Protein Powder and Calories

protein powders

The first time I shopped for protein powder I was shocked at how many calories a scoop has since many people want to lose weight. Protein powder contains added calories so that’s a conundrum for some. A scoop of protein powder typically contains 100 calories and 20 grams of protein.

Numerous thoughts went through my head before deciding if I wanted to spend my money on this expensive product. Is this a waste of money? I didn’t want to add more calories but I needed to up my protein intake. Would the protein powder make me gain weight or lose weight? Protein and carbohydrates post workout aid in muscle repair and glycogen replacement so I decided to get the protein powder the female fitness competitor recommended who worked at that vitamin store. That girl had biceps! I wanted to be strong too.

Even though I was adding additional calories I ended up losing inches and pounds. At that time my smoothies were made with fruit, protein powder, soy milk and ice. I still wanted to reduce my calories by 100. My one cup of soy milk was 100 calories, but I loved the flavor and creaminess of my favorite unsweetened soy milk. Not wanting to give up the soy milk, I reluctantly sought out alternatives. I tried other vanilla flavored protein powders which I liked and had fewer calories. I also found an unsweetened coconut milk that’s only 45 calories for a cup. Depending on the fruit, I could also substitute flavored iced teas that were calorie free. This enabled me to lose even more pounds. Yeah!

What the media says is true: protein is great for weight loss. Just make sure the protein isn’t from a cheese burger.

Can’t Poop?

fruit and veggies

I’ve heard people tell me that they only go #2 once or twice a week. Wow! Their stomachs must be really bloated! I also hear people proudly proclaim that they add powdered fiber to their drinks so that they can poop. If this sounds like you then you need to drink more water and have a lot more fruits and vegetables. Cut back on bread and pasta too, which are clogging. If your stomach hurts from eating vegetables, try cooking them longer. Raw vegetables are hard to digest. You may also want to buy digestive enzymes to stop the gas and bloating. If one product doesn’t work, try another. Eventually you’ll find the right combination of enzymes that work for you.

Another suggestion is to spread out your vegetables throughout the day. Once I ate a whole head of broccoli with dinner, which I regretted for the rest of the evening. You also don’t want to load sulfurous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and beans all in one meal. That might be quite a night!

Always Organic

USDA organic symbol

Not everyone can afford to only purchase organic products due to their higher price tag. That’s unfortunate because everyone should have the resources available to buy untainted foods. If a product is certified organic distinguished by the circular USDA seal, that is your guarantee that there is no MSG, pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics. It also promises that no ingredients in the product have been genetically modified (GMO) and the food has not been irradiated. If that doesn’t convince you to switch to organic maybe this will.

 

  • Canada, Europe and Australia have banned MSG, also known as monosodium glutamate, but it is still permitted in non-organic foods in the USA. If a product contains even a small amount of MSG, my inner ear throbs, the back of my tongue itches and I dry heave because my body is trying so hard to remove this poison from my system. I am not alone in feeling ill after consuming MSG. The FDA has received numerous complaints of chest pain, nausea, and burning sensations among other reactions from MSG which is why the FDA requires that it be listed on the label (source Mayo Clinic). MSG was removed from baby food after listed as a toxin (NY Times 2008). Listing MSG as an ingredient is not a solution. They need to ban it altogether. In the meantime, when you go to Asian restaurants you can ask that they don’t add MSG to anything you order.

 

  • Conventional foods contain pesticides, but the good news is that organic foods are prohibited from pesticide sprays. So you don’t think pesticides are that bad? Farm workers have a much higher chance of getting cancer because they are working with crops dusted in pesticides. Their children are born with deformities. Still not convinced that pesticides are harmful to you? Ask yourself the following questions. Why would even a little bit of a toxic substance be okay? Conventionally grown manufacturers insist that there is no cause for alarm, but who are you going to trust? Do you believe the big conglomerate that can yield bigger crops with cheap and harmful pesticides or do you ponder that there is no safe level (because there is no presently safe level)?

 

  • If you don’t want added hormones, buy organic. Cows are given growth hormones so they will be bigger and to produce more milk. I don’t eat beef or any product that comes from a cow. I’m proud to be dairy free. If you still want your dairy, you may decide that from now on you’ll only eat organic meat and organic milk products. Added hormones are synthetic and just as dangerous as prescriptions drugs. “The European Union has banned the use of hormones in beef cattle, and has conducted a study that showed that hormone residues remain in the meat. Because of health concerns for both people and animals, Japan, Canada, Australia and the European Union have all banned the use of rBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone), but the hormone is still given to cows in the US. The EU has also banned the import of meat from animals treated with hormones, so the EU imports no beef from the US.”  (source http://animalrights.about.com/od/animalsusedforfood/f/AntibioticsrGBH.htm). We need to get the US on the bandwagon to ban rBGH too!

 

  • If you are concerned about ingesting antibiotics from conventional products, you should be. Antibiotics should only be taken when people are sick from a bacterial infection so when antibiotics are introduced unnecessarily, antibiotic-resistant strains develop. What this means is that when you need an antibiotic, it won’t work. This is scary because an infection that could have previously been treated with a physician-prescribed antibiotic could kill you. Yikes!

 

“About 80% of antibiotics produced in the U.S. are given to farm animals.” Isn’t that crazy? Most antibiotics are given to animals and only 20% are given to people in the U.S. (Source Princeton.edu) “There is an increasing amount of evidence suggesting that the sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics in food animals can pose a health risk to humans…Concern about the growing level of drug-resistant bacteria has led to the banning of sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics in meat animals in many countries in the European Union and Canada. In the United States, however, such use is still legal… The FDA’s rough estimate, using 1999 data, is that use of fluoroquinolones (ex: Cipro) in chickens resulted in over 11,000 people that year contracting a strain of the campylobacter illness that was resistant to fluoroquinolones, contributing to unnecessarily severe disease. (source PBS.org http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/safe/overview.html

 

I really wish the US would join the European Union and Canada in banning antibiotics in our food. Ask any doctor and they will tell you that no one should take antibiotics unless they have been evaluated by a physician and he determines that the antibiotic is absolutely necessary. Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), which is a fluroquinolone and mentioned above, is under public attack. It’s about time.

 

Two women I know continue to have reactions from eating beef or poultry that were given antibiotics. One woman has severe leg cramps and the other gets  feet, leg and eye twitches eating beef or poultry that were given Cipro. Other reactions from the drug Cipro include tendon rupture , difficulty breathing (Source drugs.com), tearing of a tendon, vomiting, hives and anaphylaxis among others (source medicinehut.com).  It’s amazing that drugs like this are on the market and approved by the FDA, but this antibiotic may be off the shelves soon. “The California Supreme Court agreed to review a class-action lawsuit over the drug Cipro.” (PR Web). I hope Cipro loses, and this dangerous drug and it’s generic are banned from production.

 

  • If you don’t want your food to be dissected by a mad scientist and put together in some new form, you want to stay away from GMOs. A genetically modified (GMO) food has been changed in some way in a lab. I want an apple made by nature, not by someone in a white coat. I don’t want to eat some sort of freak apple even if it does look prettier. My fruit and vegetables don’t need to be gigantic and photogenic. I want them to be tasty and fresh. I don’t trust genetically modified foods to be safe and neither should you. Maintaining good health should be our number one concern. “Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise.”

(Source http://www.responsibletechnology.org/10-Reasons-to-Avoid-GMOs) Let’s say no to GMOs!

 

  • Non-organic foods are irradiated to destroy most pathogens. Not only is this unnecessary, but irradiation changes the structure of the original food and reduces nutrients. We eat foods for energy, minerals and nutrients. I don’t want a sub-standard product. If the word irradiation sounds familiar, it should. Irradiation is radiation. Radiation causes cancer. I eat fruit and vegetables as added insurance to protect me from getting cancer. I’m not taking any chances, regardless of what claims are made, so I always buy organic.

 

I hope I’ve convinced you to buy more foods and products that are certified organic. Foods are fuel; they were not designed to be harmful. If you don’t have organic products available to you, ask local retailers to stock the shelves with them. Every time you go in, ask when they are going to provide organic fruit and vegetables. Eventually they will get the hint. You can even tell the owner that if they don’t carry organic foods, you will shop elsewhere. Say this to the owner or manager at every store you shop. They don’t want to lose your business. The economics of supply and demand works. The more you demand it, the more likely they will supply it. The more people who buy organic, the lower the price will be. I’m hoping we’ll have a future where all food will be safe to eat and we won’t have to look for a symbol to prove it.

Hate red hair?

Bekie from Tease Salon

If you have naturally red hair and want a change, whatever you do, don’t bleach it blond. Solid blond hair will give your skin a “washed out” look. If you don’t believe me look at Laura Prepon, the actress from “That 70’s Show,” or see Lindsay Lohan now as a blond. They both looked so much more vibrant with their natural red hair. Once you bleach your hair blond, that vibrant glow your face had is gone and you will look ghostly. The best bet is to get a combination of blond highlights and light brown lowlights. Don’t go for chunky highlights or lowlights, that just doesn’t look natural. If you have dark red hair instead of locks with more of an orange hue you can go with medium-brown lowlights for a dramatic, romantic look.

 

Photo: Bekie, hairdresser at Tease Salon, shows us the variations of red on a color palette. She darkens her brown hair black and adds red for pops of color.

Flat Abs Now!

Do you want flat abs? Doesn’t everyone? If you’ve been working out a week or maybe a few months and are frustrated that you don’t have flat abs yet, don’t despair, but don’t expect miracles either. Flat abs are hard work. You cannot expect to go from flabby to fabulous in a short period of time. If you exercise hard three to five times a week, drink more water, cut back on alcohol, and are eating fewer calories, then you will see results. It could take just a few months to a few years to see your stomach flatten out. It all depends on your starting point.  

If you need to lose five pounds of fat, you could reach your goal in just a few months, but if you need to lose fifty pounds or three hundred pounds, it could take years of consistent hard work. I’m sure you’ve seen the early morning ads for weight loss videos with promised results in 90 days. Like your mind, your body is resistant to change so it’s typical not to see results for three to four months. You need to be patient, realistic and dedicated. Expect to lose no more than ½ pound to 1 pound a week with vigorous exercise AND a healthy diet. If you just have those last remaining pounds to shed, it will take longer since we’re meant to have extra pounds to cushion our cells and in case of a food shortage. Don’t worry about the end result, it will arrive before you know it. In the meantime, enjoy the benefits of trying different exercises, meeting new people, and eating innovative dishes.

Reduce Salt without Compromising Flavor

peanuts

I am constantly trying to eat healthier so one of my goals is to lower salt intake. These tips are great because they are easy and will not alter the taste of your favorite foods and dishes.

 

  • Salted roasted peanuts – Obviously unsalted peanuts would have no salt, but if you love salted peanuts like I do, take out your mesh colander, pour the peanuts in the colander and shake, shake, shake. They will still have plenty of salt, but a whole lot less. The nuts actually taste better because now you taste more of the peanut and less salt. The whole point of adding salt is to enhance the flavor of the food. Your food should never taste salty; if it tastes salty it means the item was over-salted.

 

  • Olives – Olives have a lot of salt. I remove the pimento and rinse the olive in water. The now salt-free exterior and briny interior are a wonderful contrast which actually brings out the flavor even more. I only rinse the olives I plan to eat at that moment. This works for both green olives and Kalamata olives.

 

  • Canned vegetables – Fresh vegetables don’t contain any salt so they are the preferred choice to canned. If you have canned vegetables, you don’t need to toss them out. Canned vegetables contain all the nutrients since they are canned at their peak of freshness; the downside is that they are soaking in salt. Rinse the canned vegetables before adding to your recipes. Problem solved!

 

  • Salt – Use sea salt instead of table salt. Sea salt is courser, larger and has a more pronounced flavor. I leave the salt out of my meals during preparation and just add a tiny sprinkle on top. No one will know the salt content in your dish is lower.

 

You can also remove salt from your body by exercising and eating foods high in potassium.

 

  • Exercise is great for removing salt. Sweat it out with a heart-pumping cardio workout.
  • Eat foods high in potassium to remove salt. Items below are listed in order from highest to least amount of potassium:

                              steamed winter squash

                              baked sweet potato with skin

                              rinsed white beans

                              fat free yogurt

                              steamed broccoli

                              raw bananas

 

Now I’m hungry for sweet potato wedges baked with olive oil and herbs!

 

List of foods with potassium obtained from WebMD.com.

Ask a Fit Person

It confounds me to this day why people who want to lose weight ask those for weight-loss advice who are heavy and are trying to lose weight too. I can see asking someone else what diet plans they’ve tried and which didn’t work, but why would someone ask for guidance from another who is struggling to lose pounds unsuccessfully? To this day I cannot figure this one out.

I’ve seen this scenario again and again in the various workplaces I’ve had over the years and each time I’ve wanted to wave my hands furiously in the air and yell “over here!” Why didn’t they ask me for weight-loss advice or how I keep myself fit? I would have been more than happy to let them know what I eat and what I avoid. One of the misconceptions is that a lean individual must be lucky because he or she has good genes. There are very few people who can eat whatever they like, don’t exercise, and don’t gain weight. People who are lean work hard at it. The next time you see someone who has a figure that should be photographed, don’t be jealous. They work their butt off to look like that.

Don’t ruin your workout!

What you do after your workout is just as important as the exercise itself, so why are you refueling with junk? You exercise to look good, lose weight and/or to keep fit, and because it’s good for your heart and health so I don’t know why people think it’s okay to pig out right after a workout session. After a leisurely stroll around the lake, one woman curbs her hunger by buying a couple of chocolate bars. That’s right, not one…a couple! I don’t know what brand or size she buys but a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar is 210 calories and more than half of those calories are from fat. Your body is primed for food after exercise so you want to replenish with water, carbohydrates and nutrients, not fat and sugar.

 A friend of mine always wants to schedule a workout before lunch so we can go out to eat afterwards. Restaurant meals are always higher in calories, salt and fat than what I make at home so dining out is what I limit to once a week. I don’t want to eat a heavy meal after hard training either. What I prefer is fruit blended with water, ice and protein powder. It’s low in sodium and calories, is refreshing and guilt free.

Exercising won’t offset frequent bad eating habits. You cannot eat anything you want no matter how much or how hard you exercise. You can have your snack, just save it for your cheat day (which is once a week, not seven days a week!). Stop thinking of food as a reward and treat yourself to a football game or a spa day instead. You won’t remember what you ate in September 2013, but you’ll definitely recall that event.

Don’t Chastise Me for Eating Healthy

I work extremely hard to keep my weight in the proper range for my height. To maintain or lose weight means constant vigilance. I cringe every time someone says, “Oh! I couldn’t do what you do!” or “That’s just excessive.” Whatever happened to complimenting someone for their hard work such as, “Wow, that’s awesome.” or “You put in a lot of time making your meals and exercising at the gym.”

In the United States we’re pressed to look a certain way, which is tan, trim, tall and youthful so men and women get spray tans, and women wear ridiculously high heels. A sexy female body means having a big booty and bodacious boobs with a waist the size of your wrist. We’re supposed to look like Barbie and Ken and live it up like there is no tomorrow. The juxtaposition is that we’re supposed to look perfect, but eat and drink items that make us heavy and ruin our skin. Media encourages adults to have fun and the only way to do that is by drinking large margaritas and cool Cervezas, getting crazy at your wealthy friend’s house party, and enjoying a hamburger the size of your head. It’s no wonder so many people are overweight. The reality is that beautiful people cannot stay attractive if they are drinking alcohol, eating burgers or partying on a regular basis.

The fit folks I know have an alcoholic drink occasionally, eat a burger or some other high-fat food on their cheat day (no more than once a week) and keep the partying to a minimum, which is hardly ever. I would prefer to have the pasta dish paired with a lemon drop martini, but don’t give me grief for ordering the salmon with an iced tea. It’s not easy to eat low fat and low calorie day-in and day-out. I don’t need you to discourage me from ordering the healthy dish on the menu. Don’t tell me I’m not fun because I won’t order a dessert. My personality didn’t change because I’m cutting back on sugar. Don’t push me to drink alcohol and get drunk with you. I’m driving home and don’t want to ruin my Sunday with a hangover. Don’t call me a party pooper because I’m tired at ten. I don’t want to hold your hair at midnight while you puke on the sidewalk while you complain that you’re fat.

Prevent Nighttime Feasts

If you end up eating way too much at nighttime, help is here. Are you eating a small breakfast, a small lunch (or no lunch), end up pigging out at dinner, and keep snacking afterwards? A lot of people do just that, so you are not alone. You’re going to need to break this cycle. Remember that you cannot expect change if you’re not making changes.

When you overeat in the late afternoon and into the evening it may be because you haven’t eaten enough throughout the day so you feel like you’re starving at night. You end up consuming more calories than you need which causes your weight to continually increase. You’ll want to increase the amount of food you eat in the morning and at lunch so at night, you should be satisfied with a normal portion at dinner time.

I’m not saying to eat pancakes loaded with butter and syrup for breakfast and sausage pizza for lunch, those meals are way too caloric and devoid of fiber and nutrition. You want to eat well as often as possible. You can have the pancakes and the pizza, but it’s wise to save those for when you are on vacation. You know why you cannot stop at just one potato chip? It’s devoid of fiber and protein. How are you going to curb those urges if you’re not giving your body the nutrients it craves?

People know they should eat breakfast but don’t know why. You want to eat shortly after you awake to get that metabolism going. If it’s too hard to eat breakfast early in the day, just eat something small, maybe a yogurt or some whole grain toast topped with your favorite nut butter. Then a few hours later you’ll be hungry to eat your breakfast. Remember to eat fruit or vegetables with each meal which are great foods to signal when it’s time to stop eating. The goal is to eat a bigger breakfast, a decent sized lunch, maybe a small snack midday if you’re still hungry, and then a small dinner. Are you ready for a bigger breakfast tomorrow or possible two small yummy breakfasts? Remember, change is good!

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