White Wine Clams with Fennel, Shiitake Mushroom
“This dish has date night written all over it. Its flavors are rich yet bright, and has a comforting yet gourmet quality about it.
2 lbs of fresh clams
1 cup of sliced fennel
1/3 cup of sliced shallots
4 cloves of minced garlic
2 1/4 cups of sliced shiitake mushrooms
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp of red chili flakes
1 1/4 cup of dry white wine
4 tbsp of butter
1 cup clam juice
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Freshly chopped parsley (garnish)
1. Place clams in a bowl of cold, fresh water.
2. In olive oil sauté fennel, shallots, fennel seeds, and chili flakes to the pan, sauté for 5 minutes on med-high heat.
3. Add garlic and mushrooms, sauté for 5 minutes – Add white wine, bring to a boil, and stir continuously till it reduces (about 8 minutes).
4. Add butter and clam juice, bring to a boil. Add sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper (roughly a tbsp of each). Stir for 5 minutes.
5. Cover saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and turn heat down to a simmer. Let simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the clams have opened up. Squeeze 1 lemon over the top.
6. Serve in a bowl with the broth on the base, chopped parsley, on top. Enjoy!
To Your Health!
Pros and Cons
You’ve probably heard this term before…
The idea is that by allowing yourself to “cheat” on your diet one day a week… you’ll be more likely to stick to it.
The Word CHEAT itself is a negative… Lets talk in terms of “CHOICE”
This is thought to help you maintain your healthy diet long-term — and lose weight at a steady rate.
But do cheat days actually work?
Or is better to be consistent and stick to a healthy diet 24/7?
Well, the short answer is: It depends.
Many people find that a day of indulgence is essential to maintaining a healthy diet.
(In fact, you may remember a certain pro-wrestler who famously indulged in some ENORMOUS cheat meals every Sunday — after restricting himself all week, of course.)
But many people find that cheat days are merely an excuse to over-indulge…
And that they actually lead to weight GAIN in the long run.
So… how do you know if it’s right for you?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of cheat days — so you can decide for yourself whether it’s the right choice.
- Helps you stick with your diet, since you’re not fully restricting yourself
- Makes you more aware of the “CHOICES” you’re making
- Feels like a fun, rewarding way to treat yourself once a week
- Easy to over-indulge (and turn into a “cheat week” or a “cheat month”)
- Can be a “shock” to your digestive system — leading to discomfort and sluggishness
- May be difficult for you to get back on track
Remember though — when it comes to weight loss, everyone is different.
The most important thing is determining what works best for YOU. So be sure to ask yourself:
Will an occasional indulgence help me stay on track towards my health goals… or will it derail my goals completely?
If you find that an occasional splurge IS helpful… here’s a simple, sustainable way to stay on track:
Instead of having a cheat day… have a “Choice” meal.
Treat yourself to a scoop of ice cream after dinner on Friday nights… or have a slice of cheese pizza if you feel like ordering take-out.
And if you find that a “CHOICE” meal is a bit too much…
Make it a “Choice” ingredient!
Sprinkle a bit of Parmesan cheese over the top of your salad — or pour some flavored creamer into your morning coffee.
The key step here is that you do what’s best for YOU — so don’t be afraid to treat yourself every now and then. 🙂
Whatever you choose, know that I totally have your back…
And I’m here with you every step of the way!
To Your Health!
Have You Ever Heard of BROWN FAT?
Great news for coffee drinkers…
A study published last week in Scientific Reports found drinking coffee can help you burn fat!
Researchers found that a cup of coffee — or any other caffeinated drink — helps stimulate your body’s brown fat.
Brown fat is the kind your body likes to burn for heat. (This is different from white fat, which is your body’s storage of unused calories.)
By stimulating brown fat, your metabolism is naturally boosted.
This may actually explain why many people feel WARM after consuming caffeine. That’s your body’s fat-burning processes kicking into high gear!
According to the researchers behind the study, 3 cups a day is the most you should consume.
“Don’t do more,” said one researcher, Dr. Agus. “More isn’t better.”
And of course, I advise you to drink your coffee as plain as possible. Anything you add to your coffee adds calories, and undoes some of the benefits.
If you must drink your coffee sweet and light, I recommend unsweetened almond or coconut milk, and a touch of stevia. Definitely AVOID “dessert” drinks like Frappacinos — those pack on pounds like crazy!
Okay, that’s all the news for today…
In an upcoming newsletter, I’ll reveal another one of my most effective (and easiest) tips to help you reach your goals.
People LOVE this one, so stay tuned!
To Your Health!
The New, Meatier, Beyond Burger
Heads to Grocery Stores Nationwide
The new, MEATIER Beyond Burger With mouthwatering marbling, a meatier taste and texture, and all the juicy, GMO-free deliciousness you loved in the original, this new burger is closer to beef than ever before.
So What’s Different?
Meatier taste and texture that mimics the chew and juiciness of beef
Visible white marbling made from cocoa butter and coconut oil
Combination of pea, mung bean, and rice delivers a complete protein – 20g of protein/patty
As always – made without GMOs, soy, or gluten
Simplified ingredient list
OK Kosher Certified
Cook time has increased to four minutes per side (or until it reaches an internal temp of 165°)
The Washington Post said this about the new Beyond Burger – “[it’s] meatier, juicier, and a big step closer to beef.” Fans should look for the red “Now Even Meatier” tab on the packaging to know the new Beyond Burger has arrived in store near them. The full rollout of the new, meatier Beyond Burger in retail may take a few weeks, so we appreciate your patience!
Beyond Beef is the first plant-based ground meat made without GMOs, soy or gluten to deliver the same culinary versatility, meaty texture and juiciness of traditional ground beef but with 25% less sat fat!
Here’s Buzzfeed thinks… “If you blindfolded me and gave me a taste of real ground beef and the Beyond Meat version, I really don’t think I would have known the difference.”
See below to see the full list of retailers who will be carrying Beyond Beef.
Beyond Elote Burger
Add a burst of flavor to your burger with this season’s hottest ingredient! Recipe here.
Something surprising can happen with your weight during the summer,
since you’re usually more active this time of year —
You’d think you’d be burning more calories — and maintaining or even losing weight.
The truth is, our eating habits change during the summer.
There are more cookouts, picnics, family get-togethers, trips to amusement parks…
Even though you’re burning more calories… you might be shoveling more “coal on the fire” faster than you can burn it off.
So here’s a few simple and helpful hints you can use to stay “food balanced” this summer.
So whenever you get in one of those SITUATIONS, you’ll have a few tricks up your sleeve to help you stay on a healthier track.
- Eat a healthy, light snack before heading to that backyard food-fest. For example, have a hard-boiled egg or some celery sticks and hummus. Yes, I know your aunt’s potato salad recipe is to die for… and your friend’s fried chicken is the best you’ve ever had.
- You’ll be much less likely to go hog-wild at the food table if you’ve already put a little something filling (and healthy) in your belly
- Put your food on a Smaller plate instead of on a dinner plate. That way, it will look like you’ve got a heaping pile of food… without it actually being a heaping pile of calories. And you might be able to sample a little bit of everything — without overdoing anything
- Use mealtime as “chat-up time.” Be an active participant in conversations, you’re eating less! Eating more slowly also allows you to realize you’re full BEFORE you’ve hit the “ready to explode” level. (That’s because it takes up to 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is full.)
- Put down your eating utensils (or that chicken leg) between bites. That can lead to eating faster — and eating more. When you empty your hands between bites, you’re more aware of how much and how fast you’re eating.
- Chew every bite at least 30 times. It will help slow you down so you don’t overeat. And since digestion begins in your mouth, it also eases the load on the rest of your digestive system — and can help you avoid tummy distress later on.
Now, if you keep these simple tricks in mind at your next picnic, backyard barbecue, or day at the beach… you can still enjoy some of your favorite summer treats…
Without coming home with a “souvenir” around your waist.
Go have a great summer!
To Your Health!
HOW TO READ LABELS
Counting calories, macros, carbs etc. can be overwhelming. Learn what to look out for at the supermarket to make the best choices for you and your family.
Decoding the Nutrition Facts panel
Overwhelmed by all those grams, percentages, and hard-to-pronounce words on the ingredient list? You’re not alone. “The Nutrition Facts panel is experts-only stuff, useful just for those who have a degree in nutrition,” observes Adam Drewnowski, PhD. But a few key details are all you need to decide if a food aligns with your healthy eating goals.
Nutrition counselor Caroline Kaufman, RDN, recommends going into the grocery store with a game plan: “Know what you are looking for, so you can quickly scan the label for the most important information,” she says.
We’ll show you what to zero in on.
The serving size listed at the top affects the calories and all the nutrient amounts below. If you tend to eat more than the listed serving size in a single sitting, make sure you do the math to get the right info.
If most of the fat content comes from healthy unsaturated fat, you’re probably good to go. If the fat is mainly saturated and/or the product has any trans fat, put it back on the shelf. Trans fat has been shown to increase levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol while decreasing levels of “good” HDL cholesterol—a double whammy.
Manufacturers are no longer allowed to put trans fats in their products as of June 2018. But foods produced prior to that date are still permitted on store shelves until January 2020.
Don’t be fooled by a label that lists 0 grams (g) trans fat. Because of a labeling loophole, a product can contain up to 0.5g trans fat per serving and say it has none. Check the ingredient list: If it includes partially hydrogenated oil, then there is trans fat in there. Shortening is another source of trans fat.
For many people, this is the first and most important stop on the label. But a higher-calorie food might be worth eating if it also contains lots of nutrients. (More on that to come!)
Vitamins and minerals
The Daily Value is the amount of each nutrient that’s considered sufficient for most healthy adults. A food that contains anywhere from 10% to 19% of the DV is considered a good source of a nutrient.
Excess sodium can raise blood pressure, which increases heart disease risk. A high amount of sodium on a nutrition label may be a sign of a more highly-processed (read: not-so-good-for-you) food, Kaufman says.
Plus, most of us are eating too much sodium. The Daily Value is 2,300 mg, which is equivalent to about 1 teaspoon of salt; and the American Heart Association recommends a limit of just 1,500 mg for most adults. But the average American consumes more than 3,400 mg of sodium a day.
This general guide is helpful for reading nutrition labels: 5% DV for sodium is considered low, while 20% DV or more is considered high.
On many nutrition labels, this number doesn’t distinguish between naturally-occurring sugars (like lactose in milk and fructose in fruit) and added sugar (like high-fructose corn syrup and brown rice syrup). To figure out how much added sugar is in the product, you need to look at the ingredients (see next picture). But fortunately that’s changing: By January 1, 2021, all manufacturers must switch to a new nutrition label that specifically lists grams of sugar added. Large manufacturers must comply by January 1, 2020. And the label is already appearing on many packaged foods.
If added sugar isn’t listed in the nutrition facts, you can look for it in the ingredient list, where it often hides under sneaky aliases. Scan for the words “sweetener,” as in corn sweetener; and “syrup,” as in brown rice syrup or malt syrup. Also watch for words ending in -ose, like “glucose.”
If added sugar is one of the first two ingredients in a product, think twice about bringing it home. Ingredients are ordered by volume, so the higher up on the list an ingredient is, the more of it a product contains. This is an easy way to spot foods that include a lot of added sugar. (Naturally-occurring sugar won’t be listed in the ingredients.)
But this method isn’t foolproof. “Sometimes, manufacturers split up sugar into dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, cane crystals and so on, so none of them are the first ingredient, even though if you added them up, they would be,” explains Walter Willett, MD. “You might consider avoiding any product if there is sugar in more than one form.”
To ID heart-healthy and fiber-rich whole grains, look for the word “whole” before the name of any grain, as in whole wheat. Popcorn, oatmeal, and quinoa are also considered whole grains.
If you see the word “enriched” before a grain, it’s a sign that the grain has been refined, meaning it has been stripped of the germ and bran, which pack most of the grain’s nutrients including fiber.
Look for at least 3g of fiber per serving in any product that contains grains, including bread, crackers, pasta, and even some soups.
True/False question for you:
Q: When it comes to losing weight, all calories are the same.
So, what do YOU think?
Well, it turns out the answer is…FALSE!
That’s because of something called the thermal effect of food, or TEF.
You see, your body uses energy for everything that it does… including breaking down your food.
And some foods are much more difficult to digest…
So your body has to work a lot harder to get the job done — which is great if you’re trying to watch your weight.
Because “working harder” means your basal metabolic rate (BMR) increases — and you burn more calories!
I always recommend you get plenty of protein and fiber.
They’re not just good for you, they help you feel full longer — so you eat less.
Well, guess what:
Researchers have found that whole foods that are high in protein and fiber give you the biggest BMR boost…
And that’s because they make your body work a lot harder to process them — especially compared to processed foods and simple carbs.
So when you eat those protein- and fiber-rich foods, your body burns more calories trying to digest them.
That’s the conclusion reached by researchers in one “sandwich” study.
They began by determining the BMR of a group of volunteers.Then they divided the volunteers into two groups and gave them cheese sandwiches.
The “processed” group got sandwiches made with white bread and processed cheese product…
And the “whole” group got sandwiches made with multigrain bread and cheddar cheese.
The researchers then measured the BMRs of both groups for 6 hours.
A few days later they repeated the experiment, with the groups “switching” sandwiches.
And when the numbers were compared, the results were pretty incredible:
Even though the “processed” and “whole” sandwiches both had 800 calories…
The BMR of the people eating the “whole” food sandwiches was dramatically higher.
In fact, they used up almost 47% MORE energy to digest the “whole” sandwiches!
That means that the NET calories (the sandwich calories that weren’t burned off digesting the sandwich) for the “whole” food were much less than for the “processed” food.
Here’s what that means for YOU:
You can reduce your calories and lose weight — while still enjoying the same foods!
Simply choose whole, fresh foods filled with plenty of protein and fiber…
Instead of processed foods that break down easily — and can end up stored as fat.
When it comes to calories, sometimes 1 does NOT equal 1.
To your Health!
Let me ask you a question: What’s the point of eating? To fill you up and satisfy hunger, right? In other words, the point of eating is to be able to STOP eating.
However, if the food you eat has any of the three items on this checklist, it will have the opposite effect: You’ll eat uncontrollably. And most popular foods out there — including diet foods — have at least two of these damaging items:
Salt makes you ignore fullness and keep eating.
1) Excessive Sodium (Salt)
Want to know how powerful an appetite-booster salty flavor is?
Two hundred years ago, during the Napoleonic Wars, the food supply ran dangerously low for Napoleon’s army. So, the troops were forced to eat horse meat soup… all the time.
To get them to start eating it, the army officers used gunpowder to make it taste salty… and it worked. Before you could say bon appétit, troops were scarfing down gunpowder horse meat soup!
The point is, salt (or salty taste) will make you
eat when you’d normally push the plate away.
That’s why I recommend avoiding a ton of salt in your food. Check your ingredient labels and be mindful of the sodium levels. Some foods have over 800 milligrams!
However, as bad as sodium is, the next item on this checklist is far worse…
Food companies hide hunger-spiking fructose in almost everything you see.
If there’s anything that’ll screw up your body chemistry and make you fat, it’s fructose — the sweet part of sugar.
This nasty compound triggers a reward signal in your brain that tells you, “Keep eating that! MORE MORE MORE!” And then, fructose messes up your hormones so you STAY that hungry all the time.
So, check the ingredients list on your food for any of these words:
- Cane Juice
If you see any of these on the food label, you’re seeing fructose. RUN…
But don’t run to diet foods! They contain something that might be even worse than fructose…
Artificial sweeteners might be even worse than the real thing.
3) Artificial Sweeteners
Common artificial sweeteners include sucralose (Splenda), aspartame (NutraSweet), and saccharin (Sweet ‘n’ Low).
These chemicals trigger the same addictive sweet reward as sugar… PLUS they confuse your body into making you eat more. And that’s only the beginning…
They also screw up a special slimming mechanism in your body that’s supposed to manage your weight for you. (Fructose does this, too, by the way.)
And it’s about time I told you what this mechanism is… and how you can fix it so it starts working overtime to slim your body down fast! It’s called…
Your microbiome is the collection of trillions of microbes — mostly bacteria in your gut — that keep your body healthy.
And these gut bacteria play a key role in your weight: They determine how you process the food that either fuels your body… or makes it fat.
Your gut bacteria help determine your body type. Change them to change your body.
And some bacteria tend to make you skinny… while others tend to make you fat! This was shown in a now-famous study involving multiple pairs of “discordant” human twins — one fat twin, one thin twin.
Scientists took the gut bacteria of the fat twins and those of the thin twins… and implanted them in different sets of microbe-free mice. And guess what happened?
The mice with “thin twin” bacteria stayed thin… and the mice with “fat twin” bacteria got fat!
AND THEN… when they let the “fat twin” mice get a few of the “thin twin” bacteria… those mice became less fat!
All this means is… the more of the “skinny” bacteria you have in your gut, the more likely you’ll have a sleek, slender body. And the more of the “fat” bacteria you have, the more likely you’ll get fat.
And do you know what the “fat” bacteria feed on? Sugar and artificial sweeteners. Eating this stuff makes the fat bacteria take over, stopping you from getting the lean body you want.
That’s why you need to feed your “skinny” bacteria and help them take your gut back from the fat bacteria. Once this “power shift” happens inside you… you’ll most likely be looking at a much slimmer body in the mirror!
To Your Health!
When you’re starting a weight loss journey for better health, one of the keys to success is properly measuring your progress. The usual method of checking progress is by looking at the scales. The problem is, the scales don’t show you the entire picture of your weight loss progress.
There are different ways to measure body fat percentage, with the two most common ways being measuring your actual weight and calculating your body mass index (BMI). It’s important to know how to properly track your weight when you’re on a weight loss program so you can make adjustments as needed and reward yourself accordingly.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
BMI is an assessment of your body weight to your height. It’s a little more complicated than that in terms of the formula that’s used to calculate it. While it’s the quickest way of showing you the ratio between your weight and height, it has limitations. If you have a lot of muscle mass, that can make you appear to have a higher BMI. In other words, it could make you look like you’re obese even if you’re not.
If you’re doing a lot of weight training, your BMI can actually increase as your body fat decreases. Unless you’re going through a massive body-building program, measuring your BMI is a good way to track your progress if you’re doing a general weight loss program.
When it comes to weight, the scales are not a perfect way of measuring your progress. That’s because you can also lose weight as you lose muscles and gain fat. Muscle is actually heavier than fat.
Know that just 10% reduction in your body weight is going to produce enormous benefits because of the fact that this fat, especially abdominal fat, is actively producing things that are affecting our metabolic health.
Tracking your progress by checking your weight or calculating your BMI are acceptable measures of progress if you have started with either of these and you are doing a general weight loss program with resistance training.
However, the gold standard is body fat %percentage and there are lots of different ways to measure it.
Tools to Measure Body Fat % Percentage
Calipers are tools that pinch on your skin to separate the fat tissue from the muscle. They measure the fold of your skin to help you estimate the percentage of body fat. They are used on seven different locations of your body:
- Subscapula or the lower tip of your shoulder blade
- Midaxiallary site or the area below your armpit on the fifth rib
- Suprailiac site or the front of your hips
You then get the average of two to three measurements to estimate the total body fat percentage. Body fat percentage is a valuable way of measuring progress because this is what we need to focus on. If we are able to reduce the level of fat, then we are also getting metabolic benefits.
- DEXA Scan.
DEXA scan or commonly known as bone density scanning is actually used for osteoporosis, but it can also be used to get your body fat percentage. What’s great about DEXA scan is it tells you how fat is distributed in your body in addition to telling you how much body fat you have.
- Hydrostatic Weighing
Hydrostatic weighing is based on Archimedes principle, which says that different densities will have a different buoyancy underwater. Fat may be more buoyant than muscle, so with hydrostatic weighing, they put you under water and weigh you under it.
When they weigh you under water, they can tell how much fat and how much muscle you have and from that they can tell the percentage of body fat you have. This is one of the most effective ways of measuring body fat, and it’s even more effective than DEXA scans.
- Bioelectrical Impedance
Bioelectrical impedance analysis uses scales to measure the rate through which electrical signals travel throughout your body. This rate is used to calculate your body fat percentage.
When using bioelectrical impedance, you need to do it at the same time every day because the results can be influenced by several factors like your food or drink intake.
Progress is Not Just About the Numbers
There are a lot of ways to measure progress, not just your weight or body fat percentage. Don’t forget to add how you feel about how your life is improving. Is the emotional aspect of your life better because you are having more control over some of the emotional decisions that you’re making when it comes to food? Are you learning more about your body, which can be counted as intellectual growth?
Here are other examples of ways to measure your weight loss progress that aren’t based on numbers:
- Pay attention to how you are feeling a week or two after getting off high glycemic foods that have been spiking your blood sugar a lot or quitting addictive foods like dairy and wheat. You can feel ill in the first two weeks, but then after that you will start getting a surge of energy. This is progress.
- If you are able to quit unhealthy food habits like eating junk foods when stressed, which you would normally succumb to prior to your weight loss program, then that is progress as well.
- Sometimes, when we’ve decided to embark on something that improves our lives in such a way that we feel connected to God more than we did before, that is an enormous improvement in our life and it can be another way of seeing progress.
Even if these don’t reflect in your BMI, your weight, or your body fat %, you can still count them as success. You can look at your progress from the different levels that I often talk about in my blogs: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and social. The 5 levels of resistance when starting a health plan are actually the same levels that you can examine if you want to assess your weight loss progress.
When we start assessing our weight loss progress from all these different levels, we can see success in lots of different ways. Eventually, if you’re seeing success in those realms, it often duplicates itself into other parts of your life.
To Your Health!
Here are 5 stretches to reduce low back pain that can help bring back the excitement when Summer traveling comes around!
Purpose: To improve your hips mobility. The more flexible your hips are, the less strain you will have on your back.
- Lay on your back.Place your right ankle over your left thigh and let your right knee fall to the right in the shape of a figure.
- Grab your left thigh with both hands and pull it towards your chest until you feel a stretch in your right buttock.
4. Prayer Stretch
Purpose: To improve the flexibility of your quadratus lumborum and your latissimus dorsi.
1. Start with your knees on the ground.
2. While you reach forward with your hand’s, sit backwards as close to your feet as possible until you feel a stretch across your back.
How Long Should You Hold The Stretch?
Try doing these stretches 2 times a day, once in the morning and once at night. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Take the time to take care of yourself so you can enjoy the summer season pain free with the ones you love.