Saturday, June 27, 2015

9 Nutrients You’re Not Getting Enough Of

This is an article, titled "9 Nutrients You’re Not Getting Enough Of" by Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D. a registered dietitian who writes on food and health trends, and was published on Yahoo.  The disagreement I have with articles such as this one, is that they project the old, tired USDA Recommended Daily Allowance for the amount of nutrients you need.  Most studies are showing that a person needs highly increased doses of these nutrients in order to have an effective immune system and optimal health.

Try as you might to eat healthy, chances are you’re falling short on at least one of these key nutrients: vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, folate, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium and fiber. On average, Americans don’t get enough of these so-called shortfall nutrients, according to the latest draft of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for All Americans. How much do you need? How do you get more? Hint: Eating a lot more fruits, vegetables and minimally processed whole foods will get you there.

Vitamin A

Why you need it: Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s important for cell growth and function. It’s also important for your immune system and vision.

How much you need daily: 900 mcg (men); 700 mcg (women)

How to get it: Vitamin A is available in dairy, fish and meat (especially liver). You can get carotenoids — the nutrients that make vitamin A — through fruits and vegetables. They’re particularly abundant in dark leafy greens (like spinach and broccoli) and vibrant orange-colored fruits and vegetables (sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, mango and more).

Vitamin D

Why you need it: Vitamin D helps your body build strong bones by regulating the balance of calcium and phosphorous. Deficiency has been linked to a variety of diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, IBS, depression and heart disease.

How much you need daily: 600 IUs (men and women); 800 IUs (adults over 70)

How to get it: We actually get most of our vitamin D from sunlight (UVB rays stimulate your skin to make previtamin D-3). But if you live above the Mason-Dixon Line, chances are your body’s short on natural vitamin D during winter months, when there’s not enough UVB to produce D. (You might also risk deficiency if you don’t have much sun exposure — due to clothing, sunscreen or air pollution.) Food sources of D include oily fish (such as salmon and mackerel), dairy products, egg yolks and fortified cereal.

Vitamin E

Why you need it: Vitamin E describes antioxidants that protect fats in your body (including LDL, the “bad” cholesterol) from oxidizing.

How much you need daily: 15 mg (men and women)

How to get it: Plant oils (particularly sunflower and safflower), nuts and avocado are good ways to get this fat-soluble vitamin.


Why you need it: Folate, also called B-9, helps create DNA and metabolize amino acids, which are your body’s “building blocks.”

How much you need daily: 400 mcg (men and women)

How to get it: Green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit and legumes (lentils and beans) are all great ways to get folate. Fortified cereals and flours can also add to your folate intake.

Vitamin C

Why you need it: Vitamin C is important for healthy skin and immune function.

How much you need daily: 90 mg (men); 75 mg (women)

How to get it: Citrus fruit, kiwis, strawberries, red bell pepper, broccoli and white potatoes all have good amounts of vitamin C.


Why you need it: A healthy skeleton is the driving reason to get enough calcium in your diet.

How much you need: 1,000 mg (men and women); 1,200 mg (adults over 70)

How to get it: Yogurt (regular plain yogurt has more calcium than Greek yogurt), calcium-set tofu, beans, bok choy, milk and fortified nondairy milks are your friends here.


Why you need it: Magnesium does many jobs in your body. It’s needed to extract energy from food, to keep bones and cells healthy, and to create DNA, RNA and proteins.

How much you need: 400 mg (men 19 to 30); 420 mg (men 31 and older); 310 mg (women 19 to 30); 320 mg (women 31 and older)

How to get it: Leafy greens, nuts and whole grains are some of the best sources of magnesium.


Why you need it: Potassium is an electrolyte — it helps your heart to beat! It’s also important for strong bones.

How much you need daily: 4,700 mg (men and women)

How to get it: Fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy are the best ways to get potassium. Since you need a lot of potassium, get a wide variety of whole foods in your diet. One baked potato has 926 mg, a banana has 422 mg and a cup of milk has 366 mg.v Fiber

Why you need it: We could sing the praises of fiber forever, but let’s just touch on some highlights: It helps lower your LDL “bad” cholesterol, it keeps you “regular,” and it helps regulate your blood sugar.

How much you need daily: 38 g (men); 30 g (women)

How to get it: Beans are brimming with fiber, as are whole-grain cereals, fruits, vegetables and nuts. Fiber is found in plant-based foods — generally the less processed an ingredient, the more fiber is left intact.

*Note: Recommended amounts are based on the recommended dietary allowances and adequate intakes for adult men and women.
Again,....the USDA Recommended Daily Allowance is old (defined in 1940)  and obtaining 100% of the RDA is certainly not adequate for optimal health and a robust immune system. 

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

8 Myths About Metabolism You Need to Stop Believing

Original article by Laura Tedesco published on Yahoo! Health. Most of us know the basic formula for weight loss: If calories out exceed calories in, the pounds will fall off. But what sounds so simple can actually be a bit complicated when you consider the “calories out” half of the equation.

Obviously, physical activity — whether a workout at the gym or simply walking up stairs — requires energy. But our bodies also use calories to keep the lights on — our heart needs energy to pump, and our lungs need energy to enable us to breathe. This is called our “resting metabolic rate,” and along with the calories we burn through exercise and digesting food, it makes up what most of us refer to simply as our “metabolism.”

Your resting metabolic rate is responsible for about 60 percent of the calories you burn. As a result, “it’s really the main target of both substantiated and unsubstantiated weight loss [strategies],” says Jonathan Mike, PhD, an exercise scientist and strength coach. Yet most of us don’t really know how our metabolism even works — we simply characterize our internal engine as “fast” or “slow,” and if it’s slow, we want to speed it up.

The result? We eagerly buy into mainstream myths about metabolism that may do more harm than good.

Myth #1: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it wakes up your metabolism. We’ve all heard it before: A substantial breakfast is the key to waking up a sluggish metabolism after a night of sleep. But a giant plate of eggs and bacon may not be all it’s cracked up to be: In a 2014 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, dieters who ate breakfast lost no more weight than breakfast-skippers did. In fact, downing a big breakfast may actually be a bad thing: It may delay your body’s shift from parasympathetic mode — the rest-and-restore half of your nervous system — to the more metabolically active sympathetic mode, says Roy Martina, MD, author of Sleep Your Fat Away. “During the night, the nervous system is in parasympathetic mode,” he explains. “That’s where we digest food and restore our body.” If you start your day with a big breakfast, you divert your body’s attention back to digestion and rest — and as a result, the calories you consume are more likely to be directed to your fat reserves, he says. His advice? Don’t eat first thing after waking up if you’re not hungry. “Postpone breakfast as long as you can,” Martina tells Yahoo Health. “The reason for that is this: We can store unlimited amounts of fat, but we can only store a certain amount of sugar in our body.” So if you delay consuming carbs, your body will burn through its sugar reserves — then move on to torching fat. Of course, if you’re famished come 7 a.m., you should eat, but try to keep it light. “Just eat enough that you feel OK,” advises Martina.

Myth #2: You need to eat every three hours to boost your metabolism. You can blame bodybuilders for the six-meals-a-day gospel. “Bodybuilders eat 5,000 calories a day — and most aren’t going to have three meals of 1,500 calories each,” says Mike. “They’ll typically break it up.” For serious weightlifters — and the rare people who have naturally revved-up metabolisms, who Martina calls “fast burners” — grazing all day makes sense. But for the rest of us — who eat, say, 2,000 calories a day — there’s no metabolic motivation for spreading our calories out over six meals. Need proof? In a British Journal of Nutrition study, when overweight dieters ate either three or six meals a day, with the same total number of calories, they lost the same amount of weight. “Smaller, more frequent meals do not speed metabolism, compared to the same total calories and macronutrients consumed in larger, less-frequent meals,” Mike says. Plus, if you’re eating multiple times a day, you may end up overeating, allowing your mini meals to turn into full-size ones, says Michael Jensen, MD, an endocrinologist and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic.

Myth #3: Skipping meals reduces your metabolism. If you don’t eat dinner, will your metabolism take a nosedive? Probably not. In order for your body’s burn to plummet, you need to restrict your calories to the point that you feel deprived, says Martina. And one missed meal isn’t enough to create a serious energy deficit — it’s only when you follow a low-calorie diet for a long time that your body goes into starvation mode, forcing it to use energy more efficiently (i.e. to burn fewer calories), he says. “Skipping one meal will never do that.” Of course, if you skip a meal, your body won’t experience the small metabolic boost that occurs after eating — but any drop in your burn rate will be so small that it’d be “difficult to detect,” says Jensen. So why are chronic meal-skippers often overweight? “Skipping a meal might make you overly hungry, so you overeat at your next meal,” Jensen says. In other words, it’s a matter of subsequent meal size — not metabolism.

Myth #4: Overweight people have a slow metabolism, and skinny people have a fast one. It seems obvious: The fatter you are, the more sluggish your metabolism, right? “As a rule, that’s actually not true,” says Jensen. In fact, he adds, “there are as many skinny people as overweight people with low metabolisms.” Sure, there are slim people with lightning-fast metabolisms. “They cannot sit down for a long time — they’re kind of hyperactive,” Martina says. “They burn so much energy that they can eat much more and get away with it.” But more often, slim folks are simply in tune with their bodies — they eat only what they need, and nothing more. If they do overeat at one meal, they tend to naturally compensate at the next one, preventing them from gaining weight. And, the truth is, body weight is actually a pretty poor predictor of metabolism — body composition (i.e. how much muscle you have, versus fat) is much more important. “If you have two people, both 180 pounds, and one has 20 pounds of fat and one has 50 pounds of fat, the person with less fat, i.e. more muscle, is going to burn more calories,” says Jensen. As a general rule, however, overweight people — especially those with some amount of muscle — torch more calories per day than skinny folks, since bigger bodies require more calories for everyday functioning. So why are heavy people still carrying extra baggage if they burn so much energy? Simple: Overweight people may unknowingly consume way more calories than they torch. “Your typical normal-weight person underestimates how much they’ve taken in that day by 20 to 30 percent. Obese people will typically underestimate by as much as 50 percent,” says Jensen. “Someone with a serious weight problem may truly believe they’re taking in a very limited amount of food.”

Myth #5: Some people must eat fewer than 1,000 calories a day to lose weight. Unless you have a sluggish thyroid, you probably don’t need to drop down to the 1,000-calorie mark in order to lose weight, says Martina. In fact, “the only people I’ve seen who burn that little are people with long-standing anorexia, who weigh about 70 or 80 pounds,” Jensen says. So why do some dieters insist severe calorie-cutting is the only way to move the scale? Because they expect rapid results. “You’d probably lose weight if you cut back to 1,200 or 1,400 calories, but it wouldn’t be quick and it wouldn’t be consistent,” he says. Read: Your weight will drop even if don’t crash diet — but the number on the scale may stay the same for days at a time, leading you to believe the diet isn’t working.

Myth #6: Yo-yo dieting will destroy your metabolism. Constantly gaining and losing has been linked to a number of health problems (including some serious ones, like endometrial cancer). But ruining your body’s ability to burn calories isn’t one of them. Although it may create temporary metabolic drops, “yo-yo dieting won’t permanently wreck your metabolism,” says Mike. Case in point: In a 2013 study in the journal Metabolism, researchers found that severe weight cyclers — people who’d lost 20-plus pounds on three or more occasions — were able to lose weight, shed body fat, and gain lean muscle just as easily as people with fewer fluctuations. So why do yo-yo’ers find losing weight to be such a struggle? “They’ve lost and gained, lost and gained, and each time, they give up sooner,” says Jensen. “Since they always regain, it seems harder each time, and they give up easier each time.” Read: Each time they try to diet, they feel frustrated faster — and assume their lack of weight loss is because their metabolism has stalled out.

Myth #7: You have no control over your metabolism. Yes, there’s a genetic component to your body’s burning power. “Even if you match up people with the same amount of lean tissue, you have some who burn 400, 500 calories less,” says Jensen. “And that seems to be heritable.” But that doesn’t mean you’re locked into your metabolic rate for life, says Martina. “You can change your metabolism — for example, by packing more muscle onto your frame.” In fact, gaining muscle through resistance training is one of the best ways to offset the small decline in metabolism that naturally occurs with age, says Mike. “Typically, from age 30 to about age 80, you lose about 15 percent of your muscle mass,” he says. “You can offset that if you start lifting. The earlier you start, the better off you’re going to be as you get older.”

Myth #8: The right diet — lots of green tea and chili peppers! — will boost your metabolism. As much as we’d all like to believe the right foods can work a metabolic miracle, the calorie-burning jolt some foods provide isn’t enough to affect your weight, says Jensen. “If I was eating nothing but chili peppers, I might not eat that much — because my mouth would be hot all the time,” he jokes. “But you’re not going to lose weight because of the metabolism effect.” As Mike explains, metabolism-revving foods really only boost your burn by 4 to 5 percent — and for a very brief time. “You might see a slight increase [in metabolism], but it’s mainly due to a slight elevation in body temperature and sympathetic nervous system activity,” he says.

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

8 Foods Nutritionists Won’t Eat

An article by Faith Xue, can't remember where I saw it.

From daily probiotics to things like millet falafel with avocado relish, we’re endlessly fascinated by the foods nutritionists eat. They’re the ones who know the effect foods can have on their bodies after all, so we can only assume they choose to eat only the best and healthiest. On the flip side, we’re just as—if not more—fascinated by the foods nutritionists won’t eat. A splurge is a splurge, but what indulgences are 100% off limits because they’re just that bad? Curious, we spoke with three certified nutritionists—Elissa Goodman, Meryl Pritchard, and Kelly Leveque—and asked them to share a few of the foods on their “do not touch with a ten-foot pole” list. Keep scrolling to see them all!

“Soda is not a food, and is way over-consumed in today’s diet,” Pritchard says. “There are about 40 grams of sugar in one single can—anything that contains over 8 grams of sugar is too much for me!” Goodman agrees, saying that that the artificial sweeteners in soda (and other junk food) actually contribute to obesity and diabetes, even though they were created to solve those issues. “Basically, artificial sweeteners trick your body into believing you’ve just consumed sugar,” she says. “This has dramatic effects on both your waistline, as well as your insulin sensitivity. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to infertility and cancer as well.” She says to read labels and be cautious of ingredients like neotame, sucralose, advantame, saccharin, and acesulfame potassium (acesulfame K).

High Fructose Corn Syrup
Leveque she says she avoids this ingredient commonly found in junk foods and condiments “like the plague.” She explains that fructose is 100% metabolized in your liver and undergoes something called the Maillard reaction, which leads “to the formation of superoxide free radicals… that can result in liver inflammation.” It also turns into fat faster than any other carb, and is linked to metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, she says. And if you reach for agave because you think it’s healthier, it’s time for a wake-up call. “I avoid agave because it’s 90% fructose and the closest thing to high fructose corn syrup,” she warns. “It’s used as a sugar a lot in ‘health’ foods.”

Industrial Seed Oils
Industrial seed oils like soybean, safflower, corn, and cotton are called that because they’re highly processed and chemically extracted, and usually need to be deodorized in order to be edible. Yikes. “They oxidize quickly, which create loads of free radicals,” Leveque says. “They’re also full of Omega-6, which further throws off the imbalance of omega fatty acids in the body.” Instead of industrial seed oils, try oils that are high in omega-3 and monosaturated fats, like coconut, olive, macadamia, and avocado oil. And in case you were wondering, yes, industrial oils are the ones used for all your guilty-pleasure deep-fried dishes. “The oils in deep fried foods are usually cheap and full of trans fat, which is the worst type of fat you can consume,” Pritchard say. “It can cause heart disease among many other health issues. I stear clear of this fat at all times."

Processed Soy
Soy has been both celebrated and shunned over the years, but Leveque says the processed version is definitely on her “avoid at all costs” list. “Free glutamic acid, or MSG, which is a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing,”she says. “Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and can lead to infertility and promote breast cancer in adult women.” She notes how the FDA never approved GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status for soy protein isolate, because of concern regarding the presence of toxins and carcinogens in processed soy. “And the FDA approves everything, so that should tell you something!” she says.

Processed Meats
“Processed meats typically come from animals which are held in confined spaces, spreading disease and being exposed to a number of hormones and antibiotics,” Goodman says. “They’re also filled with sodium nitrate, which is used to chemically flavor, preserve, and add color.” The downside? When your body is exposed to nitrates, Goodman says it converts them into cancer-causing chemicals. Processed meats include salami, sausages, deli ham, and yes, bacon. Sigh.

Microwave Popcorn
Are you ready for this news? (Probably not.) Your favorite at-home movie snack is straight up dangerous to your health. “Perfluoroalkyls are synthetic chemicals that are added to wrappers, especially in the fast food industry, to prevent grease from leaking through,” Goodman says. “Microwave popcorn bags are lined with these chemicals. Once heated, these chemicals leach into the popcorn itself. This creates highly damaging effects on your endocrine system, creating both developmental and reproductive risks. Researchers have also linked these chemicals to cancer, increased LDL cholesterol, decreased immune function, thyroid disease and infertility.” Looks like we’ll be making our popcorn fresh from now on…

“Margarine is highly processed vegetable oil, which is packed with trans fats,” Goodman says. “In fact, it’s made from the cheapest, lowest quality oils.” Remember our previous slide about industrial seed oils? Well, margarine is made with them. During this high heat process of turning liquid oil into a solid, free radicals are formed, which can increase your risk of cancer, heart disease, and hormonal imbalances. Margarine and other butter substitutes contain a high number of additives and chemicals, Goodman says, as well as omega-6 fatty acids, which off-sets the ideal omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.

Fat-Free Foods
Here’s the thing about fat-free foods—you might feel like you’re making a healthier decision because in most people’s minds, “fat” equals “bad”, but in reality, these overly-processed foods are actually quite damaging to your health. “The food industry began replacing animal fats with unsaturated vegetable oils, which has led to an increased consumption of trans fats.” Goodman explains. “In order to compensate, manufacturers add high concentrations of sugar as well. These highly refined sugars cause your blood sugar to spike, increasing your risk of weight-gain, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.”

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Friday, June 5, 2015

How I Healed Myself With Small Changes

Great article and lesson to all by Kimberly Petrosino, a health coach and author, posted on the Huffpost Healthy Living site.

"What is wrong with me?" I wondered. I thought I was making all the right decisions - I had started swapping white bread and pasta for whole grains, I cut meat out of my diet, I was drinking diet soda instead of regular soda and eating snacks marked "low fat," but I was still carrying about fifty pounds too much on my five-foot frame. Like many others, I thought 'health' meant simply the difference between calories in and calories out. What I didn't know was that I was hurting my body in ways I never even knew were affected by nutrition. I was stressed out, depressed, and my skin was prone to terrible breakouts. One night in January 2012 I decided to go out for a run, which completely uncharacteristic of me. That night was a turning point, although of course I didn't realize it at the time. When I couldn't run to the end of my block without the crushing feeling that my lungs might explode, I was devastated. That was my wake up call, and I vowed right then and there to take control of my health.

MyAchingKnees comment: "I vowed right then and there to take control of my health." Powerful words right there. You have to take responsbility and get in charge of your own health - there is no two ways about it. Question what you read and are told; question your physicians; don't give up, even if you fall off the heathy living wagaon, get right back on. Realize this - Nobody.....NOBODY,....... is going to be as concerned for your health than you are.

I took up running, thirty seconds on and thirty seconds off. When that was comfortable, I would select a point in the near distance, such as a stop sign, and run to that point. When I reached one goal, I set another. I invested in a blender and started drinking smoothies every morning because I couldn't stand the taste of vegetables. I drank more water, phasing out the diet soda. The more I learned about nutrition and what health really meant, the more able I was to tune in to what my body was asking me for. I stopped being concerned with losing weight and focused simply on becoming healthy. I realized how stress was affecting my well-being and learned to manage it, spending more time with myself doing things I loved. I eventually came to know this as "self love" -- and it is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle.

MyAchingKnees comment: "thirty seconds on and thirty seconds off"....that's exactly how it starts, bit by bit, small step by small step. You may just eliminate your daily donut, one day a week. Then next week, go two days without get the idea. Change is uncomfortable. Big change is near imposible, but it you knock it of in small chunks it is doable!

There are two morals to this story. The first is that "health" is defined by far more than the food on your plate and the number of miles you run. Everything you do contributes to your health, from your sleeping habits to your self care ritual to your stress level to your relationships. The second is that the journey to a healthier lifestyle is just that -- a journey. It's not an "all-or-nothing" situation. Just because you can't run a marathon right now, doesn't mean you can't move your body at all. Walk around the block. Tomorrow, walk a little further. Get clear on your goal and break it down into small, attainable steps. It will take time but if it's something you truly desire, it will be worth it.

Today, three years after my failed attempt at running, I have one half marathon under my belt and am training for my second. Brussels sprouts are my favorite thing ever, and I make time for myself every single day. I am down to my goal weight and have been for a while now. I truly healed myself with small changes, and you can too! Take some time to really assess your lifestyle and your goals. Get crystal clear on what you really want. Then create small, actionable steps to get yourself there!

You Go Girl!

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