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Diet

Everything we eat impacts our brain.

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We all love food, at least most of us but how many times have you asked yourself how everything you´re eating affects your brain? We do know that diet is a crucial part for maintaining optimal health and a healthy weight, we´ve all heard that to lose weight we need to eat less, but whether you´re losing weight or not, every single food choice impacts your brain positively or negatively.

Even when you do need to eat less and move more to lose weight and it´s possible to get to your desire weight eating unhealthy foods it´s not healthy and there are many reasons why, one of those is the impact that food has on your brain. You can eat less junk food, do some exercise and you´ll lose weight but your hormones will be out of balance and this causes health problems, one of those hormones is insulin, too much insulin for long periods of time lead to health problems like insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity and it also affects your brain.

So many people is worried about their physical health, and they´re making changes to their habits and routines focusing on diet and exercise, but most people don´t talk about mental health and our levels of energy, how we feel, our mood are all impacted by what we eat even the symptoms of mental issues like anxiety, depression, ADD, PTSD can get worse or improve just by our food choices. Dementia, Alzheimer´s, Parkinson can also improve or get worse by our food choices. Some experts like to talk about Alzheimer´s as type 3 diabetes and they make a huge emphasis on how food can slow the disease and improve the symptoms.

We know that most of us follow a diet high in unhealthy foods, most of what we eat is highly processed and refined foods full of added sugar, unhealthy seed oils and chemicals that are toxic for our body, we eat too much sugar and it depletes our body from nutrients and we´re not eating enough of what our body needs. In the case of our brain too much carbohydrates simple or complex have a negative impact, if the brain becomes insulin resistant which is the result of high levels of insulin for a long period of time, when this happens insulin is not only affecting your body, it´s now also affecting your brain so following a diet that lowers insulin and increases ketones is beneficial for the brain.

Alcohol and smoking also impacts our brain negatively, so if we put everything together our unhealthy diet very high on sugars and unhealthy oils plus alcohol and cigarettes and not enough nutrients it´s not a surprise that we´re seeing mental health problems increase and they just keep getting worse.

The brain needs certain nutrients like MCTs and Omega 3 but most of us are deficient on this, coconut oil, fish, chia seeds are great options for healthy fats our brain needs. Unhealthy foods will deplete your body and brain from nutrients and will also cause damage.

If your brain is not working properly and efficiently it will have an impact on your life, if you don´t feel great, if your energy levels are not high, if you´re not able to concentrate, if your performance is not as best as it could then everything you do will be affected, you´re not making the best of every moment because your brain is not able to work properly.

Supplements play a huge role here, but before you consider taking supplements first you need to improve your diet, if your diet is not as healthy your body won´t be able to absorb and use the nutrients from supplements in an effective way. So get your diet right first and then add supplements as needed.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

Supplements and health

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How many times have you done research to find out the best supplement that targets or works for your specific goal? How many times have you bought supplements just because someone told you or you heard that they make some kind of magic?

Unfortunately, supplements do not work by themselves, some research says most of them don´t work, some people do not recommend them while other research and experts do believe in them. My opinion, some of them work, very few.

As you may know by now I don´t like to take a lot of supplements, I prefer making sure that my diet is on point to get as much nutrients as possible. From my point of view and experience there´s no reason to take supplements or even worry about them if our diet is unhealthy.

Now, in other post we talked about supplements for fitness goals like weight loss and muscle growth so in this post we´re only going to talk about supplements for optimal health.

One of the most common supplements we all know is a multivitamin, we all know that our body needs certain amount of micronutrients which are vitamins and minerals, the problems with this is that most multivitamin brands the type or source of raw material, of vitamins and minerals that they use are not the best quality. There are certain sources or types that our body can not absorb and in most cases brands use this type because it´s cheaper. This is why some people say that supplements don´t work or that you´re only wasting your money because your body is not absorbing those vitamins and minerals so you lose all your money when you pee or sweat. We need to mention that supplements are expensive, most of them and if they use a good quality source the price will increase.

With multivitamins you´ll get almost the same amount of each vitamin and mineral, almost all brands are exactly the same, they are some brands that put more emphasis on some vitamins or minerals adding a little more but in general most of them are the same. If your nutrition is good, based on healthy and quality foods then you can get what your body needs through food for most micronutrients so it´s better to look for individual vitamins and minerals you may be deficient.

Many people are deficient on certain vitamins like D and K, some are deficient on certain minerals like Magnesium. Omega 3 is another supplement that can be really beneficial for people who doesn´t consume fish, and whey protein, casein, or collagen can also be beneficial for people who doesn´t get enough from food.

What you need to do is first talk with your doctor or health practitioner and find out which vitamins and mineral are you deficient and then decide if you want to add healthy foods that help you get to where you need or if you want to add supplements. In most cases creating a healthy diet is a great way to make sure you´re getting all the nutrients your body needs and it can be done by trying and adding foods you really enjoy eating and that contain certain nutrients, you combine those foods you enjoy eating and create a diet that works for you.

If you have any food allergy or sensitivity or there´s a food you just don´t like then this is when you can adjust and add supplements as needed. Nowadays there are so many options for supplements according to each type of diet. The type of diet you´re following also plays a huge role and the supplements you need, I do believe that someone who is vegan needs protein supplements since the protein they get from vegan sources is not the same quality and the body won´t be able to absorb it. Some who is carnivore don´t need protein supplements. Also we need to consider that each diet will give you more of some nutrients and low in others, people who are vegan will get different nutrition compared to someone who is carnivore. You also need to consider your drinks, if you drink just plain water or if you drink sparkling water, coffee or tea.

Even when the basics of nutrition apply to all of us we still need to be aware of how we feel and how we look and make the adjust necessary to optimize out health whether it´s through food or supplements.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Motivation

Food addiction is real

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For the past years our relationship with food has changed for the worse leading to different diseases and putting at risk our mental and emotional health. Food addiction is real and it´s making us sick.

Many of the health problems we´re seeing today mentally and physical are caused by food addiction especially sugar addiction the good news is that many of this health problems can be prevented.

The reason why sugar creates addiction is because every time you eat sugar blood glucose raises and insulin also raises to bring blood sugar down, this process leads to cravings and sugar also releases dopamine which is the feel good hormone before eating a meal, snack or dessert your get a sense of anticipation, you know it´s going to be good because you love that food and when you eat it you get that positive feeling, you feel good thanks to dopamine. Every time you eat you´re looking for that same feeling but if you eat the same amount you won´t get the same level of sensation or feeling so you need more and more.

We need to mention that processed foods not only contain sugar, they also contain more ingredients to make sure the products taste delicious and it creates addiction so that you can´t stop eating it.

Now there´s a huge problem, the reason I call this food addiction is that this not only happens with sweet foods like candies, sweets, chocolate, fruit; it also happens with carbohydrates like bread, cereal, pasta because they turn into glucose in your body. This is why when you want to stop the food addiction you need to stop eating all carbohydrates for a period of time and it´s hard because you´ll get all the withdraw symptoms of addiction.

When insulin is high it will make you store fat and it will make it almost impossible to burn fat so if your goal is to lose weight then you need to keep insulin low and the way to achieve that is by reducing sugar. When you eat sugar on a regular basis which is what most of us do, we eat sugar every couple hours because that´s what we´ve told then this leads to chronic elevated blood sugar and insulin which leads to diabetes, obesity, fatty liver and other chronic diseases. Sugar also depletes the body from nutrients and our body needs to nutrients to function properly so there are many reasons to eliminate processed sugar from our diet and keep carbohydrates low.

The huge problem is that sugar is in almost everything, so many processed foods have sugar so it´s not only candies, sweets or fruit juice, also chips, chocolates, bread, pasta.

The ways to find out if you are addicted to sugar is by answering the questions below:

1.- Do you find yourself thinking about food all the time? Especially your favorite snack or dessert?

2.- When you feel stressed, sad, overwhelmed, depressed or anxious you go for some unhealthy food to eat?

3.- Have you hidden your favorite snacks from friends or family?

4.- Have you ever thought about stop eating some of those foods because you´re probably eating too much?

5.- Have you ever use your favorite meal, snack or dessert as a motivation to finish some activity? When I finish this activity I will have a donut, pizza, cake, cupcake, etc?

If you answered yes to this questions then you are addicted to sugar and food so you need to start making some changes and when you start making those changes you´ll go throw a period of withdraw were you´ll feel anxious, you may have headaches, insomnia.

Here are some steps you can follow to stop that sugar and food addiction:

1.- Accept that you are addicted to food and that it´s within your control to make a change.

2.- Be aware of all the products and foods that contain sugar, this includes bread, pasta, cereal, fruit

3.- Make sure that you´re eating enough to feel satiated and full by eating healthy fats and protein

4.- Find something you love doing to release dopamine and make you feel good (eating unhealthy foods is not part of this)

I´ve never liked the word “diet” because it automatically sends a message to your brain that you´ll be eliminating foods, desserts and snacks you love for a certain period of time and this increases your cravings making it harder to stay on track and the worst part of this is that it´s not something you need to follow for a certain period of time, it´s for the rest of your life and it´s not eliminating foods, it´s about changing unhealthy ingredients for healthy ones. When you want to stop your food addiction you need to find healthy ingredients you can use to replace the unhealthy ones, this is what we´re going to talk about on future posts so make sure you´re following us on social media.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you´re addicted to food and if you´ve tried to change that before.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

Why is it so hard to eliminate processed foods?

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Have you tried to eliminate sugar and processed foods from your diet? Was it easy or hard?

It´s hard to stop eating junk food and sometimes it seems that those cravings for sweets, junk and fast food won´t go away. All those foods high in sugars, trans fats and chemicals have the same effect on our body as brain and alcohol does, they turn on the pleasure respond on our brain making us addicted to them and create a habit which is why sometimes we find ourselves eating them without making a conscious decision and with this foods our cravings will continue over and over.

What would you think if I tell you that our will power may not be strong enough because of the effects this foods have on our brain? This is why I said in later posts that if we´re dealing with obesity or overweight it´s not our fault but we are in control and we can make the choice right now of changing our life, this is also why it won´t be easy.

The more we eat this foods the more we´ll crave them, some years ago kids were not allowed to eat unhealthy foods unless they had finished their meal and the amount of unhealthy food we were allowed to eat per day was small. Children nowadays eat a lot of sweets, junk and processed foods, the amount of sugar and fats they´re consuming is terribly high and people is now considering ADHD, hyperactivity as diseases controlling them with drugs and most of the time this reactions are caused by foods, by high amounts of sugar.

There are so many people arguing about which diet is better, is it better high carbohydrate? high protein? high fat? it´s better vegetarian or vegan? this makes no sense to me when as far as I can see the biggest problem is in junk, highly processed and fast food. If we are not able to avoid all this foods there´s no reason to try different diets, first focus on avoiding unhealthy foods, once we do that then we can start adjusting our nutrition program to make it better for us, if we need to reduce carbohydrates we can do it, if we need more protein increase it, if we need more fat increase it but always considering our health as a priority.

Yes fat loss is simple and yes it´s simple to sustain those results if we develop the habits we need which is the difficult part. Our brain has been programmed to keep consuming those unhealthy foods, that give our brain that sense of pleasure and make us feel good and relax when we eat them. This short term positive effect on our brain which is a long term harmful habit creates a battle we need to fight when we want to lose weight.

This is the reason why developing the right mindset is key to achieving results and not giving up half the way, this is why we need to take enough time to develop the habits that are going to make almost effortless for us to sustain our results.

When we start changing our food choices to develop healthy habits we will have cravings, we will have the sensation or the “necessity” to have those foods, we need to avoid them as much as we can, I know it´s hard but don´t let your mind trick you thinking that you really need those foods and end eating them.

With time our body will adapt, when we start giving nutrients to our body it will also send us signals telling us it´s enough, we´ll feel full and satisfied. At this point where we´ve changed our nutrition program and now it´s based on fresh healthy foods it´s almost impossible to keep eating that much food so we won´t overeat.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Diet

Does portion control work?

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I see many people who are not professional athletes and who don´t compete trying to be perfect counting calories, most of them just want to lose weight and get in shape. If the goal is just to get in shape and sustain it, then it´s not necessary to be perfect counting calories or macros. The best tool to use here is portion control.

Having a clear idea of portions will make it easier for us to achieve our goals and we´ll be considering what´s important.

Focusing on the most important things is the best way to achieve our goals and finding ways to make it simple will reduce stress and obsession, portion control is one of those things, as I´ve said before it is better to count macros than to count calories but weighting our food every meal is impossible so a way to get it done is with portion control.

Knowing how a portion size really looks like and getting it accurate is hard at the beginning, most of us are really bad at portion sizes we don´t know how a cup of rice or 4 ounces of meat look like and if we take our plate and take a look thinking on portion control and we measure it we´ll find out we´re eating more than we need, this may be one of the reasons why we can´t achieve our goal.

Portion control gives us the opportunity to focus on macronutrients, as we know now each has its function and job in the body, it´s easier to adjust how much we eat of each food so if we need to lower carbohydrates we can reduce portions or add some protein according to our goals.

Portion control is the amount of food we eat, we can weight our food or use some simple rules that we can find on the internet like 3 ounces of meat is the size of a deck of cards, half cup of oatmeal is the size of a hockey puck, one cup of broccoli is the size of a baseball. With time you´ll get familiar with sizes and you´ll be able to “eye ball” all your portions and get them more accurate with time.

Portion control can also help us reduce the amount of unhealthy foods and keep those in check while increasing healthy foods, this can make it easier for us to start making the right choices by changing or substituting some unhealthy foods for healthier options.

It´s easier to keep portions under control when we´re eating at home or when we prepare our meals but it can get more complicated eating out and specially this days when packages are bigger and when we have the chance to make our meal bigger for some dollars more in fast food chains.

Buffets are a great way to eat healthy and control portions, when we eat out we can ask for one portion of carbohydrates and double protein with some healthy fats we can choose what we want to eat, and in restaurants we can tell the waitress to change fries for salad or to give us only half portion of carbohydrates.

As always don´t get obsessed with this use it as a tool and guide to keep the amount of food you eat under control but don´t try to make it perfect, perfection will stress you, make the best you can and enjoy your meals, if your meals are healthy you don´t need to get obsessed or stressed, if you don´t see results just reduce the amount of food to lose weight or increase it to gain muscle, the most important macronutrient you need to focus a little more is protein, you need to consume enough protein and even when you´re losing weight you want to keep it high.

You also need to consider the macro ratios you are following, if you go with a balanced diet between carbohydrates, protein and fats or if you prefer keto, don´t forget that fats are higher in calories compared to the other 2 macros and it will keep you full longer.

If we get obsessed and want to be perfect we are only making everything harder that it actually is, we need to know how a portion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats look like according to each food and use it as a guide. Keep things as simple as possible by avoiding all unhealthy foods like junk, sweets, processed and refined foods and stick to whole fresh foods, from there we just use portion control as a guide for each meal.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Diet

Why is it so hard to eliminate process foods?

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Have you tried to eliminate sugar and processed foods from your diet? Was it easy or hard?

It´s hard to stop eating junk food and sometimes it seems that those cravings for sweets, junk and fast food won´t go away. All those foods high in sugars, trans fats and chemicals have the same effect on our body as brain and alcohol does, they turn on the pleasure respond on our brain making us addicted to them and create a habit which is why sometimes we find ourselves eating them without making a conscious decision and with this foods our cravings will continue over and over.

What would you think if I tell you that our will power may not be strong enough because of the effects this foods have on our brain? This is why I said in later posts that if we´re dealing with obesity or overweight it´s not our fault but we are in control and we can make the choice right now of changing our life, this is also why it won´t be easy.

The more we eat this foods the more we´ll crave them, some years ago kids were not allowed to eat unhealthy foods unless they had finished their meal and the amount of unhealthy food we were allowed to eat per day was small. Children nowadays eat a lot of sweets, junk and processed foods, the amount of sugar and fats they´re consuming is terribly high and people is now considering ADHD, hyperactivity as diseases controlling them with drugs and most of the time this reactions are caused by foods, by high amounts of sugar.

There are so many people arguing about which diet is better, is it better high carbohydrate? high protein? high fat? it´s better vegetarian or vegan? this makes no sense to me when as far as I can see the biggest problem is in junk, highly processed and fast food. If we are not able to avoid all this foods there´s no reason to try different diets, first focus on avoiding unhealthy foods, once we do that then we can start adjusting our nutrition program to make it better for us, if we need to reduce carbohydrates we can do it, if we need more protein increase it, if we need more fat increase it but always considering our health as a priority.

Yes fat loss is simple and yes it´s simple to sustain those results if we develop the habits we need which is the difficult part. Our brain has been programmed to keep consuming those unhealthy foods, that give our brain that sense of pleasure and make us feel good and relax when we eat them. This short term positive effect on our brain which is a long term harmful habit creates a battle we need to fight when we want to lose weight.

This is the reason why developing the right mindset is key to achieving results and not giving up half the way, this is why we need to take enough time to develop the habits that are going to make almost effortless for us to sustain our results.

When we start changing our food choices to develop healthy habits we will have cravings, we will have the sensation or the “necessity” to have those foods, we need to avoid them as much as we can, I know it´s hard but don´t let your mind trick you thinking that you really need those foods and end eating them.

With time our body will adapt, when we start giving nutrients to our body it will also send us signals telling us it´s enough, we´ll feel full and satisfied. At this point where we´ve changed our nutrition program and now it´s based on fresh healthy foods it´s almost impossible to keep eating that much food so we won´t overeat.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Diet

Whole foods vs processed foods

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We all know that sweets, junk, processed and fast foods are unhealthy, most of us do not give our nutrition too much importance until it´s too late but we all complain about how bad we feel, we don´t have energy, it´s so hard to concentrate on what we´re doing, we´re on a bad mood but we keep eating those foods that are one of the reasons why we feel that way.

There are 2 main differences between whole, fresh foods and processed foods:

1. Calories

Processed foods are calorically dense, a package of cookies can go from 400 calories to 600 or more and if you eat the whole box or bag you can add 1,000 calories to your diet because you can´t eat just one.

Whole fresh foods are lower in calories, there´s not a single food whole, fresh, natural that go over 100 calories without nutrients and you don´t overeat healthy foods so it´s easier to stay on a calorie deficit making fat loss or body recomp a lot easier.

2. Nutrition

Processed foods lack nutrition and it´s loaded with refined sugars, unhealthy fats, unhealthy seed oils, sweeteners and chemicals to make them taste delicious and create addiction.

Whole fresh foods are loaded with nutrients from fiber, vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats everything our body needs to function properly, repair, recover and grow.

The reason why you can´t stop eating unhealthy foods and you gain weight is because of those 2 points, there are no nutrients in those foods so your body keeps sending you signals that it needs nutrients so you feel hungry, they are loaded with sugars, trans fat and chemicals that are toxic and harmful for your body and also creates addiction so you can´t stop eating them and they are very high in calories.

Whole fresh foods are full of nutrients your body needs to function properly and all those nutrients make you feel full, they don´t create addiction so you eat when you´re hungry and only as much as you need without overeating and they´re low in calories so you´re giving your body what it needs in less calories and it can function effectively, it knows what to do with this foods.

Not all of us need to follow restrictive diets but we all need to change our eating habits, avoid unhealthy, highly processed foods and eat more healthy, whole fresh foods, there are different theories and myths about which is the original diet, what our ancestors ate and some diets are based on them, I´m not really sure about that but what I´m sure is that they didn´t eat all those processed foods we eat nowadays our body is not designed to eat them and this is one of the reasons why we´re dealing with so many health problems, if we make a small change on the foods we eat our body we´ll thank us, we´ll feel a lot better and we´ll live better.

Here are some steps you can take to eliminate processed and refined foods:

1.- Eliminate all those foods from your house, office and school

2.- Buy healthy options like nuts, seeds, eggs, meats, fish, vegetables, water, coffee, tea, dark chocolate, full fat yogurt.

What you do is you swap those unhealthy foods for the healthy options, there´s no way to eliminate a bad habit or stop making an unhealthy choice so the way to do it is having healthy options and instead of making it easier for you to choose unhealthy options because that´s all you have available you now have healthy options. Make sure that the healthy options you buy you actually like them, there´s no reason to eat something you don´t like because it will make your diet a lot harder and you won´t stick to it.

When you start eliminating all those unhealthy foods i´s hard, the first days and weeks are though but with time it becomes easier. The best point about eliminating this foods is that you are eliminating added sugar and seed oils from your diet which are the ones causing bigger problems on your health, they are also the ones making it harder for you to lose weight once and for all.

Try the 2 steps I share with you for 3 or 4 weeks and let me know how you feel, also let me know by leaving a comment on Twitter if you are struggling with something so I can help you. I´m looking forward to help you improve your health, lose weight and live and amazing life.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

What does net carbs mean?

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If you are one of those who are really aware of everything you are eating and you are more focused on macronutrients than just calories you may have heard or read about net carbs.

We know that not all calories are created equal, not all macronutrients are equal and there are also differences between carbohydrates. We also know that everything we eat has an impact on our body so if we have any health issue related to insulin and glucose levels then we need to pay close attention to the type of carbs we eat which is hard to do because there´s so much misleading information and it´s hard to read nutritional labels.

The type of foods you eat which include the type of carbohydrates you eat play a big role on how your body responds, it´s not only how much you eat but the quality of the foods you eat. They both matter.

Nowadays with so many of us looking for healthier options we can find so many healthy bars or healthy products with labels like high protein/low carbs, but this doesn´t mean that they are really “healthy”. There are some companies wanting to have an added value so they create products which are high in protein, low in carbohydrates and high fiber. This is a great strategy since we all know that fiber and protein are important but we know we need to keep carbs low especially when we need to have an eye on insulin and glucose.

As we saw in the importance of fiber post (click the link to learn more about fiber) fiber is a carbohydrates that is not broken down in the small intestine, it get into the large intestine where it is broken down by bacteria.

When we talk about net carbs it´s important to consider fiber because even when fiber is a carbohydrate our body can´t digest it so it doesn´t trigger insulin. So what you need to do to get net carbs is take the total amount or carbohydrates minus fiber, for example: if you have a snack bar which has 25 grams of total carbohydrates and 8 grams of fiber:

25 grams total carbs – 8 grams of fiber = 17 grams Net carbs

Those net carbs are the ones you need to consider because they will trigger insulin. Now there´s a problem with fiber, some companies use fiber sources that are not real or true fibers because they will trigger insulin, we will talk about this in other post to go deeper on which fiber sources are best.

High glycemic carbohydrates are most of the time low in fiber so when you subtract the total amount of carbs minus fiber you´ll end with high net carbs and it will create an spike in insulin, what you want is go for foods that have a lower glycemic index so that when you subtract the total amount of carbohydrates minus fiber you end with lower net carbs.

Now that you know what net carbs means which is actually simple you just need to understand the types of fiber some companies use and whether they can be consider as real sources of fiber that doesn´t trigger insulin or not which we will see on later posts.

There´s a lot of misinformation regarding to nutrition and fitness in general, you may get confused and overwhelmed with all of it so what you want to do is share with you the truth in a simple and effective way so that you can understand and apply all the information as it best serves you. We know it´s a lot of info but remember that you can come back as much as you need to read and learn more.

If you are starting your fitness journey and you´re looking for a simple step that can completely change your life just focus on avoiding all kind of processed, refined and fast foods and focus on eating whole, fresh foods like vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, nuts, seeds. All those unhealthy foods, we know which ones we´re talking about are the ones causing a lot of health problems so just by avoiding them you will see amazing results.

Let us know by leaving a comment on Twitter if you read the labels, ingredients and nutrition facts of the products before you buy them to make sure they are healthy or if you buy just buy the ones that say high protein or low-fat.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

Food and hormones – Insulin

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With so many diets and a lot of contradicting information, myths and lies the best way to know what´s true, what doesn´t, what work and what doesn´t is to understand how things work. This has been my focus for the last years understanding how things work, to get in shape and sustain it and for this hormones play an important role, one of those hormones is insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that is produced and secreted by the pancreas following the consumption of carbohydrates. When we consume carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose which raises the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. The body cannot have a lot of glucose in the bloodstream so the pancreas secret insulin to take the excess of glucose from the bloodstream to the cells.

Carbohydrates are the primary trigger of insulin. Insulin blocks the utilization of fat as fuel and promotes its storage so when insulin is high fat is not burned, when insulin is low the body can break down triglycerides (stored fat) to be used as fuel.

When insulin is absent, or the cells are not responding to it glucose is not used efficiently and therefore cannot be utilized for energy. Under these conditions carbohydrate consumption causes blood glucose levels to skyrocket.

Insulin is related to diabetes which is a common disease that affects more and more people. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the hormone insulin is not working properly. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Millions of people are diagnosed and in treatment of one of these types while many others are undiagnosed.

Type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas which produces insulin cannot work efficiently resulting in insulin deficiency, with this lack of insulin the cells are unable to take up glucose,  blood sugar is high but it cannot get into the cells. This type of diabetes is generally treated with insulin injections which provide the insulin that the body needs to take glucose out of the bloodstream.

Type 2 diabetes is when the pancreas is still able to secret insulin, but cells are unable to respond to insulin and therefore do not allow glucose to enter. This is known as insulin resistance; it is the opposite of insulin sensitivity in which insulin easily moves glucose into cells. Individuals whit type 2 diabetes should aim to improve their insulin resistance.

In insulin resistance, cells do not respond efficiently to insulin´s signals to take up excess glucose, the pancreas secret more and more insulin to compensate for insulin resistance and manage blood glucose levels. Over time, this process leads to dysfunction and the pancreas is not able to secret insulin efficiently to maintain healthy levels of glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose then accumulates in the bloodstream which may lead to type 2 diabetes.

The hormone insulin is one of the most important when trying to lose fat and stay lean. Insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity will determine how efficient your body is at utilizing carbohydrates which can make your process simple or harder.

High levels of insulin for a long period of time is unhealthy and causes many health issues, every time we eat insulin gets high so one way to keep it low is following some type of intermittent fasting which we talked about in other post (click here to read that post), we can do this by reducing meals per day, instead of 5 meals per day try 2 meals. Another way we can keep insulin low is with a low carbohydrate diet, especially keto which is high in fats, moderate protein and low in carbohydrates since carbohydrates are the macro which spikes insulin.

High levels of insulin caused by unhealthy diets are the cause of most metabolic diseases so finding tools you can use to keep it low will give you amazing benefits.

In both type of diabetes and even when insulin injections and other drugs are the preferred treatment, I cannot stress enough the importance of making healthy lifestyle changes including exercise and nutrition. 

The importance of a healthy lifestyle that includes daily exercise and a healthy diet have a positive impact on our life and daily activities preventing some diseases and leading to a more enjoyable and meaningful life.

Before you do any change to your diet and lifestyle talk with your doctor or health professional. We all know which unhealthy habits we follow and which healthy habits we need to develop but we still need some guidance and know what´s the best way to do it for each of us and they are the ones that can help us create a plan that works according to our own situation.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

DietStress

How food increases stress

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We all have felt stress, we can feel it in our body literally from our shoulders, back, head to our stomach, stress can come from outside sources, but it can also be increased in the inside. Have you ever stopped for a minute and think about how everything you eat impacts your body?

Everything you eat affect your body, from the inside out, how you look, how you feel, your energy levels, your ability to concentrate, your mood.

Our relationship with food has changed throughout the years, nowadays many of us use it as comfort food we´ve found it to be a great coping mechanism to deal with outside stress and pressure but we´re not considering that those unhealthy decisions are causing more problems. When we´re stressed out we´ll look for foods that makes us feel better and typically highly processed foods get this done, they makes us feel better by giving us a rush of feel good chemicals and then the crash comes, we want more of those foods and we end up in a negative cycle that keeps us feeling stressed and can even lead to depression.

Every time you eat highly processed foods your body doesn´t know what to do with them, it is not design to digest processed foods that lack nutrition and one of its responses is inflammation as a way to protect you from something harmful or toxins and your body sees those unhealthy foods as something that can be harmful for you.

Inflammation is a response of stress and even when you can experience inflammation for short periods of time nowadays you´re dealing with it for long periods of time which is chronic inflammation and chronic inflammation is related to many health problems like insulin resistance, obesity and others.

We all have suffered from digestive problems like bloating, stomach pain, cramps, heartburn and it can go to something worse like leaky gut the problem in most cases is an unhealthy diet. Most of us eat too much highly processed food every single day which doesn´t give our body the nutrients it needs to function properly, and they can cause more problems by putting our body in a defensive and protective mechanism.

Everything you put in your body will have an impact inside and outside of your body, we all know that highly processed foods are bad for us the problem is that it´s not easy to eliminate them from our diet or avoid them but you need to find ways to reduce them as much as possible with the goal of eliminating some of them completely of our diet (if you do this process the right way you won´t miss most of them 😊) , there are foods that will make you look and feel great and there are some foods that will make you feel bad; even whole, fresh, healthy foods. Some foods can make you feel bloated or you may have stomach pain like cauliflower in my case, some foods can cause acne like dairy in some people or peanuts.

If everything you eat has an impact on your body then food can cause stress if you make the wrong choices which most of us do by choosing unhealthy, highly processed and refined foods but if you make the right choices then food can lower stress, lower inflammation, food is actually medicine. What you eat alters your brain, your mind and research show that your choices in every meal can make depression and anxiety worse or it can lower them.

If you want your body to respond and perform at peak you need to make sure that you´re giving it the nutrients it needs and the ones that it can use more efficiently, you need to listen to it and make it as simple as possible. We get enough stress from outside sources, so we need to make sure that we don´t increase stress with what we eat.

For your next meal make a good choice, go for something cooked with fresh ingredients or go for a healthy snack like nuts and seeds and see how you feel.

We all know which ones are the healthy foods we should be eating so make a challenge, for this week eat only whole, fresh foods and avoid unhealthy highly processed and refined foods and focus on how you feel. Focus on progress not perfection, avoiding unhealthy foods is difficult so take it one meal at a time and if for any reason you make the wrong choice just move on and think about your next meal, with time you´ll develop the habit you need to make the right choice most of the time and you´ll see that you can still enjoy your favorite dishes and snacks. To make the challenge easier focus on just one meal, if you have unhealthy breakfast like cereal make it healthier by having some eggs cooked any way you prefer with healthy ingredients, you can use olive oils or coconut oil to cook them or if you don´t have time then focus on dinner and make sure you prepare your dinner with healthy ingredients.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you´ve ever take the time to think about how food make you feel, especially after a meal.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam