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Friday, March 27, 2015

Whole Grains: Are They Healthier Than the Alternative?

Whole  or....not. Should you eat grains?
You’ve undoubtedly heard that refined wheat and other processed foods are unhealthy.  But what about the “good kind of wheat,” the kind found in whole grains?  What are the benefits of whole grains compared with their sinister relatives…refined grains? 

Since the food pyramid was first developed in the 1970’s, it has emphasized carbohydrates while the American public has gotten consistently more and more obese. In January of this year, The US government released the most recent revisions to its dietary guidelines. The USDA Food Pyramid, now known as MyPyramid (it now encourages personalized recommendations that adjust for activity level, gender, and other variables), reflects the government's recommendations for the consumption of grains and other foods.

The recommendations for grains now include division into 2 subgroups, whole grains and refined grains.  Guidelines include eating 6 servings of grains per day with half of those servings coming from the so-called “whole” grain group. Their guidelines define a serving as, 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal. These examples can be considered a one ounce equivalent or, one serving from the grains group-and we are told to eat 6 servings a day?

Friday, March 20, 2015

No Whey? In Defense of this Popular Powder

Whey is the way!
With a growing array of plant-based and even defatted beef protein powders, it isn’t a good time to be whey as experts pounce on this once-respected protein.

“For many, whey protein shakes can cause gas, bloating skin irritation congestion and even weight gain because whey shakes have the tendency to cause insulin spikes leading to fat storage,” writes Jorge Cruise, clearly not a fan of commas or whey, pushing instead a beef-based protein powder he's selling.

Thankfully among the backlash, a few respected colleagues stand behind whey.

“Whey protein is the perfect food for

Friday, March 13, 2015

Goodbye, Carbophobia. Hello, Carbs!

Carbs...are not the enemy
My friend dramatically gasped, and at that exact moment I reached a tipping point. You might think I had committed dietary debauchery, but no: I had simply ordered quinoa with my chicken breast and sautéed spinach.

“Did you know one tiny serving of that has 27 net carbs?” she dramatically proclaimed. 

My friend had a method to her madness. Over the past year, she had lost over 60 pounds doing an extremely low-carb diet. She looks fabulous, but along the way she developed carbophobia, hence my quinoa pushing her over the edge. 

Ah that little four letter word: CARB,’” writes Sara Shelly. “So many of us cringe merely at the mention of it.” Likewise, Jen Broyles asks, Why is it that carbohydrates have developed such a bad name? It seems that ever since the hype of the Atkins Diet, carbs have been looked down upon, feared, and completely avoided.” . 

Low-carb diets work, at least at first. Working with clients who’ve struggled for years on low-calorie, low-fat, and near-starvation diets yet couldn’t maintain their loss, they oftentimes yield

Friday, March 6, 2015

Strong, Lean & Powerful? Skip the Weight Machines

Free weights: a bigger bang for your buck
I had my eye on him for months before we finally spoke, his focused demeanor revealing a fierce determination to get in amazing shape.

For maybe an hour each visit, four or five times a week, I watched this 30-something guy in American Apparel t-shirts and Lululemon shorts rotate machines, gradually increasing his weight and somewhat mixing up his routine.

Aesthetically he looked good, yet his physique never evolved even after months of Herculean, consistent effort. Finally, I accosted him while he was doing lat pull-downs to correct his form.

“You work so hard, yet I don’t see much change,” I finally said. “Have you considered free weights? They’re faster, more efficient, and provide the real change I think you desire.”

I had a new client. Over the next few months we trained twice weekly, both immediately noticing