Chocolate, Butter & Coconut Oil Healthy & Anti-Ageing!

3 SATURATED Fats that Actually SLOW Aging in Your Body
Yes, ALL three of these foods have a high ratio saturated fats, but studies are showing that they actually improve your heart health and fight aging. Read on…
The majority of the population these days still seem to “fear” fats in the diet because of all of the fat-free and low-fat propaganda of the 80’s and 90’s that falsely made people think that all fats are bad for us. Nothing could be further from the truth!
As a health blogger, fitness coach and Nutritionist, I observe people’s eating habits all the time… and I constantly see well-intentioned, but misinformed people choosing egg whites instead of whole eggs, even though studies show that the “fatty” yolks contain almost all of the anti-aging benefits, heart-health benefits, and 90% of the valuable antioxidants and vitamins/minerals in an egg, whereas the whites contain very little nutrition at all. Not only that, but egg yolks have been proven to raise your GOOD cholesterol, and improve the good to bad ratios.
I also see people constantly choosing “low-fat” and “fat-free” options of various foods in the supermarket despite the fact that most of these options contain a LOT more carbs and sugars to replace the fats that are taken out, which actually leads to FASTER AGING by increasing the amount of Advanced Glycation End Products(AGEs) that your body produces. These nasty little compounds called AGEs speed up the aging process in your body including damage over time to your organs, your joints, and of course, wrinkled skin.
Plus, it’s high blood sugar from all of those extra sugars and carbs in “low-fat” and “fat-free” choices that increase AGEs in your body on a daily basis leading to faster aging. On the other hand, all of those FATS that people have been avoiding for years can actually SLOW the aging process by keeping your blood sugar lower and more stable, hormones balanced, and for other reasons too.
In fact, it’s absolutely imperative to get enough healthy fats in your diet to keep your hormones balanced, blood sugar under control, prevent cravings, and to SLOW the aging process in your organs, skin, and joints. 
And I’m NOT just talking about the obvious healthy fats that you hear about in the news all the time, such as almonds, walnuts, avocados, fish oil, and our beloved olive oil… all of those examples ARE definitely healthy and contain loads of beneficial nutrients that can help you to live longer, healthier, and leaner…
BUT…
Here are THREE more examples of “fatty” foods that most people falsely think are “unhealthy” simply because they do contain certain ratios of saturated fat… But in reality, these foods are shown in studies to protect our bodies from the ravages of aging and even help us to stay lean…
1. Grass-fed (outdoor reared) butter & cream
Yes, delicious smooth and rich BUTTER (real butter, NOT deadly margarine!)… It’s delicious, contains loads of healthy nutritional factors, and does NOT have to be avoided in order to stay healthy and get lean. In fact, I often use grass-fed butter whenever a spread is called for, like on a juicy treat slice or three of fruit bread. 
There’s a lot of confusion about this topic… in fact, I attended a Science Festival lecture that was talking about fat and one of the first things a nutritionist ‘banned’ was saturated fat. It just shows that the majority of the population still doesn’t fully understand that butter (grass-fed only!) can actually be a healthy part of your diet.
In fact, there’s even ample evidence that REAL butter can even fight aging and help you to lose body fat for a couple of main reasons:
   a. Grass-fed butter is known to have high levels of a healthy fat called CLA, which has been shown in numerous studies to have anti-cancer properties, and also has been shown to help burn abdominal fat and build lean muscle. I use a powdered CLA supplement in my recovery shakes. 
   b. Grass-fed butter also has an ideal balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids (unlike conventional grain-fed butter) which helps fight inflammation in your body, and can help balance hormones, thereby helping to slow the aging process, and keep your body lean.
   c. The healthy fats in grass-fed butter also contain MCTs (similar to the MCTs in coconut oil), which help to boost your immune system and are readily burned by the body for energy. The healthy fats in grass-fed butter also help to satisfy your appetite and control blood sugar levels, both of which help you to stay lean!
If you have a hard time finding a grass-fed butter at your grocery store, Kerrygold Irish butter is one of my favorites, and the cows are 100% grass-fed on lush green pastures in Ireland. It’s one of the richest butters in colour that I’ve seen, which indicates high levels of carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that help fight ageing. 
Note for people who are dairy sensitive or think they might be:  
People that are dairy sensitive or intolerant are generally NOT sensitive to butter or cream. This is something that’s highly misunderstood in the nutrition industry, even by most authors and doctors. The truth is that it’s almost always either the lactose or the casein that people are sensitive to, and butter or cream has nothing more than traces of either since butter and cream is solely the fat portion of dairy while the lactose and casein have mostly been removed when the fat is skimmed off the milk. The amount of casein in butter or cream is negligible compared to milk.
Also, fermented dairy generally doesn’t give people any problems either (kefir or plain yogurt) because the lactose has been digested by the microbes, making kefir 99% lactose free usually. Plus, even the casein in kefir and yogurt is MUCH more highly digestible because the microbes have already performed a little pre-digestion on it.

2. Super Dark Chocolate (72% cacao content or higher) 
It might not be a secret anymore, but yes, dark chocolate (NOT milk chocolate) can be a very healthy food, even though it is technically calorie dense. 
However, I would contend that dark chocolate can actually HELP you to burn off more body fat if you’re the type of person that has a sweet tooth and likes to eat a lot of desserts. In this case, just 1 or 2 small squares of dark chocolate can many times satisfy your sweet tooth for only 30 or 40 calories as opposed to 500 calories for a piece of chocolate cake or a piece of pie. 
Also some brands of dark chocolate that are in the mid 70’s in % cacao content or higher, can have a fairly high ratio of fibre content (I’ve seen some brands have 5-7 grams of fibre out of 15 grams of total carbs per serving), and relatively low sugar content compared to the amount of healthy fats. In fact, that’s one of the “tricks” I use to select a good quality chocolate… I look for more total fat than total carbs (or about the same number of grams of each).
The importance of that fact is that it means many dark chocolates will not greatly affect your blood sugar and will have a fairly blunted blood sugar response compared to other “sweets”.
In addition, dark chocolate is also very rich in healthful antioxidants, including a powerful compound called theobromine which has been shown to help lower your blood pressure and have other health benefits. 
Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants called flavanols with dozens of health benefits… One study found that eating as little as 6.7 grams of chocolate per day has a protective effect on your heart. Other studies show benefits to your digestive system by improving the ratios of good to bad bacteria in your gut, possibly due to the catechins and polyphenols in cocoa.
The reason I say to choose dark chocolates with at least 72% cacao content is that the higher the % of cacao, the lower the % of sugar. However, this does mean that any chocolate over 80% cacao content will generally start to get a more bitter taste and have very little sweetness. If you like this type of taste, then the higher % cocao, the better. Otherwise, a good 75% dark chocolate is in my opinion an almost perfect combination of lightly sweet with a rich velvety chocolate taste. 
You can also reap the benefits of the antioxidants and fibre without all of the calories by using organic unsweetened cocoa powder in your smoothies or other recipes.
The bottom line is that you can enjoy small to moderate amounts of dark chocolate and also cocoa powder daily, and it only helps you to stay lean and fight the aging process in your body.


3. Coconut oil, coconut meat, coconut flour, and coconut milk
Coconut milk and oil are great sources of a super healthy type of saturated fat called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), including a component called lauric acid, which is a powerful nutrient for your immune system, and is lacking in most western diets. In addition, MCTs are readily used for energy by the body and less likely to be stored as body fat compared to other types of fats.
Eating coconut oil can help improve the health of your skin from the inside out… But in addition to being healthy internally, coconut oil is also known to be great for the health of your skin externally as a skin moisturizer that’s healthier for you than most lotions since natural coconut oil allows you to avoid the harmful chemicals found in many lotions. 
Coconut oil is even shown to help improve your thyroid function as well as helping to protect your brain from Alzheimers.
There are even direct studies that show that coconut oil can help you burn off abdominal fat more efficiently.
Along with coconut milk and coconut oil as healthy fat choices, we’ve also got coconut flour as a healthier flour option for baking. Coconut flour is an extremely high fibre flour alternative (almost ALL of the carbs in this flour are fiber and not starch!). Coconut flour is also VERY high in protein compared to most flours and is also gluten free! 
Just beware that if you’re going to use coconut flour for baking, it absolutely NEEDS to be mixed with other flours as it sucks up moisture like crazy…make delicious baked goods by mixing coconut flour with almond flour and quinoa flour in equal parts, and adding slightly more liquid ingredients than the recipe calls for.

 
Enjoy your fats and NEVERTHELESS feel on a ‘diet’
Jax 

 

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Can You Snack Healthy?

There are more options than you think!!

Sometimes, the whole world of snacking seems to be based on the one thing you’re supposed to limit: refined carbs. Even the “healthier” packaged items, like granola bars, smoothies, and crackers, are full of them. If you look past the vending machine, though, you’ll find plenty of other tasty options, like these smart snacks. The best part? They’re as easy to toss together as they are delicious. 

#1 Low carb snack

Apples and Cheese

  
Sweet and salty flavors add up to a great snack. Pair half a cup of apple slices with string cheese for about 10 grams of carbs. The combination of protein, fat, and fiber makes it a filling and satisfying nosh.
#2 low carb snack

Avocado on a Crisp

  
Avocados have a place in your diet outside the guacamole bowl. Mash one-quarter of a ripe avocado and spread it on two light rye crisps for a crunchy, creamy snack with 18 grams of carbs, plus plenty of fiber and heart-healthy fat. It’s like a mini open-faced sandwich.
#3 low carb snack

Yogurt and Cucumbers
  Take your yogurt in a savory direction. Use a cup of low-fat, plain Greek yogurt as a creamy dip for 1 cup of refreshing cucumber spears. It adds up to12 grams of carbs and a mega dose (20 grams) of appetite-satisfying protein. It’s like a version of the famous Greek dish, tzatziki.

#4 low carb snack

Turkey Roll-Ups

  
Deli turkey has uses beyond a sandwich filling. Lose the bread and roll up 1 ounce of sliced turkey in lettuce leaves with mustard. This light, crisp snack has about 3 grams of carbs and will get you through the afternoon.

#5 low carb snack 

Cottage Cheese With Berries

  
Cheesecake doesn’t make for a healthy snack option, but you can mimic a little of the flavor in a healthier way. Pair a cup of low-fat cottage cheese with half a cup of fresh or frozen blueberries and a little of your favorite no-calorie sweetener. The result? A dessert-like snack with 18 grams of carbs.

#6 low carb snack

Better Beef Jerky

   
Jerky has been going upscale in recent years, and there are better options now than the over-processed mystery-meat versions you’ve had before. Look for jerkies made from grass-fed beef, which have big flavor and just 10 grams of carbs per serving (about 1.5 ounces). 

#7 low carb snack

Celery and Peanut Butter

  
Remember eating this snack with your homework after school? It’s still a good idea! Fill two medium celery stalks with 2 tablespoons of natural-style peanut butter for a nibble that will take you back to your childhood, with only 9 grams of carbs.

#8 low carb snack

Hardboiled Egg With a Kick Nuts

  
Mixed nuts are an all-time snack classic for good reason. They’re just as satisfying at your desk as they are at a party. One ounce of crunchy, salty, mixed nuts will keep your energy up for hours for only 5 grams of carbs per ounce.

Hard-boiled eggs are the original grab-‘n’-go power snack. Cut one in half and spread on a little hot sauce (such as sriracha) to make it as full of flavor as it is of protein. That’s a zesty bite for less than 1 gram of carbs.

#9 low carb snack

Nuts

  
Mixed nuts are an all-time snack classic for good reason. They’re just as satisfying at your desk as they are at a party. One ounce of crunchy, salty, mixed nuts will keep your energy up for hours for only 5 grams of carbs per ounce.

#10 low carb snack
Kale Chips

  
Even kale haters come around when they taste kale chips. Some store-bought varieties have less than 10 grams of carbs. You can cut that number even further by making them at home. Tear the leaves from a bunch of kale. Rinse and dry them. Toss with 1 tablespoon of oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Roast them in your oven at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the kale is crispy.

#11 low carb snack

  
Edamame

Also called steamed soybeans, edamame taste great, are full of fiber and protein, and have just 8 grams of carbs in a half cup of shelled edamame. They’re easy to make in your microwave, so keep a bag in your freezer.

#12 low carb snack

Hummus and Red Bell Pepper Wedges

  
Though they’re often spotted together, hummus isn’t married to high-carb pita bread. Spread 1/4 cup of hummus onto wedges cut from one red bell pepper for a filling, tasty snack that has 16 grams of carbs.

#13 low carb snack 

  
Stuffed Tomato

Get the health benefits from tuna without all the carbs that come with your typical tuna sandwich. Pack 3 ounces of canned tuna into a ripe tomato half for a hearty snack with only 3.5 grams of carbs.

High Protein Low Carb Meals Ideas

High Protein and Low Carb Meals

All these suggestions need is a LOT MORE veg and you will be satisfied until your next planned meal.  Protein slows down the digestions rate of your meal and keeps you feeling fuller for longer.  You’ll  absorb about 20 g protein per hour so take your time eating and if you do feel hungry before your next meal use a high protein snack.

grilled-tuna_sweet potato full_english_breakfast surf and turfsalmon and salad asparagusgrilled-chicken-skewers_0

Crazy Diet Is Just Wrong!

We all want to feel fabulous, every day- not just when we’ve had a holiday or after a day or two at the spa!

Who should we trust for reliable, real life, do-able advise? All we want is to feel energetic pain free, and not fall apart before our time!

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Problem, there’s so much conflicting information out there, we feel overloaded, confused and overwhelmed. What do we do? We decide to do NOTHING!

I was talking to one of my heart group today… He has, as many older adults have, more than one condition to manage. Diabetes, Heart Disease and Asthma.

While exercising we were discussing food choices and fat loss. I found myself trying to help him and the others in the group to calm their confusion, and make them feel enthusiastic about food again.

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Conflicting advise only makes us restrict everything, feel deprived, give up and then binge.
Sound familiar!?

Diabetes Nurse –
” restrict fruit and sweet foods – eat more carbs”
Heart Nurse –
” restrict fats and carbs – eat more fruit and veg”
Fitness Instructor –
” restrict sugars and starchy carbs – eat more fruit & veg, protein and healthy fats”

Which advise you you follow?
I’m biased!

Over the next few days I’ll explain what happens when you follow each version of these ‘Ideal’ diets and why you need to abandon food fads ‘Sold’ to you in the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. I can hear you saying, so it’ll all change again in 5 minutes, yes it will. I want it to, not to confuse and make you even more worried about what you eat- but as good scientific studies are completed we will understand why Diabetes, Obesity and Heart Disease are modern plagues.

You will see that by swapping foods, moderating portion sizes and staying active (not exercising to exhaustion) you can make real changes to your health status. So if you’re trying really hard, avoiding every food you like to eat and still cannot shift a pound, or you have less than 10lbs to lose and are getting no-where or maybe you are training hard and can’t send any change fir your effort…. Watch out for the next few posts.

Take Aways- think about what type of foods and when you crave them. (We’ll discuss your answers)

Your body is an intelligent, complex and intricate machine – we need to listen to it more and look after it better. It’s the ONLY place you have to live!

Please subscribe to my blog Thanks Jax.

Girls Need Muscle Too!

Why Girls NEED Muscle too!
When you start on a fat loss program, what do usually do? Make a bee-line for the cardio equipment in order to start burning calories? Drop your calorie intake to create a calorie deficit for fat loss to occur? Drop your carbs completely? Because everyone knows low carb diets work.
If this sounds like you, you’re making some big mistakes.

The best way to guarantee that you not only lose body fat but stay lean year round is to actually switch the focus from purely fat loss to one of lean muscle gain. It’s something many women still worry about.
So let’s go over the reasons you need lean muscle and how it’s going to help you get the body of your dreams – and then keep it.

Muscle Tissue Is Metabolically Active

Lean muscle is calorie hungry. The more muscle you have, the more energy you’ll burn every single second of every single day – even when you’re asleep.
This is a big reason why men seem to have a much easier time losing body fat compared to women. Men are quickly able to burn up excess calories due to their greater lean muscle mass, so they easily create a calorie deficit.
Building lean muscle will not only boost your fat loss results, but it’ll be the best way to prevent future fat gain as well. The higher your metabolic rate is, the less strict you’ll have to be with your daily diet in order to stay leaner long-term.

Muscle Tissue Safely Stores Carbs.

Lean muscle acts as a carb storage house. If you don’t have much muscle and aren’t using what you eat the surplus immediately gets stored as body fat.
If however you work out regularly, the energy stores on your muscles are ready to be refilled. This means that the excess carbs you eat will first go to the muscle tissues for storage before you begin to store fat.
So by having more muscle, and working out more often, you can eat more carbs on a day to day basis.
If you dislike low carb dieting, building more muscle is your solution.

Muscle Tissue helps regulate blood sugar levels.
(Increase your insulin sensitivity)
This means that your body will be better able to regulate its blood glucose levels and when you do eat carbohydrates, you won’t get a blood sugar spike followed by a crash.

This can help to decrease your risk of diabetes as well as decrease the chances of fat gain over time.
If you aren’t instantly storing carbohydrates you eat as body fat (like you will if you have poor insulin sensitivity or ‘insulin resistance’), this makes it easier to sustain the lean figure you’re after.

Muscle Tissue Makes You Stronger

Finally, adding more muscle makes you strong. If you want to improve the quality of your life and make day to day functional movement easier, building more muscle is the best way to do this.
Have more muscle mass and you’ll be able to do the activities you enjoy, you’ll be more active on the whole. This increases your daily calorie burn, making weight control a doddle.

Summing up, if you want to see noticeable changes taking place in your body, week in week out, step away from the cardio machines and focus on some strength training. Building more lean muscle mass through a proper metabolic resistance training program is the number one way to

1. lose fat initially
2. combat fat regain

So ditch the cardio machines.
Follow a plan that will speed up your metabolism AND build some sleek sexy muscle.

That’s where real, lasting results are found.

Are you are still relying on cardio ?

Top 10 Lo Carb Mistakes

Top Ten Low-Carb Diet Mistakes

Common Problems and How to Correct Them

 

No big surprise – we all make mistakes. From the newest newbie, to the person who has been low-carbing for years, we all encounter bumps in the road, or our experiments don’t turn out well. Here are 10 of the most common mistakes I see in low-carb eating.

 

1) Getting Off on the Wrong Foot

You don’t have to take a college class to understand low-carb eating. But some people assume it means they should just eat meat all day (or other low-carb myths) or don’t know where the carbs are lurking. This is really a recipe for problems. Everyone needs some basic knowledge about how reducing carbohydrates works, what foods have carbohydrates, and how to eat a balanced low-carb diet.

 

2) Giving Up Too Quickly

There are lots of different approaches to low-carb eating, and there are often mistakes made at first, as you try to find one that works for you, or to modify an existing one. There is a tendency to over-react a bit when everything doesn’t go perfectly, and give up. A prime example of this is eating too little carbohydrate at first, suffering carb crash, and deciding low-carb isn’t for you. This is a shame, when a simple adjustment can usually get you through the first week comfortably, to the great rewards at the end of it.

 

3) Not Enough Vegetables

Time and time again, people tell me they don’t feel good eating a diet lower in carb, and it turns out they are eating almost no vegetables or fruit. This will not work in the long run. My low-carb pyramid has vegetables at the base – in other words, you should be eating more of them than any other food! Fruit, too, especially fruit low in sugar, has its place in a complete low-carb diet.

 

4) Not Enough Fat

This can be a real problem. Despite some effort to get out the word about so-called “healthy fats”, hardly a day goes by that I don’t see or hear a negative message about fats in the diet. This leads some to attempt a low-fat version of a low-carb diet. At the beginning, some can even manage it, if they are using up a lot of their own fat (as opposed to eating it). However, fat loss inevitably slows down, and people can then become hungry if they don’t add some fat to their diets. Nothing will sabotage a diet faster than hunger. So don’t let this happen to you!

 

5) Not Enough Fiber

Eating enough vegetables and fruit goes a long way towards ensuring you are getting enough fiber in your diet. There are other low-carb sources of fiber as well, and it’s good to learn about them.

 

6) Eating Too Much

It’s true that you don’t have to count calories on a low-carb diet. But that doesn’t mean calories don’t count! The great thing about low-carb eating is that our appetites “turn down,” allowing us to eat fewer calories without getting hungry. Some people make the mistake, though, of thinking they can just keep eating and eating and still lose weight as long as the food is low-carb. Let your appetite be your guide – eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are comfortable.

 

7) Lack of Planning

When you are first on a new way of eating, you’ll run into old habits that need to be changed to new healthier ones. No longer can you mindlessly hit the vending machine or drive-thru. This is a good thing: Pausing to re-consider our habits is a constructive step towards making improvements in our lives. But in the case of eating, it’s important to plan ahead for awhile, until our new habits come naturally. Nothing will sabotage your goals more quickly than realizing that you’re hungry but you don’t know what to eat.

8) Getting into a Rut

There are people who eat the same things day after day, and like it that way. But frankly, most of us like variety, and will get bored very quickly if that is not built into the way we eat. There is no reason for not eating a wide variety of foods, and in fact, a varied diet is likely to be better for us nutritionally. Every cuisine on the planet has low-carb options – you just need to skip the starch and sugar. Also, most dishes can be “de-carbed.” If you want to figure out a way to have your favourite flavours.

9) Problem Ingredients in “Low-Carb” Packaged Foods

Be wary of meal replacement bars, ice cream, and other “treats” labeled low-carb or sugar-free. They often contain ingredients such as maltitol (the worst offender) which are just as bad as sugar in a lot of bodies. In general, products that talk about their “net carbs” or “impact carbs” deserve close scrutiny of the ingredients, and careful experimentation.

 

10) Carb Creep

You’re eating low-carb. You’re feeling great, and the weight is dropping off as if by magic. You’re not hungry between meals! You have energy! You can concentrate better! Wheee! You think you’ll have a piece of toast! It doesn’t matter! You still feel great! You think you’ll have some ice cream! Hey! You’re still losing weight! A little sugar in the coffee can’t hurt, can it? Maybe not, but…uh oh. Something has sent you over your own personal carb limit. Suddenly, you’re having cravings, you’re hungrier, you’re gaining weight, and you’re in a vicious circle that’s hard to break of eating carbs, being hungrier, eating more carbs…ugh.

Sometimes it happens more subtly, but it’s common to let more and more carbs creep in, sometimes unawares. If that happens, it’s time to take stock and probably start over, at least for a few days, to break that cycle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus #11) No Exercise

There is a temptation to leave exercise out when talking about low-carb diets, because often people can be successful at first while staying sedentary. However, there are several reasons for talking about exercise in any diet discussion (Atkins called it “non-negotiable”). One is that exercise lowers insulin resistance- this is probably partly why exercise alone will tend to help many people lose a few pounds. The second is that exercise is good for our bodies in so many ways. And the third is that while we can lose weight by diet alone, at least to some extent, we are very unlikely to be able to maintain a significant weight loss without exercise.

 

Short, under 45 minutes, but very intense workouts will build and maintain your lean shape and rev’ up your metabolism so you will keep your new lower body weight.