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Keeping it Low Carb: Shop and Eat Economically

While there is no doubt that a box of pasta can be purchased for less than a pound of ground meat. If you look more closely there may be more to the cost than meets the eye.  My line of thinking has always been off the beaten path so bear with me, because my thoughts do make sense.

If you eat a portion of pasta or a 16 oz. box of pasta ($.88-1.00 sale of the week), it might seem to cost less than a package of chicken thighs but the cost difference may not be a big as you think.

How might pasta end up costing almost the same amount as meat?

For one reason, few of us eat pasta plain, so you must factor in the cost of additional foods such as oil or tomato sauce and maybe even factor in veggies. By the way, I am not a big fan of eating pasta and oil or butter because as I mention in my book, The Stubborn Fat Fix, combining high amounts of carbohydrates with high amounts of fat is one of the most important contributors to the obesity epidemic.   You must walk a fine line (tightrope) when you start combining fats and starches/carbohydrates.

Another reason is that pasta alone is not filling. Trust me when I tell you after eating a big bowl of cheap and fat free pasta that contains nothing but sugar/carbs it is highly likely you will crave more and eat more.  The cost of the what you eat as your “crave” meal should be accounted for in the pasta cost analysis.  Bottom line: you are going to get hungry after that pasta and end up eating at least twice as much, maybe more.

Why? Any carb load ( pasta, rice etc..) produces a huge glucose load which your pancreas will try to balance with insulin resulting in a dive in blood sugar dive.

On the other hand, eating protein seasoned with pepper, oregano, curry or any herb/spice, that will satisfy and sustain your belly and stave off any craving will only cost as much as you eat for that meal. See the chart below.

Are you a smart shopper? You might be surprised that the cost of weight loss, maintaining your weight or even your health when eating low carb foods is not as expensive as you think.

Start by speaking with the store manager about which days the store reduce prices on any meat. Look for meat marked “sale” or “managers’ specials”. I found Cornish hen on sale for a dollar in New London, Ct., http://www.shoprite.com/pd/Perdue/Cornish-Game-Hens/1-each/270900000008/, just the same price as a box of pasta! Many times if the date on the package of food is expiring within a day, it will have a great price. Buy it and cook it the same day or freeze it.

Here is a list of protein foods that will help keep expenses down while still doing the right thing for yourself.

10 Low Cost Low Carb Protein Sources

  1. Canned tuna
  2. Canned salmon
  3. Eggs
  4. Chicken
  5. Turkey
  6. Ground meat
  7. Hot dogs
  8. Peanut butter
  9. Cottage cheese
  10. Bacon

Any meat on sale will do.

EATING ECONOMICALLY

ITEM AMOUNT COST/LB    
Perdue Cornish Game Hen

 

1.5 LB $2.98    
Perdue Chicken Thighs – 5 ct

 

2 LB $3.98    
Nature’s Promise Chicken Thighs Antibiotic Free Natural 1.7 LB

 

$3.83    
Nature’s Promise Beef Ground 85% Lean Natural

 

1 LB $3.99    
Nature’s Promise Beef Ground 75% Lean Natural

 

1 LB $2.99    
Nature’s Promise Beef Ground 85% Lean Natural

(on sale)

1 LB $3.99    

* Please note a pound is 16 oz. Therefore these costs can easily be divided into 2-4 servings based on your appetite.

If anyone has any low carb eating ideas to share, please help us out. I would love to add more helpful hints to this list.

 

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Three Undeniable Benefits of Kicking Carbs to the Curb

Carbohydrates are not evil! Most sources of carbohydrates that most people eat are processed (cereal, bagels/bread, yogurt, pasta)and add no value to you. Carbohydrates from low-calorie veggies/fruits, nuts and seeds are filled with nutrients that keep you healthy and looking good.

Kick unhealthy carbohydrates to the curb but swap them for healthier versions of carbohydrates. Get “nutritional bang” for ” for your calorie buck!

The 3 strongest arguments for cutting unhealthy carbohydrates and substituting healthy carbs are:

  1. Substituting starch with high phytonutrient non starchy veggies contributes to better health.

Phytonutrients are nutrients provided by a plant through its color or pigment, http://health.mo.gov/living/families/wic/wiclwp/pdf/phytonutrientsposter.pdf,  and they have been found to stave off disease (cancer, heart disease…), slow aging and support good health. More than 100,000 phytonutrients are found in colorful fruits and vegetables. They are both fat and water soluble. So in order to absorb then you must eat fat and non-fat foods.

When you swap commercially prepared bread, pretzels, processed rice… for plant foods you fuel your body with an artillery of carbohydrate filled phytonutrients that boost body systems to function at peak performance reducing the chance of health issues. A few examples of phytonutrients and their colors:

·         Lycopenes, ellagic acid, quercetin, hesperidin, anthocyanidins are red so eating tomatoes, red onion, watermelon, pink grapefruit or cherries promote heart health, urinary tract health and can protect memory.

·         Carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene), beta cryptoxanthin, lutein/zeaxanthin, hesperidin are orange/yellow and help maintain healthy eyes and skin and protect against cancer and heart disease, eat these carbohydrate foods: carrots, winter squash, yellow & orange bell peppers, pumpkin, cantaloupe and tumeric/curry.

·         EGCG, allicin, quercetin, indoles, glucosinolates compounds are white/tan eat onions, cauliflower, tea, turnips and garlic to help boost the immune system and support heart health.

·         Lutein/zeaxanthin, isoflavones, EGCG, indoles, isothiocyanates, sulphoraphane from greens like Spinach, kale, Collards Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy work to detox the body and slow cell damage, lower oxidative stress and inflammation. Eating these green carbohydrates can help ward off cancer and all types of illnesses.

·         Anthocyanidins, resveratrol, phenolics, flavonoids  are antioxidant powerhouses that help neutralize free radicals which contribute to aging and many disease conditions. Choose these carbohydrate foods from the blue and purple group: berries, eggplant and plums.

  1. Slashing calories and carbs by using veggies in place of starches is calorically economical and can help in weight management.

A serving of bread or starch (if you read the label, any given product may contain more) contains 80-100 calories and 12-15 grams of carbohydrate. A serving of non-starchy vegetables is  < 25 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates. Simple math gives you the answer. Reduce the starch and bread and cut calories by 75% and lower carbs by two thirds.

  1. Making changes to your food keeps things interesting. Tantalize your tongue when you are happy and satisfied you are less likely to cheat on your nutrition plan. Try these recipes:
  • Paleo Zucchini Tortillas:

http://beautyandthefoodie.com/paleo-zucchini-tortillas/

  • Cauliflower fried rice:

http://www.paleocupboard.com/cauliflower-fried-rice.html

  • Zucchini chips:

http://www.tablefortwoblog.com/zucchini-chips/

  • Don’t feel like cooking? try spicy pumpkin seeds:

http://www.amazon.com/Eden-Organic-Pumpkin-Roasted-Pocket/dp/B00HZO4X1G/ref=sr_1_4?                i.e.=UTF8&qid=1439868333&sr=8-4&keywords=eden+foods+pumpkin+seeds

  • Desserts? Try these:

http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/low-carb-dessert-recipes.html

So now, what is stopping you from optimal nutrition and kicking unnecessary carbs to the curb?

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Carbohydrate Cascade into Depression

Image result for images depression

 

Regardless of what you may have heard about sugar and its ill effects on weight and health, there is undeniable and surmounting evidence that carbohydrates are just as bad. And that should not be so hard to understand, as 100% of carbohydrates turn into sugar once consumed. Now I am not demonizing ALL carbs. Natural, non-processed carbohydrates from lower carbohydrate foods like green leafy and salad vegetables, nuts/seeds, low glycemic fruits… can be used to add flavor, variety and antioxidants/phytonutrients to fuel your body.

There is a lot of attention surrounding the benefits of low carbohydrate diets and the philosophy that eating high amounts of blood sugar affecting carbohydrates can increase physical risk factors for heart disease, metabolic syndrome and blood sugar disorders such as diabetes, low blood sugar and PCOS is heavily weighted in the literature. Now, this recent study brings attention to the mental/emotional risk of eating high glycemic carbohydrates.

According to an observational study appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2015, high glycemic carbohydrates increases the risk of depression (James Gangwisch, PhD from the department of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center co-authored, “High Glycemic Index Diet as a Risk Factor for Depression: Analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative”). The authors believe it opens the possibility for dietary interventions to treat or prevent depression. While this seems exciting and sheds light on an important topic, this is not the first study of its kind.

Back in 2013, Another study conducted by Michel Lucas, Ph.D., from the Harvard School of Public Health, followed close to 44,000 women (who had no history of depression ) over 12 years to identify a link between carbohydrates and depression. He found that carbohydrate foods such as pasta, bagel, soda and rice are “inflammation linked” (associated with blood inflammation markers: C-reactive protein, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor α receptor 2). The results showed that women who ate more carbs or the most inflammation-linked foods had up to a 41 percent higher risk of developing depression when compared with women who ate the lowest amount of inflammation-linked foods. Margarine (trans fat) and meat were listed too. It is important to note that butter was not associated with higher inflammation and that it is true that meat will cause inflammation when consumed with high amounts of carbohydrates. When carbohydrates are low, this is not the case.

The authors believe the carbohydrates trigger a hormonal cascade that tells the body to reduce blood sugar levels, thereby leading to fatigue, mood changes and depressive symptoms. High glycemic carbohydrate laden foods that are considered low or non-fat and healthy are NOT! Potatoes, fruited yogurt (yes even if it is organic) and grapes are good examples.

Grapes do contain the highly potent antioxidant resveratrol but the calories are 100% sugar. Eating a couple of grapes as part of a snack may not be so bad but most people eat too many. In fact, if you read articles on the internet you may think it is healthy to eat a 100 calorie serving of grapes (1 cup) because it contains “fiber, vitamins C and K”. When in fact, there is only 1 gram of fiber in a cup of grapes and 27 grams of carbohydrates of which 23 are sugar that raises blood sugar and triglycerides, helps contribute to aging via the creation of Advanced Glycation Endproducts  (http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/114/6/597.long), and according to this new research affects hormones  that have the potential to send you into a downward spiral of depression.

It is difficult to change the way you think, to change what you believe but in this case, change may help you live a better life. Change the way you think about food and eating from calorie/fat phobic to a focus on physical and mental satisfaction.

 

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3 Ways Eating Fat Increases Longevity

Clear your mind of “fat-free”, “low-fat” eating and you will live a long healthy life. It is not easy to overcome the low-fat brainwashing we have endured over all these years but it is a necessity for optimal weight, wellness and longevity.

Understanding the causative link between insulin and aging, metabolic health risk factors and weight and their connection with carbohydrates is a much more solid theory utilize than the eat less fat and calories and lose weight for weight loss and better health theory. The calorie theory is a simple math equation that when applied on a piece of paper: weight loss equals fewer calories consumed and more calories burned, seems logical. But, the math is too simplistic for it to hold much value in a complex body system for every unique individual with consideration to a variety of different environmental factors.

Food is in fact a fuel that has so much more value than just providing calories. The value food brings to us goes way beyond the calorie: hormonal fluctuations, cellular damage or regeneration, gut flora, muscle growth and much more.  Therefore, what you put in your mouth has a profound effect on muscle, appetite, digestion, hormones, mental focus and most importantly on quality of life and this is brought to another level as every nutrient is effected by its capacity to be metabolized and absorbed. Food is essential to life and body function, not just providing energy through calories, fat, protein and carbohydrates.

According to Dr. Mercola, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/02/ketogenic-diet-health-benefits.aspx, after all these years of shunning fat and the creation of fat phobia, we are learning that fat may work to improve aging markers and extend life through:

  1. Genetics:” In a report published in the August 2013 issue of Cell Reports, scientists discovered that the “mTOR gene” is a significant regulator of the aging process that includesinsulin signaling, cellular metabolism and energy balance —in mice.”
  1. Clinical aging markers: for heart health, appetite regulation and weight.

 Markers of aging were monitored after volunteers  consumed a high fat, low carbohydrate  diet in  2010. “Serum leptin decreased by an average of eight percent, insulin by 48 percent, fasting glucose by 40 percent, triglycerides by nearly eight percent, and free T3 (thyroid hormone) by almost six percent.”

“In fact there is a video of Dr. Peter Attia (a Stanford University trained physician) who used a ketogenic diet to help improve his own health despite a” healthy” lifestyle (what he thought was “eating healthy” and consistent physical activity). For 10 years (long term results), Attia followed an extreme ketogenic diet,  80 percent of his calories came from fat which included lots of coconut oil, grass-pastured butter, organic pastured eggs, avocado, and raw nuts; moderate amounts of protein and only 5 grams of sugar a day.  His approach, proved that a ketogenic diet can make profound improvements in health risk factors, see the chart below.”  An MRI also confirmed that he had lost both body fat and visceral fat (fat found around internal organs associated with greater health risks).”

BEFORE AFTER
Fasting blood sugar 100 75-95
Percentage body fat 25 10
Waist circumference in inches 40 31
Blood pressure 130/85 110/70
LDL 113 88
HDL 31 67
Triglycerides 152 22
Insulin sensitivity Increased by more than 400 percent
  1. Calorie Reduction:

Yes, research has shown that calorie restricted starvation diets can act as an anti-aging strategy by lowering oxidative stress, and insulin levels. High insulin levels contribute to health conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and accelerated aging. The problem with restricting calories is that there is inadequate fuel to nourish your body and it is difficult to function when all you can think about is the food you cannot eat.

Interestingly enough, high fat ketogenic diets can result in the same benefits without having to starve. Lowering carbs to 30-50 grams (fakes the body into thinking it is starving when in fact it is being nourished with nutrient dense foods) will lower insulin and produce similar effects on health markers to help slow down the aging process and improve health.

Afraid to eat fat? I hope not after reading this information. Do you want to improve your quality of life? Eat fat because it does not affect hormones or health in a negative way and will help keep your appetite controlled while supporting an anti-aging process. Eat fat! Foods that are high in fat like steak, lamb, seeds/nuts, avocado, butter, coconut etc…because it tastes good, helps to lower insulin and will help provide greater longevity.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2015 in antiaging

 

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Top Five “Fat” Superfoods: Chia seeds

chia seed recipe with zucchini

Photo: http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2011/12/16/chia-seeds-recipe/

The word for “strength” in Mayan is chia and certainly it is a fair description of this seed; as chia is a powerhouse when it comes to the nutrition bundle it delivers.

It is surely a “fat” superfood as most of its calories comes from fat. The healthy fat ratio omega-3 to omega-6 (3:1) helps to bring back fatty acid balance from overeating too many omega-6 fats like vegetable, corn and soy oils.

Chia contains carbohydrates but almost all of its carbs are fiber. It contains protein, some B vitamins, minerals (calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc) and an abundance of antioxidants (chlorogenic and caffeic acids, myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol,  flavonols…).

The Antioxidants in chia help counteract free radical damage to cells in the body.  Antioxidants help promote good health on the cellular level and protect the cell from aging, cancer, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and exercise induced free radical damage, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24811150. If you are interested in learning more about antioxidants and free radicals, there is a simple explanation here, http://greatist.com/health/what-are-antioxidants.

Data on improving actual exercise performance and chia is a little controversial as a study published by David Neiman suggests, “No Positive Influence of Ingesting Chia Seed on Human Running Performance”. However on a health note, a single-blind crossover study using chia and wheat bran were studied. Clinical health labs were monitored in twenty volunteers with diabetes for 12 weeks (authored by V. Vuksan, Dana Whitham, John L Sievenpiper, et al., appearing in Diabetes Care, http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2007/08/08/dc07-1144). Chia seed significantly lowered blood pressure, hemoglobin A1C ( A three month measure of blood sugar.), fibrinogen (A protein that helps stop bleeding by helping blood clots to form.), CRP (C-reactive protein, CRP, produced by the liver it increases in the presence of inflammation in the body), vonWillebrand factor (vWF is a blood glycoprotein involved in a large number of blood clotting diseases). There were no negative effects found in the liver, kidney or blood.

The other nutrients such as fiber, omega 3 and calcium/magnesium/phosphorous…all contribute to supporting the gut, heart, bone health, strengthening the immune system and controlling inflammation.

So ch-ch-ch chia is super food number five and its not just because I can’t get the CH, CH, CH Chia song out of my head!

For about the same amount of energy as that in a 100 calorie snack pack chia may help keep your health in check. No matter what the reason, adding an ounce of chia to your meals or snacks can be simple and convenient.

If you are interested in adding chia seeds to your diet, try topping these foods off with a chia boost: Greek yogurt, smoothies and shakes, salads, cottage cheese, soup, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches or oatmeal.

You can also incorporate chia into a favorite recipe:

Chia seeds can also be purchased in powder form, if you prefer.

Looking for a change in your diet that will blast nutrition and wellness into your food plan, consider these five “fat” superfoods:

  1. CHIA
  2. COCOA
  3. BONE MARROW
  4. COCONUT
  5. AVOCADO
 
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Posted by on July 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Top Five “Fat” Superfoods: Cocoa

The next food on my list earned its spot for three main reasons. It has been found to improve mood, memory and medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Superfood # 4 is Cocoa!

Cocoa contributes to a calming feeling because of its effect on serotonin but is also contains Phenylethylamine (a body chemical or neurotransmitter) and theobromine (an alkaloid, http://www.phytochemicals.info/phytochemicals/theobromine.php) which can produce a stimulating euphoric effect, and is considered a mood enhancer.

The ability of cocoa to boost memory was tested in a small clinical trial where 90 older individuals consumed 48 mg, 520 mg  994 mg of cocoa flavanols (CF) for 8 weeks.  Cognitive function was assessed at baseline and after 8 wk and it was found to “reduce some measures of age-related cognitive dysfunction, possibly through an improvement in insulin sensitivity”, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25733639.

Metabolic and heart health are also improved with cocoa consumption. Research has shown bacteria in the gut ferments both the antioxidants and the fiber in cocoa to produce anti-inflammatory compounds that improve blood vessel function, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-is-dark-chocolate-good-for-you-thank-your-microbes/, in addition to the heart benefits of lowering blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, raising HDL, improving  type 2 diabetes and insulin sensitivity. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23870648.

Not many realize just how power packed cocoa is yet findings from Cornell University has shown cocoa has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine, and up to three times the antioxidants found in green tea. It also contains magnesium, iron, chromium, vitamin C, zinc and other micronutrients.

Taste is an added bonus making chocolate that is higher in cocoa (85% or higher) and is minimally processed is sinful and healthy making it perfect addition to the list!

Why is the percentage of cocoa important?  Because the higher the percentage of cacao, the lesser amounts of other unhealthy ingredients such as sugar and milk solids. The goal is to get as close to 100% cocoa as possible and avoid Dutch processing (cocoa that is treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity). You will notice with lower amounts of unhealthy ingredients, healthy chocolate contains more cocoa, more fiber and more fat.

Fat absolutely does not detract from the health value of chocolate. The type of fat found in cocoa butter is unlikely to clog arteries.  Most of that fat in cocoa butter contains the same monounsaturated fat as olive oil, oleic acid (known for supporting good heart-healthy) and stearic (a saturated fat)  that has a neutral effect on cholesterol.

There are many brands of chocolate on the market. Selecting one that tastes good and fits the “healthy’ criteria mentioned above. Try these, it’s a good place to start:

  1. >90% Cocoa Lindt
  2. Vivani 85% Cocoa
  3. Endangered Species 88% Cocoa (one serving is 17 g of carbs so only do <1/3 of a bar)

It is important to keep in mind that just because chocolate is dark does not mean it is healthy. Read the labels on any product you purchase. Focus on the ingredients section to know what it is you are exactly eating.

Dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa is the perfect “guiltless” pleasure. So if you love chocolate, eat it! There is absolutely no reason not to indulge.

 

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Top Five “Fat” Superfoods: Bone Marrow

credit:Roasted Bone Marrow with Ox Tail, Parsley Salad and Toasted Brioche Recipes | Food Network Canada

My superfood list is a list that is made so that each listed food is used to help improve nutrient density in its totality. One food alone does not make a nutrient dense diet no matter how rich in nutrients it is. So think of this list as way to constantly rotate a variety of foods into your daily eating regimen to expand on the variety of nutrients you consume. Nutrients should include those that are part of metabolic, enzymatic and other processes not just those that provide caloric density. One “superfood” consumed all the time will not trump a diet that is rich in many “superfoods”.

Consider incorporating each of these super fat foods and others as part of your eating plan to optimize your health on many different levels on the inside and to nourish your skin on the outside. Maintaining well rounded body function for health and to minimize the aging process are the reasons for my list and why I picked the next superfood on my list.

Superfood #3 is Bone Marrow

Bone marrow is a fatty substance, yellow and red in color, found in the core of animal bones. It is composed of fat and other nutrients that support its addition to my super food list: proline (glutamine) and glycine, iron, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin A, type I, II and III collagen as well as additional nutrients that may contribute to helping:

  • Stimulate collagen production to possibly help reduce cellulite and wrinkles
  • Support digestive health and leaky gut repair
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Aid in muscle building
  • Promote wound healing
  • Detox the liver
  • Boost brain function/memory
  • Assist with improved sleep

I was not able to find clinical studies on the specific effects of eating bone marrow and its health benefits but that does not mean benefits do not exist. It just means science and research will need to play “catch-up” with what people are already doing (the Atkins diet is an example of this). I also don’t want to be misunderstood with my thoughts on eating foods like bone marrow and any “miraculous” effects on health.

So it is important to mention that although collagen is found in bone marrow we don’t know that collagen for example will raise collagen levels and minimize wrinkles. The body is a complex system and the mere fact that bone marrow contains collagen and you eat it does not mean it will work to build body collagen to help “erase” wrinkles. The system may be much more complex than that and this is what research will hopefully answer for us in the future.

We are just beginning to understand the benefits of this relatively new “re” found food. I say this because bone broth is a food that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

What I do know is that I use it with my patients and most have an improved sense of well-being and improvements in some of the ailments mentioned above without reports of any negative side effects.

So if you think that bone marrow might help and you do not want to wait until researchers can “catch up” then it might be worth a try.

If you add bone marrow to your diet buy grass-fed, organic, free-range… healthier meats because toxins can be stored in the fat.  Consider trying these recipes, it can’t hurt and it might even help improve your health.

http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/broth-is-beautiful/

http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/bone-marrow/

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/bone-marrow-recipe/#axzz1x1OABrBf

 
 

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