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"Our lives are a book that has already been written. The brilliance of the plan is that we are only given a chapter at a time..." ~A. Drayton Boylston

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Healthy Snacks and Nutrition Notes

Here are some ideas for some very nutritious/healthy snacks during the day, as well as some notes on nutrition.

Snack #1
1 scoop whey protein powder
1 medium banana
1/2 tbsp flax oil (you can get this in the health food section of almost any grocery store, or Whole Foods. Alternately, you can break open flax capsules)

Snack #2
2 Slices Ezekiel Bread (this bread can be found in the freezer area of the health food section of almost any grocery store....it contains sprouted grain, so its a little more healthy than regular whole grain bread)
1 tbsp Teddy Bear Peanut Butter (or any peanut butter that is "All Natural")
1/4 cup berries

Snack #3
1 large pear
2 low fat string cheese (Weight Watchers has one out now that is great)

Snack #4
1 large apple
1 tbsp Teddy Bear Peanut Butter

Snack #5
20 grapes
2 low fat string cheese

Snack #6
1 kiwi fruit
25 pistacios sans shells

Snack #7
10 baby carrots
2 oz. hummus (Nasoya Super Hummus is a new product that is terrific... it has twice the protein and half the fat of regular hummus)

Snack #8
Large celery stalk
1 tbsp almond butter

Snack #9
1/4 cup oats
1/2 scoop whey protein powder
5 walnuts

Snack #10
Chobani or other greek yogurt
1 scoop of either Fiber One Cereal, grapenuts, ground flax seed, hempseed, or low fat granola. Mix that with the yogurt

Some Notes on Nutrition

* Evaluating what you eat every day is the first step in changing your nutrition habits. Do you drink coffee with sugar and cream every morning? Do you grab a donut in the break room at work on a regular basis? Examine what you eat regularly and notice the unhealthy habits that have been causing you to gain extra pounds. Replace those habits with healthier choices.

* Most people believe that cutting calories is the trick to losing weight....which is not the case. If you cut calories drastically, you're cutting your body's fuel source and your body will go into conservation mode. Just like a car, your body needs fuel to accomplish all your daily tasks. Learning how to stimulate your metabolism by eating regularly and keeping your internal engine running at peak performance by fueling it with the right food choices will provide a safer, more effective method of losing weight, change your body composition and keep those changes for life.

* Your metabolism is a complex network of hormones and enzymes that not only convert food into fuel, but also affect how efficiently you burn that fuel. Your body possesses all the food you take in within a 2 1/2 to 3 hour time period. If you are not fueling your body again at that three hour point, your metabolism will start to slow down, which will cause your body to react by storing what it can for later on in the day. Spacing your meals out every three hours, without changing what you eat or how much, will increase your metabolism. This will teach your body to never store calories, but to use what it needs for energy, and to pass the rest on, while burning through the energy (calories) that has been previously stored as body fat.

* Insulin is a hormone that plays an important role in your metabolism and whether your body chooses to burn calories or store the calories for later use, as fat. Insulin's main job is to break down glucose in the bloodstream, and its other functions also include turning your body's storage mechanisms on. Your ability to keep your insulin levels down will dictate whether you gain or lose weight. Insulin responds to both quantity and quality of fuel; the more you eat in one sitting, the more insulin is released. The type of food you eat will also determine insulin levels throughout the day. The goal is to keep insulin levels from spiking, to not trigger the calories you digest to be stored as fat.

* The body uses protein to build essential parts, such as muscles and tissue. Other uses of protein in the body are for hair, skin, nails, antibodies and the immune system, hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters. Some signs of protein deficiency are loss of muscle tone, thinning or loss of hair, brittle nails, impaired wound healing, fatigue, fluid retention, food cravings, irritability, mental confusion, bone loss, and lowered immune response. Protein is an essential component of any diet, especially when engaged in an active lifestyle.

* Exercise is vital if you want to transform your body and stay transformed. Exercise actually creates small tears in muscle fibers that need to be repaired. The feeling of being sore after a workout is just that.... tiny tears that have occurred during your workout. To repair those sore muscles properly, you must fuel them with the proper type and amount of proteins. Just like scar tissue forming after a cut heals, the human body responds to stress by reinforcing the affected area; this tissue will grow back together stronger and denser that before to protect itself from continued stress. The denser and stronger the muscle is, the more fuel it requires to operate. Following a workout program consistently will build lean muscle and raise your body's resting metabolic rate, which means your body will burn more calories throughout the day.

* Good protein sources include lean meats, chicken, lamb, turkey, whey supplements, fish, eggs, and Greek-style yogurts. Meat should be free of hormones or antibiotics whenever possible. To expedite the break-down of protein for muscle repair, certain fats should be used as well.

* Making sure your body is being fed certain fats every day is just as important as keeping other fats out. Fats build and maintain healthy cells, insulate tissue, protect organs, help to absorb fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), and maintain skin and hair. Another benefit of having good fats in our diet is to help make you feel fuller for longer periods of time.

* There are four types of fat - monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated, and trans. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are good fats - they are more easily broken down to be used for energy. Any saturated fats should be kept to a bare minimum in your diet. Saturated fats are resistant to break down, and clog your body's processes, raising your blood cholesterol levels. People living with diets high in saturated fats have much higher instances of disease, especially over time. Trans fat should be completely avoided. They are synthetic fats found in hydrogenated oils and shortenings, and are not essential to the body. Trans fats increase LDL (bad cholesterol) and decrease HDL (good cholesterol).

* Polyunsaturated fats are made up of essential fatty acids, which include Omega-3 and Omega-6. Unsaturated fats can help boost metabolism, mood, brain function, and libido. Since your body cannot create these on its own, you must introduce these from an external source. Most people get enough Omega-6, from oils such as corn, canola, soy, sunflower and animal fats, but are lacking in Omega-3's. Omega-3 is found in flaxseed, walnuts, cold water fish, and dark green leaft vegetables. Having a balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 of 3-to-1 ratio is best. The average person has a ration of 15-20:1, which can have a negative effect by causing inflammation and cardiovascular problems. Monounsaturated fat can be found in vegetable oils such as olive, canola, peanut, sunflower and sesame, as well as avocado, peanut butter and many other nuts and seeds. They can help lower bad cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke.

* Carbohydrates are the main energy source for the body. We need carbs to fuel our bodies properly throughout the day. The best sources are fresh fruit and vegetables, and complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, oats, whole wheat, quinoa, and potatoes. Complex carbs break down more slowly and contain more fiber, which will keep insulin sensitivity down throughout the day, leading to lower risks of diabetes and heart disease.

* Simple carbs should be severely restricted, or eliminated entirely from your diet. These include white sugar, white breads and pastries, many breakfast cereals and anything else containing sucralose, glucose, maltose, and high fructose corn syrup. They will spike insulin levels, which will lead to calories being stored as fat instead of being used by the body for energy.

* We always hear "drink more water!", but most people don't understand why it is necessary and how it helps with proper bodily function. The liver is a very capable organ, it can even help other organs do their jobs if things get too crazy. One of the liver's jobs is to metabolize stored body fat and turn it into usable energy. Getting the liver to work at its peak efficiency means getting the kidneys to work at 100% as well, since the liver takes some of the load off the kidneys when things get troublesome. Keeping the kidneys hydrated allows them to do their job, and reduces the need for the liver to get involved in the process. Getting enough water into your system will allow your kidneys, and your liver, to function properly, metabolizing the fats you have released by eating and exercising correctly. Staying hydrated also keeps your body flushing away any unwanted toxins from your system. Sodium can build up and retain water outside the cells, giving your body that "bloated" look. It may seem backwards, but getting enough water actually reduces the bloat. Your body learns that it will be kept hydrated from an outside source, and does not have to hold on to water internally to function properly.

* We want to create a meal plan that begins within an hour of waking, and fuels your body with a good source of protein and a fruit or vegetable every three hours, until 10pm OR two hours before sleep. Good carbohydrate sources are to be taken in at meal 1 and meal 3, as well as a half serving with meal 5. Don't forget to include good, unsaturated fats, especially Omega-3's. Water should be taken in consistently throughout the day (try for a half liter with each meal!). In addition to this, it is vital that your body repairs itself. 7-8 1/2 hours sleep per night will supply your body with the time it needs to fully repair, especially when you are engaged in an exercise program. And last but not least....take a free day! One day a week, forget about the rules, forget about the diet, eat what you like, and enjoy it! Consistency is the key to success.

Results start when you do!!!!

*Information from: Get in Shape for Women*

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