• Countdown To The Christmas Season with Quinoa Stuffing

    This simple stuffing is loaded with sweet apples and cranberries and topped with pine nuts. It tastes great warm or cold.

    Total Time: 42 min.
    Prep Time: 10 min.
    Cooking Time: 27 min.
    Yield: 16 servings, ⅔ cup each

    2 Tbsp. olive oil
    1 medium onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    8 medium celery stalks, chopped (about 4 cups)
    2 medium green apples, with peel (about 2 cups)
    4 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth
    2 cups dry quinoa, rinsed
    1 tsp. sea salt
    1 tsp. ground cumin
    ½ tsp. ground black pepper
    ½ cup dried cranberries
    ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
    ½ cup pine nuts

    1.Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
    2. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
    3. Add celery and apple; cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender.
    4. Add broth, quinoa, salt, cumin, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, for 15 minutes, or until most of liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
    5. Add cranberries. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
    6. Add cilantro and pine nuts; fluff with fork and serve.

  • What Should I Eat Before My Workout?

    The answer depends on two factors: your overall diet and how intense your workout is. If you eat small, balanced meals every few hours while you’re awake, you don’t really need a preworkout meal strategy. Your body should have ample fuel to get you through any workout around an hour or less (longer workouts have specific needs).

    However, if you go longer than 3 hours without eating, you should determine your needs based on a few things. First, how hard is your workout? Easy aerobics and other work where your heart rate doesn’t exceed 140/150 bpm (easy yoga, slow jogging, cycling, hiking, etc.) don’t use a lot of fuel (blood sugar and its back-up, glycogen) and can be done effectively on a fairly empty tank. Good hydration (water only) should be all the fuel you need.

    Harder workouts, like INSANITY, P90X, or really anything in the Beachbody line that is hard for you, all have an anaerobic interval component which burns your limited stores of glycogen. Your body stores glycogen until you need it, but when your diet is very lean, like most Beachbody diet plans are, you will almost certainly deplete these stores before the end of your workout if you haven’t eaten in a while. This condition, called “bonking,” causes your performance to instantaneously plummet.

    Here are some general rules to avoid the dreaded “bonk.” We’re not suggesting you eat 3 separate meals in the hours leading up to exercise. Rather, pick the one that best suits your day.

    NOTE: If you work out first thing in the morning, check out this article.

    3 hours prior to a workout: Eat a well-rounded, light meal. As long as it’s not too many calories (more than 500-ish), most of it will be turned into fuel by the time you begin. Almost any meal in any Beachbody diet plan fits this mold, as you have ample time to digest..

    2 hours prior: Eat a light snack that’s mainly carbohydrates. Something that’s 4 parts carbs to 1 part protein with little fat will ensure there’s time to convert it into glycogen. “Energy foods,” something like granola with yogurt and fruit, is ideal.

    Less than 1 hour: Try not to eat during the last hour before your workout. If you haven’t eaten in hours, liquid fuels, like Results and Recovery Formula, or easily digestible carbs, like half of a banana, will digest fast enough to help you during the later stages of the workout when your glycogen would otherwise run out.

    1 hour prior: Eat very light, no more than 200 or so calories at around a 4:1 carb to protein ratio. Any extra protein and fat will hinder your workout. It’s similar to the 2 hours prior snack, but since your body can only convert 200 to 300 calories into energy in a given hour you’ll want to keep the portions smaller.

  • 5 Tips To Avoid Muscle Soreness

    Nothing derails your fitness goals like feeling sore. Yet getting sore is almost unavoidable—it’s a rite of passage, if you will. But it doesn’t have to wipe you out. Follow these tips and, if you’re lucky, you’ll avoid the dreaded DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) monster altogether.

     1. Start SLOW

    It’s very tempting to begin an exercise program with a lot of enthusiasm, but try your best to go at a reasonable pace. If you’ve never exercised, or it’s been a long time since you have, go much easier than you feel you are capable of on Day 1 and ramp things up at a pace that is based on how you feel. If you’re not sore, go a little harder the next day. If you’re a little sore, take it down a notch. If you’re very sore, scroll down to the next section of this article to mitigate the soreness.

    If you’ve been exercising, but it’s been more than a week since you last worked out, follow the same pattern but go harder, based—again—on how fit you are. A good example to use here would be to start with about half of the workout scheduled—something like the warm-up, cooldown, and one round of exercises. Because you have a better fitness base, you can advance a little bit further each day than if you were out of shape. In general, take about a week to get back to full-bore 100% effort. This is also the example you want to use if you’ve been training and taken some time off.

    If you’ve been exercising, but are starting a new program, base how hard you push yourself on how much advancement there is in your program. For example, if you’ve been doing INSANITY and you’re moving into INSANITY: THE ASYLUM or P90X, you can probably give it 100%—though you might not want to lift too much weight. But if you’re coming into one of those from FOCUS T25, you’ll want to back off a bit from what you could achieve on those first few days. Whenever your program makes a big jump, in time, intensity, or style of training (from all cardio to weight training, for instance), you’ll always want to hold a bit back in the beginning.

    The reason is that your body has two types of muscle fibers: fast and slow (there are actually increments of these but this is enough for our scope). Fast-twitch fibers are very strong but break down easily and take a long time to repair. This translates into soreness. By easing into a program, you rely on your slow-twitch fibers which aren’t as strong but recovery very quickly. Going full bore on Day 1 activates your fast-twitch fibers, and leads to extensive breakdown and soreness. The harder you go, the sorer you are likely to get because there is something called emergency fibers, the fastest of the fast, which can take two weeks to repair.

    2. Minimize Eccentric Motion
    Concentric contraction is the shortening of the muscle, while eccentric contraction is the lengthening part of the movement. DOMS is almost entirely related to the eccentric part of the movement. You might be asking yourself, can I do one without the other? Good question.

    If you’re doing a biceps curl, the concentric part of the movement is when you move the weight up, while the eccentric part is the way down. In order to avoid the eccentric part, you need to drop your weight. This won’t make you very popular in a gym and might ruin your floor at home, so probably not a very helpful suggestion.

    In other cases, avoiding eccentric motion can be impossible. Jumping, for instance, uses concentric force to get you elevated, at which point you need to land, which is eccentric. The only way to do concentric-only jumps is to jump onto a platform and then lightly step down. Again, not too practical.

    You can, however, limit the amount of time you’re lengthening your muscles. Slowing down your concentric motions and returning to the start position very quickly, or eliminating the airborne portion of jump training, are good ways to mostly avoid eccentric motion with only slight modifications.

    You may have noticed that a lot of very popular exercise programs actually target jumping and eccentric movements. That’s because training them is highly effective, just not until your body is in shape to handle it. Which it never will be unless you proceed slowly and carefully.

    3. Hydrate

    Dehydration can also make you sore. In fact, once you’re used to your workout program, nearly all excessive soreness is due to dehydration or nutritional deficiencies.

    Most people are chronically dehydrated. In fact, you can actually get sore by simply being dehydrated, even without the exercise. Adding exercise increases your water needs. A lot. Hydration is your body’s first defense against, not only soreness, but also most illnesses and other maladies.

    How much water you need varies depending on your activity level, lifestyle, where you live, etc., but an easy gauge to use is to drink half your body weight in ounces each day. That’s before you account for exercise. For each hour you work out, you should add another 32 ounces (on average). This, too, varies based on the individual, heat, humidity, exercise intensity, and so forth, but you probably get the idea. You need a lot of water for optimal performance.

    Water isn’t the only factor in hydration. Electrolytes, or body salts, are also sweated out when you exercise and must be replaced. If you’re training an hour per day or less, you probably don’t need to worry about them unless your diet is very low in sodium.

    It’s also possible to drink too much water, a condition called hypernatremia. While this is a deadly condition, it’s irrelevant for most of the population for most conditions. Hyponatremia is an imbalance of water and electrolytes. However, it’s very hard for normal humans to get hyponatremia in everyday circumstances because you have to drink a lot of water, have very little salt, and sweat profusely for a long time. So while it’s a very real danger for those doing Ironman triathlons or people stranded in deserts, it’s not a relevant concern for most of us. If you’ve been eating regularly, your foods contain some salt (most do), and you’re not exercising over an hour or two per day, it’s not something to worry about unless you’re drinking multiple gallons of water a day.

    4. Get Post-workout Fuel
    The hour after you finish exercising is your nutrition sweet spot. The quicker your muscles recover, the less sore you get, so you never want to skip your post-workout snack unless you’ve reached a point when you know you’re not going to get sore.

    What this snack should consist of has been debated for ages but countless modern studies show that glycogen depletion (replenished quickest with simple carbohydrates), should be your primary concern. Glycogen is a fuel that your muscles store in limited amounts. When you run out of it during exercise, your workout goes south very quickly. When it’s gone, muscle damage increases until it’s been restored.

    Protein, which repairs muscle tissue but is very slow to digest, replenishing body salts, and targeted micronutrients (aka vitamins), all come next.

    Left out of this puzzle is fat, but not in all forms. Some studies show promise using medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) postexercise, though it’s probably too techie to bother with in this article because most consumable fat slows digestion of all nutrients, which should also be your first priority when excessive muscle tissue damage has been done.

    What is debated, however, is what that ideal carb to protein ratio should be. It basically comes down to how depleted your glycogen stores are. The more depleted, the more important carbohydrates become in your replenishment strategy.

    While you will learn to tell when your glycogen is gone (or low) through experience, keep this in mind for now: the body can store enough glycogen for about an hour of hard training. If your workouts are 30 minutes or less, you may not need any carbohydrates. Approach an hour and you probably need at least some.

    It also matters what you’ve eaten during the day, prior to the workout. If you’re hungry at the start, it could be an indication that your glycogen is low. If you start low, you may run out quickly.

    Glycogen depletion is characterized by feeling empty. If you hit a point in your workout where you feel like you can’t go on, or you’re performing worse than you had been, you’re likely out of glycogen. Known as bonking in sports circles, when this happens you’ll want to shut down a workout and fuel up ASAP.

    When you’re out of glycogen, it’s most effectively replaced by a targeted recovery supplement, like Results and Recovery Formula. These are formulated using every nutrient your body can use for recovery. In lieu of that, almost anything carb heavy can be effective. Something like a small bowl of cereal, perhaps with a banana, is a decent substitute. Aim to consume between 100 and 250 calories, depending on your size and how difficult your workout was. More than that probably can’t be digested within an hour.

    If your workout was short or didn’t seem to tax you too much, opting for a protein-based snack is a better choice. Whey protein, due to the quickness your body absorbs it, is the best option here, and it’s also where you might consider MCTs if you’re intrigued by them.

    5. Pick the Correct Workout Program

    It’s worth noting that the more you stretch yourself with your choice of workout, program, or even each individual workout, the more you increase your chances of getting sore. The right program—or a trainer/coach—should ease you into exercise at a pace your body can handle, which is always the better choice. But, you know, whatever works for your psyche is probably what you’re going to choose. And that’s okay. Just be honest with yourself, and follow the rules above if you know you’re biting off a little more than you can chew.

     What Happens If You Do Get Sore?

    No matter how diligent we are, we all seem to mess this up, somehow, sometimes. Depending upon how much you skewed it, you can be back at full strength within a few days. Occasionally—at least if you’re like me—you’ll go way beyond what you should have done. In such cases, you can be out up to a couple of weeks. Either way, these tips will help you get back on the fast track.

    1. Move

    The last thing you want to do, when everything hurts is to move. But that’s exactly what you need to do. While you won’t want to continue with your gung ho workouts, you’ll still want to exercise daily. How much you do depends upon how sore you are.

    If you really overcooked it, and things like walking down stairs feel like a torture test (I’ve been there), you won’t want to do much beyond moving as much as you can. All movement promotes blood circulation, and the more blood you circulate around your body, the quicker you’ll heal.

    If you have a more sensible soreness, you can do your workout at a modified pace or, better yet, choose a recovery workout. If you’re using a Beachbody program, it probably came with a recovery workout or two. These workouts are designed to help your body work out kinks and soreness better than doing nothing could ever hope to. They can be used anytime you need them, can’t be done too often, and always leave you feeling much better than before you started.

    2. Use Circulation Techniques

    You can also induce circulation with some other techniques, all of which will help. In extreme cases, physical therapists are loaded with various devices to aid recovery, but here are three you can do at home. While none of these will rid you of soreness alone, each one you can put into practice improves your chances of relief.

    Ice and heat – Though ice slows circulation over time, it’s a fantastic circulation tool when used strategically. Your body is almost a hundred degrees. Rubbing ice on (or submerging for short periods of time) affected areas causes blood to rush from that area. Applying a little heat brings it back. It’s a bit like moving, without the movement.

    Hot/cold showers – On the same theme, alternately turning your shower on hot, then cold, and pointing it at sore muscles causes a similar effect. The greater contrast between hot and cold you can stand, the greater the recovery effect.

    Restoration poses – Also known as taking a load off, yoga restoration poses are a bit more targeted than just kicking it on the couch with your feet up, though some of the poses are very similar. These are movement-free poses designed to circulate blood in and out of targeted areas.

    Nutrition – The better you eat, the better your body works, period. When you have excessive breakdown, which you do when you’re sore, every nutrient helps. It’s a common tendency to drown injuries (and soreness is a small injury) with alcohol and desserts. And while that may help your mental state, it will slow down your recovery.

    What Not To Do If You’re Sore: Take NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

    In the “what doesn’t work” section, see vitamin I (street name for ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin). While they are a common tool for recovery and pain relief, especially for recreational athletes, studies have repeatedly shown that they don’t aid in muscle recovery and, in fact, may exacerbate muscle breakdown. Plus, they come with a slew of other side effects.

    Therefore, they should be avoided as much as possible. Understandably, you may want to use them to mask the pain in the most acute stages. Just know that it’s masking, and not solving, the recovery process. There’s too much on this topic to go into here, so I’ve provided some studies (below) for the curious.


    Donnelly AE, Maughan RJ, Whiting PH. Effects of ibuprofen on exercise-induced muscle soreness and indices of muscle damage.

    Gorsline RT1, Kaeding CC. The use of NSAIDs and nutritional supplements in athletes with osteoarthritis: prevalence, benefits, and consequences.Clin Sports Med. 2005 Jan;24(1):71-82.

    Rahnama N, Rahmani-Nia F, Ebrahim K. The isolated and combined effects of selected physical activity and ibuprofen on delayed-onset muscle soreness. Journal of Sports Science. 2005 Aug; 23(8): 843-50.

    Trelle S1, Reichenbach S, Wandel S, Hildebrand P, Tschannen B, Villiger PM, Egger M, Jüni P. Cardiovascular safety of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: network meta-analysis.BMJ. 2011 Jan 11;342:c7086. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c7086.

    Warden SJ. Prophylactic use of NSAIDs by athletes: a risk/benefit assessment. Phys Sportsmed. 2010 Apr;38(1):132-8. doi: 10.3810/psm.2010.04.1770.

    Wharam PC, Speedy DB, Noakes TD, Thompson JM, Reid SA, Holtzhausen LM. NSAID use increases the risk of developing hyponatremia during an Ironman triathlon. Medicine and Science Sports and Exercise. 2006 Apr; 38(4): 618-22.

  • 10 Healthy Apple Recipes for Fall

    If you’re like us and love apples when they’re at the peak of the season, then check out all of these excellent apple derived recipes for the Fall- enjoy, from Dr. Phil


    Fall is almost here! We’re so excited. It’s our favorite season for so many reasons. Leaves, pumpkin patches, Halloween…and of course, apples! Here are 10 apple recipes for you to try this fall. Want to find out why apples are so good for you? Check out our Michi’s Ladder Spotlight on them here.

    Baked Apple Chips
    Want a satisfying, crunchy snack? Try these apple chips! They’re easy to make and don’t have any added sugar or preservatives. Your kids will love them too! Get the recipe.

    Homemade Applesauce

    Store-bought applesauce is often full of a lot of added sugar. Make yours at home in less than an hour and you’ll be pleased with how tasty the results are and how healthy it is!Get the recipe.

    Apple Pie Smoothie

    Applesauce and cinnamon make this yummy shake taste like apple pie! Get the recipe.

    Baked Apples

    Enjoy these for a sweet and savory after-dinner treat! Get the recipe.

    Apple Crisp

    This savory dessert features the rich flavor of baked apples, walnuts, oats, and a touch of maple syrup. Get the recipe.

    Quinoa Stuffing

    This simple stuffing is loaded with delicious vegetables and herbs and takes just 10 minutes to prep. Get the recipe.

    Pork and Apple Skewers

    These succulent skewers are flavored with apple, balsamic vinegar, and plum preserves.Get the recipe.

    Apple and Butternut Squash Soup

    Butternut squash adds creaminess, richness, and fiber to this easy soup recipe. Get the recipe.

    Apple Harvest Muffins

    Take advantage of fall with these moist muffins. They’re less than 100 calories each! Get the recipe.

    Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

    This delicious combination of oatmeal, apples, and spices gets a nutrition boost from whey protein powder and flax seeds. Get the recipe.

    What are your favorite ways to eat apples?

  • 5 Ways to Sneak Fitness into Family Time









    After spending several hours a day at a desk job or sitting in traffic while shuttling over-scheduled kids from one activity to the next, it’s tempting for families to want to spend their downtime plopped on the couch. The next time you find yourself with an hour or so of unscheduled free time, grab the kids and get moving. Research shows that families that work out together are more likely to stick with it, since they can motivate and encourage each other. And exercising as a family has multiple benefits, from being able to spend quality time with those you love and committing to an active lifestyle, to reducing stress and increasing energy levels. But you don’t have to call it exercise. Here are six activities that let families play together, andpromote fit and healthy lifestyles.

    1. Play in the park. Grab an assortment of balls and equipment from the garage (soccer ball, football, basketball, and baseball and gloves), along with a Frisbee and the family dog. Pack a cooler with some water and snacks, and head to your local park with the family for an afternoon of fresh air and playtime. You’ll all have so much fun that you won’t even realize you’re getting a workout.

    2. Go swimming. Swimming is a great way to stay in shape. It’s an excellent workout for people of all ages. Depending on the time of year and where you live, you can head to your local indoor or outdoor pool for fun and affordable family playtime. Swimming helps improve balance, endurance, and posture, and it’s one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise.Swimming regularly can also increase self-esteem in kids as they become more comfortable in the water and learn to master their strokes. Get some rings and diving sticks, and take turns diving for them. If your kids are young, sign them up for swimming lessons—they can get their lessons while you work out in the lap lanes. Be sure young kids are never left unattended, and remember the sunscreen if you’re outside!

    3. Take a hike. A family hike involves a little more planning than other activities, but the benefits are well worth it. Plan the trail level and hike length around the group’s abilities and experience. If it’s your first family hike, start with a mostly flat trail that’s no more than 1 mile round-trip (you don’t want to start carrying your kids halfway through the hike). Gradually increase the length and trail difficulty with each hike.Bring a few lightweight backpacks with healthy snacks and water bottles. Keep the kids interested by letting them carry the trail map, and having them look for specific items, like interesting wildflowers or rock formations. Most metropolitan towns have family friendly trails offering easy to moderately difficult hiking trails. To find a trail near you, visit LocalHikes.com.

    4. Go for a bike ride. A family bike ride is a great way to get out of the house and get a workout at the same time. Cycling is also one of the best ways to tone and strengthen the upper leg and calf muscles. Turn a family bike ride into   an outing by biking to a specific destination (maybe the corner ice cream shop for frozen yogurt?). Make sure everyone wears a helmet and the appropriate gear. And follow the rules of the road!

    5. Jump rope. Rope jumping dates back to 1,600 AD, when the Egyptians used vines for jumping. Nowadays, it’s a great way to burn off energy, reduce stress, improve coordination and endurance, and sing your favorite rhyming songs. Jumping rope at a moderate pace can burn up to 800 calories an hour. For variety, try double Dutch, which is when a person jumps through two jump ropes at the same time. Or invite the neighbors over and have a jump-roping contest, and follow up with an assortment of healthy snacks. You just might start a new tradition.

    A Few More Tips for Staying Fit as a Family

    • Get a pedometer for every member of the family. The American Heart Association recommends 10,000 steps a day to stay heart-healthy. Have a family contest and see who can log the most steps in a day.
    • Invest in a family membership at your local YMCA or recreation center. That way, everyone can work out in any kind of weather; you can choose from various activities that will appeal to individual talents and interests.
    • Let the kids take turns choosing a family activity that promotes fitness, and make sure everyone participates!

    Dr Phil The Wellness Consultant
    Helping you Live Long & Strong, Happy and Full of Vitality

    @ Tranquil Therapeutic Solutions
    650 Scottsdale Drive, Unit 2-C
    Guelph, Ontario, N1G 4T7

  • When Should I Stop Eating at Night?

    Recently, the media branded the “Don’t Eat Before Bedtime” rule as a myth. As usual, they’ve taken a complex topic, distilled it down to a catchy headline, and gotten it completely wrong. The correct answer is much more nuanced. The short answer is that sometimes it’s okay to eat before bed, but mostly, it’s probably a bad idea.

    Woman in front of refrigerator, woman eating chocolate and woman eating late at night

    The old thinking was that when you ate before bed, your body would be more prone to store food as adipose tissue—in other words, as fat. This might be an oversimplification, but current research indicates there’s truth to this supposed myth. A 2009 Northwestern University study separated mice into two groups and fed them both high-fat diets. They allowed half the mice to eat at night, which happens to be the normal feeding time for the nocturnal rodents. The other group ate during the day, when they’d normally be sleeping. By the end of the study, the night eaters had a 20% weight increase and the day eaters weight went up 48%.(1)

    The researchers credited the weight gain to a domino effect that began with the disruption of circadian rhythms (the biological clock that indicates what your body needs and when it needs it every 24 hours). Knocking these rhythms out of whack caused an imbalance of leptin—a satiety-regulating hormone that’s heavily influenced by the amount you sleep.

    In 2011, Northwestern published another study that further supported the results of the first. This one tracked 52 human subjects over a week. The results indicated that “caloric intake after 8:00 PM may increase the risk of obesity, independent of sleep timing and duration.”(2) While neither of these studies is conclusive (one wasn’t on human subjects, and the other worked with a limited sample size), they’re both compelling.

    Man in front of refrigerator

    That said, there are a couple times when eating before bed is okay. If you’re trying to build muscle, casein protein (found in dairy but available in pure, powdered form) before bed might be worth trying. According to a study in the August 2012 issue of the Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, men who strength-trained for an hour, consumed 40 grams of casein, and then hit the sack experienced a 22% rise in amino acid circulation for the full 7.5 hours of sleep. In other words, the protocol gave their muscles better access to the building blocks they need to recover and grow.(3)

    Also, consider those hectic days when you just haven’t had time to eat during the day. (Not ideal, but we don’t live in an ideal world.) Add to this the hard workout you did. In these situations, your priority should probably be to replenish lost nutrients such as electrolytes and make sure your body has all the protein (among other things) it needs for recovery. You don’t need a four-course dinner, but a light, balanced meal would be to your benefit.

    Finally, there’s the psychological factor to consider. Last night, my 8-year-old said she couldn’t sleep because she was hungry. I chopped her up an apple. We chatted as she ate half of it. Then, she shuffled off to bed and slept just fine, circadian rhythms be darned. We all have an inner 8-year-old, so sometimes, you’re going to find it easier to sleep with a little somethin’-somethin’ in your tummy. I wouldn’t suggest institutionalizing the nighttime snack, but if you need the occasional piece of fruit or air-popped popcorn to detangle your nerves and send you off to dreamland, it’s not the end of the world.

    In general, though, here’s what I recommend: If you’re trying to lose weight, stack the deck in your favor and go to bed on a relatively empty stomach. You can follow the 8 PM rule of the second study or, if that’s just not going to work with your schedule, then avoid eating within 3 hours of going to bed. Or, if you’re trying to build mass, supplement with casein before bedtime.

    Thanks to Denis Faye @Beachbody.com

  • Six Foods To Add or Remove In The Kitchen

    I’ve written numerous articles about optimal eating and the most nutrient dense foods that should be included in our weekly diets. This article focuses on three foods that have been battered by the media but are truly healthy food choices, and three foods touted as super healthy choices but they are far from it. So here we go!

    1. Butter

    Good choice! Loaded with a large percentage of short and medium chain fatty acids which actually enhance the immune system. One primary fat in butter is arachadonic acid which has been shunned by the public and medical community. However it is actually a healthy fat for the brain and skin. Butter is nutrient dense containing: selenium, zinc, copper and chromium and Vitamins A,D,E and K2. Vitamin K2 is a must with Vitamin D to help manage bone density. The converse of butter are the nasty margarines that have been elevated to king-like stature.

    1. Margarine

    Dreadful food! The hydrogenated fat (overly heated) is the worst form of fat. These trans fats or trans fatty acids are heated which causes the chemical structure to dramatically wreak havoc on your health. Margarines or trans fats are also masked with artificial flavors, fake food coloring, added sterols that are estrogen compounds which can cause endocrine issues. Unlike butter, margarine can elevate the low density lipoproteins (LDL’s). The LDL’s are not all bad but margarine (trans fats) increase the percentage of heart jamming bad LDL’s!

    1. Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) from grass fed cows

    Very good nutrient dense choice to supplement your daily healthy intake. I’ve written about my super shake that contains WPC and I’ll share it with you:

    2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

    1 organic banana

    3/4 cup frozen organic blueberries

    1/3 cup walnuts or almonds

    ½ cup organic low fat Greek yogurt

    2 scoops of WPC

    2 ice cubes

    So why whey from grass fed cows?

    (1) WPC contains three muscle building branched chained amino acids (BCAA): Valine, isoleucine and leucine. The BCAA’s effectively elevate and expedite the muscle building and repair of muscle breakdown (anabolic pathway). The necessary anabolic volume is approximately 8-10 grams/day. Two scoops in your shake provides 20-24 grams. Another great source is salmon which contains bout 16 grams/100g of BCAA’s. So the “shake” is a great source of muscle building protein before and after your workouts.

    (2) The grass fed WPC also contains the magical fat called conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) which enhances hormone and antibody health. Conversely the inferior whey protein isolate has been overheated. Consequently this protein quite often causes bloating and GI distress. Additionally, grain fed WPC has zero CLA.

    (3) The super shake is an easy way to cover your daily fruit intake; walnuts are a healthy fat and the WPC also affects a hormone called Leptin which tells your brain that you’re satiated or “full”-thus reducing the urge to overeat.


    1. Soy products

    Not so good. However the healthy soy that have been fermented are very healthy: tempeh, miso, soy sauce and Natto (very common in Japan). I tried it and oh boy, this taste must be acquired – but it’s healthy! The bad side of soy is the propaganda stream and the unfortunate health issues related to consuming soy products. Here’s a partial list:

    (1) 99% of soy is genetically modified.

    (2) Soy is on the “dirty” list with one of the most heavily pesticide laden foods.

    (3) Soybeans have a very high percentage of phytic acid which inhibits the absorbtion of some key minerals: calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium. So when folks tell me that soy based products are good for bone density, this is just not true. Like most grains, the phytates are unhealthy unless they are fermented – as mentioned above.

    (4) The processing of soy to obtain soy protein isolate (which I’m against as a protein powder substitute) is a lengthy process and compromises any nutritional value. The heating process along with preservatives and sweeteners is then marketed to the consumer.

    Whey protein concentrate from grass fed cows is a much better option.

    1. Eggs

    Great food! Clouded with the myth of elevating cholesterol. First off your body needs cholesterol for production of Vitamin D and hormone production. These hormones including testosterone and estrogen must have cholesterol for optimal body function. I have three eggs a day – every day! Organic and raw eggs are best! Cage free and lightly soft boiled are second in line. Include eggs – the protein content is at the top of the nutrient dense foods.

    1. Fruit juice

    Not great! This includes orange, apple, pear, cranberry and all of the pseudo health sweetened drinks and sugary canned teas. Why is fruit juice on the questionable food list?

    (1) The pulp has been removed and losing the fiber and nutrients just accelerates digestion and absorption. The quick dose of sugar causes a huge insulin spike.

    (2) The concentrated juice is a big dosage of calories.

    (3) Fructose absorbs differently than the other sugars. Even a seemingly healthy 10 ounce glass of orange juice has about 100 calories of fructose (over half of the sugars are from fructose).

    (4) Fructose is digested through the liver and nearly 40% of it is converted to visceral fat (fat around the organs). The other types of sugar are not great, but average about 10% conversion to visceral fat. Fructose expedites new fat cells around your organs! Particularly bad is the added stress on the liver. Overload on the liver heightens the potential to increase body fat. Our national overweight and obese epidemic is fueled by the over consumption of refined juices. In combination with other refined simple carbohydrates, the U.S. unfortunately leads all nations with this growing epidemic.

    Lastly, I’m a big fan of “juicing” providing that the primary juice is from vegetables. Adding two to three servings of fruit is perfect as a “supplement” to your vegetables.

    Remember, you have a choice in food selection. Review my comments of these six foods and start today with a new revamped diet.


  • Dr. Phil Shares 5 Foods To Help Improve Your Evesight

    Vision is one of mankind’s most valued senses. Unfortunately, for many it’s susceptible to extremely degenerative conditions. In the United States alone, nearly $7 billion is spent to treat cataracts, affecting about 22 million Americans over the age of 40.

    Approximately 75 percent of adults require some sort of corrective lenses, according to the Vision Council of America, and about 64 percent wear eyeglasses, with the other 11 percent wearing contact lenses.

    About a third of the population suffers from near-sightedness, while about 60 percent are far-sighted, struggling to see up close.

    It’s safe to say this country has a vision problem, and other than consuming a healthy diet, no preventive methods have been developed. We live during an age of heart transplants, yet there’s no technology that preserves one of our most important traits, eyesight.

    Fortunately, a healthy diet is pretty powerful. Consuming certain foods has proven to directly impact vision and overall eye health.

    Below are five top foods for tackling degenerative vision.

    1. Egg Yolks

    Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss for people over 65 years old; however, eating egg yolks can help slow this process. For various reasons, a degenerative process can affect the macula, a tiny area in the back of the eye, subsequently damaging your vision.

    Egg yolks contain lutein, a yellow-pigmented antioxidant belonging to a class of compounds called carotenoids. Lutein and a similar compound called zeaxanthin selectively accumulate in the macula of the retina, scavenging free radicals and acting as a blue-light filter.

    Some experts suggest that we need about 6 mg of these antioxidants a day. One egg yolk has about 0.25 mg of lutein, and even more if you don’t cook it. Also, the body absorbs lutein found in egg yolks more easily than it does that found in fruits or vegetables. Consuming lutein with olive or coconut oil enhances absorption.

    While other foods contribute to eye health, egg yolks were found to help the most

    2. Spinach

    This delicious, green leafy vegetable contains lots of lutein, therefore working miracles on the eyes. Consuming it raw is the best method, as heating spinach is known to damage some of its antioxidants.

    In the macula, lutein and zeaxanthin are considered macular pigments. Macular pigments have been shown to decrease the risk of AMD, and might also play a role in age-related cataracts, according to the Egg Nutrition Center. Among carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin are the only ones to be found in the eye’s lens.

    Kale, broccoli, romaine lettuce, peas, Brussels sprouts, zucchini and other collard greens also contain high amounts of lutein.

    3. Blueberries

    Blueberries, also referred to as “brainberries,” are considered by some to be the healthiest food on the planet. Their bright blue casings contain anthocyanins, a group of powerful antioxidants that aid the body with multiple protections.

    Eating blueberries helps protect the retina from unwanted sunlight and oxygen damage.

    4. Carrots

    While consuming carrots won’t necessarily reverse bad eyesight, they can help improve overall eye health. Carrots contain lutein and beta-carotene, a substance converted to vitamin A by the body, a beneficial nutrient for eye health. Vitamin A is a crucial nutrient; in fact, a lack of it is the leading cause of blindness in the developing world.

    Orange colored foods like mango, pumpkin, apricots, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe also contain beta-carotene.

    5. Almonds

    This vitamin E-rich nut has also been proven to slow macular degeneration, and just one handful a day provides you about half of your daily dose. Almonds contain the anti-cancer nutrient amygdalin, also known as laetrile or vitamin B17.

    Almonds promote overall well-being. They contribute to weight loss, help lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and improve your complexion, among many other benefits.

    By Julie Wilson (Natural News)

    What Steps Are You Taking To Nourish Your Eye’s?

  • Could Whey Protein Before or With Meals Help Control Blood Sugar

    Weight Loss Shake – Protein Powder

    One of the keys to a healthier, longer life is sustaining healthy blood sugar. Managing blood sugar is different for every person, but it doesn’t have to be difficult—in some cases, it can be as simple as consuming whey protein before or with each meal.

    The reason may be because whey protein stimulates the production of hormones in the gut that help to improve the efficiency of insulin needed to lower blood glucose, according to recent research published in the journal Diabetologia.

    In the crossover trial, 15 subjects with type 2 diabetes consumed 50 grams of whey protein mixed with water 30 minutes prior to meals on one day and used a placebo drink prior to their meal another day (1). The meal consisted of foods known to cause the most dramatic spikes in blood sugar—high-glycemic foods—such as white bread and jelly. To track the effects of the meal on blood sugar and insulin levels, the researchers tested each subject’s blood just before and after they drank the whey protein or placebo drink, 15 and 30 minutes after they ate their meal, and every 30 minutes after that for three hours.

    At 30 minutes, insulin response after the meal was 96 percent higher when the patients pre-loaded with whey protein, meaning their bodies did a better job of ushering sugar that was consumed into cells than when they didn’t consume whey before their meal. This resulted in a 28 percent decrease in blood sugar levels simply by consuming whey before a meal.

    Researchers suggested that whey protein promoted the production of the intestinal hormone GLP-1, which is a glucagon-like peptide that stimulates the production of insulin. This is an important function, especially in people with diabetes whose insulin production may be impaired or for those who rely on insulin injections, because it prompts increased production of insulin. An ample supply of insulin is key in offsetting dangerous blood sugar spikes and fluctuation of energy levels that often occur after meals high in carbohydrates.

    A similarly designed study in 2005 published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition focused on the incorporation of whey protein in a meal, instead of before, and its effects on insulin activity and blood sugar levels after a meal (2). The subjects were given a whey protein supplement with a meal of readily absorbed carbohydrates (mashed potatoes and meatballs). The next day they were given the same meal but whey protein was substituted with another source of protein: lean ham. Blood sugar and insulin levels were analyzed before and after the meal. The researchers found that insulin responses increased by 57 percent resulting in a 21 percent lower blood sugar response with the incorporation of whey protein in a meal. The take away? It’s not just about eating protein; whey protien in particular has beneficial effects on blood sugar management.

    The results of both studies strengthen the implications of the positive effect whey protein has on blood sugar control—whether taken as a supplement before a meal or as part of a meal. Consumers with type 2 diabetes are advised to discuss different approaches for blood sugar management with their doctors before making adjustments to their diets.

    Here are some ways you can incorporate whey protein into your diet daily:

    Consume whey protein (such as IsaPro®) mixed with water before an indulgent meal higher in carbohydrates. You can even add a splash of juice to boost flavor.
    Drink a smoothie or shake that contains whey protein for your meal. IsaLean® meal replacements contain high-quality whey protein along with low-glycemic carbohydrates and healthy fats for a complete meal replacement.
    Add whey protein powder to meals or baked goods. Try mixing whey protein powder into your oatmeal, pancake batter, or homemade protein bars.

    Jakubowicz D, Froy O, Ahrén B, et al. Incretin, insulinotropic and glucose-lowering effects of whey protein pre-load in type 2 diabetes: a randomised clinical trial. Diabetologia. 2014. doi:10.1007/s00125-014-3305-x

    Frid AH, Nilsson M, Holst JJ, Bjorck IM. Effect of whey on blood glucose and insulin responses to composite breakfast and lunch meals in type 2 diabetic subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 82: 69–75, 2005.

    This entry was posted in Research & Science, Science News and tagged Blood Sugar, Diabetes, glucose, whey protein by Isagenix Nutritional Sciences.

  • Dr. Phil’s Tips For Injury Prevention of Horse Riding Injuries

    Horse riding stretching exercises to improve your performance and do away with horse riding injuries for good.

    If you’re looking to improve your horse riding performance or just seeking to prevent horse riding injuries it is important to follow the information in this article. In addition, adding a few simple stretches to your fitness program will also help.

    Although it may appear quite simple, horseback riding is actually a skill that requires practice much like any other sport. Professional equestrian athletes are in peak physical condition and riding is an excellent form of exercise as it utilizes several muscles simultaneously; giving some of the body’s major muscle groups a fairly intense work out.

    Anatomy Involved

    Horseback riding actively engages several of the body’s muscle groups with significant background work from the joints and tendons that they are attached to. The hip flexors are a group of muscles that help to provide free range of motion allowing the body to bend in to the hips, and the hips to be pulled in towards the torso. A sit-up is a good example of the hip flexors at work and these are used when riding to hold the trunk of the body in a vertical position and prevent you from shifting back behind the line of gravity.

    The hips work in conjunction with the rectus abdominis as well as the muscles in the lower back to keep the torso properly aligned, keeping the rider firmly positioned and anchored in the saddle. This also helps the horse maintain balance, which can prevent serious accidents.

    The hip flexors are made up of the psoas muscles as well as the iliacus and together they form the iliopsoas. Located on either side of the spine in the lower back, the psoas is one of the largest muscles in the body. They reach across the front and down in to the pelvic area where they attach to the trochanter located towards the top, on the inside of the leg. The thigh muscles also attach here, which is why it’s possible that a strain to the psoas can be felt as pain in the thigh area.

    The four major muscles in the thighs are also known as the quadriceps. These are made up of the rectus femoris (middle of the thigh), the vastus lateralis (outer thigh), the vastus medialis (inner thigh) and the vastus intermedius, which is situated up top at the front of thigh and lies between the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis.

    The other muscles in this region that are engaged while riding are the sartorius, gracilis, adductors, and pectineus, making the thigh the area with the highest concentration of active muscles while riding. This group serves to not only grip the saddle, but also to flex and extend the leg allowing the rider to rise up and down as the horse is trotting as well as to easily come up out of the saddle during show jumping. There are five adductor muscles in total that run from the pelvis to the thigh and down to the knee.

    The gastrocnemius and the soleus are more commonly known as the calf muscles. Although they may appear to hang in a state of rest at the sides of the animal, these muscles are also engaged while riding as the calves are used to provide directions that prompt the horse to turn or speed up simply by applying pressure to its side with the calf. These are also flexed while the rider is up on their toes in the stirrups.

    Injury Prevention Strategies

    Since so many of the muscle groups are used in horseback riding, it’s important to prepare the body for the physical demands of the activity.

    • Equipment: Using high quality protective equipment that has been maintained properly will help prevent many injuries.
    • Warm up: Just as a gymnast or runner must warm up prior to practicing or competing, so must an equestrian. It is a proven fact that warming up helps to prevent injuries as it works to increase blood flow to the muscles to gradually prepare the body to handle the demands of more strenuous or vigorous activity. A proper warm up routine can not only help to increase the efficiency of your muscles, but it can also reduce the potential for pulled muscles and decrease the severity of muscle soreness after your exercise.
    • Strength & Conditioning: Training and exercise will keep the body in optimum form thereby minimizing the risk of injury. Strength training helps to build increased strength in the muscles and tendons and over time can improve the overall function of the body’s joints. The most common forms are weight and resistance training.
    • Stretching: Stiff muscles and joints are susceptible to injuries so flexibility plays an important role in their prevention. It is for this reason that one of the key components of an effective warm up is stretching.

    The Top 3 Horse Riding Stretches

    Stretching is one of the most under-utilized techniques for improving athletic performance, preventing sports injury and properly rehabilitating sprain and strain injury. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won’t be effective. Below are 3 very beneficial stretches for horse riding; obviously there are a lot more, but these are a great place to start. Please make special note of the instructions beside each stretch.

    Lying Knee Roll-over Stretch: While lying on your back, bend your knees and let them fall to one side. Keep your arms out to the side and let your back and hips rotate with your knees.






    Kneeling Quad Stretch: Kneel on one foot and the other knee. If needed, hold on to something to keep your balance and then push your hips forward.






    Standing Toe-up Achilles Stretch: Stand upright and place the ball of your foot onto a step or raised object. Bend your knee and lean forward.






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