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Why intermittent fasting is a great tool!

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When I decided to start my fitness journey a few years ago in almost all books and websites having 5 meals a day or 3 meals and 2 snacks was the way to go so I followed this advice and to be honest it was so hard to get 3 healthy meals and 2 snacks 7 days a week. It was a lot of work and I needed to be strict with everything I ate until a couple years ago when I found about intermittent fasting and how many religions had used it. Once I started following a fasting schedule everything changed, it was a lot easier to get in shape and sustain it but what´s better is all the amazing benefits for overall health.

If you are looking for a tool that can make your life easier, that helps you get lean and stay lean and that is healthy, then intermittent fasting is what you need.

I can´t think about any other fitness strategy that gives us the freedom we need while getting or staying lean and that makes our life easier. It doesn´t matter how our days look like, I´m sure this strategy will work incredible for you, eating less meals reduces our stress, get us focused on what matters, gives us more freedom and we can enjoy our life a lot more.

Intermittent fasting is an eating schedule, what this means is that we have our meals on a small period of time and we don´t eat for a long period of time, the small period of time when we eat is known as the eating window and the long period when we don´t eat is the fasting window, what´s great is that this gives our digestive system a rest which is amazing if we feel bloated or have any other digestive issues this may help.

When we want to lose fat it´s necessary to keep insulin low and intermittent fasting is great for this, every time we eat insulin raise so when we are fasting we have only 2 or 3 meals a day this is why it is so effective when we stop having breakfast or having lunch or dinner and we are in a fasted window our body increases growth hormone and keep insulin and cortisol down. Insulin and cortisol are two important hormones for weight loss and intermittent fasting is a great way to keep insulin low giving chance to growth hormone to increase.

Having 2 meals a day is the best option, most people prefer to fast in the morning skipping breakfast and have lunch and dinner, this is one way to do it. What works best for me is to have breakfast and lunch and skip dinner. Keeping the eating window around 8 hours and fasting for 16 hours is what works best for me.

We don´t have to worry about losing muscle, there are studies that show that it´s possible to gain muscle while losing fat at the same time following intermittent fasting, if we analyze this from the calories point of view we need a calorie deficit to lose fat and a calorie surplus to gain muscle so it may not be possible, our body needs to be in a catabolic state to lose weight and in an anabolic state to gain weight and our body can´t be in both states at the same time so it´s practically impossible but if we know how to use this strategy combined with some others in the correct way we can achieve awesome results in both fat lose and muscle gains specially if we are starting in fitness.

The way catabolic and anabolic states work in our body is easy, when we are fasting our body is in a catabolic state and when we eat our body goes to the anabolic state, this gives our body enough time to burn fat in the catabolic and we have the freedom to overeat and get to the anabolic phase maintaining muscle.

There are some goals we can achieve with ease using intermittent fasting, I recommend you focus primarily on one goal at a time and leave the rest as a bonus.

When fasting we can lose fat, maintain muscle mass while cutting and stay lean while bulking. This is the best strategy to adapt and fit into our lifestyle if you love to eat big meals, if you want to have the freedom to enjoy foods you love and want to stay lean all year give it a try.

When we are trying to make fitness a lifestyle it becomes so hard to fit 5 or 6 meals a day, plus one hour or more at gym at least 5 days a week into our busy schedule. This is one of the reasons intermittent fasting works great, we don´t have to stress out getting those 5 or 6 strict meals into our day, we only focus on 3 meals and no snacks in between, when we´re starting the biggest issues we have is hunger and that´s normal just give time to your body to adapt, don´t follow any eating window, do what works best for you, the first days when hunger appears have a piece of fruit or some nuts and seeds, you can have water or coffee if you are fasting in the morning and tea at night, those are the best options if you need some snacks, if you can go all the way to your meal without any snack that´s amazing.

Intermittent fasting should be easy and a way to have more freedom in the choices we make enjoying life even more so don´t stress, don´t overdo it and don´t over think. Don´t focus on any eating window and create yours, one that fit your schedule and daily activities.

Don´t forget to provide nutrients to your body, fasting gives you the freedom  to have big meals, enjoy your favorite foods and dishes (considering they´re cooked with fresh and healthy ingredients), go out to lunch or dinner with friends and family and enjoy the moment but if you cook try to make healthy  meals with healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates, you are only eating 2 or 3 meals you must be sure that your body has the nutrients it requires.

Be careful with how you organize your meals and your workouts, if you are training in the morning around 8 or 9 and your first meal is at 2 pm it´ll be harder to stay fasted, if your workouts are high intensity interval training for an hour or so it will increase your appetite, boost your hunger making almost impossible to fast, you need to fit your workouts in a way that they make fasting easier and that both of them, your workouts and your meals fit perfectly in your daily activities.

Intermittent fasting also gives us other health benefits as being more awake, more energized, more productive and focused throughout the day which brings amazing benefits to our life. This is a huge theme so in future post we will go deep on intermittent fasting and we´ll talk about the benefits and tips and strategies you can use it for your own goals.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account if you´ve tried intermittent fasting and what was your experience?

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

Fitness goalsFood

Nutrition tools for muscle growth

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Let me ask you a question, why did you decided to go to the gym and start working out? Did you wanted to lose weight and get in shape or were you skinny and wanted to gain some muscle and look stronger.

For most of us our fitness journey starts from insecurities, whether we are overweight and want to lose weight and get in shape or we are skinny, and we want to gain muscle. Whatever the case if we follow the right program, we can get obsessed with improving our physique which takes us to a research time to find the best tools to gain lean muscle mass without too much fat.

For some of us trying to gain muscle while staying lean can be hard to do, some prefer to go through a bulking phase where they can gain a lot of weight but if we don´t control the amount of food we eat we can end gaining a lot of fat and not much muscle mass and then we need to go through a cutting phase to lose all that extra fat.

Going through bulking and cutting phases is not the best way to do it for some of us so there´s one tool that can help us gain lean muscle mass without too much fat so that we stay lean and maintain a good physique and this tool is:

Carbohydrate cycling

This tool is great at helping us gain muscle mass while staying lean. Of course, this tool apply if we´re following a more balanced diet between protein, fats and carbs.

For this tool we have 3 different days, one high carb day, one moderate carb day and one low carb day. We need to fit each day according to our workout program, on days where we do resistance training, we go high carb, on days we do cardio we can go moderate card and on rest days we go low carb.

For high carb days we will be in a calorie surplus meaning that we´re eating more and those extra calories come from carbohydrates, this days the extra calories can go up to 500, on moderate days we also follow a calorie surplus but that extra calories only increase from 250 – 300 calories and on low carb days we eat at maintenance.

The reason why I said that on cardio days we can go moderate carbs is because on those days we can also go low carb or maintenance, it all depends of how our body responds and how we feel.

By increasing calories by increasing carbs on resistance training days we make sure that we give more energy to our body the days it needs them more and on rest days where we don´t use that much energy we keep calories at maintenance so that we don´t lose weight but we don´t gain weight neither. Cardio days are the ones we need to make more trial and error to find out if we need a little calorie surplus or if we can stay at maintenance.

Intermittent fasting

We´ve talked about fasting in other posts and all the health benefits and also how it can help us lose fat, but it can also help us gain muscle while staying lean.

The best way to use this tool is by fasting every day following an 8 hour eating window and 16 hours fast, the best option is to fit the 8 hour eating window around hour workout time, this way we make sure that we give nutrients to hour body the time it needs them more for energy for the workout and to recover after the workout.

If we combine this 2 tools we will get great results, but we need to be patient, it takes time to build muscle and if we try to speed up the results we´ll end gaining a lot of fat so slow and steady wins.

You need to consider that there´s not a best way to do it, this are just 2 strategies, but you need to try them and find out what works best for you.

I´ll to be honest with you, I don´t like following a certain program for muscle growth or fat loss for long periods of time, for fat loss I´ll lower calories for 5 to 6 weeks most and then do 2 or 3 weeks at maintenance, for muscle growth I´ll go 12 to 14 weeks in a calorie surplus and then reduce calories to maintenance for 3 or 4 weeks.

If you´ve tried to gain lean muscle mass but you gain too much fat a long the way let us know which strategies were you following by leaving a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account so that we can help you improve you food program to achieve the best results.

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

Food

The big problem with sugar.

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Different diets come out and become viral, some guys try them while other critique them claiming they´re unhealthy, but millions of people consume high amounts of sugar per day and it seems to be the least of the matter.

Obesity and overweight are increasing and with that diseases like diabetes are raising too. I believe the cause of this problems is our lifestyle and one of them is the amount of unhealthy food we eat which has a lot of sugar. Sugar is everywhere even when it´s not listed as sugar in the ingredients, we´ll find it under names like dextrose or sucrose and many others. Other ingredients like high fructose corn syrup is also harmful and is in so many products. The amount of sugar contained in foods is so high and I´m not only talking about sweets or junk food, even in energetic drinks, cereals or healthy bars.

When we eat foods high in sugar, unhealthy oils and trans fats we´ll want to continue eating more of them because they are empty calories, there are no nutrients and there´s no way to stop our brain of thinking or sending signals that we are hungry until we give it the nutrients it needs.

This is what happens when we eat sugar, insulin is the hormone that regulates sugar by getting glucose out of the bloodstream to the cells, when we consume sugar the glucose in the bloodstream goes up and insulin goes up to regulate it and bring it down, over time our body gets tired and don´t know exactly what to do and the result is low blood sugar, this is the first step to diabetes, many people are on this level and don´t know it, our body sends  signals like cravings specially for sweets, everything we eat has an effect on our health and mood.

The spike on highly processed foods with hidden sugar is creating an obesity epidemic in many countries, around 30% to 40% of kids in some countries are overweight or have obesity and diabetes as they grow older the risk increases, diseases get worse and in some cases lead to death. The amounts of sugar consumed per day goes between 25 to 30 teaspoons a day sometimes even 35 teaspoons, that´s a lot considering that our bodies don´t need it.

I believe we can prevent some diseases and lower obesity and overweight by changing our lifestyle and developing healthy habits, just by changing what we eat the benefits are amazing, it´s not only about reducing calories, it´s about what we eat and the impact it has on our body and health.

As I´ve said before, this high amounts of sugar in our diets with the high amounts of unhealthy fats plus the chemicals or ingredients added to those foods are the cause of many diseases and create a vicious cycle that is so hard to stop. We´re addicted to them.

The goal is to avoid as much as possible all unhealthy food, avoid sweets, junk, processed, refined and fast food and stick with real, whole fresh food, just by doing this the results in how we feel and how we look will be amazing.

There´s no reason to try to follow a very restrictive diet like low carbohydrate, ketogenic or any other if we still eat junk or fast food, once we eliminate or avoid this foods then we can start adjusting our nutrition program to make it better for each of us.

If we want to live healthier and happier and help all the people around us we need to change what we eat and eating healthy food is the first step, reducing sugar is a most, sugar is the cause of many diseases now a days, but it´s hard to do. We´ve been consuming sugar for almost all our life so when we start to eliminate it from our diet our mind will trick us making us think that we need it, it´s like giving up any other addiction.

Even if we´re not following any famous diet like ketogenic or high protein, vegetarian, etc; when we eliminate or avoid as much as possible sweets, junk, processed and fast food from our nutrition we start living healthier and the results will come. There are some healthy carbohydrates we can eat which I´ll explain in other post, but for now, and to keep things simple we just need to know and understand that processed sugar is bad so we need to eliminate it from our nutrition program for our health and fitness goals, the best way to do it is by avoiding sweets, junk, processed and fast foods.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebook account if most of what you eat is whole fresh food or unhealthy highly processed foods.

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

Food

Prebiotics and Probiotics

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Our body is full of bacteria, some good and some bad. Both play an important role on our health in general and they have different functions in our gut and digestive system.

Most of us do not pay attention to our gut health but if there´s something wrong it can lead to health issues that we never thought could be related. Some experts are talking about our gut as being our second brain and with so many new studies we can say that we need to focus on overall optimal health and that includes our gut.

Probiotics are good bacteria that live in our digestive system especially in our intestines and help with digestion therefore doctors and many people suggest them when we have digestive problems or after we take antibiotics which can kill the good bacteria. It´s important that we pay attention to the quality of supplements or products from where we´re getting probiotics because they are very fragile.

In some cases, like when we´ve been taking antibiotics taking probiotics supplements is helpful to repopulate the colon and they can also be helpful at preventing side effects of medications and they can help prevent issues on our digestive system.

Probiotics are found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir and tempeh.

Prebiotics are fiber that feed the good bacteria living in our gut. They help our good bacteria to grow and they are also helpful at supporting our digestive system, control our weight and overall health.

Prebiotics are found in foods high in fiber like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes.

Some people say that our gut is our “second brain” because of the communication between our brain and our digestive system, this two-way communication control our eating behavior, we can feel full, satisfied, hungry which has an impact on our weight and it also impacts the quality of sleep.

The gut has a big impact on our overall well-being how we feel, how we sleep, our energy level, how clear we think, our ability to focus and performance throughout the day.

A healthy diet based on whole, fresh foods that include healthy fats, healthy fibers, moderate proteins and low carbohydrates is a great option and according to the type of diet we follow we need to find foods that contain pre and probiotics or if we can´t get them through food we can use supplements.

Getting enough fiber from a healthy nutrition program is simple, vegetables, fruits and grains are some options for people following a ketogenic diet may be harder to get enough fiber since they eliminate all grains but vegetables are still an option, some fruits like berries and chia seeds.

For priobiotcs many people use to have yogurt or kefir which are good options but some of us avoid them because they are high in carbohydrates, one option is to find yogurt or kefir options low in carbohydrates, for those who eliminate dairy of their diet then fermented foods are one options or taking probiotics from supplements is another option.

For the past months and year mental health problems have increased and many experts recommend changing the diet and improving gut health, people with depression and anxiety who focus on improving their gut health by increasing the intake of fiber, healthy fats, moderate protein and lowering processed and refined foods have seen positive results.

Prebiotics and probiotics along with fiber play an important role on our gut health which is something we need to consider optimizing our health and not only focus on the 3 macros.

We´ll talk in a future post about the benefits or fermented foods and how they can help us lose weight, maintain a great physique and maintain optimal gut health.

If there´s something you want to know more about or if you have any doubts, questions or suggestions leave a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account, we want to hear from you (well, read from you) so that we can help you achieve your weight loss goal and improve your health.

It would 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

Food

Fiber! Is it important?

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We pay too much attention to the 3 macronutrients we´ve all heard about; fats, proteins and carbohydrates but we forget about fiber which is important for optimal gut health.

Fiber is important and it´s possible that you´re not getting enough of it every day.

Some people consider fiber as one more macronutrient because of its importance and to make sure that they get the right intake.

Most of us when we start a diet or want to change our eating habits we think about calories or macros but it doesn´t matter which ones are we counting or focusing on we don´t think too much about fiber which is actually really important for our gut, not getting enough fiber daily has a negative impact on our health in a short term but also long term.

Fiber is a carbohydrate that is not broken down in the small intestine, it gets into the large intestine where it is broken down by bacteria. It can be divided into soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water, it can help lower glucose and blood cholesterol and it´s found in oats, beans.

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, it promotes the movements of material through our digestive system to feed he microbiome and it´s found on vegetables and beans.

Both have a lot of benefits making it an important part of our diet. There are so many benefits and it´s important for our health, especially our gut. Some of the benefits are that it elevates satiety which helps with fat loss, it lowers body fat and helps in managing diabetes and improving insulin sensitivity.

Vegan and vegetarian diets are great at keeping fiber intake high but they can be deficient in other nutrients which are also important for our health, people following ketogenic or carnivore diets can have more problems to keep adequate intake of fiber because they tend to avoid almost all carbohydrates.

Getting enough fiber daily is important but most of us do not get enough of it but it´s a big mistake to increase the intake considerably from one day to another which can promote bloating, cramping and other problems so we need to start increasing the amount of fiber we eat gradually so that the bacteria in our digestive system also adjust to the change.

It doesn´t matter which type of diet we follow we need to make sure that we give our body all the nutrients it needs from fats, to proteins and carbohydrates and by carbohydrates the more important being vegetables which are loaded with micronutrients and fiber.

Green and cruciferous vegetables are great options to add fiber to your meals and your nutrition program. Oats are also a great option if we´re following a more balanced diet, it is great for breakfast, legumes like beans, lentils are also a source of fiber.

Some people are intolerant to grain and gluten so we need to pay attention to our body, every time we make a change to our nutrition program we need to be aware of how our body responds and how we feel, we are all intolerant to some foods or we all have problems digesting some foods especially at the beginning when we make some change to what we eat, this can also happen with vegetables or when we start consuming healthy foods high in nutrients and eliminate or avoid unhealthy processed foods.

We need to be patient and make the changes slowly to give time to our body to get rid of all the poison and toxins and get use to a healthy diet.

We need to make sure that we give nutrients to our body, so we need to focus on getting healthy fats, protein and fiber which help us lose weight, maintain an amazing physique and also optimal health.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebook account if you are aware of getting enough fiber and how easy or hard it is for you.

It would 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

Food

Macros – Carbs. Are they good or bad?

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The last macronutrient we will talk about is carbohydrates, there are 4 calories in one gram of carbohydrate.

Carbohydrates are carbon-based molecules that contain water and can be classified in monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides.

Monosaccharides are the simplest basic structure which include glucose (the simplest form of sugar), fructose (fruit) and galactose (dairy). Glucose is the building block of most complex carbohydrates and it´s our body´s preferred source of energy (that´s what we´ve been told). These simple sugars do not need to be broken down, so they get into the bloodstream and are used immediately.

Disaccharides are two monosacchrides bound together which include sucrose and lactose.

Polysaccharides are more than two monosaccharides bound together which include starches.

Some years ago, this three groups (monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides) were divided into simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates depending on how fast or slow they were digested and how fast or slow they raise blood glucose. The simpler the molecule of sugar, the easier it is to break it down; the more complex the molecule, the more it must be broken down and the longer it takes to absorb. Simple carbohydrates was used to describe monosaccharides and disaccharides which are easier to digest and make sugar raise quickly, while complex carbohydrates was used to describe polysaccharides which take longer to digest and increase blood sugar slowly.

High blood sugar can be dangerous so our body needs to keep it regulated, when we eat too much sugar it gets to our bloodstream, insulin raises to take that glucose from the bloodstream to the cell and use it for energy or store it as glycogen in the muscles and if there´s an excess it stores the rest as fat.

Contrary to what we´ve been told our body performs better in a high fat – low carbohydrate diet with moderate protein. The amount of carbohydrates that our body needs is zero, there are no essential carbohydrates as there are essential amino acids (protein) and essential fatty acids (fats) the only reason we need carbohydrates is to get fiber and micronutrients.

Ketogenic diets are based on this, since there’s not an essential carbohydrate and our body doesn´t need them we can go high in fats, moderate in proteins and very low in carbohydrates, actually the carbohydrates we consume in keto diets are vegetables to get the fiber and nutrients.

The best carbohydrates sources we can eat are vegetables which include fiber and micronutrients, some fruits and those carbs like oats, amaranth, brown rice and corn tortilla. The reason this carbs are better is because they are not highly processed and refined and they are not loaded with extra sugars and unhealthy oils.

There´s one point that I want to make clear, the only difference between complex and simple carbohydrates is the speed at which they raise insulin and get broken down and digested but they are all carbs.

The type of diet or nutrition program we follow is the one that works best for each of us, the one that keeps us healthy and support our fitness goals and also the one the makes us feel great this is why we need to listen to our body, to find out which foods make us feel our best, deliver the best results and we can sustain for long periods of time.

For the last 3 posts we´ve been talking about macronutrients, we learnt the basics and functions of each macro in a simple way. There´s a lot of information and it can get very complex this is why we will continue talking about macronutrients and food in general so that you understand how everything works, how our body responds to each food option and how we can make better choices to not only lose weight, get in amazing shape and sustain your results but also maintain optimal health and live a fulfilled life.

If you have any doubts or questions let us know by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebbok account, we want to hear from you and know how we can help you.

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

Food

Macros – Proteins. Are you getting enough?

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How many times have you heard that protein is the most important macronutrient? Or maybe you are afraid of eating too much protein and you reduced it so much.

The next macronutrient we´ll see is protein, which is primarily used to build hair, nails and various organ systems like the heart, brain and are also the building blocks for tissue. Protein is essential for muscle repair and muscle growth.

Protein is essential for the body, but it has more functions apart from building muscle fibers. Some proteins provide structure to our body, to bones, skin, teeth, hair, nails; others provide antibodies to defend against viruses or bacteria. Protein is not used as a source of energy unless we are on a critic situation or our body feels we are on starvation and there´s no other source of energy left.

Protein is made of amino acids that create long chains called amino peptides, the structure of an amino acid is made of hydrogen, carbon, amino group, carboxyl group and a side chain. The side chain varies among each amino acid and is what gives each amino acid it´s name. There are 4 calories in one gram of protein.

Protein comes from different sources including animals and plants. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and can be divided in two groups: essential and nonessential amino acids. There are nine essential amino acids that we need to get from our nutrition and eleven nonessential amino acids that our body can make on its own. The nine essential amino acids also called branched chain amino acids are the ones that have a bigger impact on building muscle.

Even when protein can be found in animal and plant sources the quality of them varies and we need to consider this to make sure that we give our body the amount it needs or find ways to supplement it.

One thing to consider about protein is something called protein turnover which is the protein synthesis and protein breakdown. Protein synthesis is the building of new muscle using the amino acids, and protein breakdown is when our body takes existing muscle and breaks it down for energy.

There are some important factors we need to consider for protein consumption which are the amount of protein we need to consume and the quality of the protein. Getting around 1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight is good place to start if you want to protect muscle mass, there´s not an exact number you may need more or less protein so we need to adjust the numbers considering our current goal and the type of nutrition program we are following.

Protein is considered by many as the most important macronutrient for fat loss and muscle growth therefore some people increase their intake. If we are looking to lose fat considering that we are in a calorie deficit and we are doing some kind of resistance training along with some cardio, increasing the amount of protein (if we´re not taking enough) will make sure that we maintain  muscle. If we want to gain muscle, we´ll need to be in a calorie surplus, we can use carbohydrate cycling and increase carbohydrates while focusing on keeping protein at 1.0 – 1.5 grams.

There are many protein sources from meat, chicken, turkey, eggs, also nuts, beans, dairy products like milk, cheese, yoghurt, also vegetables even when they´re all-natural sources their amino-acid profile vary. Another way some fitness experts, and athletes consume protein is by supplements in the form of protein bars, protein powders and you can find different sources or type of protein including whey, casein, isolated and some others, the difference between them is the time of absorption, how fast or slow our body digest the type of protein, this is key to knowing when we must consume each type to have better results.

Protein shakes are famous for pre/post workout meals and also as meal replacements, as you know I don´t like to use supplements but if I did, I would take protein shakes as a post workout meal considering that liquid nutrition gets faster to where our body needs it because our body doesn´t have to digest it.

As I said on the last post about fats, we´re going to continue talking about each different macronutrient and food in general, how unhealthy foods impact our body on a negative side and about the positive impact of healthy foods.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account what is your favorite source or protein, do you prefer animal sources? Or are you vegan or vegetarian?

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

Food

Macros – Fats! Are they healthy?

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How many times have you heard that fats are bad for us? that they make us gain weight and increase cholesterol?

The first macronutrient we´re going to talk about is fat and the reason why is because it has been involved in myths regarding health issues.

For the past years’ fats have been considered the cause of many health problems and diseases so experts recommended to lower fats and increased carbohydrates and that´s what we did but when we made those changes to our diet some chronic diseases increased. The truth is that fat is a source of energy that our body can use efficiently, it´s more efficient than carbohydrates and our brain needs fat. Our entire body including our brain loves fat and perform a lot better when they thrive on fat. Of course, there are some unhealthy fats that we need to eliminate which we´re going to see in a minute and those unhealthy fats are the cause of health problems.

One of the biggest reasons why people don´t consume healthy fat is because they´re afraid that eating too much fat will make them fat, this is not true. If we eat unhealthy foods like simple carbohydrates, vegetable oils and trans fats and we eat a lot we´ll gain weight and we´ll get fat, if we eat healthy foods it´ll be very hard to gain weight because it´s harder to over eat.

And, because the industries had made us believe that fats are bad and are causing health problems, we´ve been brainwashed to the idea that we need to follow a low-fat high carbohydrate diet which is creating more problems.

Fats come in the form of triglycerides from the food we eat, and they are also stored as triglycerides in our body. They are formed of a molecule of glycerol connected to three fatty acids. There are 9 calories in one gram of fat. Fats are also called lipids and their main function is to form the membranes of each cell of our body, they are divided into saturated, unsaturated and trans fats.

Saturated fats.- Each carbon atom can form a bond with four other molecules, two of this bonds will always be use to connect it to the next carbon in the chain, if the remaining two bonds are connected to hydrogen it is called saturated fat. These saturated fats are solid at room temperature an example is butter. If we follow a balanced nutrition program that include high carbohydrates and we consume a lot of this type of fats our body is not efficient at breaking them down and digesting them.

Unsaturated fats.- If the remaining bonds do not bond with hydrogen molecules it is called unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and can be divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Monounsaturated fats have a single double bond and include olive oil, avocado oil.

Polyunsaturated fats have more than one double bond and include fish oil.

Trans fat.- This fats are created from unsaturated fats by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils to make them solid at room temperature and they are produced or used by food chains and processed foods. This are the fats we need to avoid due to their negative effects on health.

Vegetable oils are also a type of fat that is unhealthy and toxic for our body, we also need to avoid this unhealthy oils and we´re going to talk about them in a future post so that we can go deeper and understand why they are bad and why we need to eliminate them from our diet.

Essential fatty acids are those fatty acids that we need to obtain from nutrition. They are classified as polyunsaturated omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids.

The amount of fat we need will vary depending of the nutrition program we are following, for a ketogenic diet  70% to 75% most come from fat, around 5% – 10% carbohydrates and the rest of protein. I want to make something clear here, if you are on a ketogenic diet, you must eat all healthy fats, the only ones you must avoid are trans fats. On a ketogenic diet our body can use saturated fats effectively.

Fats are a great option to keep us satisfied and full, we can have some almonds or nuts as a snack or add avocado to our meals to keep us full longer.

If you like to eat at restaurants like I do you need to watch out at how meals are cooked, many of them use dips and sausages high in trans fats and sugars and some cook with a lot of butter, even when butter is good if your goal is fat loss you want to be in a caloric deficit and fats are high.

We will be talking about fats and all macronutrients in future posts to see how they impact our body and health so that we can create a nutrition program that works for each of us, if you have any doubt or question let us know by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebook account, I´ll glad to help you.

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

Food

Nutrients in food. Why they matter?

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As we said before food is one of the 5 principles of fitness so we need to understand how it works and how it can help us maintain optimal health, for this we will start understanding macronutrients and micronutrients, I´ll try to keep everything simple here and we´ll get in depth in future posts as we need to.

We know that the goal of any diet or nutrition program must be to give nutrients to our body. Food is not only fuel, it´s information and our body needs the right fuel and the right information to function and perform at peak. I know I´ve said before that highly processed or refined foods are unhealthy and we need to avoid them as much as possible, now that we avoid all those unhealthy foods we need to start learning about the differences in whole, fresh food, we know that this healthy foods have the nutrients our body needs to function and we will divide them into macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients give energy to our body in the form of calories, you may have heard that “calories are calories” or “all calories are equal”, this is completely false, all three groups are different, our body will not respond the same way to protein than to fat and in each group we´ll find healthy and unhealthy options, our body will respond in different ways to this three groups of macronutrients and how healthy they are.

It´s not the same to have a cup of oatmeal than to have some Oreo cookies, for our body it´s completely different, it´s not the same to have some rice and broccoli than to have a donut and ice cream (even when I love both of them). I know this examples look silly but I want to make the point clear, not all calories are created equal. This is comparing healthy vs unhealthy options, if we compare healthy options from different macronutrient groups like avocado with chicken or oatmeal with nuts they are still different and our body uses them in different ways even if they are healthy options. This is the reason why the famous “calories in – calories out” advice doesn´t work.

Each macronutrient has its own purpose, to help our body function properly every day, I´ll be talking about each macronutrient on separate posts to give you all you need to know and keep it simple so that you can take your time to understand it.

The first we´re going to learn are macronutrients, macronutrients are divided in three: proteins, fats and carbohydrates and our body needs them in big quantities. Each group has its own primarily function making all of them a crucial part of our diet.

Micronutrients which our body needs in smaller quantities. This micronutrients are vitamins and minerals and they are essential for optimal health and preventing diseases, they all have an specific function in our body.

The best way to get this nutrients is through food but nowadays we need to consume a lot of highly nutritious food to get the amounts our body needs, the reason why is because the soil is depleted, we don´t get the same amount of nutrients in vegetables that some years ago, this is why many people decide to take supplements like multivitamins and minerals.

If we are deficient in any of them our body won´t work properly and in some cases the negative effects are not that bad; examples of this can be chapped lips,  hair loss but things can get really bad and cause a lot of health issues.

All systems in our body from the digestive system, nervous system, circulatory system, skeletal system, muscular system, etc; they all need vitamins and minerals, some of them may need more vitamins, others more minerals but they all need some amount and all this systems work in conjunction, talking about how our body works can get really complex so we´re going to keep it simple with what we need to know not only to reach your fitness goals but to live a better life.

We´ll find that there are 13 essential vitamins: Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B7, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. Their function is primarily focus on energy and supporting all the systems of the body to function properly. Minerals like calcium, potassium, sodium etc; some of their functions are focus on building and maintaining healthy bones, hair, teeth.

They are all needed in different quantities and apart from helping your body function properly they can help prevent diseases and infections by getting some systems strong like the immune system. If you are deficient of some vitamins or minerals your body tells; if we feel tired, weak, we lack concentration, suffer insomnia, feel fatigue that means that we´re deficient in micronutrients.

I´ve said before that weight loss and fitness in general can be complex, the reason why is because we need to know and understand the job of each macronutrient and how our body responds to each, we also need to understand the job of micronutrients and make sure we´re not deficient once we understand this information all fitness goals will be simple.

Knowing the job of each macronutrients is key because we need to manipulate them in certain ways to achieve our fitness goals, if we want to lose fat or gain lean muscle we´ll need to adjust our nutrition and make some slightly changes to support our goal.

For me macronutrients are far more important than calories, I don´t  consider a fitness program that only focuses on calories to be right because there are different ways to achieve the same amount of calories with different macronutrient ratios and each one will give us different results.

You may know by now that I love food, I love to cook and I consider food to be part of the culture and traditions of each country, I love traditional food and local cuisine. My approach to fitness and weight loss is to keep things simple by avoiding unhealthy, highly processed foods and to stick with whole fresh foods. I don´t count calories, I don´t count points, I don´t weight my food to set macro ratios I just have a clear idea of the amount of food and the types of food I´m eating.

When you understand each macronutrient and have an idea of the amount of food your body needs you´ll be able to enjoy food, while being able to maintain a healthy weight focusing on body composition in an enjoyable way.

The importance of macronutrients.

Let us know if you have asked yourself what macros are and how our body uses them by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebook account.

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

Food

Why food is important! What we eat matters!

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Food plays an important role in our lives, it makes up a great part of social life. Whether we´re alone watching a movie or series while eating some of our favorite snacks or whether we´re having lunch or dinner with family, friends or coworkers or sometimes we´re just eating because we´re bored, stressed or depressed every food choice we make has an impact on our body and health.

The importance of food is not only to help us reach our fitness goals, it´s not about following a restrictive diet for a period of time to lose weight and get in shape, it´s about developing healthy habits to make healthy choices most of the time to maintain optimal health, it´s a lifestyle that helps us live to our full potential and achieve amazing things.

Our relationship with food is not as good as it could be and it´s causing a lot of problems. Food can heal, and prevent diseases or it can make us sick, the choice is ours every single time we decide to eat something.

Food is data and fuel for our body, if we want to perform at peak every single day and if we want to live to our full potential we need to make the right food choices. Health is a priority but most of us do not make it a priority until something bad happens, we live surrounded by highly processed and junk foods loaded with refined sugars, trans fats, chemicals and toxins that are making us sick and we choose those options because they are convenient and many more reasons that we´re not aware of but we don´t think about the negative impact they have on our body and health.

We need to improve our relationship with food and make a shift of how we view it based on understanding how everything we eat works and the impact it has on our body positive or negative, we need to think about food as giving nutrients, data and energy to our muscle, cells, organs and entire body and realizing that we can still have delicious meals that are healthy full of nutrients that our body needs to work properly as opposed to eating processed foods based on taste and can´t stop consuming them because of the addiction they create (we´re going to talk about this on future posts).

Our unhealthy food choices based on highly processed foods are one of the causes of diseases like obesity, diabetes and even dementia, Alzheimer, cancer, etc; there´s no cure for most of this diseases but, it´s possible to prevent them if we develop healthy habits to live a healthy life and this doesn´t mean that you won´t be able to eat your favorite dish, snack or desert of course you can have them once or twice a month (maybe more) or you can find healthy recipes and make those snack, dishes and desserts taste great and healthy so that you can enjoy them a lot more.

In most cases we don´t give too much attention to our food choices because we don´t understand how food works on our body and the impact it has so when we understand the negative impact of unhealthy foods and also the positive impact of whole healthy foods and learn the basics of nutrition it´s easier for us to make better choices.

We don´t need to follow restrictive diets if we´ don´t need to, if our goal is to use fitness as a tool to live the most amazing life then we just need to make sure that 80% or 90% of our food choices are based on whole, healthy foods and the ones that make us feel great.

I don´t like the word diet because it means that we´re going to eliminate some foods, especially the ones we love for a certain period of time making it restrictive in our food choices and calories. I´m not against any nutrition program or “diet” whether it´s vegan, vegetarian, paleo, ketogenic, carnivore as long as they are well formulated and healthy. I consider all those options to be tools to help us live our best life possible and our nutrition program or diet doesn´t need to follow any of them strictly, it´s not about trying to fit into one of the fad or commercial diets, the most important thing we need to do is avoid unhealthy options (highly refined and processed foods like sweets, sugars, candies, cakes, sodas, junk, fast foods) and stick to whole foods then from those whole fresh foods we can be more restrictive by avoiding foods that make us feel sick causing bloating, inflammation, etc.

Since foods is highly important for optimal health to live an incredible life you can start today making better choices, if you like to have some unhealthy snacks between meals (this includes “healthy bars”) skip those snacks or change them for something healthy, whole and fresh like pumpkin seeds, pecans or almonds.

The importance of food!

Let us know which is you favorite unhealthy snack and whether you´re going to skip it or change it for a healthy option, if you change it for a healthy options which one you choose? Leave your comment on our Twitter and Facebook account.

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