5 Reasons to Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

If you’re a crazy wide-eyed, coffee-chugging cafe goer, take a second to read these tips and see if you could benefit from keeping your caffeine levels in check!

1. Caffeine can cause dark circles under your eyes
It’s true. You thought it was fatigue but many dark circles come from eye strain (excessive computer use) or increased blood flow near the skin around the eyes from excessive caffeine intake.

2. Caffeine can cause irritability
According to a 2006 study, individuals who consumed 250 mg of caffeine three times a day had significantly boosted stress hormone levels in response to stress. That means you feel out of whack and irritated all day and leads us in to reason number three to reduce your caffeine intake.

3. Caffeine may make lower your immune system
The hormone mentioned above is called cortisol and it is a major player in your internal environment. too much cortisol can cause things like a lowered immune system, increased irritability, increased body fat and a reduction in muscle!

4. Caffeine can decrease your energy levels
Drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks can give you a short-term energy burst. However, constant caffeine consumption can turn this stimulant in to an energy sucker. As your body adjusts to the constant stimulation by boosting adrenaline and jolting you to life, the long-term result could be a fatiguing of your body’s ability to create and produce adrenaline appropriately. Remember that our bodies are dependent on millions of chemical processes to function properly and a foreign chemical like caffeine can really disrupt the process.

5. Excessive caffeine can increase risk of heart disease.
While moderate caffeine (1-2 8 oz cups or 1 shot of espresso) intake can reduce your risk of heart disease, excessive caffeine can increase your risk according to an article published in the “Current opinion in Lipidology” Journal. Caffeine can narrow your blood vessels, increase stress on the interior lining of arteries, and an element called “diterpenes” in unfiltered coffee can increase your chances of cardiac issues.

If you need a great alternative, check out my post on DANDY BLEND

Cortisol responses to mental stress, exercise, and meals following caffeine intake in men and women.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16631247

Current Opinion in Lipidology
http://journals.lww.com/co-lipidology/Abstract/2007/02000/Coffee,_caffeine,_and_coronary_heart_disease.5.aspx

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Coffee Alternatives: Dandy Blend

I had gnawing, stabbing, biting, awful pain that kept me awake all night. I was in severe, nauseating discomfort for two weeks and trying to figure out what the heck was going on. My thoughts of “flu” slowly dissolved in to thoughts of “stomach ulcer” as I researched. At the end of the day I believe I had an active, irritated stomach ulcer! Yuck!

I understand a lot of people drink coffee for the caffeine kick but I really, really enjoy the taste. So after a few weeks of terrible pain, I decided to try to “heal” my gut. It was a week of intense probiotics, vitamin E with meals, acid-reducing foods like cabbage, bland foods like banana with a touch of nut butter and lots of water. I also cut out any foods that may create excessive acid, namely alcohol and the ridiculously dark, tar-like creation I call coffee.

Within two days my 14 day battle with stomach pain was gone.

 

I was excited and surprised and the event left me searching for coffee alternatives to stave off the stomach demons.

If you’re experiencing any of the following, you should be searching for alternatives, too:

  • dark circles under your eyes
  • increased irritability
  • extreme fatigue
  • frequent illness
  • problems losing body fat
  • frequent headaches
  • trouble sleeping 
  • trouble waking
Dandy Blend: The Coffee Alternative

 

Coffee Alternative

Dandy blend is a roasted and powdered dandelion root that mixes in to hot water much like instant coffee. It has no caffeine, does NOT inspire acid production and will not give you caffeine withdrawals, headaches or increased irritability.

Originally I was told this product tastes “JUST LIKE COFFEE! WEEEEEEEE!!”

….It does NOT taste just like coffee. However, it closely resembles coffee plus a little black licorice flavoring. It’s really quite tasty, takes very little adjusting and is far tastier than the feeling of tiny stomach gnomes pick-axing my insides.

other benefits:

Besides all the above benefits, dandelion root extract is listed in liver detoxes and health elixirs galore! The studies (listed below) have shown dandelion root to aid the body in the following.

  • Reduce arthritis pain
  • Reduce total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad cholesterol
  • Boosts good cholesterol
  • Reduce heart disease risk factors
  • POSSIBLE Cancer fighting agent (including skin cancer)
caution:

People with an inflamed or infected gallbladder, or blocked bile ducts, should avoid using dandelion

Sources:

Hypolipidemic and Antioxidant Effects of Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Root and Leaf on Cholesterol-Fed Rabbits
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2820990/

The Efficacy of Dandelion Root Extract in Inducing Apoptosis in Drug-Resistant Human Melanoma Cells
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3018636/

Have I Found the BEST Protein Bar?

A single bar of ultimate suck could be replaced by a bar of slightly lesser suck.

That’s how I usually feel when I’m selecting a protein bar. Here’s the usual (and very frustrating) scenario.

I’ll look through the endless walls of protein bars and pull out one that looks semi-nutritious, only to find it to be full of garbage, fillers and the oh-so-crappy-chalk-in-the-mouth milk concentrate. *bleh*. I’ll put that bar back and find another that’s actually made from natural ingredients. “JOY JOY!!” But alas, my hopes are once again dashed as I realized the “protein” bar has only 7 grams of protein….this is not a protein bar.

Then I’ll switch approaches and begin my search with “how many grams of protein” only to find that every bar with enough protein is ultimately, a greater measure of suck.

So, my friends, with a 6 small meal a day nutrition plan in place, I’ve been on the search for the ultimate bar…and I just may have found it.

PRESENTING….*drum roll*

Unknown

 

THE RISE BAR!!

The ingredients look like this

 

ALMONDS…..HONEY….WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE…….that’s it….

 

The macronutrients look like this

 

20 G PROTEIN…..16 G FAT ….20 G CARB…..

 

Why is that so good? Here’s the breakdown: 

First, there are lots of proteins on the market but whey isolate is one of the easiest to absorb with the best amino acid profile. Specifically, it has a higher leucin count, which is associated with great muscle recovery and gain.

 

Second, the carb to sugar ratio is 1:1, which makes it a true protein bar. Many protein bars are really energy bars as you will find 3-4 times the amount of sugar as protein. In this case, the bar will supply an ample amount of protein without making your blood sugar go nutty.

 

Third, it’s natural…3 ingredients? Come on!

 

Four, they’re reasonably priced. At just a few cents over $2.00, it’s an acceptable price for a snack replacement.

 

As for the taste, I’ve not tried them yet. When I get my box in two days, I’ll send out an update but most of the disgusting taste you get from cheap proteins comes from the milk concentrate…of which this bar has none.

…Did I mention this is technically Paleo??

 

EAT EAT EAT NOM NOM

 

 

Diarrhea Bears: Fake Sugars Are Poison

haribo-gummy-candy-sugarless-gummy-bears-5-pound-bag_5222_500

Explosive Diarrhea is your body’s way of saying, “I hate what you just fed me”

That’s right, I said it. If you eat something and find yourself violently expelling, you need to consider both the preparation and content of the item you ate. If MANY people are having such a response it’s time to consider that the food, though FDA approved, may be poison to your system. Enter Diarrhea bears.

I’m referring to a sugarless gummy bear manufactured by Haribo and sold on amazon.com among other places. The bears are gaining popularity from the hilarious reviews written by recent victims of the seemingly innocent chewy treats. You can see a collection of some of the funniest ones by clicking here or going to amazon.com and searching “Haribo Sugarless gummy”. Click on “reviews” and get ready for some potty humor. The package warns that people sensitive to sugar alcohols may have adverse reactions.

But WHY are people having these reactions?

Sugar alcohols and other sugar substitutes have been a staple of “healthy food options” for the past few decades but our nation’s health and further study continue to point us toward the idea that these FDA approved substitutes may be doing us more harm than good. These studies are suggesting that sugar substitutes may contribute to the body increasing fat storage, harm thyroid function, mess with metabolism, decrease absorption of other nutrients and screw up your hormonal profile. The sugar substitute rumored to be the culprit in the diarrhea bear fiasco is LYCASIN, a brand name for maltitol. The product is created by hydrogenating high maltose glucose syrups and used in many baking/confectionary applications because it’s 90% as sweet as sugar. If you’re not familiar with hydrogenation, that’s the same name used for the process in which fats are super-heated and turned in to Trans-Fats, the mighty killer of arteries everywhere.

Diabetics may look to this maltitol substitute thinking that it can help control their blood sugar but surprisingly, it rates a 52 on the glycemic index while sugar rates a close 60 and studies may show the substance has 3 calories per gram while sugar has just 4 calories per gram. I’m not sure why anyone would choose to consume a product that’s barely better than sugar and leaves them with gut pain and diarrhea for 24 hours…

I hope we can all learn and grow from situations like this. I hope we come to understand that our bodies are smarter than any organization or manufacturer and that if we listen to them, we may increase our opportunity to live a long and healthy life.

 

My rule of thumb is, eat things as close as you can to the way God made them.

 

Eat, sleep, dream and live in ways that help you to feel good inside and out.

 

 


 
A systematic review on the effect of sweeteners on glycemic response and clinically relevant outcomes
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/9/123/

Digestion and absorption of sorbitol, maltitol and isomalt from the small bowel. A study in ileostomy subjects.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7859694

Beware Of The 5 lb. Bag Of Sugarless Gummy Bears On Amazon.com – The Reviews Are Priceless!
http://slightlyviral.com/beware-sugarless-gummy-bears-on-amazon-com/

Reviewing Advocare

Everyone’s looking for new ways to increase their health and performance. In keeping with this trend, I’ve officially taken the plunge in to a product that graces the halls of professional sports teams across the nation.

AdvoCare’s products have been making quite a stir and the results some are seeing in their sports performance, weight-loss and overall well-being are pretty remarkable. With so many reports being released about bad, unabsorbable or tainted products, I start getting leary of any company I don’t understand…trust is a big issue when it comes to putting stuff in your mouth! I believe Advocare to be one such company that produces higher quality product.

In my never-ending quest to find the best products from different providers, I now have accounts with 3 supplement companies…I’m picking and choosing a few products from each. So far for advocare, some of my favorite products from the store are:

Raw Bars

Which can help with snacking through the day…the seed complex in these is amazing.

Omega 3 complex

Anyone who knows me knows I LOOOOVE Fish Oil. It’s an anti-inflammatory that also helps turn on lipolysis, your body’s ability to burn fat.

Spark Energy

I’m a parent…some times I need a kick in the pants. Spark can give this without tasting like poop. Chalk full of B-vitamins and such, it’s not much different from other B-toting energy drinks except that it actually tastes awesome.

The 24 day detox package is also of interest to me. I’m going to order it soon and give it a whirl!

All-in-all, the product looks both interesting and promising. Auto-ship also makes it easy for me to get what I want without jumbling up my schedule.

 

When taking a supplement, one must remember that, once again, supplements will NEVER replace real food… they just can’t. But if we find ourselves in situations where real, healthy and whole nutrition is an impossibility, supplements can help bridge the gap…

I think it’s a win-win…we’ll see 🙂

Baked Avocado Egg (Lacto-Paleo)

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This little recipe is silly easy and ridiculously tasty. The baked avocado gets warm and smooth and the breakfast treat is loaded with protein, good fats, vitamins and minerals.

1/2 avocado without pit
1 egg
1 tbsp salsa
1 tbsp Feta
Salt
Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 425. Crack egg into avocado where pit used to be. Bake 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, feta and salsa.

Paleo Bacon Jalapeños

Like bacon?

How about Jalapeños?

This is the Paleo-friendly dish for you. Surprisingly enough, this is the type of dish my clients have actually lost weight and fixed their cholesterol while eating. The recipe here follows a Lacto-Paleo style of eating in which small amounts of dairy are allowed. Use organic cream cheese or a cashew cream cheese substitute . Cream cheese is second to heavy cream in a Lact-Palean because of its relatively low lactose (milk sugar) and casein (milk protein) content.

Ingredients:
8 oz Organic cream cheese
1/2 cup Organic, hard cheddar
10 jalapeños
1 pack nitrate-free bacon
Paleo-friendly BBQ sauce
1/8 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Paprika

Preheat oven to 375

1. Mix cream cheese and cheese together. 2. Add cumin/paprika and mix well. 3. Cut jalapeños in half and scoop out the seeds. I like to use the metal measuring spoon. 4. Apply cheese mixture to jalapeños 5. Wrap with uncooked bacon 6. Apply dab of BBQ sauce

Cook for 20-30 minutes or until bacon is brown.

NOM NOM.

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Fresh Produce: Delivered

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It’s extremely nutritious, convenient and will help you eat more vegetables. Door to Door Organics (DDO) is a fresh fruit and vegetable company that delivers food to your door for a fairly reasonable price.

My wife and I received our first shipment from DDO this week, and we are thrilled. The produce tastes great and the variety was enough to make the basket fun without being too abstract. The company promises to get produce as locally as possible and tries to ship fruits and veggies that are in-season. The quality was impeccable. Most of the basket (except the avocados) was nearly perfectly ripened and the lettuce, zucchini, apples, kiwi, and berries were perfect. As I perused my freshly opened food basket, I began to think about how receiving a once a week basket of fresh veggies may impact the way I eat. Better still, how this basket may impact the lives of my clients.

The number one complaint I receive about healthy eating is, “I don’t have time”. Door to Door organics takes shopping out of the equation and forces you to eat the veggies you have during the week because a new shipment is coming whether you like it or not. The unintentional benefit is that you order less food from restaurants (specifically fast food) and you dramatically increase your vegetable intake. If your results are anything like my clients’, you will get more energy, gain more muscle tone and lose more fat.

Hop on their website and give them a try. I think it will have a tremendous positive impact on your health.

 

 

 

 

 

Take the No-Corn Challenge

Farmers feed their animals corn to make them fat…so why is it in everything we eat?

Corn is found in just about every boxed or packaged food as corn oil, corn starch, dextrose corn sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and many derivatives of these names. Imagine my surprise when a friend of mine brought over some chocolate milk and we found “high fructose corn syrup” on the label! Even if you’re not eating processed foods, you could be getting it from farm raised pigs, cows, chickens, fish, etc who are being fed a steady diet of the yellow cob.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that with the increase of corn consumption comes an increase in diseases and obesity. According to the following graphs by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity is climbing so fast they had to create a new color category!

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What do I think?

I agree with this ABC NEWS VIDEO. I tend to think that our over consumption of corn plays a huge role in the boom in obesity, diabetes, heart disease and morbidity.

Take the challenge!

Step 1: Awareness

Go through your pantry and fridge and look at every food label searching for the words listed in the second paragraph of othis article.

Step 2: Watch the ABC NEWS VIDEO

Step 3: Get rid of corn

Stop eating foods that contain corn (in the above mentioned forms) for three weeks and see how you feel. Expect more energy! Record your weight and body fat percentage before and after.

Step 4: Post your results/thoughts in the comments section below

Bonus Challenge: 

Check out this LIST OF ITEMS that can be made from corn and get rid of them from your diet completely unless they come from farm fresh fruits, veggies and grass fed/free range meats.

If you want to do more:

Check out this free anti-inflammatory food eating plan.

“Healthy Cereal” is Deceptive

This one minute video is a quick example of how supposedly “healthy” cereal can be deceptive.

A breakfast high in sugar can cause an early rise in the peptide hormone insulin. Insulin is largely responsible for driving sugar in to muscles to be used for fuel.  Too much overexposure to this hormone may lead to insulin resistance…also known as diabetes. In my opinion, insulin resistance is the number one reason why people are becoming more overweight and why it is becoming so difficult for many to keep the weight off.

Click here to check out the previous “yogurt” post mentioned in the video.

Twitter: @TrainerNate