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 >>

Subject: 5 Fat Fighting Lunch Recipes (and a BIG sale, too)

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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

Get More from Your Body

How you can improve your body’s performance in four steps.

It seems everybody who knows how to exercise has a tip or two on how to get your body to operate at its maximum potential. Which ones should you use? The ones that work for you. Believe it or not, most tried-and-true ways to get more from your body work. At least they work for a certain group of people.

Trying these different techniques will help you determine what it takes to help your body get to the next level of fitness and provide you with a better, stronger self.

Strengthen Your Core:

Just the name of your core should be enough to convince you of your need to keep it strong and healthy. When your core is weak, the rest of your body is at a distinct disadvantage. Add some muscle to your core with sit-ups, double crunches, crunches while resting on an exercise ball, and other core-strengthening and core-stabilizing exercises. The end result will be more than a good-looking set of abdominal muscles. It will be a set of good-looking abdominal muscles that supports you properly and efficiently in all endeavors you undertake – whether walking briskly through the airport with two carry-on bags tossed across your shoulder or going for a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling.

Get Vitamin D:

You’ve known for a long time that vitamin D is important for strong bones, and strong bones are important if you want your body to do its job as well as possible. Did you know that vitamin D is also important for another reason? Recent research shows that vitamin D may play a great role in whether an athlete is able to take his or her performance to the next level. Runners who underwent rigorous training reduced their sprint times by 7.4 percent with the aid of vitamin D, while their counterparts who did not receive vitamin D increased their times by a meager 1.7 percent. So if you want to get the most from your body, take a vitamin D supplement or get out in the sun.

Kick Back:

Taking some time off to relax seems counterproductive when you want your body to be stronger and more efficient. But if you don’t take time to relax and get proper amounts of sleep, your body won’t be there for you when you need it most. Instead, it will be ready for naptime. In addition to getting plenty of sleep, you should also relax your body during the day. By forcing yourself to let your limbs hang loose and your fingers drop carelessly, you stretch out your entire body and reduce your stress levels immediately. Take this time to breathe, and breathe deeply. Deep, focused breathing is a great way to reinvigorate your muscles with oxygen-rich blood, and it’s easy to do. So relax a little now and your body will be ready to help later.

Drink It Down:

Water is one of your body’s main building blocks, making up nearly three-fourths of your body mass. Are you getting enough of it? If not, you’re putting your body at a disadvantage that is difficult to overcome with energy bars and electrolyte-filled drinks. When in doubt, drink water. It will give your body what it needs to stay strong and healthy, keep you from growing weak and faint, and will help you feel fuller faster, all benefits that help your body operate at its peak all the time.

Slow It Down

There are countless ways to keep your body from reaching and operating at its potential all the time. What are a few of them? Let us count the ways…

One one-thousand…sugary sweets
Two one-thousand…focusing only on aerobic exercises
Three one-thousand…focusing only on strength exercises
Four one-thousand…a negative attitude
Five one-thousand…poor posture when standing and performing exercises

Sleeping Your Way to Weight Loss

Can catching Zs help you drop lbs?

You’ve been working at shedding that last five pounds for months, and nothing seems to work. You cut back on the amount of calories you eat, work out twice a day, and say no to every sweet temptation that has passed your way.

So why do those extra pounds keep such a firm grip on your hips? It could be your unwillingness to hit the hay.

That’s right. According to legit medical research, spending an ample amount of time getting shuteye is essential to helping your body get rid of those unwanted pounds.

Wondering how it works? Prepare to be amazed.

Getting Hormonal

Inside your body are all kinds of hormones that are responsible for doing all sorts of things. Two of these hormones, leptin and ghrelin*, have a stronghold on your appetite. In other words, if these two hormones decide to make you feel hungry, you’re going to feel hungry. They work by causing you to feel hungry (ghrelin) and informing your brain that you’ve had enough to eat (leptin).

While these hormones function quite well most of the time, a lack of sleep can result in your leptin levels to plummet and your ghrelin levels to rise. As a result, you feel hungry more than you ought and your brain never has a clue that you’ve had enough to eat. When this happens, you can only imagine the damage that can be done to all the hard work you’ve put into looking your best.

Put It to Bed

Now that you’re ready to power up your sleep for an easier time with weight loss, you may be wondering how to get better sleep. The first step is to give yourself enough time to sleep. You may be able to function on four or five hours of sleep each night, but most people require more. On average, shoot for eight hours, give or take an hour. It may mean giving up your late night dancing ways or beginning your workout a bit later in the morning, but getting your body’s hormones regulated will pay off.

In the event you’re already spending plenty of time in bed at night without feeling rested in the morning, you may be living with a sleep disorder. From sleep apnea (pauses in breathing as you sleep) to restless legs syndrome (irresistible urges to move your legs when you rest) to narcolepsy (constant sleepiness), sleep disorders disrupt your bedtime routine and your entire day from the moment you wake up. With proper diagnosis and treatment, you can find the relief you need from your condition and beginning sleeping better and losing weight with greater ease.

*Sleep loss also changes the amount of another hormone (cortisol) produced by your body. Like the combination of leptin and ghrelin, cortisol is also directly responsible for regulating whether you feel hungry or full.

The Other Way Around

Getting plenty of good sleep is essential to your ability to obtain and maintain a healthy weight. At the same time, losing weight is a good way to improve your ability to sleep well.

Why? For a number of reasons.

First, overweight people are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that causes the sufferer to stop breathing for prolonged periods, as he or she sleeps. In many cases, losing weight actually results in the individual being cured of sleep apnea.

Another reason weight loss helps you sleep is because of the frequent link between being overweight and suffering back pain. While back pain is bothersome during the day, it can be extremely bad when the sufferer lies down to sleep, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay that way.
So whether you find yourself attempting to lose weight or get better sleep, you can’t have one without the other!

Welcome 5 New Athletes To Killeen’s Boot Camp!



Reshanda Tatum

Cheryl Fidelia

Angela Clemons

Timika Bynog

Gaynor Lewis

The Slow Food Movement

More than a movement, it’s becoming a way of life.


Cook your own food using fresh ingredients. Know where the vegetables, meats, and fruits you eat come from. Meet your local farmers if you can. It sounds like some sort of Utopian view of eating, and maybe it is. Known as the Slow Food Movement, this new view of an old way of life is garnering lots of attention from food lovers across the globe.

But is there something you can learn from this slow-and-steady approach to mealtime?

Good Things Take Time

While the Slow Food Movement may have only recently become a household name, it’s been around for quite some time. In fact, according to the web site for Slow Food International (slowfood.com), it all started in 1989. Just remember this the next time you’re frustrated with the amount of time it takes to cook a meal the old-fashioned way. Or when you’re tied up in traffic, building a boat from scratch, or teaching your children good manners. Because while you can get a high-fat, unhealthy meal at the snap of a finger, good nutrition and life takes a bit longer.

Conformity Is Bad

Sit down for an hour or two of television and you’re guaranteed to see multiple commercials for fast food and other restaurants. You’re likely not going to see commercials espousing the benefits of purchasing your own food from local growers and spending time cooking it. If you do see commercials for making homemade meals, it’s probably a grocery store pushing their prepackaged “homemade” meals that only require a little time in the microwave.

You knew it in high school and it bears repeating – conformity is not always a good thing. Yes, conforming to traffic laws and accepted etiquette is a good idea. But conforming to what the media says you ought to eat will do nothing but beef up your waistline, leave you feeling sluggish, and put you at increased risk for all sorts of diseases.

Patience Is a Virtue

One of the most obvious differences between Slow Food and other means of eating is the amount of time it takes to plant, harvest, and prepare foods. Whereas you may be accustomed to sprinting through life without giving a second thought to any of your actions, the Slow Food Movement forces you to think twice.

Where did this piece of celery come from? What chemicals were used to force it to grow faster and with fewer bugs? Did the person who grew and cultivated the celery get paid fairly? In the Slow Food Movement, emphasis is placed on buying local, enabling you to better appreciate the process of growing food.

At the same time, cooking your own food helps you learn patience inside your home, as it is impossible to whip up dinner in the three minutes you allow the people behind the counter at a fast food restaurant. Who knows? The Slow Food Movement may even encourage you to spend more time with your family, which everyone desires.

Support Local

Wondering how you can get your hands on more locally grown and raised produce and meats? Here are a few tips.

  1. Find your local farmers market and shop there regularly. It’s wonderful to develop a relationship with the people who are responsible for growing your food.
  2. Contact your local chamber of commerce. Having a hard time finding out where the farmers market is? Head to the chamber of commerce and ask. Someone there will either know or know someone who does.
  3. Talk with local grocery stores. Individually owned and some chain grocery stores are often willing to stock local fruits, veggies, and meats. Tell a manager that you would like to buy locally as much as possible, and you may have a better local selection in the near future.

Your Food, Your Migraines

Understanding the link between what you put in your mouth and what you feel in your head.

Must Have Coffee!

If you’ve ever experienced a migraine headache, you have one more life goal than those who haven’t. That goal? To never have a migraine again. However, to meet that goal, you have to be well aware of the triggers that set you on the painful path to a migraine.

Since some of the most common triggers are those things you put in your mouth, you may want to keep reading to find out what foods and drinks you should avoid to keep migraines from getting inside your head.

Regular Stuff

In your day-to-day routine, you probably come across a lot of potential migraine triggers. From peanut butter and sour cream to raspberries and pizza, nearly every food can be a trigger. Some, however, are more common than others. In most cases, a food-induced migraine begins to rear its ugly head within 20 or 30 minutes of consuming the food or drink.

To avoid migraines, consider avoiding the following foods and drinks that are known to cause migraine headaches:

  • coffee, tea, cola, chocolate, and other foods and drinks that contain caffeine
  • extremely cold foods, such as ice cream, particularly when you’re hot due to weather or exercise
  • alcoholic beverages, such as red wine, champagne, whiskey, and beer
  • cheeses that have been aged to perfection and other foods containing tyramine (substance formed when foods age)
  • foods that contain nitrates and various other additives, preservatives, or artificial sweeteners

Special Instances

In addition to specific food and drink, other diet-related issues can result in the mind-boggling pain of a migraine headache. Your body requires a healthy balance of vitamins and minerals to function properly, and your head comfort requires the same. Any time this balance is thrown off, you put yourself at risk for a headache.

One of the easiest headache-inducing dietary mistakes you can make is missing a meal. Life is busy, you’re always on the go, and sitting down to eat isn’t always possible. But when you opt out of mealtime, you’re upping your risk of a migraine substantially. Another simple way to mess up your diet and your head is through dehydration. Unless you are regularly drinking from a tall glass of water, you’re probably a little bit dehydrated. Decide to drink even less one day and your head could pay the price. A final cause of food-related migraines is fasting. Less common than the others, fasting from all sorts of food causes an immediate lack of everything your body needs to keep going strong.

A Hot Headache Problem

While some people suffer migraines after chomping into a spoonful of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, others have the opposite problem. They suffer migraine headaches when the temperature outside starts to climb. And there is actually research that backs their claims of high-temperature headaches.

According to one study, the risk of suffering a headache climbs seven and one-half percent for every increase of nine degrees Fahrenheit. What’s this mean for you? Either live somewhere with a cool climate, stay inside during the hot days, or be prepared to suffer heat-induced headaches.

Causes You Didn’t Consider

The list of migraine triggers can go on forever. But if you’re suffering from migraines and still aren’t sure why, you may want to consider these triggers.

Your Exercise. It may seem odd, but pushing yourself too hard in the gym can lead to stress-related headaches.

Your Hair. It may look great, but if you keep your hair pulled back tight or in braids all the time or wear an improperly fitting hat, the stress could result in a headache.

Your Perfume. More than likely, you know someone who claims to get headaches around strong scents. If you suffer migraines and are around strong scents regularly, it may be time to give up your favorite scents.

Your Habit. Smoking has long been known to bring on headaches of all shapes and sizes. Put out your risk for cigarette-induced migraines by kicking the habit.

Your In-Laws. Actually, anyone or anything that raises your stress level puts you at increased risk for a migraine.

HCG…Should I? No!

I have been asked by several of our athletes and prospective clients what I thought about the HCG diet. I am extremely vocal about fad and crash diets and say so all the time. I didn’t know much about the HCG diet, so I did some research. Here are some of the things that I found. I listed my resources so that you too can read up and form your own conclusion.

What is the HCG Diet?

This diet plan was formulated by Dr. Albert T Simeons, who stated that a hormone HCG, can help men and women lose unwanted body fat, thereby assisting in weight loss.

The human chorionic gonadotropin hormone is a glycoprotein hormone naturally produced in pregnant women by the placenta, to nourish the growing fetus and provide nutrients.

The function of the HCG hormone is to signal the hypothalamus gland in the brain to mobilize fat stores and release the fat from the reserves. The hormone thus fuels the body with required energy by using up the fat from the reserves in the body.

Okay, okay enough of the science…

The HCG diet plan claims that it can help a person lose 1-3 pounds of weight per day. A person on the HCG diet plan is required to take HCG hormone (125 i.u. to 200 i.u. of Hcg everyday) on a daily basis. The number of days in this particular weight loss will depend on whether a person is taking injection or drops and the amount of weight wants to lose. Mostly, this diet plan runs over a period of 23 days.

One of the many things that scares me is that a person on this diet is strictly allowed to consume only up to 500 calories. Thus, besides taking HCG hormone, one also has to supplement the hormone intake with an extremely low calorie diet. The diet comprises of raw, steamed or grilled vegetables like spinach, celery, cabbage, etc. Organic fed veal, beef and skinned chicken are also permitted.

But is this diet plan safe?

HCG Diet Side Effects

Nevertheless, there are some human chorionic gonadotropin side effects that people on such a diet face. They are as follows:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Hives
  • Water retention
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Some HCG diet side effects in women are stomach ache, swelling of extremities, pelvic pain, etc. which occur due to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), that has been caused as a result of an HCG diet. People on HCG diet injections are also seen to experience additional side effects of HCG diet, such as muscle cramps, lumps, gynecomastia, premature puberty in men, etc.

    Another side effect is sudden weight gain. What!!!
    Well, an HCG diet calls for consumption of only 500 calories a day, which is not enough for supporting normal brain function. The body compensates the deficit by using up the stored glycogen, protein and fat. The additional hormone will suppress appetite, however, once one is off the diet and begins to eat normally, the weight lost is gained back. Moreover, since people have starved for over 3 weeks (500 calorie diet!) they usually tend to eat more once the diet program is over.

    Irregardless of the alleged HCG diet side effects, it is important to remember that even though the HCG diet proposes to help with weight loss, it is yet another crash diet and is not a healthy way to lose weight.

    Here is what our Food and Drug Administration has to say about HCG as a dietary supplement,

    It is not FDA approved for weight loss at this time for the following reason, and I quote ” It is not possible to obtain uniformity in the reporting of results solely through the use of a common standard, since hCG is a complex molecule.”

    To lose weight in a healthy manner there is no shortcut. Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly is mandatory for losing weight the right way!

    Just get yourself to the gym and do Boot Camp! Call me at 254-247-4999

    American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition  http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/reprint/29/9/940.pdf

    American College Of Bariatric Physicians http://www.asbp.org/resources/uploads/files/HCG%20Position%20Statement.pdf


    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


    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!