August 13, 2013 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
Vegetarians, listen up! If you’ve worried about getting enough protein from your meat-free diet, you may be surprised: you likely get more protein than you need by eating a well-rounded vegetarian diet without even trying! There are many non-meat sources of protein for vegetarians, and making them a regular part of your diet can help keep you healthy and strong.
The queen of protein-packed whole grains is quinoa. Unlike many other vegetarian protein sources, the whole grain contains each of the essential amino acids. That’s why it is called a “complete protein.” Eat one cooked cup to get about 18 grams of protein! Other great whole grain sources of protein include barley, brown rice and whole grain bread.
Beans, Legumes and Lentils
Take your pick from this group of foods to get your daily dose of protein – all lentils, beans and peas are good sources of protein for vegans and vegetarians. Watch the grams add up as you eat chickpea hummus, split pea soup, black beans, Indian dhal, kidney beans or vegetarian chili. One cup of kidney beans, for instance, contains about 13.5 grams of protein!
Soy is a bean, of course, but it deserves its own spot on the list because it is such a popular protein source for vegetarians. Get your protein fix from tempeh, soy cheese, soy yogurt, edamame, soy milk or tofu. Before you reach for your weightlifting grips or workout gloves, mix up a smoothie with soy milk and fresh fruit. One cup of soy milk contains about 7 grams of protein!
Nuts, Nut Butters and Seeds
Sesame seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashews and peanuts all contain protein. Although they should not be primary sources of protein due to their high fat content, seeds and nuts are a great snack after working out with your weightlifting grips, and nut butters make a delicious topping for fresh fruit or whole grain bread in moderation.
Share your favorite non-meat protein sources in the comments below!
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July 17, 2013 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
What you eat may play an important role in the quality and quantity of your sleep, according to a new study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Researchers have long known that nutrition is a critical part of overall health and well-being, but the study determined that the foods we eat also have a significant effect on sleep duration and quality.
Researchers studied dietary differences in people who experienced standard, shorter and longer sleep patterns, using a sample that reflected the population of the United States in all demographics. Participants carefully recorded their dietary intake, and the research team analyzed differences between nutritional and caloric intake and compared them with sleep patterns.
The findings were enlightening: Short sleepers who averaged less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night ate and drank the most calories. Normal sleepers ate the widest variety of foods, and people who lacked the most sleep had the least amount of variety in their diets.
Very short sleepers drank less tap water, carbohydrates and lycopene, a nutrient found in orange and red colored foods, like tomatoes and bell peppers. Short sleepers consumed less tap water, vitamin C and selenium, a nutrient found in shellfish, meat and nuts. Long sleepers consumed less dodecanoic acid, theobromine, carbohydrates and choline, a nutrient found in fatty meats and eggs.
Researchers are still determining the ways altering one’s diet may affect sleep patterns, but it seems clear that if you want to sleep well and have more energy to use your weightlifting gloves or fitness grips, you should eat a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of foods.
How does your diet affect how you feel when working out with your fitness grips? Share your observations and your favorite energy-boosting foods with our readers in the comments below!
“Eat to Dream: Penn Study Shows Dietary Nutrients Associated with Certain Sleep Patterns.” February 6, 2013. http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/news_releases/2013/02/grandner/
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May 10, 2013 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
Exercising with your fitness grips can certainly help you burn fat and build lean muscle, but taking a daily dose of supplements can round out your diet and help you reach your fitness goals. If you are trying to reach your physical best, you may want to consider these supplements.
Exercising really takes a toll on your body, including the loss of essential vitamins. If you train hard, you need a multivitamin every day to make up for the loss.
If training with your workout gloves makes you feel run down, glutamine may help put a spring back in your step and reduce infection and inflammation. It can even stimulate muscle growth by regulating the glycogen within your body.
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Certain types of fat are an essential part of a healthy diet, and this supplement is a great source of omega fatty acids. This type of “good fat” can actually help you lose the fat that makes you flabby, and it also helps preserve muscle tissue.
This nutrient is vital both before and after your workouts. Protein stimulates muscle growth, and grabbing a nutrition bar loaded with it or having a shake made from protein powder is a great way to fuel your body for a workout or recover after breaking a sweat. Just make sure your supplemental source isn’t also loaded with unnecessary sugars. Sugar depletes the body of nutrients as well and can basically cancel out any good effect you were getting from your supplement source.
Creatine is essential for building lean muscle mass and strength. Taking a creatine supplement every day can boost your growth factor by over 20 percent, but be careful not to take too much so you can avoid negative side effects.
- Branched Chain Amino Acids
If you work out to the point of fatigue and muscle soreness but still don’t see fat loss, try taking this supplement to reduce soreness and enhance your fat burning potential.
What supplements do you use to reach your fitness goals? Share your favorites with our readers in the comments below!
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May 7, 2013 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
Protein, carbs and healthy fats get a lot of attention when it comes to an athlete or bodybuilder’s diet, but citrus fruits deserve just as much focus. If you want to lose weight and get fit, including them in your diet is just as important as using your gym grips. Packed with antioxidants and essential nutrients, these tasty fruits reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases and can help control your appetite. Read on to learn how to incorporate them into any meal to boost your health and help reach your fitness goals.
- Add Flavor & Fiber to a Salad.
Infuse a vegetable-heavy salad with a touch of sweetness by tossing in some grapefruit slices or mandarin oranges. Citrus fruits taste good in any basic salad, but they are especially delicious in an Asian-inspired salad made with tomatoes, spinach, grilled chicken and snow peas. Add some peanuts or cashews for a bit of a crunch, and then top it off with a mixture of soy sauce, oil and vinegar. Tasty and nutritious, this light lunch will keep you full all afternoon.
- Spike your Water.
Staying hydrated is important, especially when you are working out with your weightlifting gloves, but if plain water gets boring for you now and then, liven it up without adding unhealthy sugars. Adding fruit slices like lemon, oranges, or lime can make a refreshing difference. You can squeeze some juice right from the fruit in their too for a light flavor. You can also bring your creative inner chef out and try mixing fruit or fruit and herbs. A couple favorites of ours here at the GRIPAD offices is Strawberry/Lavender (strawberry slices and sprigs of fresh lavender) or Watermelon/Mint (diced watermelon and fresh mint leaves.) ENJOY!
- Snack with Citrus Salsa.
Top off your favorite lean protein, like chicken or fish, with a spoonful of citrus salsa. This treat is easy to make – just combine diced pineapple, mango, red pepper, red onion and fresh chopped cilantro. The high levels of vitamin C in all of these fruits boost the fish and poultry’s bioavailability, so the salsa is a winning combination of flavor and health benefits.
We want to know – what are your favorite citrus recipes? Share your best dishes using these flavorful fruits in the comments below!
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May 3, 2013 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
Aptly named, supplements are designed to add-on your diet, and to round out your intake of micronutrients, calories and macronutrients. If you want six pack abs, supplements may be a great way to ensure you have all your nutritional bases covered, but not everyone needs supplements or will benefit from them. To find out if supplements are right for you, ask yourself these questions.
Am I eating enough fruits and vegetables?
Many bodybuilders focus on meats, grains and fat sources, completely ignoring the produce aisle, but fruits and veggies contain something these other foods are lacking: micronutrients. These complex chemicals, vitamins and nutrients are just as essential for getting a six pack as working out with your weight training grips.
If you are not eating enough produce with every meal, you may need a supplement to boost your levels of vitamins and nutrients. Remember, though, nothing beats the real thing!
Am I timing my nutrients properly?
Your food choices are obviously important, but so is your timing, especially when eating carbs in the form of grains. For most people, the best time to scarf down some starches is before and after a tough training session with your fitness grips. Eating starches before you training provides your muscles with glycogen, and you need to replenish those stores after a workout with more starches and sugars. Eating carbs after a workout also raises your insulin levels temporarily and facilitates protein synthesis for muscle growth. If you can’t get your hands on some carbs at these important times, consider using a supplement.
Where am I getting protein from?
Many of the most popular types of supplements contain protein, but whole foods are really the best sources of this muscle-building nutrient. When you get protein from whole food sources like nuts, seeds, vegetables, lean meat, eggs, poultry and fish, instead of from a protein shake, you also get a variety of minerals, fats, vitamins and other nutrients. Instead of getting all your protein from a shake, head to the grocery store!
Do you take supplements to get killer abs? What are your favorites?
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April 18, 2013 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
We know that cutting calories is the way to lose weight, so it seems logical that skipping meals is a healthy, effective way to shed pounds, right? Wrong! Skipping meals can actually lead to weight gain. Here’s why:
- Skipping a meal tricks the body into preparing for a famine. Worried it won’t get food, the body slows down its metabolism to store more body fat and burn fewer calories. The body’s preferred fuel is carbohydrates, so skipping meals creates a carbohydrate deficit.
- When the body is in a carb deficit, it uses stored fat as an alternative source of fuel. This may sound like a benefit of fasting, but it actually isn’t because fats don’t burn completely without carbohydrates. They produce a byproduct called ketones, and these compounds can damage the liver and kidneys and make the blood more acidic.
- Skipping meals also makes you hungrier. If you skip lunch in order to lose weight, imagine how hungry you will be by the time dinner rolls around. With your stomach growling and your blood sugar low, you will be tempted to eat everything in sight. Instead of cutting calories, you may actually overeat out of hunger. You also won’t have enough energy to use your gym gloves or fitness grips!
- Skipping meals can lead to future risks in your health. In a 2007 study published in “Metabolism,” researchers found that subjects who skipped meals during the day and ate one large meal in the evening experienced risky changes in their metabolism. Participants who skipped meals had a delayed insulin response and elevated fasting glucose levels. Both of these conditions could lead to diabetes if participants continued to fast in the long term.
- Although counterintuitive, eating more meals throughout the day can actually help you lose weight better than skipping meals. The key is to eat five or six small meals throughout the day, or three meals separated by healthy snacks. Eating mini meals keeps your energy levels steady so you can use your fitness grips and prevent hunger, which in turn keeps you from overeating.
What other dieting myths have you heard? Share the wildest ones in the comments section below!
Carlson, O, B Martin, et al. “Impact of Reduced Meal Frequency Without Caloric Restriction on Glucose Regulation in Healthy, Normal-Weight Middle-Aged Men and Women.” Metabolism. 56.12 (2007): 1729-34. Web. 4 Apr. 2013.
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April 15, 2013 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
Starting a diet plan is always a good idea, but the way you start it off can have an effect on your long-term success. Get started on the right foot and set yourself up for success by following these tips to kickstart your weekly diet plan.
- Identify your weight loss goals.
Think about how much you need to lose before you create a plan to do it. The amount of weight you must shed will affect your overall diet and exercise plan. For example, very overweight or obese people may benefit most from entering a weight loss center or formal program. People with less to lose can start by controlling their portion sizes to cut calories. Everyone can benefit from using their weightlifting gloves and gym gloves more often, so definitely make that part of your plan!
- Make a firm commitment.
Understanding why you want to lose weight will help you stick to your weekly diet plan. Before you start your diet, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I ready to lose weight?
- Where is my motivation coming from?
- How will I deal with lack of progress or occasional setbacks?
Rethink these questions every week before you start your diet, and write down the answers in case you need a little reminder come mid-week.
- Make Meal and Exercise Plans
Plot out exactly what you will do each day to reach your weight loss goals. Calculate your daily caloric needs, then create a healthy, well-balanced meal plan for each day that will give you energy and fuel your workouts. Schedule time for exercising with your gym gloves on most days of the week to burn calories and build muscle.
How do you stay on track at the beginning of a diet? What are your best tips for kick-starting a weight loss plan? Share your advice with our readers in the comments below!
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March 26, 2013 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
Working hard at the gym with your weightlifting gloves or fitness grips is great, but changing your diet is the key to losing weight. Everything should be eaten in moderation, but indulging in any of these foods regularly can lead to weight gains and other health issues. Say goodbye to these five problem foods and get ready to embrace healthier options.
- Unnatural Meats
Red meat has gotten a bad rap, and that’s because most of it is pretty unhealthy these days. But it’s not that red meat in and of itself is unhealthy, but it’s how that meat was raised. Cows, for example, are supposed to eat green grass and clover, but today most are being raised on corn and other grains. This makes them high in unhealthy fats and really low in healthy nutrients. Look for pasture-raised animals that are eating their natural diet and you can feel good knowing you’re getting a healthy protein high in essential nutrients. The slightly higher price now is worth it, because eating healthier foods prevent illness and disease in the future…which cost a lot more than your grass-fed burger today! You can also save more money in the long run buying more expensive meat, because most who study accurate nutrition learn that meat is not needed every day, and at every meal, like it was once thought. Less meat = less money!
Losing weight means losing the booze. Cocktails are filled with empty calories and sugar, which hinder your ability to lose weight and keep it off. Make smarter choices and avoid having to spend all day Sunday without your weightlifting gloves by swapping blended daiquiris for low-calorie mojitos and sticking to Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s.
- Fried Potatoes
According to a team of Harvard researchers, french fries and chips are the absolute worst foods if you are trying to lose weight. Instead, indulge in a delicious baked potato to get fiber, protein and flavor.
There are literally no nutritional benefits to drinking soda. Even diet soda has risks. Don’t sabotage your weight loss goals by gulping it down. Instead, try sparkling water with a squeeze of fresh orange, lime or lemon juice.
- Refined Grains
Foods made from refined grains, like white breads and pastas, make blood sugar levels spike, causing increased hunger and food intake. Swap them for whole grains products that are higher in fiber and vitamins to stay on track with your weight loss goals.
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March 11, 2013 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
The path to a sexy and sleek stomach does not begin with weightlifting grips; it begins with your fork. Add these five belly flattening super foods to your regular diet to uncover a toned and taut tummy.
- Avocado. The monounsaturated fat in avocados helps you lose stomach bulge more than eating the same number of calories but with less fat. Your body stores fat around your midsection when blood sugar peaks, but monounsaturated fats stop the spikes in their tracts and thwart fat accumulation.
Just half an avocado contains 10 grams of the good-for-you fats. For a flat-ab snack, dip fresh veggies in a ¼ cup of homemade guacamole.
- Yogurt. A bit of bloat can have you reaching for a cover-up at the beach even if you have bikini-worthy abs. Get rid of the puffiness by eating probiotic-rich yogurt. Eating just one deliciously creamy cup encourages the growth of good bacteria in your stomach. The good bacteria crowds out the other bugs that may cause bloating.
Make sure your torso-trimming grocery list includes plain yogurt (Greek is best) with a Live and Active Cultures seal. Check the back to make sure there are less than 7 grams of sugar per serving and no artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, acesulfame potassium, or neotame. These ingredients are common in “diet” yogurts and “sugar free” or “no sugar added” varieties. They should be avoided due to health problems associated with them and the sugar cravings they can create.
- Blueberries. Top your morning yogurt with these belly-fat-blasting berries. The antioxidants in blueberries boost blood flow, which delivers more oxygen to your muscles. When your muscles have the oxygen they need, it feels easier to exercise and you may be able to work out longer, harder and more often.
For a pre-workout snack, try adding blueberries to whole-grain waffles or a turkey roll-up. Enjoy the sweet taste, then grab your training grips and get going on your way to a flatter tummy!
- Bulgur. You don’t have to cut out all carbs to lose inches off your waist. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, those who eat whole grains shed more tummy fat than those who eat refined grains. The fiber in bulgur keeps your insulin levels low, which may shrink fat cells. Also, those that eat full fiber foods are filled with less food, therefore eating less calories. Refined carbohydrates like boxed cereal and white pasta, spikes your blood sugar leading to cravings for more food.
- Green Tea. Although it is technically a beverage, not a food, green tea should be part of your tummy flattening plan. Drink a couple glasses every day to give your metabolism a healthy boost and make it easier for your body to let go of fat instead of clinging to it.
What are your favorite fat-blasting super foods? Tell us in the comments below!
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February 8, 2013 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
Now that you’ve learned the Truth about Sugar in Part One of this series, read on to discover how you can reduce your intake without sacrificing taste.
- Drink Water.Did you know that one of the biggest causes of cravings is dehydration? Begin adding more water to your daily routine until you reach your ideal intake (your body weight divided in half, i.e. 150 lbs = 75 oz of water) and you start to notice your cravings for sweets like cookies, ice cream, soda, etc. significantly diminish. With time, you can find your cravings go away all together! If you do have a dessert now and then, it’s not because you’re “dying” for it , but rather because you are enjoying a sweet that’s an addition to a balanced diet and not replacing it.
- Cut Down Slowly.Forget about going cold turkey. Instead, start cutting sugar from your diet gradually. If you normally end your night with a bowl of sugary cookies, cut it in half for a week. Keep tapering down week by week until your cravings subside. Use the same tactic to cut down on the sugar in your morning coffee. If you normally use 2 teaspoons, cut down to 1 ½ for a week, then one, then just a half teaspoon. Cutting down in this way is the best method for taming your sweet tooth. If you feel a craving, grab your weight lifting grips and work through it at the gym.
- Add Sweet VegetablesYou heard me right: SWEET vegetables! Most people don’t eat veggies locally or in season, so they miss out on how their food is really supposed to taste. The complex and full flavored sweetness of a carrot or parsnip in season can prevent sugar cravings for junk or the common “need” many people say they feel for dessert after a meal. Try roasting these veggies with only a sprinkle of sea salt and olive oil to bring out their natural sweetness even more or simply steam with a little water! Some sweet veggies include; carrots, parsnips, onions, rutabaga, beets, peas, squash (like butternut), and sweet potato. Eat daily and see those cravings disappear!
- Use Natural Sweeteners.Eliminating white sugar isn’t as hard as you think once you learn about the natural sweeteners out there. These are what cultures around the world used before the process of refining white sugar became so popular, and we are slowly going back to these now that we see the havoc the white stuff does to our bodies. Not only will you avoid the spikes and crashes that white, refined sugar causes but also gain some nutrients that are present in the natural sweeteners (stevia, raw honey, real maple syrup, raw agave, molasses, etc.)
- Know the Code Words. Just because you don’t see “sugar” on the label does not mean it is not there. Know the many aliases for the sweet stuff, including xylitol, corn syrup, turbinado sugar, dextrin, dextrose, sorghum, fructose, galactose, glucose, invert sugar maltose, lactose, molasses, polyols, mannitol and high-fructose corn syrup.
- Don’t Skip Meals.Going without breakfast, lunch or dinner reduces the levels of sugar in your blood, driving you toward high-sugar foods to quell your cravings. Indulge in a healthy snack before you work out to eliminate cravings later. Toss a nutritious snack like dried fruit or nuts in your gym bag next to your crossfit grips so you won’t forget and end up feeding your cravings later.
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January 28, 2013 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
An apple a day won’t keep the doctor away by itself, but adding these foods can help boost your immune system this winter. Round out your plate with colorful servings of vegetables and fruits, drink plenty of water, and add these foods to bring a flu-fighting punch to your winter diet.
Arguably the healthiest food on the planet, garlic is a natural antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial. The active ingredient, allicin, fights bacteria and infection, so add crushed garlic to your cooking a few times a week to lower your rate of catching a cold or developing certain types of cancer. Fresh raw garlic has also been found to lower LDL (the bad) cholesterol. If you cook it, do so lightly as the longer heat is added to it, the more beneficial properties are destroyed.
- Tea: Green, White, Red, and Black
All “color” leaf tea is filled with virus-fighting antioxidants that has been found to not only boost your immune system but help lower your risk of disease such as heart disease. The levels of antioxidants get lower in the teas that have the highest amounts of caffeine so vary your intake for taste health, and excitement!
White Tea: No caffeine, highest amounts of antioxidants
Green and Red Teas: contain caffeine, high amounts of antioxidants, slightly lower than white
Black Tea: contains the highest amount of caffeine of all the teas (some more than coffee) and contain antioxidants, but lower than Red and Green teas.
- Wild Caught Fish
Selenium, a nutrient found in clams, oysters, crabs and lobsters, is essential for the production of proteins that rid the body of flu viruses. Herring, salmon, mackerel, and sardines are loaded with omega-3 fats that reduce inflammation, prevent lung infections and increase airflow. Make them a regular part of your diet (2-3 times a week) to protect your health, then use your gym gloves to protect your hands as you lift at the gym.
- Chicken Soup
The ultimate feel-good winter food, chicken soup contains a high concentration of cysteine, an amino acid that thins mucus and increases the strength of your immune system.
It’s all about good bacteria vs. bad bacteria. If you can digest dairy, yogurt is a food filled with healthy bacteria that aids your intestinal tract in digesting food better (which can lead to weight loss) and kills bad bacteria when it is introduced. It’s best to look for organic to avoid harmful chemicals and hormones, and buy plain flavor. The flavored brands contain tons of added processed sugars, often in the form of high fructose corn syrup, so buy plain and add fresh fruit, nuts, and drizzle a smidge of raw honey and you’re good to go! If dairy is not a part of your diet, find a high quality Probiotic supplement and use every day. If you are already sick, it’s actually best to cut out all dairy till you’re better, as it can increase mucus production.
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January 21, 2013 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
Even the healthiest diets should leave a little wiggle room for indulgence, but there are many delicious ways to swap out higher-calorie foods for healthier ingredients. This tactic helps you cut calories without making big sacrifices taste-wise. Here are some of our favorite swaps to help you stay on track without feeling deprived.
Zucchini for Pasta
If pasta is your guilty pleasure, swap your white or wheat noodles for zucchini instead. An inexpensive kitchen gadget called a “vegetable spiraler” cuts any tubular vegetable into long spiral strips that look just like pasta. Pasta without cheese, even wheat, has over 200 calories more than this dish, not to mention the added nutrients you’re getting with veggies. For a simple and quick Recipe that we absolutely love here at the GRIPAD office, see below!
Whole Grain English Muffins for White Hamburger Buns
The average white hamburger bun contains 236 empty calories that don’t add much nutrition. You can save 120 calories by substituting an English muffin, and pump up the nutrition even more by choosing a whole-wheat variety (we love the Trader Joe’s brand.) The healthier choice also contains more added fiber, which will help you feel fuller for longer after the meal. If you don’t have English muffins on hand, scoop out the inside dough of a regular bun to cut out approx. 60 empty calories.
Banana Ice Cream
If you are really craving ice cream, try this satisfying but skinnier swap: toss some slightly-thawed frozen bananas in your blender until they are the consistency of ice cream. If you crave chocolate, add some cocoa powder or some very dark chocolate chips (the less sugar the better!) One small banana has just 90 calories, but a half-cup of ice cream contains an average of 260 calories. Try this delicious snack before your workout, then grab your workout gloves and hit the gym.
These tasty swaps are just a part of getting and staying fit. Keep making healthy choices by going to the gym, but don’t forget your weightlifting gloves!
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Zucchini Pasta Primavera
Time: 10 minutes
1 zucchini per serving (mixing green zucchini with a yellow tubular squash makes for a colorful meal)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2-3 Tbsp.
Fresh Garlic, 1 clove per serving
Fresh Organic Tomatoes (cherry, grape, Roma, or other), about ½ cup per serving
Fresh or dried basil (fresh is best!)
Red pepper flakes, optional
Sea salt & black pepper
1.) Use your vegetable spiraler to cut your zucchini or other tubular squash into pasta-like strips.
2.) Heat a large sauté pan on medium-low and coat with olive oil. Sauté your chopped garlic until translucent. Add your basil, heat until wilted, and then add your chopped tomato.
3.) While your “sauce” is on low, flash boil your pasta until al dente. Or, to preserve more nutrients you can water sauté by filling the bottom of a pan with water and, once steaming, add the zucchini until al dente. Will only take about one minute.
4.) Add your zucchini pasta to your sauce and toss thoroughly.
Recipe courtesy of Laura Wald, health counselor, The Green Life Health
January 14, 2013 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
On average, Americans consume 156 pounds of sugar every year. This has significantly contributed to an epidemic of Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Obesity. What is holding us back? Surprisingly, there are still quite a few widespread myths surrounding the popular substance. Here are a few of the most common Myths and Truths about the sweet stuff that you need to know to change your health for good.
Myth #1: Most of the sugar we eat comes from sweets.
The Truth: One-third of all added sugars come from sodas, while the majority of the other two-thirds may surprise you. Only 5% comes from candy and cake, 10% comes from sweetened fruit drinks, and 4% boxed breakfast cereals. Most of the sugar we consume comes from “hidden sugars.” These sugars are in processed, packaged, prepared foods like bread, ketchup, some brands of peanut butter, and canned and frozen foods to name a few. Learning how to identify hidden sugars is necessary to lifelong health (we will learn this Part 2.)
Myth #2: Your body treats Sugar from cake or fruit the same way
The Truth: It is true that your body treats sugar from candy in the same way it treats natural sugars in fruits, but sugar from fruits is not only less than in candy and cake but is absorbed more slowly because it is “naturally packaged” with fiber and nutrients. The simple sugars in foods like cakes are quickly absorbed, causing a spike in your blood sugar, quickly followed by drops in your blood sugar, elevated insulin and a continuous cycle that can lead to Type II diabetes. Natural sugars (complex carbohydrates) are necessary fuel for the body to be burned off. The problem is when simple sugars (like white bread, pastas, cereals, cakes and pastries) devoid of necessary nutrients are consumed and not used as fuel. The excess is eventually converted into fat.
Myth #3: Salt is the biggest cause of heart disease.
The Truth: Actually, consuming too much sugar raises the triglycerides in your body, and these troublesome blood fats are one of the leading causes of heart disease.
Myth #4: Eating sugar before a workout will provide a sudden burst of quick energy.
The Truth: Anaerobic exercise is fueled by stored energy, the energy that comes from glucose in the muscles and glycogen in the liver, not on sugar. Eating too much sugar right before a workout can actually cause bloating, cramps, diarrhea, nausea and other gastrointestinal problems.
Too much sugar can lead to weight gain, diabetes, certain types of cancer and a host of other health problems. Limit your intake to no more than 25 grams per day and if you go over that limit, work off the excess by using GRIPAD weight training grips.
***Stay tuned for Part 2, on how to decrease sugar in your diet and add flavor to your food so you don’t miss a thing!
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January 8, 2013 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
Metabolism is the process responsible for breaking down food into energy. If you have ever wondered why your friend can stuff herself with cheeseburgers and ice cream but never gain weight while you put on a pound just thinking about junk food, you may have credited your friend’s “high metabolism” for her figure and blamed your own “slow metabolism” for yours. While many factors determine weight gain and loss, your rate of metabolism is definitely one of them. These diet tips show you how to boost your metabolism so you can burn calories faster.
- Cut Calories Gradually
Making drastic cuts in your daily calorie intake sends your body into panic mode. Your body acts like it is starving and actually slows your metabolism. Instead of going on a crash-diet, cut about 100 calories per day from your normal diet. Gradually cutting down calories will boost your metabolism and make it easier for you to stick to your new diet.
- Add Balanced Protein
For faster metabolism, add more high quality protein to your diet. Your body burns twice as many calories when breaking down proteins as it does when digesting carbohydrates. Healthy, high quality proteins such as wild caught fish (i.e. salmon, halibut, etc.) grass-fed pasture-raised beef, and nuts and seeds are your best options because they contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients that increase the body’s fat-burning enzymes. As always, be sure to drink plenty of water and eat lots of vegetables (both raw and cooked) to balance the protein by contributing essential vitamins and minerals that protein lacks. Vegetables also help your body digest protein.
- Eat More Often
If you are an active person, eating every three hours can speed up your metabolism. Try having three small meals a day plus two healthy snacks to keep your metabolism humming. Some people also choose 6 small meals a day. Choose nutritious snacks like protein-loaded pistachios or dried fruits that are high in fiber, like apricots. Although this dietary change is not for everyone, it is an option to experiment with if you are active and workout daily. If you have a job that requires a lot of “desk time” and you only workout a few days a week, this dietary plan could add more weight. The key is that your body needs the opportunity to burn the extra calories.
These diet changes will boost your metabolism, but don’t forget that exercising in short bursts also turbo-charges your metabolism. Use your GRIPAD gym gloves to stay comfortable during a tough workout, then follow it up with a healthy, protein-packed snack. Between these diet tips and working out with GRIPAD weightlifting gloves, your metabolism will skyrocket!
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December 29, 2012 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
Exercise and eating go hand in hand. What you eat, and when, can make a huge difference in how you feel when exercising and throughout the day. While the intensity and duration of your workout will determine what you should drink and eat and how often, these healthy breakfast tips will help maximize your workouts and overall health.
The Most Important Meal of the Day: Breakfast
- Pre-Breakfast Time.
If you plan on working out in the morning, get up at least one hour before you exercise to eat a light breakfast. The energy you got from last night’s dinner is spent by morning, and your blood sugar is probably low. If you workout without eating first, you’ll likely feel lightheaded or sluggish.
- Pre-Breakfast Ideas.
We think a fruit/veggie smoothie with some high quality protein and healthy fats like a tablespoon of trans-fat free almond or peanut butter or protein powder is perfect. It also can’t hurt to throw in some omega-3 fish oil to feed your brain, as well as support a healthy metabolism and heart. 8oz of Almond or Coconut Milk, a banana, a handful of berries, 1 tablespoon of nut butter, some dark leafy kale and maybe a few chunks of pineapple is just one example of a delicious and healthy super fuel pre-breakfast!
- Don’t Rush Breakfast.
Following your workout you should always take time for a relaxing, full, and well-balanced meal. Don’t sabotage your health because you sacrificed eating as you rushed to work post workout. Getting a grip on your schedule is the most important part of getting a grip on a successful and healthy life routine. The stress that comes from neglecting meals, rushing through thrown together meals, and grabbing artificial energy like caffeine to replace the natural energy you didn’t get from a healthy meal and enough sleep, will counteract any exercise efforts you make.
BONUS: Breakfasts That Fuel the Rest of Your Day
- Quinoa or Steel Cut Oats with Cinnamon, Nuts, & Fruits
The balance of complex carbs, cinnamon, and healthy fats and protein from the nuts, balance blood sugar giving you more sustained energy till your next meal. This can prevent unhealthy cravings and snacking throughout the day. Cinnamon has also been proven to lower blood pressure and provide a sweetness to food allowing you to cut back on or eliminate sweeteners! Research the other whole grains too, as they can all be made into a breakfast porridge like oatmeal. Shake things up to keep things interesting!
- Poached Eggs, Spinach, and Whole Grain Bread
Eggs have been the victim of the worst food myth for too long. The reality is that the Egg is an extremely healthy WHOLE food that, when eaten in its entirety, provides the nutritional balance nature intended for your body to absorb properly. That’s right, we are saying STOP THE EGG WHITE MADNESS. When you remove the yolk, which is healthy cholesterol that your heart needs, your body knows something is missing and craves more food to feel satisfied. Did you ever notice that instead of just 2 eggs, you need 4 or more egg whites to replace them? The original study vilifying eggs, was not only conducted by the Cereal Institute to promote the eating of boxed breakfast cereal, but it also only tested dried egg yolks without the whites. Your body needs the protein in the whites to balance the cholesterol in the yolks for optimal nutrient absorption. Scientists and nutritionists now agree that it’s not a coincidence that the rates of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity rose in America when fat was shunned and grains, mostly simple carbohydrates, like cereals, pancakes, etc. were embraced.
Image By: Leilany Argil
December 19, 2012 | Filed Under Nutrition, Workouts | No Comments
The most important component of an athlete’s diet is fluids. The body can survive for about one month without food, but it won’t last more than a few days without water. Athletes need to drink extra fluids to replace the body water they lose during workouts or competitions. But which is better– water, juice or another liquid? The answer depends on your workout plan.
Staying Hydrated During Your Workout
- Length of Workout. The average exerciser does not need a sports drink or juice during a workout because they’re not depleting the body’s store of carbohydrates and electrolytes. If you are working out for less than 1.5 hours, stick to water to stay hydrated. The liquid is sodium-free, which helps the body deliver fluids to the blood and muscles and stay hydrated.
If you are exercising vigorously, for 1.5 to 3 hours or in extreme heat, you may lose potassium and sodium through sweat. These lost micronutrients need to be replaced with a healthy sports drink.
- Healthy Sports Drinks. The major brands you’ve most likely heard of are pretty much glorified sugar water and don’t have a real place in a healthy lifestyle. Healthy sports drink alternatives like Owater or Coconut water should replace the overly marketed and fluorescent glowing offerings you’re most familiar with. Coconut water is a natural source of calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and phosphorous, not to mention amino acids, antioxidants, B vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
- Frequency. Sip it at regular intervals throughout your workout to stay hydrated, fuel your body and replace the electrolytes and minerals lost through sweat.
- Dangers of Juices & Sports Drinks. Juice is the worst hydrator because it’s packed with fructose. This fruit sugar slows the rate of water absorption, increasing the time it takes for cells to get hydrated.
If you are a more casual exerciser, a sports drink or juice may do more harm than good. These drinks are often loaded with calories, sugar or artificial sweeteners. Some contain up to 255 calories per serving and an average of 3 to 14 teaspoons of sugar. Some even contain too-high levels of vitamins. While the excess consumed passes through the kidneys, high amounts can change the way other nutrients are absorbed or utilized.
A series of studies published in the British Medical Journal concluded that of the 431 claims associated with 104 sports drinks, more than half were unfounded.
The bottom line is that fluids are an important part of any workout, just like GRIPAD gym gloves are essential to weightlifting. Drinking enough fluids protects the body like GRIPAD weightlifting gloves protect your hands.
(courtesy of Kelly Liston of ohlardy.com)
Healthy Sports Drink
Coconut water (not from concentrate)
Lemon and/or lime
Healthy pinch of unrefined Sea Salt
Raw Honey (a teeny bit if you like a sweet drink – we think it is delicious without)
Basil (a leaf or two, chopped)
Fill your water bottle with ice and top off with the coconut water. Squeeze an entire lemon or lime into your drink and top it off with a healthy pinch of salt. Add the basil and shake it up to combine (be sure to put the lid on first, ha!)
You may wonder why salt is added if coconut water is already a source of sodium. While coconut water is loaded with potassium, the levels of sodium just aren’t sufficient to replace the sodium lost during a high intensity/endurance work out.
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December 17, 2012 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
Food fuels your workouts, and your body needs the right nutrients to perform at its best. The current workout diet fad is many small meals throughout the day plus snacks, but that is not right for everyone.
Snacking can never replace a well-balanced meal, eaten slowly and sitting down, but many people of high physical activity need healthy snacks in between meals to maintain level blood sugar and, thus, energy throughout the day. Here are some tips to snack healthily if you fall in to the category of “high physical activity:”
Energize Before Exercise
Working out on an empty stomach is like driving without gas in the tank. You won’t get very far!
A light snack will fuel your workout without weighing you down like a heavy meal. Although the amount of calories in a pre-workout snack should vary based on your gender, weight and level of activity, a 100-150-calorie well-balanced snack will usually do the trick. Eat it 1-2 hours before your workout, and choose a food loaded with energy-producing protein or complex carbohydrates. Whole food granola bars, fresh fruit, unflavored Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts make perfect pre-workout snacks.
Fuel During Exercise
If you are casually hitting the gym or running a 10k, you do not need to snack during your workout. If you are running a marathon, however, your body needs extra fuel to get through the grueling 26.2 miles. During the race, drink 5.5-ounces of fluid every fifteen minutes and eat or drink 30 to 60 grams of complex carbohydrates every hour to stay energized.
Recover After Exercise
After a workout, your body needs healthy carbs and protein to repair your muscles and replenish energy stores. Eating a healthy snack following a workout is the best way to prepare your body for the next one.
Foods with a 4:1 ratio of complex carbs to protein are ideal. The muscle cells are most sensitive 30 to 60 minutes after a workout, so eat in that timeframe to experience the maximum benefits.
An apple with peanut butter, fruit/veggie smoothies, half a turkey sandwich with dark leafy lettuce, or trail mix are all great recovery snacks.
Grab your GRIPAD weightlifting gloves, prepare a healthy snack and get ready to work!
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December 6, 2012 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
Whether you are looking to boost your health, increase your energy, or lose weight, learning how to prepare foods the healthy way can spell the difference between achieving your goals or failing to meet them. Are you ready to learn how to prepare a healthier workout diet? Here are some tips that may help you.
Tips for Healthy Cooking
- Take out as much fat as possible from your protein source. Buy lean cuts of meat, replace corn fed meat with pasture-raised grass-fed meat and remove any visible fat prior to cooking to cut down your saturated fat intake.
- Always go for whole grains since they contain more fiber and nutrients as compared to their refined counterparts. But don’t be fooled by packaging. Saying something is “Made with Whole Grains” does not make it a whole grain. Your boxed breakfast cereal is as healthy as the cardboard box it comes in. Learn your grains like brown rice, millet, quinoa, barley, whole oats and more!
- Keep your sodium intake to about 2,300 mg or one teaspoon of salt daily to stay on the safe side. Instead of throwing that table salt over your shoulder for good luck, throw it in the trash. Unrefined sea salt is actually healthy for the heart as it contains more than 80 trace minerals that your body needs to function properly.
- Use herbs, spices and citrus to add flavor to your foods. The more flavourful your foods are, the less deprived you feel.
- Don’t fry your foods. Consider baking, steaming, and poaching your foods. Grilling or broiling them to remove unwanted fats is another option. Just be sure not to char them to death. Those black marks have been found to contain unwanted carcinogens
- Use minimal amounts of oil when sautéing. Use grapeseed or coconut oil for high temperature cooking and olive oil and other fragile oils for cool temperature foods like your own healthy salad dressings to preserve the brain and heart supporting omega-3 fatty acids.
- Use sweeteners with caution. Eliminate white sugar and artificial sweeteners from your diet. Learn the gentler unrefined natural sweeteners like raw honey, pure maple syrup, stevia etc., that still have nutrients in them. These nutrients help the sugars to break down slower in your body avoiding drastic blood sugar spikes and crashes.
The fundamental of healthy cooking is really quite simple. Choose the right kinds of foods, learn how to prepare them, eat healthy portions and enjoy your meals by eating slowly and being thankful. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
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December 4, 2012 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
With the holiday season just around the corner, a lot of people find it easy to put their healthy workout diet aside in favor of all those tasty, albeit unhealthy, dishes. Are you willing to sacrifice everything you have worked for during the past few months just to soothe your palate? Would you willingly let all those hours spent doing your healthy workout routine at the gym go to waste? Well, you shouldn’t. However, this doesn’t mean that you should starve yourself while all the others enjoy the feast, either. There is a way to get the best of both worlds – if you know how to do it right.
Discover the Magic of Healthy Food Substitutions
- Prepare healthier cocktails. Instead of sipping on some non-alcoholic eggnog which contains a hefty 350 calories per serving, hot chocolate or hot buttered rum (both contains 250 calories per serving), why don’t you try the classic ice block or festive cranberry coolers instead? The classic ice block (prepared using a frozen bowl of water filled with pineapple slices or other citrus fruits and some mint leaves) can be a merry addition to your holiday punch. Cranberry coolers prepared using equal parts of chilled sparkling water, cranberry-apple juice and cold-brewed tea, and served over a glass of ice only contains 45 calories and 0% fat. Does the difference make sense to you? Now, if you insist on eggnogs and hot chocolates, make sure to choose the low fat versions instead.
- Go for low-carb appetizers. Considering the fact that each cheese and cracker serving contains 306 calories, your waistline will be more thankful if you will reach out for the shrimp cocktail or some raw veggies instead.
- Choose side dishes wisely. Not all greens are healthy so choose your side dishes wisely. Take green bean casserole as an example. This side dish contains 309 calories and 25 grams of fat per serving. Can you believe that? Better go with grilled asparagus spears or baby minted carrots.
- Choose a healthier entree. Instead of honey-glazed ham (contains 283 calories and 18 grams of fat per serving), why don’t you try beef sirloin or shrimp scampi? Better yet, consider preparing an Asian style or orange chili roasted turkey to reduce the calorie count.
As you can see, it is not impossible to stick to your pre-holiday workout diet and still enjoy the season. Are you ready to face the challenge? I sure hope so!
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December 3, 2012 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
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Have you been grumpy and irritable? Have you been feeling listless and down in the dumps these past few days? Well, if you are, you should take a more careful look at what you put in your mouth for your diet may be the culprit behind your bad mood. So, while yoga or any physical exercise can help you feel good, you should also start eating a healthy workout diet. Are you ready to learn which foods can help lift your moods? Here are some suggestions that you may want to consider:
- Try a high-carb, low-fat snack. If you are in need of a quick pick-me-up, try munching on some high-carb, low-fat, low-protein snack to boost your serotonin (the feel good hormone) level, increase your pain tolerance level and lull you to sleep. What foods can make you feel this way? Consider whole wheat bread with a little honey or toasted English muffin served with blueberry jam.
- Consider eating foods rich in vitamin B12 and folic acid. Studies reveal that foods rich in these two nutrients help prevent mood and brain disorders. So, consider adding some spinach salad or grilled salmon with broccoli to your regular workout diet and you’ll see how great it works!
- Try some turkey. Turkey meat is considered to be a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid that can also raise your serotonin levels.
- Go for beans, nuts and whole grains. These foods contain significant amounts of selenium, a mineral nutrient that effectively reduces the occurrence of mood swings.
- Eat fish. Studies prove that the omega-3 content of fatty fish such as salmon, herring, sardines and tuna can help you prevent the onset of depression and other mood disorders. Isn’t this enough reason to consider adding fatty fish into your workout diet?
So, whenever you are feeling a little off and cranky, consider adopting these healthy food changes and experience the positive difference it makes! Remember, a positive attitude can help you stay motivated in achieving your fitness and workout goals.
Image By: Maggie Hoffman