Post-Mardi Gras Detox

We hope that you had an amazing Mardi Gras and that you were able to avoid the temptation of making it a true Fat Tuesday! Our culture makes it hard to stick to a healthy lifestyle when surrounded by king cakes, alcohol, and savory foods on the parade route, but don’t worry the Krewe of Aspen is here to help you bounce back from any bad decisions that you may have made!

All 9 of our locations will be accepting new patients as well as follow-up patients this week, so if you need a little extra help with appetite control schedule your doctor’s appointment ASAP.

If you’re looking for help with energy levels, boost metabolism, and burn fat stop in to any location and try one our NEW B-12 or Lipo Extreme Injections!

But what’s the number 1 thing you should do to get back on track, or for Catholics, to kick off the Lenten Season? Well, when it comes to the liver we always say, “When in doubt, clean it out!”

Did you know that your blood passes through you liver and kidneys 3 times every minute?

The liver alone has over 900 functions that are crucial for weight loss, but the liver and kidneys together are two of the most important organs for weight loss because they are part of the body’s filtration system.  Blood is sent there to be filtered, re-worked, and gotten rid of. When we put too many undigested fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into our bodies the liver and kidneys will get backed up.

Think of your liver like a lint filter on a dryer

When the liver is “full” it begins to store fat and these undigested foods get sent back into our bodies resulting in high cholesterol, high blood sugar levels, triglycerides, etc. This liver “back wash” is typically sent into fat pockets in the body, which are found beneath the arms, between the legs, and in the lower back.

– Under arms, love handles, and cellulite… all of the places we hate! – 

This is why it’s important to clean the liver so that fats can flow freely out of it. With any health issues you should clean up the liver, but ESPECIALLY when you’re trying to lose weight.

IMG_8260

 Suggested uses for the Liver/Kidney:

Chronic Alcohol Use

Chronic Drug Use

Prescription Medications

Any kind of Detoxification

Hepatitis

High Cholesterol

Constipation

Liver/Kidney Damage

Any Skin Condition

We recommend that all of our new patients begin our program with a bottle of our Liver/Kidney supplement to do a good detox and to make sure that fats can be digested properly. Follow-up patients should continue the supplement several (about every 3 months) times per year.  If you drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or take any prescription medications take this supplement year-round.

**Don’t forget that liver function is dependent on hydration levels.  Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day for optimal liver function**

Eating for the Season: Winter

WINTER

It’s that time of year again in Southern Louisiana!  One day it’s 80 degrees and the next there is potential for snow and sleet.  While the weather is completely unpredictable, one thing that can remain consistent is your diet.  It may seem impossible to even grocery shop in some of these freezing temperatures, but it is important to make sure that you are still meal planning and sticking to your grocery list.

Many people forget that foods go in and out of season.  During the winter months especially, it is important to fuel your body with foods that can be bought fresh at your local grocery store and foods that will support your immune system.

Your diet should be rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and all of the in-season fruits, veggies, and herbs not only for weight loss, but also for skin care. The cold, windy weather is extremely taxing on your skin and when we go indoors we are exposed to constant heat which dries you out even more.  This makes staying hydrated even more important during the winter months.  Water has a vital role of carrying nutrients and oxygen around the body

.

Here is a list of some of the best foods to consume in the winter:

  • Bone broth

    • Fancy name for stock
    • High in protein
    • Supports hair, nail, and skin health
    • Gut-healing properties aid in detoxification

  • Carrots

    • One of the richest sources of beta-carotene
    • Good source of Vitamins A and C
    • Excellent for addressing skin issues
  • Jerusalem artichoke

    • Full of nutrients and dietary fiber
    • High in iron
    • Prebiotic
    • Great for maintaining healthy blood pressure
    • Source of potassium: keeps muscles working effectively
  • Kefir

    • Probiotic
    • High concentration of helpful bacteria to heal the damage caused by the overgrowth of bad bacteria
    • Excellent source of drinkable calcium
    • Suitable for those who are lactose intolerant
    • Protein rich; full of amino acids
  • Leek

    • A natural diuretic
    • Good source of beta-carotene and Vitamin C
    • Flush away toxins
    • Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C, E, and K
  • Miso

    • Low in dairy, gluten, and refined sugar
    • Strengthens the immune system and fights infection
    • Iodine-rich
    • Vitamins: B2, B12, E, and K
  • Mushroom

    • Essential for healthy bones and teeth
    • High in Vitamin D and zinc
    • Vitamins: B2, B3, B12, and D
  • Onion

    • Helps boost circulation and fight disease
    • Defend against infection (non-digestable fiber encourages good bacteria in the gut)
    • Antiviral properties
    • Vitamins C and E support collagen and protect from UV damage
  • Orange

    • Packed with Vitamin C (helps to fight colds and bugs)
    • High in fiber
    • Avoid drinking the juice (too much sugar in one serving)
  • Puy lentils

    • Plant-based protein
    • Stabilize blood sugar
    • Rich in folate (excellent anti-aging nutrient)
    • High iron content
    • Soluble fiber makes them beneficial to digestive tract
  • Red cabbage

    • Great source of Vitamin C (twice the amount of green cabbage)
    • Fiber-rich and low in calories
    • Digestive aid
    • Vitamin C is the number one nutrient for collagen building
    • Vitamins: B5, B6, B9, C, and K
  • Rhubarb

    • Good source of magnesium
    • High in fiber
    • Acts as a natural laxative
    • Antibacterial and antifungal properties helping to reduce inflammation and treat infection
  • Rosemary

    • Anti-inflammatory properties
    • Helps reduce redness and puffiness
    • Improves mood
    • Boosts energy
    • Enhance brain function
    • Rosemary essential oil helps to treat indigestion and excess gas
  • Sesame seeds

    • Known to Chinese as “the seed of immortality”
    • Promote longevity and beauty
    • High in protein
    • Treat the signs of aging, thinning or gray hair, and wrinkles
    • Strengthens bones
    • Promotes good vision
  • Tofu

    • Plant based protein
    • Improves elasticity of the skin
    • Minerals: Calcium, Copper, Iron, Phosphorous, Selenium
  • Turnips

    • Low in calories and high in fiber
    • Regulate metabolism
    • Promotes gut health
    • Gets rid of bad bacteria and supports more efficient detoxification
    • Vitamins: B1, B5, B6, B9, and C
  • White fish

    • Good for heart health and brain function
    • Helps with inflammation
    • Great source of essential fatty acids and contains all 9 essential amino acids
    • Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B6, B12

 

 Source: Wendy Rowe ‘Eat Beautiful’ – 

Beat the Sweets With Fat/Sugar Enzymes

It’s that time of year again!

Chocolate bunnies, marshmallow-shaped ducks, and chocolate eggs filled with peanut butter surround us. No matter where you go, the temptation is REAL! We already know what you’re going to say; we’ve told you to eat plenty of eggs for breakfast, but that’s not the kind that we meant!

Don’t give in to the sweet cravings this year! If you haven’t already, now is the time to add our Fat/Sugar Enzymesinto your daily supplement regimen.

Our Fat/Sugar Enzymes not only contains a higher concentration of the digestive enzymes lipase and amylase, but it also reduces carb and sweet cravings. This supplement is uniquely formulated to support the body’s natural ability to digest fats and sugars.

462050180Lipase and amylase are the enzymes that your body needs to break down, digest, and utilize fats and sugars. The only place to find enzymes naturally is in raw foods, but once your foods are cooked (at 118 degrees) or processed the enzymes are destroyed and the food enters your body as a “dead” food. This is when your body is forced to use the enzymes found in your pancreas. When you are born your pancreas is full of over 40,000 of the different enzymes needed for digestion, but the problem is that once you run out you never produce more.

For example, every time you eat sugar your pancreas releases amylase to help digest it. Once you run out of amylase you become diabetic. Cooked fats also have no enzymes, so as they enter your blood stream without enzymes they are stored as fat (lovehandles, cellulite, etc.)

*Fat/Sugar Enzymes is a MUST for anyone who is Diabetic or Pre-Diabetic!*

Unlike the potentially harmful “fat blockers” and other so-called fat burners on the market, our Fat/Sugar Enzymes’ unique combination of proven ingredients not only reduces fat stores, but it works in harmony with the body to ensure that fat is utilized and converted to energy.

Fat/Sugar Enzymes also contains Chromium as an amino acid chelate that helps to regulate insulin levels. Insulin helps control hunger and regulates energy production and fat burning.

We always recommend taking this supplement if you struggle with carb and sweet cravings, but this time of year is DEFINITELY the time to add it or up your dosage to two capsules per day!

Beat the sweets this Spring!

Choc PB

And if you’re STILL craving chocolate and peanut butter, cheat clean with a Chocolate Peanut Butter Quest Bar!

Meal Plan, Meal Plan, Meal Plan!

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”

is a quote you’ve probably heard a million times. But, if you’re honest, it’s true!

Especially when it comes to weight loss. Think about it, how many times do you have every intention of eating healthy and then before you know it it’s 12:30pm and you’re starving? You have 30 minutes to eat lunch and the only things available are out of a box, bag, or a window.

Don’t let that happen!

In today’s fast-paced world one of the best tips that we can offer you is:

 meal plan, meal plan, meal plan!

Planning out your meals in advance gives you the opportunity to make sure that by the end of the day you are within all of your caloric and macronutrient (carbs, fats, and proteins) goals. It’s also a no-fail strategy. If you have the right foods available you are way less likely to cheat.

Though meal planning is important, it’s only the first step to success.

The second step is to meal prep!  

Make sure you actually put the time in to go to the grocery store, prepare the food, and separate it so that each day is readily available.

 

Here’s a few tips to get you started:

1. Find a useful meal planning tool that works for you.

One of the many reasons we LOVE the Fitbook is because it includes a space at the beginning of each week to meal plan. You can also use printable meal plans like this one we found on this blog Dear Crissy

2. Log your foods in advance.

The best part about planning your meals in advance is that you have the opportunity to log all of your foods to ensure that your ranges for calories, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are where they need to be.

3. Change up your meal plan each day/week.

Don’t let yourself get bored or tired of eating the same thing every day/week. That is a quick way to fail. Keep your foods creative!

4. Make sure you have enough containers!

This tip may seem obvious, but trust us… There is nothing more frustrating than preparing a bunch of food and not having a place to store it.

5. Embrace your Crockpot!

Don’t underestimate the power of the Crockpot! There isn’t much better than being able to “set it and forget it” when it comes to cooking. But don’t forget that you can use your slow cooker to cook enough chicken, shredded pork, or roast beef for the entire week!

 


Ready to start meal planning? We have the perfect tool:

FITBOOK

Shop Fitbook now

Coconut Oil: What the Hype is All About

At the Aspen Clinic, we try to stay up to date on the latest trends in health and nutrition that way we can keep our patients informed as well.  But honestly, if you grocery shop, look up healthy recipes, or if you ever look at Pinterest you’ve probably noticed that EVERYONE is talking about coconut oil.

Whether they’re consuming it, using it on their skin, or around the house, they can’t stop raving about all of the benefits.

Basically, coconut oil might be the best thing since sliced bread! 

Well, technically speaking we now know that sliced bread isn’t so great, but you see what we’re getting at!  So to kill your curiosity, we’ve decided to give you some of the science behind it as well as ways to use it and incorporate it into your diet!

 

What is Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil was once mistaken as an unhealthy fat because of its high saturated fat content.  However, we now know that it possesses many health-giving properties due to its fiber and nutrition content.   So what makes coconut oil different from other saturated fats?  They are medium-chain fatty acids.

 

Image result for mct fatty acidAll fats are composed of molecules called fatty acids. There are two methods of identifying fatty acids: saturation and molecular size, or length of the carbon chain within each fatty acid.  There are short-chained fatty acids (SCFA), medium-chained fatty acids (MCFA), and long-chain fatty acids (LCFA).  Most of the fats we consume, whether saturated, unsaturated, come from animals or plants are LCFAs.

 

You’re probably wondering what all of this means.  Well, to make it simple, the size of the fatty acid is extremely important because our bodies respond and metabolize each fatty acid differently depending on its size.  MCFAs do not have a negative effect on cholesterol, help to protect against heart disease, can be used as an Alzheimer’s treatment (check out this YouTube video about an Alzheimer’s patient who started using coconut oil daily https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dfux-5Z4COo&app=desktop), and can be used around your house as part of your beauty regimen, and many more things! There are many benefits to using coconut oil, but the reason we love it so much is it actually has TONS of health benefits! It can even aid in weight loss because it is lower in calories than all other fats.

 

How to consume it:

  • Replacement for butter
  • Natural energy booster
  • Healthy popcorn topperImage result for coconut oil benefits
  • Replacement for non-stick cooking spray
  • Replace unhealthy fats when baking
  • Coffee creamer

 

Other uses:

  • Hair conditioner
  • Dandruff
  • Acne
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Moisturizer
  • Cuticle moisturizer
  • Makeup remover
  • Soothe sunburns
  • Fight body odor
  • Reduce wrinkles
  • Helps eczema flare-ups
  • Moisturize leather
  • Condition wooden utensils and furniture
  • Remove rust and clean metal
  • Condition your pet’s fur

 

Oil PullingImage result for coconut oil pulling

  • How to: Swish 1tsp of organic extra virgin coconut oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. DO NOT swallow the oil. Spit the oil in a garbage can and brush your teeth as normal.  Repeat 3-4 times per week.
  • Benefits:

    • Removes bacteria in the mouth
    • Prevents plaque, gum disease, cavities, and gingivitis
    • Holistic remedy for bleeding gums
    • Holistic treatment for jaw problems (TMJ)
    • Helps bad breath
    • Whitens teeth
  • Oil pulling helps with more than just your mouth!

    • Detoxifies the body
    • Supports normal kidney function
    • Reduces migraines
    • May help congestion
    • Helps get rid of hangovers

As you can see, the benefits of coconut oil are endless – but they don’t stop there! If you want to see a little more about the amazing benefit of coconut oil check out this amazing book by Dr. Mary Newport:

Image result for dr mary newport

10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

So what’s the harm in a little holiday weight gain, especially if it’s just a Pound? According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, most Americans never lose the weight they gain during the winter holidays. The pounds add up year after year, making holiday weight gain an important factor in the rise in adult obesity.

Never Arrive Hungry

  • Try to have a nutritious and satisfying snack, such as a Quest bar, before heading to a holiday party so excess hunger doesn’t tempt you towards overeating.

Divert your attention

  • Don’t forget that there is more to the holidays than food! Enjoy the company of friends and family and change your focus to conversation instead of food. Choose a seat away from where the food is displayed.

Outsmart the buffet

  • When dinner is laid out buffet style, use the smallest plate available and don’t stack up your food. Go for simple choices and try to avoid added sauces and dips.

Limit Alcohol

  • Limiting alcohol isn’t only to limit calories, but to also keep you in control of what you’re eating. Choose to carry water around if you feel out of place without something in your hand like everyone else.

Be Sweet Selective

  • When choosing your dessert, be very selective. Try to choose only one small portion of your favorite holiday dessert, or just a small bite of a few different ones.

Limit “Tasting” while Cooking

  • If you’re cooking during the holidays, limit yourself to only 1-2 pre and post seasoning tastes because all of those little “bites” and “tests” can add up to hundreds of calories. Try chewing gum, or combining ingredients immediately to help to avoid snacking on the added nuts, chocolate chips, fruits, etc.

Walk It Off

  • Stay away from the food for a while by taking a walk outside, around the house, or even around the room at a party instead of just sitting down.

Think Before you Eat

  • Instead of making yourself sick on foods that you feel you “have to” eat, simply because it’s the holidays – think! Before grabbing something, ask yourself how much you actually want that food, and how hungry you really are. Remind yourself that there will be plenty of opportunities to eat that food, and maybe save a piece for another day if you find you’re already full – instead of just eating it anyway.

Catch Some ZzZz’s

  • Between cooking, entertaining, present wrapping, and preparing for guests, sleep seems to hit the last spot on our to-do lists. Sleep helps to control appetite though, making it a huge priority, especially during the food-crazed holiday season. Try to aim for 7-9 hours each night.

Take Small Bites

  • In addition to using smaller plates, using small utensils can help prevent holiday overeating. Your food shouldn’t cover more than half of the utensil, and these smaller bites will help to slow down eating and fill you up faster.

Guide to Fall Foods

It’s hard to say goodbye to the fresh flavors of summer, but autumn ushers in a wealth of healthy and tasty seasonal foods as well.  Here is a look at what’s in season as well as a breakdown of nutritional benefits and tasty ways to prepare fall’s produce.

 

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Sources:

http://www.healthcentral.com/diet-exercise/c/458275/163067/guide-infographic/

How Low Carb is It Really?

When attempting a lower carb lifestyle, many people think that involves just cutting out the bread and pastas; but a true low carb lifestyle involves being conscious of which foods weigh less on the carb scale than others, and that includes the seemingly healthy fruits and vegetables.

Here is a guide to make sure you’re choosing the best options for fruits, vegetables, and snacks.

Low-Carb Fruits and Berries – the Best and the Worst

What are the best and the worst fruits and berries to eat on a low-carb diet? Here’s the short version: most berries are OK low-carb foods in moderate amounts, but fruits are candy from nature (and full of sugar).

For more detail check out this guide, the lower-carb options are to the left.

Berries

Low-Carb Berries

All the numbers are the percent of digestible carbohydrates i.e. net carbs (so the fibre is not counted).This means that 100 grams of berries (3.5 ounces or about three handfuls) – will contain that number of grams of carbs.

Raspberries, blackberries and strawberries can be eaten in small amounts on a strict low-carb diet, and you can have pretty much all you want if you’re on a more moderate low-carb diet.

Blueberries contain a bit more carbs, so don’t go crazy on them – on a strict low-carb diet only eat them occasionally in small amounts.

Fruits

Low-Carb Fruits

So how about fruit? As you can see all fruits contain quite a bit of carbs (mostly in the form of sugar). That’s why fruits are sweet! Fruit is candy from nature.For easy comparison all numbers are still grams of digestible carbs per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of the fruits.

A medium-sized apple (150 grams) may thus contain about 18 grams of carbs.

How much fruit can you have?

This means that on a strict low-carb diet (<20 grams per day) you’re probably better off having some berries instead. Or perhaps a small fruit like a plum or a couple of cherries, once in while. You can eat plenty of vegetables instead. Any nutrient in fruit can more easily be had from vegetables – without all the sugar. So there’s no need for fruit.

Even on a more moderate low-carb diet (20-50 grams per day) you’ll have to be careful with fruit – probably not more than about one a day.

On a liberal low-carb diet (50-100 grams per day) you may be able to squeeze in two or three fruits a day, if that is your biggest source of carbs.

As you see grapes and bananas are the highest-carb fruits of them all.

Isn’t fruit natural?

Most people believe that fruit is natural, but today’s fruit in the supermarket have very little in common with what fruit used to look like before: banana1

The fact still remains: Fruit is candy from nature.

Worse choices

Muffin or M&M's

Of course a fruit is still better than many other snack options – like a muffin or candy. All fruit (even bananas) are much lower in carbs than these.

Low-Carb Vegetables – the Best and the Worst

What low-carb vegetables are good? There’s a very simple rule:

  • Vegetables growing above ground are low carb and can be eaten freely.
  • Vegetables growing below ground contain more carbs, so you’ll have to be more careful with them (especially potatoes).

Like any rule it is not perfect, so have a look below.

Above ground

Carbs per 100 grams (3.5 ounces)
Low-carb vegetables

Below ground

(percent digestible carbs)

All the numbers are the percent of digestible carbohydrates (fibre is not counted). This means that a hundred grams (3.5 ounces) – the weight of an average tomato – of any vegetable will contain that number of grams of carbs.E.g. one average tomato has about 3 grams of carbs. One whole cauliflower head weights a lot more though, perhaps ten times more, and may thus contain about ten times 4 grams, i.e. 40 grams of carbs.

Note the clear difference between above ground and below ground vegetables.

Vegetables with less than 5 percent carbs can be eaten relatively freely. If you’re on a not-too-strict low-carb diet (more than 20 grams per day) you can probably eat all you want of all these low-carb vegetables.

If you’re on a strict low-carb diet (under 20 grams a day) you may need to be a bit careful with some of the vegetables. Specifically you should probably be careful around peppers or tomatoes – these carbs quickly add up towards the 20 grams a day limit. Just one medium-sized pepper may contain 6-8 grams of digestible carbs.

Peas, corn, beans, lentils, quinoa

Carbohydrates in peas, corn, beans, lentils, quinoa

Peas, corn, beans, lentils and quinoa contain more carbohydrates than other vegetables. You’ll have to be careful with them on a strict low-carb diet, eating them in very small amounts or not at all.Most of these plant foods are not classified as vegetables but as grains or legumes. They are not good low-carb options.

Grains and pure sugar

Carbohydrates in grains (like bread, pasta, rice) and added sugars

Wheat is not a vegetable, it is a grain. And anything made with flour contains lots of rapidly digested carbs. Avoid this as much as possible when on a low-carb diet. Whole grain products are just less bad – it’s like cigarettes with filter on them.Bread, pasta, rice, cookies etc. are not vegetables, and they are full of carbohydrates.

High fructose corn syrup – the sugary nutrient in soda – does come from plants (corn). But it is not a vegetable and it most certainly is not low carb.

Low-Carb Snacks – the Best and the Worst

What low-carb snacks are good? There’s a simple rule:

The best low-carb snack is no snack.

That’s right. Snacks are not needed on low carb, as the hunger should go away when doing it right. If you’re still hungry, you probably need to add more healthy fat to your meals instead.

That said, everyone wants a snack at least once in a while. So here are the very best options – and a few common mistakes to avoid.

 

No Preparation Needed

Low carb snacks

All the numbers are the percent of digestible carbohydrates (fibre is not counted). This means that 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of the food contains that many grams of carbs.

Eggs are a great low-carb option. Keep a few hard-boiled eggs ready for when you need a perfect snack.

Nuts are a low-carb snacks favorite. But be careful as the carbs quickly add up, especially if you eat cashews. Choose lower-carb macadamia, Brazil or pecan nuts instead. Low-carb nuts guide

Vegetable Sticks and Dip

Digestible carbs per 100 grams (3.5 ounces)

Low-carb snacks: vegetables

Vegetable sticks are relatively low carb, except for carrots that have slightly more carbs.Dip: Add cream cheese or any really low-carb and high-fat dip sauce.

Berries and Cream

Low carb snacks: berries

Berries are decently low-carb sweets. But if you’re on a strict low-carb diet you may need to make it an occasional treat. Blueberries have the most carbs.

Heavy whipping cream:
 forget low-fat fake cream. Get real heavy whipping cream, ideally at 40 percent fat and definitely unsweetened (the natural sweetness is quite enough once you get used to it). Whip it and have it with the berries. Note however that this is absolutely delicious, and it’s easy to eat a lot of it when not hungry, slowing weight loss. So try to not overdo it.

Chocolate

Digestible carbs per 100 grams (3.5 ounces)

Low-carb snacks: Chocolate

Chocolate is not low carb. However, you can occasionally get away with one or two thin squares of high-cacao chocolate (70%+) even on a strict low-carb diet. On a more liberal low-carb diet you could do it regularly.

  • One small thin square (10 grams or less than half an ounce) of 86 percent chocolate contains about 2 grams of carbs.
  • Change to 70% chocolate and you get about 3.5 grams per square.
  • Regular chocolate can be 6 grams of carbs or more per square – not an option if you want to stay low carb.

More Options

Low-carb snacks: More options

Beef Jerky: Note that almost all available commercial options have tons of added sugar, which is why a normal carb count is 9 grams per 100 grams (3.5 ounces). Preferably mostly avoid this, or make your own.

Common Mistakes on Low Carb

Low-carb snacks: Common mistakes

Caffe Latte: Note that there is a ton of milk in this, and milk is around 5 percent carbs (milk sugar). To keep the carbs low drink regular coffee instead, and add (if you need to) a few teaspoons of milk or cream.Juice and functional waters: These are full of sugar. Preferably avoid.

Fruit: Fruit is candy from nature and contains plenty of sugar. It’s not nearly as bad as drinking juice, but fruit will still mostly have to be avoided on a strict low-carb diet. A more liberal diet allows the occasional fruit. Bananas and grapes contain the most sugar of all fruit.

Cashew nuts: These contain a lot of carbs (other nuts are a lot lower).

Really Terrible Options

Low carb snacks: Terrible options

Of course these options are all terrible on a low-carb diet, as they are high in refined carbs and sugars. Avoid whenever possible.

Also be very skeptical of “low-carb” versions of chocolate, cookies etc. They are usually full of sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners that raise blood sugar, make it harder to lose weight and maintain sugar cravings.

Sources: 

http://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/fruits 

http://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/vegetables 

http://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/snacks

Fruit: Not Good for Weight Loss?

If you’re like most people, you probably think that fruit is healthy, and even may boost your weight loss. What you don’t know is that fruit could be the culprit behind your weight gain, or struggle to lose those last 10 lbs.

Unfortunately, fruit and its sugar, fructose, are not as healthy as advertisements claim them to be. Fruit might not be making you gain weight like crazy, but it is important to understand that you canNOT eat as much fruit as you want and still expect to lose weight.

Why Fruit Has a Limit

Fresh fruit is a healthy choice and loaded with vitamins and antioxidants; however fruit still contains calories and carbohydrates. These are two things that can stop your weight-loss progress in its tracks if left unchecked.

Whether or not you should eat fruit while dieting has always been a controversial topic. The Internet is cluttered with articles claiming that eating fruit will make you fat, while more recently Weight Watchers has deemed fruit a ‘zero points food’ as part of the Points Plus system, allowing dieters to eat all the fruit they want without it impacting their daily points total.

Which is correct? Is your daily cup of blueberries to blame for that extra layer of belly fat you can’t seem to burn off? Or is it an innocent bystander in your quest for your ideal body? One of the reasons that fruit is so controversial is because it can be a double-edged sword. While fruit is a very nutritious food that should be included in a weight loss diet, there may come a time when you will need to reduce or temporarily remove fruit from your diet to reach your goals. Let’s take a closer look at both sides of this controversy.

Fruit vs. Weight Loss

The carbohydrates in fruit do not have a huge impact on your blood sugar levels, as most fruits have a low glycemic load. Fruits can also supply a significant dose of fiber to your diet, which will slow digestion and make you feel fuller. For example, just one cup of raspberries contains 8 grams of fiber.

Fruits like blueberries are also a good source of antioxidants, which can help lower your blood pressure, fight off oxidative stress, and in some cases work at the DNA level to aid in weight loss.

Fruit has multiple benefits that warrant it being a staple in your diet; but what about its supposed dark side?

The Problem with Fructose

Fruit is high in the simple sugar fructose, which is the main reason why many people trying to lose weight remove it from their diet. Unlike glucose, the most common simple sugar that’s sent to your muscles, brain, and other organs for them to use as energy, fructose is only processed by your liver. Why is that bad? If your liver already has ample energy, there is a higher likelihood that your liver will repackage the excess fructose as fat, saving it for use at a later time. While this is a biochemical truth, its impact on your waistline is blown out of proportion, especially when you consider that fruit isn’t even one of the top five sources of fructose in the American diet.

How Much Fruit is Okay?

You may hear that you don’t have to worry about sugars in fruit because it is natural to the fruit.  The truth is that “it depends”.  Certainly, fruits contain many nutrients, and if you’re going to be eating sugar it’s better to have some great nutrients to go with it!  On the other hand, some bodies handle sugars better than others, and if you are someone who responds well to a low-carb diet, it pays to be careful.  If possible, check your blood glucose to see how the fruit (or any food) affects it.
More relevant reasons why fruit should not be given the ‘eat as much as you want’ label:
When you’re trying to lose weight, calories and carbohydrates matter. One banana contains 100 calories and 27 grams of carbohydrates. One apple can contain as much as 115 calories and 30 grams of carbohydrates.

Limiting carbohydrate intake to 100 grams per day is a common target for people using a moderately carbohydrate-restricted approach to weight loss. If that is the case, eating two bananas and one apple will take up 84 percent of your carbohydrate intake for the entire day. Even if you are eating 1800 calories per day and 40 percent of those calories from carbohydrates (a ‘zone’ type approach), two bananas and one apple will take up 46 percent of your carbohydrates for that day.

The main point is that fruits are not ‘free’ foods, and that treating them that way could quickly derail your weight-loss efforts. It’s easy to eat 100 grams worth of carbohydrates in one day from fruit alone, and if you’re treating them as if they have no caloric value, you will unknowingly be eating 400 extra calories per day.

How to Enjoy Fruit and Still Lose Weight

1. Focus on berries, fibrous, and small fruits. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, kiwis, clementines, plums, peaches, and small apples are the kinds of fruits you should reach for first.

2. Enjoy fruits in moderation but focus on eating more vegetables. Fruits are good, but vegetables, especially green leafy or fibrous vegetables, should be a focus on your plan.

3. If you need to cut carbs/calories from your diet, start with grains and starchy carbs and then move onto fruits. There comes a time in everyone’s diet when they need to eat less. Always remove the most carbohydrate-dense foods first (as they will be the most calorie-dense of your carbohydrates as well). You’ll find that as the carbohydrates and calories in your diet get lower, when you’re really starting to hone in on losing the stubborn fat, your fruit intake will be decreased as a function of how you have progressively removed foods from your diet.

Sources:

http://www.shape.com/weight-loss/food-weight-loss/ask-diet-doctor-fruit-really-free-diet-food

Egg Yolks: Why They’re Egg-cellent

Remember in the movie Runaway Bride when Julia Roberts’ character could never decide how she liked her eggs? We say, don’t worry about it Ms. Roberts, with so many health benefits associated with the consumption of eggs, you should eat ’em however you can get ’em!

On the most superficial level, eggs are an excellent source of protein, providing 5.5 grams per 68 calorie serving and all 9 essential amino acids (all for less than 0.5 grams of carbs!) One large egg contains only about 78 calories, yet is very high in nutrients.

Nutrients In Eggs

One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein, all for 70 calories.1cb0aca837f88472b95a886d43cc9a8bWhile egg whites contain some of the eggs’ high-quality protein, riboflavin and selenium, the majority of an egg’s nutrient package is found in the yolk. Nutrients such as:

-Vitamin D, critical for bone health and immune function. Eggs are one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D.

-Choline, essential for normal functioning of all cells, but particularly important during pregnancy to support healthy brain development of the fetus.

-Lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that are believed to reduce the risk of developing cataracts and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, a disease that develops with age.

The Yolk: A Nutrient Goldmine

There’s more to eggs than just the whites.

While eggs are commonly associated with breakfast and protein, many individuals aren’t aware of the nutrient package the whole egg provides. This includes a variety of vitamins and minerals required for the body to maintain health. These nutrient, a majority of which that are found in the yolk, play key roles in many aspects of health at all ages.

Is it wise nutritionally to throw out the yolk?

Most of the vitamins and minerals in an egg are lost if the yolk is discarded. The white of a large egg contains ~60% of the egg’s total protein with the remaining ~40% found in the yolk. Additionally, fat and cholesterol in the egg yolk carry fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin D, E, A, choline, and the carotenoids lutein/zeaxanthin, which may aid absorption of these essential and important components of egg.

What You Lose Without the Yolk

Protein

-Vital for the health and maintenance of body tissues, such as muscle

Note: Eggs provide the highest
quality protein available. Other sources of complete protein, which contains all essential amino acids, are animal proteins and soy.

Vitamin D

-Works with calcium to promote bone health, regulates cell growth and immune function

Choline

-Essential for normal functioning of cells, important for brain development of fetus during pregnancy

Vitamin B12

-Involved in nerve function, energy metabolism, and synthesis of DNA and red blood cells

Folate

-Prevents birth defects and damage to DNA, needed for cell division and growth

Vitamin A

-Supports immune function, eye health and cell growth

Vitamin B6

-Critical for protein metabolism and synthesis of neurotransmitters, important for immune function

Iron

-Needed to transport oxygen throughout the body, involved in regulation of cell growth and immunity

Thiamin

-Required for nutrient metabolism and norma function of the heart, muscles, and nervous system

Vitamin E

-Antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage

Selenium

-Regulates thyroid function, antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage

Phosphorous

Essential for development of healthy DNA, important in bone structure

Zinc

-Supports normal growth and development during pregnancy and childhood, required for taste and smell, important for proper immune function and wound healing

What About Cholesterol?

And now to address the bad press. In recent years, eggs have come under considerable fire for their high cholesterol content, with many suggesting that they could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, a 1999 Harvard School of Public Health study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association determined no such link and even went as far to say that regular egg consumption may actually prevent blood clots, stroke and heart attack. Not bad, eh?

The available evidence indicates that eggs, when consumed as part of an overall healthy diet pattern, do not affect risk factors for cardiometabolic disease. Recent recommendations from the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and American Diabetes Association do not limit egg or cholesterol intake, a change from earlier guidance from these organizations. In fact, several global health organizations, including Health Canada, the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Australian Heart Foundation and the Irish Heart Foundation, promote eggs as part of a heart-healthy diet.

Eggs and Weight Loss

Whether you like them scrambled, poached or over easy, eggs are welcome in many health-conscious diets. They’re relatively low in calories and full of high-quality protein and other nutrients, which means they can boost your health, as well as help you shed pounds. Some egg-based dishes are high in calories and fat, however, so stick to healthier cooking methods if you want to lose weight.

Some of eggs’ health benefits — as well as weight loss benefits — come from their high-quality protein. Each egg contains slightly more than 6 grams of protein, made up of all the amino acids you need from your diet. Your body can use that protein to build new muscle tissue — a bonus for weight loss, since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat. Protein also helps you feel full, and requires more energy to digest than carbs or fat, so you’ll burn more calories breaking down a protein-rich meal.

There’s some evidence that eggs specifically help you shed pounds. One animal study, conducted at the University of North Carolina, looked at whether egg protein promoted weight loss. The study authors fed rats one of two types of high-protein breakfasts — one made up of egg protein, and one with wheat protein — and found that rats who ate the egg breakfast ate less for the rest of the day. That signals that egg protein might be more filling some than other types of protein, which might help you control overeating.

A human study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, also found that eggs might help you lose weight. The researchers fed overweight or obese patients either an egg breakfast or a bagel breakfast as part of a calorie-controlled diet. They found that people who ate eggs for breakfast on a weight loss diet lost more weight than the people who ate bagels, and they also lost slightly more body fat.

Healthy Serving Tips

The versatile nature of eggs makes them convenient to include in your diet, which offers a potential weight loss benefit, since you’re more likely to stick to a plan that doesn’t require endless hours in the kitchen.

Ways to incorporate eggs:

-Boil eggs for snacks

-Eat eggs for breakfast – scrambled, poached, fried – any way you want!

-Add an egg to your salad

-Have avocado with your eggs

-Make deviled eggs for snacks or appetizers  for gatherings

-Put an egg on a hamburger patty for added protein

Eating eggs before your workout might also help you lose weight. One study, published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, found that eating a high-protein snack before cardiovascular exercise boosts your calorie burn more than if you eat a lower-protein snack. Try an egg on a small slice of whole-grain toast for a high-protein snack, to fuel your workout and help you banish fat.

So, there you have it. Eggs really are egg-ceptional. Some might even consider them egg-cellent and still others would even go as far to call them eggs-quisite (ok, we promise we’ll stop now!)

Sources:

Smart Fuel: Eggs

http://www.livestrong.com/article/426647-are-eggs-healthy-for-weight-loss/

Egg Nutrition Center