Monthly Archives for October 2012

Archives for October 2012

Olive Oil Vs. Vegetable Oil: Which is Healthier?

A trip to the grocery store will reveal more oil choices than I have pairs of underwear. And that’s saying a lot. So it’s no wonder that there’s lots of confusion about which oils are healthiest.

In general, the choice generally comes down to either extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil.

Extra virgin olive oil is a very natural oil that is pressed from olives. Even when pressed in factories, olive oil is still minimally processed. Though olive oil is a fat, and therefore something to be consumed in moderation, it’s rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (called MUFAs).

According to the Mayo Clinic, a diet high in MUFAs – and low in unhealthy saturated fats – may lower your risk of heart disease. MUFAs may lower total cholesterol and normalize blood clotting. In addition, MUFAs may even help control blood sugar levels.

However, relative to other oils, extra virgin olive oil has a lower smoking point. Once an oil reaches its smoking point, it starts to breakdown and the health benefits quickly deteriorate. You’ll want to use olive oil for lower temperature recipes with cooking temperatures under 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Virgin olive oil, as compared to the extra virgin variety, has a slightly higher smoke point and is a good alternative for cooking.

It’s important to note that light, air and storage temperature can also affect the stability of olive oil. Keep olive oil in a room-temperature cupboard, and use within six months of opening.

Vegetable oil is an umbrella term that usually involves the industrial solvent extraction of oil from plants. Most commonly, a petroleum-derived chemical called hexane is used to quickly and cheaply extract the oils for high yields. Soybean oil is the most popular, but other vegetable oils include palm, rapeseed and sunflower.

While many vegetable oils are also high in MUFAs, the industrialized processing of these oils makes them a less desirable choice for health-conscious consumers. Nonetheless, refined soybean oil has a smoke point of 460 degrees Fahrenheit making it a better option for high temperature recipes. Moreover, some consumers prefer vegetable oils because they don’t transfer as much taste and flavor during the cooking process.

The bottom line: Olive oil is the clear winner from a healthy perspective – but it really depends on the recipe and cooking temperature!

Inside Davey Wavey’s Refrigerator.

I get a lot of emails asking about my diet – and so I thought it would be fun to give a tour of my refrigerator.

The truth is, in the last few years, I’ve made a lot of progress in upgrading my diet. In place of red meat, I’ve opted for leaner choices like turkey and chicken. I’ve added more vegetables to my meals. And I’ve cut down on many processed foods.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look inside my fridge:

  1. Grains. I keep an assortment of whole wheat breads and wraps to get good, complex carbs. Always look for the word “whole” before wheat on nutrition labels and packaging. Wheat or multigrain products aren’t the same. Check out these tips for buying healthy bread.
  2. Fresh cilantro. I love Mexican recipes, and fresh cilantro adds a great flavor to many dishes.
  3. Micro Arugula. Micro or baby greens are typically 4 – 6x higher in nutrients than their full-grown counterparts. In addition to packing an enhanced nutritional punch, they also provide more vivid flavors and textures.
  4. Avocado. Full of heart-healthy fats, avocados are a great condiment or mayo replacement for sandwiches and burgers. It’s also great in salads. Or, you can try my world-famous guacamole recipe. You can even substitute butter with avocado in many recipes.
  5. Sliced turkey. To avoid high-sodium deli meats, I opt for sliced, in-house meats from my grocer. It’s an easy way to reduce you daily sodium intake.
  6. Veggies. I always keep an assortment of fresh vegetables and other produce (like tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and red onions) for sandwiches, salads and to use as ingredients in my dishes.
  7. Coconut water. Often called nature’s sports drink, coconut water has more potassium than a banana. It’s a great way to rehydrate yourself after a workout.
  8. Fresh basil. Cut up some tomatoes, mozzarella and basil – and then add a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper – and you have a great appetizer that’s sure to impress.
  9. Radishes. I love the color they add to salads!
  10. Carrot juice. Not as healthy as eating the whole carrot, but a lot more enjoyable – and still loaded with vitamin A.
  11. Soy milk and almond milk. Soy milk and almond milk are flavorful, nutritional alternatives to lactose milk. I think they taste better, and each offer unique benefits. Soy milk has a lot of protein, and almond milk is low in calories.
  12. Leftovers. Because I live alone and because preparing healthy meals takes time and effort, I’m a big fan of making extra and saving the leftovers. Here, I’ve saved steamed vegetables and my new favorite protein-packed veggie burger recipe.
  13. Spirulina. This superfood has a full spectrum of ten mixed carotenoids and can easily be mixed into energy bars, vegetables juices or smoothies.
  14. Alfalfa sprouts. Crunchy and delicious, these sprouts contain a myriad of nutrients including B vitamins and vitamin K. They’re great in salads or on sandwiches.
  15. Tofu. I’m not huge on tofu, but it’s a great alternative to red meat. I’ve found a few recipes that I’ve really enjoyed – and often use tofu in my veggie burgers.
  16. Olives. I absolutely love fresh, Kalamata olives. High in heart-healthy fats, olives contain vitamin E and protect the body against free radicals. Olives are also rich in vitamin A and a whole slew of minerals.
  17. Carrots. Need more veggies in your diet? I replaced chips with carrot sticks as a side dish. They’re surprisingly filling and satisfying, especially with a cup of freshly prepared humus.
  18. Lettuce. You can never have enough lettuce in your crisper! I usually go for darker, richer greens – as those tend to be healthier choices.
  19. Fuji apples. A sweet hybrid apple, this is my favorite choice for healthy snacking. It’s crisp and delicious, and goes well with some freshly ground peanut butter. Yum!

That concludes our tour! Please come again soon!

And, in the comments below, let me know if you’re surprised by anything in (or not in) my refrigerator!

Why You Should Exercise Less.

Never thought you’d hear a trainer suggest that you should actually exercise less? Well hell must have frozen over because today is that day. Of course, there’s a catch.

A blog buddy recently linked me to a study by researchers at the University of Copenhagen. They sought to compare weight loss in overweight, sedentary young men by dividing them into three groups. The first group stuck to their typical routine. The second group exercised for 30 minutes per day. And the third group exercised for an hour each day. The exercises included running, rowing and cycling. Diets were held constant among the three groups.

While both exercise groups lost weight, the 30-minute group had better results and lost 8 pounds (compared to an average of 6 pounds in the 60-minute group). The control group didn’t experience weight loss.

So why did exercising less mean losing more weight? There are a few theories.

Each participant wore a motion sensor, and researchers discovered that the 60-minute exercise group moved less during non-exercise activities. It’s possible that the hour of exercise exhausted these individuals, thereby causing them to be particularly sedentary for the remainder of the day. Or it could be that those who worked out longer were more complacent, whereas the 30-minute group sought to be more active for enhanced results.

Cortisol could also be a factor. Cortisol is an anabolic hormone that is released as a response to bodily stress. It reduces protein synthesis, converts protein to glucose and stops tissue growth. Chronic high levels of cortisol have even been shown to increase abdominal fat. Cortisol levels rise as a response to your body’s stress, so strength training sessions and cardio sessions should be kept to 45 – 60 minutes and 30 – 45 minutes respectively. Because the participants in this study experienced 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, it’s possible that cortisol hampered their results.

Moreover, numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of short but intense workout sessions – like high intensity interval training. These very short workouts have huge results – and they’re much more effective than typical cardio.

The takeaway is clear: Exercise helps facilitate weight loss. But less is sometimes more.

 

 

How to Heal a Pulled / Torn Hamstring.

Just over six weeks ago, I had a vision. My Pilates instructor and I were discussing goals, and I immediately imagined myself flexible and limber enough to do a full straddle split. While I thought this flexibility would be particularly beneficial in the bedroom, it would also help my running performance and gymnastics.

And so I became a man on a mission – and worked tirelessly to stretch my tightened leg muscles. On one such occasion, I held a deep straddle stretch and timed it for five minutes. By the end, my brow was dripping in sweat and I knew that I had pushed myself. Perhaps, a little too far.

Muscles stretch best when warmed up, and so I always do cardio before any sort of static stretching. In this instance, however, my warm-up wasn’t enough and my stretch was too deep – and it soon became clear that my hamstring muscle was pulled.

First, I’m not a doctor – and so I’m not in the business of giving medical advice. I will share, however, how I was able to treat my pulled muscle using a popular method called R.I.C.E. It includes rest, ice, compression and elevation. I’d also add a “P” to the acronym, short for patience, and thus advise the “P.R.I.C.E.” method.

  1. Patience. I am six weeks into my pulled hamstring recovery, and I’m still not fully healed. It takes time. Lots of it. You must have patience with your body or else you’re going to experience a great deal of frustration.
  2. Rest. As an avid runner, having to skip cardio or leg workouts felt like a prison sentence. However, continual strain causes increased inflammation – and increase recovery time. You should rest until the pain is gone – and know that this may take many, many weeks.
  3. Ice. Icing an injury for 15 minutes, several times a day, is a great way to reduce inflammation. Go the the pharmacy and get yourself a decent, reusable ice pack. Wrap it in a paper towel and apply the ice pack to the injured area.
  4. Compression. An elastic bandage or tape can reduce the swelling that results from the inflammatory process.
  5. Elevation. Elevating your leg both aids in the waste removal process and decreases inflammation.

Of the five, I believe that patience and rest are paramount. They’re also the most difficult. I keep finding myself thinking, “Oh, a little run couldn’t hurt.” But in reality, you’re likely to just further extend and already long recovery time. Give your body time to repair, rebuild and recover.

Within another week or two, after missing nearly two months of cardio, I’ll be getting back into the game. I’ll enjoy working back up to my previous abilities… just don’t expect a split anytime soon. 😛

Have you ever suffered from a pulled hamstring? Let me know about it in the comments below. How did you recover?

Can Too Much Fruit Make You Gain Weight?

Dear Davey,

I love fruit! I eat it several times a day, but I’ve heard that too much fruit isn’t necessarily a good thing. Can eating too much fruit make you gain weight?

From,
Brandon

Fruit: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Thanks for the great question. Most people are surprised to learn that too much of anything can make you gain weight…. Even steamed broccoli!

Weight gain occurs when you take more calories in than you burn off in a day. Of course, because vegetables like broccoli are less calorie dense than many other foods, you’d probably fill up before achieving a calorie surplus.

Fruits, on the other hand, tend to have several times the calories of non-starchy vegetables when compared ounce for ounce. The higher caloric count in fruit is due to its sugar content; therefore, it’s important to consume fruits in moderation.

It’s worth noting that though fruit is often high in sugar, fruits are packed with many other healthy nutrients and are often rich in fiber. High fiber diets may lower the risk of colon cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes – and fiber helps normalize bowel movements and lower cholesterol. Fiber even facilitates weight loss by minimizing blood sugar spikes and helping dieters feel full and satisfied. As such, it’s not fair to put apples and ice cream in the same category just by virtue of their sugar content.

Government guidelines recommend 2 cups of fruit per day. Opt for fresh or frozen fruit – and stay away from dried fruits which often contain added sugar. They’re also easier to overeat. Fruit juice, which usually contains very little fiber (and usually very little fruit), doesn’t count. Apples, berries, bananas, papayas, melons, avocados (yup, it’s a fruit!) guavas and kiwis are often regarded as some of the healthiest fruit choices available.

So eat up – just do so in moderation!

Protein Blueberry Muffins.

For those of us who spend a lot of time lifting weights and engaged in strength training, it’s not always easy to get your recommended daily protein intake.

I, for example, aim for about 140 grams of protein per day – and, short of eating a half dozen chicken breasts, it’s not always easy to reach my quota. (Find out how much protein you should be eating each day.) Even after drinking a protein shake or two, it becomes necessary to find creative ways to sneak in a little extra protein.

I’ve always heard that adding protein powder to baked goods is an easy trick. The other day, I decided to give it a try with a healthy, butter-free blueberry muffin recipe that I’ve always enjoyed. (For my healthier muffins, I mix one bag of frozen blueberries into a package of Dr. Oetker’s organic oatmeal muffin mix.)

Turns out, it takes a little practice to get the proper ratio of protein powder to muffin mix. Too much protein powder and your muffins will taste dry and chalky. Too little protein powder, and it’s not really worth your effort. For me, the magic ratio was one scoop or protein per every three muffins – which works out to about 10 grams of extra protein per muffin.

The best part is, the muffins taste great!

If you’ve ever tried a protein shake, then you know that, unless they’re loaded with lots of unhealthy fat and sugar, they rarely taste good. In fact, the unpleasant taste of protein supplements is a common complaint about which folks email me. Though I often remind people that protein supplementation is about function more than taste, I’ve discovered that protein muffins are a great way to combine a little of both.

If you are challenged to reach your daily protein intake and balk at the taste of protein powder, I’d encourage you to give this tip a try. And if you have any other creative ways to get some extra protein (keep it clean!), let me know in the comments below!

Why Gay Men Hate Their Bodies.

As a gay man and as a personal trainer, the issue of gay men hating their bodies is one that strikes close to home. And as someone who struggled with anorexia for years while growing up, this issue is personal.

There’s been a lot of discussion in recent weeks about why gay men hate their bodies more than straight guys, lesbians or even straight women. But I don’t think anyone is getting it right – so I decided to weigh in on the issue of gay men and body image.

Here’s why (I think) gay men hate their bodies so much.

Nutrition Labels with Exercise Info: How Many Minutes to Burn Off that Chocolate Bar?

Are you confused by the nutrition information listed on product packaging? You’re not alone.

A recent study found that 80% of participants wished that food labeling was easier to understand. Moreover, people had a hard time translating abstract nutrition information – like the calories in a chocolate bar – into concrete, real life examples.

For the University of Canterbury study, which included 220 people, muesli and chocolate bars were used to determine how different product labeling affects exercise. Simply labeling the bars with their caloric information was determined to have little or no impact on exercise.

Researchers then converted the calories into their exercise equivalent. The nutrition labels read, “You will need to jog for 40 minutes to burn off the calories in this chocolate bar.” The response was markedly different – and participants’ exercise increased as a result. They were also less likely to eat the chocolate bar in the first place.

While people might not understand 500 calories, a 40 minute jog translates into real life experience. Unfortunately, it’s really an oversimplification. The amount of calories you burn on a 40 minute jog depends on a number of factors, including the speed of that jog and how much the individual weighs. And it still doesn’t tell the full story – like how much fiber, sugar, sodium, fat or saturated fat is in a product. Simply stating an exercise equivalent doesn’t tell you how healthy a product is.

Researchers point to peanut butter as a perfect example. It will take you longer to burn off a tablespoon of peanut butter than jelly – but peanut butter, which is loaded in good fat and nutrients, is much healthier than sugary jam.

It may be a step in the right direction, but there’s still no clear-cut solution to the problem of product labeling.

What do you think? Are you befuddled by product packaging? What would be more helpful? Let me know in the comments below!

Phil Fusco’s Workout

For those of you who don’t know, Philip Fusco is a male model and fitness enthusiast who has been featured in several publications and countless underwear campaigns. He’s sexy, Italian and looks really good in a jock strap (not that I Googled it). What more could you want? And, he just came out with a 2013 calendar.

I sat down with Phil to ask him about his workouts, nutrition regime and personal life – and got some surprising answers.

Davey Wavey: So, first things first. I read that you’re from a proud Italian-American family, and that pasta is always available at your house. Most people balk at the idea of simple carbs and being as lean as you. What’s your secret?

Phil Fusco: My secret is that I using pasta as a fuel for my workouts, and making sure that I otherwise stay active. I also stay away from alcohol. But carbs can be good to take before the gym because they give you the energy you need to fuel your workout. Beyond pasta, I always make sure my protein intake is high – and I eat a lot of chicken and steak. I usually include plenty of starches, vegetables and complex carbs. I also take resveratrol as a supplement because it has lots of antioxidants.

DW: And clearly, looking at your calendar spreads, you are very passionate about exercise. How did you first become interested in working out?

PF: When I was 13, I was short and tiny. I was hanging out with a bunch of friends and one of them invited me to workout at the school gym. I tried it out and ended up loving it. After that, I signed up at the local gym near my house. I was addicted.

DW: So what motivates you to stay fit now?

PF: Well, modeling. And everytime I feel like I want to skip the gym and stay home, that image of being a tiny 13 year-old pops up in my mind.

DW: I know that my readers are going to be interested in what you do at the gym. What does your workout routine entail?

PF: I go 5 or 6 days a week for an hour. It’s pretty traditional. I stick to the basics like barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells and body weight exercises. I’ve tried the other stuff like yoga. I did it for a day and quit.

DW: I didn’t hear you mention anything about cardio. What sort of cardio do you do to help stay so lean?

PF: I don’t even look at the treadmill. I don’t do any cardio.

DW: That’s insane. You’re one of those very lucky individuals blessed with some good genes. For folks that look at your pictures as a source of “gymspiration,” what advice would you give them – especially if they’re just starting out at the gym?

PF: Don’t worry about what people think about you at the gym. Go to the gym to lift correctly – not to show off to the people around you.

DW: Well, I have to ask about your dating life. Are you single? And what does someone need to do to catch your attention?

PF: Yes, I’m single. Too catch my attention, I’m big on personality. You must have a rocking personality. Obviously, good looks help – but mostly personality. The looks make your head turn, and that sparks the interest. And then the personality leads to something more. Looks are the ignition – and personality is the fuel and the oil and everything else that keeps the car running.

DW: Well then start your engines! Is there anything else you’d like to share?

PF: When it comes to working out, I recommend power exercises. The bench press, squats, dead lifts and bodyweight exercises – like pull-ups and push-ups – are all important.

DW: And good genes don’t hurt.

PF: And don’t forget the pasta.

Tips to Reduce Salt.

Hey Davey,

I’ve heard a lot about excessive salt being bad for the body, so do you have any tips for cutting back on it?

Thanks,
Takeh

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Heart Association recommend no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day – and no more than 1,500 mg for high risk groups. Nonetheless, the average American consumes some 3,466 mg of sodium each day.

Research has found a relationship between salt intake and high blood pressure. Moreover, that relationship intensifies as we age. The American Heart Association notes:

Reduced salt intake can blunt the rise in blood pressure that occurs with age and reduce the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease events and congestive heart failure.

Before we reduce our sodium, it’s important to know where that sodium is coming from. Last year, I shared a breakdown of salt sources in the typical diet:

  • 38% from grains, breads, cakes, cookies and crackers
  • 28% from meats and poultry – including lunch meats, ham and bacon
  • 12% from vegetables, potatoes, chips and fries
  • 8% from milk products
  • 4% from salad dressings and other fats
  • 4% from beverages and sweets
  • 3% from legumes, nuts and seeds
  • 3% from eggs

To cut back on salt, here are are a few tips:

  1. Read nutrition labels. Since 38% of salt comes from grains, breads, crackers and the like, compare each product’s sodium content. Many brands offer low or reduced-sodium options. I won’t buy foods with more than 300 mg of sodium per serving.
  2. Don’t put salt on the table. For many of us, adding a dash of salt is more habitual than necessary. Keep you salt shaker in the cupboard. If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.
  3. Use herbs. Rather than sprinkling salt on your meals, opt for flavorful herbs. Onion powder, lemon juice, cracked black pepper, lime juice, roasted garlic or even ground seeds are all healthier ways to season your meals.
  4. Be pesky. When eating out, request that your meal isn’t salted. Most chefs will be happy to oblige. Get salt-heavy dressings on the side, and ask for steamed veggies instead of the typical side orders.
  5. Cut out processed foods and go fresh. According to The Food Standards Agency of the United Kingdom, 75% of salt comes from processed foods. Eating fresh meats and produce is one of the most effective ways to eliminate excess sodium.
  6. Eliminate fast food. Though it’s convenient and cheap, fast food is loaded with sodium. A Jack in the Box bacon ultimate cheeseburger, for example, has 2,040 mg of sodium in and of itself. Without the side order of fries.
  7. Reduce salt in recipes. Most people can’t detect a 25% reduction in salt, so cut back on the added salt in your recipes. No one will notice the difference.

Though reducing your sodium intake requires a little effort and know-how, it’s an easy way to improve your body’s health. And if you have any tips or tricks for reducing salt, please share them in the comments below!

Is Pork Healthier than Beef?

We know that limiting our intake of red meat can provide some great health benefits, but is pork really a smarter beef alternative?

When people think pork, fatty bacon and glistening BBQ ribs often come to mind. It’s true that these cuts are high in saturated fat – and that, according to the World Health Organization, the American Dietetic Association, American Heart Association and others, saturated fat is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. But other cuts of pork meat, such as tenderloin or center-cut chops, are much leaner.

To compare apples to apples, let’s look at the nutritional differences between a pork tenderloin and a top sirloin (one of the leanest beef cuts available). In an 8-ounce serving, pork has 50 fewer calories, nearly half the fat and saturated fat content and a similar amount of protein.

If you look at 8 ounces of 90% ground beef, the differences become even more dramatic. When compared to pork, the ground beef has 233 additional calories and 5x the amount of total fat and saturated fat.

Moreover, pork manufacturers are responding to consumer dietary trends by breading leaner pork. Today’s pork is leaner than ever – and its reputation is slowly changing. In fact, pork is sometimes even referred to by nutritionists and dieticians as “the other white meat.”

The bottom line: For health-conscious carnivores, lean cuts of pork can be a smarter alternative to red meat.

Are you a pork fan? Let me know in the comments below! Personally, I love pork! But I only eat pork when I’m able to buy cuts from humanely raised animals.

When it Comes to Fitness: Don’t Cut Corners.

I heard a great fitness quote today:

If you start cutting corners, you’ll end up going in circles.

A few weeks ago, we talked about how you can use an occasional cheat rep to break through a workout plateau. Used sparingly, cheat reps should only be employed to make an exercise harder – not easier.

Cutting corners, on the other hand, makes your workout less intense and, ultimately, less effective. For example, you might ease up on that last sprint interval. Or perform 6 repetitions of an exercise instead of 8. You might even skip a muscle group and leave the gym early. Indeed, cutting corners is easy to do.

We tell ourselves it won’t matter if we take it easy… just this once. And it’s true. The impact of any one workout is negligible. The problem is that it sets a bad precedent – and that when we lower the bar for ourselves, we put ourselves on a downward trajectory of reduced standards and reduced results.

To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at muscle mass. Muscle requires a tremendous amount of energy to maintain. Your body, by default, is programmed to be efficient with its energy expenditures, and so it won’t maintain or build unnecessary muscle mass. If you want to build additional muscle, you need to demonstrate to your body that your current muscle mass is insufficient for the tasks at hand. This is accomplished not by cutting corners, but rather by pushing yourself beyond your current limitations.

If you want to transform your body or your performance, you have to give it all that you’ve got. Literally. Push yourself. Push yourself. Push yourself.

Burning 200 Calories in 2.5 Minutes.

How would you like to burn 200 calories in just 2.5 minutes of exercise? Researchers from Colorado State University and University of Colorado Anschultz Medical Campus found that interval training can do just that.

In recent years, high intensity interval training has become increasingly popular due to its fat burning benefits. Though the training is intense, it’s quick – and thus, it fits nicely into even the busiest of schedules. It’s an extremely efficient form of exercise, and there has been an increasingly large body of evidence and research to support the claims.

In this new study, researchers recruited healthy male volunteers between the ages of 25 and 31. For three days, the volunteers were locked into individually sealed rooms with the air intake and exhaust regulated. Specialized equipment measured oxygen, carbon dioxide and water content to determine how many calories each volunteer burned per day.

Though the first two days of the stay were largely sedentary, volunteers engaged in high intensity interval training on the third day. Using a stationary bike, the volunteers sprinted against high levels of resistance for 30 seconds. Coached over an intercom, the volunteers were told to give 100% effort. After the sprint, volunteers were given a four minute period of recovery – and then, another sprint. This continued until five, 30-second sprint intervals were completed.

In total, the workout amounted to 2.5 minutes of hard exercise. After analyzing the results from the room’s calorimeter system, researchers concluded that an extra 200 calories were burned during the high intensity interval training day. The increased calorie burn occurred not just during the exercise, but for several hours thereafter.

200 calories is a huge return for such a small investment of time. When completed a few times per week, it’s easy to see how these calories could add up – and result in big changes and sustainable weight loss over time.

To try interval training for yourself, download Davey Wavey’s Get Ripped Workout.

What Are Superfoods?

What are superfoods? And what makes superfoods so super? It’s a question that I get a lot – and so I went to find some answers.

Check out the video below. And scroll down for the delicious Goji Glow Energy Bite recipe.

Recipe: Goji-Glow Energy Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds, soaked
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds, soaked
  • 1/3 cup dates, figs, raisins or apricots
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon spirulina
  • 1/2 cup goji berries
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs

Directions:

Soak almonds and pumpkin seeds for at least 6 hours. Drain and rinse well. Place them in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add dates, cacao and spirulina – and then process into a thick, sticky dough. Add goji berries and pulse some more. Remove from food processor and place into a large bowl. Use your hands to mush and mingle the hemp seeds and cacao nibs. Roll into 1/2 – 1 inch bites. Dust them in some fun stuff like hemp seeds, sesame seeds, goji powder, camu powder, coconut flakes, ground nuts, cacao powder or cacao nibs. Chill for an hour. Freeze any extras.

Is Juice Healthier Than Soda?

Dear Davey,

I always assumed that drinking juice was healthier than drinking soda. Due to my dislike of water, I tend to drink huge amounts of it. Is drinking juice really any healthier than soda? Or am I just replacing one unhealthy beverage with another.

Sincerely,
Jared

Most fruit juice’s are really just soda’s evil twin.

First and foremost, a recent study found that the average “fruit” drink contains less than 10 percent of actual fruit juice. The rest is just sugar, water, flavoring, coloring and a few added nutrients.

Second, even 100% real fruit juice beverages are nothing to celebrate. They are a very calorie-dense food product. A half cup of apple juice, for example, contains as many calories as an entire apple – but without the fiber that makes it both healthy and filling. You’re left with a sugary beverage that’s marginally healthier than soda. Sugar consumption, regardless of the form in which it is consumed, has been linked to everything from heart disease to diabetes to cardiovascular disease and liver disease.

And don’t be fooled by clever packaging. “No sugar added” doesn’t mean, for example, that a product is low in sugar. Serving sizes are also often manipulated. Though the package my list the serving as a half cup, consider how much juice you’ll actually drink in a glass. Your actual portion may be 2 or 3 times larger.

Moreover, the sweetness of fruit juices can be addicting. When you consume sugary foods or drinks, you feed your sweet tooth – and then crave more sweetness. In many ways, sugar is like a drug – and fruit juice contributes to that negative cycle. In fact, a 2009 study concluded that sugar bingeing causes withdrawal symptoms and cravings much like addictive drugs.

When you’re reaching for a glass of fruit juice, you’re not doing your body a favor; water is the preferred beverage of choice. Having said that, if you can’t get yourself to drink water, try these tips:

  1. Water down your juice. Doing so will cut the calories and sugar per serving, and you’ll still get much of the flavor.
  2. Try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to your water. You won’t be adding calories – but you’ll get an extra kick.
  3. Switch to vegetable juice. Vegetable juices tend to be lower in sugar, but check the label.

Most people recognize that soda is an unhealthy choice. I’d recommend thinking of most fruit juices in the same way. The bottom line is that you’re certainly not doing your health, your body or your fitness goals any favors by drinking fruit juice.

How to Eat Smarter with Google Recipe Search.

I’m always looking for fun and healthy ways to incorporate seasonal produce into my diet. And autumn in full swing, I’ve fallen in love with pumpkins. Not just to carve – but to eat. Loaded in carotenoids, fiber and tons of nutrients like potassium, magnesium and vitamins C and E, pumpkins are truly the superfood of the season.

Since healthy pumpkin recipes aren’t always easy to come by, I decided to do a search on Google. In doing my search, I noticed a “recipes” button along the left-hand sidebar. Upon clicking it, I was able to refine my recipe search by checking off or crossing out other ingredients. For example, I crossed off the related but unhealthy ingredients of “cream cheese,” “molasses,” “sugar” and “whipped cream.”

The search can further be refined not just by cooking time, but also but the amount of calories in a serving. For individuals monitoring their caloric intake, this can be a huge benefit.

Of course, the recipe search can be used for any ingredient. Have extra bell peppers in your fridge? Type it in. Pick too many apples at the orchard? Nothing to fear. It’s easy to find simple, creative and healthy recipes for pretty much any ingredient.

Ultimately, thanks to my narrowed search results, I decided to try the pumpkin hummus recipe. I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, enjoy watching this video which explains the Google Recipe Search features. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this sooner!

Stop Standing in Your Way.

Right now, I want you to spend 30 seconds thinking of your number one fitness goal.

What would it be? Maybe it’s releasing 20 pounds of body fat. Maybe it’s releasing 200 pounds of body fat. Maybe it’s adding 10 pounds of muscle or maybe it’s building stronger core muscles.

What’s your number one goal?

Write your goal down on a piece of paper. Study it for a few moments. Feel it with every fiber of your being.

What I’m going to tell you next is critically important. Listen to me carefully because this is absolutely huge – and it’s the key to making your goal a reality.

Ready for it?

The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story that you’re telling yourself about why you can’t make it happen. Your story is only true to the extent that you believe it.

The first step is achieving your goal is recognizing that your story is bullshit. Believing otherwise is easy and convenient – and it’s a great excuse for not achieving your goal. But whatever your story is – whether it’s that you’re too old, that you have too many medical issues, that you have no money or anything else – it’s bullshit. While it may be true that you’re older, or that you have medical issues or that you have no money, none of these have anything to do with not achieving the goal that you have written on your piece of paper.

Your story is not serving you. In fact, quite the opposite. It’s time to let it go.

In a life as short as this, no one has time for bullshit – especially bullshit that sabotages us from achieving our dreams. Stop lying to yourself. Recognize that your goal is within reach and that you are capable of extraordinary greatness in all areas of your life.

Today is the day you stop standing in your way.

Are Food Cravings Psychological?

In the last few weeks, we’ve talked a lot about food cravings – and, in particular, how to eliminate them.

But it hasn’t stopped folks from asking me if our food cravings are the result of nutritional deficiencies. If we’re not getting enough of a particular nutrient, it’s a popular belief that our bodies will crave those foods rich in that nutrient. In other words, if you’re not getting enough Vitamin A in your diet, then the belief is that you might crave carrots.

But that’s exactly why this myth is untrue. When was the last time you craved carrots – or any other vegetable or leafy green? Instead, we crave foods rich in saturated fat, salt or sugar like pizza, milk chocolate, ice cream or cookies. And we certainly don’t need any more of those foods in our diets.

Rather than being associated with nutritional cues, research suggest that cravings are related to a complex mix of social, environmental, physiological and cultural factors. For example, there was a recently-cited study in the Wall Street Journal which found that sushi cravings are more popular in Japan than chocolate cravings.

It’s also been found that food cravings activate the same reward circuits in brains as cravings for drugs and alcohol – and that brain regions associated with memory, emotion and stress all light up during intense cravings. Rather than craving chocolate because of a magnesium deficiency, it’s more likely that your hankering is the result of a screaming boss.

Though it’s a commonly held belief that our cravings are related to nutritional deficiencies, research strongly suggests otherwise. Instead, it seems that cravings are a psychological coping mechanism born from a rich brew of complex factors.

If you need help overcoming cravings, check out my 10 tips for eliminating the munchies.

Video: TV Anchor Responds to Attack on Her Weight.

In LaCrosse, Wisconsin, a local news anchor named Jennifer Livingston received a nasty email from a viewer about her appearance. The email reads as follows:

It’s unusual that I see your morning show, but I did so for a very short time today. I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn’t improved for many years. Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.

Jennifer responded to the email on air. That response, which has received millions of views in just the last day, has since gone viral. Clearly, it has struck a chord.

Take a look:

Yes, obesity is an epidemic in this country. And yes, promoting a healthy lifestyle is an important responsibility. But the suggestion that Jennifer is an unfit role model simply because of her excess weight, in my opinion, falls flat.

As I’ve said before, scales measure one thing: Pounds. They don’t measure your value as a human being and certainly not the content of one’s character or a person’s contributions to the community. In a world that too often tells us otherwise, this viewer’s comments become part of a destructive dialogue.

I’d love to know what you think. Do you think that this viewer’s email was uncalled for and unnecessary, or do you think he has a point? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Is Your Hunger Emotional or Physical?

Today’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

Do you know the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger? The signs seem identical until you learn their unique characteristics. Understand the difference so you can take charge of emotional eating and lose weight in the process.

Here are five traits that differentiate emotional hunger from physical hunger. This knowledge and awareness helps you prevent emotional eating episodes.

1. Emotional hunger occurs in response to your feelings. Physical hunger occurs because your body needs fuel.

If you tend to eat for emotional reasons, it’s not only due to painful feelings. Any feeling that is difficult to regulate may trigger the urge to eat. For example, you feel sad and turn to food for comfort.  Or, you feel excited about something and react by eating. It’s not the feeling itself that triggers the urge to eat; it’s the inability to let the feeling be present without stimulating it or numbing it with food.

Physical hunger is biologically based and connected to blood sugar levels in your body. Your body responds with a grumbling in your belly, a light-headed feeling, fatigue or a headache. You also may feel irritable or have difficulty concentrating.

2. Emotional hunger tends to come on suddenly. Physical hunger emerges gradually.

When your emotions drive your craving, the impulse to eat feels sudden, intense and urgent. You confuse an emotional need with a physical one. It’s not about the food, but food is the only thing on your mind.

With physical hunger, the sensations in your body develop over time. If you’re attuned to your body, you notice cues that your body needs food. You feel in control of these cues. Food is something you desire, but it can wait.

Sometimes, however, physical hunger does come on suddenly due to blood sugar instability. Please seek medical guidance to determine if this applies to you.

3. With emotional hunger you crave certain foods. With physical hunger you’re open to many options.

When you eat for emotional reasons, you tend to want specific foods, such as cookies, chips or pizza. You believe nothing else will help so you’re not open to alternatives.

When you’re physically hungry, you’re open to many food choices. Even carrots and celery look appealing to your rumbling stomach.

4. Emotional hunger doesn’t notice signs of fullness. With physical hunger, you stop eating when full.

With emotional hunger, you generally stop eating when you become numb to the feeling that triggered the impulse to eat. You’re not as attuned to your body because you’re satisfying an emotional need not a physical one.

When you eat because you’re physically hungry, and you’re able to control your impulses, you decide when you’re going to stop eating. You feel in tune with your body and respond to the sensation of fullness. You make a conscious choice to stop because you’ve eaten enough.

5. Emotional eating induces feelings of guilt. Physical hunger is satisfied with no remorse.

Emotional eating episodes perpetuate a cycle of self-blame. You eat because you want to feel better. You feel better at first because food numbs your feelings. Then, guilt and shame replace the feeling that triggered the impulse to eat in the first place. The cycle continues.

When you eat to satisfy a physical hunger only, your body feels nourished and you feel content. There is no guilt because you know eating fulfills a necessary need.

It’s Not About the Food

If you struggle with emotional eating, understand it’s not about finding the right nutritional plan. It’s about allowing your feelings to be experienced and released in a safe, nurturing way. Practice the Stop-Breathe-Reflect-Choose technique to create space between the urge to eat and acting on that urge. Identify and name the feeling you’re experiencing. Develop a list of strategies to help soothe and comfort yourself. Learn to allow your feelings to flow through you rather than push them away with food.

Do you understand your hungers? In the comments below, let us know how you cope.