My Arch Nemesis: Belly Fat

Belly fat is stubborn, unsightly, and unwanted. We all want to be rid of it, but it’s always there, lurking, sagging, dragging us and our self-esteem down with it. Lucky for you, I have the knowledge, skills, and experience to eliminate your pouch and bring you out from beneath your belly fat’s shadow. Just take a look at these quick tips and be the person you always knew you could be:

Flaunt what you got!

One study suggests those who have a fruit bowl in their house weigh on average eight pounds less than those who don’t. While correlation may not mean causation, it does stand to reason those with more fruit on hand are more likely to snack on fruit as opposed to something unhealthy. Pro tip: keep two kinds of fruit on hand. That way, you don’t get sick of eating the same thing all the time!

Out of sight, out of mind.

The opposite of the above, hide unhealthy temptation. As they say, “out of sight, out of mind.” A separate study found individuals who had chips or cookies (junk food) immediately visible weighed about 10lbs more than those who didn’t. What’s even more surprising?

Those with cereal boxes visible generally weighed 21lbs more than those without such sugary snacks in eyesight. Soft drinks visible? Try 25lbs more!

Smaller plates.

Really, it’s honestly that simple. Use smaller plates and you’re bound to eat smaller portions, which means less food, and less food, as you can likely guess, means a smaller waistline. Clearly, food just being in front of us makes us far more likely to eat it. So with smaller plates, not only can we physically not serve larger portions, but we will be comfortable with the smaller meals in front of us.

9-10 inch plates are recommended. If you are currently using 12 inch plates, research suggests you will reduce portion size by an immense 22%. That’s nearly a quarter of your daily diet, just with plates! Take advantage.

Follow these tips and you’ll be strutting the along the sand in your newfound beach body in no time! Till next time!

A Better Breakfast: Transform Your Mornings into the Strong Start They Should Be

Image of Healthy OatmealEntirely too often, the foods which are most aggressively marketed as healthy options are the products of companies willing to make enormous promises that their goods simply do not deliver. There are few situations where this is more of an epidemic than the breakfast food market. As the United States has slipped more and more dramatically into a health epidemic over the years, the demand for food that will not create such catastrophic health problems has begun to soar. Unfortunately, the modern consumer has been on the receiving end of so many years of brutally incorrect and manipulative messaging that many of us no longer remember the simpler times when good food was a given. Instead, many individuals have become accustomed to believing in “the magic pill.” As a result, the empty promises made by pre-prepared and prepackaged solution option look more appealing than choices that are actually healthy, like portion control and whole, unprocessed foods.

Consider oatmeal. In its purest form, the appropriate serving of whole rolled and steel cut oats (which should be minimally processed) is a great option for the first meal of the day. When they are processed and packaged, whoever, the grains are ground into much smaller “pre-digested” parts and additives like unnatural sweeteners are added in abundance, thus negating any potential health benefits. Businesses are almost always way more interested in creating a product which caters to the modern palette which, over time, developed a destructive preference for the unnaturally sweet or impossibly savory. To achieve that kind of taste, healthiness and quality and relegated to very bottom of the food producer’s priority pile. However, they rarely have any issues peddling the final product as the healthy food it could have been or initially was, nor do any of these producers make an effort to counter the widespread assumption that those sorts of benefits remain intact.

To reclaim your oatmeal and take control of your breakfast once again, you need to get back to basics. This means forgoing the options which have been processed heavily on your behalf and being an active, invested consumer. You have to care enough to read the ingredients and make new choices based on what is best for your health and body composition. Instead of prepackaged oatmeal, mix the following three ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup of rolled oats
  • ½ cup of mixed berries (or assorted superfruit that you may prefer!)

Is Your Cereal Saturated with Sodium?

Image of Salty CerealIt likely will not be totally unexpected to hear that a diet that is too heavy in sodium can be extremely detrimental to your health. However, many Americans are surprised to learn that most problems associated with sodium consumption actually have very little to do with salt you sprinkle over your food for seasoning. In fact, the FDA estimates Americans only take in about 10% of their daily sodium in the process of adding salt during cooking or at the table. The vast majority of your sodium intake, nearly 80% in fact, actually comes from eating processed foods.

This holds true, even for processed foods you might not even associate with saltiness. Consider breakfast cereals and other grains. These can be an unexpected source of sodium, the consumption of which can negatively impact your body composition. The two key steps you need to take in order to prevent that from happening are comprised of rather straightforward, positive habit building. First, have you ever actually investigated what an appropriate serving size is? You should. Secondly, can you stick to eating only that recommended amount per serving? Because, if you are serious about your health, you must. There is a decent chance that, currently, you are eating significantly more than what is recommended in the Nutrition Facts section. One of the most important habits for your health is learning to stay informed about what you are putting in your body – and how much of it is the appropriate amount.

Recent studies actually indicate that people who have taken the time to both learn and adhere to the correct portion of something like a breakfast cereal are much better off. Most people were, on average, pouring themselves twice the amount of recommended cereal per serving. When you factor in the amount of sugar and simple carbohydrates in many packaged cereal, as well as things like sodium, it becomes obvious how easily it can be to start your day off on the wrong foot with breakfast if you are not making an effort to live a better lifestyle.


How Sprouted Grains Start Your Day the Right Way

Prepackaged cereals are overwhelmingly bad news in almost every iteration you are likely to immediately recognize on most grocery store shelves. However, for many people, that form of breakfast is simply too comforting and comfortable a habit to want to give up completely. Eating cereal for breakfast is fast, easy, and delicious. It is important, then, to find the substitutes for sugary diet disasters that actually deliver on the promise of giving you a healthy beginning to your day. Food for Life® is a company that produces just such a thing. Their Ezekiel 4:9® line of cereals are a fantastic way to pack your breakfast bowl to the brim with nutrition and satiate your hunger while enjoying longer-lasting energy. They go above and beyond by not only using totally organic grains, but a specific type of them – sprouted grain, best understood by the layman as a true whole grain.

Sprouted grains differ significantly from traditionally harvested grains, and that is fantastic news for every health-conscious consumer interested in improving their body composition. On top of a load of inherent benefits that come from deviating away from the conventional harvesting method, these organic grain products from Food for Life® are also completely free of flour.

When grain is pulverized into flour, this creates a heavily processed form of the carbohydrates. Because they have essentially already been broken down by the automated, unnatural process before consumption, when you do eat foods made from these processed grains, you body is able to much more easily and quickly absorb them into the bloodstream. This is actually pretty bad news. Fast-digesting carbs are too rapidly incorporated into your blood as sugar, so it does not expend as much energy while your blood sugar and insulin levels spike. This contributes to chronic inflammation and fat gain.

Sprouted grains, on the other hand, actually increase digestibility, a benefit of it being more natural. It also improves the absorption of minerals. Additionally, they contain more antioxidant, more vitamin C, more vitamin B (like B2, B5, and B6), and much more fiber. Finally, they’re also a wonderful source of protein, which is too often lacking from a traditional breakfast. Sprouted grains are an all-around fantastic way to help you reach your health and body-composition goals.

Words to Watch For On Your Cereal Box

Josh BezoniThe best breakfast rule of thumb by which every person interested in living a healthy lifestyle needs to abide revolves around consuming low glycemic-index carbohydrates. These are slower to be absorbed into bloodstream. This means you feel fuller for longer, satiated by a decent breakfast instead of craving a snack way before it’s time to even think about leaving the office for lunch. You should focus on finding the kinds of carbs that will actually increase your energy levels for a sustained period of time, as well as enhance your insulin concentrations and body composition. Furthermore, a diet that includes plentiful consumption of unrefined carbohydrates also results in a more favorable nutrient density. This means more vitamins, more minerals, more phytonutrients, and more fiber. Additionally, you will benefit from a higher thermic effect of feeding (like an increased metabolic rate).

To figure out if your favorite breakfast cereals include make the cut for the kind of meal you should be enjoying every morning, be sure to closely read the ingredient list at the soonest possible moment. You are likely to be astounded by the sheer amount of sugar that appears. Marketers and food scientists are notorious for hiding sugar under clever and overly complicated pseudonyms. Here are words to look out for:

  • Molasses
  • Maple sugar
  • Any permutation of corn syrup/sweetener
  • Agave nectar
  • Sugar beets
  • Cane Sugar
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Hydrolyzed starch
  • Maltose
  • Glucose
  • Fructose
  • Sucrose
  • Dextrose

Look at that long list of words! It is so crucial to manage your blood sugar and insulin levels if you are serious about losing fat and improving your body composition. And the benefits extend way beyond the aesthetic. The way you eat will define your energy levels and all markers of health. Just beware that the vast majority of the boxes in the cereal aisle are likely to be more trouble than their pretty packaging might suggest.

What Your Morning is Missing

Josh BezoniHigh-glycemic index carbohydrates indicate the rate at which blood sugar rises in response to eating carb-based foods. However, the additional consumption of key nutrients – particularly fiber, healthy fats, and protein – can slow the gastric process and encourage insulin secretion. Those two developments can positively affect the glycemic index of carbohydrate-dense comestibles. In fact, studies confirm that adding protein and/or good fats to a meal that includes carbohydrates can actually decrease the glycemic response.

This is incredibly good news. Since high-glycemic carbs are typically low (if not totally devoid) of fiber, overeating such foods can have serious consequences for your health. Current science recognizes a connection between low fiber diets and increased risks of diabetes and obesity. Fiber is a fantastic nutrient that brings a lot to both the figurative and literal table. A high fiber diet can help the health-conscious consumer feel satisfied for longer, be more regular, enjoy better cardiovascular health, and more.

Unfortunately, many packaged consumer goods, like breakfast cereals, process the grains therein. That actually removes the high-fiber bran. Even brands of foods that boast high fiber contents may be misrepresenting the facts. Isolated fiber that has been added to the food after processing can technically allow a company to claim to be high fiber, although the benefits of keeping the true fiber in the food is all but lost. Look for additives like psyllium husks, soy fiber, or polydextrose, or check to see if wheat bran has been added back in as a separate ingredient. The naturally occurring form of wheat bran is what stands to bring you the most benefits. The fiber located in the outer layer of whole grains is the only kind that has been definitively found to lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and constipation.

This goes to show that you must always take the time to stay informed about the things you choose to put into your body. Taking a brand at its word is a recipe for disaster. Most food producers are, unfortunately, dedicated to their profit margins before your wellbeing – even if their marketing department has carefully crafted messaging that might suggest otherwise. Reading the ingredients is a truly wonderful habit to adopt. If you are looking to transform your body and improve your health, the first thing you need to flex are your critical thinking skills.

The Breakfast Calorie Bomb You Don’t Even Realize Does Damage

One of the staples of the American breakfast, cereal comes in an mind-numbingly wide variety of shapes, flavors, consistencies, and colors. We grow up watching breakfast cereal commercials with kid-friendly cartoon spokespeople (or spokes-animals!) and then, as we get older, trade the heavily frosted options for what we understand to be healthier choices in terms of morning meals on-the-go. Cereal is fast, filling, and delicious. Unfortunately, it is likely also much more trouble for your health-conscious lifestyle than you even realize.

That misconception is definitely not your fault. As consumers age and come to be more aware that the breakfast cereals kids love tend to be jam-packed with sugars and artificial flavorings, we naturally outgrow them. The cereal industry, however, has an equally large portfolio of cereals marketed to speak specifically to that inevitable shift in preferences. You can likely even note the difference on TV. The cereal commercials that air when you are sitting on the floor watching Saturday morning or after-school cartoons as a child are not the same ones you see now that you are fully grown and relaxing on your couch in the evening after a long day of work.

In the commercial and on the packaging itself, cereals marketed for adults aggressively make the case that they are great for you. Invariably, they are marketed as delicious and easy. The second ubiquitous theme – breakfast cereal is (allegedly) healthy. Many cereals for adults tout all sorts of claims to be “all-natural,” and brag about organic ingredients or added gimmicks like dried fruit. Often, they boast about the kinds of grains they use and all the energy for the day you should expect to derive from them. Above all, phrases like “heart healthy” and “filled with vitamins and minerals” reign supreme.

All those claims may be very exciting for someone looking to lose weight or get healthier. Breakfast is a critical meal, and the right breakfast can turbocharge your metabolism for the rest of the day. However, if you opt for cereal regularly, you are likely hindering all the hard work you put in to lose weight the rest of the day. In fact, you might even be making yourself fatter! Marketing breakfast cereals as a health food is great for lining corporate pockets, and nearly as good for lining your body composition with unnecessary fats. In the coming weeks, I will break down the science of why exactly that is true, as well as outline some better options. Right now, however, you should reconsider that innocuous box of breakfast cereal in your pantry and start practicing one of, if not the, most important skills a healthy person needs: reading the ingredients. To be fit for life, you need to be a conscious and informed consumer, and the best way to do that is start learning as much as you can today!

Avoid This Breakfast Pitfall and Try this Exceptional Grain

Joel Marion from BioTrust will be the first to tell you how Oatmeal, while seemingly healthy, is typically packed with sugar. Do not fall for the heart-healthy brand messaging you will find at the store. Flavor names such as “Maple and Brown Sugar” are not telling the full truth.

Instant Oatmeal is not nearly as healthy as it is marketed to be

Instant Oatmeal is not nearly as healthy as it is marketed to be

First off, please be aware of the fact, as Joel notes, that this product almost certainly does not contain any maple nor brown sugar. In fact, it is most likely chock full of artificial ingredients and regular sugar. Furthermore, the instant-oatmeal varieties generally has a higher glycemic index than just traditional oatmeal. This is because a high-heat processing method has has already pre-cooked this oatmeal. This process also removes many of oatmeals healthiest properties including minerals and vitamins.

If you must opt for oatmeal, you certainly should choose the traditional variety rather than the instant, sugar-heavy type. Marion recommends that you try the plain ol’ steel cut oats. They may be more labor and time intensive to make, but you will reap the rewards of its health benefits. After consuming ol’ steel cut oats, you will discover that your are much fuller than after eating the instant oatmeal.

While not necessarily a breakfast food, Quinoa is a grain that boasts a variety of health benefits including an amazing eight grams of protein per cup. Please note that quinoa is actually the only grain that posses complete protein. Marion also points out how this grain is quite low glycemic. Some say it’s the best grain that you can find, and it is hard to disagree with that assessment. With regards to serving quinoa, you can serve with pretty much anything including fish, chicken, steak, beans, or even salad. It is an incredibly versatile food item as it relates to both flavor, and, more importantly, health benefits.

What You Must Avoid When Having Breakfast

Many people are mislead about what a “healthy” breakfast consists of. Breakfast is a very important meal, especially when you have established certain body transformation goals that you are working very hard to achieve. But making bad choices when it comes to your first meal of the day can significantly slow down your progress or keep you from reaching those goals entirely.

For those of us looking to get or stay healthy, the challenge is knowing what breakfast options are good for your body. Cereal is seen as excellent breakfast – it’s fast to prepare and can be very delicious. But did you know that choosing the wrong type of cereal could be what is keeping you from your body transformation goals? If you decide to have cereal often, one thing you must avoid are GMO cereals.

GMO, or Genetically Modified Organisms, are becoming increasingly harder to avoid for people who are not actively looking out for it. Although biotechnology corporations will be the first to support the so-called great benefits of GMOs, keep in mind that they have a financial stake in the rest of us believing their claims.

The heavily processed ingredients found in GMO cereals can be very bad for that waistline you are working to reduce but they also have some even scarier risks that you must be aware of in your trek toward a healthy, fit lifestyle. Studies have repeatedly shown that consumption of GM foods leads to an increase in the potential for:

  • Accelerated aging
  • Allergies
  • Altered genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, and protein formation
  • Changes in liver, kidney, and spleen function
  • Infertility
  • Immune system compromise

Taking note of these potential risks to our health, there have already been many countries that have banned the use and sale of genetically modified crops used to make many of the foods we eat.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.

Fitting a Healthy Breakfast into your Schedule

For healthy consumers with a fast-paced lifestyle, it can be hard to make time to always eat right. To fit taking care of oneself more comfortably into many modern schedules, a huge industry of health foods has exploded in recent years. One meal that has enjoyed a particularly meteoric rise in emphasis is breakfast. Today, it is common knowledge that the first meal of the day is probably the most important one. It sets the tone for your waking hours, gives you energy to start strong, and plays a large role in determining how well you will be able to make healthy food choices throughout the afternoon and evening. In terms of being quick and easy-to-make, breakfast does not get much simpler than cereal.

MCL_cereal_aisle_101651084_Moats_310High-fiber cereals occupy a lot of space on many supermarket shelves. However, there are so many from which to choose that it has become next to impossible to identify the real winners. In terms of overall health benefits, things to consider include both completely organic grains and, when possible, sprouted grains. Sprouted grains are especially great to improve health for a number of reasons. They increase digestibility and our absorption of minerals. They also tend to have a much higher amounts of antioxidants, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B.
Food for Life® offers an especially great suite of cereal products. The Ezekiel 4:9® line is a definite champion in terms of cereal options. Unlike most other boxed choices, Ezekiel cereals are made from whole grains, not flour. When grains are pulverized into flour, they devolve into a processed carbohydrate which more quickly enters the body and can cause spikes blood sugar levels. That can result in the body creating more fat and in chronic inflammation. Whole grains, however, are more natural and, therefore, more slowly and beneficially digested. So, when looking to purchase an easy breakfast choice to get your day started right, always take the time to double check exactly what is inside the food you are putting inside of you.