Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Chalkboard

A friend emailed a link with the brief comment – interesting.

Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 12.18.34 PM

Indeed, it is. Check it out.

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Strangely beautiful Veggie Mix for Wraps

Just cooked my 1/2 cup veggies for lunch. Yum.

I doubled the quantity (for tomorrow as well) so I’ll just give you ingredients.

Image
Handful of green beans diced in 1 cm pieces
Handful of corn kernels
Handful of peas
1 red onion
Chili flakes
Panch Phoran
Garlic flakes
Pinch of Za’atar – Middle eastern spice mix with lots of parsley, oregano, sesame etc.
Mint sauce (bought – no oil)

So, I dry fried the onions on a low fire, then sprinkled a generous few dashes of chili flakes, 4-5 garlic flakes, pinch of panch phoran and the za’atar.

Meanwhile microwaved the beans, corn and peas for one and a half minutes. Tossed the vegetables into the pan. Added a generous dash of mint sauce and salt to taste.

Piled it onto my warmed up pita bread, topped it with a slice of cheese.

Strange but beautiful.

Sunshine on a Plate : tian of tomato

Came across this recipe by Chef Reynaldo Arriola of Halia Restaurant in Singapore. Haven’t tried it, but reads delicious and sounds healthy !

Vine-ripened tomatoes have the perfect balance of sugars and acids, as well as flavour. Teamed with ripe mango and avocado, and just a dash of seasoning … sounds mmmm.

1 vine-ripened tomato, blanched, peeled, de-seeded and diced, mixed with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 ripe avocado, diced,  mixed with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

salt, pepper

2 slices each of green and yellow courgettes, blanched

1/2 stalk chive, chopped (optional)

1 sprig chevril for garnish (optional)

  1. Keep all ingredients separate. Season tomatoes and avocados with salt and pepper.
  2. In a round glass mould (or individual glass ramekins), place tomatoes at the bottom, then the avocados and top with the mangoes.
  3. Garnish with the courgette slices on the side, chives and chevril. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over it.

 

A page from Marc Perry’s BuiltLean website

Came across this while googling images … very informative (and reassuring … we are doing it right !!!)

Marc is the creator of the BuiltLean Program and Editor-in-Chief and Producer of the BuiltLean blog and videos. A fast rising fitness star, Marc has appeared on NY1, NBC and various print and online media including Men’s Fitness, Self, BusinessWeek, and BusinessInsider. A former Wall Street Finance Analyst who gained over 30 pounds from a sedentary lifestyle, Marc’s mission is to develop efficient, sustainable approaches to getting lean and fit and help educate and inspire others to improve their health. Marc earned his B.A. from Yale University and holds numerous exercise certifications.

Many readers have been asking about foods that they can incorporate into their daily diet that can help promote fat loss and create a feeling of fullness. Well you asked for it, now I am delivering!

In my opinion, the best fat loss foods are not just “healthy”, but must pass the following checklist:

(1) Not calorie dense (I have one exception)
(2) Help fill you up
(3) Create only a small release of insulin
(4) Easy to procure/prepare

So let’s get started…

Fat Loss Food #1: Egg Whites

egg white fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

This is a favorite of many natural body builders and fitness models because it’s 100% pure protein, containing 4 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs and fat, and only 16 total calories. Want 10 egg whites for breakfast? Sure why not, it’s only 160 calories and will fill you up. An egg white omelet with some veggies and low fat cheese makes for a great breakfast, while a few egg whites from a hardboiled egg can make for a great snack any time (add some high fiber fruit, like an apple, or blueberries for extra bonus points).

Fat Loss Food #2: Low Fat Yogurt

yogurt fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

Low fat yogurt is a great way to get a compete protein source, a lot of calcium, and a nice tart flavor to help satisfy your cravings. There are a variety of yogurts, but I would go for those that are not too high in added sugars. For example, it’s better to get plain yogurt and add in the fruit yourself. You should also consider non-fat Greek yogurt, which contains a solid 22 grams of protein in only a 1 cup serving and a mere 120 calories.

Some studies have found that eating yogurt can help in fat loss. It may be due to the fact that calcium reduces a fat cells’ ability to store fat. Or, it may be due to the branched chain amino acids present in dairy products. Either way, low fat, or non fat yogurt deserves to be part of the Top 10 Fat Loss Foods.

Fat Loss Food #3: Low-Sodium Turkey

turkey fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

Turkey without the skin is among the lowest fat meats available on the market. You also don’t have to worry about cholesterol, because it has none. To cap it off, it’s also pretty easy to eat on the go. Want to eat 8 ounces of turkey breast? Why not, it’s only about 240 calories and packs a protein punch. I recommend removing the skin, which is all fat, but if you have the skin, just eat in moderation.

Fat Loss Food #4: Apple

apple fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

This is a favorite of mine, because it’s easy to carry around and eat on the go, but it’s also very nutritious and high in fiber, so it helps fill you up. An apple contains 24 grams of carbs, 3 of them being from fiber, and around 80 calories in a medium sized apple. I personally like the taste of green apples the most, but the various types of apples don’t make much of a difference in terms of calorie content.

I do, however, suggest you try to get organic apples when you can. I can’t handle tasting chemicals in the skins of apples that are not organic anymore. Blueberries came very close to making it on to the list because they are so high in fiber and antioxidants, but I think an apple is just easier to eat on the go.

Fat Loss Food #5: Lettuce

lettuce fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

While lettuce is not that high in fiber, it requires more calories for your digestive system to digest than the lettuce contains. Pretty cool, huh? This is known as a negative calorie balance.

The main reason lettuce made this list is that you can put as much lettuce as you want in a big bowl, fill it up with veggies, lean meats, maybe some beans for some starch, and you’re good to go. The other great quality of lettuce is that it takes a long time to eat, which is a good thing. It takes up to 20 minutes for our brains to sense that we are full. Ideally, the darker green the lettuce, the more antioxidants and the more nutritious.

Fat Loss Food #6: Low-Sodium Chicken/Vegetable Soup

soup fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

Similar to lettuce, drinking soup at a meal can slow you down, which helps your brain register that you are full. It also helps fill you up and is very low in calories because most broth based soups are low in fat, assuming they haven’t been doused in oil.

Like lettuce, you can throw in a lot of veggies and lean meats to make it more nutritious and filling. Healthy Valley has some pretty good low sodium soups, just be careful because some soups have outrageous amounts of sodium, like over 900mg of sodium per 1 cup serving, which is 40% of the suggested daily intake of 2300mg.

Just be careful if you order soups at a restaurant they don’t have any cream added.

Fat Loss Food #7: Almonds

While very calorically dense, almonds snuck onto the list because healthy fats are great in moderation, and almonds are among the best healthy fats. An almond is technically the seed of the fruit of the almond tree and is a great source of vitamin E and manganese. While almonds are not a “complete” protein source, a quarter cup of almonds offers solid 6 grams of protein.

almonds fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

Some weight loss studies have shown that the calories from nuts like almonds don’t seem to add weight as compared to other foods with the same amount of calories. The theory is that our bodies do not absorb calories from nuts very efficiently.

Either way, be careful not to munch on almonds all day long, because calories can add up fast. Only a quarter cup of almonds contains 140 calories and 15 grams of fat, which means one cup is a solid 560 calories and 60 grams of fat! A handful (about a quarter cup), on the other hand, makes for a great snack.

Fat Loss Food #8: Oatmeal

oatmeal fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

I love oatmeal because it’s filling, but doesn’t provide many calories. My favorite oatmeal is Kashi Go Lean vanilla, which only has 160 calories per serving, but you’ll be amazed at how much it fills you up because it has 6 grams of fiber. For you hardcore types, McCann’s Steel Oats and Traditional Quaker Oats have almost no sugar, but provide natural carbohydrates that will help fuel your workouts, without spiking your insulin levels. One more thing, if eating enough protein at breakfast is a problem area for you, then consider mixing in some whey protein, use skim milk instead of water, or a cup of egg whites.

Fat Loss Food #9: Low-Sodium Tuna

tuna fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

There’s a joke that many natural bodybuilders smell like tuna fish, because they are always eating cans of tuna all day long. The tuna you get at the Deli that’s filled with mayo does NOT count. In fact, mayo is a fat loss disaster, because it’s so calorically dense. I chose tuna because it’s easy to carry around for a high protein snack on the go. Of course, a tuna steak, and most fish for the matter are great sources of protein and healthy fats as well.

Fat Loss Food #10 Broccoli

I never used to eat broccoli as a kid, but fortunately I started eating broccoli after college and I developed a taste for it (as long as it’s steamed, I can’t stand raw broccoli!). Feel free to add it to your salads, or as a side with your lean meat, but you can’t go wrong with broccoli. Well, actually, let me clarify that.

broccoli fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

If you smother it with sodium/sugar filled teriyaki sauce and stir fry it, broccoli can lose its appeal. Sautéed broccoli is still a heck of a lot healthier than French fries, but steamed is ideal. In general, vegetables are phenomenal fat loss foods and more veggies could have easily made it on this fat loss list.

As you probably started to notice, you can mix and match these 10 fat loss foods to create a number of different healthy, low calorie, nutritious snacks and meals to help you reach your fitness goals.

Delicate, yet filling Chicken Soup

Chicken soup can be quite bland but this one has some oomph to it. I made it last weekend while we stayed over at some friends home in the Barossa (South Australia). You make it in two stages but it’s really simple.

Makes 4 Man serves or 6 for smaller helpings (as recommended for right living!)

One large organic chook (I bought mine at the famed Schultz Butcher’s in Angaston)

4-5 large pods of garlic pounded to a paste

1/2 a small onion also chopped and pounded to a paste

1/2 tsp salt flakes

1 tsp coarse ground pepper

Small dash of olive oil

Rosemary sprig

First Stage : Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Pat the chook dry and massage this marinade all over and into the cavity. Leave for couple of hours. If longer, stick it in the fridge.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Before putting the chook into pre-heated oven, drizzle a very small amount of olive oil over it (in a roasting dish) and cook for 35 – 40 minutes. Check from the 20 minute mark onwards to ensure it is not browning too much. Lower the heat if required. Remove when mildy browned and before the meat starts drying out.

Stage 2 : This is where we cheat a bit.

2 litres of store bought chicken stock.

I leek sliced (white part only)

1 large potato peeled and cubed

1 tbsp olive oil

Freshly milled black pepper (a few generous twists of the grinder)

250gms Brussels sprouts finely sliced (or use spinach instead)

In a large casserole dish gently saute the leeks in olive oil. When wilted and starting to get brown edges, add the pepper, potatoes and stock. Bring to a boil and let allow to simmer until the potatoes are cooked through. Set aside until ready to serve.

To serve : Carve approximately 200 gms of chicken breast meat (discarding the skin) per serve of soup. Bring the soup/stock back to the simmer, toss in the sliced Brussels sprouts and give them 3 minutes to cook through. Add the chicken pieces to the soup and stir very gently until the chicken is warmed through.

Serve in warmed bowls and pass around some finely chopped parsley on the side.

Enjoy !

There is usually enough chicken (dark meat) leftover for sandwiches the next day.

Tortilla Hotdog

One of the most satisfying ‘lunches’ on the food programme.

The nutritionist asked me what I would like to eat and when she suggested sausages, I practically prostrated with gratitude. And a whole wheat tortilla, she said.

Got big, fat, juicy chicken-baked apple sausages (and she could even out the calories somewhere else during the day), grilled them, doused them with zingy mustard, smothered them with grilled onion rings and wrapped the whole lot up in a hot tortilla.

Bliss comes in many forms, especially when you finally feel you are not ‘dieting’ or ‘re- balancing’ !!

The Dalia Dosa

Bursting with health !

Whole wheat, broken up, she said, do you get it in Singapore ? Hmm, I do get the ‘dalia‘ I replied and she said, perfect. Though dalia is normally eaten at night because it is ‘light’, I would prefer that you had it in the morning because I believe it is better absorbed when taken for breakfast. So :

godumadosaimagecopyrighted4

Dalia, soaked for a few hours or overnight, ground to a batter

chopped tomatoes

chopped onions

couple of pods garlic, crushed

fresh green chili, to taste, chopped

curry leaves in slivers

a dose of hing or asephoetida

salt

chopped coriander to garnish

  1. Mix everything except the coriander into the dalia batter.
  2. Heat a non-stick pan, add half a teaspoon of olive oil, pour in batter and make a savoury dalia pancake – brown lightly on both sides. It cooks faster if briefly covered with a lid, much like an omelet.

Garnish, and enjoy hot, either by itself or with a tomato-onion chutney.

Dalia, as it is known in India, is also known as bulgur elsewhere in the world. Thanks, Ms Dalal.
Picture borrowed from http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/?p=401

Jen’s Upside-Down Orange Almond Cake – for those ‘cheat’ days / meals

” … and that lady who does the cheeses and preserves, (syl might recall) had some preserved whole oranges … so tiny they are prob mandarins or qumquat … but they were divine to look at and taste and i made up this upside down orange almond cake that turned out so completely divine but devilishly hi-cal.”

mandarinDSC00640pnkw

ok the recipe is really simple and am sure you’ll get some preserved mandarins.

so

100 gms butter

1 cup sugar

3 eggs, separated

mix them well together, add some of the syrup from the preserve

add a cup of almond meal with a tsp baking powder (i did 3/4 cup almond meal n 1/4 cup flour)

pour in some grenadine or cointreau for good measure

beat the whites stiff, fold into batter

in a loaf tin, ( mine is approx 3.5″ x 8″) greased and dusted, (additionally, layer the bottom with grease paper – that prevents the oranges from burning) huddle the oranges at the bottom of the tin, pour in the batter and they will fill the gaps and hold the oranges together.

bake according to your oven, but mine was 200 deg till it rose, then 170 till it was done. took about 55 mins i think.

when cooled, turn it over so the oranges are on top.

if serving as dessert, i think whipped cream would be great, but it was  good on its own and seemed right to have it while it was lukewarm.

enjoy

Picture borrowed from http://neckredrecipes.blogspot.sg/2009/05/mandarin-whisky-marmalade.html

Egg Whites : Masala Toast

Add spice to your breakfast !

“Egg whites are recommended in most diets and I go nuts trying to think up new ways of making them interesting.  I recently tried this version of the classic french toast.  I call it Masala Toast.  It’s easy.” – K

egg-white-fat-loss

3 egg whites, beaten well
Half a small onion, chopped
A small tomato chopped
Some coriander, chopped
A pinch of chili powder
Salt to taste
2 slices brown bread

  • Fry onions to a light brown in very little olive oil. Keep aside.
  • Mix salt, chili powder, onion, tomatoes and coriander to egg whites.
  • Cut the bread into 2 halves, i.e. triangles.
  • Heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a pan.
  • Dip one triangle into the egg mixture. When soaked well, drop into the pan.  Spoon some of the onion mixture on to the top.
  • Let it cook on a slow flame for some time and when the egg looks set, flip it over carefully and cook the other side.
  • When it is cooked, slide onto your plate and enjoy.
  • Repeat with the other triangle of bread.

Tip : Cook on a low flame – you will need less oil.

Picture borrowed from http://www.builtlean.com/2010/10/12/top-10-fat-loss-foods/. This is a great article as well – Top 10 Fat Loss foods.

Indonesian ‘sambal’ grilled Fish

This has to be one of the easiest and most delish of fish dishes !
  • Marinate fish fillets with salt and a fair bit of coriander powder (I used mackarel).
  • Pound garlic, green or red chilies and shallots into a coarse paste.
  • Pan fry the fish in minimum oil, remove, add the ground mixture and fry a bit. Return the fish to the pan, toss & saute, and voila … ready to eat.

A Light Grilled Fish

The programme calls for 200g of any fish, and one of the gang shared her recipe, with her trademark throw-it-together-depending-on-what’s-in-the-refrigerator.
  • Douse 200gms of Basa (fish) fillet in a coriander, lemongrass and shallot paste moistened with Meyer lemon (off my tree) juice, and a skimpy dribble of olive oil.
  • Grill.

I could have another 200gms!

From a newspaper : This Chinese fruit has age-shrouded origins but experts judge it to be a Mandarin-lemon hybrid. With dark yellow skin and flesh when ripe, it is tart but sweeter than a regular lemon, with an orange blossom note to its aroma. These are lemons with added complexity.

Preparing yourself for a new food programme

Having recently embarked on a new food regime to re-balance and recalibrate one’s metabolism for optimal functioning, we had to undergo a week of preparing the body – a kind of cleansing or detox. Here are the fundamentals.

8 – 10 glasses of water a day.

6.15 a.m. : One glass of water before coffee

Green tea, twice a day

2 cups of vegetable salads every day

  • Use low fat salad dressings like vinegerettes, salsa, herbs, no/low oil dressings
  • Use onions, tomatoes, radish, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, capsicum / coloured bell peppers, sprouts, salad leaves

200ml of milk and 100gm yoghurt every day

Cooked dishes

Use low fat bases like tomato-onion, spice, coriander-mint or vinegar based gravies.           No high fat bases with almonds, cashews, cream, coconut, cheese, other nuts and/or garnishes like raisins, extra ghee etc .

  • Breakfast is HEAVY and dinner is LIGHT
  • Salad with every breakfast – bigger, heavier vegetables
  • Salad with every dinner – using salad leaves

Non-Vegetarian

  • Chicken – only lean cuts – no skin and fat, no organ meats.
  • Fish – fatty fishes like king fish, pomfret, sardines etc, NO shell fishes – prawns, mussels, crabs, lobsters etc
  • No Red meat

Grilled/Tandoori chicken and fish are excellent ways to cook

Do not overcook, do not use butter or other fats to bast, cook or marinate the meat.         Use a tsp of oil as an option.

Good Fats

Include walnuts, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and virgin olive oil or cold pressed flax seed oil

Calcium : Very important – do not have with a meal, or with tea or coffee

Wild Olives

Wild olives, anybody ?

Wild Olives

One of the Gangof480 mailed this picture with the message : In my yard. Aren’t they pretty? I am going to have a crack at pickling them. Must be a recipe on google.

How lucky is she to step into her yard to pick this bounty as and when ? Or even to sit in the patio, sipping a coffee, with this view ?

There are plenty of recipes for pickling olives, one of the gang found this recipe on Green Prophet.

Olives are eaten with almost every meal in the Middle East, sometimes even at breakfast. Organically grown olives are the most delicious. Dried and salty or plump and succulent, glowing in gem-like green, black, brown, and purple, olives … some people like their olives hot with fiery chilis. Some prefer them tangy with preserved lemons, or mellowed with bay leaves. You can pickle and season fresh olives by the kilo if you want, and it’s not hard. You will need a knife or a hard rock, and a mason jar or any other large jar with a tight-fitting lid.

It’s in autumn that olives are harvested and appear in the markets. The olives marinate in plain salt brine, changed daily, for a week. During that time their original bitterness will leach out into the water. In the following 4-8 weeks, they marinate in fresh brine and seasonings.

  • 1 kilo fresh olives
  • water
  • salt

After a week, you will need:

  • Olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • chili peppers to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Optional: oregano, thyme, rosemary, grains of black pepper, allspice

Rinse the olives, drain. Discard spoiled ones.

Either cut three slits in each olive or crush them with a clean rock, a few at a time. If crushing, only press hard enough to crack them open, not mash them.

Put the olives in the jar.  Cover them with water. Make sure there are none floating – weigh them down with a small saucer or drape a clean recycled plastic bag over the surface of the water to keep them under.

Change the water every 24 hours. Do this for a week.

The olives will lose their bright color as their bitterness leaches out. When the olives are uniformly darker, taste them to judge if they’re ready for brining. If they’re still bitter, soak them and change the water for another few days.

Once the olives are ready, drain them and put them in a large bowl while washing out their jar.

Make a brine. This is:

10 grams of salt for every 100 ml. of water or  7 tablespoons of salt per half-cup of water.

Mix well. Replace the olives in the clean jar. Pour the brine over all. Add herbs and spices to taste. Cover the olives with plenty of olive oil to exclude air and prevent spoilage. Close the jar. Leave it alone for a month, then taste an olive every week or so till you’re satisfied.

Always remove olives for serving with a clean, dry spoon. Keep the majority in their brine and seasonings – they will only improve.

Tips to Improve your Health

This was emailed to one in the gangof480 recently (author unknown, as it was a cut-and-paste mail).

Merits reading and sharing. This is an edited version … and thanks to whoever wrote this for the detailed info.

Add Sprouts to Your Diet

One of the most nutritious powerhouses to add to your diet are sprouts. They are an authentic “super” food that many overlook or have long stopped using. In addition to their nutritional profile, sprouts are also easy and fun to grow in your own home as they don’t require an outdoor garden.

They can contain up to 39 times the nutrition of organic vegetables grown in your own garden, and allow your body to extract more vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fats from the foods you eat. During sprouting, minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, bind to protein, making them more bioavailable.

Furthermore, both the quality of the protein and the fiber content of beans, nuts, seeds and grains improves when sprouted. The content of vitamins and essential fatty acids also increase dramatically during the sprouting process. Sunflower seed, broccoli and pea sprouts tend to top the list of all the seeds that you can sprout and are typically each about 30 times more nutritious than organic vegetables. While you can sprout a variety of different beans, nuts, seeds and grains, sprouts in general have the following beneficial attributes:

  • Support for cell regeneration
  • Powerful sources of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and enzymes that protect against free radical damage
  • Alkalinizing effect on your body, which is thought to protect against disease, including cancer (as many tumors are acidic)
  • Abundantly rich in oxygen, which can also help protect against abnormal cell growth, viruses and bacteria that cannot survive in an oxygen-rich environment
  • Planting and Harvesting Sprouts at Home

I used to grow sprouts in Ball jars over 10 years ago but stopped doing that. I am strongly convinced that actually growing them in soil is far easier and produces far more nutritious and abundant food. It is also less time consuming. With Ball jars, you need to rinse them several times a day to prevent mold growth. Trays also take up less space.

My two favorites are pea and sunflower sprouts. They provide some of the highest quality protein you can eat. Sprouted sunflower seeds also contain plenty of iron and chlorophyll, the latter of which will help detoxify your blood and liver. Of the seeds, sunflower seeds are among the best in terms of overall nutritional value, and sprouting them will augment their nutrient content by as much as 300 to 1,200 percent! Similarly, sprouting peas will improve the bioavailability of zinc and magnesium.

Make Fermented Vegetables a Daily Staple

The importance of your gut flora and its influence on your health cannot be overstated. Your gut is home to countless bacteria, both beneficial and pathogenic. These bacteria outnumber the cells in your body by at least 10 to one, and maintaining the ideal balance of good and bad bacteria forms the foundation for good health – physical, mental and emotional. In fact, your gut literally serves as your second brain, and even produces more of the neurotransmitter serotonin than your brain does.

Cultured or fermented foods are essential for maintaining a healthy gut. The culturing process produces beneficial microbes, also known as probiotics, which help balance your intestinal flora. Fermented foods are also some of the best chelators available, capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals. Just a quarter to a half a cup of fermented vegetables per day is sufficient for most people. Ideally, you’ll want to include a variety of fermented or cultured foods, as each food will inoculate your gut with a variety of different microorganisms.

Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels with Appropriate Sun Exposure

Vitamin D, once linked to only bone diseases such as rickets and osteoporosis, is now recognized as a major player in overall human health. There are only 30,000 genes in your body and vitamin D has been shown to influence over 2,000 of them. That’s one of the primary reasons it influences so many diseases, including diabetes, depression, heart disease and cancer, just to name a few. But while many focus on vitamin D supplementation, it’s important to realize that the IDEAL way to optimize your vitamin D level is not by taking a pill, but rather allowing your body to do what it is designed to do – create vitamin D from sun exposure (or a safe tanning bed). Sunlight is superior to supplements for a number of reasons:

  • It is natural. Our ancestors optimized their vitamin D levels by sun exposure, not by swallowing it in foods. Although vitamin D is in some animal foods, it is in relatively low quantities and to my knowledge there are no known ancestral populations that thrived on oral vitamin D sources
  • When you expose your skin to the sun, your skin also synthesizes high amounts of cholesterol sulfate, which is very important for cardiovascular health. In fact, Dr. Stephanie Seneff, believes that high LDL and associated heart disease may in fact be a symptom of cholesterol sulfate deficiency. Sulfur deficiency, in fact, also promotes obesity and related health problems like diabetes
  • Most experts believe you cannot overdose when getting your vitamin D from sun exposure, as your body has the ability to self-regulate production and only make what it needs
  • When taking a high dose vitamin D supplement, you also need to boost your intake of vitamin K2, either from food or a supplement, in order to maintain the proper ratio. These two nutrients work in tandem, and vitamin K2 deficiency is actually what produces the symptoms of vitamin D toxicity, which includes inappropriate calcification that can lead to hardening of your arteries
  • Sunlight has many additional health benefits unrelated to vitamin D production

Intermittent Fasting

It’s long been known that calorie restriction can improve metabolic disease risk markers and increase the lifespan of certain animals. More recent research suggests that intermittent fasting can provide the same health benefits as constant calorie restriction, which may be helpful for those who cannot successfully reduce their everyday calorie intake. I believe it’s one of the most powerful interventions out there if you’re struggling with your weight and related health issues. One of the primary reasons for this is because it helps shift your body from burning sugar/carbs to burning fat as its primary fuel.

Research has also shown that fasting can boost your body’s production of human growth hormone (HGH) by as much as 1,300 percent in women and 2,000 percent in men. HGH, commonly referred to as “the fitness hormone,” plays an important role in maintaining health, fitness and longevity, including promotion of muscle growth, and boosting fat loss by revving up your metabolism. Other health benefits of intermittent fasting include:
Normalizing your insulin and leptin sensitivity, which is key for optimal health.

  • Improving biomarkers of disease
  • Normalizing ghrelin levels, also known as “the hunger hormone”
  • Reducing inflammation and lessening free radical damage
  • Lowering triglyceride levels
  • Preserving memory functioning and learning

A simple way to incorporate intermittent fasting into your lifestyle is to simply time your meals to allow for regular periods of fasting in between. To be effective, the length of your fast must be at least eight hours long. This means eating only between the hours of 11am until 7pm each day, as an example. Essentially, this equates to simply skipping breakfast, and making lunch your first meal of the day instead.

Incorporate High Intensity Interval Training into Your Exercise Routine

Compelling and ever-mounting research shows that the ideal form of exercise is short bursts of high intensity exercise. Not only does it beat conventional cardio as the most effective and efficient form of exercise, it also provides health benefits you simply cannot get from regular aerobics, such as a tremendous boost in human growth hormone (HGH), aka the “fitness hormone,” which is essential for optimal health, strength and vigor.
HIIT has also been shown to significantly improve insulin sensitivity, boost fat loss, and increase muscle growth. Best of all, high intensity exercises are so efficient, you can get all the benefits you need in just a 20-minute session, start to finish, performed twice or a max of three times per week.

The key factor that makes interval training so effective is intensity. To reap maximum results, you need to work out at maximum intensity, with rest periods in between spurts. If you are using exercise equipment, I recommend using a recumbent bicycle or an elliptical machine for your high-intensity interval training, although you certainly can use a treadmill, or sprint anywhere outdoors. (Keep in mind that if you intend to sprint outside, be very careful about stretching prior to sprinting. Also, unless you are already an athlete, I would strongly advise against sprinting, as several people I know became injured doing it the first time that way.)
You can also modify your weight training routine to turn it into a high intensity exercise. This is done by slowing it down. The super-slow movement allows your muscle, at the microscopic level, to access the maximum number of cross-bridges between the protein filaments that produce movement in the muscle. To learn more, check out my interview with Dr. Doug McGuff – an emergency room physician who is also an expert in high-intensity interval training.

An important dietary adjunct that will help you get the most out of your high intensity training is to avoid fructose. If you consume sugar or fructose, especially within two hours post-exercise, you will increase somatostatin (also known as growth hormone-inhibiting hormone), which will in turn obliterate the production of growth hormone that you’d otherwise get from your high intensity exercise. So avoid commercial sports drinks, juices, enhanced water products and any other beverage containing fructose, and stick to pure water. If you need to replenish electrolytes, coconut water is an excellent alternative but it’s only recommended if you’re exercising intensely and sweating profusely. Otherwise, the high sugar content can be counterproductive.

Get High Quality Sleep

Sleep is such an important part of your overall health that no amount of healthful food and exercise can counteract the ill effects of poor sleeping habits. Poor sleep has been linked to a number of health ailments, including short-term memory loss, behavioral problems, weight gain, diabetes, increased risk of heart disease and cancer. Sleep deprivation also prematurely ages you by interfering with your growth hormone production, normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep (and during high intensity Peak Fitness exercises discussed above). Growth hormone helps you look and feel younger.

Most people need somewhere around seven to eight hours of sleep per night, but sleep needs are highly individual, and tend to vary depending on your current state of health and stress levels as well. If you still feel sleepy upon waking or feel like you need a nap during the day, you’re probably not getting enough.

If you feel well-rested in the morning, that’s a good sign that your sleep habits are just fine. But if not, you might want to investigate your sleep patterns more closely. ZEO is an innovative sleep measurement device that allows you to perform a personalized ‘sleep study’ from the comfort of your own home. The beauty of this device is that it lets you evaluate how various factors affect your sleep. For example, you can evaluate how your sleep was affected by a cup of coffee in the afternoon, or how doing computer work past a certain hour impacted your sleep. You could actually go through my 32 recommendations for improving your sleep and evaluate the effects of each one if you wanted to.

Get Grounded

Did you know the energy from the Earth can help you live a healthier life? The concept is known as earthing or grounding, which is nothing more than walking barefoot; grounding your body to the Earth. You can connect any part of your skin to the Earth, but one is especially potent, and that’s right in the middle of the ball of your foot; a point known to acupuncturists as Kidney 1 (K1). It’s a well-known point that conductively connects to all of the acupuncture meridians and essentially connects to every nook and cranny of your body.

Compelling research shows that lack of grounding has a lot to do with the rise of modern diseases.When you’re grounded, there’s a transfer of free electrons from the Earth into your body. And these free electrons are probably the most potent antioxidants known to man. Any free radicals they encounter in your tissues will immediately be electrically neutralized. This occurs because the electrons are negative, while the free radicals are positive, so they cancel each other out.

Another very important discovery, and one of the most recent, is that grounding thins your blood, making it less viscous. This can have a profound impact on cardiovascular disease, which is now the number one killer in the world. Virtually every aspect of cardiovascular disease has been correlated with elevated blood viscosity. It can also help protect against blood clots.

The ideal location for walking barefoot is the beach, close to or in the water, as sea water is a great conductor. Your body also contains mostly water, so it creates a good connection. A close second would be a grassy area, especially if it’s covered with dew, which is what you’d find if you walk early in the morning. Concrete is a good conductor as long as it hasn’t been sealed; painted concrete does not allow electrons to pass through very well. Materials like asphalt, wood, and typical insulators like plastic or the soles of your shoes, will not allow electrons to pass through and are not suitable for barefoot grounding.

Exercising barefoot outdoors is one of the most wonderful, inexpensive and powerful ways of incorporating earthing into your daily life and will also help speed up tissue repair and ease muscle pain due to strenuous exercise.

Drink Pure Water

Your body requires a constant daily supply of water to fuel all the various waste filtration systems nature has designed to keep your body healthy and free of toxins. Your blood, your kidneys, and your liver all require a source of good clean water to detoxify your body from the toxic exposures you come into contact with every day.

When you give your body water that is filled with toxins leached from plastic, by-products from chlorination, volatile organic compounds, or water that is contaminated by pesticides, fluoride, or prescription drugs, you are asking your body to work twice as hard at detoxification, because it must first detoxify the water you are drinking, before that water can be used to fuel your organs of detoxification!

Clearly, the most efficient way help your body both avoid and eliminate toxins is to provide your body with the cleanest, purest water you can find. This is easily done by installing one or more types of water filtration systems in your house.

If you could only afford one filter, there is no question in most experts’ minds that the shower filter is the most important product to buy for water filtration, even more important than filtering your tap water. This is because the damage you incur through your skin and lungs far surpasses the damage done by drinking water (which at least gives your body a fighting chance to eliminate the toxins through your organs of elimination).

An even better solution to the problem of harsh chemicals and toxins in your home’s water supply is to install a whole house water filtration system. There’s just one water line coming into your house. Putting a filter on this is the easiest and simplest strategy you can implement to take control of your health by ensuring the water and the air in your house is as clean as possible.

Limit Processed Foods and Replace Non-Veggie Carbs with Healthy Fats

Two of the most powerful dietary interventions are

1) limiting or eliminating processed foods

2) replacing non-vegetable carbohydrates and excess protein with healthful fats

Beneficial fats include avocados, coconut oil, olives, olive oil, butter and nuts. Wild Alaskan salmon is also a powerhouse of nutrition, providing critical omega-3 fats. As a general rule, when you cut down on carbs, you need to increase your fat consumption. Both are sources of much-needed energy, but fats are a source of energy that is far more ideal than carbohydrates. Replacing carbs with more protein is not a wise choice as it can produce similar adverse hormonal changes as burning non-vegetable carbs.

Generally speaking, you should be looking to focus your diet on whole, ideally organic and/or locally grown, unprocessed foods. For the best nutrition and health benefits, you will want to eat a good portion of your food raw.
Processed foods are notoriously high in fructose, not to mention artificial additives. All forms of sugar (but fructose in particular) have toxic effects when consumed in excess, and drive multiple disease processes in your body, not the least of which is insulin resistance, a major cause of chronic disease and accelerated aging. Replacing non-vegetable carbs with healthful fats will also optimize your insulin and leptin levels, which is key for maintaining a healthy weight and optimal health.

Most people eat far too much protein. Like many areas of health there is a “Goldilocks” dose that provides most of the benefits and minimal side effects. Dr. Rosedale believes that the ideal amount is about one gram per pound of lean body weight unless you are pregnant or doing competitive athletics. But that is a level that will more than supply your body’s amino acid needs without sacrificing your health.

Avoid Toxins

Volumes of books could be written on modern day toxic exposures, but while it may be impossible to list every possibility, if you avoid the most notorious offenders, you’ll be way ahead of the game. In general, this includes tossing out your toxic household cleaners, personal hygiene products, air fresheners, bug sprays, lawn pesticides, and insecticides, just to name a few, and replacing them with non-toxic alternatives. In terms of specific toxins, some of the most hazardous yet commonly encountered ones include:

  • Mercury – found in dental amalgams and fish.
  • Fluoride – found in toothpaste, fluoridated water, and non-organic food (due to the widespread use of fluoride-based pesticides. For example, conventionally-grown iceberg lettuce can contain as much as 180 ppm of fluoride – 180 times higher than what’s recommended in drinking water).
  • Bisphenol-A (BPA) and Bisphenol-S (BPS) – Used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics, bisphenols are estrogen mimicking chemicals that can leach into food or drinks from the plastic containers holding them. These chemicals are known to be particularly dangerous for pregnant women, infants and children.
  • To avoid plastic toxins such as bisphenols, opt for glass over plastic, especially when it comes to products that will come into contact with food or beverages, or those intended for pregnant women, infants and children. This applies to canned goods as well, which are a major source of BPA (and possibly other chemicals) exposure, so whenever you can, choose jarred goods over canned goods, or opt for fresh instead. Another good idea is to ditch plastic teething toys for your little ones and choose natural wood or fabric varieties instead.
  • Phthalates – found in soft plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), as well as many toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, and cosmetics. Phthalates is one of the most pervasive type of endocrine disrupting chemicals discovered so far, and have been linked to a wide range of developmental and reproductive “gender-bending” effects.

Have Great Tools to Address Your Stress

Research has linked emotional stress to a wide variety of health problems, including physical pain, chronic inflammation,3stillbirths,4 lowered immune function, increased blood pressure, altered brain chemistry, increased tumor growth5 and more. Even the conservative Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 85 percent of all disease has an emotional element.

Clearly, it is not possible or even recommended to eliminate stress entirely. However, you can work to provide your body with tools to compensate for the bioelectrical short-circuiting that can cause serious disruption in many of your body’s important systems. By using energy psychology techniques such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), you can reprogram how your body responds to the unavoidable stressors of everyday life so that “the little things” no longer pose such a great threat to your health.

Exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and meditation are also important “release valves” that can help you manage your stress. EFT is akin to acupuncture, which is based on the concept that a vital energy flows through your body along invisible pathways known as meridians. EFT stimulates different energy meridian points in your body by tapping them with your fingertips, while simultaneously using custom-made verbal affirmations. This can be done alone or under the supervision of a qualified therapist. Since these stressors are usually connected to physical problems, many people’s diseases and other symptoms can improve or disappear as well.

Replace Drugs with Natural Alternatives that Address the Cause

Last but certainly not least, replacing drugs with natural alternatives, or better yet, addressing the lifestyle factors that are causing your health problem in the first place, are your best bets if you want to avoid becoming a disease- or pharmaceutical-mortality statistic.

Drugs are known to cause well over 125,000 deaths per year in the US when taken correctly as prescribed. This is not so surprising when you consider the average drug label lists 70 potential adverse reactions. Overall, drugs are 62,000 times more likely to kill you than nutritional supplements, and 7,750 times more likely to kill you than herbal remedies. According to the US National Poison Data System, the following drug categories are among the most lethal:

Analgesics, sedatives, hypnotics, and antipsychotics    Cardiovascular drugs     Opioids    Acetaminophen combinations     Antidepressants
Muscle relaxants     Anti-inflammatories    Antacids     Anticoagulants    Antihistamines

The vast majority of health problems are in fact responsive to appropriate lifestyle changes – the most important of which have been covered above. Type 2 diabetes, for example, is not only wholly preventable, it’s virtually 100 percent reversible through diet and exercise alone. Even cancer has been shown to be responsive to such measures. Scientists are seriously looking into a number of dietary treatment alternatives, such as ketogenic- and anti-angiogenesis-type diets.

For example, research led by Dr. Dominic D’Agostino has found that when lab animals are fed a carb-free diet, they survive highly aggressive metastatic cancer better than those treated with chemotherapy. The reason a ketogenic diet can have such a dramatic (and rapid) effect on cancer is because all of your body’s cells are fueled by glucose. This includes cancer cells. However, cancer cells have one built-in fatal flaw – they do not have the metabolic flexibility of your regular cells and cannot adapt to use ketone bodies for fuel as all your other cells can.

So, when you alter your diet and become what’s known as “fat-adapted,” your body starts using fat for fuel rather than carbs. When you switch out the carbs for healthy fats, you starve the cancer out, as you’re no longer supplying the necessary fuel – glucose – for their growth. Intermittent fasting, discussed above, is one of the most powerful ways of to become fat adapted.