(916) 813-9188
Get Fit With Monica!

Get Fit With Monica!

Private / Mobile Personal Training To Your Location 

Health News and Tips

view:  full / summary

Energy Yielding Nutrients

Posted on June 1, 2019 at 5:55 PM

Here is some basic 101 on nutrition about energy-yielding nutrients.

In the body, three organic nutrients can provide energy: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. The best fuels for workouts are carbohydrates. Although protein can be used as fuel, it is not a direct source. As a dietary source, it will be used to build muscle. Once in the body, if no carbs are available, your body must break down muscle to be used as a fuel source. This is where protein is stored, in the muscles. That is why you should use carbs to fuel your workouts and protein to repair your muscles. Eggs and greek yogurt are great recovery foods because of the protein they contain. Add a little whole fruit to replenish the loss of carbs. Your body uses fat as energy during exercise that lasts for a long time, like during a long-distance run. However, most of the time your body can use the fat it has already stored and, therefore, you don't need to eat a high amount of fat unless you’re at your ideal weight or underweight, in which case fat is more important. Good fats (e.g., avocados) are also vital to helping your body use the nutrients you eat. Energy-yielding nutrients provide the following calories:

Carbohydrates: 4 calories per gram

Fat: 9 calories per gram

Protein: 4 calories per gram

*NOTE: Alcohol contributes 7 calories per gram that can be used for energy, but is not considered a nutrient because it interferes with the body's growth, maintenance, and repair. See the article here:


In contrast to these energy-yielding nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and water do not yield energy in the human body. Of course, this doesn't mean you don't need vitamins, minerals, and water every day! Quite the opposite! These are vital to your life force. Vitamins and minerals are even more important while dieting and exercising because these are what keep your physical energy levels high and help your body maintain and repair your muscles after your workout. Although vitamins and minerals are not a direct energy source, they assist the enzymes that release energy from carbs, fats, and proteins. This is a major reason why they are vital to life. Therefore, you should strive to make the calories you eat as nutritionally dense as possible!

Eat a little bit of good carbs, protein, vitamins, and minerals with each meal. For breakfast and preworkout, eat 100% juices, whole fruits, and whole grains. For lunch, eat whole proteins, like boiled eggs or tuna with spinach salad. For a snack, eat a handful of nuts with a little dried fruit to get your carbs, fat, and a little protein. Note that green, leafy vegetables will give you the highest yielding nutrients and thereby help sustain your body for workouts and high energy levels. They have small amounts of carbs and are packed full of those vitamins and minerals that will assist you in utilizing the energy-yielding nutrients.

To lose weight, be careful with the carbs. Eat small amounts of whole fruits, such as oranges and apples. Avoid white pasta. Eat carbs 1 to 2 hours before your workout for optimal performance. Then, immediately replace the carbs you burned with perhaps an orange or apple and some nuts, and protein such as greek yogurt or a boiled egg. If you are working out for longer than 1 hour a day, then you may need to increase the carbs, protein, and fat ratio, depending on your weight-loss goals. For thinner, leaner bodies, eat a little less protein. For a more muscular physique, eat a little more protein. (If you want more specific amounts, let me know and we can figure out requirements based on your own personal body specifications. The bottom line is all the nutrients work together, and we can customize a plan to suit your needs)

Many of my clients will attest to my having them pay close attention to what is happening in their body as opposed to giving them some general menu plan that applies to everyone. Balancing the calories in, calories out, and overall weight loss is a difficult task. When you are working out every day, you must become familiar with your body’s needs by paying close attention to the scale, and even more, your waist size. This can take some careful planning in the beginning, but once you develop the habit, this will become second nature! Keep your "eye on the ball" and stay focused to achieve your goal!

Beginner's Guide to a High Rise Building Stair Workout

Posted on June 22, 2018 at 1:50 PM

Beginner's Guide to a High Rise Building Stair Workout

Note: If you are concerned in any way about your knees or other health conditions, check with your doctor before doing this workout!

Why climb stairs for exercise? Think about it, people all over the world are stuck in office buildings for work. Right outside their office door is a great workout waiting to happen beneath the heels of their feet (notice the emphasis on heels here)! Let's face it, excuses abound when it comes to exercise! Adding to the excuse list is the gym is far away, inconvenient, or it's too hot or cold outside to walk or run. Many of these stairwells are air-conditioned, simply cooler or warmer than outside, protected from the sun, rain or even in allergy season, protected from pollen! Yes, on the perfect days, get out and exercise! But on those not so perfect days, consider the office stairwell!

Outdoor parking garage for shade and fresh air!

Climbing stairs for exercise can be one of the best exercises for cardio/respiratory health, muscle building and coordination. Full body workouts can be designed around using either home stairs, stadium stairs, parking garage stairs or office building stairs. All levels of exercisers can create workouts that will allow them to build at whatever pace they choose while creating more body power. It’s not just for the very fit, but for beginners as well! And, one of the great things about doing these workouts is that it can be done right in your office building either before work, after work or on your lunch hour. Hint: Buy a cooling towel and keep it around your neck to prevent excessive sweating!

If you are overweight or unable to run or bike for other reasons, one of the best ways to build muscles and increase your heart rate and increase breathing rate is by climbing stairs. By simply walking up stairs your heart rate and breath rate will increase. The longer you walk up the stairs, the more the pulse/respiratory rate will go up so office buildings and parking garages that allow for long, continuous climbs are best. By increasing your heart and breathing rate, you help to build your cardio/respiratory health, increase lung capacity, improve circulation and movement of lymph fluid (thereby improving the immune system). You can monitor your heart rate using one of the many watches available like FitBit and Garmin. However, keep in mind you should pay more attention to your perceived exertion because many of the devices can be slow to catch up to the actual heart rate. Keep reading to find out how to protect your knees!

Even if you are not a beginner or are already running or walk/jogging, climbing stairs is a great way to both build muscle and improve your cardio/respiratory health which will improve your overall running ability. When you run up stairs, running flat surfaces will begin to feel much easier and your pace will improve over time. One thing to keep in mind is protecting your knees. You can help to protect your knees off the stairs by strengthening your hamstrings and glutes with various floor exercises and gym equipment. Do this on the stairs by focusing your attention on keeping your weight in your heels and not pushing off on your toes too much. Think of it this way: pushing off on your toes will use more of the quadriceps, and keeping the weight in the heel will use more of the hamstrings and glutes. Overdeveloped quadriceps and underdeveloped hamstrings are one of the leading causes of knee injuries. After your glutes and hams become stronger and your overall stair run/walking gets better, you can then push more off on your toes, which creates more speed!

Last but not least, you should push yourself, but also feel comfortable with the level in which you know you can handle it safely. The more you practice, the more secure you will become in what your body can handle.There's a saying, "It never gets easier, you just go faster," which basically means it should never be easy and you should keep pushing!

This workout for stairs focuses on using stairs in an office building or parking garage; however, remember that there are many different ways to take the stairs to allow for a full body workout and still protect compromised muscle groups. One staircase level in this workout means if you go up one level, you will be on the second floor. The next level will be the third floor, etc.

Beginner’s Guide Stair Workout "The Steps"

Warm up by walking, moving side to side, or even skipping (when no one is looking).

Put one foot fully on a step, putting the weight in your heel, which helps to take weight off the knee.

Keep the same foot on the step and go up and down 10 times, then change the foot. (Notice in the photo that you skip one step.)

Now walk up as many levels as you can without stopping (again keep the weight in the heel, if your foot is too big to do this, focus on simply not pushing off from toe or ball of your foot. You are lifting the foot not pushing up with the toes). Of course you should stop if you feel unsteady or dizzy at any time.

Check your time and remember or record it.

Descend the stairs sideways changing directions after each flight to alternate the weight bearing leg. This way you will protect the knees on the way down while continuing to get the benefit of the flexed knee position. Notice that the knee is never beyond the toe in alignment and the weight is in the heel! (Again, skip at least one step.)

Do one set of 10 dips and one set of 10 push-ups while your legs recover

Repeat one time and check your times. If you notice you fatigue earlier between levels, only climb to the level where you felt fatigue on the next round. Repeat dips and pushups after each descent. As a beginner (first time), you should only do your ascents about 2 to 3 times max, although you may feel you can do more. Often, the next day you will feel soreness particularly in your calf muscles. 

Stretch your hamstrings,glutes and calf muscles after the workout

Stair Calf/Achilles Tendon Stretch (Notice the heel below the stair surface. Keep the leg straight for a bit then try bending at the knee while keeping the heel fixed. This stretches both the calf and Achilles Tendon)

Allow about 48 hours or until any soreness has subsided, before doing it again. Check your soreness the following day after each workout to see if the soreness is decreasing. You can increase the number of ascents, levels, or the intensity (going faster) when you notice this decrease in your soreness level. If you have less time, and feel safe doing so, go faster!

Try to vary the workouts, after doing them awhile, between focusing either on intensity, duration, or frequency (number of times per week), or combining all! And remember, ALWAYS warm up before, stretch after, and protect your knees in the ways demonstrated. 

Try a stadium workout when you are not at work! One of these long stadium stairs typically will amount to between 2 to 3 flights in 1 travel upward!

Happy stair climbing!


One thing to build a stronger immune system

Posted on March 9, 2017 at 5:05 PM

What is one thing that helps build a stronger immune system?

1. Move, or better said, move your lymph fluid! The lymphatic system is activated by deep, diaphragmatic breathing--in addition to water--the best way to activate the lymph system movement is with deep breath. Moderate exercise can help to improve and exercise your lungs while simultaneously activating your body's natural filtration system. Don't overdo it by running a marathon, expecially if you are already sick, simply increase the circulation and breathing in your body, and this will work fine.


Don't have time for a workout? Do what this biker does!

Posted on February 7, 2017 at 8:50 AM

10,000+ car miles saved by this inspiring California cyclist!


Alcohol in the Body

Posted on November 14, 2014 at 7:00 PM

This article provides information on how drinking alcohol affects the body and dieting. The book Understanding Nutrition, eleventh edition, was used as a source for this information.



When alcohol enters the body, unlike food, the body does not require time to digest it. Alcohol is quickly absorbed across the wall of an empty stomach, reaching the brain within a few minutes. This explains why we all know we should consume food before drinking!



The stomach begins to break down alcohol using the alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme. The enzyme varies by person and by race depending on the genes each person has inherited. Women produce less of this stomach enzyme than men. Consequently, more alcohol reaches a woman’s intestine for absorption into the bloodstream, and thus women have a lower tolerance for alcohol than men.



Alcohol is metabolized primarily in the liver. If more alcohol arrives at the liver than the enzymes can handle, the extra alcohol travels to all parts of the body, circulating again and again until the liver enzymes are finally available to process it. If you are going to drink, a good tip to control your intake is to limit the number of drinks before you start and drink no more than one drink per hour. This gives the enzymes in your liver time to process the alcohol. Keep an eye on your watch!!



Alcohol alters both how the body synthesizes amino acid and protein. Synthesis of proteins important in the immune system slows down, weakening the body's defenses against infection. Eating well does not protect the drinker from protein depletion; a person must stop drinking alcohol before the body will resume its natural rate of protein synthesis.



Alcohol is rich in energy (7 calories per gram) (we are talking "calorie energy" here). As with pure sugar or fat, the calories are empty of nutrients. Alcohol's contribution to body fat is most evident in the central obesity that commonly accompanies alcohol consumption. In other words, it is a large contributor to belly fat! It displaces nutrients from the diet and interferes with the body's metabolism of nutrients.

"In general, alcohol intake is associated with bigger waists, because when you drink alcohol, the liver burns alcohol instead of fat," says Michael Jensen, MD, an endocrine expert and obesity researcher with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.


Those are a few of the facts. So how do we handle this sticky situation while trying to diet? Unfortunately, the best thing would be to stop drinking while dieting. Then, once the desired weight has been reached, slowly introduce it back into your diet on a moderate level and pay close attention to how it affects your weight and appetite.



The next best thing would be to limit drinking to no more than once or twice a week, or, even better, only on special occasions. Keep in mind that tip above about deciding how much you will drink during a certain occasion and limit drinks to no more than one per hour until you have reached that maximum number of drinks. Also, try not to drink sugary mixed drinks like the liqueurs used in, for example, restaurant Margaritas (try my Healthy Margarita recipe under the Vitamix blender tab), Lemon Drop and Apple Martinis, and Long Island Ice Teas. These just compound the dietary problem.



Other Tips:


Intersperse your wine, beer, or low-calorie drink with water or sparkling water between each drink.

Tell your friends and family you are trying to diet and seek their support of your limited drinking while trying to reach your desired weight.

Add water, ice, or club soda to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed.


A year with Laura! (scroll down for other news)

Posted on October 12, 2013 at 10:45 AM

A little over a year ago, my client, Laura Meidinger, contacted me about fitness training.  She is 51 years old, 5'2, and a year ago, weighed about 190 lbs.  She had just quit smoking a few weeks before, and decided it was time to change her life.  She wanted me to help.


Laura had never really focused on exercise or diet.  Like many people close to her age, she ate and drank what she wanted.  As with most people, it finally caught up with her.

As part of her plan, we started with her diet. To change her old habits, we decided she should try the juice fast I recommend on my juice fast page.  Neither Laura nor I had any idea how long she would last on the fast, but her intention was to go at 30 days.  She made it an amazing 24 days!  During the fast, she lost just over 16 lbs.  More importantly, it helped her to reset her eating habits away from processed foods and too much meat.  

When she was getting ready to end her fast, I came to her house and we fixed some meals from my website that would insure that she transitioned smoothly to a whole food, plant based diet.  She had decided to follow my recommendations completely and see how she felt. 

I never expected what happened next!  She felt so much better as a result of changing her diet, she eventually decided that she would remain a vegan!  I am not even completely vegan! 



For her exercise program, we did cardio/respiratory stuff like biking and running.  Mostly running, and not necessarily by choice in Laura's book! But she could see that it was helping so she pressed on with my encouragement!!

You could hear Laura coming for a long time before you saw her as she ran on the American River Bike Trail. Sometimes it was her laughter at herself you heard; sometimes it was her telling me how much she "loved" me as I made her run for the very first time in her life; and, sometimes, it was her "smoker's wheezing" breath you heard as she tried to run a few hundred feet.

After a few weeks of running we clocked her time at the American River College track at 12:20 mile.  Not bad for a beginner! 

After a year of training how is she doing?


  • Last timed mile was 7:54
  • Completed the Reno/Tahoe Odyssey, a 178 mile relay race with me and  a group of friends 
  • Santa Rosa Half Marathon completed in 2:06 hours
  • 8 mile, Rock the Eighties run

Laura's medals so far...



 Laura after the Santa Rosa Half Marathon...   


Laura still wants to lose about another 10 or 12 lbs, but I wanted to share her inspiring story after 1 year to show it is possible to transform your life at any age or weight!  

Don't worry...she will do it!! 

I will keep you up to date with her story (and others) on my commercial Facebook page, Find me on Facebook, Get Fit with Monica!   

Terry's Transformation

Posted on September 1, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Terry on a search and rescue mission before weight loss

*Note: The positive results that Terry experienced were not simply due to his weight loss, but also because he chose a nutrient rich, plant based diet. Doing this gives him the fuel he needs to sustain a vigorous work-out routine.


My client, Terry, loved red meat. In fact, any kind of meat was good with him. If you said, "Terry, would you ever become a vegan?" he would laugh at the idea! Terry's typical day consisted of the following meals:


Breakfast: Three fried eggs, bacon, and toast with butter and jelly, or doughnuts (and he always had seconds).


Lunch: Sandwich or leftovers from his previous dinner until he was full.


Dinner: A big steak, chicken, or pork; a loaded potato or other starch and bread; and very small portion of vegetables (he hated vegetables.). He rarely ate fruit—maybe an apple a week.


Evening: Lots of red wine (on weekends, any type of alcohol) and ice cream or yogurt.


Not surprisingly, at 62 and after years of eating this way, Terry weighed 231 pounds, had an overall cholesterol reading of 249, and was on several medications for both blood pressure and heartburn. As for exercise, Terry had been active in the past, but was not doing much now. His poor diet had pretty much taken over his body, and he certainly did not have the strength to exercise. But the defining moment came for Terry when he was diagnosed with gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis, in his big toe. Apparently this can be quite painful, and Terry found himself essentially crippled by the gout and unable to go to work.

This down time, and the subsequent loss of work, afforded him the time to research his gout problem. The advice that kept coming up in his research was to change his diet to plant-based foods and stop eating red meat and alcohol, especially red wine.

Terry, being a strong-willed individual, decided to commit to a purely plant-based diet. That meant no meat, dairy, eggs, or cheese. He also decided to quit drinking alcohol for health reasons.

Terry and his girlfriend, Brenda before weight loss. BTW...Brenda later lost 7lbs (on a 4'11 frame) just by participating indirectly with Terry's new eating habits!


Terry was also inspired by the health results of another client of mine, Bob Browning, Terry's boss, who was achieving improvements to his health through diet and exercise. Terry and Bob would swap stories about the changes in their diets and lifestyles and tease each other when they caught each other eating cake or candy. (In fact, Bob was starting to see changes in the health of the employees throughout his company, and these employees attributed some of their changes to his example.)

Terry (after weight loss) and Bob. Terry's boss, Bob, was one of many inspirations along the way for Terry's transformation. (See Bob's Juice Journal on my Client Juice Journal page)

Now Terry's typical day consists of the following meals:


Breakfast: An apple, banana, grapes, and nuts or a cup of oatmeal or quinoa.


Lunch: Nuts, fruit, and a salad maybe consisting of spinach with seeds, tomatoes, avocado, onion, garlic, and balsamic vinegar half mixed with a store-bought vegan dressing.


Snack: Nuts and/or fruit


Dinner: A couple of vegan tacos made from plant-based ingredients or a portabella mushroom burger with sweet potato fries, almost always accompanied by another salad and some fruit.


The real kicker to Terry's story is not just the drastic change in his lifestyle, but how in an amazingly short time period Terry saw results. Terry changed his lifestyle in April 2012, when he weighed 231 pounds and had gout. Now, as of August 28, 2012, he weighs 189 pounds. His gout symptoms have almost disappeared, his cholesterol is now in the healthy range of 181 (tested July 31, 2012), and he is completely off all medications!


What about exercise? Terry started walking to work in April 2012, after he changed his diet. Then, inspired by my client, Bob, and our workouts at American River College, he began to run the track instead of simply walking the track. He could barely make it around one-quarter of the track without stopping when he ran instead of walking. However, he kept pushing and soon was running a consistent 14-minute mile. He kept plugging away at his running and now? He can run 7.3 miles in about 1 hour and 12 minutes! He recorded a 9:22 mile during our last run, and an average of 10:07 overall on a 7.3 mile run!

Terry after his weight loss giving my business a plug!

Terry often complains to me that he can't do something, but he pushes through somehow. He has not been without pain; changing this fast does not come without a few problems. For example, he had a calve problem, and it cut into his running. However, I got him to slow down a bit, do some yoga, and incorporate other therapeutic remedies into his routine, and then he achieved the 10:07 time on the 7.3 mile run—his best ever run time! And, just a few days ago we recorded a 8:55 mile! Not bad for a man who could barely run a ¼ of the ARC track a few months ago!


I wanted to write this story about Terry because it so clearly demonstrates the power of how a person can transform their life when committed to exercise coupled with a healthy, plant-based diet. Many people question whether they will feel healthy, and strong if they eat nothing but plant based foods. Terry is a good example of someone who made the change and achieved phenomenal results. He now says, “I feel grateful for getting the gout because it lead me to change my lifestyle.”


Not everyone will see results this quickly, or choose to eat only plant-based foods, but the main objective is to move yourself toward a healthier lifestyle in a manner that you know will work for you on a permanent basis.




Two of my star clients!

Kris' Story; The Key to success!

Posted on February 22, 2012 at 2:00 AM






The new and improved Kris above!

Kris has been my client since last November.  She started just before the holidays.  What a time to start in with a personal trainer!  She was determined to lose weight, and decided to give me a call after coming across my business card.  We met, she paid the money, and now, there was no turning back!

She tried Nutrisystems, calorie counting, and even lost 20 lbs on her own.  The problem was, it did not stay off, and she didn't feel that she looked, or felt,  as good as she does now.  So far she has lost approximately 35 lbs (and counting) even with the muscle gain!  The difference now?  Muscular, cardio development and an overall balance of proper nutrition, and  a well rounded work-out routine.  AND, last but not least, a desire to achieve specific goals!

Kris did have a weight loss goal, but in addition to that, she wanted to be able to feel good when taking a picture; go on vacation, and not have to diet before going on vacation, but instead, enjoy her vacations in a healthy and fit body.  I found out what her goals were, set up a plan to get there, and made sure she knew that canceling was not an option.  In other words, she had to make this one of her first priorities.  And that meant not just working out when she was with me, but doing it on her own, and using my website to help with nutrition ideas.

When we first started there were quite a few obstacles for Kris, but nothing more than what most of my clients experience.  For instance, many clients experience nausea when they reach their physical threshold.  In the beginning, she experienced this right away during our plyometrics portion of the workout. NOW? It is rare for her to experience nausea during a workout!  And believe me, I push her hard!

Another example was her running ability.  One of her goals was to become a better runner (she was a good runner before she had children several years ago).  She could not even run a mile without stopping. NOW?  She can run 10 miles!  And, her best time (so far) 8:16 mile!

In approximately 8 months, Kris has accomplished the following;

- Loss of 35 lbs (and still going)

- She is now a good runner, and hill climber.  She actually increases her speed on the hills (and working on becoming a phenomenal runner for a 41 year old)!

- She is developing beautiful muscle tone (I can see it moving when she is doing those push-ups!)

What makes Kris a great client for me? As a trainer, it can be almost as discouraging for us as it is for the client when they don't succeed. 

It is pretty obvious personal training is not one of the highest paid industries, and most trainers are doing it because they really want to help people (at least the good ones).  Usually because we ourselves have experienced some type of life changing event that was the result of physical fitness improvement.

So when our clients actually apply our methods and succeed, it can be almost as gratifying to us as it is to our clients.  We are working toward the same goal.

The keys to Kris' success;

-Once Kris wrote the check she said to herself, "I am not going to just throw this money away, I am going to use it to my best advantage!"

-She set up an appointed time 3x per week, and stuck to it.  I can count on one hand how many times she has had to miss an appointment, and usually she lets me know days or even weeks in advance if she is going to have to miss.

-She does her "fitness" homework

-She does her "diet" homework (This means following my suggestions:) and figuring out which ones work for her lifestyle)

-She does not let a "plateau" get her down.  Sure, she feels bad when she does not make a set target or goal when she wants to, but she gets over it, and we work on ways to get her through the inevitable plateau.  Patience and steadfast determination is the key!

-She gave herself enough time to do it in a healthy and safe way to avoid overdoing it too soon, or risk getting injured, and as a result, have to quit.

I thank Kris for letting me share her story as I truly believe it can help others who face the same challenges Kris has faced.  You may contact Kris @kris399@yahoo.com. Or, post a comment below, and I will make sure Kris reads it.

Raw Foods/And Warm Foods

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 12:30 PM

Recently I was chatting with a friend who was eating a raw diet to help cure a parasite he believed he had acquired while he was in Mexico. Because of the affects of his illness, he has been extremely motivated to rid himself of the parasite, and was advised to begin eating a raw diet.  Just one of the side affects has been weight loss.

Once he began this type of eating, the weight began to peal off of him! I mostly advocate a plant-based diet with an emphasis on raw, organic foods, if possible. However, I don't believe that cooking foods is always wrong.

For instance, in traditional chinese medicine, raw fruits are usually considered beneficial, but eating too many can cause imbalances in the body. 

Raw fruits and vegetables are thought to possess cool energy, and should be eaten when you want to maintain  cooler body temperatures.  In this tradition it is also believed that those who eat meat should eat more of the raw fruits and vegetables since animal protein is very warming.  If a person is vegetarian then they should vary their diet to include both cooked, and raw fruits and vegetables.  Roasting, steaming and olive oil stir frys are all good ways to prepare your vegetables (and even fruits). Although, cooking with oils can sometimes reduce the nutrient value of the fat soluable vitamins like A, E and D.

So to insure getting the most from your fruits and vegetables, raw and whole (whole insures that you don't lose the fiber which nature provides in the whole produce. This will be lost when using a juicer) are the optimal sources. This will be the best method of insuring the absorbtion of most of the nutrients along with a natural "time release"  that the fiber content of the whole produce provides.

You can also prepare soups in the Vita-Mix blender to receive the warming properties, but not kill the valuable enzymes that are associated with raw fruits and vegetables.  The process in the blender is to add whatever vegetables and seasoning you desire with some water then let it blend for several minutes until the blender becomes hot and the mixture starts to steam.  It uses the high speed to create friction and heats the soup, but not to temperatures that will kill the enzymes as it does with regular stove top or crock pot methods.

In some cases, vitamins may actually be more beneficial when cooked as with vitamin K.  From a USDA study, cooking actually appears to increase the measurable amount of vitamin K. Researchers have speculated that this increase in vitamin K following heating may be due to the location of the vitamin K in the vegetables. Because the phylloquinone forms of vitamin K are located in the chloroplast components of the plant cells, cooking might be able to disrupt the plant cell walls and release some of the vitamin K, which then would get measured in the laboratory where it would otherwise go undetected. Whether this release of vitamin K from the chloroplasts improves the availability of vitamin K in our body has not been determined. But in any event, the cooking of vegetables does not appear to affect their vitamin K content in a negative way.

Almost anyone who has committed to a raw foods/plant based diet can attest to the increase in energy levels and medicinal affects to over-all health, balance and weight maintenance. But remember, we should also enjoy our foods; celebrate color and beauty of the plant; preparation; and not be limited to only one way of eating! Moderation is the key!


Posted on October 7, 2010 at 4:32 PM

Blueberries are rich in Vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene as well as rich in the minerals potassium, manganese, magnesium. They are very high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. But this is just the tip of the nutritional iceberg, for recent studies tell us that of all fresh fruits and vegetables, blueberries provide the most health-protecting antioxidants, those valuable elements which prevent cancer-causing cell damage and may limit the changes wrought by age related diseases.


The properties of blueberries cross the blood brain barrier to effect these benefits. Antioxidants help to stop the production of free radicals. Free radicals are groups of atoms that impair the cells and the immune system which leads to disease. Anti-oxidants bind the the free electrons in free radicals.

Anthocyanins create the blue color in blueberries. They are water-soluble and will bleed into water (or on mouths and clothes). Anthocyanins are antioxidants, known to reduce heart disease and cancer in humans. They are found throughout the plant world, but blueberries are the highest of any fruit or vegetable. This substance is believed to combat E. Coli.



Oxalates are the one possible negative aspect of blueberries. Oxalates should not be eaten in high concentration as they can crystallize and cause kidney or gallbladder problems. Oxalates also slow the absorption of calcium into the system. Eat blueberries separately from calcium-rich foods. A two to three hour wait is sufficient.


The nutritional value of blueberries makes them one of the best foods we can eat. And if you live near a blueberry patch and have any ordinary bucket, gathering this humble berry is one of life's joys. Anyone who has gone blueberry picking as a child will carry the memory for life.

Most current studies have been limited to animals, but the findings would appear to be significant. Animals fed a diet of blueberry extract showed fewer changes in age related brain function which may mean better cognitive and motor skills. Yes, this means that blueberries may help the brain ward off dementia. There are current studies world-wide to determine further effects on health and many believe that blueberries help the eyes, prevent urinary tract infections, lower cholesterol, protect against macular degeneration, and aid the cardiovascular system. These are significant health benefits and rank blueberries as one of the top foods to eat. Many of these studies have not arrived at a conclusion, and no single food is a cure-all, but looking at the list of phytochemicals in the blueberry, we are eager to eat them for health as well as pleasure.


Eat Walnuts!

Posted on October 7, 2010 at 4:25 PM

Walnuts...one more reason to eat them!


(From AOLHealth.com)


Incorporating walnuts into your diet may help you handle stress better, new research suggests.

Walnuts and walnut oil help reduce blood pressure during stressful situations because of the omega-3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory compounds they contain, according to a study by a team of scientists at Penn State University.

Researchers looked at 22 healthy adult participants who had high levels of "bad" cholesterol -- known as LDL, or low density lipoproteins. They provided them with all their meals and snacks over the course of three different diet periods lasting six weeks each.

Some of the subjects were put on diets that included walnuts and walnut oil, and others were not. The study authors found that eating the nuts lowered both their resting blood pressure and their blood pressure responses to stressors they were exposed to in the lab -- giving a speech and soaking their feet in a tub of ice-cold water.

"This is the first study to show that walnuts and walnut oil reduce blood pressure during stress," author Sheila G. West, an associate professor of biobehavioral health, said in a statement. "This is important because we can't avoid all of the stressors in our daily lives. This study shows that a dietary change could help our bodies better respond to stress."

Walnuts contain a type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic acid, which is also found in flax seeds. Prior research has shown that those omega-3s can reduce LDL cholesterol and inflammation markers including C-reactive proteins.

Strong reactions to stress can trigger a host of health problems including cardiovascular disease, according to the study, published in the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

"People who show an exaggerated biological response to stress are at higher risk of heart disease," West said. "We wanted to find out if omega 3-fatty acids from plant sources would blunt cardiovascular responses to stress."

The blood pressure of participants on the walnut diet did not drop lower when flax seed oil was added, the authors found. But flax seed extract did seem to improve their vascular health -- gauged using a vascular ultrasound that measured the dilation of the arteries -- and reduce their C-reactive protein levels, causing a greater anti-inflammatory effect.

"Inflammation is a known factor in cardiovascular disease, stroke, et cetera," nutritionist Douglas Husbands told AOL Health. "To have a beneficial effect on inflammation, which those substances in walnuts and other nuts have, can be very powerful."

Each of the study participants followed each of the three diets in random order, taking a one-week break in between. They were tested at the end of every six-week interval.

One of the diets mimicked an "average" American diet without nuts. A second incorporated 1.3 ounces of walnuts -- which amounts to about nine of the nuts -- and a tablespoon of walnut oil in place of some of the fat and protein sources in the typical diet. The third included the walnuts and walnut oil with the addition of 1.5 tablespoons of flax seed oil. All three had an equal number of calories and didn't cause any weight changes in the subjects.

Once they'd completed each diet, the participants were given two different stress tests. For one, they were given a topic and two minutes to prepare a three-minute speech on it, which was videotaped. For the other, they had to immerse one foot in frigid water. Researchers took their blood pressure during the stress tests.

The subjects' average diastolic blood pressure was substantially lower when they were on the walnut-rich diets, according to the findings.

"These results are in agreement with several recent studies showing that walnuts can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure," said West. "This work suggests that blood pressure is also reduced when a person is exposed to stress in their daily life."

Husbands said the fat in walnuts helps ensure a beneficial proportion of hormones, which are derived from cholesterol, and the nuts' pH balance contributes to their anti-inflammatory effects.

"You don't want a low-fat diet -- you want a healthy-fat diet," he said.

The research was supported by The California Walnut Commission, the National Institutes of Health, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation in Canada.

BMI calculator...link

Posted on September 18, 2010 at 7:48 PM

This is a good link to calculate your BMI.  What I like about this calculator is that it does not just take your weight and height, but also includes your waist size which is an excellent indicator for health risk.


Click on the link below and fill in the information requested to receive your BMI and Waist to height ratio.




Standards for BMI are the following;

<18.5 is considered underweight

18.5-24.9 is normal

25.0 to 29.9 is considered to be overweight,

and a BMI of 30.0 or higher is considered obese.



Menopausal Weight Gain: Is it Really Inevitable?

Posted on September 18, 2010 at 5:26 PM

Excerpts from American College of Sports medicine CEU training;


Menopause is a transition period in many aspects.  It is associated by many women with an undesirable change in body composition, as well as a redistribution of fat from the periphery to the center (particularly abdominal fat which is considered the most unhealthy); In general, body composition shifts include greater fat mass and less lean tissue for postmenopausal women. 


Menopause of course really does mean the decline of estrogen levels.  But does it really mean weight gain?  Not necessarily according to studies from the American College of Sports Medicine.


It may have more to do with aging than menopause.


Energy Balance;

Energy balance is simply how body weight is related to the difference between energy intake and energy expenditure.  Bottom line; calories in=calories out!


But guess what? BMR (basal metobolic rate-; the energy expended for basic body functions, and the thermic effect for food) declines approximately 2% to 3% per decade. 


It is not clear if menopause specifically influences this rate of decline.  One factor influencing the BMR is the amount of fat-free mass.  Muscle tissue has somewhat higher energy requirement than fat tissue.  Unfortunately, losses in muscle mass are the norm with aging, as body composition shifts to a higher percentage of fat. 


Since the thermic effect of food is part of the BMR, your diet requirements also decline with age.  In general, meals with more carbohydrates and protein elevate energy expenditure following the meal to a greater extent than a high fat meal.


Although the BMR and the thermic effect of food can differ over time, the energy expenditure due to physical activity can vary widely and potentially be a major factor related to the total daily energy expenditure.  Sedantary individuals may expend as little as 15% of calories in physical activity (daily activites etc..).  In contrast, highly active individuals may expend up to 50% to 60% of calories taken in on a daily basis to fuel their activities!  Good reason to get active...NOW!

How much exercise is needed? The amount of physical activity needed to prevent weight gain in adults seems to be between 150 and 250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity.  I.e. brisk walking.  Thus, if a person planned a walking program 5 days per week, the goal time would be 30 to 50 minutes per day.


To actually promote weight loss?  ACSM suggests that higher amounts of physical activity (moderate to vigorous) may  be necessary.  (>250 minutes per week)  Higher amounts may be necessary to maintain weight loss (not regain the weight). Translation=spend everyday getting some type of exercise...i.e. walking etc..Then, spend a minimum of 4x per week doing a vigorous exercise that includes some type of strength/resistance training (to make up for the loss of muscle due to natural age related decline, and thereby help better metabolize fat).


And finally, although menopause may not be a direct reason for weight gain, we all know how hormornes can affect our moods.  And what do some of us do to help with mood swings?  Eat and drink of course!


Try this; find some transitional foods, drinks and behaviors that will help you get through these times until you are able to better control your appetite by finding alternative, healthy behaviors to combat these times. 




instead of; going through the drive through...have an ice chest ready with your favorite fruit, nuts or low calorie snack ready and waiting knowing that you will be hungry on your way home from work


instead of; meeting at a bar with your friends...suggest you all go on a bike ride, play a game of volleyball at a park, or take laps around the mall for a set number of times with the first one to finish (the winner!) getting everyone to chip in for their low-cal, no sugar added smoothie. Did you know Jamba Juice has a happy hour at many of their locations?  And, make sure you order from their low-cal or all fruit menu!


It is encouraging to consider that small and sustained changes in modifiable behaviors could prevent further weight gain, including adjustments in dietary intake, increased physical acivity, and decreased sitting time. 


Is weight gain at menopause inevitable? The answer clearly is no!

Source; American College of Sports Medicine...CEUs training. Author; Barbara Bushman, Ph.D, FACSM who is a professor at Missouri State University where her research focuses on the role of exercise for women throughout the life span., particularly the benefit of exercise at menopause.

What's your DIET DNA?

Posted on September 13, 2010 at 10:45 PM

Here is a little info about Diet DNA.  There are some recent studies that show some people may benefit from more of a low-fat diet, some from a low-carb diet while others may benefit from a mixture of the two.  Without actually getting tested with a saliva test, you can look at yourself physically, and give it an educated guess!

If you would actually like to be tested, go to the "more" tab on this website and find the tab that reads, "Eat Right for your Gene Type"

Here are some suggestions to consider to make that educated guess!


1. Where do you carry your weight?

2. How do you feel? i.e. how do you feel after you eat certain foods...do you have gastric distress? Are you tired? It is simple, avoid the foods that make you feel bad later.


Here are the questions to see if you need to be on more of a lowfat diet..if answering yes to most or all 3;

1. Does heart disease run in your family?

2. Do you have low energy levels often?

3. Do you have high amounts of the LDL cholesterol?



Here are the questions to see if you need to be on more of a low carb diet;

1. Carry weight around the mid section

2. High blood pressure?

3. Tryglyceride levels high?


Here are the questions to see if you need to be on more of a balanced diet...i.e. even out the carbs and fat;

1. Have a history of both heart disease and diabetes

2. Mediterranean ethinicity?

3. Prone to indigestion or constipation?


Example lowfat diet;

no bad fats, and no refined sugars, but good grains and complex carbs (on average about 70% carbs, 15% fat, 15% protein)

i.e veggie burger, lots of vegetables, sweet potatoes, broccoli...whole fruits are okay too, peaches, bananas etc...

 Eat good fats; olive oil, avocado, nuts


Example low carb diet; you may carry a risk for type 2 diabetes and be insulin resistant. So a low carb diet may be better for you.

Avoid sugars both refined, and even grains to a certain extent. Avoid rices, breads, and sweet fruits...bananas etc..

i.e. good foods: vegetables and salads, fish, lean meats, green beans, basalmic vinegar (to help lower the glycemic rich foods)

30%protein, %30% carbs, and 40%fat (good fat)


Example balance diet;  Mediterranean diet...olive oil, nuts, feta cheese, whole vegetables, fish, and whole fruits.


50%carbs, 20%protein, 30%fat....good fat, good carbs combination