Weight Loss

Stevia Side Effects: Good or Bad?

Stevia Good or BadI’ve been fielding a lot of questions about stevia lately and have seen several articles and  other sources online claiming that there may be some negative stevia side effects.

Isn’t stevia an herb? And aren’t herbs supposed to be good for us? If so, then why all the fuss?

I’m going to answer all of your questions in this article and lay out for you both the good and the bad about how stevia affects your health.

What is Stevia Really?

Stevia is an herbal plant and there are approximately 200+ species of stevia that grow in South America.

What makes stevia leaves sweet are two glycosides – stevioside and rebaudioside.  Stevioside is sweet but also has a bitter aftertaste that many complain about when using stevia while rebaudioside is better tasting, sweet and less bitter.

Most “raw” and less processed stevia products contain both sweeteners where most highly processed forms of stevia, like Truvia, only contain the rebaudioside; the sweetest part of the stevia leaf.

As you’re about to see in the research, using the “whole” stevia leaf that also contains stevioside has some great health benefits, but using certain brands of stevia that have been processed and added to is not a good option.

Not All Stevia Is Created Equal!

Here is what you need to know about the various brands of stevia.  There are three main categories that you need to be aware of.

1. Green Leaf Stevia – This is the least processed of all types of stevia and the leaves have basically been dried and ground into powder form.  This is the type of stevia that has been used in Japan and South America for centuries as a natural sweetener and health remedy.  This stevia is sweet, slightly bitter and isn’t quite as potent as most stevia products.  This type of stevia is about 30-40 times sweeter than sugar.

This is the type of stevia that I believe is the best option, but still should be used in moderation.

2. Stevia Extracts – Some brands of stevia today extract the sweeter and less bitter part of the stevia leaf (rebaudioside) which doesn’t have the health benefits found in stevioside.  This type of stevia may be a better option than other regular sweeteners but there aren’t many studies available yet showing it’s effects.

This type of stevia is about 200 times sweeter than sugar.

3. Altered Stevia and Truvia – This is the type of stevia that you want to stay away from and in reality isn’t stevia at all.  The problem with these stevia products is the processing and added ingredients.

According to the United States patent for the Coca-Cola Company, Truvia goes through a 42 step process to make this processed sweetener.  First, the rebaudioside is extracted from the stevia leaf then, chemical solvents are added including acetonitrile which is toxic to the liver and is a carcinogen.  They then add in a GMO corn derivative in erythritol.

Truvia or rebaudioside stevia products are about 400 times sweeter than sugar.

Also, many other stevia products contain additives such as sugar and dextrose that come from genetically engineered corn.

This point cannot be stressed enough: not all stevia products are created equal. There is a HUGE difference between consuming real stevia and the chemically processed Truvia.

Stevia Process

Stevia Research

Regarding the good stuff, we have found that there are several studies (322 to be exact!) evaluating stevia’s ability to be used as a remedy.

Overall, it is generally accepted that this tasty herb can support blood sugar, weight loss and most recently even cancer. The benefits of stevia are actually two-fold:

  1. There are medicinal properties in the plant itself that lend to healing.
  2. People using stevia instead of white sugar are omitting one of the primary causes of most illnesses including diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer and are, therefore, infinitely less likely to get sick.

Here are just a few of the more promising studies:

Two years ago, Nutrition and Cancer highlighted a groundbreaking study that, for the first time ever, connected stevia consumption to breast cancer reduction. It was observed that stevioside, enhances cancer apoptosis (cell death) and decreases certain stress pathways in the body that contribute to cancer growth.

This spring journal Food Chemistry published a study out of Croatia showing that when stevia is added to natural colon cancer killing mixtures such as blackberry leaf, antioxidant levels soar.

An article published in Journal of Dietary Supplements this April recently evaluated how stevia affects diabetic rats. It was discovered that rats treated with 250 and 500 mg/kg every day “significantly” reduced fasting blood sugar levels and balanced insulin resistance, triglycerides and alkaline phosphatase (which is raised in cancer patients).

Other studies have also found that stevia may help improve cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

On the negative side of things, there is one study that indicates consuming stevia in very large amounts could effect hormones because its glycosides have a similar structure to plant hormones such as gibberellin.  But many herbs including ginkgo biloba also have this and if consumed in moderation is a non issue.  Also, follow up studies have found that stevia has no effect on hormones.

Best Natural Sweeteners (Ranked)

Most people do well with stevia, but listen to your body because stevia is an herb and everyone’s body may react differently to it. If you can’t get over its savory (almost tangy) flavor, however, some other natural sweeteners you may want to try are:

1. Raw local honey – In my opinion, is the healthiest, (and therefore) best natural sweetener. The health benefits of honey are absolutely amazing. I’ve conducted a thorough review of the scientific literature out there and have discovered that honey has many medicinal benefits.

My ultimate favorite way to use honey is to help prevent seasonal allergies and by mixing it with some organic, ground cinnamon.

2. Dates – The second healthiest sweeter. My favorite avocado chocolate mousse recipe uses dates and I wouldn’t change this up for anything!

3. Stevia Leaf – When buying stevia, green stevia is the best option. Remember, buy stevia without additives and that has been less processed.

If you are looking for a good brand of stevia that tastes great and you can find it in any health food store, try Sweet Leaf Stevia.

If you want to try green stevia powder I recommend Organic Traditions. 

4. Coconut nectar – The sap from coconut tree blossoms has become one of my favorite sweeteners. Relatively new on the American market, islanders have been enjoying it for centuries. It has the consistency of honey at room temperature and is an abundant source of minerals, 17 amino acids and broad-spectrum B vitamins. The best part about it is that the sap is not processed. Au naturel!

At the end of the day, no sweetener is perfect, but some are definitely better than others.  Remember this, ALL sweeteners should be used in moderation and in certain instances should be eliminated for a time.

Final Thoughts:

As more companies use stevia or some synthetic version of it in their products, you’re probably going to hear more negative press about it.

Make sure that you choose a good brand that includes no harmful fillers, use it only in small amounts, and listen to your body.

What do you think of stevia – Love it?  Hate it?  Have you used it?

 

References:

  • Robbins O. The dark side of cola-cola’s healthy brands. [Internet]. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ocean-robbins/the-dark-side-of-cocacola_b_4385446.html
  • Paul S, et al. Stevioside induced ROS-mediated apoptosis through mitochondrial pathway in human breast cancer cell line MCF-7. Nutr Cancer 2012; 64(7):1087-94.
  • Akbarzadeh S, et al. The Effect of Stevia Rebaudiana on Serum Omentin and Visfatin Level in STZ-Induced Diabetic Rats. J Diet Suppl 2014. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Komes D, et al. Formulating blackberry leaf mixtures for preparation of infusions with plant derived sources of sweeteners. Food Chem 2014; (15)151:385-93.
  • Melis MS Effects of chronic administration of Stevia rebaudiana on fertility in rats Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1999 Nov 67(2): 157-161.
Continue Reading »

20 Unique Apple Cider Vinegar Uses and Remedies

Apple cider vinegar is one of my top two natural remedies that I use every day along with coconut oil.  I recommend it to my patients and take it personally for several reasons including detoxification, improved digestion and for a quick burst of energy.

Also, I use it for personal care reasons like conditioning my hair, whitening my teeth and as a household cleaner.

New medical research also suggests that apple cider vinegar can help cure acid reflux, lower blood pressure, improve diabetes, and support weight loss.  The benefits of apple cider vinegar come from it’s powerful healing compounds which include acetic acid, potassium, magnesium, probiotics and enzymes.

Make sure when buying apple cider vinegar you buy it raw and with the “mother” which means it still contains the beneficial compounds including probiotics.

Here are the top 20 reasons you should be using apple cider vinegar everyday!

Apple Cider Vinegar Infographic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Detox Your Body

Apple cider vinegar is a liver and lymphatic tonic which can help detox your body.  It helps balance your body’s pH and stimulates cardiovascular stimulation, bowel motility and lymphatic drainage.  For this reason it’s one of my key ingredients in the Dr. Axe Secret Detox Drink.

2. Natural Conditioner to Make Hair Shine

ACV can be used as a natural hair conditioner and makes your hair shine!  Take an old shampoo bottle, then fill it will 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of water.  Pour this on your hair after shampooing three times per week for best results.

3. Natural Teeth Whitener

Take finger and rub apple cider vinegar on your teeth for 1 minute.  Then rinse mouth out with water.  The pH of apple cider vinegar can remove stains from your teeth which helps naturally whiten.

4. Can Cure Acid Reflux and Heartburn

Some of the main causes of acid reflux and heartburn are an imbalanced stomach pH and lack of enzymes and probiotics.  Apple cider vinegar is full of all of these nutrients. Adding 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar to a cup of water and drinking it five minutes before meals can cure acid reflux.

5. Can Kill Candida (Yeast) and Boost Probiotics

Millions of people around the world struggle with candida and yeast.  The side effects can be bad breath, lack of energy, UTI’s and digestive issues.  ACV contains probiotics and a type of acid that promotes the growth of probiotics which help kill off candida.  Remove sugar from your diet and consume 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar 3x daily as part of a candida cleanse.

6. Regulates Your Bodies pH

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid which is acidic in nature but has a more alkaline effect on the rest of your body.  Balancing your bodies pH can reduce your risk of chronic illnesses like cancer and can dramatically increase your energy.

7. Can Support Weight Loss and Metabolism

A study published in the Journal of Diabetes Care found that consuming apple cider vinegar could promote weight loss.  There are several reasons ACV promotes fat loss but one of those reasons include that ACV reduces sugar cravings and improves detoxification.  Another study found that supplementing with the acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar reduced body fat in mice by 10%.

8. An All-Natural Household Cleaner

The anti-bacterial properties and the balanced pH of apple cider vinegar make it a perfect household cleaning product.  Fill a spray bottle with 50% water and 50% ACV then spray windows and counters for cleaning.

9. Soothe a Sunburn

Put 1 cup of apple cider vinegar in a lukewarm bath along with 1/4 cup of coconut oil and lavender essential oil to ease sunburnt skin.

10. Balances Blood Sugar and Improves Diabetes

Medical research has proven that the acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar can balance blood sugar and improve diabetes.  Put apple cider vinegar on salads or consume 1 tablespoon in water before meals.

11. Heal Poison Ivy

The minerals in apple cider vinegar like potassium can help reduce swelling and inflammation, improving poison ivy.  Also, ACV can help detox the poison out of your skin helping poison ivy heal more quickly.

12. Repel Fleas on your Pets

Mix a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar together and soak your pet in a tub.  Do this 1x a day for several weeks to rid your pet of a flea infestation.

13. Lower Blood Pressure

In a 2009 12-week study they found that consuming apple cider vinegar lowered triglycerides and blood pressure significantly.

14. Fight Seasonal Allergies

Another miracle cure of ACV is for allergies.  ACV helps break up mucous in your body and support lymphatic drainage.  It also supports the immune system and can clear your sinuses.  Put 2 tablespoons in a large glass of water and drink 3x daily for allergies.

15. Kill Fungus on Toes and Skin

The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compounds in apple cider vinegar make it a great natural cure for skin and toenail fungus.  Simply rub on the area of fungus 2x daily.  Also, using a mixture of coconut oil and oil of oregano is great for killing fungus.

16. Skin Toner for Eczema and Acne

The pH of apple cider vinegar make it an excellent remedy for skin issues.  Rub apple cider vinegar on an area or use it to wash an area then put coconut oil and essential oils on area to support further healing.

17. Ease Varicose Veins

Apple cider vinegar is excellent for varicose veins because it improves circulation in the vein walls and is anti-inflammatory so reduces bulging veins.  Combine apple cider vinegar with witch hazel and rub on veins in circular motion and you should see improvements in two weeks.

18. Natural Deodorant 

Bad bacteria and yeast are a major cause of body odor.  The armpit can stay damp which also makes it a breading ground for bad bacteria.  Simply dabbing some apple cider vinegar on your fingers and running it into your armpit can kill yeast and neutralize odors keeping you smelling fresh all day.

19. Cure a Cold and Sore Throat 

Apple cider vinegar is the ultimate remedy to cure a cold and sore throat fast!  Because it’s loaded with vitamins and probiotic boosting acetic acid it’s a great natural cure.  Take 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in one glass of water 3x daily to cure a cold.

20. ACV Cures Warts 

Put apple cider vinegar topically on wart and then cover in band aide or bandage.  Leave on overnight and remove in the morning.  You may see results in one week or it could take longer.  Thousands have sworn that apple cider vinegar cured warts and other skin issues.

This is only a few of the many apple cider vinegar uses and natural remedies.

Do you use apple cider vinegar?  If so, how do you use it?

Continue Reading »

My Top 5 “Travel Supplements” To Keep You From Getting Sick During The Holidays


Learn more about my new fitness series – burstfit.com/fire.

Traveling can be hard on your body. Being exposed to things you haven’t been exposed to before or missing out on healthy nutrients or habits can also take a toll on your health.

I’ll cover the top 5 supplements to take with you when you travel, plus a couple extra tips to keep off the “holiday weight” and keep from getting sick.

1. Multi-Vitamin – A quality multi-vitamin will cover your bases when it comes to the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. Also, carbs deplete your body’s B vitamins, so if you’re going to have some holiday stuffing, make sure you bring a multi-vitamin that has extra B vitamins.

2. Vitamin D3 – Boosting your body’s levels of Vitamin D3 will help kill off bad bacteria and help boost your immunity. I recommend taking 5000 I/U per day when traveling.

3. Protein Powder – Brown rice or grass fed whey protein are great sources of healthy protein.

4. Greens Powder – A greens powder will help you get the much needed veggies you may be missing.

5. Immune Boosting Herbs – Echinacea, Elderberry & Oregano. These healthy herbs will boost your immunity while you travel.

Also, make sure to stay active! Doing a workout like BurstFit only 20 minutes a day, 3 times a week for a total of 1 hour per week, can keep you from getting sick or packing on the “holiday pounds”.

And finally, plan ahead. Pick up some healthy snacks like kale chips or sprouted almonds before you travel.

Do these simple things and you’re sure to stay healthy this holiday season!

<

Continue Reading »

Rhodiola Benefits: Burning Fat for Energy and Beating Depression

Herbal Tea and Flowers Rhodiola roseaRhodiola Rosea also known as “golden root” is an adaptogen herb with tremendous fat burning, energy enhancing and brain boosting power.

Adaptogens are a group of plants that can help your body adapt to physical, chemical, and environmental stress and rhodiola is one of the most effective in this family.

This unique herb grows at high altitudes in the arctic areas of Asia and Eastern Europe.

Historically the Vikings used rhodiola to enhance physical strength and the Sherpa people used it to climb at high altitudes including Mt. Everest.

The Russians have used this herb extensively over the past 70 years mostly for improving work performance, insomnia, fatigue, depression, and increasing athletic endurance.

Rhodiola has been proven to have four major health benefits including:

  1. Burning Belly Fat
  2. Increased Energy and Athletic Performance
  3. Lowering Cortisol
  4. Fighting Depression and Improving Brain Function

Let me start off by going over how rhodiola can help you burn fat for energy.

1. Burn More Belly Fat with Rhodiola

One of the many incredible characteristics of rhodiola is that it helps your body burn stored fat as fuel.  Rhodiola contains an active compound called rosavin that has been proven to trigger a fat burning response in your body.

Rosavin works by stimulating an enzyme called hormone-sensitive lipase which has the ability to breakdown fat that is stored in adipose tissue (belly area).  Also, human clinical studies found that if you combine taking rhodiola extract with doing moderate exercise the breakdown of belly fat increases even more.

A controlled placebo study done on 130 overweight patients at Georgian State Hospital showed that taking rhodiola rosea extract daily led to a mean weight loss of 19 pounds (11% reduction in body fat), compared to only 8 pounds of loss by the placebo group eating the exact same low calorie diet.1

We all know that exercise especially interval exercise like burst training can increase fat loss, but if you want an edge taking rhodiola along with exercise can accelerate your weight loss efforts.

2. Increase Your Energy and Athletic Performance

Rhodiola can increase your stamina and endurance by increasing your red blood cell count.  Red blood cells (RBC) carry oxygen to muscles, and having a higher count can dramatically improve an athlete’s performance and delay fatigue.  Rhodiola works by boosting EPO also known as erythropoetin which stimulates RBC production.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in 2004 rhodiola has anti-inflammatory benefits to cause rapid recovery of muscles and improved endurance.2

Another study performed on rats found that supplementing with rhodiola could increase endurance by allowing the animals to swim 25% longer.  The improvements happened because rhodiola was found to increase synthesis of ATP which is essential for cellular energy.3

But you don’t have to be an athlete to experience the benefits of rhodiola.  Whether you’re a stay at home mom, business executive, or student rhodiola has been shown to increase workplace performance and the decrease the effects that a lack of sleep and rest can have on your body.4

According to author and naturopathic physician Tori Hudson, he prescribes rhodiola to his patients for several reasons including: adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, reducing recovery time from workouts and enhancing athletic performance.

So if you are looking for a natural way to boost energy and increase athletic performance rhodiola may be for you.

3. Lower Cortisol

Rhodiola can calm your body when your system goes into a “fight or flight” mode from everyday stressors.  When the hormone cortisol stays high for a long period of time from emotional or physical stress it can cause your body to experience:

  • lowered blood glucose response
  • abdominal weight gain
  • thyroid issues
  • hormone imbalance
  • decreased memory
  • weakened immunity

By keeping cortisol levels balanced you are improving your health in multiple ways especially when it comes to anti-aging.  When cortisol levels are high for long periods it will cause you to age faster and can leave you exhausted.  One of the main reasons people turn to adaptogenic herbs like rhodiola is to help balance cortisol levels to slow the aging process and look and feel their best.5

4. Beat Depression and Improve Brain Function

Another amazing benefit of supplementing with rhodiola is it’s been shown to improve the health of your brain and fight depression.

Rhodiola increases the sensitivity of your neurons (cells of your brain and nervous system) including two neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.  These two neurotransmitters are known for increasing focus, memory, pleasure, and improving mood.
Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 2.22.04 PM

Many doctors of functional medicine prescribe rhodiola as an effective alternative to anti-depressant medications.  This works because rhodiola increases dopamine sensitivity which has been shown to improve mood and also help fight food cravings and addictions.

In a clinical trail with 150 individuals suffering from depression, participants were given rhodiola rosea for one month.  At the end of the trail two-thirds of the group had full remission of depression symptoms and daytime weakness had also greatly improved.6

Also, some physicians have started recommending rhodiola for ADD and ADHD because of it’s ability to improve focus.

Rhodiola Supplementation

Rhodiola is gaining a reputation as one of the most powerful herbs to support anti-aging, fat burning, increased energy, focus and improved mood.

The recommended supplemental dose of rhodiola rosea extract with rosavin is around 250-500mg 2x daily taken 15 minutes before meals.

Sources:

  • (1) Zakir Ramazanov, Z. et al. (1999) “New secrets of effective natural stress and weight management, using Rhodiola rosea and Rhodendron caucasicum” ATN/Safe Goods Publishing, CT.
  • (2) De Bock K, Eijnde BO, Ramaekers M, Hespel P. Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2004 Jun;14(3):298-307.
  • (3) Abidov M, Crendal F, Grachev S, Seifulla R, Ziegenfuss T. Effect of extracts from Rhodiola rosea and Rhodiola crenulata (Crassulaceae) roots on ATP content in mitochondria of skeletal muscles. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2003 Dec;136(6):585-7.
  • (4) Provalova NV, Skurikhin EG, Pershina OV. Mechanisms underling the effects of adaptogens on erithropoiesis during paradoxical sleep deprivation. Bulletin Experimental Biology Medicine 2002 May; 133(5) :428-32.
  • (5) Lishmanov IuB, Trifonova ZhV, Tsibin AN, Maslova LV, Dement’eva LA. Plasma beta-endorphin and stress hormones in stress and adaptation. Biull Eksp Biol Med. 1987 Apr;103(4):422-4.
  • (6) Brown R, Gerbarg P, Ramazanov Z.  Rhodiola rosea: a phytomedicinal overview.  HerbalGram.  American Botanical Council. 2002; 56:40-52.
Continue Reading »

Truth About the Controversial Ketogenic Diet

The Ketogenic Diet: Benefits and Successes

 The Ketogenic diet was originally designed for patients with epilepsy by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. It was found that fasting helped improve the amount of seizures patients had. Unfortunately, long-term fasting is not a feasible for more than a few days, therefore a diet was developed that would trick the body into thinking it was fasting.

Elimination of Glucose

Our bodies normally run on glucose or sugar for energy. We cannot make glucose and only have about 24 hours stored in our muscles and liver. Once glucose is no longer available, we begin to burn stored fat. The ketogenic diet therefore, eliminates glucose and causes the body to burn stored fat. If this diet is being used for a child to treat epilepsy, close medical monitoring is necessary. For adults, a ketogenic diet can actually help promote weight loss and does not need to be as closely monitored. The traditional ketogenic diet for epilepsy is about 75% fat, 5% carbohydrates, and 20% protein.

 ketogenic-diet

Weight Loss

A 75% fat and 20% protein diet may not be necessary for adults to reap the benefits of the ketogenic diet. Many adults find weight loss success in a more moderate approach to the low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet by just eliminating carbohydrates and increasing calories from healthy fats and protein.  Most adults will see weight loss by just reducing carbohydrates to 30% of their diet, and increasing fat and protein to 40% and 30%, respectively.

When we eat carbohydrates insulin is released as a reaction to elevated blood glucose. Insulin is a storage hormone which signals the cells to store as much available energy as possible, initially as glycogen (storage carbohydrates) and then as fat. The ketogenic diet works by eliminating carbohydrates from the diet and keeping the body’s carbohydrate stores almost empty and preventing too much insulin from being released during meals. With less insulin around, the body is able to reach into fat stores for energy.

Cancer

Sugar feeds cancer cells causing them to proliferate. Therefore, a diet which eliminates sugar and other carbohydrates may be effective in reducing or fighting cancer. The regular cells found in our bodies are able to use fat for energy, but cancer cells cannot metabolically shift to use fat. Therefore, when cancer cells are starved of sugar they die. Some proponents of ketogenic diets believe that these diets should be prescribed for all people in order to lower cancer rates overall.

Is a Ketogenic Diet Right for You?

Modified ketogenic diets can be beneficial for most healthy adults, especially those struggling with losing weight. It may also be beneficial for those with Type 2 Diabetes who are not on insulin. Diabetics on insulin, should contact their medical provider prior to starting a ketogenic diet as insulin dosages may need to be adjusted.

Even though the ketogenic diet is a high fat diet, it will not raise your cholesterol or increase your risk for heart disease. Heart disease is caused by inflammation, influenced mostly be the intake of trans fats and sugar, not heart-healthy fats. So, if you want to lose weight, reduce your risk of cancer, and improve your blood sugar a ketogenic diet may be right for you.

The “Modified Ketogenic Diet” for Lasting Fat Loss

I’ve laid out my exact recommendations below for following the ketogenic diet to reduce blood glucose, burn fat, and reverse disease in your body. First, the type of fat you consume is very important.  I recommend consuming a large amount of MCFA’s (Medium Chain Fatty Acids) from coconut oil since this is the easiest type of fat for your body to burn as fuel.

Then getting SCFA’s from raw dairy products and other sources of fat from nuts, seeds, and organic meats.

I recommend eating mostly coconut, chia seeds, non-starchy vegetables, sprouted nuts, seeds, organic meat, and raw dairy products.  A ratio that is about 40% fat, 35% protein, and 25% carbs.

Sample Eating Plan:

[See the PDF below if you want to print out this plan]

Breakfast: Coconut Chia Smoothie

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup cultured dairy (amasai, kefir, or goat’s milk yogurt)

4 tbsp of chia, flax, or hemp seeds

2 raw eggs or organic protein powder

Lunch:

Chicken Vegetable Soup in real bone broth

OR a big salad with organic meat (chicken, turkey, salmon) and olive oil.

Snack

Raw Sprouted Nuts or Raw Cheese and Flax Crackers

Dinner:

Organic meat with double vegetables

Click here for the Ketogenic Nutrition Plan PDF

Lessons Learned:

  • Ketogenic diets were developed to help improve symptoms of epilepsy, but help many other chronic health problems.
  • Weight loss for people on ketogenic diets due to lowered insulin levels and the body is forced to burn stored fat.
  • Ketogenic diets can help prevent or “starve” cancer cells.

High fat diets, like the ketogenic diet, do not raise cholesterol and may actually reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Continue Reading »

3 Compounds that Burn Belly Fat

New research is revealing that the secret to weight loss may be more complex than “eat less, move more”. The key may be an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) that is found in Blueberries, Grapefruit, Green Tea and Cayenne Peppers.  AMPK’s helps your body utilize sugar which results in boosting your metabolism resulting in weight loss.

AMPK is generally activated during exercise to help muscles use stored sugar and fat for energy. But, AMPK can also be activated by food. The secret to activating the power of AMPK is by including foods that contain polyphenols, nootkatone, and capsaicin all of which activate this fat-burning enzyme.

Polyphenols

Polyphenols are antioxidants found in a variety of foods including tea, coffee, vegetables, and chocolate. A powerful polyphenol that has been shown to activate AMPK is called resveratrol and is found in the skin of red grapes and blueberries. Resveratrol can help decrease the development of fat cells and can reduce fat tissue in rats on a high fat diet.

If you having difficulty losing weight, you may want to consider a resveratrol supplement which can help reduce inflammation and may help with weight loss. Or increase your intake of foods high in resveratrol such as red grapes and blueberries. If you are going to drink, choose red wine for the extra resveratrol boost. Remember though, calories do count some, so drinking more wine to try to lose weight will not result in weight loss, just excess calorie consumption.

Nootkatone

Nootkatone a component found in grapefruit has been shown to significantly increase fat-burning (AMPK) activity. Nootkatone also increases calorie burn and reduces stomach fat accumulation in rats. Consider grapefruit as vitamin C- rich snack, add grapefruit slices to a spinach salad, or even into an immune boosting smoothie.

Capsaicin

Capsaicin, found in cayenne pepper, can increase calories burned after consumption.  A study in the British Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when subjects consumed capsaicin for weight maintenance, fat oxidation (the breakdown of fat) was increased. Capsaicin may also stimulate the production of AMPK, leading to further breakdown of fat. Try adding cayenne pepper to recipes like chicken tenders for an extra fat-burning effect or try a detox drink with cayenne pepper.

If you are having difficulty losing weight, adding some fat-burning foods may be key. Also, remember, to get less calories from grains, sugars, and carbohydrates and more from vegetables, berries, grapefruit, nuts, seeds, organic meat and raw dairy.

Key Lessons:

  • Weight loss may not be as straight forward as “calories in vs. calories out”.
  • An enzyme called AMPK, which helps the body use fat and glucose, may also play a role in helping in weight loss.
  • Certain foods can activate AMPK, including resveratrol, nootkatone, and capsaicin.
  • Consume Blueberries, Resveratrol Supplements, Green Tea, Grapefruit, Hot Peppers, and Cayenne Pepper for fat burning fuel.
  • Try to increase your intake of these “fat burning” foods by replacing other less ideal foods in your diet for optimal weight loss.

 

Continue Reading »

3 Ways Wheat Is Giving You A Belly

Many of us are constantly struggling with the battle of the bulge and can’t just seem to get the weight off. We are not alone, as over 1/3 of the US population is obese. What many of us don’t realize is that a common “staple” of our diet may be a huge culprit in the obesity epidemic. The old food pyramid features bread, pasta, and other grains as the predominant food in our diets. But, many experts believe that an increase in wheat consumption and hybridization of wheat may be a big contributing factor to the obesity epidemic.

Modern wheat, which is different from the wheat found 50 years ago, no longer resembles the wheat of our ancestors.  Wheat has been hybridized which means it has been cross-bred with other grains and species so it has a higher yield and contains less nutrients and more carbohydrates.  The history of the genetic changes in wheat can actually be connected to the increase in chronic diseases and obesity across the globe. The hybridization of wheat has caused changes in the starch and gluten which has also made wheat highly addictive.

Continue Reading »

Leptin and Alkaline Foods

When it comes to dieting, listening to your body’s cues can lead to a successful journey. Knowing when you’re actually hungry and when you’re emotionally eating or just thirsty is essential in long-term weight loss and maintenance. Logically, you know you should stop eating when you are full. However, it can often be more complicated than that. Various hormones in your body trigger you to start and stop eating. What if the hormone that tells you to stop eating could be controlled by the foods you eat?

Continue Reading »

Best Times to Eat for Weightloss

What is the Best Time to Eat for Weight Loss?
If you’ve ever dieted, you’ve probably asked yourself this question at least once. What is the best time of day to eat in order to lose weight?
Some experts believe eating small portions of food every two – three hours throughout the day will keep your metabolism active, and therefore you will burn more calories. This thinking could be true, except the success of this reasoning’s effectiveness would depend on a number of factors.

Continue Reading »

Top 2 Ways to Lose Weight Fast

 

 


Sign up for the special BurstFIT offer HERE

Continue Reading »

6 Natural Cures For Cellulite

I’ve written before about getting rid of cellulite, but I wanted to share some more ways women everywhere can fight it naturally, without surgery or invasive treatment. Now, it’s important to not compare yourself to the photoshopped models on the magazine covers, or to go to unhealthy lengths to lose weight. Like the old saying goes: Comparison is the thief of joy.

There is so much wrong and misleading information out there, that I wanted to shed some more light on the subject. The good news is that there are several all-natural things that can be done to fight the cellulite monster.

You should have an understanding of what exactly is cellulite. Basically, when you have globules of fat under the skin pushing up against the connective tissue, you have this uneven, “mottled” skin appearance. Some of the things that contribute to this condition are a lack of exercise, Hormones, and diet.

Here Are 6 Natural Cellulite Fighting Tips:

1. Cut Down On Salt &amp; Sugar: Please don’t think that your diet has no affect on your cellulite, because it will. And here’s why: Sugar is stored in fat cells, and causes them to expand, so read labels and make certain to reduce and remove sugar intake. Limit your sodium intake, because salt causes water retention, making things even worse. Stick to my healing foods diet for best results.

2. Flaxseed Anyone?: Flaxseed is great, as it modulates estrogen levels, and can increase collagen production. Connective tissue is comprised of collagen, and when the skin is strong, cellulite appearance is diminished. You can sprinkle Flaxseed on your breakfast, in your smoothies, or simply eat the seeds by themselves.

3. Is Water Really Important: Yes! It is. Water helps flush out toxic compounds from your body. These fatty globules under the skin harbor toxins, and make the cellulite more visible. Clean them out by drinking eight to ten glasses of fresh water daily. Well hydrated skin will look more even, with less of a lumpy look.

4. What’s With Kelp? Kelp is one of those things that most people are not aware of. Kelp has many benefits, and is a very low cost nutrient. It contains a compound called “fucoxanthin”, which is found in chlorophyll bearing green plants. It has the ability to help the body burn fat, thus reducing the appearance of cellulite. Add Kelp to your diet protocol. Sprinkle it on your meals, or add it to your soups. If you prefer a supplement version, check out FucoThin by Garden of Life.

5. Ever Hear Of Gotu Kola? This extract has been the subject of many cellulite studies, and has shown some good results. This is a caffeine-free herb that has relaxing properties, and can be taken before bedtime. What it can do is improve the elasticity of the skin, while making it thicker at the same time. It will help minimize the appearance of the cellulite bumps.

6. Bromelain &amp; Proteolytic Enzymes: Systemic Enzymes have been used with great success in fighting not only inflammation but in dissolving gatherings of cellular tissue. Uterine Fibroids, Ovarian Cysts, Gall Stones and cellulite can all be broken down and eliminated by the body. Enzymes such as Bromelain, Serrapeptase and Nattokinase have the ability to dissolve fibrinogen, which is the tissue that holds these unwanted formations together.

 

Workouts to Fight Cellulite:

Interval or burst type of exercises can also help fight cellulite. I just finished the BurstFIT DVD’s series, and it will be available in just a few weeks! One of the sessions features a good friend of mine, Suzanne Bowen, and is called The Bowen Butt Lift. It’s a super targeted workout, designed to do just what the title says! If you’d like more info, and a special offer when Burstfit is available, you can sign up here.

As you can see, there are several things you can do to win the battle against the dreaded cellulite. The best approach is a combination of methods. Treat from within the body, while also adding in burst type exercises, and you might just be surprised at the great results!

Continue Reading »

7 Simple Steps for Losing Weight Without Being Hungry

Losing weight can really present itself as a tough challenge. Busy lifestyles, and the simple lack of time prevent many people from working out. That’s one reason I’ve put together a guide on burst training and my list of the top fat burning foods, so you can get maximum results in a short amount of time. But if you’ve ever tried to consume a lower calorie diet, you’re probably pretty familiar with hunger pains and the craving for food and a full stomach. Let’s face it, hunger isn’t just an uncomfortable feeling, but it’s not fun at all!

Continue Reading »

Reduce Acidity, Lose Weight and More with This Pepper

Cayenne pepper can stimulate your body’s circulation and reduce acidity. It’s a powerful, spicy little pepper and touts many health benefits like helping decrease appetite and retarding or slowing the growth of fat cells. This is one of the reasons why I included it as an ingredient to my Secret Detox drink, and why it holds the number one spot in my list of the top 7 fat burning foods.

Continue Reading »

The Many Health Benefits of Fasting

While most people need to address the foods they DO eat, before considering skipping meals, intermittent fasting can provide you with many benefits, and is another tool you can experiment with to help you reach your goals.
There’s been a significant amount of research on fasting and the benefits it can have on our bodies. Typical intermittent fast times range from 14 to 18 hours. The longest period any one of these plans would require you to abstain from solid food would be about 32-36 hours.
It’s important to approach fasting in a serious manner and be sure to listen to your body. However, please keep in mind that proper nutrition becomes even MORE important when fasting, so addressing your diet really should be your first step.

Continue Reading »

Red Wine May Help Fight Obesity

A recent study claims that drinking red wine may be one excellent way to fight obesity! No doubt about it, red wine contains lots of antioxidants, specifically polyphenols and resveratrol, which are known to fight free radicals and reduce your risk of a number of degenerative conditions like cancer, heart disease to neurodegenerative diseases.

Continue Reading »

Green Coffee Seed for Weight Loss

Caffeine has always gotten a bad rap for being unhealthy, and coffee shares some of the same negative feelings. However, recent studies seem to suggest that coffee’s negative reputation may only be a half-truth. Pure green coffee seed extract is fast gaining a reputation for being one of the most effective weight loss products available on the market today. Besides weight loss (more on that later), green coffee seed also has other benefits.

Continue Reading »

Measuring Fat: Why BMI Is Inaccurate and Weight Scales Don’t Cut It

If you want to burn fat and lose weight it’s important to understand types of fat as well as the best ways to measure if you’re losing fat.

For anyone watching their weight, and trying to shed a few pounds, the word fat is synonymous with poison. Whether we admit it or not, we all have negative connotations with the word fat. We don’t want to take it in our food, we can’t quite figure out if we even need it in our diets, and of course, we don’t want to be called it!

However, as I’ve mentioned time and again, fat is an integral part of life.

Continue Reading »

8 Common Unhealthy Ways to Lose Weight

There are a number of ways to lose weight that can be hazardous to your physical and mental well-being. Here are several of the common worst ways to lose weight.

Continue Reading »

How to get rid of Cellulite

Do you want to burn off excess body fat and stay away from dangerous weight loss strategies? I am going to explain natural ways to burn off cellulite and current research regarding liposuction. Make sure to read the action steps at the end for the specific guide to burn off cellulite.

Almost 1.6 million cosmetic surgery procedures were carried out in the U.S. in 2011, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and these included 205,000 liposuction procedures. This practice is growing in popularity as people struggle to maintain a healthy weight, but it is not a simple means of going from size 16 to size 6 overnight. Nothing can substitute for diet and exercise when long-term weight loss and overall health is required.

Continue Reading »

Fucoxanthin, A Healthy Weight Loss Supplement

There is no shortage of diet and weight loss supplements on the market. All you need to do is turn on the television or flip through a health magazine and you you’ll be flooded with all kinds of advertising for so called miracle weight loss pills. The problem lies in the lack of effectiveness of the majority of these products, not to mention the safety factor and health risks that can occur with the use of certain supplements.

While I don’t believe in quick fixes, after extensive research, fucoxanthin looks to great results when it comes to aiding in fat loss.

Continue Reading »

Lack of Sleep Means Lack of Weight Loss

Sleep is one of the most undervalued essential practices in modern society.  In 1910, an average night’s sleep was 9 hours. By 1975, it was down to 7.5 hours. From 2000 to 2002, polls found that it had fallen to 6.9 hours. Today, many people average just 5-6 hours of sleep per night.

At the same time, obesity rates have doubled! Sleep and the neuroendocrine system are intricately entwined.

Continue Reading »

Is Your Credit Card Making You Fat?

“A study of credit card use at McDonald’s found that people spent 47% more when using credit instead of cash.” -Dave Ramsey

Credit card debt is a large part of the financial troubles many people struggle with, but did you know that recent studies are actually showing that credit cards can make the users of them fat? That’s right, according to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research people who use credit cards at the grocery store do two things a bit differently then people who use cash at the grocery store.

Continue Reading »

How to Lose 20 lbs in 30 Days

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) in 2009 thirty-three of our great states had obesity prevalence equal to or greater than 25%. Nine of those states had obesity prevalence rates of greater (or equal to) 30%.

These nine states with the heaviest residents in the United States are as follows:

Continue Reading »

Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load: Discover What Both are All About

Did you know that according the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) women with the highest glycemic load in their diets were thirty-seven percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women with the lowest glycemic load diets? Pretty startling statistic to me, one to sit up and notice.

Continue Reading »

The Top 7 Fat Burning Foods

Weight loss is almost always a topic of discussion. With the holiday season just ahead of us, eating, weight loss, and how to shed those unwanted holiday pounds comes up in many conversations. In fact, according to an article in the New York Post the average person gains about one pound during the six week holiday season. Doesn’t sound too bad until you take a closer look at the whole picture.

Continue Reading »

Get Rid of Belly Fat in 3 Easy Steps

belly-fatIf you’re like many other people, losing the fat around your midsection is the biggest problem area in your weight loss journey. You’ve watched the numbers on the scale fall, but haven’t seen a corresponding loss in belly fat.

Or maybe you haven’t yet started to lose weight and you know you need to. It’s no secret that obesity continues to rise. You don’t have to read scientific data, or research studies to know, a simple look at a

Continue Reading »

5 Reasons Women Struggle to Lose Weight

womans-feet-on-scaleThe Journal of the American Medical Association reports that 35.5% American women are overweight compared to 32.2% of American men. If you’re one of these women you probably want to lose a few of those extra pounds you’ve been carrying. But according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) despite the goal set in 2001 by the U.S. Surgeon General, called the Healthy People Objective 2010, obesity rates have not declined but risen.

Continue Reading »

Lose Weight & Keep it Off

woman-drinking-waterWe all know that we should be drinking at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of pure water everyday. It’s been said for years by health care professionals and nutritionists everywhere that this is key for optimal health. But did you know that drinking adequate water could actually help you lose weight and keep it off?

Continue Reading »

Is Your Thyroid the Cause of Your Health Problems?

thyroid lab reportAccording to the National Women’s Health Information Center there are 20 million Americans suffering from some type of thyroid disorder. A whopping one in eight women in the United States will be impacted by thyroid disorder in their lives (from the American Medical Women’s Association). Are you one of them?

Thyroid disorders and thyroid disease can have a negative impact on just about every area of your life. From weight issues to depression and anxiety, the thyroid gland is vital to keeping your physical, mental, and emotional life balanced and healthy. And what’s more is it’s estimated that about half of those in the world suffering with thyroid issues are completely unaware this is the root of their problem.

Continue Reading »

Why You Gain the Weight Back

Why You Gain the Weight BackThe average New Year’s resolution ends January 4th.

Seriously, that’s pathetic.

Every year millions of Americans pledge to start the new year off right by making New Year’s resolutions. We get all motivated, buy a year-long gym membership, and work out hard for anywhere from 1 day to 6 weeks, then we crash and burn.

Continue Reading »

Refined Carbohydrates: Avoiding ‘White on Rice’

white-riceThings like white bread, white pasta and white rice have become staples in the Standard American Diet. Even though there is a trend toward seemingly healthy wheat bread or whole grain pasta, these grains are still processed and refined–to the point that I would not even call them food! Refined carbohydrates are fake foods and should be avoided if you want to build health in your body.

Continue Reading »

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product.