weight loss

Clif Bars Vs. Snickers Bars

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"Energy Bar" =

Candy Bar

It’s imperative to be a careful shopper if you’d like to eat healthy food. Many food products have misleading labels that lead customers to believe the product is healthy. A perfect example of this practice is the Clif Bar. Marketed as an “energy bar” it contains 23 grams of sugar, 1 gram more than a Snickers bar. It’s true Clif bars will give you energy, but in a similar way a Snickers bar will spike your insulin levels up for a while before an inevitable crash.

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Always Read the Nutrition Facts

If you look closely at the ingredients of the Clif Bar above, you’ll see that the first ingredient is “Organic Brown Rice Syrup,” which is another way of saying “sugar.” It’s very convenient to have a bar if you’re hungry, but beware of misleading branding. Always read the nutrition facts for sugar content, fat content, carbohydrates, etc. Companies like Clif, Larabar and PowerBar market their products to make them look healthy when in actuality they’re more like candy bars. Quest is a company that makes some pretty decent bars and you may even see me snacking on them in the office from time to time. At my clinic we also offer our own “Advanced Health Systems” bars that have 15g of protein and still manage to taste great even with little sugar. And in reality none of the bars mentioned are much more easily portable than a good hard-boiled egg, a bag of your favorite nuts or seeds, or a container of Greek yogurt.

Below are the nutrition facts for a Cliff Bar and a Snickers Bar

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/clif-clif-bar-118077706

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/clif-clif-bar-118077706

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/mars-snickers-bar-48g-125427516

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/mars-snickers-bar-48g-125427516

Green Smoothie Recipe

2 or 3 handfuls of kale

3 celery stems

1 cucumber

Ginger Root - the size of half of a pager (kids, ask your parents).

Half a cup of frozen blueberries

Half a cup of unsweetened coconut milk (very important to find “unsweetened” to avoid insulin spikes). Add more if needed to blend thoroughly.

More options:

Having a powerful blender like a Vitamix will make this endeavor a lot easier and faster.

Replace kale with Spinach, bok choy, baby kale, or a mix. I tend to buy whatever is the freshest looking item at the grocery store. I’ve witnessed firsthand the consequences of eating tainted greens.

Replace blueberries with a frozen acai blend packet or other frozen fruit of your choice. I prefer berries because I love the taste, the antioxidants, and lower levels of sugar.

Add 3 or 4 cloves of garlic. It will make the smoothie taste awful, but the extra jolt of energy you feel after ingesting it is worth it.

Add 1 tablespoon of Coconut Oil (full of beneficial medium chain triglycerides).

Add some ice cubes if you’d like the smoothie freezing cold.

Replace coconut oil with water.

Final option if you’re in a hurry: Purchase the powdered greens drink (called “Greens First”) carried at my office. Grocery shopping, cleaning vegetables, scraping ginger root, blending it all up, and cleaning the blender take a fair amount of time that can be hard to come by.

Final Thoughts:

This recipe will not taste as good as a can of Pepsi or a chocolate milkshake, but the nutritional benefits make this green drink worth gulping down. Fair warning: You will experience a delightful energy boost similar to a cup of coffee, but without any of the jitters. Your body will thank you for it.

Creatine + Coffee: A Great Way to Stay Energized Throughout the Day

I keep my office open late into the evening because it’s the best way I can help patients who work 9 to 5 jobs. Sometimes I need an energy boost following my midday workout that will keep me going strong on those long work days. My favorite energy drink isn’t something like Redbull or 5 Hour Energy. Those drinks have an ingredient list of chemicals a mile long and they taste like battery acid. My preferred choice is coffee and creatine.

Creatine is a muscle building supplement that boosts the natural creatine stores in the body. Many weightlifters take it because it improves and helps recover from high-intensity exercise. Clinical research proves these results as well as showing evidence for improved brain function. People who regularly eat a lot of fish and meat may already have enough creatine in their cells. Supplementation can have extraordinarily noticeable results for vegetarians and those who aren’t big meat eaters. As always, look for quality name brands. Buying creatine in giant 4 pound drums from places like Costco is a bad idea because those knockoff brands are often have useless additives.

Adding some cinnamon to my recipe stabilizes blood sugar and of course makes the drink even tastier. Coconut oil gives provides the body some healthy fats and makes the drink more filling. It's important to also drink enough water throughout the day because creatine and coffee can cause some dehydration. Caffeine tries to flush the water out of the body while creatine tries to retain it. This interaction can leave you feeling dehydrated if you’re not drinking water.

There are several additional health benefits to drinking coffee. To learn more please check out my youtube video on the topic

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glvL6eESBVo

Low Carb High Protein Breakfasts

We’ve all probably heard how “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Breakfast is certainly important, but specifically a high protein breakfast is very significant. A healthy high protein meal is the best way to start your day because it increases a chemical in the brain that affects food reward. It influences the neurotransmitters that control hunger, brain function, and overall energy levels. Just consuming twenty to thirty-five grams of protein in the morning is the key to feeling satiated and stop cravings for junk food throughout the day. Protein causes a very gradual and sustained rise in blood sugar, unlike a high spike like you would get from a processed high carbohydrate Westernized breakfast foods like Pop Tarts, waffles, and sugary cereals. This gradual rise is what you want to have each day because it will produce a consistent nutrient supply to your brain and muscles.

A healthy high protein breakfast can be made at home quickly and effortlessly. Eggs, turkey bacon, mozzarella cheese, chicken breast, and guacamole are some of my preferred choices. I tend to hard-boil eggs while cooking chicken breasts after work to save time in the morning. Don’t be afraid of having some fat with your protein. Fat will keep you full and not be responsible for making you fat like the processed grains in breakfast breads muffins. If you don’t want to eat an animal protein, you can have a whey protein shake with peanut butter. There are multiple flavors and you can add various nuts, almond butter, or sunflower butter to improve the consistency. As always, check out all of our low-carb, high protein, and healthy fat options. So here you have it, another reason not to skip breakfast. 

Election 2016: Reduce Stress and Anxiety with Nutrition

Why is it when we’re sad or stressed we tend to reach for cookies or a pint of ice-cream instead of tofu or a bowl of kale? Consuming sugar and fat feel like they provide emotional support because high sugar, high carb foods release a blast of serotonin in your body. Serotonin is the “feel good” neurotransmitter. This triggers a response in the brain similar to taking an opiate. Even though this might temporarily improve your mood in the short term, the long term consequences include weight gain, energy crashes, candida overgrowth, and lower serotonin levels.

So the question is “how can I improve my mood without a quick rush of sugar and fat?” The answer is very simple: consume Vitamin B12 and Omega-3 fats. B12 plays an important role in energy production and hormones affecting your mood. The easiest solution is supplementing with a B12 or B-complex vitamin. I often take a sublingual B12 supplement to feel the positive effects quickly. B12 is also readily available in food like grass fed beef, eggs, salmon, and raw dairy. It’s highly recommended for vegans and vegetarians to supplement with B12 as their diets alone will not provide enough.

Omega 3 fats reduce inflammation and improve overall brain function. Study after study prove that it has a positive effect on reducing depression. The easiest way to get more omega 3 fats into your system is taking a fish oil supplement. I recommend carefully reading the label and choosing a brand like Carlson’s or Green’s First for the most positive results. Costco and Walmart budget brands are known to include several fillers and additives with little to no nutritional benefit. I also recommend at least once a week consuming oily wild-caught (not farm raised) fish.

 

 

Magnesium: This Deficiency Can Harm Your Health

Magnesium Deficiency

Nearly 85% of Americans are magnesium deficient. Eating the occasional banana will not solve this problem either. In fact you would have to eat more than nine bananas just to reach the recommended daily intake. Green leafy vegetables are some of the best sources of magnesium, but even those are lacking nowadays due to depleted soil from current farming methods. Magnesium is vital for protein synthesis, nerve function, blood sugar control, and energy production. Deficiencies can result in muscle cramping, difficult fat loss, lactic acid buildup, excessive anxiety, constipation, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and more. The following habits may cause the body to excrete magnesium and cause deficiency: ingesting too much sugar, drinking lots of coffee, and drinking lots of carbonated drinks. Strenuous exercise will also cause the body to excrete magnesium.

I supplement with a 400mg capsule of liquid magnesium each night before bed. It has some “side effects,” but they’re not the type of side effects you’re used to hearing about. Minutes after ingesting the capsule, I begin to feel my muscles relax and I’m ready for sleep. This is because magnesium decreases cortisol, the stress hormone that can cause insomnia. It feels like some sort of very mild sleeping pill without any groggy effects in the morning. The other added benefit is something I notice in the morning. Ingesting the recommended amount of daily magnesium promotes healthy regular bowel movements. It has a laxative effect because it draws water to the stools, which makes them softer and easier to pass.

The Biggest Loser Revisited As Per Dr. Miller

Biggest Loser

When watching the Biggest Loser, viewers get the impression that this how people get in shape, lose unhealthy body fat, and never go back to their old self destructive ways. What many people don’t understand is that these contestants are literally spending several weeks away from their family in an isolated environment surrounded by trainers that push them relentlessly. There is a significant emphasis on grueling high-intensity, high-risk exercises that many, if not all of these contestants have never done in their lifetime. This is not smart and will most likely cause injuries. The best way for overweight and deconditioned people to transform their bodies is to do low-impact daily exercise like walking and swimming. 

The biggest component for real weight loss is what people put in their mouths. The best way to start is transitioning from high processed, high sugar, high carbohydrate foods, to plant foods, lean proteins, and good quality fats. This is not only my opinion, but that of clinical research. Don’t get me wrong: I’m so excited to see these contestants become better people physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but I know that the majority of people out there would have a disastrous time completing an episode of The Biggest Loser. Remember, as I’ve said hundreds of times in my office: permanent weight loss is a result of gradual permanent change and that starts with knowledge. No pain does not necessarily mean no gain. 

 

Improve Your Metabolism with Coffee

What was once thought of as a bad habit can actually have a lot of beneficial health effects. For starters, drinking a simple cup of caffeinated coffee can actually promote fat loss. Clinical research shows that coffee can increase your metabolic rate, improve exercise performance, improve satiety, and decrease food cravings. The reasoning behind this is caffeine promotes catecholamine release, which will help you exercise at a higher level. It also increases rates of lipolysis which will allow you to exercise for a longer period of time before exhaustion. Coffee also contains chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant that can slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream. This is excellent for diabetics, pre-diabetics or those with metabolic syndrome

Before I exercise I like to have a cup of black coffee mixed with "Classic Cappuccino with Fiber" (Pictured above: The nutritionally designed product carried in our office).

Before I exercise I like to have a cup of black coffee mixed with "Classic Cappuccino with Fiber" (Pictured above: The nutritionally designed product carried in our office).

Each person has their own level of sensitivity to caffeine, so dosage varies. For effective fat loss and hunger suppression, its best to cycle caffeine on and off to increase the effects of fat loss. The longer you roast the coffee, the more chlorogenic acid you lose. I recommend medium roasts because they retain about fifty percent of the chlorogenic acid while the remaining portion forms quinic acid and caffeic acid, which can also promote fat loss. Clinical research shows that coffee consumption can also decrease  the rates of alcoholic liver disease, liver cancers, fatty livers,  heart disease, depression, and Alzheimer's.