The ABC’s of CLA

Studies suggest that CLA has many benefits.

Linoleic acid belongs to the omega family of fatty acids, which perform vital functions in the body and are necessary for optimal health and physical condition. The conjugated form of linoleic acid, also known as CLA, is a combination of the different forms in which linoleic acid occurs in nature. It may be beneficial in numerous health conditions, including heart disease and cancer, and may reduce body fat.

Increased Metabolic Rate
CLA assists in the use of body fat as a source of energy, and studies in which animals were fed diets high in CLA resulted in an increase of energy expenditure and a decrease in body fat levels. In addition, CLA appears to prevent the decrease in metabolic rate usually associated with a decrease in caloric consumption. The benefits of CLA for fat-loss are thus twofold, both assisting in the metabolism of stored body fat for fuel and preventing the metabolism from slowing down while on a diet.

Cancer Prevention
CLA may help protect the body from cancer formation and progression. According to Cornell University and the National Academy of Sciences, “…CLA is the only fatty acid shown unequivocally to inhibit carcinogenesis in experimental animals.” CLA is thought to exert this anti-cancer effect by increasing the body’s ability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and D, through regulation of the production and growth of new cells, and through its effects on prostaglandins, which are chemicals that regulate cellular function. Animal studies have shown that small amounts of CLA in a diet can reduce tumors and the chance of tumors by up to 50 percent when compared to animals that do not have CLA in their diet.

Heart-Disease Prevention
Because CLA facilitates the use of stored fat as energy by the body, it may help prevent and treat certain types of heart disease, such as atherosclerosis. According to the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, CLA prevents the deposition of plaque and lipids in arteries, a key factor in the development and progression of heart disease. CLA may also help prevent heart disease by acting as an antioxidant and by lowering blood pressure.

Insulin Resistance
While it is not helpful to anyone that suffers from Type 1 diabetes, otherwise called insulin dependent diabetes, CLA is shown to prevent and improve Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult onset diabetes or insulin resistant diabetes. According to mercola.com, it mimics diabetic drugs, but it is a natural substance rather than a synthetic one.

CLA is found mainly in dairy products and also in red meat, poultry, eggs. Have grass fed beef and organic dairy products to get your CLA. It is important to note that if the CLA is coming from beef, only small amounts are needed for the benefit. Moderation is always the key.

Alkaline for A+ Health

In your body, your pH balance is determined by the amount of acidity and alkalinity present. On a scale from 0 to 14, the goal is to get your pH reading between 6.5 and 7.5. Being highly acidic can cause a number of health issues.

An apple a day can keep the doctor away!

A constant state of acidity in your body makes it more prone to disease. When your body struggles to maintain the relatively tight blood pH required for survival, it can result in inflammation. Over time, this struggle increases the pro-inflammatory blood acid homocysteine in your blood. Studies show high levels of homocysteine in the blood double the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures, along with other inflammatory conditions like heart attack, stroke, fuzzy thinking, and Alzheimer’s disease. Among the many other symptoms of acidic PH in your body include: irritability, increased susceptibility to infections and diseases, general aches, and joint pain.

How to Be More Balanced

Reduce your intake of acidic foods. Conveniently for us, it just so happens that the foods containing alkaline minerals are all the foods we already know are good for us: low sugar foods, fresh alkaline vegetables, nuts, seeds, salads, sea vegetables, water rich foods. And for the foods that contain minerals that have an acidic effect? You guessed it: sweets, alcohol, trans fats, pizza, soda pop, chips, pastas, refined/processed foods. Balance the protein you eat (specifically from meats) with fresh vegetables and fruits. This helps offset acid levels your body creates.

Fruits:
Most fruits are alkaline, but not cooked or canned fruit. Pears, dates, raisins, peaches, apples, lemons, limes, figs, pineapples, raspberries, bananas are just a sampling of high alkaline fruits.

Vegetables:
Raw vegetables contain living enzymes, and most kinds are alkaline.  Have your diet consist mainly of  these great sources: broccoli, baby spinach, lettuce, asparagus, peas, mushrooms, beets, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, avocados, celery, and cucumbers.

Beverages:
Avoid sweet beverages like soft drinks, processed fruit drinks, sugar-laden teas and lattes. Stick with mineral water, green tea, herbal tea and fresh fruit and vegetable juices. You can also add cucumber or lemon slices to any type of water to make it more alkaline.  Water helps boost your body’s alkaline, while flushing out acids.

Healthy Fats:
Avocados are excellent sources of the antioxidant vitamin C, and avocados, nuts and seeds provide the antioxidant vitamin E, as well as heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sprouted alfalfa seeds, almonds, chestnuts and pine nuts are alkaline, while sunflower and pumpkin seeds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios and macadamias are acidic.

The Power of 90 Seconds

By doing my unique 90 second sets, you’ll be able to shrink your workout from the usual 20 to 30 minutes to just three. That’s right. That’s not a typo. My shortest workout lasts just three minutes.  You will gain strength beyond your wildest imagination and shed pounds without amassing bulky muscles. Interested? I thought so. Uncover one of the secrets now.

The Wall Sit

If you have a body, a wall, and a floor, you can do the routine as soon as right now.  Yes, the wall sit works your legs, as you’ll soon find out, but it also firms your abs and back as you press your back into the wall. Again, no moving is necessary; just sit still. Press your back against a wall. Walk your feet away from the wall and then slide your back down the wall until your knees form 90 degree angles. Hold up to 90 seconds. Remember to breathe. Ready? Go! And done already! Time to go shopping, get back to work or read a book. Enjoy your life!

Your 90 Second Workout Begins NOW!

I train many people who tell me they don’t want to work their legs with the wall sit or the leg press because they have bad knees.  To reduce the fear, I suggest a simple movement that I call the Magic Knee. It’s really simple. You sit at the end of the chair and raise one leg until it is parallel to the floor and hold for 60 seconds. Lower that leg then and then raise the other leg.

Because it requires no equipment and no movement, it generates no fear. Go ahead and do one now. Stick a leg out, hold, and see what happens. No pain or discomfort, right? Harder than you expected? Yep, thought you’d say that. The Magic Knee increases circulation to your legs, which relieves the stiffness and soreness. When you are ready, you can then try the wall sit.

Mix, Match and Mood

Don’t be afraid to mix and match. Remember, it all works. You can also challenge yourself with the following tips:

  • Try the wall sit with your baby or toddler in your lap. It will add resistance—making the exercise more effective—and keep your child entertained while you get in your workout. Give your toddler the watch or count down timer to hold as you both keep track of the time together.
  • Add resistance to the wall sit, placing a pile of books in your lap or holding dumbbells in your hands.
  • Sit as long as you can. Three minutes is a great initial goal.
  • Do the wall sit while you watch television. The television will distract you, helping you to hold longer than usual.
  • White walls tend to cause speedy workouts whereas calming blues and greens slow down.
  • Experiment with locations. Try the most brightly lit room. How about while looking outside your largest window?

So, there you have it. Get your 90 Second Workout in right now! You have a wall and a floor. Use them.  And then use the time you save enjoying your life with your strong self!

 

The Powers of Protein

How much muscle did you lose while on that last diet? Too much, probably, according to research showing that dropping pounds could mean losing valuable lean muscle. Dietary protein requirements are usually expressed as 15 to 20 percent of total calorie intake. When someone reduces calories, the amount of protein they eat may drop as a result of decreased overall intake.  A few scientists have even suggested regular dieting could be harmful since muscle is a crucial tissue for so many facets of long-term health.

Dietary protein has long been thought to be the key to protect against dieting-induced muscle loss. Now, a new long-term study from various universities, headed by researchers at the University of Georgia, is confirming that eating higher amounts of quality protein while reducing calories can help maintain muscle mass at the same time as losing weight.

The Persuasive Results

In a 12-month randomized clinical trial, published in Nutrition and Metabolism, 130 middle-aged subjects went through a four-month period of weight loss followed by eight months of weight maintenance. Some were placed on a calorie-reduced diet that were either high-protein (30 percent of intake from protein) or low-protein (15 percent of intake from protein). The two diets were formulated to be equal in total calories, total fat, as well as fiber content. Physical activity was accounted for and found to be similar between the groups.

High Protein Diet = Strong Healthy Muscles

While both groups lost weight, researchers found that more fat relative to lean body mass was lost in the high-protein group compared to the low-protein group. In the low-protein group there was about a 40 percent loss in lean tissue, while only 21 percent and 25 percent was lost in the high-protein group for men and women, respectively.

This study’s results add to evidence that a diet higher in quality protein during calorie restriction helps to retain muscle mass. Because proteins are metabolized in muscle, they have anabolic effects. This means more muscle tissue will be grown and muscles will be repaired faster. The protein content of a meal, especially one high in branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), boosts this reaction.  BCAA is the name given to three of the eight essential amino acids needed to make protein: leucine, isoleucine and valine. The combination of these three essential amino acids makes up approximately one-third of skeletal muscle in the human body.

Where Can I find BCAA’s in food sources?

Typical protein contains 15-20% BCAA and whey protein can have up to 25% BCAA. Out of all of the protein choices, Whey protein has the best BCAA content. Other good sources of BCAA:

  • Leucine – fish; chicken; eggs; lentils; chickpeas; seeds; almonds and cashews
  • Isoleucine – ike beans, brown rice and milk
  • Valine – fish; grains; mushrooms; peanuts; vegetables and cottage cheese.

And yet Protein does even more!

Besides building cells and repairing tissue, they form antibodies, they are part of the enzyme and hormonal system; they build RNA and DNA and they carry oxygen throughout the body. In a study, a group of healthy people received a single intravenous infusion of these amino acids, the amount of tissue breakdown that normally occurs overnight decreased by 50 percent. In another study, the muscles of a group of marathoners and cross-country runners were spared completely with a daily dose of them.

Today’s lesson was brought to you by the letter P.  Protein packs a powerful punch of health! For a lifetime of muscular strength and overall wellbeing, seek a protein rich diet with BCAA’s.

Simplify Your Eating

Tired of counting the carbs, calories, points and following tedious diet plans? Who wouldn’t be? Diets eliminating an entire food group (such as carbohydrates) and not using the full spectrum of food groups are difficult to follow and make you feel denied of food. That likely leads to a slip. There is good news: you can simplify your eating (and your life) and get results.  No prolonged hunger, no need to follow a set menu plan or count anything.  Just follow my four simple rules.

1. Eat Real Food: There is an abundance of delicious real food out there to choose from. Think of things that are naturally grown: fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat, fish. You will automatically consume the right number of calories and nutrients for your optimal health. Get rid of those artificial boxes chock full of additives and preservatives. See all those artificial flavorings and words you’ve never seen before? Mother nature did not make that, scientists did in a lab! By eating real foods, you will be speeding up your metabolism, reduce cravings and feel full longer.  Real foods spoil. Look at the label and stay away from these big no-no’s:
  • Trans fats: If you see the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated,” the product contains trans fats. It’s a fake food. Don’t buy it.
  • Artificial colors and flavors: Many foods experts believe that many of these artificial colors and flavors contribute to cancer and overall body aging.
  • Salt: Excessive salt consumption may raise blood pressure and contribute to stomach cancer. Read any label from any packaged food. Salt is one of the first ingredients.
  • Added sugar: Sweeteners from sugar cane and corn (called high fructose corn syrup) have found their way into nearly every packaged food you’ll find at the supermarket, even foods that you probably don’t think of as sweet. They not only add unnecessary calories, but also contribute to insulin and blood sugar problems.

Go for whole foods, especially vegetables (see Rule #2), first. Flour foods should be what you eat if you are still hungry after having vegetables and protein. Whenever you choose foods made from flour, make them as whole as possible (made from whole wheat, oats, or another whole grain).

Fruit is Mother Nature’s answer to a sweet tooth.

2. Fruits and Veggies First: These are nature’s powerhouse foods. Rich in nutrients and relatively low in calories. If at every meal and snack, you turn to these foods first, immediately you will be consuming the right amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, nutrients- without counting a single thing! At every meal and snack, ask yourself, “How can I add more vegetables and legumes?” Add veggies and beans to omelets. Have a huge salad every day for lunch or dinner. Add them to soup. The more local your produce, the faster it goes from ground to plate, and the fewer nutrients it loses in transit.

3. Drink Real Beverages:   Wine, coffee, water. You’ll get a lot more satisfaction from chewing your calories than from drinking them. Switch to water. If you don’t like the taste of water, then try the following options: Squeeze lemon or lime into your water; Drink iced green, black, or herbal tea; Mix a very small amount (no more than 1 ounce) of 100 percent fruit juice into your water.

4. Limit Red Meat: Researchers have linked daily consumption (2 or more ounces) of
beef, lamb or pork with an increased risk of disease. Eat red meat no more than twice a
week. If you love red meat, designate one night a week as “red meat night” and follow
these tips:

Make sure any cured meat you purchase is “nitrate free” and red meat “hormone free.”

  • Eat only lean cuts of red meat. The leanest cuts are the round, loin, and sirloin for beef, the tenderloin for pork, and the leg, loin roast, and chops for lamb.
  • Cook red meat medium or medium rare to reduce levels of toxins that proliferate when foods are heated. Braising is even better. Avoid grilling, searing or broiling, as these cooking methods generate carcinogens in the meat.

That’s how you’ll eat for optimal health.  By choosing nutrient-rich foods, you can build a healthier life and start down a path of health and wellness. Small steps can help you create healthy habits that will benefit your health now and for the rest of your life.