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How Important Is Consuming Protein?

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How Important Is Consuming Protein?

Everyone knows what protein is, in general, but most people don’t have a deeper concept of just how vital it is to our body. It is so important to consume enough healthy protein in our diet and from a healthy source. Opinions vary, but it is recommended that it is healthy to consume anywhere from 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily. A bodybuilder’s protein intake recommendations may be higher in order to add the desired muscle mass.

So What Are Proteins?

Proteins are the macronutrients that form the foundation of our diet. Proteins help to build new cells and regulate the metabolism. They actually help all of your cells communicate and shuttle oxygen throughout the body in the form of hemoglobin. They also have the ability to build muscle.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. It is absolutely essential that we consume these daily and in the right way. Our DNA directs the body to join various combinations of amino acids into a variety of sequences, each serving a unique function and feeding our bodies exactly what it needs.

We can store fats and carbohydrates to draw on when needed, but we do not have a storage pool of amino acids. We need to add to it each day in order to build the body proteins that we need. If we are missing a particular amino acid to form the protein it needs, it will pull that amino acid by breaking down existing muscle protein. Consistently lacking certain amino acids means we will lose muscle weight, energy and, eventually, fundamental body functions.

The Main Sources Of Daily Protein:

  • Meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and fish are complete sources of protein. They contain all of the essential amino acids.
  • Nuts, seeds, beans, peas, and whole grains. However, in order to consume all of the essential amino acids, plant foods must be used to complement each other with their amino acid profiles. Beans tend to be low in one amino acid that grains have plenty of, so combining these foods forms a complete protein, like beans and rice.

Be sure and consume your daily healthy protein and remember that centering on a protein diet promotes energy, healthy muscles and even weight loss!

Is There Such A Thing As A Healthy Fat?

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Is There Such A Thing As A Healthy Fat?

In recent years fat became enemy number one and all the experts preached that a low-fat or zero fat diet was the only healthy diet. They believed this was the key to losing weight, managing cholesterol and basically would solve any and all health issues. What happened was the opposite and our population has never been so obese and riddled with health problems, including soaring numbers of people being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Everyone turned to processed foods with very little if any fat and filled with carbohydrates and fillers, to just end up putting on the weight.

As a result of these disastrous results for so many was the new focus to not only make a solid effort not to consume too much fat, but to try to consume a healthy portion of the good types of fat. Diets then emerged like the Atkins diet and the South Beach Diet that are very high in fat and with a definitive protein a focus and yet everyone on these diets started losing weight like crazy. With this new way of eating, the concept of healthy fats has really taken off and all of the great health benefits that go along with it.

So, there is such a thing as a healthy fat! They are essential to our daily physical and emotional health. Fat is not the enemy and can even help you lose weight and improve your health. What gets confusing is that there are good fats and bad fats….oh and trans fats are really bad. They are the biggest cause of weight gain, clogged arteries and so much more.

So what are are some of the good fats?

Monounsaturated Fats:

  • Olive Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Avocados
  • Nuts

Polyunsaturated Fats:

  • Safflower Oil
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Soybean Oil
  • Sunflower, Sesame and Pumpkin Seeds
  • Fatty Fish
  • Soymilk
  • Tofu

Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids:

  • Mustard Seeds
  • Flax Seeds and Flax Seed Oil
  • Seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Salmon and Sardines
  • Fish Oil

Saturated Fats (but on a limited basis):

  • Beef, Lamb and Pork
  • Chicken (with the skin on)
  • Butter, Milk and Cream
  • Ice Cream
  • Cheese
  • Palm Oil
  • Coconut Oil

Make that special effort to get your healthy fats at each meal and enjoy them guilt free! ( :

Suggestions For Great Protein Filled Snacks

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Suggestions For Great Protein Filled Snacks

Being prepared with a healthy snack on hand is always a great idea. It will help keep you fuller longer, as well as keeping your metabolism burning throughout the day (improving weight loss if desired), and all the while avoiding an eventual energy crash without it. Plus you’ll skip the unhealthy snacks!

Here are 11 great suggestions that are easy to eat at almost any time:

1)  Protein Smoothie. Great for on the go and if you refrigerate them, they are the simplest and easiest way to get everything you need in an instant.

2)  Nuts and Seeds. 1 ounce (a handful) contains approximately 6 grams of protein and almost 10 grams of healthy monounsatured fat. And they are so easy to carry with you!

3)  Quinoa. It cooks up like a grain, yet has the same type of muscle building protein in it similar to meat or eggs. A half a cup uncooked has 12 grams of protein in it, it’s high in potassium and rich in magnesium, iron and vitamin b-6, plus a little healthy fat.

4) Cottage Cheese. A half a cup has approximately 16 grams of protein and it is very low in fat (unlike most cheese). It’s also wonderful to add to fruit to for a chilled sweet snack.

5)  Black beans. These are packed with protein and fiber. A cup has 15 grams of protein and tastes delicious.

6) Beef or Turkey Jerky. This is an old classic and yummy to gnaw on when you’re feeling a lull and needing something to satisfy your taste buds and give you that little protein boost. Just 3 ounces packs with approximately 24-30 grams of protein and talk about an easy snack!

7)  Salmon. It’s easy to eat and is a power protein that is also a top source of the healthy and much needed omega-3 fats lacking in our diets. A 3.5 ounce serving has 22 grams of protein in it.

8) Eggs. One of the world’s perfect foods. 1 egg has approximately 6 grams of protein in it. It’s cooked in a million ways and hard boiling them allows you to easily transport them for a quick protein filled snack.

9)  Oatmeal. A half a cup has about 5 grams of protein in it, a little bit of dietary fiber and iron, plus you can add a healthy fat to it to round it out for your snack. I love putting some healthy fruit on top, especially berries. Avoid the instant packets because they tend to be loaded with sugar.

10) Tuna. It’s an easy and great source of protein with approximately 25 grams per can. There are so many ways to mix up tuna for a delicious snack.

11)  Deli meats. Lunch meat isn’t just for sandwiches; it makes a tasty protein roll-up snack as well. Two slices of deli meat turkey has approximately 7 grams of protein, 2 slices of lean chicken breast has approximately 10 grams, and roast beef about 10 to 12 grams of protein in 2 slices. It’s so easy to make a great snack with these!

Incorporating a healthy protein snack into your day will give you more energy and stamina to keep you going through your busy day! Try it! You’ll be amazed at the changes in how you feel.

Enjoy!

8 Great Herbs To Spice Up Your Cooking!

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8 Great Herbs To Spice Up Your Cooking!

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Herbs, fresh or dried, are a wonderful addition to your home cooked dishes. They are great for adding flavor and to help to bring out the seasonings and flavors of other ingredients in your meal. Herbs can help increase flavor without needing to add salt and they add to the nutritional value.

Spices all originate from plants: flowers, fruits, seeds, barks, leaves, and roots. They can help preserve foods for longer periods of time and many have antibacterial and antiviral properties. The aromatic flavorings can transform a dish without adding calories or fat.

Here are 8 great herbs to try:

Cinnamon

It has the highest antioxidant value of any spice, with the amazing ability to reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar and blood triglyceride levels.  It helps alleviate nausea, increases sensitivity to insulin and aids in the burning of fat and provides you with manganese, iron and calcium. Because it has antimicrobial properties, it can help extend the life of foods you add it to.

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Thyme

It is a member of the mint family and is well-known for being used in French cooking and goes nicely with poultry. The essential oils in it have strong antibacterial properties and are often used to treat sore throats or mouth infections. It is known for its cancer fighting properties.

Basil

The bright green leaves are tasty and rich in beta-carotene and other carotenoids, which promote heart health. It has both anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties and has been known to aid in resolving digestive disorders. It’s most known for using in Italian cooking, but it is a versatile herb that can be added to practically anything. Fresh is the best.

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Dill Weed/Seed

It is most known for its stomach settling ability (possibly one reason why pregnant women crave pickles?). It contains a variety of nutrients and is best used in uncooked recipes or in foods cooked at low temperatures to retain them. It is a great addition to any type of dish with fish, to dips and dressings, to omelets or to chicken dishes. It has wonderful antibacterial properties.

Parsley

It’s very rich in vitamins C, B 12, K and A. It acts as a diuretic, so it’s great to add into your diet if you are feeling bloated or water-logged. It’s great to add to a green juice or smoothie.

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Oregano

This herb is commonly used in Italian sauces. It’s rich in antioxidants and also has powerful antibacterial properties. It is an antiviral, antibacterial, anticancer and antibiotic! It has been known to treat Giardia better than any other medicine. It is just packed full of antioxidants as well. Its oil and leaves are known medicinally for cough, fever, congestion, and body aches. A couple teaspoons added to a soup will help recovery from illness.

Cilantro

This refreshing herb is a bright addition to Mexican dishes and salsas because its fresh flavor lends itself well to many of the spicy flavors often used in Latin dishes. It is rich in magnesium and iron, it’s a good source of fiber, lowers blood sugar and helps the body fight against salmonella.

Rosemary

It has a high concentration of the antioxidant carnosol, which new research is showing that it may have benefits in cancer treatment. It’s easy to grow, low maintenance and fast growing.  It has a pungent unique pine/lemony scent that tastes delicious sprinkled on any meats or vegetables, whether roasting in the oven or on the barbecue. Water boiled with this can be used as an antiseptic.

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When it comes to buying fresh herbs, a great rule of thumb is to look for whatever is in season in your area. Most herbs are available year round, but they can be expensive. Try growing your own herb garden! It’s a blast and so easy. Fresh herbs are the best and not only add wonderful flavor without calories, they may also serve up health benefits as healing foods.

What is your favorite herb to cook with?

Obesity A Disease? Some Experts Say “Yes, it’s true”

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How do you define disease? Is an epidemic something to be concerned with? Yes. The obesity epidemic is dire, because nearly 36% of adults in the U.S. and almost 20% of children are obese. This puts them all at risk for stroke, heart disease, diabetes and a multitude of other diseases that are preventable. The short explanation of this syndrome is a poor diet, lacking protein nutrition and being overrun with trans fats, fast foods, processed foods, salt, sodas and many other poor choices in their diet followed up by a sedentary lifestyle without exercise.

Stress is a also MAJOR component of your lifestyle. Regardless of what you do, this can have a big impact on your health and how you feel. Believe it or not, it affects every action in your body, even on a cellular level. Worry, anger, bitterness, stress….none of which you can control from others or the outside world, actually controls your body. So….just let it go!!! Find ways to relieve it. You’ll live longer and be healthier. A great saying is…. “5% of life is the actual event, and 95% of life is how you respond to that life event”. Just think about that for a minute…..it’s a big difference. Find your balance and you’ll be so much happier.

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Now, many physicians are starting to believe this actually is a disease, or better said, a metabolic syndrome that is rampant, one that requires immediate treatment as well as prevention. Although the average healthy person might say it is really just laziness and overeating, it is being discovered that genetics and metabolic challenges, even hormones and age are playing a large role in obesity. The key is regulating your hormones (especially thyroid, but also testosterone in men), making sure your liver is supported and the main thing is to change your lifestyle habits and stay on top of them.

The key is to turn off your insulin requirements and its overstimulating of insulin output…..stop snacking, regulate your meals by limiting your calories and even drinking a meal replacement drink for breakfast and lunch, or focus on solely protein intake….then having just a lean protein dinner with green vegetables only….no carbs, no alcohol, no caffeine. The goal is to reset your body’s computer. For some, it can take only days or a week or two, for others in a more severe state, it might take 6-8 weeks. Exercise is not the only answer, but can speed the process up. Weight loss, however, is essential, so achieving that through a strict and limited diet or a combination of that with cardio exercise might be what it takes.

You’ll feel amazing…..and…..you’ll even LOSE WEIGHT!!! And…..keep it off!

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Drugs and surgery are not the answer. We each have a responsibility regarding our bodies and our weight. This obesity didn’t happen overnight and we can’t restore it overnight. Like anything of importance, if you focus on it, you will make it happen.

Live happy and eat well. ( :

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Amino Acids Amazing Abilities

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Amino acids are known to be the “building blocks” of life, but what most people don’t know is their long list of therapeutic roles in recovery from illness and contributing to good health.

They keep the gastrointestinal tract working, prevent aging and degenerative diseases, they have powerful antixodant properties, support the immune system, heavy metal detoxification, support the heart and nervous systems, regulate blood sugar (energy) and can restore vitality when needed.

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Here is a list covering some of the main amino acids and just some of the things they do or help your body:

Alanine

  • metabolism of glucose

Arginine

  • tumors and cancer.
  • function of the immune system
  • liver detoxifier
  • increases sperm count
  • healing/repair of skin and connective tissue
  • muscle metabolism
  • proper nitrogen balance
  • weight loss by increasing muscle mass
  • regulation of many enzymes and hormones
  • release of growth hormone
  • new bone and collagen

Asparagine

  • balance within the central nervous system
  • amino acids convert to what they are supposed to in the liver

Aspartic

  • stamina
  • metabolism
  • chronic fatigue
  • neural and brain disorders
  • removes excess ammonia from the body
  • cell function and function of RNA and DNA
  • produces immunoglobulins and antibodies

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Carnitine

  • transports long-chain fatty acids to provide muscle energy
  • uses fat as an energy source
  • diabetes
  • alcohol-induced fatty liver
  • heart disorders
  • blood triglycerides
  • weight loss
  • muscle strength

Citrulline

  • energy
  • immune system
  • detoxifies ammonia

Cysteine and Cystine

  • detoxifier
  • strong nails, skin and hair, produces collagen
  • free radicals
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • hardening of the arteries
  • heavy metals chelation
  • iron absorption
  • fat burning
  • breaks down mucus
  • strengthens white blood cell activity

GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid)

  • neurotransmitter
  • anxiety, stress-related nervousness
  • epilepsy and hypertension
  • relaxant, increases libido
  • enlarged prostate
  • ADD

Glutamic

  • builds proteins
  • metabolism of sugars and fats
  • transports potassium across the blood-brain barrier
  • brain fuel
  • personality and childhood behavioral disorders

Glutamine

  • most abundant in the body, protein building block
  • can convert to glucose
  • energy source
  • fuel for cells lining the intestine
  • anti-inflammatory
  • mental functioning, helps with depression
  • athletic performance
  • gastritis, peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis

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Glutathione

  • antioxidant produced in the liver
  • detoxifies
  • supports red and white blood cells
  • carbohydrate metabolism
  • Anti-aging
  • breaks down oxidized fats that lead to atherosclerosis

Glycine

  • prostate gland
  • muscle degeneration
  • construction of DNA, RNA
  • synthesis of nucleic acids, bile acids
  • hypoglycemia
  • epilepsy
  • bipolar disorder, hyperactivity
  • low pituitary function

Histidine (or Histadine)

  • growth, repair of tissues
  • T-cell function
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • maintenance of the myelin sheaths protect the nerve cells
  • sexual arousal
  • indigestion
  • production of red and white blood cells
  • removing heavy metals

Isoleucine

  • hemoglobin formation
  • blood sugar, energy levels
  • energy,endurance, healing, repair muscle tissue
  • mental disorders

Lysine

  • nitrogen balance
  • muscle mass, collagen formation, tissue repair
  • high serum triglycerides
  • concentration
  • bone and growth development in children
  • antibodies, hormones, and enzymes
  • calcium absorption

Methionine

  • pancreatitis
  • liver function
  • clogging the arteries
  • breakdown of fats
  • detoxifies heavy metals
  • brittle hair
  • osteoporosis
  • powerful antioxidant
  • excretion of estrogen
  • schizophrenia
  • tumors

Ornithine

  • muscle-building
  • immune system, liver function
  • detoxifies ammonia
  • liver regeneration
  • damaged skin, connective tissue

Phenylalanine and D,L-Phenylanlanine (DLPA)

  • alcohol withdrawal
  • osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis
  • vitiligo
  • mood elevator
  • sexual arousal
  • hunger, cravings for food
  • menstrual cramps, migraines, pain

Serine

  • metabolism of fats and fatty acids
  • growth of muscle
  • immune system
  • immunoglobulins and antibodies
  • moisturizing capabilities

Taurine

  • absorbing fats and fat-soluble vitamins
  • cardiac arrhythmias
  • cell membrane stability
  • brain cell overactivity
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • building block for other Amino Acids
  • bile (digestion of fats)
  • serum cholesterol
  • edema, hypoglycemia
  • anxiety, poor brain function, seizures

Threonine

  • protein balance
  • collagen, elastin
  • liver, lipotrophic function
  • fatty liver
  • antibodies, immune system

Tryptophan

  • B3 (Niacin)
  • serotonin
  • normal sleep
  • depression and insomnia
  • mood stabilizer
  • hyperactivity in children
  • relieves stress
  • heart health
  • weight control by decreasing appetite
  • migraine headaches

Tyrosine

  • mood elevator
  • key component of melanin
  • suppresses your appetite, reduces body fat
  • adrenal, thyroid and pituitary glands
  • metabolism
  • chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, allergies, headaches
  • alcohol, cocaine, addictive drugs withdrawal support.

Valine

  • stimulant
  • muscle metabolism, tissue repair
  • nitrogen balance
  • energy source for the muscles

Amino acids are powerful. They help cure disease, prevent disease, alleviate many symptoms, elevate our mood, and help us live longer and healthier lives! So go eat your healthy protein or drink a whey protein smoothie…. and give your body the tools it needs!

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Foods That Fight Inflammation

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Inflammation is a natural response to things like injury, illness and even stress. It is normal to respond to these stressors with inflammation, but chronic low level inflammation is something different and what you want to avoid like the plague.

Chronic inflammation is a whole different story and of great concern for the body. It creates a state of regular attacking of the body’s tissues, which obviously is not healthy. Inflammation remains at the core of many diseases like heart disease, auto-immune diseases, neurological disorders, diabetes and cancer.

So what causes chronic low-level inflammation? Our lifestyle alone contributes to this condition, especially eating too many high processed foods filled with sugar, lacking in the necessary high quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Add to that a lack of sleep, lack of activity or exercise, chronic stress, lack of restorative activities in our daily life, too much technology and very poor digestive health.

The key is to fight it off and this helps us all to live longer. Here are 5 anti-inflammatory food suggestions to add to your diet:

Wild Caught Salmon (dye free) – Yum! Besides being delicious, this fish gives you healthy doses of anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids that are also essential for brain health.

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Kelp – This amazing sea vegetable is a type of brown algae that is a complex carbohydrate rich in fucoidan that is naturally anti-inflammatory.  It also has a high fiber content that helps balance your blood sugar and promotes weight loss as well.

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Sweet Potatoes – Who knew these were so amazing? And delicious. They are rich in anti-oxidants such as vitamin C and B6, as well as magnesium, which helps with stress. They also help curb sweet cravings by satisfying them by being naturally sweet, plus high fiber content is always a plus.

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Papaya – This sweet tropical fruit has high levels of papain (a protein digesting enzyme), great digestive properties and also vitamins E and C, both of which contribute to fighting inflammation.

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Shiitake Mushrooms – Well known for their cancer fighting benefits, these tasty mushrooms also help fight inflammation. They have been used medicinally in China for more than 6,000 years.

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It’s been said that all disease is actually inflammation based, so do all you can do to fight it today!