice, honey/coconut nectar and ginger together to make a marinade.
-Place salmon in a glass dish and cover with marinade.  Let sit for a few hours or overnight.
-Heat a large cast iron frying pan over medium heat and add coconut oil.
-Place salmon in pan skin side down and cook for 2-3 minutes.
-Pour marinade into the pan, lower the heat and cook for 3-5 more minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.
-Sprinkle with diced green onions/chives and sesame seeds.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:
Wild salmon can contain up to 4 times the amount of vitamin D as farmed salmon. I always recommend Wild Caught seafood.


References:
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-cholesterol
http://summertomato.com/how-to-raise-your-hdl-cholesterol
https://authoritynutrition.com/top-9-biggest-lies-about-dietary-fat-and-cholesterol/
https://examine.com/nutrition/how-can-i-increase-testosterone-naturally/
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/reference/table/ref_elements_tbl-eng.php
http://thewellnessbusinesshub.com/yes-nutrient-deficiencies-heres-proof-can/
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/
http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=zinc.mono&lang=eng
https://examine.com/supplements/Zinc/
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/
http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=183&lang=eng
https://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+D/
https://authoritynutrition.com/9-foods-high-in-vitamin-d/
Image by InSapphoWeTrust from Los Angeles, California, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


B.T.Dubs. If you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you! Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! Your first trial class is only $15, or you have the option to try 3 Classes for $33. We match attendance points with donations to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve!
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre 😉

I’d be one of the first to admit several years ago that I’ve probably chimed in on the Cholesterol hype several years ago even though I might not have really known what it all meant back then.

So before we put on our full on myth busting suits, let’s make sure we all at least understand what cholesterol actually is.

Myth #1: “Cholesterol” is cholesterol

Cholesterol is a component of a compound which floats around your blood, and these compounds contain cholesterol as well as fats and special proteins called “lipoproteins”.

So while cholesterol is understood as a molecule that floats through your blood, what it is bound to as it floats is more important than merely how much cholesterol there is overall. It can in fact have an opposite effect on the arteries and heart depending on what the cholesterol is combined with. Yes, quite the opposite!

These Lipoproteins are grouped into two main categories:
HDL: High Density Lipoprotein (also know as the “good” cholesterol) which “cleans up” some of those infamous arterial “plaques” and transports cholesterol back to the liver.
LDL: Low Density Lipoprotein (also known as the “bad” cholesterol) that transports cholesterol from the liver (and is the kind found to accumulate in arteries and become easily oxidized hence making them “bad”).

But it gets a little more complex: Each of these categories is further broken down into subcategories which can also be measured in a blood test.

So “cholesterol” isn’t simply cholesterol because it has very different effects on your body depending on which other molecules it’s bound to in your blood and what it is actually doing there.

Myth #2: Cholesterol is bad

Cholesterol is absolutely necessary for your body to produce critical things like vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun, your sex hormones (e.g. estrogen and testosterone), as well as bile to help you absorb dietary fats. Not to mention the fact that it’s incorporated into the membranes of your cells.

Talk about an important molecule!

The overall amount of cholesterol in your blood (AKA “total cholesterol”) isn’t nearly as important as how much of each kind you have in your blood.

While way too much LDL cholesterol as compared with HDL (the LDL:HDL ratio) may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease it is absolutely not the only thing to consider for heart health.

Myth #3: Eating cholesterol increases your bad cholesterol

Most of the cholesterol in your blood is made by your liver. It’s actually not from the cholesterol you eat. Why do you think cholesterol medications block an enzyme in your liver (HMG Co-A reductase, to be exact)? Because that’s where it’s made!

What you eat still can affect how much cholesterol your liver produces. After a cholesterol-rich meal your liver doesn’t need to make as much.

Myth #4: Your cholesterol should be as low as possible

As with almost everything in health and wellness there’s a balance that needs to be maintained.  There are very few extremes that actually serve you well.

People with too-low levels of cholesterol have increased risk of death from other non-heart-related issues like certain types of cancers, as well as suicide.

Myth #5: Drugs are the only way to get a good cholesterol balance

First, don’t start or stop any medications without talking with your doctor.

That being said – while drugs can certainly lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol they don’t seem to be able to raise the “good” HDL cholesterol all that well.

But guess what does (as I do my sing-song motion)?

Nutrition and exercise! Seriously, follow me beyond the cliché and “hear it all before” feeling. Tap into this POWERFUL lifestyle secret and reap the benefits for decades.

A very impactful way to lower your cholesterol through nutrition is be eating a lot of fruits and vegetables – especially vegetable. An I mean a lot, as in 10 servings every single day.

Not to worry- the fun recipe below will help you add another enjoyable, delicious salad to to you daily servings.

Additionally, do exercise, do lose weight, stop smoking, and eat (more and) better quality fats. That means fatty fish, avocados and extra virgin olive oil. Completely ditch the over-processed hydrogenated “trans” and man made fats.

Summary: 

Cholesterol, heart health and the science behind all that is seemingly complicated and we are learning more every day as there is more to learn. However, you shouldn’t need to be afraid of it as much as there are a lot of things you can do proactively from a nutrition and lifestyle perspective to improve and support your cholesterol health.

 

 

RECIPE: Orange Hemp Seed Dressing

Dressing for you Salad

Makes about ¾ cup
Ingredients:
½ cup hemp seeds
½ cup orange juice
1 clove of garlic, peeled
dash salt and/or pepper

Instructions:
Blend all ingredients together until creamy.
Serve on top of your favourite salad and Enjoy!

Tip:
Store extra in airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for about a week.

 


References:
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-cholesterol
http://summertomato.com/how-to-raise-your-hdl-cholesterol
https://authoritynutrition.com/top-9-biggest-lies-about-dietary-fat-and-cholesterol/
Image by JPS68 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons


B.T.Dubs. If you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you! Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! Your first trial class is only $15, or you have the option to try 3 Classes for $33. We match attendance points with donations to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve!
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre 😉

Holiday parties, and family feasts are simply amazing!

Not only in the abundance of yummy food, but the ambience, beloved people, decorations and just the festivities of the season. So because of this it’s pretty common to indulge during these periods, and you know what I say to that, health permitting!

BUT then it doesn’t end there. At times we not only indulge, but over indulge on “regular” days, meals, like all the time!

So if you DON’T want to worry about overeating, I can help you put an end to your worries now, with these easy common sense tips. Remember, I’m not interested in stopping you from eating- just from over-eating and over-eating food group proportions 😉

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.

(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)

 

Tip #1: Start with some water 

With your tummy already growling and then you smell simply the simply delightful aroma of food, it’s super easy to fill your plate or even start grazing (bare hand sampling). But like I’ve shared with you before, do you know it’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger? I mean sure, if you haven’t eaten in a while, of course you’re hungry, but you’re also thirsty. So your stomach may also be desperate for some water than a huge meal.

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten. And this easy and simple tip may even help with weight loss (almost “duh”, right?).

Water will not only start to fill you up before you get to the table, leaving less room for the food, but drinking enough water keeps you hydrated and has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism! Nice!

 

Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”

You’re probably familiar with mindfulness, but do you apply that to your eating habits?

This will help you overcome overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion. How?

The same way that being mindful when you reflect and rest helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment, being mindful when you eat helps you focus your attention on your meal to break it down properly and give your digestive system and healthier process to absorb nutrients and get rid of waste.

You achieve this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.

This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less.

When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.

So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.

 

Tip #3: Start with the salad

You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.

But wait. Really. Start with the salad.
(Don’t worry, you can have some…just after you’ve eaten your salad).

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they’re full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.

Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller.  They’re “satiating”.

And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a large meal.

Summary:

Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

Recipe (Infused Water):


Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Water Ideas
If you’re not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses, here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:
Slices of Strawberries & Orange
Slices of Lemon & Ginger
Blueberries & Raspberries
Slices of apple & a Cinnamon Stick
Chopped Pineapple & Mango

Tip:
Also, buy a bag/several bags of frozen chopped fruit and put those in your cup, or super cool bottle or jar at the beginning of your day. They”ve already been washed and cut, and will help keep your water colder for longer period of time.


References:
https://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-of-water/
http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal


B.T.Dubs. If you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you! Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! Your first trial class is only $15, or you have the option to try 3 Classes for $33. We’ll donate a portion of that to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve.
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre 😉

 

The Scoop on Your Metabolism

This word, “metabolism,” is thrown around quite a whole lot nowadays. And you understand that if yours is too “slow” it will cause you to gain weight or keep you from losing weight, but what is metabolism, exactly?

To answer that question easily – “metabolism” is simply defined as all the biochemical reactions in your body that help to maintain physical life. It is the way your intake of all nutrients and oxygen is used to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive.  And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

-Process activities you can control (e.g. physical activities.

-Allow activities you can’t control (e.g. your heart beat, healing of wounds, nutrient processing and toxins, etc.).

-Process the storage of unused/excess energy for later.

When you put these processes all together into your metabolism you can imagine that they can can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right… Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”.

Metabolic rate

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).

Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).

Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate. One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you’re not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

What affects your metabolic rate?

The Bottomline? A whole lot!

The first thing you may think of is your thyroid. This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism.  Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you’ll burn.

But that’s not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.

How big you are counts too!

Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial!

As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does.  So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be.  Even when you’re not working out.

This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program.  Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you.

The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don’t want to happen.  So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.

Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they’re doing “work”.

The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food.  This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).

You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently.

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%.  By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow.  By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

And don’t forget the mind-body connection. There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.

Summary:

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism, but hopefully you’ve learned how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate. Pick a few things out of what you can control, and see a great help to the process.

Try this recipe below to help boost your metabolism and of course, your taste buds!

 

RECIPE (Lean Protein):

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

2 Lemons, sliced
1 Tablespoon, Rosemary
1 Tablespoon, Thyme
2 Cloves of Garlic, thinly sliced
4 Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless)
A dash of salt & pepper
1 Tablespoon, Extra Virgin Olive oil

Cooking Instructions:
-Preheat oven to 425F.  Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.
-Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper. Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with a lid or foil.
-Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!


References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-balance

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-ways-to-boost-metabolism/

Image by J3D3 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons


B.T.Dubs. If you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you! Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! Your first trial class is only $15, or you have the option to try 3 Classes for $30. We’ll donate a portion of that to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve.
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre 😉

You might have heard this before- good, real food based nutrition, plus a reasonable and consistent fitness plan is perhaps the best thing you can do for your hormones and overall health. But you might not have truly internalized this for yourself. Or you just don’t know how it applies to you in a practical way and for your body type and phase in life. With older adults, especially, taking charge in this area will give you a new outlook on life and overall better health- but the sooner, the better. With or without knowing it, a number of women develop hormone imbalances which throw a wrench in the kind of results they see even after committing to a healthy lifestyle and regimen. These can be caused by a number of chemical toxins from stress, food, medication, birth control pills, sugar, pregnancy, etc.

A hormone balancing diet and lifestyle will help improve your health, help control cravings, sugar peaks and lows; encourage better sleep, reduce inflammation and even improve the look and feel of your skin.

Just a side note on those controlling cravings… Regardless of what you’ve heard, they are NOT normal and they could be a sign of hormonal and blood sugar imbalances. When you crave, crave, and crave (you know, sweets, chips, cheese, salt, bread, alcohol or meat) it means that your blood sugar levels have dropped. And then you try to eat the right foods, but your willpower loses often because it’s not a match! Your hormones and physiology must be fed by your thought process to even support your thought process. The best thing your mind can do then is strategize before your feelings, hormones and physiology play out whatever they’ve been fed. Therefore the only way to stop a craving is to prevent it from happening, and this is actually easier to do than you might think. Here is one delicious way:

HORMONE BALANCING SNACKS

You know when they say “eat about 6 meals throughout the day” and you’re thinking “What? I don’t have time for that, it’s too tedious.” If you’re like I was, you’re thinking of every meal as a plate, and if you’re taking advise from a fitness or nutrition coach, you assume they also mean a meal plate you cooked and prepared yourself! So 6 of them in a day just sounds impossible!” Here’s the probability though- You’re probably already doing more than 3 square meals a day through your snacking habits (yes including the late night ones) and it’s time to harness them to your advantage. We often tell you that your snack is a meal, so I’ll say it again. Your snack counts as a meal.

I for one lived life mostly as an intermittent faster (a huge meal in one sitting a couple of times a day during my most active hours, followed by a longer period of not eating). It wasn’t a targeted “diet,” it was just the way I had learned to eat. My metabolism is great, I built muscle and burned through calories pretty well, and you know what, it worked for me, it worked for my body type, I barely snacked, and I had energy. I preferred proteins and meats to sweets and I joked that I ate like a man… Until my hormones shifted… for good reason 😉 And then I really learnt why Intermittent Fasting is not usually recommended for women for a long period of time when used as a weight loss diet. Because chances are, most women will experience their hormones shifting and this is not a bad thing. Hormones shift through cycles for different purposes. It’s when they get out of whack and aren’t supported that problems arise. So here’s something I stress to my ladies- if you’re struggling with imbalances, or adrenal fatigue, or whatever, you should not go long periods without food; and you must start your day with food (especially a good dose of protein and healthy fat). So while you hope your possibly unruly snacks don’t count against your caloric intake because they’re so small (sorry but they do count… sometimes even more than your healthy meals), use them to your advantage. Turn them into your power tools. Take your 2-3 square meals, factor in a couple of “snacks” inbetween and you’re already at 4-5 meals.

So here’s what I want you to do: plan on having Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, as usual. Then simply snack in-between. A purposeful small meal, that is. If you’re not that great at getting breakfast going yet, then at least start by treating it like a “snack”. Start with my suggestions below so that you can get that fuel your body. You have to start somewhere.

Studies have shown that snacks are the biggest area where most people have trouble controlling their diet. But if you add purpose to your snack, you can basically snack all day, making all your meals small but packed with nutrition. This will trigger the right signals for your body and boost your energy through the day, plus increase your ability to burn off fat and lose weight properly. To help support your hormone balancing diet we have compiled a few superfood, healing food based yummy snacks that are simple to prepare and keep on hand. Again. this should make it easy for you to balance hormones and enjoy the benefits of your active lifestyle.

Krispy Garlic-flavored Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • 2-large bundles of kale, washed and dried completely
  • 1/2 -tsp garlic sea salt
  • Grapeseed Oil

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl tear kale leaves into medium chip-sized pieces. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt and drizzle Grapeseed Oil evenly on all pieces. Single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake ten to twelve minutes turning once. Krispy kale chips may be kept in an airtight container for up to two days.

Healthy Five-Minute Hummus (perfect for dipping the Kale chips)

Ingredients:

  • 2-TBS sesame seed paste ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • ¼-teaspoon paprika 2-TBS fresh lemon juice
  • Dash of salt 1-fifteen ounce can chickpeas (rinsed)
  • 1-tsp ground cumin 1-clove garlic

Preparation:
Using a food processor, puree all ingredients except the paprika and a small amount of olive oil until smooth. If necessary add water for desired consistency. Transfer to serving container and drizzle the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with paprika.

Chicken Breast Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2-medium chicken breasts
  • 1-small red onion
  • 1 1/2 TBS Grapeseed Oil
  • 3-medium vine ripe tomatoes
  • ½-tsp chopped cilantro
  • 1/8 cup walnuts
  • 6-washed spinach leaves,
  • sea salt, pepper, garlic powder

Preparation:
Heat Grapeseed Oil on medium heat. Wash, pat dry and cut chicken breast in small cubes. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Sauté chicken until completely cooked. While chicken is cooking cut vine ripened tomatoes in half and remove all seeds and core. Finely chop 2 TBS of red onions. Tear each spinach leaf in half and place one in the bottom of each tomato. Divide red onions and sprinkle evenly over spinach leaves. Remove chicken from heat and add cilantro. Divide mixture evenly among tomato cups. Sprinkle walnuts on top.

Other Snacks on The Go

If I don’t even have an extra minute to prepare cool snacks you can still find in my purse (yes, purse) a boiled egg, a piece of fruit, or nuts and seeds. And who can forget my favorite quick snack- Kefir with coconut flakes, chia and blueberries? It’s important to have your real protein (please!), healthy fats (pretty please!) and carbs with you. I burn excess fat and lose weight with this Ketogenic approach than anything else and that means more healthy fats in the diet, ladies! So for ultra-quick treats keep walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, kefir, goat cheese, and coconut milk handy; and alternate with vegetables and munch on some raw cauliflower, celery, etc. With these yummy snacks, staying healthy, balancing hormones and supplying your energy regularly is easy and the benefits are amazing. Really, it can be that simple.

 


P.S. If it’s been too long or you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you. Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! Your first trial class is only $15, or you have the option to try 3 Classes for $30 – and we’ll be donating a portion of that to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve.
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre.

It’s a question I hear a lot at Passion Barre (and practically everywhere) – especially from women. And I mean from dedicated people who are trying relatively hard to shed those unwanted pounds of fat. The foundations of maintaining a healthy weight and body fat composition have always been the same, however it has become necessary in our modern time and society to take better ownership of our health and detect the varying lifestyle habits that could be weight gain or plateau culprits.

The good news is that solutions continue to abound – and not to worry, you don’t need to know everything! Just learn the foundations and pick out what you find to be helpful and actionable – then start from there. With the right attitude and accountability, you’ll be seeing desired results in no time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, currently 36% of Americans are Overweight and 34% Obese, but the better news is that Americans are starting to wake up to the idea of exercise and a healthier diet to prevent or cure obesity and other related issues.

WHAT’S THE CAUSE?

Obesity has been around for ages, but the epidemic and cause has gone beyond over-eating or under-activity, leaving even active and committed individuals frustrated and confused.

Common causes of obesity could stem from genetics, food addictions, macronutrient imbalances, insulin resistance and cortisol imbalance, hormone signal impairments, certain types of medication, marketing (tsk tsk!), culture, ignorance, and simply doing the wrong type of workout for your state of health or body type, etc. However, there are other complicating factors that could slow down one’s ability to lose weight/fat. These include Depression, Inflammation, Digestive disease, Hypothyroidism, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Blood sugar imbalance, Chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Candida.

Where to start?

LIFESTYLE STRATEGIES

If one suffers symptoms from any of these conditions, you may start addressing the root cause by consulting a physician to get a picture of things; and learning to listen to your body. Then, revive your lifestyle and eating habits with strategies that specifically target these areas. Simultaneously, de-stress and get into a workout routine you can enjoy. There are a lot of good outdoor, brick/mortar and online options out there! You may connect with us for a customized lifestyle plan to support your goals, or for helpful resources like those at DrAxe.com to help in identifying symptoms and solutions. Below are helpful tips:

1. REVIVE YOUR DIET!

Reviving lifestyle and eating habits is extremely crucial as they also affect any of the possible conditions above as well as the ability to lose weight. So in a sense solving one issue solves the other.

In order to revive, however, it is wise to replace old patterns that have not supported your goals so far. They have no life in them, therefore, let them die. Focus on foods that support your body’s ability to heal itself. A lot of these foods are also fat-burning, so here is a general list of what to eat:

High fiber foods – Foods high in fiber like vegetables, nuts, seeds, and berries make you feel fuller, without increasing your caloric intake.
Vegetables and Fruits – These are high in nutrients and low in calories.
High Quality/Organic Protein – People who eat at least 3-4 ounces of protein per meal tend to experience more satiety and eat less overall.
Wild-caught fish – Obesity tends to increase inflammation, so include foods rich in omega-3 fats to balance the ratio of widely available Omega-6 fatty acid foods.
Coconut Oil and Ghee – These healthy fats are easy for your body to use as fuel but should still be used in moderation.

2. HERE ARE FOODS YOU WANT TO AVOID:

Processed and junk food – These aren’t foods at all; and are designed to be addictive, plus the quantity becomes difficult to control.
Refined sugar – Increases hunger and leads to eating empty calories.
Refined flour – Refined products are high in calories, and low in nutrients.
Sweetened beverages –As we shared last month on how to easily lose 30 pounds, a lot of people do not account for the calories in their beverages before consuming them.
Trans and hydrogenated fats – These fats produce inflammation and are only found in foods empty of any real nutrients.

If you find any of these frequently in your diet, you want to revive your diet with the real, nature present, life enhancing foods like those previously listed above. Think of food as medicine.

3. MOVEMENT IS MEDICINE TOO, AND SO IS LAUGHTER!
You may already know the extreme importance of being physically active. Your body was designed to move and it degenerates otherwise. But it’s also important to begin with the right type of workout for the current state of your health. For example, there are several good exercise regimens, but it could be counteractive for someone with Adrenal fatigue to do a high intensity workout, without initial protocols.
All things being equal the best workout regimen is one that includes a range of resistance training (body weight or weights), compound cardio intervals, walking, and stretching.

Barre, Pilates and similar forms of movement have been shown to improve health, weight loss, moods and appearance.
When done with focus and intensity, these workouts benefit:
Memory – Journal of Physical Activity and Health
Deeper muscle activation
Reduce stress and anxiety
Improved Posture and Spinal Health
Better balance
Improved flexibility
Increased muscle tone and firming of the body

How about that for a great class?

So get into a routine that you’ll enjoy, or invest in accountability that’s a good fit for you. As you get involved, give yourself real time. Crash dieting or forgetting to take into consideration present limitations while going after fitness goals can discourage you in the process. Also keep in mind that there is so much working for you even when you face limitations. Keep your mind on the possibilities and what you are already accomplishing. Get yourself in an environment charged with inspiration, encouragement and joy, helping you develop an attitude that will help you focus and become what you focus on.

 


P.S. If it’s been too long or you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you. Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! Your first trial class is only $15, or you have the option to try 3 Classes for $30 – and we’ll be donating a portion of that to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve.
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre.