5 Easy Ways to Sleep Better

SLEEP-STOCK-IMAGESleep is the tool our bodies use to repair and restore physically and mentally. With sleep we thrive, without it, we die.

If you’re the type of person who has troubles with going to sleep or can’t seem to sleep through the night, try these quick tips.

Take 400 to 1000 mg of magnesium at night
  • If you’re working out hard and not supplementing with magnesium, you’re probably deficient. Magnesium is a vital mineral for metabolism and health that’s used in over 300 different processes. Get a magnesium that ends in -ate such as magnesium citrate or orotate. Avoid magnesiums that end in -ide such as magnesium oxide.
Drink valerian root tea
  • Valerian root tea has been shown to be as effective as prescription sleep aids in some instances. Drink this before bed while relaxing.
Take 3 to 6 mg of supplemental melatonin
  • Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that’s secreted around night time to help you go to sleep. To date there are no studies that show addictive qualities. However, I recommend only using this for a short period of time. Start with 3 mg and if you begin to have crazy vivid zombie dreams, bump it up to 6….don’t ask.
Develop a routine
  • Your body’s processes are regulated based on your habits. That means you have a lot of power over changing the way your body responds. Turn off harsh lights, read a book and refuse to look at a phone or computer screen (artificial sun) for 1 hour before bed.
Black out your room
  • Light is powerful. Light tells your brain to wake up while dark tells it to sleep. Black out your windows, turn off night lights and turn clocks away from you to get the best sleep possible.
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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

 

 

FREE Paleo Seminar!

FREE Paleo Seminar!

Better Health stores and I have once again joined forces to present you with an hour of exploration in the Paleo Diet! This is the diet that’s totally changed everything about the way I train. I have yet to see someone fully commit to the Paleo Diet without seeing incredible results. Come join at one of two stores this March!

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 🙂

Paleo Month

I will be giving a seminar on Paleo nutrition at Better Health Stores in Novi, MI at 1:00 Feb 23rd. In honor of this epic event, I will be posting Paleo recipes for the next three weeks. These are all recipes I have tried and approved as delicious. Here is number one.

Egg Muffins

The idea is simple. Cook some meat and veggies. Put mixture in to a cupcake pan, pour egg on top and bake for 20 minutes.

Total active cook time is about 5 minutes and these are loaded with nutrients and high in protein.

YUMMY!

Nate

Inspiration: Crossfit – Normal Women Getting Extreme Fitness

If you’re a woman who wants to get super fit and is worried about getting too bulky or losing body fat in places you’d like to keep it, look no further. In my opinion, many women have a more difficult time getting fit than men because they want to maintain body fat in certain areas and lose it in others while guys just shred everything.

Crossfit is no magic exercise combination. It is simply an explosive, all-body program that focuses on strength/interval training to achieve fitness and fat loss. Most likely, it probably also causes a greater boost in hormones that build muscle and retain womanly body fat while keeping muscle-eating stress hormone relatively low.

In short, I have seen women who embrace this style of exercise keep more of their desired shape without getting bulky.

This video features a handful of women who have been crossfitting for 1 to 3 years: This is the style of training I do and I am gearing up to launch a Crossfit affiliate site within the first three months of 2013.

GET INSPIRED!!!

Powdered Peanut Butter

85% Less fat from Omega-6 plus a punch of peanut butter flavor? DELICIOUS!

 

 

Check out or buy PB2 at http://www.bellplantation.com/

 

 

REFERENCES:

Ask the Source: Omega 3 Fatty Acids

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/questions/omega-3/index.html

The Important of the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio in Cardiovascular Disease and Other Chronic Diseases. The Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, 2001 S Street, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20009

http://ebm.rsmjournals.com/content/233/6/674.full

Alpha-Lipoic acid for weight loss, anti-aging and nerve repair?

While I love the idea of getting all my nutrients from natural sources, I have come to believe that our food is so nutrient-deficient (watch the movie food, inc) that worthwhile supplements should be considered for optimal health…that is, until I buy a farm! Those who are actively working out should specifically consider the gaps in their nutrition because of the increased demand on their bodies. Store bought food is often lacking in nutritional content because of the soil it was grown in, early picking, poor shipping quality, etc. Alpha Lipoic Acid is a well studied supplement I have grown to love and feel we should consider.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) stands out above many supplements in its ability to promote health, energy and body composition by being a powerful anti-oxidant. In other words, damage to the cells is thought to be responsible for some cancers, aging effects, and injuries and ALA helps stop these really effectively. Unlike some, ALA is capable of being dissolved in both fat and water which means it can get to every part of the cell!

R-form Alpha Lipoic Acid is also an anti-inflammatory with studies showing its many benefits for cell sugar absorption, nerve damage, and detoxifying the body of metals. It’s important to note that R-form is the naturally occurring and more effective while S-form is synthetic. Bottles that don’t specify R or S are often a blend of both.

Other studies are showing ALA benefits weight loss. A 2011 study published in the “American Journal of Medicine” showed that obese people taking 1800 mg a day lost significantly more weight than a placebo group. Another 2010 study showed an eight to nine percent body weight drop in participants taking 800 mg over four months!

Increase drive of sugar to your cells (less of your food gets stored as fat),more fuel for your muscles, decreases in oxidative stress and aging, decrease in inflammation and weight loss all have me convinced that ALA is a must-have for fitness. I don’t like to play games with quality so I get mine from a pharmaceutical grade source like Douglas Labs or Thorne. Check back on wednesday for a link to Douglas Labs R-form ALA.

 

References:

American Journal of Medicine; Effects of Alpha-Lipoic Acid on Body Weight in obese subjects
E.H. Koh, et al; 2011

Current Pharmaceutical Design; Alpha Lipoic Acid Supplementation: A Tool for Obesity Theraoy; M.G Carbonelli, et al.;2010

“Lipoic acid improves nerve blood flow, reduces oxidative stress, and improves distal nerve conduction in experimental diabetic neuropathy,” Nagamatsu, M., et al., Diabetes Care, 18(8) (August 1995): 1160-67

4 Reasons to Love Blueberries

Blueberries are a potent superfood!

1. They don’t stimulate a big sugar-rush like some fruit do and the Polyphenols in them actually help increase your body’s sensitivity to sugar…which means more of the sugar you eat gets used for fueling muscles rather than storing as fat!

2. Packed with antioxidants – which help clear out old pieces of cells and allow the body to function better. Some experts say these old cell fragments are responsible for the negative affects of aging, organ damage and cancer.

3. They have anthocyanins which are responsible for their deep blue color. These helps protect the nervous system, Fight cancer, preserve eye sight, ward off depression and reduce inflammation/physiological stress!

4. The antioxidants are preserved by freezing. Unlike some foods which deteriorate with storage, blueberries maintain their healthy punch!