The weight-training sweet-spot

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Never train more than 60-90 minutes (this doesn’t include a warm-up, or a cool-down) at a time. Excessing training negatively affects hormones and increases the risk of getting sick. Listen to your body. If you feel too tired to go on after a three minute break, after 30-45 minutes of exercise, cool-down and call it a day. You will work up to longer training periods, over time, if consistent, when your body has adapted. If you’re in the gym for two hours or more at a time and are not seeing results, this is why.

 

Photo: me

P.S. I have a detailed guide to exercise and weight-training, and provide my one-week workout plan in my book The High-Five Diet. To read a few chapters of the book and order your copy, click here: https://www.amazon.com/High-Five-Diet-Easiest-Weight-Loss-ebook/dp/B01HSIM6NA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1468641914&sr=1-1&keywords=the+high-five+diet

Want more information, go to https://www.thehighfivediet.com/

 

Source: Clark, M., Sutten, B., and Lucett, S., NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training. MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. 2014. Print. 362-365.

Should I avoid salt completely?

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Salt is an essential nutrient and should NOT be omitted from your diet. The minimum recommended daily allowance of salt, aka sodium, is 4 grams per day. The American Heart Association recommends 1500 mg of salt, which is less than ¾ tsp. Yes, it is recommended that people eat salt every single day for good health.

Many people are under the incorrect assumption that salt is bad. Your doctor may even have told you that you cannot have salt, which is untrue and unhelpful. The reason doctors tell patients this lie is that they want to stress how important it is to limit salt. The real issue is that people eat too many processed foods, and/or dine out, and those meals have way too much salt added.

We’re not all the same, so some people need more salt than others. Cyclists and marathon runners take salt tabs or capsules to minimize cramps, fatigue, and dehydration. Hyponatremia can result in death; this occurs when individuals, like marathon runners, drink a lot of water, but not enough salt. You’ve probably seen lots of ads pushing certain drinks (Gatorade) to replace electrolytes after exercise. Salt is an electrolyte. Salt and water work together as an equilibrium.

On a hot day, when I go to the gym, if I don’t grab that pinch of Celtic Sea salt on my way out the door, towards the end of my workout, I have trouble concentrating, I feel woozy, and I can’t stay hydrated even after drinking lots of water. Luckily my gym has salt at the front desk so I ask for it when needed, and add it to my water. Just by adding those granules of salt, I always feel better within a few minutes. Whenever I get home from the gym, I eat a brined olive to get extra salt to replace the salt I lost from sweating, even though I don’t perspire much compared to other people.

Even though I drink a fruit smoothie with 18 grams of protein powder with a banana (the banana contains natural potassium and magnesium which are electrolyets) before I go to the gym or do cardio, the reason I have to eat salt prior to exercise on a hot day, is because my protein powder has contains only 55 mg of sodium. I add the salty olive post-workout in addition to eating a post-workout meal with a little salt, because my overall diet is low in salt. I make most of my meals from scratch, and I dine out only on occasion.

Don’t ban salt from your diet completely, but do cut back on packaged and processed foods, and restaurant meals. The real demon is sugar.

Photo: Me at World Gym

Sources:

https://sodiumbreakup.heart.org/how_much_sodium_should_i_eat?utm_source=SRI&utm_medium=HeartOrg&utm_term=Website&utm_content=SodiumAndSalt&utm_campaign=SodiumBreakup

https://www.fsai.ie/science_and_health/salt_and_health/the_science_of_salt_and_health.html

https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/salt-dont-ban-entirely#1

https://www.bicycling.com/food/how-much-sodium-should-you-consume

I can finally eat beans. Here’s how.

digestive enzymes

Even after taking numerous probiotics with different strains and brands, I couldn’t eat beans or cabbage without having an upset stomach. I didn’t eat beans for several years, which meant I couldn’t eat a lot of wonderful recipes. After watching the film “What the Health,” I wanted to go 100% vegan, and decided to resume my search for probiotics that let me eat beans again.

I found Crystal Clear’s Digestive Enzymes on Amazon, and am happy to report that this brand works, and works really well. No more bloating or upset stomach. Now I can eat beans, but also, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and all those foods that are hard to digest. My husband takes one of these pills before he eats ice cream since he doesn’t digest lactose too well.

 If you have trouble digesting certain foods, give this brand a try. It’s dairy-free and has the GMP (good manufacturing practices) seal on it too.

 

The 1 carb rule to lose weight & balance blood sugar

sushi

For anyone who has high blood sugar and/or wants to lose weight, the one carb rule per meal is very effective. The amount of carbohydrates people eat at one time are typically way too high, which cause insulin spikes and weight gain. By only plating one carb, not exceeding 30 grams, and pairing it with a moderate amount of protein and a little bit of fat, blood sugar shouldn’t skyrocket. For example, a half of cup of cooked oatmeal, a banana, two eggs and a strawberry Yoplait yogurt, would be considered 2 ½ carbs, or 2 ½ times the amount of carbs you should eat at one time.

The oatmeal (30 grams) + banana (30 grams) + yogurt (18 grams) = 78 grams of carbs. To put it in perspective, a Hershey Chocolate Bar has 20 grams of carbs (1). So have the oatmeal and the eggs (I suggest egg whites over whole eggs to reduce fat and cholesterol consumption) and add some sliverered almonds for the fat component; or the banana, egg whites and almonds; or the yogurt with almonds and egg whites, but not all three carbohydrate foods at one sitting.

You’re not going to starve by limiting one carb per meal, because, by adding protein, a little bit of healthy fat, like some nuts, a sprinkle of seeds, or a little bit of chopped avocado, and/or some greens, it will fill you up, but not for long. That’s why you want to eat every two-to-three hours, but don’t exceed six mini meals a day, because then, you’ll be eating too many calories and carbohyrates overall. Breaking up the carbs, instead of having a large carb-loaded meal, will help manange the blood sugar highs and lows.

Here’s some examples of one carb mini meals:

  • Fruit smoothie with one banana, low-carb protein powder (not exceeding 5 grams of carbs), one tablespoon almond butter
  • Tilapia salad with orange slices, red bell pepper, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, and a drizzle of dressing
  • Steak with ½ cup of roasted potatoes with broccoli
  • Tuna with two ounces of pasta (check box to confirm amount of carbs)
  • Tofu with asparagus and a large apple
  • Beans (1/2 cup) with zucchini noodles (1 zucchini) with garlic & spinach

Other steps to take to keep blood sugar stable is to make sure the proteins you choose are low in fat and no more than 20 grams of protein per meal. Eating too much protein leads to weight gain, which will make mananging blood sugar that much harder. You can use an online app like MyFitnessPal to calculate the carbs, calories and protein.

Lastly, exercise. Eating well-proportioned meals is important to staying healthy, but if you’re not engaging in 30 minutes of some sort of challening cardovascular or strength activity, those blood sugars may not drop enough.

All it takes is a little planning, and some optimism. The weight will come off and blood sugar will come down. If you’re taking pills or insulin, don’t stop taking your medication, but keep testing your blood sugar with your test meter, and stay in contact with your doctor to determine if the medication needs to be increased or lowered.

P.S. For healthy, yummy, whole-food, diabetic-friendly, dairy-free & gluten-free, carb-controlled desserts, check out my newest dessert cookbook at https://www.amazon.com/dp/0997665424/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1507756038&sr=1-1&keywords=slimming+Dairy-free+smoothies+and+desserts

Photo: When out to a Japanese restaurant, limit your sushi roll to just one. These average 30-40 grams of carbs from rice for each one.

 

This product in your garage can kill you

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To this day, manufacturers are still putting known toxic ingredients in their products. Case in point: methylene chloride is a toxic substance found in paint strippers, has caused dozens of deaths (1), and “OSHA considers methylene chloride to be a potential occupational carcinogen” (2). Yet, the current EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, is doing nothing to ban this killer.

Even though there is a warning on the label, if a product causes a person to get sick, then it shouldn’t be on the market. When handling ANY cleaning or stripping agent, assume the worst and wear the appropriate gloves and face/skin protection, or assign the task to a professional.

Here’s a list of products that contain this dangerous substance: https://hpd.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/household/search?tbl=TblChemicals&queryx=75-09-2

 

Sources:

  1. “Researchers Tout Safer Alternative to Potentially Deadly Paint Stripper Chemical.” CBS News. Jan. 2 2018. Accessed April 5, 2018. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/researchers-find-safer-alternative-paint-stripper-chemical-methylene-chloride/
  2. 2. United States Department of Labor:  Accessed April 5, 2018. https://www.oshagov/Publications/osha3144.html
  3. Accessed April 5, 2018. https://www.publicintegrity.org/2018/03/26/21626/epa-planned-ban-deadly-paint-stripping-chemical-will-it-follow-through
  4. Accessed April 5, 2018. http://www.live5news.com/story/37843587/live-5-investigates-local-family-demands-epa-ban-paint-stripper-chemical

An easier way to lose weight

transformation Tuesday

Losing weight doesn’t have to mean completely changing your diet. There’s lots of strict diet plans out there that will lead to fast weight loss, but you’d have to follow it to a T, and be ready and willing to go all-in. That could entail omitting your favorite foods, missing dinners with friends and being hungry, so it’s no wonder lots of people put off starting a diet plan.

There’s an easier way to lose weight, and you can still eat the same foods if you want. You only need to reduce your calories by 250 per day to see your weight go down on the scale in less than a month. That could mean cutting out that daily protein bar, or not grabbing that bag of chips with your lunch. It might mean changing a habit.

I used to order a ginger ale every time I went out to eat. Now I order plain tea or water with my entree. I was surprised that I actually didn’t miss the soda. I used to eat bacon and eggs for breakfast, and then cut it back to just Sundays. I don’t eat bacon any more, but little changes adds up; those pounds will drop off, just be consistent.

Photo: Yes, both of those photos are me. One of the methods I used to lose weight is the one above so I know first-hand it works. 

P.S. For a complete diet and nutrition guide, and the rest of the tips I use to lose bodyfat, order your copy of my book The High-Five Diet: https://www.amazon.com/High-Five-Diet-Easiest-Weight-Loss-ebook/dp/B01HSIM6NA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1468641914&sr=1-1&keywords=the+high-five+diet

 

Chocolate-Licorice Smoothie

coco smoothieWith Easter around the corner, I just couldn’t resist buying a bag of jelly beans. I picked out my favorite flavor, black licorice, and left the rest for my husband. He later asked me where all the black licorce went. (Hee, hee). I was tempted to just get a bag of licorice Jelly Bellies, but those sugar bombs make my blood sugar soar, which got me thinking; what if I could make a licorice smoothie? I love dark chocolate too, so I pondered if licorice and chocolate would be a good combination, and, it’s AMAZING.

Here’s my latest creation, a guilt-free, healthy, no-sugar, dairy-free smoothie, made with cocoa powder for that wonderful rich chocolate flavor, and fresh fennell, which give it licorice notes.

Chocolate-Licorice Smoothie

  • 1 cup coconut milk, plain unsweetened (I use So Delicious)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, level
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, alcohol free
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fennel stalk*
  • ¼ cup plain collagen protein powder (I use Great Lakes)
  • 1 ½ ripe bananas, frozen, in 1-inch chuncks

Add all ingredients, except bananas, in a blender cup for 20 seconds or so until incorporated. Add bananas and blend again, until smooth.

P.S. Use the stalks of the fennell (which look like celery). Don’t use the root of the fennell, which is not as sweet and doesn’t impart as much of that licorice flavor. Save the sliced fennel root for a salad. You can omit the vanilla extract if you don’t have it. I ran out of vanilla extract and the smoothie was still sweet and decadent. It’s good without the cocoa powder too, which makes it a bit lighter, without caffeine, with a stronger licorice flavor, which is unique and refreshing. I like it with, and without the cocoa powder. Let me know which one you prefer.

Sugar increases cholesterol

flourless peanut butter cookiesWhen I was diagnosed with diabetes, I had no idea that my blood sugar levels were high, and I was completely shocked that I had high cholesterol since, at that time, I was in my early 30’s and was a healthy weight and exercised on the weekends. My doctor wanted to put me on cholesterol lowering medication; that alone almost gave me a heart attack. I refused the cholesterol meds and told the doctor that I was going to lower it naturally by changing my diet. By the look on his face, he was skeptical.

I gave up candy, bread, bagels, cookies, brownies, white rice and pasta. I stopped ordering soda when I went out to eat. I also reduced my total carbohydrate intake, even from fruit, since I was way eating too much, per my doctor. I cut back on fatty animal proteins, took my insulin, and checked by blood sugar daily. At the next blood draw, my blood sugar levels AND my cholesterol levels were down, and they kept going down.

I had no idea, at that time, that high blood sugar causes high cholesterol. The reason this phenomena occurs, is that, when we eat unhealthy, highly processed carbohydrate foods, our HDL, the good cholesterol, goes down (1). HDL is what keeps our bad cholesterol down (1). It’s like a seesaw. If one is down, the other is up (1).

It’s really amazing how much damage unhealthy foods can do. Revamping my diet was really hard and, at times, I became depressed because I felt that I had so few choices to eat, but I’ve found ways to be really creative in the kitchen, and I’m fit and healthy, and that’s what makes it worthwhile.

  1. Source: Klogas, Elizabeth. “How sugar really affects your cholesterol.” WebMD. Jul. 10 2017. https://blogs.webmd.com/heart-disease/2017/07/how-sugar-really-affects-your-cholesterol.html

Free San Diego Seminar on Managing Diabetes & Weight Loss

me cutting bells

If you are in San Diego, don’t miss out on the free seminar I am giving in April at Jimbo’s Markets.

Topics to be discussed:
• How to calculate net carbs & why it matters
• The difference between simple & complex carbs
• How exercise & stress affects blood sugar levels
• Which order your foods should be eaten
• How often to eat to lose weight & reduce overeating
• How to keep blood sugar levels stable

What time: 6:30pm-8:00pm

Which locations and when:
Carmel Valley – April 30
Horton Plaza – April 4th
4S Ranch – April 11th

Seating is limited, so please sign up in advance at the above locations at Jimbo’s Vitamin Department for this FREE Seminar!

*If you cannot make it to any of these seminars, you can contact me for a private consultation, or you can listen to the following podcast when I was interviewed about how I lost weight and got my health back on track: http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/show/chewables/id/5278761

New Larabar Flavors Review

 

larabarsLarabars are one of, if not THE, healthiest bars on the market. They’re vegan, and made with whole foods, like nuts, seeds and fruit. The problem is that they are low in protein and some flavors, like peanut butter, are dry and taste “healthy.” My favorites are Lemon (best cold, in the refrigerator) and Peanut Butter and Jelly (which is hard to find). My least favorites are Apple Pie and Cherry Pie, which don’t taste anything like pie. I am a sucker for new stuff and their new flavors sounded delicious, so I had to buy them.

 The four new flavors I tried were Limited Edition Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl, which was dry and bitter and the little chocolate chips dropped on the floor as I took a bite (wah); Coconut Cream Pie, very sweet, but perfect when I crave candy; Banana Chocolate Chip, which tastes like a gluten-free, dry banana bread made without sugar, sprinkled in with a few tiny chocolate chips; and Pecan Pie, which has the perfect combination of cinnamon spice and crumble.

P.S. I have numerous healthy vegan desserts in my cookbook, Slimming Dairy-Free Desserts & Smoothies. Check out my Coconut-Oat Bars with chocolate chips and walnuts. The recipe is on page 44 and each bar is only 140 calories. You can order your copy here: https://www.amazon.com/Slimming-Dairy-Free-Desserts-Smoothies-low-calorie/dp/0997665424/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

 

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