5 Foods You Must Avoid

Another Great Article From Prograde Nutrition!

By Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES

Buying local, fresh foods from Farmers’ markets, organic farms, or from your local grocer can go a long way for your budget and your health.  However, not everyone can benefit or wants to shop healthy.  Here are the top five foods to avoid or minimize in your diet for a longer, healthier life and a leaner waistline, followed by the top five foods that will give you amazing health benefits.

Food #1 Low-fat Foods

Food labeling can be very deceptive when it comes to food geared for weight loss.  Low-fat foods are one of the products to be careful about.  Just because the food says “low fat,” does not mean the food is low calorie.  Be sure to check the label and see how many calories are typically in the product.  Most people associate low-fat foods with lower calories, so they tend to eat more.  Do not be fooled by this deceptive labeling technique.

Food #2 Sugar-Free Foods

Sugar-free foods are geared to people with diabetes or at risk for developing diabetes.  Sugar-free foods have low calories and no sugar.

However, look at the label under sugars, and you will see something interesting.  Sugar-free foods tend to have sugar alcohols, which is an ingredient designed to give it sweetness.  Most of the time, sugar alcohol is made from sugar products, which can lead to increased calories.  Sugar alcohols carry between 1.5 and 4 calories per gram.  Not only do you get extra calories, but you also can get cramping, bloating, and other gastrointestinal problems if you ingest too much.

Food #3  Commercial Smoothies

Normally, smoothies are associated with healthy eating.  They have skim milk, fruit, and yogurt, so they are considered a great, healthy food.  Some commercial smoothies, however, have many hidden calories from extra sugar.  Some smoothies are also made with ice cream, so you end up ballooning sugar, fat, and calorie content.  Most of the time, the fruit in smoothies is blended up into fruit juice, or fruit juice is added.   This eliminates the fiber that is found in the skin of most fruits.  My advice:  Make your smoothies at home, and leave the commercial smoothies on the shelf.

Food #4 Commercial Yogurts

Yogurt, again, has been considered a natural health product containing calcium, probiotics, and other products that have been shown to be beneficial to our health.  Look at the label again, and you might see something surprising.   When looking at the label, some of the first few ingredients in yogurt are different forms of sugar.  All this extra sugar can lead to weight gain and stubborn, hard-to-lose body fat.  So again, read the label and see exactly what is in the product before you choose the yogurt of choice.

Food #5 Sugary energy drinks including items with added vitamins and minerals

Energy drinks have been advertised as giving you that extra pick-me-up during the day, and a way to increase the intensity of your workouts.  Energy drinks can contain high amounts of caffeine and sugar, which gives you that initial pick-me-up, but you end up crashing hard later.  Also, some drinks that have added vitamins and minerals, can have loads of sugar as well.  So stop and think before you drink and choose something lower in calories and sugar, maybe something like coffee or tea.

Next, I am going to share with you 5 foods that are beneficial to your health, and you might not even know it.


Food #1 Swiss Chard

Aging can create many different problems for people.  Wrinkles, lack of balance, and our eyesight can worsen, and are just some of the different things that happen with the aging process.  Swiss chard is considered a super food because of some of the amazing caroteniods that can be found in this leafy green vegetable.  Swiss chard contains high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin that have been shown to help with good eyesight.   These two caroteniods have been shown to build up in the eyes, which help with the way light rays enter our eyes and are absorbed.


Food #2 Pepper, Especially Capsaicin

So most of you are probably asking why pepper is on the list.  Pepper is a zero-calories food that can add a lot of flavor to your foods.  Not only does it pack a great punch to your foods, but capsaicin has been shown to have tremendous anti-inflammatory properties.  It has also been shown to be helpful in fighting some cancers because of its anti-cancer effects.
Food #3 Wheat Grass

There are plenty of juices out there that contain Wheat Grass which is chock full of vitamins and minerals that will keep you healthy.   Loaded with Vitamins, B, C, and E, this food can help to clean out your system and fight infections.   Not only does this food contain essential vitamins and minerals, but it also is a complete protein.  This food is full of the essential amino acids that our bodies require for building muscle.   The high concentration of vitamins helps protect the body from stress that our bodies are under daily.

Food #4 Tahini

Tahini is now found in most grocery stores as an excellent source of all the B vitamins as well as calcium.  B vitamins are essential in development of healthy cells in the body, especially red blood cells.   B vitamins can also help in raising metabolism, and help our immune system become stronger.  Tahini also holds a surprising amount of calcium, zinc, and copper.  The high levels of calcium can help keep bones strong and healthy, and might be responsible in fighting some cancers. Tahini also holds an abundance of fiber, specifically sesamin and sesomolin, which can have positive effects in lowering cholesterol.
Food #5 Avocado

This amazing fruit helps reduce inflammation through some of the carotenoids found in the green, fleshy part of the avocado. This vegetable also has a tremendous amount of fat, but the good fats that are beneficial to the body. The main source of fat is Oliec acid, which helps with fat absorption and also helps to lower the risk for developing heart disease. Avocados also have phytosterols, which keep inflammation in the body under control.

How To Instantly Remove Two Of Your Biggest Weight Loss Obstacles >>

Kissing Gluten Goodbye

For people with celiac disease, this happens every day.

Thought it was good for me???

 

It has a funny name and is fairly rare. As a result, most people don’t understand Celiac disease. Want to be one of the educated folks who understand this difficult disease? Read on for a crash course.

Something Like an Allergy

When someone has Celiac disease, his or her body has a negative reaction to gluten. This negative reaction causes the small intestine to go crazy. More specifically, millions of villi (tiny hair-like substances that line the intestines and help the body absorb nutrients from foods) get damaged whenever gluten is ingested.

Since gluten is found in all sorts of foods, it is difficult for individuals with celiac to get well-rounded diets. Rye, barley, wheat, and grains that come from these foods all contain gluten. Since these foods have to be avoided by individuals with celiac disease, people living with celiac disease are at high risk for some other dangerous conditions.

More Names, Same Problem. Celiac disease is known by a variety of names: celiac sprue, nontropical sprue, gluten intolerance, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy. The end result, however, is the same: an inability to eat foods that contain gluten.

To Complicate Matters

The most obvious complication that can arise as a result of celiac disease is malnutrition. After all, if you can’t eat a variety of important foods, you’re going to have a hard time staying nourished. This leads to dangerous weight loss, fatigue, and growing problems. But celiac disease’s complications don’t end there.

In addition to malnutrition, celiac disease increases your risk for type 1 diabetes, gastrointestinal cancers, and thyroid disease. As each of these conditions come with even more potential complications, recognizing and treating celiac disease properly is your best chance at living a normal, productive, and healthy life.

Find and Fix

Most of the time, individuals with celiac disease will suffer from some embarrassing symptoms. Diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal pain and bloating are the most common symptoms, and these are often accompanied by depression or frequent bad moods. As these symptoms are often mistaken for indicating other conditions, it is important to undergo proper medical screening to ensure you receive a proper diagnosis. For an accurate diagnosis of celiac disease, you may have to undergo a physical examination, blood tests, and biopsies of the small intestine.

Once the condition is diagnosed, treatment is as simple as beginning a new diet that completely removes all gluten. Unfortunately, as easy as this new diet sounds on paper, it can be difficult in real life, as gluten sneaks its way into foods ranging from breads to sandwich meats. If you have celiac disease, you’ll also have to be on the prowl for foods that may have been contaminated with gluten products. Your favorite kind of ice cream may not contain gluten, but if it was made alongside a bread factory, you may have to find a new dessert of choice.

What to Watch

Wondering what foods you should avoid if celiac disease sneaks up on you? Have a friend with celiac disease coming over for dinner and want to make sure the menu is gluten-free?

The following are some of the items that contain gluten:

  • pasta
  • certain seasonings
  • dips and spreads
  • stuffing
  • thickening agents
  • non-dairy creamer
  • marinade
  • dry-roasted nuts
  • fried chicken
  • French fries (they’re often coated in flour)
  • modified food starch
  • wafers used in communion
  • cake flour
  • bread and breading used for cooking
  • couscous
  • sauces and gravies
  • yogurts that contain wheat starch
  • some wheat-free products
  • soy sauce
  • certain herbal teas
  • certain flavored coffees
  • beer
  • broths and bouillons
  • imitation meats

Do These 8 Underrated Exercises

They may not be fancy, but these exercises do the body good. So why are you ignoring them?

Eat Plank For Breakfast!


You go the gym, do the same routine day in and day out, and go home But is your routine pushing your body to be its best or are you sticking by a certain set of exercises just because you’re comfortable with them? Read on to find eight exercises that you – along with half the people in your gym – may be neglecting.

Bridges

They seem so basic, because they are. Resting on your forearms and toes, you hold your stomach tight in order to cause your body to levitate a few inches off the ground, keeping your back straight. Thanks to these stripped down, basic exercises, your body gets the basic results you want – a stronger, more supportive core.

Deadlifts

Though pictures of competitive body builders may leap in your head when thinking of deadlifts, you may be surprised that the average Joe or Jo should also be performing this underrated exercise. Why? Because you perform it one way or another almost every day. Whether picking up your child during playtime, grabbing a bag of 35-pound dog food from the bottom shelf, dead lifts are part of life. Getting better at them at the gym only makes sense.

Horizontal Pull-Ups

This one may be neglected because it’s not as available as others. Or at least it doesn’t seem to be available. To perform this, you have to find a bar relatively close to the ground. Hanging underneath it with your body extended out and feet resting on the floor, pull yourself up to the bar repeatedly. While essentially the same motion as push-ups or bench pressing, horizontal pull-ups push your body in slightly different ways and more closely mimic movements necessary for climbing and other activities.

Push-Ups

Always the underdog, push-ups are the essence of basic exercise, working out the chest, biceps, and triceps. In fact, if performed correctly, you’ll be forced to tighten your core muscles during each repetition, which adds to the shape and strength of your six-pack abdominal muscles.

Running

You probably don’t see a lot of body builders on the treadmill. That’s because they run at home. One of the most vital pieces to a complete workout regimen, running consistently improves your cardiovascular health, increases your stamina, and helps tone and shape your muscles.

Squats

Toss some weight on a rack and bend at the knees until you lower yourself toward the ground as far as possible. Return to your starting position and repeat – but do it all with precision and proper mechanics. You’ll feel the burn in your legs, but squats actually work quite a few other muscles and should therefore not be neglected in your routine.

Stretches

Often overlooked as an unnecessary part of working out, stretching is anything but unnecessary. In fact, if you want to get bigger and stronger and maintain your range of motion, the only way to do it is through stretching whatever body part you’re planning to exercise. There are stretches for every muscle, from the thighs to the calves to the biceps to the neck. With a little stretching, you give your body a chance to warm up and prevent yourself from potential injury.

Swimming

It offers a full-body workout that tests your stamina and strength. You’ve known it for years, but you still don’t take advantage of it. What kind of swimming should you get started with? Any kind of swimming will work, and swimming freestyle laps at a moderate pace is a great way to break your body into swimming shape.

And the Downside

Now that you know what exercises deserves a spot in your routine, you may be curious about some of the exercises out there that get too much credit.

The following are a few of the most overrated exercises that you may be doing with a little too much frequency:

  • lunges: they’re great in moderation, but it’s not uncommon to overdo lunges and wind up with knee problems down the road
  • bench press: very useful in defining the chest and arms, the bench press belongs in your routine; just be careful not to start and end every routine with it
  • sit-ups: yes, they strengthen your abdominal muscles, but you’ll never have a six-pack unless you eat right and get enough cardio to burn off the layer of fat covering up you abs

Welcome New Fitness Boot Camp Athletes!

I want to welcome Paige Claro and Norma Martinez to our evening Boot Camp class! Oh and they totally rocked the “Murph” workout today. Just sayin.

Good Turn Out For Nutrition Seminar

Yummo

Just wanted to thank all the athletes who came to the nutrition seminar yesterday on a sunny Saturday. We even had two folks who had heard of the gym and dropped in to hear the class. Thanks again! Now go clean out your kitchen!

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Building a Healthy Smoothie

Smoothies are supposed to be healthy. Here’s how to make sure they stay that way.

Yummo, Coach like!

Ever since you first heard of smoothies, your mouth has been watering. When you’re sipping on a smoothie, your mouth is in taste heaven. When there’s no smoothie in your hand, all you can think of are strawberries, bananas, and blueberries. But if you’re not careful, your smoothies can turn into nothing more than an average dessert.

To make sure your smoothie is as healthy as it is cold and delicious, you’ve got to have more than a good blender. You’ve got to have the right building blocks as well.


Building Block: Fruit

In a healthy smoothie, the most basic building block is fruit. Ideally, you want to go with fresh fruits that aren’t sitting in sugar water or have been made unhealthy in some other way. Rather, you want fruit straight off the vine or tree. Raw fruit that hasn’t been tampered with will ensure you the most powerful smoothie punch.

Some of the most common fruits found in smoothies include bananas, strawberries, and blueberries. But don’t let this keep you from getting creative. No matter what your favorite fruit is, you can toss it in the blender for a delightful, flavorful smoothie. From cantaloupe and mango to pineapple, raspberry, and melon, you can include any fruit you can find in your smoothie concoction.

Want the thickest, most delicious smoothie possible? Toss the fruits you plan to use for a smoothie in the freezer before you go to bed. In the morning, toss them in the blender. It’s a simple, yet effective way to get the thick smoothie you want.

Building Block: Juice

Once you’ve got your fruits picked out, you’ll need to find a complementary juice. As with the fruit choices, there is one juice that is picked much more often than the others: orange juice. However, you can toss in whatever type of juice you want to spice up your smoothie.

For variations on your favorite smoothie, give apple juice, grape juice, or cranberry juice a shot. Each different juice will affect the consistency, thickness, and flavor of your smoothie, so keep trying out juices until you find the perfect flavor for your pallet.

Building Block: Yogurt

When you have lots of different fruits and flavors, you’ll probably want something to pull them all together into one cohesive whole. Enter stage left: yogurt. Low-fat or fat-free is the best choice, and since most yogurt falls into one of these categories, it is also an easy choice to find.

With the right amount of yogurt in the mix, your smoothie will go from a yummy treat to a must-have each and every day. While you’ll probably rely on vanilla yogurt for most of your smoothies, using strawberry, strawberry banana, blueberry, or other flavors will enhance your smoothie instantly!

Wake Up and Smell the Smoothie

Need a better way to get your day started? Get your morning off right with this easy-to-make Wake-Up Smoothie recipe.

Yields:
3 servings, 1 cup each
Preparation Time:
5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups orange juice (go for calcium-fortified for added benefit)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen berries of your choice (good options include raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and/or strawberries)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat silken tofu or low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or Splenda Granular (optional way to add flavor that causes the smoothie to be a tiny bit less healthy)

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients and put in a blender. Cover and blend until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Serve immediately. Smile.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: 139 calories; 2 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams monosaturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 28 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams protein, 4 grams fiber, 19 milligrams sodium, 421 milligrams potassium.

Lies You Believe about Exercise

The truth will set you free…to exercise better!

Breathe!

Everyone falls prey to lies and myths on occasion. But if you buy into one of these and your exercise routine is affected by it, you could be in a world of danger. What lies may be affecting your ability to work out safely and with maximum results? Read on to find out.

Lie 1: Big Size = Big Strength

Okay, so the big guys are often rather strong (you won’t see a lot of skinny folks lifting cars), but you don’t have to be super beefy to be strong. Actually, too much muscle mass can make it difficult to perform certain activities. Instead of focusing on getting bigger, bigger, bigger, go for exercises that help you get in good shape, have good muscle definition, and retain your ability to move quickly. Remember we train for the unknown and unknowable.


Lie 2: Muscle Becomes Fat

Ever wished you could transform all of the fat around your midsection into rock-hard muscle? Of course you have. Unfortunately, you know you have to burn off the fat in order to make room for muscle. Likewise, the muscle you build up won’t turn into fat when you stop working out. You just think it did, because any time you stop working out, you see unwanted pounds show up with such speed. You need to make your eating habits match your workout habits. Make sure you are at our next nutritional seminar to learn about the Paleo lifestyle.

Lie 3: You’ll Get His or Her Results

At every gym there are people with great bodies. Everything is where it should be and every muscle is well defined and shapely. To get the same results, you ask one of these model-looking individuals for the secrets to their picture-perfect bodies. You take careful notes and then attempt to mimic their every move in the gym. Unfortunately, what works for one person may not work for you. Every body is different and responds differently to various exercises. Since there is no one-size-fits-all approach to exercise, try plenty of different workouts to find out what works best for you.

Lie 4: Tons of Gym Time, Awesome Results

If spending an hour or two in the gym five days a week is good for you, then spending five hours every day pushing your body to the max is even better – right? Wrong. Overtraining your muscles and not giving them any chance to rest can actually cause your muscles to begin breaking down and going away. On top of this, you also put your muscles at risk for some serious injuries if you spend too much time exercising – especially if you’re doing the same movements over and over again. With our boot camp workout programming, you will get a great workout inside of 45 minutes.

Good Intentions

Exercise myths aren’t always created out of malice. In fact, many of them are built on what would seem to be common sense. However, deciphering between truth and fiction is the only way to ensure your workouts are safe and beneficial.

Lie 5: Slow Is Safe

Commercials that feature outdoor groups of people enjoying a relaxing class of yoga can be misleading. While yoga and pilates can be relaxing and slow-moving ways to get exercise, they can put your body at risk for some of the same injuries other exercises pose. So before hopping into an advanced yoga class without understanding what you’re getting into, start at the beginner’s level and gradually work your way up to the more advanced, demanding classes.

Lie 6: Form Doesn’t Matter

Back when you were first starting to lift weights, you worried about keeping perfect form for each rep. But over time, you began to realize that form wasn’t as important as just getting out there and lifting. Unfortunately, your epiphany isn’t based in truth, because if you lift weights or perform other exercises without using the right form, the negative results are two-fold. First, you aren’t actually targeting the muscle you think you are unless you maintain good form. Second, improper form puts you at great risk for a variety of severe injuries. We are super strict on form here at the gym. Proper posture while lifting can save you pain and suffering and supercharge your workout!

Lie 7: Genetics Are Everything

If your parents and grandparents are overweight and out of shape, it can be easy for you to expect the same fate for yourself. But don’t let your genetics get in the way of exercise. Instead, understand that you may have to make some modifications (including what you eat) to get the results you want in the gym. You may even have to change your goals to better meet your body’s abilities.

So, there are a few of the biggest lies in exercise. Ready to commit and get fit? Call 254-247-4999 or come by the gym and start today!

Welcome (MORE!) New Fitness Boot Camp Athletes!

We welcome new folks to our morning boot camp family!

Bettina Cochran

Kaitlyn Knotson

Brenda, Jack and Josh Whitaker