Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
Filter by Categories
BREATHE
Breathing Articles
Challenges
Experience Activities
Experience Blogs
Experience Galleries
Experience Nutrition
Fitness Articles
In the Media
Lifestyle Articles
Nutrition Articles
Performance Breathing™
Recipes
Recovery Articles
Spotlight
Strength and Conditioning Coach Articles
TEAM
XPT Experience Info
XPTLIFE

Category: Nutrition Articles

What Is Kombucha and Why Is It Good for You?

While kombucha used to be something relegated to health-food stores, it has become an increasingly popular and mainstream beverage in the last couple years. Many tout both its health benefits as well as its flavor (many even find it to be a satisfying substitute for alcoholic beverages).

So, what is kombucha? Where does its unique tart and effervescent flavor come from? And why should you consider trying it?

Read on for the answers to all of that and more.

First, What Is Kombucha?

Simply put, kombucha is a fermented tea drink. It is typically fermented from sweetened green or black tea. The fermentation process produces vinegar, trace amounts of alcohol, and carbonation—all of which combine to form kombucha’s signature tangy flavor. This fermentation process—as with foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi—also produces probiotics.

Kombucha may have originally been created as recently as two hundred years ago or as long ago as two thousand years. Regardless of its history and origin, kombucha has been considered to have health benefits for a long time (and by a variety of cultures).

Probiotics are probably the biggest reason most people consume kombucha, and what it is best known for. Probiotics can help restore balance to the flora in your gut, and therefore aid in everything from digestion, to inflammation, to weight loss, and more.

But kombucha isn’t just good for us for this sole reason; there’s a lot more to this unique drink. So, let’s talk through four reasons besides probiotics that you might try kombucha, and the science behind these claims.

1. Improved Liver Health

Kombucha is rich in antioxidants and appears to have a powerful (and positive) impact on our livers. Studies done on rats appear to show that kombucha consumption REDUCES THE TOXICITY OF KNOWN LIVER STRESSORS. This may be due to kombucha’s antioxidant properties or because it increases the body’s ability to METABOLIZE CERTAIN SUBSTANCES.

This means drinking kombucha can be a double whammy when it comes to alcohol consumption. In part, because many people use kombucha as a substitute for alcohol and, therefore, reduce their alcohol consumption. And also, in part, because of the way kombucha powers up our livers.

2. Empowered Immune System

The “vinegar” flavor of kombucha actually comes from acetic acid. Kombucha can also be high in polyphenols, since it comes from tea. Both acetic acid and polyphenols have been shown to KILL BACTERIAthat are harmful to us. So, kombucha offers a one-two punch of providing you with “good’ bacteria through its probiotic dose, while also eliminating the “bad” bacteria.

3. Fighting Diabetes

2012 STUDY examined the impact of kombucha on diabetic rats. The researchers discovered that feeding these rats kombucha slowed the digestion of carbs and, therefore, reduced the rats’ blood sugar levels. It also seems to have boosted the function of their livers and kidneys.

4. Fighting Cancer

Multiple studies have shown that the administration of kombucha could prevent the growth of cancerous cells. A 2013 STUDY published in Biomedicine & Preventative Nutrition even stated “that kombucha may be useful for the prostate cancer treatment/prevention.”

Although not completely proven, kombucha is believed the polyphenols it contains are able to block the growth of cancer cells. This may relate back to the fact that tea drinkers in general are LESS LIKELY TO DEVELOP CERTAIN CANCERS.

Conclusion on Kombucha

If you’ve never tried kombucha before, keep an open mind. Remember, it can be very tangy and is also effervescent. This is also what can make it an enjoyable way to hydrate, though, if you are giving up carbonated drinks or alcohol. Many people find kombucha to be a healthy and satisfying alternative for “happy hour.”

Unlike in the past, kombucha is widely available in almost every grocery store and in a wide range of flavors. Look for varieties that are lower in sugar if you plan to consume kombucha regularly. If you make your own kombucha, please do so carefully—always sanitize your equipment and closely observe your fermentation process.

What Is Kombucha and Why Is It Good for You?

While kombucha used to be something relegated to health-food stores, it has become an increasingly popular and mainstream beverage in the last couple years. Many tout both its health benefits as well as its flavor (many even find it to be a satisfying substitute for alcoholic beverages).

So, what is kombucha? Where does its unique tart and effervescent flavor come from? And why should you consider trying it?

Read on for the answers to all of that and more.

First, What Is Kombucha?

Simply put, kombucha is a fermented tea drink. It is typically fermented from sweetened green or black tea. The fermentation process produces vinegar, trace amounts of alcohol, and carbonation—all of which combine to form kombucha’s signature tangy flavor. This fermentation process—as with foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi—also produces probiotics.

Kombucha may have originally been created as recently as two hundred years ago or as long ago as two thousand years. Regardless of its history and origin, kombucha has been considered to have health benefits for a long time (and by a variety of cultures).

Probiotics are probably the biggest reason most people consume kombucha, and what it is best known for. Probiotics can help restore balance to the flora in your gut, and therefore aid in everything from digestion, to inflammation, to weight loss, and more.

But kombucha isn’t just good for us for this sole reason; there’s a lot more to this unique drink. So, let’s talk through four reasons besides probiotics that you might try kombucha, and the science behind these claims.

1. Improved Liver Health

Kombucha is rich in antioxidants and appears to have a powerful (and positive) impact on our livers. Studies done on rats appear to show that kombucha consumption reduces the toxicity of known liver stressors. This may be due to kombucha’s antioxidant properties or because it increases the body’s ability to metabolize certain substances.

This means drinking kombucha can be a double whammy when it comes to alcohol consumption. In part, because many people use kombucha as a substitute for alcohol and, therefore, reduce their alcohol consumption. And also, in part, because of the way kombucha powers up our livers.

2. Empowered Immune System

The “vinegar” flavor of kombucha actually comes from acetic acid. Kombucha can also be high in polyphenols, since it comes from tea. Both acetic acid and polyphenols have been shown to kill bacteria that are harmful to us. So, kombucha offers a one-two punch of providing you with “good’ bacteria through its probiotic dose, while also eliminating the “bad” bacteria.

3. Fighting Diabetes

A 2012 study examined the impact of kombucha on diabetic rats. The researchers discovered that feeding these rats kombucha slowed the digestion of carbs and, therefore, reduced the rats’ blood sugar levels. It also seems to have boosted the function of their livers and kidneys.

4. Fighting Cancer

Multiple studies have shown that the administration of kombucha could prevent the growth of cancerous cells. A 2013 study published in Biomedicine & Preventative Nutrition even stated “that kombucha may be useful for the prostate cancer treatment/prevention.”

Although not completely proven, kombucha is believed the polyphenols it contains are able to block the growth of cancer cells. This may relate back to the fact that tea drinkers in general are less likely to develop certain cancers.

Conclusion on Kombucha

If you’ve never tried kombucha before, keep an open mind. Remember, it can be very tangy and is also effervescent. This is also what can make it an enjoyable way to hydrate, though, if you are giving up carbonated drinks or alcohol. Many people find kombucha to be a healthy and satisfying alternative for “happy hour.”

Unlike in the past, kombucha is widely available in almost every grocery store and in a wide range of flavors. Look for varieties that are lower in sugar if you plan to consume kombucha regularly. If you make your own kombucha, please do so carefully—always sanitize your equipment and closely observe your fermentation process.

Laird Hamilton’s Favorite Post-Workout Meals

You killed it in training, now it’s time to make sure you reward all that hard work by giving your vehicle the good fuel it needs!

You have heard a million times to feed your body necessary nutrients 30 to 60 minutes after training. Your muscles are in need of supplements like protein and amino acids to aid in muscle growth and recovery.

Most people need something to consume after working out that isn't breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Typically their recovery meal falls into a gap that would be considered ‘snack time’. Instead of looking at this meal as a snack, look at it as a mini-meal.  Make sure you have a protein, a good fat, and healthy carbohydrate represented on your plate.

Mid Day ‘Snack’
If you are on the go, stop for a quick a smoothie or protein shake at your gym. If your gym does not have a cafe, come prepared with the ingredients packed in your bag. A mixing shaker is key to keep with you as you can easily whip up a protein shake on site. Just mix unsweetened almond milk and protein powder together for a quick boost. If you are unable to keep almond milk cold in a cooler bag, mix the protein powder with water. If you are consuming whey protein, make sure it's an isolate and not loaded with junk.  If you have the urge to chew something, we suggest keeping an apple on hand as this should get you through to your next meal while replenishing your body.  

This is just one example of a post workout meal Laird likes. If in season, Laird will surf or foil up to six hours a day! It’s questionable whether or not the Jet Ski or Laird and his teammates run out of fuel first. After a long surf session, Laird is eager to replenish his body with a mini-meal; below are some additional ideas for you to prep after a hard workout.

Laird’s Morning Mini-Meal
Eggs with Veggies and Especially Avocado 
This meal is a good source of protein and healthy fat.  Examples of good carbohydrates to go along with this protein and healthy fat are: veggies, fruit, quinoa or brown rice.  

Tuna or Chicken with Brown Rice
A scoop of tuna or organic chicken with veggies and brown rice is a great post workout meal.  

Healthy Leftovers
Another great way to have a quick, easy mini-meal is to eat leftovers from the night before; assuming you follow the protein, healthy fat, healthy carbohydrates for dinner time as well!  

If dinner the night before is something you could stomach again for your post-workout-meal then throw it in a container and off you go.  You not only saved yourself some money, but it will encourage you to make healthy dinners as well. Remember, we are not talking about a giant amount of food, I am talking about a snack-sized serving.  Think about it almost as if you were eating like a child.  All the food types are there, just a lot less of it.

If you are going to work hard, give yourself and your body the nutritional love it needs and deserves.  Whenever you can, work with yourself.

Apricot Ginger Baked Chicken

Sweet and zingy, this apricot ginger baked chicken is healthy and full of flavor while easy to prepare either on the spot or in advance. We recommend marinating the chicken overnight, or even just for a few hours before the flavors absorb into the meat. Also, don’t forget to cook extra as the leftovers taste even better the next day and it’s great to take with you for lunch or chop up to throw on a salad.  

Here’s how to make it:

Serves 4-6
Prep Time: 10 min -24 hours (depending on marinating time)
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
10-12 chicken thighs or 4 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons apricot puree, apricot jam (watch out for added sugar), or fresh, pureed apricots
2 tablespoons shredded ginger
1/2 cup Braggs Liquid Amino
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Instructions:
Mix apricot, ginger, Braggs Liquid Amino, and olive oil in a bowl. Add the chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes for the breasts and broil at the end to make crispy about 3 minutes.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes for thighs.

Enjoy!

Weekly XPT Challenge: Pack Home Made Snacks

Always in a rush with no time to eat throughout the day?  We get it.  Being constantly on the go, you have less free time and a stronger appetite than someone who is more sedentary.  Under these circumstances, convenience is less of an option and more of a necessity. 

Unfortunately, when we rely on coffee shops, convenience stores, vending machines or the office pantry for a quick fix, we pay three-fold. The price tag for our last-minute purchase puts a far greater dent in our food budget thanks to mark-up charges for service, packaging or pre-assembly. We’re also more likely to make indulgent food choices when our blood sugar is at rock bottom; therefore, we unconsciously consume more calories. The food we purchase on the go has more artificial additives and sugar than if we prepped meals or snacks in advance ourselves.

Our challenge to you this week is to focus on homemade snacks. The first step is to stop by the supermarket and stock up on portable, unprocessed, nutrient-dense items that you can easily store in the center console of your car, briefcase, purse or gym bag.

What snacks save you when your stomach growls and you’re on the go?  Share your favorites in a comment below!

#snackattack #saveyourwaist #fuelyourdaybetter #homemadehealth #noshortcuts

The Truth about Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates. What constitutes a bad carbohydrate (carb) versus a good carbohydrate and why do we need them?

Over the years, carbohydrates have been given a bad rap.  Sure, some of it is warranted, as splurging on high-glycemic carbs such as bagels and donuts is never encouraged. However, carbohydrates have nutrients that provide an important source of energy for our body.  Our digestive system changes carbs into glucose, which is used as fuel for our cells and organs.  With that in mind, choosing the right carbs to energize our bodies is the key.

Carbs come in various forms, such as sugars, fibers and starches.  How do you determine which carbs are good for you and which are potentially harmful? 

When I go grocery shopping, I start on the outside of the store and I fill my cart with food that is nutritious, whole and perishable, instead of food that is found in boxes at the center of the store.  Highly processed foods such as crackers, cereals, breads and pastries are going to fill you up with empty calories and burn you out quickly.  It’s so much easier knowing exactly what the product is that you’re putting in your body instead of obsessing over labels and calculating ingredients.

The best carbohydrate comes from foods such as organic veggies & fruits, which includes fiber, minerals & enzymes.  Processed carbs is what you want to stay away from.

Here are my top 10 favorite sources of healthy carbohydrates that will keep you energized and healthy:

  1. Legumes.  Beans and lentils are slower to digest and will keep you satisfied and energized.  They are also good sources of protein and fiber, which is great for building muscle. Enjoy as a side dish, thrown into a salad or as a main course.
  2. Apples.  A high source of fiber, apples will also satisfy your sweet tooth.  Eat alone or throw into a smoothie.  Here’s a recipe.

Bananas.  A good source of energy while also providing your body with potassium, bananas are great for the heart, muscles and digestion.  Spread some of your favorite almond butter on top for a delicious snack; the kids will love it.

  1. Broccoli.  Yep, you can find carbs in broccoli, along with iron and dietary fiber.
  2. Carrots.  Easy to grab and go, carrots are full of beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, potassium and they are a natural antioxidant. You can also juice it and throw in some beets and some cayenne pepper to liven things up and satisfy your sweet tooth.
  3. Sweet Potatoes.  With a lower glycemic index than white potatoes and rich in flavor, sweet potatoes are a good source of iron, magnesium and potassium, while providing fiber and vitamin A.
  4. Barley.  A natural antioxidant, barley is high in fiber and has been known to aid in maintaining blood sugar, lowering cholesterol and preventing heart disease.
  5. Quinoa. (Say it with me, KEEN-WAH) The ancient Mayans were huge fans of quinoa, which is easy to prepare and also a good source of protein and fiber, making it a go-to staple for vegans and vegetarians.  I like to cook it in broth to give it extra flavor and serve as a substitute for rice or pasta.
  6. Squash. Zucchini, yellow squash, acorn squash. With fall around the corner, these are perfect vegetables to add to a warm, hearty dish. The squash family is high in fiber and easy to prepare on the grill, sautéed, or baked in the oven.
  7. Oatmeal.  High in fiber, oatmeal is slow to digest, making it a great source of carbs and a good choice to start the day.  I make mine from scratch on the stove, which is quick and easy and a warm way to start the morning.  Top it off with some blueberries to sweeten things up.

Looking for delicious, healthy recipes featuring good carbs, healthy fats and hormone and antibiotic-free meats?  Click here for some of our favorites.  Or if you have some recipes you think we should check out, let us know in the comments below.  We’re all in this together; life is about lifting each other up.

–Gabby

XPT Weekly Challenge: Stay Fresh

With summer winding down and the autumn season upon us, maintaining your daily fruit and vegetable intake should continue to be a priority. While sourcing fresh, local, seasonal produce can be more challenging as the weather cools, there are a few tricks that will help you preserve nutrients and make the most of everything you tote home from the market.

Certain natural compounds, like vitamin C and phytochemicals are particularly sensitive to air and light exposure, temperature, and time. With just 7 days at room temperature a fruit’s vitamin C content and antioxidant potential can be reduced by up to 75%.

That being said, it is important to start now to take care of produce purchases. The first step is to purchase in smaller batches, enough to eat in just a few days rather than stocking up in one visit to the grocery.  Forget the countertop fruit bowl. Instead, store all fresh fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator; this step alone can extend antioxidant life two-fold.

While planning ahead has time management perks, save washing and slicing right before eating.  If you do cut in advance, store at cold-temperatures in a snug-fitting, airtight container.

If you have any other tips for keeping plant-based products at their peak nutritional potency, please share!

#freshisbest #staycool #endlesssummer #plantbasedyearround

XPT Weekly Challenge: Go Raw

There is never a better time to fill up on fruits and vegetables than in the summertime.  They’re brightly colored, refreshing, and abundant.  But the season won’t last much longer, so we’re taking advantage of the nature-made goodness while we can and inviting you to get fresh with us.

This week, make one meal of each day – breakfast, lunch or dinner – completely raw.  Fill it with fruit, veggies, herbs, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes. Chop, peel, dehydrate, toss, soak, sprout, and blend to your heart’s content.  But opt out of the stovetop, the grill, the microwave, and the oven.  Heat-free prep will preserve more of the ingredients temperature-sensitive enzymes, antioxidants, and micronutrients while giving you a cool, refreshing nutritional boost during these last warm-weather months.

Share your favorite quick and easy raw meal idea in a comment below and get un-cooking!  To explore our recipes click here.

Micro-tweak Your Meals

Resources for meal plans & complete diet overhauls abound.  They offer attractive promises.  However, if the regime they recommend differs too drastically from our usual patterns, it’s less likely we can maintain it in the long-term. 

Here at XPT, we find that progressive evolution tends to be more sustainable than a complete nutritional revolution.  So this week, we’re focusing on one mini-thing per meal.  Each time you sit down, ask yourself, “How can I do this better?”  You might swap your soda for a water, switch your white bread to 100% whole grain, or just leave a bite or two of a too-large portion on the plate.  You choose what feels best.

By improving just tiny details of each meal, you get closer to eating better and feeling your best.  Leave us a comment to let us know what meal micro-tweaks you decided to implement – every tip shared helps the XPT family as a whole. 

 

Caffeine Check

Nothing beats a piping hot cup of coffee upon waking up, sipping on a pot of green tea as you tap away at your morning computer work, or an ice blended frap to breathe life up a busy afternoon.  But how much caffeine do you total by the day’s end? 

We often resolve in the New Year to limit ourselves to just one or two in the a.m. hours, but by midyear the caffeine creep has us racking up a handful of servings – sometimes from processed energy drinks, artificial pre-mixes, and excessively sweetened dessert-style products. 

In reality, certain forms of caffeine – like high-quality unrefined coffee, maca, matcha, and cacao – are loaded with anti-oxidants and therapeutic properties. Likewise, research suggests caffeine has numerous health perks – improved blood sugar control, athletic performance, mental acuity, mood just to name a few. 

But everyone’s threshold is different, and excesses of any stimulant can disrupt sleep, interfere with medications, or contribute to stress and anxiety. 

So, this week we’re tallying our beverages, choosing them wisely, and tapering as needed. 

Get Some Herb

This week XPT is buzzing about herbs – the controversy-free kinds found in your local supermarket – like parsley, dill, oregano, basil and cilantro. 

We often sweep through the produce section dropping spinach, kale, and romaine into our baskets and brush right past the fresh herbs.  Well, these oft-overlooked members of the leafy green family are not to be underestimated.  Fresh herbs pack equal (sometimes greater) amounts of the valuable muscle and bone-supporting minerals iron, calcium and magnesium. Thanks to their vibrant emerald pigments, they also contain the potent phytochemical chlorophyll (parsley especially) which can clear away toxins in the GI tract and counteract harmful free radicals once absorbed within the body.   To boot, fresh herbs impart nature-made flavor to any dish, sans synthetic additive or salts. 

Not sure how to use them?  Stir oregano into your pasta sauce. Add basil to salads and sandwiches.  Press parsley along with the other veggies in your next juice.

Have a favorite tip for working herbs into recipes? Please share with us in a comment. 

#freshisbest #herbalremedy #foodismypharmacy #plantbasedplate

Eat Butter

Eat Butter!  Yes, you read that right. 

In case you haven’t heard, butter is back.  Why?  Turns out, butter isn’t as problematic as once believed. 

In fact, compared to processed, genetically modified, or partially hydrogenated plant oil, butter is clearly superior.  These products often contain synthetic additives, traces of chemical bi-products, coloring and flavoring agents, and trans fatty acids – which can be concerning as contributors to inflammation and cellular damage (read: chronic disease and cancer). 

With a naturally high smoke point, butter is actually better for cooking at high temperatures (baking, grilling, roasting, and frying) than most plant oils, which oxidize when used at high-heat settings. 

But not all spreads at the supermarket are equal.  To get the best benefits, buy butters from organic grass-fed cows.  These butters have the most desirable fat profile – offering omega 3 fatty acids (most often only found in fish and plant based foods) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).  CLA is a fatty acid shown to boost fat-burning and protect against disease.  You’ll also make an eco-friendlier purchase and avoid the pesticides and hormones.

 

To Peel or Not to Peel

With all of our outdoor time in the surf, the wind and the sun, skin protection is a priority at XPT.  But for this week's XPT Challenge, we’re focusing on the skins of our food. 

Certain plant-based foods – like oranges, papaya, banana – have inedible peels.  But others – like sweet potato, apple, mature coconut, and cucumber – have a superficial layer that we sometimes toss out or cut off, when we shouldn’t.  This skin is the part of the produce where phytochemicals (beneficial, anti-oxidant rich compounds) congregate.  The darker these plant-based pigments, the more potent their therapeutic properties. 

The skin also contains valuable insoluble fiber – which stabilizes blood glucose levels, keeps us satisfied between eating opportunities, and promotes digestive health and regularity. 

So, this week we challenge you to stock up on skinny produce (read: fruits and vegetables with skins) and include them in your meals and snacks.  To get the perks without any unwanted extras, opt for organic whenever possible and within your budget and wash well to remove wax and debris. 

Let us know how it goes!

 

Go for the Gold

For the love of Turmeric…

Born underground and easily overlooked in the supermarket produce section, the turmeric root deserves priority placement in your grocery basket and a standing role in your daily diet. 

Why?  Peel away the outside skin and you’ll find a brilliant yellow meaty flesh – thanks to the plant-based phytochemical pigment called curcumin.  This compound is big on color and a recovery goldmine for daily wear and tear or the demands of sport training. 

As an antioxidant, turmeric aids in head-to-toe cell repair.  As an anti-inflammatory, it alleviates discomfort and protects against tissue injury (with joints especially).

Add it to coffee.  Run it through the cold-pressed extractor for juices and shots. Use ground turmeric in soups, marinades and curries.  Got a tasty turmeric recipe?  Please share – we can’t get enough…

This Week’s Challenge: Resistant Starches Go Bananas

 

Let's talk bananas.

Bananas year-round as quick fuel before, during or after training.

At the supermarket, we often look for the brightest yellow bunch on display. These offer a quickly processed and absorbed source of nature-made sugar and potassium – ideal fuel for working muscles.

But for this week's XPT Challenge, we challenge you to drop a few green bananas in your shopping cart. Why? Unlike their older siblings, under-ripe bananas are a valuable source of resistant starch. When consumed, resistant starches are slow-moving and less readily absorbed by our system. This is useful post-workout or between meals – when we want to stabilize blood sugar levels, stay satisfied and control cravings. Eaten alone, they’re not too tasty, but they blend well into smoothies and warm or chilled cereals. Go green with your bananas this week and let us know if you notice a change in your appetite or energy levels.

We want to hear from you!  Share the young banana recipe that works for you in a comment below.

XPT Challenges You To Feed Your Gut Bacteria

Intestines with Gut Bacteria on Blackboard 

FEED YOUR BUGS

We’re not suggesting you leave crumbs for the insects in your home or backyard.  This week we’re focusing on our gut bacteria. 

Probiotics often get all the attention.  These are fermented or cultured foods that produce beneficial gut flora, like yogurt, kimchi, and miso.  But prebiotics are equally valuable. When eaten, the un-digestible fibers in these foods nourish and grow the probiotics in your lower GI tract.  Together, they are symbiotic – improving the diversity and health of the gut microbiota!

What to reach for? 

Asparagus, banana, jicama, garlic, onion, oats, and legumes (beans, lentils, and peas). 

We challenge you to work these prebiotic-rich plant-based foods into your meals and snacks this week.

Have ideas for how you’ll do it?  Share with us in a comment here at xptlife.com

Gabby’s tips on fueling before a workout

top view of healthy breakfast ingredients, selective focus

You can’t starve your way to fitness. You must eat the right types of food to help you achieve your goals. Whether you want to look thinner or more ripped, gain muscle mass, or just have more energy, food is your friend. Feeding your body before a workout to generate the most amount of energy, create the chance to burn as many calories as possible, and fit into your real time schedule can be a bit of a dance.

To those of you who think not eating anything before exercise will set you up to burn, baby, burn are a bit off. First of all, if you are going to work out in the morning your body has just burned 80% of your glycogen (which is the main energy source that is stored in your liver and muscles for energy) while you were sleeping. So, you need to replenish your energy reserves to help your body to work efficiently and to have enough energy to actually do the “work” in working out.

If you don’t normally eat in the morning then start off with small meals to get you accustomed to eating first thing. If you don’t want to eat, it’s fine to go the smoothie route, which, when made correctly, is rich with nutrients. 

Oatmeal is also great to sustain your energy. And for something quick and to the point, I love a banana with almond or peanut butter for a solid burst of energy.

If you aren’t going to workout until the end of the day, then go ahead and have a giant, healthy lunch because you have plenty of time to digest it. And you will need that energy when you are ready to go.

To give you an idea of how we burn through different types of food, it takes four to six hours to digest fat, three hours to digest protein, and two hours to digest carbohydrates. I would avoid eating too much fiber long before or right after exercise, as it can cause bloating and a bit of an irritation in your GI tract. You don’t want to have the sensation of gas while working out (unless, of ourse, you are trying to keep other gym members away).

If you only have fifteen minutes as you head from work to the gym, then drink a smoothie. Try rice or almond milk as your base, throw in some frozen fruit, powdered protein, a banana – and if you are getting wild, some greens – and off you go. If you feel like getting crazy you can add flaxseed meal for thickness and some Udo’s oil.

No, potato chips aren’t a great pre-work out meal, and watch out for energy bars. Eating too many sugary bars can work against you in the weight area: Some are not that far off nutritionally from a Snickers.

Another critical thing to pay attention to is what a lot of professionals call the golden hour: the sixty minutes after you train that is so pertinent to recovering and refueling muscles. This is a great time to eat a protein-rich meal.

Just remember the time line for how long it takes to digest food and strategize about what would be best to eat and when.

Remember your mantra:  “Food is my friend.”

-Gabby

For healthy recipes from XPT click here…

Everything You Need To Know About Vitamins

When my daughter Brody was a baby, she would drop some sort of food on the floor, pick it up and then eat it. My friends used to look at me sideways after seeing that. If I was at home, I'd just let that move roll (we’re not at the public train station or gas stop bathroom). These are the same friends that don’t think twice about going to a drive-through window for a burger (that may or may not have been dropped on the floor or better yet – sneezed on by some hormonal seventeen year old). I compare this kind of thinking to the individuals who won’t blink when some white coat gives them a pill for some ailment or a little extra stress but would NEVER take a vitamin. Too risky. I mean after all your meds could lead to three other pills to deal with your new side effects or your impulse to gamble or bloody urine. Makes sense to me.

I can see how vitamins are confusing, an added expense, and a pain in the butt. However, none of us are getting the 39 essential vitamins and minerals we need in our food so, in my mind, they’re something we should rotate in and out of our diets. You can run down to Costco or to GNC when they are having a sale and go grab a bottle. Sorry, it’s not quite that easy.

What are the things you should consider when buying and taking vitamins?

First of all, keep it simple. If you are taking twenty-three pills three times a day, eighteen minutes after you eat, but not forty five minutes before bed it is not going to happen. On the functional side, you have to get a quick understanding about the differences between the kinds of vitamins, how they absorb in your body, and who is making them.

1. Vitamin Absorption

Better to buy a whole food vitamin since it’s a food already. There are tons of studies showing that the body can absorb these vitamins 20x greater then synthesized vitamins. So yes, the buy in bulk vitamin is cheaper, but you may only be able get 1% of the nutrients if any at all. Talk about a waste of money and time!

2. Vitamin Quality

You should also note that the FDA does not regulate the vitamin supplement industry (probably not enough money in it). So you want to be sure to buy from a company that self regulates and holds it’s products to high standards. Check to see if they display USP-DSVP stamp (US Pharmacopoeia Dietary Supplement Verification Program).

3. Natural Vitamins

Given that the vitamin is produced by a solid company, a natural vitamin is easier to absorb into the body. Be mindful that they don’t often taste great, won’t be cheap, and will have an expiration date.  If they don't then they may not be worthwhile.

4. Liquid Vitamins

The good news about the liquid supplement is they have about a 98% absorption rate. The inconvenient part is that they need to be refrigerated so not good for on-the-go or traveling supplementation.

5. Don’t Take a Vitamin Instead of Food

It’s never a good idea to rely on vitamins as a source of nutrition, hence the word “supplement”. 

Take a strong multivitamin that contains all 39 essential vitamins and minerals. A few solid brands are Rainbow Light, Solgar, KAL, and Nutrilite. Look to sites like Dr. Mercola’s website, Dr. Al Sears’s website, Drugnatural.com, and naturalhealthconcepts.com. These are great places to start.

Like anything we ingest, it is smart to do one or two months on and then take a week off. Our bodies get used to anything we put into them, so in order to continue to get the benefits, it’s imperative to bring them in AND out of your diet.

I realize it seems a little voodoo, but I am a real believer in vitamins helping us defend our health, sleep better, process stress, and just better overall body function. And if you want to get crazy, I’m all for natural Chinese herbs and teas.

Whoa, easy there, are you sure you don’t just want a Prozac? I mean, tea can seem pretty scary, and it has been around for thousands of years. What do they know?

In all seriousness, here is to your good health,

Gabby

Laird’s Favorite Post-Workout Meals

Make sure you reward all that hard work by giving your vehicle the good fuel it needs!

You have heard a million times to get the nutrition in your body 30 to 60 minutes after training. Your muscles are just searching for nutrients and muscles are desperate for amino acids as well as the rest of your body to be replenished after working hard.

Most people need something after working out that isn't breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Typically their recovery meal falls into a gap that would be a 'snack time'. Instead of looking at this meal as a snack look at it as a mini-meal. Make sure you have represented on your plate a protein, a good fat, and healthy carbohydrates.

Mid Day 'Snack'

If you are on the go then get a smoothie at your gym or even take one from your house before you workout. Keep a mixing shaker with ice, almond milk and protein powder. Use unsweetened almond milk for flavor and high quality protein. If you are eating whey make sure it's an isolate and not loaded with junk. If you have the urge to chew then keep an apple nearby and this should get you to lunch and replenish your body.

This is just one example of a post workout meal Laird likes. If he is in his season then he will surf or foil up to six hours. We are not sure if the Jet Ski or the guys run out of fuel first. This meal – snack example is one that is right for lunch time and for right after you have burned a lot of calories.

Laird's Morning 'Snack'

Let's say you want something lighter and maybe you just finished your morning training (in other words not a great time for fish,) then here are some of Laird's other eats!

  • Eggs with Veggies and Especially Avocado

This meal is a good source of protein and healthy fat. Examples of good carbohydrates to go along with this protein and healthy fat are: veggies, fruit, quinoa or brown rice.

  • Tuna or Chicken, Brown Rice

A scoop of tuna (there I go again with the fish) or organic chicken with veggies and brown rice is a great post workout meal.

  • Healthy Leftovers

Another great way to have your snack is to eat leftovers from the night before; assuming you follow the protein, healthy fat, healthy carbohydrates for dinner time as well!

If dinner the night before is something you could stomach again for your PWM then throw it in a container and off you go. You not only saved yourself some money, but it will be getting you to make healthy dinners as well. Remember I am not talking about a giant amount of food I am talking about a snack sized serving. Almost as if you were eating like a child. All the food types are there just a lot less of it.

Here is one of Laird's favorite post workout meal:

Fish and veggies! Monchong, salad, and mashed Hawaiian sweet potato with a splash of coconut milk.

Fish – for protein 

Hawaiian Sweet Potato & Veggies – for energy and vitamins

 

If you are going to work hard give yourself and your body the nutritional love it needs and deserves. Whenever you can, work with yourself.

Gabby

 

Take it Off, and Keep it Off

I hear so many tales about how people have lost weight and kept it off. One story that I found interesting tells of an active 5'6", 210-pound, 33-year-old woman. For me what I found so intriguing about her story was the fact that she did workout regularly, but somehow was continuing to gain weight.

She figured that her entire family was built on the larger side, so that was just her destiny. I'll give it to you that genetics does play a big part in the weight game, but I would hate for any of you to think that you can't improve your reality, or set and reach particular health and weight goals.

Now, I am 6'3" and weigh about 170 pounds, and I have long faced the reality that I am not built to be a size 2, 4, or 6 for that matter. With my build and bones, when I'm small I'm about an 8. If I'm lifting more and eating more calories, I can float up to about a size 12. Normally my weight variance is 2 to 3 pounds.

My point is that before you set goals, know who you are. I think at times people set themselves up by wanting something that is not a reflection of who they are or what reality they live in. The number one thing to remember before trying to jump into a lifestyle change is jumping into a lifestyle that you can live with.

OK, back to my story. How did this women lose the 54 pounds that she has now kept off for 5 years?

1. For starters, she kept the foods out of her house that she didn't want to eat. When you go buy groceries, leave the junk at the store. I find it very helpful to not shop while you are starving or depressed (I know the later may not be as controllable). However, if your partner just broke up with you, or you just got fired, maybe it's not a great idea to go food shopping right at that moment.

Where you can, sub in a better choice (i.e. water for soda, vinegar dressing for creamy, salad with proteinfor a big fat sub). Oh, and if you are eating something you really enjoy, and consider it a cheat, cut your portion in half. In other words it's not about not eating, it's about controlling the amount. Go for the fries and hamburger, then cut the portion in half. Grabbing some chocolate? Grab less.

2. Find some way of moving that you actually enjoy. Let's face it a lot of people don't enjoy exercising, but moving our bodies is a key component to losing or maintaining weight. The only way to make this a consistent part of your life is if you actually don't view exercise time as torture. Take a class (spinning, yoga, kick boxing, hip hop), walk, jog, do pilates, lift or swim, etc. Find some form of cardio and weight training that you can do at least twice a week, each.

There is no way around exercising, and to be honest if you find something you enjoy you will feel invigorated by exercise, and have an increase in energy to deal with everything else going on in your life.

3. Minimize your stress, and get some good rest. Life is hectic, but it's key to try and keep stress at bay to the best of your ability. When you start getting hit by daily stress try to ask yourself, "how much do I need to let this affect me?" See if you can be a little more proactive vs. reactive.

Some circumstances can't be helped, but in other situations you have a shot at making a choice. You just have to practice discipline in the situations that you can control, and not worry about the things that really require a full-blown, emotional response. Traffic? Let it go. Someone is sick or hurt? Let your heart take over.

4. Try to force yourself to turn off the tube or computer and get to sleep. I realize a lot of people (especially you moms out there) get all the house things done after everyone goes to sleep, but get to bed! Your entire system will function better if you are getting some rest. Can it wait? If I tell you that your metabolic system will work better when you are getting enough sleep, will you go to bed?

This women in my story has stayed successful for all of these years because she has found a balance between all of the components that affect weight, weight loss, and weight management. I know we all want to gag on the word balance, but it really is always about working our diet, exercise, stress, and sleep life into some kind of harmony that works for us.

Good luck to all of you. Remember that it starts with making a decision, and then believing in that decision. You can do it.

– Gabrielle Reece

Making Your Own Mylk-Why it’s Better & How to Do it Best

 

Homemade fresh almond milk in glass jar with empty glass bowl and whole almonds on shabby turquoise wooden table horizontal

By Eve Persak MS RD CNSC CSSD

Dairy doesn’t agree with your sensitive system?

Prefer your palate ‘sans animals’?

Just like a bit of variety on the beverage shelf of your refrigerator?

A shift from milk (from cow, goat or another mammal) to mylk (from nuts, seeds, beans or grains) might make better sense for you.  However, if you hope to get the most from your creamy beverage, you might consider MYOM (making-your-own-mylk) as your next moooo-ve (sorry we had to).  Prepping homemade from your kitchen – rather than relying on store-bought – offers incomparable advantages – for your body, your wallet, and the planet. 

WHY HOMEMADE IS BETTER

IT’S GREEN

A blast from your home blender leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than the manufacturing, packaging, and shipping of processed varieties.

Likewise, whether full-time or part-time, plant-based options also alleviate the pressure on our natural resources (fresh water and soil) and the workload for our milk-producing four-legged friends. 

Storing your homemade mylk in a reusable jars or bottles also reduces waste from UHT, cardboard or plastic containers or the energy required to recycle them.

IT’S CHEAP

Convenience is usually a main motivator behind premade purchases.  The manufacturers do the work, so we don’t have to.  Much like a fee-for-service arrangement, you might not mind the idea of paying more to save your own valuable time with set-up, prep, and clean-up.  However, companies inflate their price tags to offset their expenses on pretty packaging, branding, manpower – as well as a hefty profit margin.  On the contrary, a basic homemade mylk might cost as much as a handful of nuts, a glass or two of water and a few extra minutes.

IT’S FRESH

The fewer the steps between Mother Nature and your mouth, the more nutritious your beverage is likely to be.  Many of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant sterols, phytochemicals, and micronutrients in nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes are fragile. With light, heat, oxygen and time, they degrade.  Blanching, heat pasteurization, high-pressure processing and just spent en route to the market and sitting in storage can reduce the concentration and potency of the nutrients that make it into your cup.

IT’S PURE

When you MYOM, the ingredient list is under your control.   Even if the stabilizers, preservatives, or flavorings listed on the label are deemed ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ (a best case scenario), you didn’t decide to include them and they may not match the freshness or quality of the additions lining your pantry shelves.  

IT’S PERSONALIZED

With customization, your creativity is your own limitation – and XPT doesn’t really believe in limits.  So, go big.  Homemade allows you to build the recipe that suits your nutrition priorities or your palate.  The combinations are endless.  Use a different nut or seed for each batch or mix them together.  Play with spices that are both flavorful and therapeutic.  Add a nature-made (rather than refined) sweetener and add just enough to hit the ‘sweet spot’ without over-doing it. 

HOW TO DO IT BEST

To get you started, here are a handful of tips and reminders…

SHOPPING

Equipment:

All you really need is a blender.  However a strainer and re-usable storage containers can be helpful, too.  We’ll describe in detail below. 

Ingredients:

Choose your ‘base’ ingredient(s), such as:

  • – cashew, macadamia, almond, coconut (mature flesh)

Seeds – sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, flax.

  • – soy, adzuki, black bean, green pea

Grains – whole oats, quinoa, rice (brown, red, black)

Note: To keep enzymes and antioxidants intact, opt for raw rather than roasted or baked. 

Choose your flavoring: vanilla, raw cacao, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, clove, nutmeg, chili pepper, sea salt

Choose a natural sweetener (optional): raw maple syrup, raw Manuka honey, lucuma powder, dried fruit (dates, pineapple)

SOAKING

Soaking – overnight or just a few hours – will soften your base ingredient.  This shortens blending time, helps release the nutrients, and yields a creamier finished product.  

BLENDING

The amount of time required to evenly blend will depend on your base ingredient.  To get a smooth consistency high speeds and longer mixing may be required.  Be sure to clean well after ever use – removing and scrubbing all parts (blades, lid, and exterior).  Allow to air dry completely before re-assembling.

STRAINING

Depending on your base ingredient and your thickness-preference, this step can be optional.  Some nuts and seeds (when soaked) have a smooth finish without straining.  Legumes, grains and certain nuts and seeds – like almond or hemp – have skins or rougher textures that produce a granular mouth-feel if left unstrained.  Nut milk strainers are sold in many health food stores, but a nylon stocking can also do the trick.  You can also reserve the strained fibers (which offer digestive amongst other benefits – and add to smoothies, porridge or baked goods.  

STORING

Most mylks in the refrigerator for up to 48-72 hours.  To ensure freshness, store in air-tight glass jars with as little space at the top as possible.  Seal tightly.  Refrigerate immediately after preparing and keep frig temperature settings below 100 degrees F (or 40 degrees C).    

It’s About Food, Liquids, and Working Out Dynamically

The more I read and continue to study methods of effective training, weight loss and weight management, the more I am convinced that it is better to train for shorter periods of time dynamically. The other fact that has made itself known to me over and over again is, IT IS ABOUT THE FOOD WE EAT AND THE LIQUIDS WE DRINK. I add the liquids because most of us take in about 20% of our calories through our drinks.

On one hand, this makes it harder because we can't get away with just pumping it on the treadmill, or 'vegging' out to TV while riding a stationary bike, all the while expecting the pounds to just fall off. So much time is wasted training this way, and, for most of us, a pile of unreached goals. The GOOD news is that you can actually do more for yourself and your health by training for a shorter period of time more intensely. Everywhere I turn, I hear people talking about how they "don't have enough time" to train, so this is right up solution alley. What kind of training is the way to go? Obviously everything needs to reflect one's fitness level. I'm not suggesting you go out to the track and start picking competitions with the local college track star when you have been pulling down 40-hour plus work weeks for the past 10 years, and raising a family. I get it, so it's about working hard defined by what is hard for you. For example, instead of taking up jogging for miles and miles do a walk/spring (or jog) scenario. If you have 15-20 minutes, you can grab your music and set up a mini course right by your home, where you walk for 15 driveways and then sprint/jog for 3. You can repeat this for the time allocated and, voila! You have accomplished a productive workout. If you live in a cold place and are doing indoor training after a 3 to 5 minute warm up, start sprinting every 90 seconds, sprint on your treadmill or bike for 20-30 seconds. You will be amazed how quickly the time passes.

If you are open to adding weight training, take the same approach. Pick 4 to 5 exercises that you execute for time or reps, then on to the next. None to very little rest until your mini circuit is complete. Once you have gone through a round, take a swig of water and off you go for the next round. Try to complete at least 3 rounds, you can get all of this done in about 15 to 18 minutes. Who can't find that kind of time?

Let's not lie, FOOD is the most difficult and complex part of the equation. So much is connected to food, why we eat, what we are looking to feel when we eat, and all the misleading options out there. Honestly, the more I look around, the more I see our world as a set up to be food addicts and junkies. Just like our workouts, it's better to have small, consistent meals throughout the day. For starters, don't skip breakfast, since this leads to a tendency to overeat during the day. Eat foods that seem as real and from their natural form as possible. Avoid fried, processed, and sugary foods. Sugar is the killer. Sugar is everywhere and in everything and will get you and your health on so many levels. It creates a big waste line as well as inflammation in the body. Stick to water. See if you can only drink water for a month and tell me how you feel. No, you don't have to give up your sacred cup of java just try to cut back on all the foamy latte, super mocha over the top finishes. If you really need the coffee, best to just go with a straight up espresso.

It does not take hours and hours to improve your health or reach your goals. It takes a few better choices, a consistent commitment to movement, and lowering our stress l evels where we can. Write up your goals, commit to them, map out a strategy to achieve these goals, believe that you can do it, and get going.

Best, 

Gabby

JUST CHEW: Get More From Your Meals

 

JUST CHEW:  Get More From Your Meals

By Eve Persak MS RD CNSC CSSD

Power lunches, take-away boxes, grab-and-go snacks, frozen dinners, and – of course – fast food. All of these are inspired by necessity. Our days are getting busier, so our meal our mealtimes are getting shorter. With only a slim window of minutes to start and finish all that’s on our plate, it’s easy to inhale, rather than eat. But when we forgo chewing and skip straight to swallow, our palates – and our bodies – miss out. In fact, just a little extra mouth-work can side-step common health concerns, support your wellness goals, and enhance your time at the table.Here’s how:

DIGESTION: Believe it or not, digestion starts in your mouth. Mechanical processing begins as soon as your teeth chomp and grind your first mouthfuls food into smaller pieces. Your saliva also contains enzymes (salivary amylase and lingual lipase) that chemically breakdown carbohydrates and fats. As athletes, much of our body’s energy is directed away from the gut and instead devoted to propel the movement of our extremities. As such, it’s not uncommon for athletes – during exercise in the thick of a training season – to develop gastrointestinal sensitivities. Any digestion that happens in your mouth can offset the burden on the stomach and enhance overall digestive efficiency.

ABSORPTION: This second perk is an offshoot of the first mentioned above. The stomach behaves a bit like an internal blender. After an hour or two of churning our solid foods are liquefied to a soup-like consistency – increasing food’s surface area and transforming larger bites into tiny bits. This allows for maximal contact with the walls of the small intestine where the nutrients are then absorbed into the bloodstream. For hard-working athletic bodies, this transformation from edible to usable is key.

SATIATION: It takes only a moment or two for food to travel from the oral cavity to the base of the stomach. However it takes much longer – approximately 15-20 minutes – for our GI tract to biochemically communicate with our brain, giving us the signal that food has arrived. When we expedite meals, we run the risk of filling up – even overfilling – before our bodies can gauge our actual hunger and fullness levels. Chewing our food is an easy way to pace meals and stay in better touch with appetite cues.

SATISFACTION: Your stomach and intestines can’t taste. Only your mouth can. The receptors that sense and recognize flavor reside on tongue. When food bypasses the tongue and heads straight for the back of the throat, our taste buds can’t appreciate them. Yes, food is valuable fuel, but the act of eating is also designed for our pleasure. Pausing to let your palate perceive sweet, salty, bitter, sour and even a kick of heat can enrich your nutritional experience.

So, carve just a few extra minutes at breakfast, lunch and dinner – or start with just one meal a day. As a mindfulness practice, count how many times you’re chewing each of your beginning bites. You might surprise yourself at how few you’re getting in! Then aim to up your number of munches per mouthful for the remaining portion on your plate. You’ll likely fuel better and feel better.

Eve Persak MS RD CNSC CSSD is a leading international nutrition and wellness consultant with global experience in the fitness, culinary, tech, healthcare, hospitality, and spa industries. In her private practice she supports athletes and individuals of all ages with sports nutrition, weight loss, digestive conditions and other medical nutritional therapies. WWW.EVEPERSAK.COM 

How to Improve Your Breathing

XPT | How to Fuel Your Breath

Written by Eve Persak MS RD CSNC CSSD

 

Oxygen is vital to almost every cell, tissue, and life-sustaining process in the body. No person can survive without it, but athletes need more than the rest of the population.  We do more.  We push the body farther, faster and harder – every day.  When oxygen supply falls short of these increased demands, athletes are forced to pump – or slam on – the brakes.  They often observe:

  • muscle weakness, aches and pains
  • recurring or slow-healing injuries
  • lack of motivation or poor mental focus
  • prolonged recovery between consecutive workouts
  • sluggish digestion and metabolism
  • frequent colds or infections

Simply put, it’s the overall experience of asking your body to perform and receiving a resounding “no” from all systems, head-to-toe.

Our primary oxygen source is the air we pull in via the lungs.  Strategic breathing practices – like those at the core of the XPT experience – not only prevent oxygen insufficiency, but also elevate the body’s oxygen to levels above those previously achieved.

What else can you do?  While the diet offers less direct oxygen, certain foods can enrich the circulatory system’s supply, as well as nourish and protect the respiratory tissues.  Trained breathing coupled with complimentary meal changes can yield noticeable improvements in total athletic endurance.   So, add a few of these superfoods to your supermarket basket, and start feeding your breath:

Greens

Everyone – carnivores and vegans alike – can reach for green vegetables as a valuable plant-based source of iron.  This mineral is a critical component of hemoglobin, the blood protein that that transports oxygen from the lungs to all other systems. Likewise, chlorophyll – the phytochemical behind the dark emerald shades in kale, spinach, and broccoli – also benefits breathing.  Its chemical structure resembles that of hemoglobin and therefor can also boost oxygen’s availability to the body.  Chlorophyll also repels  harmful impurities and toxins before they reach the circulation.

Coffee

We agree – any scientific justification for your morning cup of joe is grounds for celebration.  The caffeine in coffee is a well-recognized bronchodilator, widening the respiratory channels to allow for open air exchange.  In conventional and homeopathic medicine, caffeine is one of the earliest and most widely used therapies for asthma.  Interestingly, asthma sufferers who regularly consume coffee report milder symptoms and over 30% fewer asthma attacks.

Papaya

Vitamin C is the foremost antioxidant on site the pulmonary tissues.  It buffers and repairs free radical damage from airborne pollutants and contaminants we unconsciously inhale all day.  For endurance athletes, vitamin C is also understood to reduce and shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections after long or high-intensity competitions.  Above all other residents of the produce section, papaya ranks highest in this micronutrient (twice as much as the acclaimed oranges, in fact!).  This tropic fruit also offers betacarotene, the plant pigment responsible for this tropical fruit’s orange color.  When consumed, the body converts betacarotene into vitamin A, which, in turn, nourishes cilia.  These miniature hair-like projections line the nasal passages and airways and sweep away debris and infectious bacteria. 

Warm & Spicy Foods

Consuming anything especially hot in temperature (like soups or warm beverages) or spicy in flavor (red chili peppers or jalapenos) can make our eyes water and our noses drip.  Why?  There is a sensory connection between the GI tract and the sinuses.  When the stomach heats up, blood flow to the nasal passages increases, as well.  This can immediately clear congestion and allows more of the blood supply to contact inspired oxygen.  Hot chili peppers, in particular, are helpful for long-term lung health.  Regular consumption is shown to reduce the risk of several chronic respiratory diseases.

Onion & Garlic

Often discounted for their pale complexion, these roots offer respiratory perks that rival their colorful peers.  Onion and garlic owe their neutral hues to anthoxanthins – pale pigments with anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.  This curative cocktail reduces airway constriction – allowing for free airflow – and staves off colds and flu. But you’ll need to incorporate them into fresh recipes (like salsa or bruschetta), as heat reduces the anthoxanthins potency.

Mushrooms

Move over button, Portobello, and shiitake.  Other mushroom varieties deserve a bit of room in the spotlight. Chaga and Reishi are traditional medicinal fungi consumed as teas – rather than eaten whole.   Chaga brews essentially steep the body in antioxidants that heal environmental damage to the lungs’ mucosal lining and alleviate asthma-related irritation.   Reishi mushrooms enhance the oxygen absorption at the tiny tips of the branches of the pulmonary tree (called alveoli), revving up overall lung stamina.  They also contain lanostan, a nature-made antihistamine that counteracts the respiratory symptoms related to seasonal allergies.

Oils

Moisture is key to maintaining optimal lung function. When hydrated, oxygen (from outside air) and carbon dioxide (from inside the body) move freely across the membranes of our respiratory passages. When parched, this vital exchange is compromised.  Sipping on clear liquids is a good start.  But oils are needed to “lock in” these fluids – much like applying lotion after taking a shower. To help, rather than harm, avoid processed or synthetic vegetable oils and spreads. Instead, let those straight from Mother Nature be your focus.  They’ll offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, while the others have the opposite effect.  Reach for whole foods like olives, avocado, coconut, nuts and seeds.  Unrefined extra virgin olive oil is a perfect pick for salads and dips, whereas cold-pressed virgin coconut oils and organic ghee are better suited for high-heat cooking and frying.

 

Eve Persak MS RD CNSC CSSD is a leading international nutrition and wellness consultant with global experience in the fitness, culinary, tech, healthcare, hospitality, and spa industries.  In her private practice she supports athletes and individuals of all ages with sports nutrition, weight loss, digestive conditions and other medical nutritional therapies.

www.evepersak.com

THE 1 DAY ULTIMATE XPT MEAL PLAN

THE 1 DAY ULTIMATE XPT MEAL PLAN

Want to step up your nutrition and eat Extreme Performance Training style? Here is a look at a typical day in the lives of XPT founders and advisors and what participants experience at an EXPERIENCE.

We want to start by prefacing that not every day is the same at every Experience. A lot depends on activity level, location, and availability. We try to have staples available everyday so we are not left scrambling to find foods we want to eat. Scope out your local sources and make it a point to shop frequently. Clean (hormone, antibiotic, dye free foods), whole food (not manufactured and mixed with artificial ingredients) is what we prefer to eat. We try to supplement our food intake with superfoods such as turmeric, mushrooms, acai etc.

Here is a schedule we all follow in our everyday lives and provide for our participants at XPT Experiences.

A.M.|
1 a Glass of water immediately upon waking with a pinch of Himalayan sea salt.
XPT Tip: Wait at least 30 minutes before reaching for any electronic
1 Cup of Coffee and healthy additives
(Laird developed his own line called Laird Superfoods /  Coffee and Creamer)

MID MORNING|
Before lunch we aim to have a turmeric drink/shot to help decrease inflammation.

If we did a workout, we like to mix a Protein supplement with water or have some nuts or nut butter to load up with fat and energy nutrients.

LUNCH TIME|
We eat a light protein or grains, and veggies. Drink Water.
XPT Tip: Reflect on your morning and set goals for the afternoon. Don’t mindlessly eat, be aware of each bite.
*Avoid processed bread, cheese, fried foods, and sugar.

MID DAY|
Drink a kombucha and/or chaga tea that is packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
*A protein or nut bar.

DINNER TIME|
Proteins or grains, and veggies. Water. We follow the same lunch guidelines but increase portion size, depending on activity level after lunch.

Additional Supplements: Depending on the quality of foods consumed additional essential vitamins, calcium etc. may be desired. Occasionally greens or proteins are added to water or smoothies.

Interested in learning what type of products XPT recommends and uses?  Read THE XPT EXPERIENCE FOODS & HYDRATION METHOD’

Darin Olien and Chaga Tea – Chaga, The King of All Mushrooms

If you come to an XPT Experience and Darin Olien is guest lecturing as an XPT Advisor he will most likely make you his famous chaga tea! Loved by all of Team XPT, chaga tea has some incredible ingredients that make up this king of all king mushrooms. Darin has spent years searching for unique, dense nutrients around the world, and this chaga mushroom tea has many.

“Making chaga tea a frequent (or even daily) part of your health routine can boost your health in many different ways! Here are some of chaga’s secret health benefits that will have you drinking it every day!” Darin Olien

chaga-mushroom
A Few Benefits of Chaga Mushrooms

-Contains a high Level of Anti Oxidants & Variety of Vitamins and Minerals
-Is an Immune System Booster & Calmer
-Contains Melonins / Which helps Increase Vitamin D Production

“Studies have shown that drinking chaga tea offers not only protective effects against cancers, but may even help to combat tumors.” Chagatea.org


For more info on Darin and HIS tea recipe visit SuperLifeLiving

XPT EXPERIENCE FOODS & HYDRATION METHOD

THE NOT SO SECRET UNVEILING OF WHAT IS CONSUMED AT EACH 3 DAY XPT EXPERIENCE!

When you attend an Experience, a discrete benefit is the food provided. Since our founders, Laird and Gabby, eat snacks, lunches and meals with the group, participants get to dine just like the founders. In addition to Laird and Gabby, you can find professional athletes and world class coaches sitting at your table readily available and happy to answer your questions and converse further about food choices and philosophies. So what does Laird eat? What does Gabby eat? What does PJ eat? Here is a look at the food and beverages you would be exposed to and consume at an Experience

MID MORNING / AFTERNOON FUEL

 

mid-day-snack

We provide healthy carbs, proteins, and superfood hydration for those that need to refuel their tank before lunch or dinner (snacks for reference). Some people don’t feel the need for anything besides water, but those who feel they have reached their point of feeling empty are offered foods we feel have high quality nutrients and are made with high quality ingredients; a search we continue to explore and experiment with. Just like our fitness, our knowledge and experience with food is ever-growing and evolving, and we like to share our experiences with you.

NUTRIENT DENSE FOOD

NUTS | Macadamia, Almonds, Cashews serve as healthy fats that give you a satisfied, replenished feeling. A salty crunch is a favorite of Gabby’s. We love Royal Hawaiian Macadamia with sea salts – they never get old.

NUT BUTTER & FRUIT | An easy filling fuel is having a nut butter like almond or peanut butter on a banana. We like to have apples and bananas available throughout the day and these fruits go well with the nut butters. Yum Butter has an amazing line; their easy to pour pouches make it simple to serve and add to fruit or consume straight from the container.yum-butter

PROTEIN / PROTEIN BARS | It’s not easy finding hormone free, non-GMO beef, or chicken jerky, but since we discovered EPIC they have been an Experience regular.  EPIC makes animal protein bars as well as bars with berry and nut mixtures. Their products are made with hormone free, non-GMO, free-range animal protein as well as organic nuts and berries. These high energy, protein snacks always seem to be devoured the quickest of any snack we supply. Also, some of our coaches and participants are vegetarians, so we serve plenty of non-animal foods as you will see below.

img_3944

POWER SMOOTHIES | For the sessions where we know people might have burned a ton of calories and need to refuel to make it through the next session before the next big meal, we provide smoothies that are high in calories. High in calories? Yes, high in calories. You see, our participants are highly active and burn so many calories each day that packing on the calories is a good thing, as it is what the body uses for energy. However, we make sure that our calories are high quality; for instance, the smoothies we serve are filled with superfood ingredients. We also like to serve Sunlife Smoothies during Malibu Experiences, as they are packed with a ton of nutrients that fill people up through the next meal.

smoothies

 

COCONUTS | Fresh like Laird has them! Usually in the morning after heat/ice, coconuts are consumed. Coconuts contain electrolytes and are highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Coconuts are classified as a “functional food” because they provide many health benefits beyond their nutritional content.
fresh-coconuts

KOMBUCHA TEA | Gabby has been consuming kombucha once a day for over 15 years. Kombucha is a tea-based beverage that is often consumed for its health benefits or medicinal purposes.

Kombucha is a living health drink made by fermenting tea and sugar with the Kombucha culture. The result can taste similar to a mixtre of sparkling apple cider and champagne, depending on what kind of tea you use. The first recorded use of kombucha comes from China in 221 BC during the Tsin Dynasty.  It was known as “The Tea of Immortality”.

LAIRD SUPERFOOD COFFEE | We start each day as a Team drinking Laird Superfood coffee. We typically provide the coffee mix to participants depending on the activities scheduled mid-morning or afternoon. Laird’s creamer formula has an intense mix of quality fats, vitamins, and minerals, that make coffee time delicious and nutritious.

laird-superfood-coffee

VITAL PROTEINS | The all-round all star / Paleo friendly, Gluten Free, Hormone Free, Sugar Free – includes grass fed, pasture-raised bovine hide collagen peptides (in other words amazing protein benefiting your bones, muscles, skin, nails and more). 1-2 little scoops is all you need in water or any liquid. It’s very easy to consume and we all love it.
vital-proteins

CHAGA TEA | We are spoiled having one of the best nutritionists in the world on our advisory team, Mr. Darin Olien. Darin guest lectures at each of our Malibu Experiences and makes his very own Chaga tea for participants to sample. When consuming, you feel like you are getting a dose of superfood health. Darin has traveled the world searching for superfoods and combines ingredients with incredible powers in his tea. You must try it!

darin-making-homemade-chaga-tea

ELIXIRS | Rarely do the founders drink liquids other than water, coffee, or teas but depending on the ingredients and specific needs, they will have an elixir. With these alternative beverages, we make sure they don’t contain high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, artificial colors or ingredients. They must be all-natural and low in sugar.

TURMERIC | Over the past several years it has come to XPT Founders attention just how effective and important adding turmeric to their diet is. Anyone who does research on turmeric understands its value. Some of the key benefits include promoting muscle recovery and helping minimize inflammation. There are ways to make homemade turmeric by adding it to juices, teas, and/or juiced shots. One amazing brand we discovered that makes it easy for those that don’t have the time to brew their own is Temple Turmeric. We love the methods of their farming, sourcing and flavor combinations; our personal favorite is Pure Prana Turmeric Shot. There are many other emerging brands like turmeric that are now a mainstream health product. Do your research and find out what’s best for you, but remember, everything in moderation.

temple-turmeric

LUNCHES & DINNERS

xpt-nutrition-time

We provide lunches that our founders would have on any normal day. An XPT Experience is not a luxury retreat where you may eat 4 courses and get a glass of champagne before you go lay by the pool after a massage. Our lunches are strictly used to nourish the body and refuel for afternoon activities. It is also a time to connect with the group, share stories, etc. Although nutritious and healthy, the food is always delicious. Ask anyone who has ever attended an experience!

The amount and type of food depends on the activities previously scheduled. We start around 8:00am, so we make sure people have enough fuel to get them to lunch, which is usually scheduled around 12:00pm.

Dinners are usually around 6:00pm and can be more formal than lunch. Sometimes we have time to change into fresh, clean clothes and sometimes not! We will advise participants to come prepared in the instance activities run long.

laird-superfood
Here is a guideline for when the XPT Team orders meals for the group:

LUNCHES | 2 Protein Options / 1 Animal Protein, 1 Vegetarian – Salad and Sides

DINNERS | 3-4 Protein Options / 2-3 Animal Proteins, 1 Vegetarian – Salad and Sides

No bread and no desserts – however, if people want to order those items they can.

  1. Main Dishes (Chicken, Beef, Pork, Fish) – We choose restaurants that use fresh, lean meats

Prepared – usually baked, grilled, or steamed– topped with butter or olive oil, fresh herbs and spices

  1. Veggie & Grain Sides – Spinach, Green Beans, Brussel Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes, Asparagus / Quinoa, Lentils, Sweet potatoes

Prepared: grilled or steamed with sea salt, garlic, butter etc.

*Ollo’s in Malibu makes outstanding side dishes among other things.

  1. Salads – Leafy Greens mixed with goodness and an oil based dressing

* John’s Garden in Malibu makes the best salads – we highly recommend.

xpt-salads

When on Kauai we order Wraps for one of the lunches (they are gluten free) Stuffed with protein and veggies – They are called corn meal Arepas made by Ally’s Cocina – a must have!

XPT TIP: There are small businesses all around us that make unique, healthy, great tasting food. Explore your neighborhood or research on Yelp before you travel so you make it easier on yourself to make good choices.

That is the breakdown for what you can expect to consume at an Experience.
We try to always introduce new foods and keep the menu fresh and delicious. There are many takeaways at the Experience and hopefully eating the XPT way is one of them, as we all have seen great results from this nutrition lifestyle. Ingredients, nutrients, wholefood, real food, variety, portion size, and timing is everything.

Please feel free to share a product with us. We are always open to finding new delicious and healthy foods…who isn’t!

 

17 Nutrition and Weightloss Tips

The way that the food world is set up, it’s no wonder we are all reaching for too much of the wrong foods. There are days I stop and look around and think to myself, “There is nothing to eat”.

Of course, this is an exaggeration, but it does feel like you can get the ZAP no matter what food you eat, meaning, that ‘ZAP…wrong’ when you think you are eating healthy.

 

*How about this yummy protein bar? ZAP! 

(Bars can have tons of sugar and ingredients you can’t pronounce)

*How about this frozen food meal that has limited calories? ZAP!

(Frozen meals often contain very little nutritional value that lack vitamins, minerals, and enzymes).

*How about this delicious low calorie drink that is “organic” and better than soda? ZAP!

(Drinks can contain 35+ grams of sugar that have the capacity to convert to calories in the body). Ow…didn’t even see that one coming.

 

It can be overwhelming, especially if you are trying to do all of this with very little time, high stress, demanding taste buds, and all for a low price.

Want to eat healthier and deal with a few extra pounds? Keep it simple and don’t get sucked into the nutritional black hole!  Here are my top 17 tips:

1. Drink water only

2. If you love your coffee in the morning enjoy it and be mindful of all the “extras” that can add up the calories

3. Eat half of what is on your dinner plate

4. Avoid tons of processed foods (things that can live on the shelf or in a freezer for years and years).

5. Try to prepare your meals and avoid doing too much or any microwaving

6. Unless you are on the road then stay away from food you can get in your car and out of a window. NO DRIVE THRU!

7. Eat all colors of the rainbow every day; green, orange, red, white, brown etc. Mix it up. Salad is just green. We need all kinds of colorful foods to complete a healthy diet.

8. Don’t skip breakfast.

9. Eat for your body type. Figure out which way (high protein, 50-50, or more veggies) makes you feel good.

10. Cut back on sugar, wheat (bread, pastas, flour), and white products in general (too much dairy, cheese, etc) and you will see a difference.

11. NO CORN SYRUP – it’s everywhere!!!!! By drinking water only you will help yourself immensely.

12. If you are going to eat junk eat the real stuff and enjoy it. Don’t eat fat free or low calorie foods. Do the real deal, and make it a treat and not a habit.

13. Don’t suffer. Get creative about eating foods that can actually taste good but don’t have harmful ingredients. Believe me there is a lot of information out there about how to prepare yummy, healthy recipes.

14. Don’t stress about it. This ends up hurting more than anything else you could eat. STRESS is the unhealthiest thing you can do to yourself.

15. Be mindful of snacking yourself into calorie over drive. Eat mindful meals and avoid too much snacking.

16. Eat when you’re hungry and don’t wait until you are starving. This will create a dynamic to over eat, and most likely grab the first thing you see (basket of bread they put out on the table).

17. Do it today. Why wait? You don’t have to do a total overhaul all at once. Baby steps and you’ll get there.

-Gabby

Be Mindful of Mindless Eating

A big cause of being overweight is binge eating or mindless eating. It's necessary to eat when we are hungry, but it's not necessary to eat when we don't feel hungry and because it's a habit. So many of us eat little crunchy foods while watching TV or on the computer without realizing how many calories we are consuming.

Here are some tips to help combat these habits:

-Eat before you watch TV or get on the computer.
-Have a glas of water nearby when you do watch TV or get on the computer and reach for the glass instead. Water makes you feel full and can reduce your feelings of hunger.
-Make some hot tea. Sipping on hot tea may feel more satisfying than water and it arms up your system.
-Don't buy those little tempting foods.  Eat real food – meals, and get rid of the snacks.

If you did a big workout, your metabolism is running high, and your body wants to eat, then here are some snack foods XPT recomends:

-Nuts
-Smoothie
-A nut butter with Apples
-Slice of Turkey

Ditch the little kid food and after awhile observe how you 'feel' not just 'look'.

Let us know how you do!

By Gabby Reece

The Effects Of High Sugar Consumption On Your Body

Most people understand the big temptation that аll thоѕе cakes, chocolate аnd candies can have, and sugar is the mаin rеаѕоn bеhind it. It creates thе wonderful sweetness that easily stimulates our taste buds and leaves us craving for more. But аftеr understanding the devastating effects thаt sugar асtuаllу has on our health, уоu will definitely agree thаt it wоuld bе wiѕе tо opt fоr sugar-free desserts аnd drinks instead.

 

Wе аrе consuming mоrе аnd mоrе sugar in оur diet today withоut realizing it. Thеrе is large amounts оf hidden sugar in оur soft drinks, soda, spaghetti, peanut butter, canned vegetables аnd аlmоѕt аll processed foods. Thiѕ excessive sugar consumption hаѕ bееn thе primary саuѕе fоr obesity аnd оthеr chronic diseases. Inside оur body, thе amount оf excess sugar wе consume quickly turns intо fat, whiсh results in weight gain, abdominal obesity аnd could increase thе risk оf deadly illnesses likе gout, kidney disease, heart disease аnd diabetes. Sugar hаѕ аlѕо bееn observed tо weaken thе immune system, саuѕе anxiety аnd mood swings, aggravate asthma, grow gallstones, add arthritis аnd raise blood pressure.

 

Refined sugar hаѕ bееn stripped оf thе minerals needed tо digest it, ѕuсh аѕ magnesium, cobalt, copper, zinc, chromium, manganese аnd therefore will take thе body's mineral reserves tо metabolize it. Mоrе dangerously, ассоrding tо ѕоmе studies, sugar еvеn draws calcium frоm оur teeth аnd bones tо process it whеn thеrе iѕ nоt еnоugh calcium in оur diet. Other consequences due tо tоо muсh sugar consumption include: weakened eyesight, tooth decay, premature ѕkin aging, decreased growth hormone, hormonal imbalance, increased cholesterol level аnd liver fat, constipation аnd lowered enzymes' functioning ability.

 

Moreover, rapid absorption оf sugar induces excessive food intake, еѕресiаllу in people with obesity, making thе situation еvеn worse. If this scares you, then it may be time to regulate the amount of sugar in your diet.

 

Nоw thаt уоu hаvе learned оf thе horrifying health threats that sugar can have, уоu ѕhоuld start limiting уоur daily sugar intake today, еѕресiаllу if уоu аrе overweight, hаvе high cholesterol, high blood pressure оr diabetes. Thе recommended sugar consumption реr day iѕ uр tо 25 grams аnd nо more. However, еvеrуоnе loves candies аnd desserts! It'ѕ еѕресiаllу difficult for candy lovers and overweight people tо ѕау nо tо them. Therefore, sugar-free desserts аrе thе perfect solution tо thiѕ problem. Unsweetened desserts оr desserts sweetened with fruit juice аnd оthеr sugar substitutes аrе great whеn уоu wаnt tо avoid thе health dangers оf sugar whilе ѕtill bеing аblе tо satisfy уоur sweet cravings frоm timе tо time. Sugar-free desserts hеlр уоu maintain a healthy diet withоut hаving tо steer completely сlеаr оf уоur favorite foods.

 

Americans hаvе аn addiction tо sugar. On average, Americans consume аn estimated 156 pounds of sugar реr year. It'ѕ found in candies, baked goods аnd оthеr confections, but also in the most absurd оf places. Canned vegetables, condiments, salad dressings, pastas, gravies, еvеn chicken stock аnd оthеr foods thаt dоn't taste distinctly sweet аt аll аrе оftеn loaded with thе substance tо enhance flavor. Thiѕ iѕ еѕресiаllу true with "low fat" foods, whiсh аrе loaded with sugar in thе рlасе оf fat. Givеn thе ubiquity оf sugar in thе modern industrialized diet, it саn bе a challenge tо gеt аwау from. However, thе nееd tо dо ѕо hаѕ bесоmе painfully obvious. Refined sugar iѕ incredibly destructive tо thе human bоdу аnd contributes tо mаnу оf thе mоѕt common diseases оf modern times.

 

Sugar Feeds Cancer Cells

 

It'ѕ widely knоwn thаt consumption оf refined sugar саn promote cancer bу causing chronic inflammation аnd obesity, but did уоu knоw thаt оnсе уоu hаvе cancer, it асtuаllу serves аѕ fuel fоr thе errant cells? Cancerous cells grow muсh faster thаn nоrmаl cells, approximately еight timеѕ faster, аnd thiѕ process requires considerable amounts оf sugar fоr energy. Tаkе аwау thе sugar аnd thе cancer will starve аnd bесоmе weak. Bесаuѕе people typically hаvе cancer lоng bеfоrе thеу аrе diagnosed, it'ѕ bеttеr tо simply avoid it аt аll costs. Thоѕе snack cakes might bе tasty, but аrе thеу rеаllу worth уоur life?

 

Cold, Flu and Reduced Immunity

 

Eасh year, right аrоund cold аnd flu season, thе public iѕ bombarded with advertisements reminding thеm tо gеt thеir flu shot аnd alerting thеm tо great deals оn tissues аnd cough remedies. Hаvе уоu еvеr looked аt thе ingredients оn thеѕе cough remedies? Mоѕt аrе loaded with sugar. Meanwhile, nоbоdу ѕееmѕ tо question whу thеѕе problems аrе ѕо common in thе firѕt place. It iѕ nоt a natural thing tо gеt sick еvеrу year withоut fail, аnd thе fact thаt it dоеѕ hарреn means ѕоmеthing iѕ vеrу wrong with society's collective health. Science hаѕ revealed in recent years thаt sugar mау bе thе cause. Sugar hаѕ a direct suppressant effect оn thе immune system thаt lasts for аѕ long аѕ five hours аftеr consumption. Whеn уоu соnѕidеr hоw muсh timе sugar-eaters spend in public with оnе another, it'ѕ easy tо ѕее whу thеѕе yearly epidemics happen. Eating sugar iѕ tantamount tо laying оut thе wеlсоmе mat fоr viruses!

 

Digestive Diseases

 

Digestive problems hаvе bесоmе оnе оf thе mоѕt common complaints оf Americans in thе lаѕt fеw decades аnd nеаrlу аll оf thеm саn bе traced tо аn unhealthy, sugar-laden diet. Thе intestines аrе home tо hundreds оf diffеrеnt species оf yeast аnd bacteria, ѕоmе good аnd ѕоmе bad. Mаnу оf thе harmful microorganisms thrive on sugar, ѕо if уоu consumed a diet high in refined sugar, уоu аrе helping crowd оut thе good yeasts аnd bacteria. Whеn harmful organisms overwhelm уоur body, a variety оf illnesses саn result.

 

Digestive disorders aren't thе оnlу things thаt саn bе caused bу dysbiosis, however. Secondary problems likе nutritional deficiencies, obesity, chronic fatigue аnd mood disorders аrе аlѕо common results. Good bacteria consume soluble fiber frоm fruits аnd vegetables аnd turn thеm intо valuable vitamins, еѕресiаllу thоѕе оf thе B group. Thiѕ раrtiсulаr vitamin group iѕ essential fоr nervous system health аnd maintenance, energy production, metabolic support аnd creating mood-enhancing neurotransmitters likе serotonin. Immune insufficiency mау аlѕо bе caused bу a poor bacterial balance in thе gut. Good bacteria асt аѕ guardians оf thе immune system, protecting it frоm thе bad microorganisms аnd teaching it tо recognize true threats.

 

Anуоnе whо wishes tо avoid detrimental effects оn thеir health аnd well-being iѕ advised tо givе uр refined sugars аnd processed carbohydrates in аll оf thеir forms. Thеѕе include corn syrups, evaporated cane juice, pasteurized honey, white flours аnd аnуthing with 'sugar', 'cane' in itѕ nаmе and/or еndѕ iѕ "ose". Althоugh giving uр thеѕе things promotes good health, it mау nоt аlwауѕ bе enough. If уоu'vе bееn eating a lot оf sugar, уоur populations оf beneficial gut bacteria nееd tо bе brought back intо balance. Fоr this, fermented foods оr a high-quality probiotic supplement аnd аrе recommended. And bе ѕurе tо choose a wheat and soy free Probiotic that соntаinѕ ѕеvеrаl bacteria strains for optimal results.

 

Tоо muсh sugar consumption саn lead tо a diet thаt iѕ quite poor. A poor diet саn саuѕе lasting damage tо thе immune system. A poor diet, оvеr a lоng period оf time, саn bе responsible fоr lasting damage tо one's оvеrаll health, еvеn аftеr оnе makes аn improvement in eating habits.

 

Sugar рrоvidеѕ thе single largest dose оf calories thаt Americans get. Specifically, оnе оf thе major types оf sugar thаt Americans eat iѕ high-fructose corn syrup.

 

Thе average annual dose оf sugar Americans ate, covering a span оf оvеr 300 years iѕ listed below:

 

* In thе year 1700 – 4 pounds

* In 1800 – 18 pounds

* In 1900 – 90 pounds

* In 2009 – 180 pounds

 

Whilе уоu mау dispute thе еxасt number оf pounds оf sugar consumed in thе list above, ѕinсе еасh рlасе I looked fоr thе statistics did givе ѕоmеwhаt diffеrеnt results, оnе thing iѕ consistent in еасh report I looked at… American sugar consumption оvеr thе years hаѕ vastly increased!

 

Excessive amounts оf sugar, оf course, саn lead tо obesity. Bеing obese increases уоur risk оf heart disease, kidney disease, аnd diabetes. Tоо muсh sugar саn affect thе brain, memory, mood, energy levels, аnd саuѕе cavities. It raises thе insulin level, thuѕ inhibiting thе release оf growth hormones.

 

Simple sugars mау aggravate asthma, саuѕе mood swings, сhаngеѕ in personality, bе a factor in mental illness, аnd feed nervous disorders. Excessive sugars mау аlѕо contribute tо heart disease, gall stones, hypertension, аnd arthritis.

 

Sugar hаѕ nо minerals, vitamins оr fiber. It hаѕ bееn shown tо hаvе a negative effect оn thе endocrine system. Thе American Dietetic Association аnd Thе American Diabetic Association agree thаt sugar consumption iѕ оnе оf thе major саuѕеѕ оf degenerative diseases in America!

 

Tоо muсh sugar upsets thе body's mineral balance аnd destroys nutrients levels, weakening thе immune system. It elevates thе bad cholesterol (LDL) аnd reduces thе good cholesterol (HDL).

 

Consequences оf a weakened immune system mау bе a factor in tooth decay, acid stomach, periodontal disease, weight gain, diabetes, osteoporosis, allergies, atherosclerosis (hardening оf thе arteries), a large increase in thе liver, headaches, аnd increase оf bacterial fermentation in thе colon.

 

In summary, tо avoid thе negative problems listed in thiѕ article, plan tо bе оn a mоrе healthy diet withоut muсh sugar. A healthy diet will improve уоur immune system, reduce уоur risk оf illness оr disease, аnd increase уоur chances оf living a lоng life.

 

Written By, Guest Blogger, Jordan Thompson

http://paleodietworks.com/

Morning Superfood Coffee

This morning coffee is one of our favorites! Provides a long sustained energy burn to charge you through to lunch. 

INGREDIENTS: 

10oz coffee, or Americano
1 Tablespoon of Laird's Original Superfood Creamer (Aquamin, Coconut Milk, Coconut Oil, Red Palm Oil)
1 Packet of Laird's Top Fuel Creamer (Organic Oils & Butter containing natural mct's)
1/2 Teaspoon Laird Performance Mushroom Blend (Chaga, Cordyceps, Maitake, Lions Mane)
1 Teaspoon fresh Turmeric Powder

DIRECTIONS:

Blend with a bullet blender (top fuel creamer must be blended, but will froth nicely). 

If you want to try this recipe but don't have ingredients, you can find them here: https://lairdsuperfood.com

Are You Addicted to Food?

I was busy as always writing strategies for people's relationship with food, and then something dawned on me. For some of you, it's not just about "Hey, cut back on your portions," or "Just eat real and living food." What about "stay away from fast food and nuked food"? My list of do's and don'ts is a block long, but in a lot of cases, it's not that simple.

Food is a drug, and a lot of us are addicted to it. We get stressed, we reach for a donut to soothe our souls. Lonely? Pizza is a warm companion. Feeling bad about ourselves? Ice cream eases the pain. It's a fact that the craving for sugar affects our brain the same way the need for heroin does. No wonder we turn to food — it's legal, we can use it in public, and it's relatively cheap.

If you've tried everything to conquer your food addiction and it's not happening, then it's time to try a new strategy. We don't expect alcoholics to "get over it" on their own. Bulimia and anorexia are classified as diseases for a reason. So why do we think we can throw a list of foods at someone and expect them to deal with it by themselves?

First, you have to acknowledge that you don't have the will power on your own. The cravings and callings are bigger then you (for now). What can you do about it? Get help. Go see a doctor or nutritionist that will put you on a program. This is not about failure or being a bad person, this is about finding a way to get healthy and strong. Nothing else. Beating yourself up is not going to do anything. Love yourself enough to feel you deserve a little help.

Your program should include checking in with someone weekly and having someone you can talk to daily if you need to. I mean, how long have 12-step programs been around? When alcoholics get sober, they still go to meetings. It maybe something you have to deal with for the rest of your life, and that's OK. Remember, it's about staying healthy. Getting clean and staying clean. In this instance, clean doesn't mean giving up the Jack Daniels, it's about stepping away from the burgers and fries (and milkshakes).

Once you start this process, you must commit to it! Even when it's difficult, keep your eyes on the goal and don't look back. We're all human, and we all evolve. This doesn't mean we're perfect — it means we work on improving every day. So stop being hard on yourself and do something to make a difference in someone's life who matters — YOURS.

10 Essentials for a Bathing Suit Body

By Gabby Reece

Round and round we go: Here comes another shorts and bathing-suit season. Are you in need of some new fitness tips to throw into the mix? For many of us, it’s really not about the list, since we already know what to do. It’s about getting inspired and re-energized to tackle those two lifestyle habits we know so well: eating and exercise. Think of it as being reborn anew just in time for some fun in the sun, and consider this your starting point.

1. Hit the restart button:

I could care less how you have eaten in the past, what you weigh today, or how long you sat on the couch watching TV yesterday. Moving on, this is your rebirth. Don’t let the past stop you from embracing your future.

2. Assemble a crew:

No woman or man is an island and NO ONE can do it alone. The days I get to workout with friends are so much more productive than the days I have to go at it alone. It’s like night and day. Exercise has been a big part of my life for over 22 years, and I am not going to lie, I still need inspiration and people to help me be accountable. In other words, I need a good kick in the butt. Sound familiar? Find a few friends who you can schedule exercise with, and I recommend more than one in case someone flakes. If you’re watching what you eat, find friends who are attempting to tackle their food issues, too. You can swap easy and tasty recipes or just have someone to call when you want to make a pit stop at the emotional drive-thru.

3. Believe in your goals:

To successfully reach a large goal, you’ve got to believe it’s possible. Look to the future and visualize your destination. Continue to drive this image of success home and imagine the feeling when you reach your goal. Eventually, you crossing the finish line will be part of your belief system. Do this visualization once or twice a day; it’s a reprogramming of the mind, body, and heart.

4. Eliminate obstacles:

Before you can move on to the technical part of eating well and exercising, you have to look at some of the things in your life that may be stopping you: depression, bad relationships, high stress, little time, or feeling lazy. I know them all. Whatever it is in your life, can you find a way to minimize its impact, begin dealing with it once and for all, and break the old habits to make room for the new? This statement was said to me and really resonated: “There are no victims, just volunteers.” At a certain point we all have to decide, are we going to let the past keep us from our future regardless of how painful or difficult it has been? I’m not trying to be insensitive; I am merely saying you can get beyond the past that is not serving you now.

5. Put it down on paper:

Now that we have talked about some of the abstract parts of making our summertime change, it’s time to tackle the nuts and bolts of our plan. The key here is to make a plan. You know where you want to be, but how are you going to get there? Write down your goals and then create a strategy for each one of them. For example, if you are not exercising at all, then your plan might be to get moving 3 or 4 days a week for at least 30 minutes a day. (Walking is a great exercise that anyone can do.) If you are overeating, then begin by cutting your meals and snacks in half. There is no magic pill, and, yes, hard work is still a key part of your success.

6. Just say no to stress:

We all have stress in our daily lives and experience more severe stress from time to time. It’s important to find ways to minimize the effects of stress on our bodies. Among other negative health consequences, stress can make you gain weight or keep you from losing it (especially around the mid-section). My favorite stress-busting techniques include deep breathing, meditation, prayer, screaming into a pillow, psycho therapy, and boxing classes. This is my challenge to you: Can you push the stress away and find ways to keep it from sneaking in?

7. Give nutrient-poor foods the boot:

This may be too restrictive for you, but these are the rules I find most effective for losing or maintaining weight:

* No fast food

* No white, processed foods (white sugar, flour, pasta, rice, bread, dairy, and any other WHITE food). Is brown rice okay? You bet.

* Watch portion sizes

* Avoid snack foods in bags, wrappers, and microwavable packages

* Eat only until you are full, and only when you are truly hungry

* Avoid reaching for foods in a times of stress, loneliness, depression or boredom. When you feel yourself arriving at that place call a member from your crew or go take a drive.

* Eliminate alcohol. Alcoholic drinks tend to be full of calories and also can lead to careless eating when you get a little buzzed.

* Reach for water. Sugary drinks (diet and regular sodas, juices, and even the “healthy” beverages) make up 20% of the average American’s daily calories.

8. Find your caveman:

You can’t just turn on your thin switch; I wish it were that easy. A body in motion stays in motion, and since the beginning of time, humans were meant to move. It’s not just about sweating and suffering—I believe we feel better on many levels when we are doing more physical activity. Not everyone is a professional athlete, but we are all capable of picking up the pace. Find your own way, at your own fitness level, with things you like to do; but find that caveman or woman inside of you and move!

9. Enjoy the moment:

We all want to get there right away, but try to enjoy the moment wherever you are. Even for the challenging stuff you are dealing with, try to embrace it and learn from it. Look ahead to where you want to go, and stay inspired to strive. But, be careful not to get so overwhelmed with the endpoint that you pass by where you are right now.

10. Have some fun and reward yourself:

If you get into a good rhythm for a few weeks, congratulate yourself and celebrate. Throw a dinner for your crew and honor each other for work well-done. You don’t have to go so far as to give out mini trophies, unless you really want to; it feels good just to celebrate as a group and to be recognized for your hard work.

Go get it, and good luck!

16 Nutrition and Weightloss Tips by Gabby Reece

The way that the food world is set up it’s no wonder we are all reaching for too much of the wrong foods.  There are days I stop and look around and think to myself “there is nothing to eat”.

Of course this is an exaggeration, but it does feel like you can get the ZAP no matter what food you eat; meaning, that ‘ZAP…wrong’ when you think you are eating healthy.

*How about this yummy protein bar? ZAP!
(Bars can have tons of sugar and ingredients you can’t pronounce)

*How about this frozen food meal that has limited calories? ZAP!
(Frozen meals often contain very little nutritional value that lack vitamins, minerals, and enzymes).

*How about this delicious low calorie drink that is “organic” and better than soda? Zap!
(Drinks can contain 35+ grams of sugar that have the capacity to convert to calories in the body).   Ow…didn’t even see that one coming.

It can be overwhelming especially if you are trying to do all of this with little time, high stress, demanding taste buds, and for a low price.
Want to eat healthier and deal with a few extra pounds?  Keep it simple and don’t get sucked into the nutritional black hole!

  1. Drink Water Only
  2.  If you love your coffee in the morning enjoy it and be mindful of all the “extras” that can add up the calories
  3.  Eat half of what is on your dinner plate if it’s over proportioned while dining out – take half home.
  4.  Avoid tons of processed foods (things that can live on the shelf or in a freezer for years and years).
  5.  Try to prepare your meals and avoid doing too much or any microwaving
  6.  Unless you are on the road then stay away from food you can get in your car and out of a window.  NO DRIVE THRU!
  7.  Eat all colors of the rainbow every day; green, orange, red, white, brown etc.  Mix it up.  Salad is just green.  We need all kinds of colorful foods to complete a healthy diet.
  8.  Eat for your body type.  Figure out which way (high protein, 50-50, or more veggies) makes you feel good.
  9.  Cut back on sugar, wheat (bread, pastas, flour), and white products in general (too much dairy, cheese, etc) and you will see a difference.
  10.  NO CORN SYRUP – it’s everywhere!!!!!  By drinking water only you will help yourself immensely.
  11.  If you are going to eat junk eat the real stuff and enjoy it.  Don’t eat fat free or low calorie foods.  Do the real deal, and make it a treat and not a habit.
  12.  Don’t suffer.  Get creative about eating foods that can actually taste good but don’t have harmful ingredients.  Believe me there is a lot of information out there about how to prepare yummy, healthy recipes.
  13.  Don’t stress about it.  This ends up hurting more than anything else you could eat. STRESS is the unhealthiest thing you can do to yourself.
  14.  Be mindful of snacking yourself into calorie over drive.  Eat mindful meals that fill you up and avoid too much snacking.
  15.  Eat when you’re hungry and don’t wait until you are starving.  This will create a dynamic to over eat, and most likely grab the first thing you see (basket of bread they put out on the table).
  16. Do it today.  Why wait? You don’t have to do a total overhaul all at once.  Baby steps and you’ll get there.

Laird Hamilton’s Surfer Diet and Exercise Routine

Big Wave Surfer Laird Hamilton shares a day in the life of his typical nutrition and water activity schedule when a decent size swell arrives (IN SEASON NOV-MARCH). With Laird’s summer workout combination of 90 minute functional training sessions, alternated with his innovative pool workouts, is considered highly demanding by most people’s standards, it is really just a warm-up for the “real deal”. When he is back in Hanalei Bay with his fellow big wave surfers, Laird’s real work begins. Anyone who has made the journey out to Kauai to spend a few days with Laird when he is at full-tilt, has seen first-hand the intense pace he and his tow-in partners maintain when the “big swell” is in.Of course, with all Laird’s physical activity comes plenty of healthy eating and proper nutrition supplementation to make sure that he has the all essential nutrition necessary to support such an intense schedule.

Big Wave Surfer Laird Hamilton shares a day in the life of his typical diet and exercise activity schedule when a decent size swell arrives (IN SEASON NOV-MARCH). With Laird’s summer workout combination of 90 minute functional strength training programs sessions, alternated with his innovative pool workouts, is considered highly demanding by most people’s standards, it is really just a warm-up for the “real deal”. When he is back in Hanalei Bay with his fellow big wave surfers, Laird’s real work begins. Anyone who has made the journey out to Kauai to spend a few days with Laird when he is at full-tilt, has seen first-hand the intense pace he and his tow-in partners maintain when the “big swell” is in. Of course, with all Laird’s physical activity comes plenty of healthy eating and proper nutrition supplementation to make sure that he has the all essential nutrition necessary to  support such an intense schedule. But like most other world-class athletes, Laird has his own tried and true nutrition routine that he has perfected over years of personal experimentation. So for those of you who like to live vicariously through Laird’s big wave exploits, or if you are just looking to pick-up a few tips for how to perform your best, here is a typical Laird Hamilton big wave day.

Typical Laird Hamilton Big Wave Day

5:50 A.M. – Hydrate
Laird has recently been drinking a giant glass of water to start the day, and to get the pipes working; mixed with ¼ tsp. of Himalayan salt and fresh squeezed lemon.

6:00 A.M. – Father Daughter Bonding Breakfast; Laird and Brody share a morning smoothie

Brody is an early riser like Laird, while Reece sleeps in a bit longer. Brody loves her morning time all to herself with her Dad. This time of year Laird adds two full scoops of Whey protein for himself (staying warm in the surf burns up to an extra 400 calories an hour), plus adds ½ scoop for each girl.  Then mixes in a serving of Greens, as well as a broad concoction of fruits, nuts, and other ingredients to increase the calorie count.

6:15 A.M – ESPRESSO
Laird drinks a cup of his Superfood Coffee and Creamer.

6:30 A.M – Quick Surf Check
Calls to the crew

6:45 A.M. – Barn
Quick commute to his river front work shed – workout barn ‘man cave’.

7:00 A.M. – Gear Check and Load-Up
(jet ski fuel check, rope and radio equipment inspection, board selection, and mount-up)

7:30 A.M. to 1 P.M. –  5 hour morning Foilboard session
(20 or more 2 to 3 minute rides each)

1:30 P.M. – Massive Lunch with the Boys and / or Gabby
Laird’s lunch is usually a major sushi and sashimi chow-down, typically consuming enough food for two grown men. A combination of up to 8 assorted raw fresh fish and vegetable rolls, plus plenty of locally caught Ahi. No bread or pasta, just lots of close-to-the-source local foods, including plenty of fresh fruit and coconut water that is hand-picked and straight from the shell.

2:30 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. – Afternoon Ocean Session
Foilboard session 2, tow-in or afternoon SUP session, (10 or more additional rides per person)

5:00-5:30 P.M – Stretching, Meditation

5:30 P.M. – Sunset River Paddle Board Session
40 minutes or more of high intensity stand-up paddle boarding

6:30 P.M. – Dinner with the family
Gabby cooks almost every night. Always plenty of high quality protein such as very lean steak seasoned with sea salt, served with a variety of vegetables, quinoa, and a big salad.

8:30 P.M. to 9:30 P.M. – Quiet Time
Reading, nightly walk with the kids, Gabby and Laird personal time.

9:35 P.M. – Bed
Laird winds down early to recharge for the next day. He is adamant about getting enough sleep 7-8 hours.

The friends and family who take turns rotating into Kauai throughout the winter months to be a nearby spectator to the daily exploits of Laird and his co-extreme big wave surfers, get to momentarily immerse themselves in this high-energy and high-risk routine. Better yet, a few brave souls even get to occasionally join in. But to maintain the pace of a big wave surfer day-in and day-out requires significant prior conditioning and discipline. So when you start to feel like maybe your 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity a day is a bit tiring, remember, Laird and team get that much exercise in by 9 A.M, just as a warm-up to 8 hours more of intense physical activity.

Written By, XPT Editor

Register Now