Category Archives: Healthy Eating

More Insulin = More Fat

insulin and fat

You know those who claim to have been blessed with a “fast” metabolism? Yes, they bug us, too….. It seems some have innate systems that allow them to process sugars, starches, fats and calories more efficiently. With the holiday season upon us, an efficient calorie and fat burning system is on many of our wish lists.

What you may not know is that your entire metabolic system may not be to blame for that layer of fat you can’t seem to banish – the culprit may be insulin sensitivity.

<div class=”callout”>Insulin is a hormone that regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.</div>

Whenever you eat carbohydrates or protein, the level of sugar in your blood increases. In healthy individuals, insulin is released from the pancreas to remove the excess sugar from the blood, which otherwise would be toxic. This sugar is then used for energy. If your body is not responding properly to the insulin (poor insulin sensitivity), it begins to over-produce insulin in order to keep blood sugar levels in check. This can be the thing standing between you and your fat loss goals, because insulin has a powerful ability to prevent the breakdown of fat.

More Insulin Equals More Fat

What can you do to improve your insulin sensitivity? Fitness professionals have relied on one particular supplement for years. Some would say it’s one of the best kept secrets to weight management…. R-Alpha Lipoic Acid (or R-ALA).

Multiple placebo controlled studies have shown that daily doses of 600 mg to 1800 mg of ALA can improve insulin sensitivity and the utilization of glucose, ultimately leading to healthy blood sugar levels.

ALA may also go a step further and help prevent the complications that are associated with unhealthy blood sugar levels, specifically complications in the vascular system and kidneys. Recent research indicates this reduced threat of complication comes from ALA’s ability to protect the inner lining of blood vessels (the endothelium) from damage caused by oxidative stress.

It’s important to note that all R-ALA supplements are not created equal. Research shows that R -Alpha Lipoic Acid is a more biologically active form of ALA that offers greater antioxidant and neuroprotective benefits at substantially lower doses than the “S” form of alpha lipoic acid that is more commonly available. The body has a strong preference for natural R-ALA. Be sure to look for this when comparing supplements. Lypo-Spheric™ R-ALA uses the more bioavailable, “R” form of alpha lipoic acid, the form found in nature.

In addition to increasing insulin sensitivity, R-Alpha Lipoic Acid (R-ALA) is one of the body’s most powerful intracellular and extracellular antioxidants. Known as the Universal Antioxidant, R-ALA directly affects the health of nearly every cell in the body, and can even cross the blood-brain barrier. The “R” form of ALA is considered the most bioavailable and biologically active form of ALA in the body. LypriCel™ R-ALA delivers high-quality R-ALA in every packet, neutralizing free radicals in nearly every part of the body.

Give the gift of healthy to nearly every part of the body this holiday season with Lypo-Spheric R-ALA. The heart, brain, eyes and waistline will all thank you for improved insulin sensitivity and reduced damage from free radicals.

Foods High in Glutathione

People are always looking for ways to maintain their health, decrease unwelcome symptoms of aging and boost their immune systems. While a variety of vitamins and minerals can help with some of these functions, there is one nutrient that can help with them all. That nutrient is glutathione, which can be found in a variety of foods. Here are some foods high in glutathione.

Glutathione is a combination of three amino acids known as glutamine, glycine and cysteine. Amino acids are the precursors of proteins. Usually there is a gene in the body that produces an enzyme that combines these amino acids into glutathione. However, this gene does not work correctly in some people. The reasons for this are manifold. For example, it may stop working due to a serious illness. Much of the time, it stops working due to the increased workload on the body’s immune system, such as from air and water pollution and toxins in processed foods. Toxins, such as mercury and lead, can also build up in the body through fish and other foods. Other ways that glutathione levels are decreased include medicines, increased stress and radiation. Even the normal aging process decreases this molecule.

Glutathione is an antioxidant. Without it, the body has great difficulty removing toxins from the blood and from cells in the organs and the skin. Antioxidants decrease the negative effect of free radicals on the cells within the body. Without antioxidants, every cell in the body will readily show the effects of age. Glutathione can also help detoxify the body because the sulfur molecules within glutathione attach to toxins, or poisons, in the body and carry them out as waste products.

A glutathione deficiency may make individuals feel run down. It can leave them with headaches and fatigue. As the body ages, it cannot replenish its supplies of glutathione as well as it once did. Therefore, people must be sure to eat foods high in this molecule to protect their immune systems.

One of the easiest ways to get glutathione from foods is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Many of these foods contain some level of glutathione, and those that are raised naturally without chemicals and picked at the peak of ripeness are the best. Fruits that have the highest levels of glutathione include:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Peaches
  • Melons

The best vegetables include:

  • Green peppers
  • Potatoes
  • carrots
  • squash
  • broccoli
  • Spinach

Dark green vegetables are typically rich in sulfur and are therefore rich in glutathione. Milk thistle in a tea, eaten as a seed or sprinkled as a powder, is a great source of glutathione as well.

The second easiest way to consume glutathione is by eating meats and dairy products. Of course, cooking meats decreases the levels of this nutrient; however, there are still smaller levels of glutathione available even after the food is processed or cooked. Beef, chicken, pork, milk and eggs all contain some glutathione.

Selenium and alpha lipoic acid must be consumed as well in order for glutathione to be used in the body. Foods containing selenium include:

  • nuts
  • legumes
  • red meat
  • poultry and cheese

Alpha lipoic acid can be found in several vegetables, including spinach and tomatoes.

Those who are not getting enough glutathione in their diets should consider supplements. These supplements will fill in the gaps in nutrition and may bolster the immune system. As an antioxidant, glutathione is a vital part of anyone’s diet.

Vitamin Supplements, Do We Really Need?

Yes and no… terrible way to start I know but it is true. Vitamin supplements are not a replacement for a well balanced diet, but it acts as an insurance policy.

When you drive your car you may have the mandatory liability insurance (your diet meets the government recommended daily allowance) however you may feel like you need a bit more coverage and protection. This is where full coverage automotive insurance comes in (diet exceeds recommended daily allowance) or you may even have full coverage + Bodily Injury and Property Damage (your diet exceeds recommended daily allowance and you exercise frequently) or…

You can also have full auto coverage + Bodily Injury and Property Damage + Medical Payments (your diet exceeds the recommended daily allowance, you exercise frequently, and you supplement your diet with vitamins).

You as a consumer have the ability to choose your level of coverage and comfort. People buy supplemental insurance for the same reason they buy vitamin supplements, to feel protected. People who buy supplements want to ensure they are receiving the correct nutrients.

In our ever-growing population, our food often doesn’t contain the right level of nutrients that one would expect to find in fresh fruit and vegetables. Many people could benefit from taking a vitamin supplement whether that be a multivitamin or individual vitamins.

Most important vitamin supplements

For example, vitamin C is critical in the production of collagen, which makes up most of our bodies tissues, ligaments, and bone structure. Collagen is important to maintain skin elasticity (youthful skin), as well as help prevent bruising. The research on vitamin C is plentiful, a simple Google search of vitamin c studies brings up over 30,000,000 results (that’s 30 million!).

Easily, the most recognized champion for vitamin C is the late Dr. Linus Pauling. An award winning Chemist and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Dr. Pauling is extensively referenced and quoted by many of today’s experts.

I encourage you to do your own research and learn about the ongoing studies related to supplementing your diet with essential nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and so forth.   I would also recommend you consult your primary healthcare physician before starting any type of exercise program or supplementation regimen.

Ultimately it is down to the individual to decide whether or not they need to take vitamin supplements; however, if you are willing to pay for additional car insurance to protect your vehicle, shouldn’t you spend a bit more to protect your body?

Dietary Supplement Use Infographic

To get the highest quality supplements visit LivOn Labs. LivOn Labs produces Lypo-Spheric supplements including vitamin C and other essential antioxidants.

About the Author

Felipe Gonzales is a blogger, Social Media Strategist, Graphic Designer, Web Designer, and all around jack of all trades. He is part of the marketing team for LivOn Labs and enjoys playing sports and fitness. He can reached directly at felipe@livonlabs.com or by leaving a comment on this site.

 

5 Reasons Athletes Should Take Vitamin C

Not surprisingly, most athletes are unaware how important vitamin C intake is to performance. Some can get away with poor diets and supplementation for awhile (see NBA Super Star Derrick Rose’s weird eating habits). Lucky for Chicago Bulls fans, he has hired a personal trainer, chef, and is taking that next step to remain a superstar into his late 30’s. A simple search online for athletes’ dietary habits brings up a love for Big Macs, Skittles, Swedish Fish, and beer. Many of the top athletes who consume regular supplements, including vitamin C, and maintain healthy eating patterns, perform at a high level far past their primes. Below are a few examples of athletes who train just as hard in the kitchen as they do on the field or court.

  • Steve Nash – NBA SuperStar
  • Kobe Bryant – NBA SuperStar
  • Joe Namath – NFL Hall of Famer
  • Tony Gonzales – NFL Tight End
  • Billie Jean King – Tennis Player
  • Robert Parish – NBA Hall of Famer

How valuable is proper vitamin C supplementation to athletes?

Here are five reasons you should include high dose vitamin C in your regular supplementation schedule.

  1. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, protecting muscle cells from free radical damage, thus enhancing recovery and growth.
  2. Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) is also involved with amino acid metabolism, especially the formation of Collagen. Collagen is the primary constituent of connective tissue, the stuff that holds your bones and muscles together. This may not seem important, but as you lift heavier weights, the stress you put on your structure becomes tremendous and risk of injury dramatically increases.
  3. Vitamin C helps in the absorption of Iron. Iron is necessary to help Oxygen bind to hemoglobin in blood. Without adequate oxygen transportation in blood, muscles are robbed of precious oxygen and performance is greatly reduced.
  4. Ascorbic acid also assists in the formation and release of steroid hormones, including the anabolic hormone testosterone.
  5. Vitamin C is perhaps the most water soluble vitamin there is. In other words, it diffuses very rapidly in water. Since a muscle cell is mostly water, the more muscular an athlete becomes, the more vitamin C disperses and the lower the concentration of this critical substance becomes in body tissues. So vitamin C requirements are greatly increased for athletes.

Simple Recipes for the Busy Professionals

What’s For Dinner?

Whether you are cooking for a family, for two or for one… by the end of the day, figuring out a healthy, tasty dinner meal is a challenge!

Tonight’s Dinner is a “Sexy” Egg! Why do I call it a “Sexy Egg?” Because it sounds interesting and what guy can turn down anything with the word “sexy” in it?

Portions are based on a meal for two hungry adults; adjust accordingly for kids or more adults.

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon of milk (I usually just pour in a “dash” of milk or soymilk… your choice)

dash of salt and pepper

one tablespoon olive oil

one half chopped onion

8-10 medium size mushrooms

one half pepper

2/3 cup of spinach or broccoli

one half cup of peas (optional)

other options:

–          2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

–          slice of  smoked salmon or lox (cut into tiny pieces)

Directions

Beat the eggs well, add in the milk or soymilk; salt and pepper.

Heat a large frying pan with the tablespoon of oil. Sautee the onion, mushrooms and pepper in the oil. Once the veggies are soft, add in the remaining veggies. Now cover with the eggs. (If you decide  to include feta cheese, salmon or lox – make sure they are stirred into the egg batter.)

Place the pan into an oven that has been preheated to 375F. Bake for approximately 10 minutes. When the edges are lightly browned and the top is firm, dinner is ready!

I usually cut up pieces of pita bread, warm and serve with the “Sexy Egg”.

A plate of grapes and some cookies will finish this meal off.  Or try the very easy “cool” lemon ice recipe below.

 

A “Cool” Dessert – Lemon Ice Recipe*

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

2 cups lemon juice

Lemon slices

Fresh mint leaves, optional

Directions

In a large saucepan over low heat, cook and stir sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat; stir in lemon juice.

Pour into a freezer container. Freeze for 4 hours, stirring every 30 minutes, or until mixture becomes slushy. Garnish servings with lemon slice and mint if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

*From “Taste of Home”

Quick Simple Dinner Recipes

What’s For Dinner?

Whether you are cooking for a family, for two or for one… by the end of the day, figuring out a healthy, tasty dinner meal is a challenge!

Multi-Task! That’s my secret.

For me this means make a meal tonight and cook extras for tomorrow’s dinner. If you are lucky, you might have enough for lunch!

1. Pasta, Rice, Couscous or Quinoa …  

       Pick one for the base of your “starter” meal.

       Cook up enough for tonight and 50% more for tomorrow.

       Tonight:  go simple with a ready made tomato sauce, or jazz it up with roasted vegetables (peppers, onions, zucchini, eggplant), cheese, maybe some leftover cut up chicken.     Start with a salad and dinner is ready.

Remember to leave the extra 50% plain and refrigerate.

2. Tomorrow Night’s Dinner – A One Bowl Meal!

This can be fun – add your choice of chopped veggies, fruit and nuts to last night’s extra pasta, rice, couscous or quinoa. You will be pleasantly surprised at how tasty a mix of veggies and fruit can be!

Pick at least 3 of the following; use your imagination and add other items leftover in the refrigerator.

  • steamed cut up broccoli
  • steamed carrots and/or peas
  • shredded carrots
  • peppers
  • feta cheese
  • olives
  • cut up tomatoes
  • chopped up celery

If you or your family are adventurous; include one or more of the following in your “One Bowl Meal”

  • cucumbers
  • a cut up apple
  • a cut up orange
  • chopped nuts
  • grapes

Stir it all together and add some dressing. You can use a prepared dressing: Italian, Caesar, your choice. But if you feel adventurous, make your own dressing. It’s just a matter of experimenting. Start with a small amount of apple cider vinegar, then add in a small amount of mayonnaise (or olive oil) and a squeeze of mustard and a  tablespoon of honey. A pinch of salt, pepper and cut up basil or parsley. Remember: Always start with a little, it’s easier to add more then to try and remove too much. Combine the homemade dressing ingredients together in a jar. Shake well and taste. Pour into the base ingredient (pasta, rice, couscous, quinoa) and your  veggies/fruit/nuts. Stir well and enjoy!

If you are lucky, there just might be enough left from your One Bowl Dinner for tomorrow’s workplace lunch!

 

Your Just Desserts:

When the weather is too hot, too wet or too cold, baking up cookies for now and for later is part of my “Multi-Tasking”. These cookies are easy to make and freeze very well. Best of all, they include ingredients that are good for you!

oatmeal-cookies

Oatmeal Cookies*

2 cups flour (you can use all purpose flour or whole wheat flour; or a mix of both)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon (not recommended with chocolate chips)

5 tbsp butter or margarine at room temperature

one half cup unsweetened apple sauce

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

scant cup of white sugar

scant cup of brown sugar

3 cups of oats

1 cup of bran flakes

1 cup of raisins or 1 cup of chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or grease your baking sheets.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon)
  3. Cream together the butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs. Add applesauce and vanilla extract. Carefully add in the flour, oats and bran flakes. Add the raisins or chocolate chips.
  4. Drop by tablespoons onto the baking sheets. Bake 9-12 minutes. Cookies will be light brown at the edges; but not dark and golden like other cookies.

*Adapted from “Food Fit”