10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

1. Never Arrive Hungry

When attending a holiday party, the best advice is to eat a healthy meal before you go to avoid over-eating.  If you are attending a sit-down dinner, eat a healthy snack high in protein and low in carbohydrates 30 minutes before and make sure you control your portion sizes when serving your plate.

2. Avoid Banking Calories

Don’t be a calorie hoarder!  Saving all of your calories for the end of the day is the quickest way to overeat.  Plan all of your meals ahead of time and treat the day just like any normal day.  Eat balanced meals full of nutrients, high in protein, and don’t be afraid of healthy fats.

3. Reduce Calories in Recipes

If you are doing any of the cooking this year, take this opportunity to make a few healthy substitutions.  Here a few ideas on how to reduce calories without your friends and family even knowing:  

  • Replace butter with applesauce, mashed banana, or pumpkin puree
  • Replace mayo and sour cream with plain Greek yogurt
  • Instead of whole milk or heavy cream use almond or coconut cream
  • Use vanilla or almond extract to flavor sweets instead of sugar
  • Add dried fruit instead of chocolate chips

4. Use a Smaller Plate

We all know that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs ESPECIALLY around the holidays when we’re surrounded by so many tempting things.  Using a smaller plate will help you control portions giving you time to feel full and reconsider having seconds.

5. Center Meals Around Protein

It is proven that protein provides the most satiety (feeling full and satisfied) of any of the macronutrients.  While so many  dishes at holiday parties are carbohydrate-based, like sweet potatoes, mac-n-cheese, and stuffing, don’t forget to load up on the protein.  We suggest serving about 2 palm sizes of protein, filling the rest of your plate with veggies, and only having small servings of carbohydrate-dense dishes.

6. Limit Liquid Calories

Have you ever heard of empty calories?  Empty calories are calories that provide no nutritional value and many times are very high in sugar.  If you are going to enjoy a cocktail this holiday season, make sure to choose the lowest calorie option to avoid wasting calories on empty calories from alcohol and sugary mixers.  Replace mixers with water or carbonated water and flavor with lemon, lime, or other fruits.

7. Control Stress Levels

As much as some of you probably love the holidays, for most of us it normally causes a good bit of stress.  Stress can be physical, mental, or emotional.  Physical could mean that you work out every day or that you over-use white flour or caffeine.  But did you know that all of that stress can affect your weight loss?  When under stress your adrenal glands naturally over-produce the stress hormone cortisol.  Cortisol eats muscle, and muscle is what we use to burn fat.  If you are over-producing cortisol, you are literally producing a hormone that is putting you into a plateau no matter how clean your diet is.  Try to de-stress as much as possible this holiday season and don’t forget to make some time for yourself!

8. Get Plenty of Sleep

Just like stress, it is extremely important to give your body the rest it needs.  Ideally, we would like to see you get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.  There are so many reasons to get adequate rest, but the most important reasons being that poor sleep changes your fat cells and lack of sleep makes you crave food.  When your body is sleep deprived, it suffers from “metabolic grogginess” and insulin sensitivity can drop by more than 30% which results in story fat in all the wrong places, such as your liver.  Also similar to stress, when you don’t sleep enough, your cortisol levels rise.

9. Avoid Morning-After Food

Of course we are ALL about treating yourself for special occasions, but that treat needs to end when the occasion ends!  Leave the leftovers at the party and get back on track tomorrow morning.  One cheat meal doesn’t need to turn into a cheat day, cheat week, or cheat month.  Enjoy the holiday party and then draw the line, tomorrow is a new day to start with a clean slate!

10. Take your Supplements!

We know that the holidays are an easy excuse to fall off track, but just like you are going to be sticking to your diet, we want to make sure that you are still taking your daily supplements ESPECIALLY during this time.  All of our supplements are specifically formulated for weight loss, and almost all of them contain digestive enzymes that will help your body digest and get rid of the foods you are eating.  Eating foods rich in flavor, loaded with extra sugar, cream, and cheese that your body isn’t used to can cause a lot of digestive distress and our supplements will help to make sure you are metabolizing them properly.  Aside from digestive disorders, our Aspen Adrenal will help to regulate adrenal function controlling cortisol levels, the Fat/Sugar Enzymes will help to balance blood sugar levels and control sweet/carb cravings, and the LIPO-Plus will aid in fat metabolism and fat burning.


 Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy holiday from all of us at the Aspen Clinic!

Ditch the dairy!

Did you know that humans are the only species on Earth who continue to drink milk after we wean from breast milk? 

We are also the only species who drink another species’ milk. If you’ve never considered why that may be, it may be time to start re-thinking your recommended 2-3 glasses of cow’s milk per day.

Sure, your grandparents grew up drinking milk every day and your parents told you to drink your milk to get strong bones, but the truth is that the milk we get in today’s grocery stores isn’t the same as the milk our grandparents drank.  Today’s milk contains dozens of reproductive hormones, allergenic proteins, antibiotics, and growth factors known to promote cancer.  It’s also been proven that we actually don’t need milk to have stronger bones.  In fact, dairy may increase the risk of bone fractures by 50% and research shows that Vitamin D is much more effective at preventing fractures. 

Aside from the lack of nutritional value found in milk, it has been determined that almost 75% of the world’s population suffers from digestive distress due to lactose intolerance.  Milk can cause inflammation, poor gut health, and skin issues.  And to make matters worse, milk is 100% for weight GAIN not weight loss.  Think about it, a baby cow triples in size during its first month of life drinking only milk!  Don’t be fooled into thinking low-fat will save you, fat is not the issue when it comes to milk, 8oz of milk still has 13 grams of sugar!

“Based on research and experience practicing medicine, I typically advise most of my patients to avoid dairy completely.”

~ Dr. Mark Hyman

In this YouTube video Dr. Hyman outlines 6 reasons to give up dairy:

1. Milk doesn’t benefit sports performance

2. There is no evidence that dairy is good for your bones or prevents osteoporosis and the animal protein found in dairy may cause bone loss.

3. Dairy is linked to prostate cancer in men.

4. Dairy causes digestive distress to 75% of the world’s population due to lactose intolerance.

5. Full of Saturated fat and is linked to heart disease.

6. Aggravates Irritable Bowel Syndrome

So to save yourself from a ton of health problems, digestive issues, and unnecessary sugar in your diet you may want to consider giving up your dairy completely. Try switching to a non-dairy alternative like unsweetened almond or coconut milk and using a non-dairy coffee creamer.  If you want to make sure you have strong bones take a good Vitamin D supplement, get Calcium from other foods like leafy greens, seeds, sardines, and salmon with bones, and if you do not have digestive distress due to dairy, only use raw/organic dairy from fermented products like yogurt or kefir.

Appetite vs. Hunger


Did you know that appetite and hunger are two completely different things?

Image result for hunger vs appetite


  • The physical need for food
  • Occurs with low levels of glucose in your blood, several hours after eating due to a protective mechanism that ensures your body is adequately fueled.


  • The desire for food
  • A conditioned response to food – a sensory reaction to the look or smell of food
  • More closely linked to behavior
  • Stems from your biochemistry and emotional connection to food
  • Influenced by sensory reactions to food
  • Can increase/decrease due to hormones, emotional state, and taste preferences

When hungry, the brain does not look for a signal from the stomach that it is full; the brain looks for the signal of satiety.

“Satiety occurs in your digestive tract – specifically, in your intestines. When you’ve digested and absorbed enough calories and nutrients to satisfy your body’s needs, hormones signal to your brain that ‘I am well nourished now,’ which decreases your desire for more food. Satiety can’t be fooled or faked, as it is dependent on the actual nutrition in your food.”

– It Starts With Food

By nature, we are hardwired to want to eat foods that are sweet, salty, and fatty in taste. The reason for this is because at one time human’s lived off of the land and people were unsure of what plants/animals were safe to eat.

Image result for hunger vs appetite

Typically if something had a sweet taste that meant it had nutrients, salty meant it would help you retain fluids, and fatty provided energy and calories. The problem is that in today’s world there are plenty of foods that are sweet, salty, and fatty in taste but have little to no nutrient value. These foods taste good, but there are no signals being sent to the brain that you are receiving nutrients, causing you to eat until your stomach is physically full leaving you with a stronger craving for more food because your body is still lacking nutrients.

Many people hear the term “appetite suppressant” and assume that it will suppress hunger. Contrary to popular belief, appetite suppressants only help to reduce cravings, control portion sizes, and create new habits when sticking to a healthier diet. An appetite suppressant isn’t designed to make a person not want to eat; it’s to keep a person from overeating. When taking the suppressant a person feels fuller quicker and only feels hunger when they are truly hungry.

A good way to determine if you are truly hungry rather than just having a craving is to determine whether you’d eat something healthy that is nutrient dense or if you strictly want the food you are craving. If the thought of eating a chicken breast, broccoli, or a piece of fruit doesn’t sound appetizing, then it’s more than likely your appetite speaking and not true hunger.

Image result for hunger vs appetite



“It Starts With Food” – Melissa Hartwig, Dallas Hartwig

Energy & Metabolism Boosting Injections Now Available!

With 30 years in the Louisiana weight loss industry, we’re continually looking for ways to help our clients live healthier lives. This spring, The Aspen Clinic is now providing amazing, energy+metabolism boosting injections! We’re offering two different injectionsthe Aspen Pure B12 and the Aspen Lipo Extreme.

These injections are available to patients and non-patients and can be easily scheduled on our appointment scheduler. They take 15 minutes and cost $15 or $25 depending on which injection you’d prefer.

Benefits of InjectionsAspen b12 Injection

Our two injections offer many benefits from boosting energy to increased metabolism and weight loss.


An essential nutrient in your body, Vitamin B12 protects DNA and cells, supports energy and immune functions, stimulates serotonin production, contributes to red blood cell formation, and maintains a positive mood.

A few highlights of what B12 promotes:

  • Better sleep and feel more refreshed when you wake up each morning.
  • Increases in energy and metabolism which helps you to be more active and lose weight.
  • creates a boost in energy, mental clarity and focus, and improved mood.
  • Assists in reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease.
  • Initiates the formation of the super-antioxidant Glutathione, the body’s master detoxifier and main antioxidant, protecting our cells from damage.

Lipo Extreme Aspen Lipo Extreme

Our other favorite injection offers a compound of several vitamins that promote a variety of positive stimulations in your body. You can find the list of vitamins within this compound on our Injections page.

A few highlights of what Lipo Extreme promotes:

  • Assists the flow of fat and bile to and from the liver, which improves liver and bile function. This prevents fats from accumulating in the liver and facilitates the movements of fats into the cells and is essential for the health of the liver and the kidneys.
  • Improves the manufacturing of healthy red blood cells.
  • Maintains the integrity of the nervous system and the synthesis of molecules involved in the production of energy.
  • Supports cognitive function, such as mental focus and mental stamina.
  • Improves muscle building potential, increased strength and endurance, improved bone strength, reduced risk of overtraining, improved mental function, improved fat metabolism, increased muscle mass, reduced recovery times, and improved energy levels.

Frequency of Injections

Each injection is 1 ml and can be taken one to three times a week. Our Aspen team can help you decide how frequently you can get an injection based on your current weight loss goals and where your vitals stand.

All nine locations offer injections for weight loss near me, and we recommend scheduling an appointment so it we can guarantee the time fits in your day!

The Whole30: Not Just for Weight Loss

At the Aspen Clinic, one of the main things that we pride ourselves on is that we work extremely hard to teach our patients how to eat to be healthy, not just how to eat to lose weight. If you come in to one of our offices to watch the Grocery Store Tour or looked at the foods on the shelves in our classroom you would notice that most of the foods that we promote are completely natural, whole foods. We do our best to teach patients the importance of reading ingredient lists just as they do the food label. We believe in the power of the digestive system and eating foods that can be used for nutrients and energy, not just eating something because it says “zero, zero, zero” down the food label. Even though these “zero everything” foods don’t affect the numbers in your food journal, they can still have negative effects on your weight loss by causing inflammation, digestive issues, damage to organs, etc.

All of these reasons are why we encourage our patients to eat real foods that provide your body with the nutrients and energy you need to function in your day-to-day life. If you always feel sluggish, tired, bloated, have headaches, etc. the fix could be as simple as changing your diet to REAL food and the benefit is that you will likely lose weight at the same time!


One “diet” that is similar to the diet that we teach in our offices is The Whole30. This diet, for the most part, promotes high protein, low carb, and moderate fat.

The 5 main rules are to avoid dairy, grains, legumes, sweeteners (even the natural kind), and alcohol.

You have to read the ingredients on EV-ERY-THING to make sure you aren’t consuming anything artificial. This diet requires a bit more effort than the one that we teach, however the basic rules are the same: have lean protein at each meal and fill the rest of your plate with veggies, eat fruit occasionally, and only consume healthy fats.

You’ve probably heard the quote by Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Turns out, research is proving that food is/can be more effective to treating illness and disease than medicine.


One person’s Whole30 journey recently caught our attention. Amelia Gerken, 29 from Metairie, is currently completing her 3rd strict round of the Whole30 diet (but aside from a few cheats during the holidays, she lives like this all of the time) and has had amazing results managing an illness that she has spent almost 15 years trying to cope with.  In 2004 Amelia had her first seizure. Since then, she has spent copious amounts of time and money trying to find out not only why she has seizures, but also how to manage them. After many trials, errors, and failures she made the decision to try something completely new: eat clean, 100% of the time.

Here’s what she had to say:

Q: How long have you had seizures and what treatments have you tried?

 A: I started having seizures when I was 15 – I was a sophomore in high school – but my pediatric neurologist at the time wasn’t initially convinced that I really, truly had epilepsy. I didn’t get officially diagnosed with epilepsy until I switched to a different doctor, an epileptologist, following hurricane Katrina. I have tried just about EVERYTHING to remedy my seizures – I’ve been on at least 10 antiepileptic medications (probably more), I’ve seen about 5 different neurologists, I’ve seen homeopathic doctors and a chiropractor, my mom and I even traveled to New York to see a neuro-endocrinologist, I have seen healers – you name it, I have done it.

QWhat was your diet like before you started Whole30?

AMy diet was the standard American diet – total crap. I think I didn’t realize until I did Whole30 how terribly I ate. My breakfast was a croissant and a grande vanilla latte from Starbucks – so zero protein to start my day. I snacked on junk like flavor blasted gold fish pretzels ALL DAY. My lunch was a lean cuisine pizza, chips, and coke usually – again, totally lacking in vegetables and protein. My dinners weren’t terrible, but they were always served with a side of macaroni and cheese, and usually missing vegetables. I think whole30 just really opened my eyes to all the things that I was missing in my diet. Mainly the delicious vegetables and that I actually AM a pretty good cook when I put forth the time and effort!

Q: How long did it take you to adjust to the Whole30 requirements?

A: I usually tell people that you have to give yourself a solid two weeks to adjust. It’s not easy going from a super sweet vanilla latte to a coffee with no sugar in it – but your body really, truly does adjust to it!

Q: Were you able to identify potential trigger foods that may have caused seizures in the past? Or any food allergies/intolerances?

A: I think I realized that I am definitely sensitive to dairy. I have tried to reintroduce it into my diet a few times and it just doesn’t sit well with me unfortunately.

Q: Aside from not having seizures, did you notice any other physical or mental changes since you started the program?

A: Well, I did lose some weight, of course. I mean, that isn’t why I started my whole30 journey, but it was a perk! Also, one of my favorite things about doing whole30 is that my eczema cleared up – I think because I am not eating dairy and gluten which I have read can really exacerbate it. My skin is much clearer overall, but anyone who knows me knows that I usually have random patches of eczema hanging out – but when I do whole30, it always clears up!

Q: Did anyone close to you do the Whole30 with you and can you briefly talk about their results?

 A: My husband, Kevin, did whole30 with me and he was a total Rockstar! He tried all my new recipes, even when they were a little strange, and he really kept me on track with everything. He has lost 35 pounds so far, but I think my favorite NSV (non-scale victory) for him is that his snoring cleared up!

Q: Favorite Whole30 recipes?

 A: Right now, I am really loving the shrimp & grits recipe from the Whole30 Fast and Easy Cookbook. It takes about 10 minutes and it is fabulous. I also love anything that I can throw in the crockpot or the instant pot. The Zuppa Toscana soup is so easy and delicious in the instant pot, and there is a crock pot recipe, too. Easy meals are your best friend on Whole30. Whole30 chicken tenders are a weekly staple at our house – we tend to recreate our traditional favorite foods, just in a whole30 version. It is possible to do, I promise! And no whole30 is complete without homemade ranch – whole sisters’ recipe is the best and easiest and it is amazing.

Q: What would you tell someone who is hesitant to start the Whole30?

A: I think I would say, what do you have to lose? It’s only 30 days – and honestly, it really isn’t that hard. I know it seems daunting and like, ‘oh my gosh how could I ever give up all of these things,’ but if you plan your meals, I promise you can do it! Especially if you are struggling with a medical condition or you just want to lose weight! You can do it!

For the first time in 5 years, Amelia has been seizure-free for 6 months (and counting)!

She contributes most of her success to Melissa Hartwig, the creator of the Whole30 program.  Click here to read the thank you letter that Amelia wrote to Melissa.

Congratulations on your success, Amelia!  Your friends at the Aspen Clinic couldn’t be more proud.  Thank you for sharing your story with us!

10 Tips to Help You Stick to Your 2018 Goals!

Happy New Year!

We are so excited that this year marks 30 YEARS of the Aspen Clinic helping Louisiana lose weight, and this year is all about YOU!  It’s officially one week into 2018 and this post is dedicated to helping you not only set your goals high, but also to helping you stick to them long-term.  We’ve put our brains together with some of our most successful patients to make a list of the 10 best tips to stay on track throughout the year.

1. Write down your goals


Did you know that you have a 60% higher chance of achieving your goals simply by writing them down?  If you go into any of our offices you will find a goals board with our goals for the month or week.  It’s not only something that we preach to our patients, but something that we actually practice.  Starting the new year, it’s important that you take some time to sit down and really think about your goals; especially your weight loss goals.  We recommend setting short term and long term goals: weekly, monthly, and for the year.  Your weekly goals should be focused on your workouts, meal plan, water intake, etc. while monthly goals should be centered around how many lbs lost, muscle mass gained, etc.  Don’t forget to come in for weekly weigh-ins to make sure you’re staying on track!

2. Make a plan


If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!  That sounds cliche, but trust us… having a plan makes it so much easier to stick to something long-term.  Whether you plan your workouts ahead of time, plan your meals for the week, or schedule your weekly weigh-ins it is important to have a plan in place.

3. Get new gear

new gear

One of our favorite tips when encouraging patients to drink more water is to get a cute cup that you want to carry around with you all day.  The same thing goes for workout clothes, running shoes, yoga mats, lunch boxes, tupperware, food scale, journal/planner, etc. The more excited you are about all of your new “gear” the more likely you’ll be to actually use them!  Some of our personal favorites are the Fitbook, Swell bottles (monogrammed, DUH!), the Apple watch, and Gymshark’s leggings in every color!

4. Take before pictures


We know you don’t want to do it, but sometimes it’s hard to see results in the mirror.  Being able to to compare side-by-side pictures really allows you to see how much progress you’ve made.  You don’t have to show these pictures to anyone and we promise when you reach your goal you will be SO HAPPY that you have them.  Just do it!

5. Pick a partner


Having someone hold you accountable is one of the best ways to stay on track.  Whether your weight loss partner is your spouse, a friend, or someone you work with it’s always easier to make it to the gym when you know someone else is counting on you to be there.  Partners are there to cheer you on during successful moments and motivate you if you’re considering giving in to temptation.

6. Clean out your kitchen


The best way to avoid temptation is to get rid of it.  Now is the time to go through your pantry, refrigerator, and wherever you keep your secret stash of junk food.  Throw out everything that does not fit into your diet.  This will ensure that you won’t give in just because you’re bored or craving something bad.  You’ll be forced to go out and get it, which hopefully will give you enough time to reconsider if you REALLY want it.

7. Do supplement inventory


All 9 of our clinics just stocked up on all of your favorite supplements to start the new year, so you  should do the same!  So many patients confess at their weigh-ins that they have supplements at home but never took them.  NOW is the time to go through your medicine cabinet and figure out what you need.  Make sure to re-stock everything you’re low on so that you don’t run out.  If you aren’t taking any supplements currently, we can’t encourage you enough to stop in to your local Aspen Clinic and ask one of our nutritional counselors to set you up on a personalized supplement regimen.

8. Switch it up/try a new recipe


Hopefully you’re still motivated and sticking to your resolution, but in a couple of weeks you may start getting burnt out.  We recommend trying to incorporate a new recipe at least once per week and switching up your workout routine every couple of weeks.  Try a new class you’ve been interested in, train different body parts each day, and do different forms of cardio as often as you can.

9. Journal


Taking a few moments at the end of each week to reflect on the good and bad is a great way to identify changes you need to make for the upcoming week.  Sometimes journaling specifics can help you recognize why you may have slipped up in certain areas or things you did that helped you stay on track.  Make sure you are in a quiet place, free of distractions in order to give your full attention to your thoughts.

10. Reward yourself


Don’t forget to set rewards!  It’s important to recognize when you’ve accomplished your goals; we recommend setting small rewards weekly and bigger rewards monthly.  One rule: don’t ever reward yourself with food.  Rewards should be something that you wouldn’t normally treat yourself to like a massage or a new pair of running shoes.

We know that you are going to have the most successful year yet, and we can’t wait to be a part of it!  Don’t forget: set goals, stick to them, and reward yourself.  We’ll be here every step of the way!

Lucky For You That’s What We LIPO!


It’s officially the first day of summer, which means it’s officially swimsuit, beach, and pool party season. It feels like this year has flown by and we can’t believe it’s already half way over! You may have slacked off on some of your New Year’s Resolutions by now, and you know what they always say, “summer bodies are made in the winter.” So if you haven’t reached your summer weight loss goals, don’t worry! We have a supplement that is perfect for you!

LIPO-Plus is our number 1 best selling supplement. This supplement is a major FAT BURNER, specifically targeting fatty tissue in the abdomen while boosting metabolism and energy. The Lipo-Plus is also a natural appetite suppressant that many of our patients use along with the medication to further suppress their appetite towards the end of the day. Many non-medical patients take 2 capsules per day as a sub for the medication.

It has 4 powerful ingredients beneficial weight loss:

  1. Lipase Enzymes

    • A digestive enzyme that breaks down fats found in oils, butters, cheese, and meats.  Cooked fats have no enzymes so when they enter the bloodstream they cannot be digested.  If not processed in a few hours after consumption, the fats will be stored.  
  2. Green Coffee Bean Extract

    • Slows the absorption of dietary fat and increases metabolism of extra body fat
  3. Fucoxanthin

    • Targets a protein called UCP1, which increases the rate of abdominal fat.
  4. Caraliuma Fimbriata

    • A natural appetite suppressant found in a cactus.  Traditionally, Indian tribes chewed chunks of caralluma to keep from being hungry during a long hunt. These days, a solution that contains chemicals taken from the plant (extract) is used to decrease appetite for weight loss.

Start your summer off right by adding LIPO-Plus to your daily supplement regimen.  We recommend taking the LIPO-Plus at least once per day, but to speed up results take one capsule with each meal.

-Stop in to one of our 9 locations or shop LIPO-Plus here

Natural vs Synthetic Supplements & Why It Matters

Do you know the real reason you eat?

It’s not because you’re hungry or because you’re having a craving for a burger or chocolate. We eat for two main reasons: nutrients and energy. However, many of the foods we eat don’t provide us with either. We have become so inclined to buy the cheapest foods that last the longest. The problem lies in the fact that foods that are cooked or processed normally contain little to no nutrient value. This is the reason that the supplement aisle at your local pharmacy and grocery store exists.

The bad news?

Not all supplements are created equal. Approximately 90% of the supplements sold on the shelves of health food stores are literally ground up rocks and minerals. Just like it’s important to consider ingredient lists on foods, you should do the same when buying vitamins.  The accepted view is that synthetic nutrients are almost chemically identical to those found in food. The problem is that it is still unclear how your body actually absorbs these nutrients.

When you eat whole foods you aren’t consuming only a single nutrient, you’re consuming the nutrient plus a range of vitamins, minerals, co-factors, and enzymes that allow for optimal use within the body. What you don’t realize is that while scientists are trying to “re-create” vitamins in a lab, Mother Nature has already figured out the perfect balance of nutrients in foods.

Nutrients need each other to be properly absorbed, so isolating one vitamin isn’t going to get you very far. For example, there are over 200 nutrients in a carrot. The food is perfectly balanced so that we receive the full benefit of the vitamins found within. When you think of an orange you probably think of Vitamin C.   However, all of the “little guys” found in an orange are just as necessary in order to absorb and utilize the Vitamin C. Also, in nature, the nutrients are never found in mega-doses like “10,000mg of Vitamin C.”

Vitamin C is a perfect example of a supplement that is almost always in the synthetic form of ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is a man-made chemical that is not found anywhere in nature. It is created by applying high heat, pressure, and chemicals to sugar extracted from cornstarch, which turns the sugar into ascorbic acid. Before you assume a vitamin is natural ask yourself, “Is there an ascorbic acid plant, animal, or pond where I could find Vitamin C?” If the answer is no, the supplement is synthetic.

“The same minerals that cause scum to build up in your shower is what you may be consuming in your supplements today.” – Dr. Josh Axe

Another example is calcium. There are many different forms of calcium including calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium chelate, etc. These are all synthetic forms of calcium that could damage your long-term health. Most calcium supplements do very little to protect bones and can actually increase risk for heart disease. The reason is that the calcium in most calcium supplements comes from calcium carbonate (finely ground limestone rock) and your body is only able to absorb a small percentage of that. The rest is either excreted or can bind to plaque on your arteries causing “calcification” of the arteries, which can eventually lead to stroke or heart attack.

So how do vitamin companies get away with claiming these vitamins are “natural” or “pharmaceutical grade?”

Many “natural” supplements are composed of mostly man-made ingredients and then the manufacturer adds one organic ingredient like soy or alfalfa, which allows them to use the word “natural” or “whole food based.”

Many companies boast that their supplements are pharmaceutical grade, which literally means that they are highly processed and not natural. The definition of the word pharmaceutical is “a compound manufactured for use as a medicinal drug.”

One of the main problems is that we are hard-wired to believe that more is better. That’s not always the case when it comes to your nutrition. For example, many people take thiamine (Vitamin B1) for energy. But too much of it can actually lead to fatigue. Causing you to take even more of the vitamin. This is how the vicious cycle starts. Take supplements to treat the effects of supplements.

Unfortunately, we have to keep in mind that the supplement industry is just like any other industry. The main goal is to make as much money as possible, while spending the least money possible. These companies spend very little on the product itself and millions on marketing them.

We hate to break this to you, but if you are taking synthetic supplements, you basically just have expensive urine.

This means that your body physically cannot absorb those ingredients so you are just flushing them out. This is why it is EXTREMELY important for you to learn the different between a truly all natural supplement and a synthetic supplement.

How to determine if your supplements are food-based or synthetic:

  1. Image result for vitamin names decodedRead the ingredients

    • Typically ingredients that end in “ic,” “ate,” or “acid” are synthetic
    • Examples: ascorbic acid, potassium gluconate, calcium citrate
  2.   Quality over quantity:

    • More isn’t always better.  Keep in mind, Mother Nature has already figured out the perfect balance of nutrients in foods.
    • Small amounts of Vitamin C from oranges or cherry extract is better than large amounts of Vitamin C as ascorbic acid.
  3. Consider Price

    • As with anything, you typically get what you pay for; it’s pretty inexpensive to pulverize rock and put it into pill form.
    • All natural vitamins, from whole food sources will generally be pricier, but you will be able to utilize and absorb the nutrients found in the vitamin.


“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates


— At the Aspen Clinic, we chose to take the most natural, holistic approach when formulating our supplements rather than selling supplements that are made up of chemicals. In every supplement we formulate we follow this rule: “Who knows better than Mother Nature?” —

Shop our complete line of all natural supplements!

So it’s time to start prioritizing your health. Don’t always buy the cheapest options available when it comes to your nutrition. Before you put anything into your body you should ask yourself, “will this give me nutrients or energy?” If the answer is no, DO NOT put it into your body. It’s that simple.

At the end of the day, if you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?



How to FALL Back Into Shape

Basic fact: It’s hard to not love fall. There’s the crisp, fresh air, the excitement of new beginnings, the pumpkin everything…you get the idea. But aside from pumpkin latte-induced giddiness, there’s a whole separate reason to love the season: It’s a perfect time to get yourself in gear and start achieving your weight-loss goals.

Call it a pre-emptive strike: Unless you are inhuman, you will likely end up eating your fair share of sugary seasonal treats. And knowing this, you can get extra-fit in the fall so that by the time winter rolls around, you’ll be in such good shape that you will be better able to handle the temptation of all those pies and cookies. Having a couple months of eating well and exercising under your belt will make it easier to stick with these healthier habits through the holidays. Plus, that way, you won’t start the new year with new pounds. Score!

 10 Great Tips for Weight Loss this Fall

  1. Get committed
    Visualize the next two or three months as a time to really get a weight loss routine and structure back before the black hole of weight loss begins between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Make getting healthier into one of your biggest priorities as the first step.
  2. Drink at least half your body weight in oz of water every day
    If you would hit this water requirement every day, you will notice differences in your skin, hunger, energy, and digestion. Every single part of your body needs water to properly function, so nothing is more helpful or quenching to your health than making this change. Don’t like water?? SO WHAT! Learn to like it because your body needs it.
  3. Make smart food choices
    If you find following a diet plan to be too difficult, it’s time to at least make better choices. You can boost weight loss by avoiding white flour products, refined sugar, carbonated drinks, and fried foods and trading these for protein, vegetables, and lower sugar fruits.
  4. MAKE TIME for exercise
    Our schedules may be busy, but never too busy for physical activity. Make your goal to do some sort of activity for at least 30 minutes, 6 days a week. Adding muscle mass will help burn fat faster, and exercise will make you feel better, look better, tone you, and give you numerous health benefits so GET MOVING.
  5. Make sure to eat enough
    Obviously we want to cut down the amount of food we’re consuming, but not too much. Make sure to eat 3 meals a day, or at least 1200 calories per day to maintain proper metabolic functions and to avoid plateauing.
  6. Plan, plan, plan
    The tendency to reach for the packaged food or drive thru the fast food restaurant comes from people’s belief that they “do not have time” to get something healthier. Make time in your week to plan out your meals, pick healthier choices from the grocery store, and count out the calories for your day ahead of time to prevent making excuses for consuming the unhealthy, calorie dense, and “easier” foods.
  7. Drink wisely
    One of the easiest and fastest ways to lose weight is to cut out (or cut back) the alcohol. Alcohol causes weight gain due to its sugary effect of insulin resistance. That beer or margarita after the big football game may taste great, but also contains plenty of calories and little to no nutritional value – so give it (and your liver) a break.
  8. Sleep more, stress less
    When trying to slim down, hitting the pillow is just as important as hitting the gym! Both stress and lack of sleep affect the production of hormones that impair your metabolism, liver function, and fat release so aim for at least 7-9 hours every night! Getting more sleep helps to burn more calories, boost fat loss, improve focus, and boost your metabolism.
  9. Get OUTSIDE
    The sun is out, cool fronts are starting to come through, and the great outdoors are waiting for you! Go walk, bike, swim, hike, run, garden, anything, just get moving! Being outside not only improves mood and relieves stress, but also helps burn more calories, burn fat, all while having a good time!
  10. Accept the fact that your lifestyle needs to change
    To lose weight for good, you have to know that you can’t go back to your old eating habits. You need to change your lifestyle in order to change your life so set some goals, eat right, drink right, sleep right, move more, and stick to it! YOU CAN DO THIS.


Good luck and have a great fall season with the new you!

BMR: Why It Matters

Is it possible to lose weight if you stay in bed all the time and do nothing? Sure, as long as you eat just enough to stay alive.

What is BMR?

The energy needed for our body to function at rest, while doing nothing, is called basal metabolic rate or BMR. It is the energy needed for our heart, brain, kidneys and other organs to operate and keep us alive. Simply put, this is the number of calories you’d burn if you stayed in bed all day. It does not include exercise, typing on the computer, yard work, walking, talking, sitting, driving your car, shopping or even thinking for that matter. Yet, your BMR is important because it accounts for 60% to 70% of calories you burn each day. Nearly two thirds of the calories you burn every day are the result of your BMR which includes calories burned for basic bodily functions such as breathing, blood circulation and maintenance of body temperature. So many people don’t realize this, but BMR is truly a key factor in weight loss. 

Why is it important to know our Basal Metabolic Rate?

We are all different and we spend different amount of food to provide energy for our basic functions. Once we know our basal metabolic rate, we can also calculate how much we need to eat in order to keep healthy weight. Basal metabolic rate is calculated while we are at rest, when we do not spend energy for any activity except for the basic functions for our survival. Basal metabolic rate depends on our sex, age, weight and height. Once we know how much energy (food) we need to survive, we can also calculate how much calories from food we need per day, depending on our lifestyle, kind of work we do and the amount of physical exercise.

Things that Affect BMR


Diet is something you can control and just about everyone knows their diet is important for weight loss, but did you know that reducing your calorie intake too much can result in your BMR dropping as much as 20 to 30%? You need to create a calorie deficit if you want to lose weight, but you have to be careful that you don’t reduce your calorie intake too much or your BMR will decrease. It doesn’t make sense to go on an extreme calorie reduction diet that causes your BMR to also decrease. The smarter way to lose weight is to reduce your calorie intake more moderately and then to also increase your calories burned by exercising more. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) says that the daily calorie level consumed for women should never drop below 1200 calories per day and 1800 calories per day for men. In, some cases this may still even be too much of a reduction and could cause your BMR to drop significantly.

Lean Body Mass

The most prominent factor that affects your BMR….lean body mass. Simply put, the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn. Many women are afraid of lifting heavy weights out of fear of gaining weight. Unfortunately, this myth really does a lot of damage by persuading a lot women not to strength train.

The reality is that the only way to gain weight is to consume more calories than you burn.

Weightlifting burns calories and does not cause weight gain. If you gain weight during a strength training program it is not from the weightlifting, but instead comes from the excess calories you have consumed or temporary water weight gain. Without a positive caloric balance it is impossible to gain bodyweight. Let’s look at it this way, regardless, if you weight train or not, you will gain weight if you consume more calories than you burn each day. These extra calories will mainly be turned into body fat by the person who does not train with weights, while the same extra calories consumed by the person who trains with weights will be used to create new muscle tissue. You might be thinking that you would rather do cardio instead of lift weights to burn those extra calories. But remember, lifting weights develops lean muscle mass and since muscle takes up about one third the space of fat, you will not only look leaner, but will also increase your BMR. Since your BMR is responsible for most of the calories you burn each day you would be foolish not to take advantage of the best way to increase it. And guess what? Increasing your lean body mass increases your BMR and that translates to burning more calories all day long, even while you’re sleeping.


As you age, incorporating a thorough weight lifting program becomes even more important because your BMR will decrease about 2% every decade after the age of 20. This may not seem like a lot, but a 2% decrease for a person with a BMR of 1500 means they would burn 30 calories per day less than they did the decade before. This translates into a weight gain of nearly 3 pounds per year without taking into account any increase in calories consumed or decrease in their activities or exercise routine. This best way to counter the decrease in your BMR as you age is to increase your lean body mass and turn your body into a fat burning machine all day long!

Formula for Calculating BMR

There are many automatic calculators of basal metabolic rate available online, but if you want to know how it is calculated, here is the formula, different for women and men:

Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

Of course, this formula works for most people but not all. One variable that is not taken into consideration is lean body mass. Muscles spend more energy for survival than fat tissue, so people with lean, mean bodies need more energy to survive. That also means that obese people, who have much more fat tissues than muscle mass, need less energy to live, and have lower basal metabolic rate.   So, now you understand why some of your friends can eat anything and stay lean. Not only that they spend a lot of calories while exercising and building all those muscles, but muscles themselves burn calories even while doing nothing.   If you ever needed a reminder why exercising is so important, this is just another one of many. Basal metabolic rate can be calculated using the formula based on sex, age, weight and height, and the obtained result is fairly accurate.

Click here to calculate your BMR online: http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/

How to Use BMR for Weight Loss

To lose weight, you have to consume fewer calories than you burn. If you’re in the normal weight range and only want to lose 5 to 10 pounds, you need to take 500 to 700 calories from your maintenance level. For overweight individuals, this rises to 700 to 1,000 calories daily, while obese persons can go for a 1,000 to 1,500 per day deficit. You don’t want to try for a bigger deficit than this, however, as going too low with your calorie intake can lead to lethargy, reduced immune function, an unhealthy relationship with food and large gains in weight post-diet.

Basically, figure out what your BMR is, subtract 500-1000 calories, and do not go below 1200 calories a day for easy, healthy weight loss.