Got Milk?

Got Milk? Now that’s a question that has received tons of controversy in the past 30 years. Is milk really good for you? Does it make you fat? Does it make you thin? Does it play a role in cancer or heart disease? Does it help promote bone development? Is whole milk better? Is skim milk better? What about pasteurization and homogenization? One day, milk is good for us. The next day, milk is bad for us. I will be honest, in my own personal research on milk, for every article I find praising milk, I can find another one tearing it apart. So, what should we believe? What is the truth? Well, the truth is milk can be good and milk can be bad for us. Huh? I believe the difference depends on some very important questions. Ask yourself, where does the milk come from (organic and pastured-fed or conventional and grain-fed), are their additives (synthetic Vitamin A, D, and thickeners like carrageenan), has it been pasteurized and homogenized, is it whole fat or skim, and finally, what if the person drinking the milk has a milk intolerance? The question of, is milk really good for us? depends on so many variables. So, for us to make an educated decision on choosing or not choosing to add milk to our diet we need to understand a few things… Organic and pasture-fed vs. conventional grain-fed milk. As I discussed in a previous blog, Where is the grass-fed beef? pastured, grass-fed cattle produce a far superior product than commercial, grain-fed cattle. This is not only true in the meat they...

Polyunsaturated fats: Essential or toxic?

Polyunsaturated fats: Essential or toxic? Yes, I’m back—back with even more mind-twisting information that will make you question, once again, the foods you are feeding your body. Today’s topic — Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids — also known as PUFAs. Now, before you stop reading because you have no idea what the heck PUFAs are, and you are not interested in all this science jargon — I beg you to continue. Why? Because you are probably consuming PUFAs everyday! The problem is, you are most likely thinking you are doing something healthful for yourself. When in fact, you may be causing your body to age faster, slowing your metabolic rate, which is making you fatter, and increasing your chances of disease. Do I have your attention now? Good! Let’s continue. First, what are polyunsaturated fats? Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are fatty acids with many double bonds. All polyunsaturated fatty acids lack several hydrogen atoms. This makes them far less stable than a fully saturated fatty acid. This instability produces a molecule that is more susceptible to being attacked and damaged by free radicals. Free radical damage can cause accelerated aging, hormone imbalance, cancer, and immune disorders. Yikes! So what oils contain polyunsaturated fats? Well, to be honest ALL oils contain some amount of PUFAs. Here is a list of oils that have the highest concentration and can be the most harmful: Soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil, sesame seed, nut oils (peanut, walnut, almond, etc), flaxseed, fish oil, cod liver oil, evening primrose, borage oils, and yes, this even includes Omega-3 and Omega-6 (also known as the “essential fatty acids”)....

Seven Exercise movements EVERYONE should be doing…

  Seven Exercise movements EVERYONE should be doing… When I talk about exercises there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of exercises you can literally perform.  Now, with the on-set of functional training, kettle bells, ropes, med balls, bands, TRX, etc the quest for the perfect workout seems quite confusing. Well, I am here to make it a little easier  for you.  Your body is designed to move…right?  In fact, your body is designed to perform seven main primal movement patterns.  Primal patterns are used to describe the movement patterns our ancestors used while hunting, gathering and building.  They are the same movement patterns we use today in every day life.  They are to lunge, push, pull, squat, bend, twist and gait (walking/running).  Therefore, to keep your body strong, lean and functional, EVERY great workout you perform should contain some, if not all, of these primal patterns… Squat.  The squat is one of the best exercises to strengthen the butt, front (quads) and back (hamstrings) of the legs.  Most of us squat all day long and do not even realize it.  Every time you sit down you are squatting…well, almost.  When you do an actual squat you don’t sit back on anything.  You sit back and put the weight of your body in your heals and when you feel you can not go any lower you come up… (Push) Push Up, chest press, etc.  This is a great chest and core exercise.  A push-up is just a plank in motion.  Start on your knees.  Trying doing as many as you can and then add in at least one more push-up each week. ...

Metabolically Stimulating Fat?

Metabolically stimulating fat? Once upon a time, in a world far, far away — well… Atlanta, Georgia (far enough), I used to be a no-fat freak. Yes, you heard me. I wouldn’t go near the stuff. I, like many of you, was under the impression that dietary fat makes your body fatter. So, if fat makes you fat, eating no fat must help keep you thin and healthy. Right? Wrong! The problem was that most of our “trusted advisors” were on board with this theory — the USDA, our doctors, and every health-related book and magazine preached this message. Many still do. You see, fat does not make us fat. Wait, let me specify — certain fats, especially saturated medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), like coconut oil, do not make us fat. In fact, these MCFA can do quite the opposite. Back in the 1990s our trusted researchers failed to realize that not all fats are created equal. Bad fats, like hydrogenated oils, trans-fats, and PUFAs, will make you fat — not only by their high caloric values but by their metabolically lowering effect. Remember, there is more to gaining body fat than just calories. The actual response of your metabolism (revving it up or slowing it down) is far more important. Back in 1990s, I could have been the poster child for how to slow down your metabolism. I ate tons of low fat, low calorie processed foods filled with vegetable oils, fillers, additives, hormones, and other (pardon my language) crap. I performed hours of steady cardio every day. I got very little sleep and I drank alcohol...

Why I love saturated fat…

My saturated fat story… If there is one thing you should know about me it is this — I have always been a health freak and a workout queen — and I have loved every minute of it. I knew from the moment I started walking that a sitting job was never going to work for me. Thus, I think I was born to be the athlete-personal trainer-fitness-nutrition freak that I am today.   You know, your basic super hero.. Fast forward a few decades to about a year ago, I was training for 3 or 4 half-marathons, a possible half Iron Man triathlon, and a few 10-hour hikes — crazy, yet normal for me at that time of my life. I thought my body was healthy, so I could do anything…right? Nope. Unfortunately, at the end of 2010, I incurred a nasty groin strain. This was not my first injury, but this was the first injury that was absolutely relentless — and alarmingly, it was not healing. About the same time, my body started to feel chronically tired, I gained a few pounds, and I was feeling “blah” — not a good state for a fitness professional. I went to every doctor, massage therapist, chiropractor, orthopedic professional, physical therapist, acupuncturist, voodoo-ist I could find (ok, I didn’t do voodoo, but I considered it). Each appointment would help for a bit, yet nothing seemed to completely heal me. I felt “off”, and I started to become totally frustrated. I am a nutritionist, so I knew I was eating right. I was trying to stay less active (Ok, I did the...

Demonizing Saturated fats…did we make a mistake?

Demonizing saturated fats…did we make a mistake? More than ever, it seems people today are confused on what to eat and what is truth. With so much conflicting information AND changing of nutrition advice, we are all at a loss as to what is actually healthy for us and what is not. I know my head is constantly spinning. The truth is, overall, we really don’t know that much about food, nutrition, hormonal response to foods, and how this all affects our physiology. Nutrition is such a new science — we’ve barely touched the surface as to the power it has over our health and wellbeing. And we’ve mislabeled good things as bad and bad things as good over time. We learn as we go and as we take a deeper look at the old and new data. With that said, today I want to talk about a very controversial topic — saturated fat. You know, the evil, artery clogging, heart attack promoting stuff that most doctors tell you to eliminate from your diet or lower as much as possible. Today I want to present another side to the saturated fat story. I want to discuss with you (with studies to back up what I’m saying) why I believe saturated fat has undeservingly received a bad reputation. I will discuss why saturated fat can actually be very beneficial to you — why we have been brainwashed into thinking it is unhealthful and why you should start incorporating it back into your daily diet. First, what are saturated fats? Saturated fats are chains of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen that are...

Carrageenan…you may want to avoid this food additive.

Carrageenan…you may want to avoid this food additive. What if I told you that everyone reading this article is most likely consuming on a weekly basis — if not daily — a harmful natural substance that has been linked to arthritis, immunodeficiency, Crohn’s disease, decreased liver enzymes, thyroid issues, ulcerations, and cancer of the gastrointestinal track. What if told you that this substance is found in most soy milks, almond milks, rice milks, hot dogs, ice creams, cottage cheeses, yogurts, and other processed food products? It’s also in some make-up brands, shampoos, lotions, and lubricants. Yes, it is everywhere. What if I told you that this natural food additive has been known as a dangerous allergen since 1940, yet it’s still classified by the FDA as “safe for human consumption”? Quite honestly, this news should not surprise most of you, since the FDA also approves MSG (linked to brain damage, obesity, and cancer), aspartame (linked to MS, seizures, memory issues, and blindness), saccharine (linked to many cancers), and Olestra the fat-substitute in Wow chips (remember the warning: Olestra may cause abdominal cramping and loose stool). I am going to guess that most of you have never heard of this natural substance, so today will be an introduction as to why you should be avoiding this food additive. What am I talking about? CARRAGEENAN. Car-A-what? Pronounced: Care-a-GEE-nan What is carrageenan? Carrageenan is a polysaccharide extracted from red seaweed. It’s also considered a food “gum” and a food additive. It is used as a thickener, emulsifier (helping liquids stay mixed together without separating), and a food stabilizer (preventing sugars or ice...

“Miracle” weight loss supplement?

“Miracle” weight loss supplement? The other day I was in the middle of a training session with one of my favorite clients when she asked me if I had watched the Dr. Oz show on Monday. Since I am not an avid TV watcher or a big Dr. Oz fan, I replied that I had not. Personally, I feel his show can be somewhat educational, but most of the time I feel it turns into an advertisement for weight-loss gadgets, snacks, and supplements (topic for another blog). Anyway, my client proceeded to tell me about a new “miracle” weight-loss supplement Dr. Oz was promoting. Wow! Another miracle weight-loss supplement — awesome, please tell me about it. My client asked me if I have ever heard of raspberry ketones. Actually, in my 20 years in the health and fitness industry, believe it or not, I have not. She then continued to tell me how these ketones can shrink your fat cells and make your body think it is thin. Ok — sounds interesting — and completely outlandish. Finally, she told me how the supplement is a concentrated source of raspberry ketones that is equivalent to over 90 pounds of raspberries. Also, very interesting. My next question was, how do these “raspberry ketones” work? How could they shrink your fat cells? As my client was huffing and puffing through her workout — she was working pretty impressively hard — she looked at me a little confused, “I don’t know Kate. I just know they are supposed to shrink your fat cells.” Quite honestly, this is a typical answer when you ask...

What is up with Vitamin D?

What is Up With Vitamin D? The other day I was consulting with a new client (I’ll refer to her as Julie) about her recent lab work. One thing Julie had a concern about was her Vitamin D level…which was considerably low. Julie wondered how these levels could be so low since she played hours of tennis outside every day. She explained how she was out in the sun daily with only SPF 15 sunscreen. She thought she was getting enough sun…yet was she? It seems in today’s world that everyone is deficient in Vitamin D. I live in the sunniest place on earth, San Diego, and everyone I speak with has some level of Vitamin D deficiency. Knowing we can synthesis our own Vitamin D from the sun, why are we all so deficient? Who or what is to blame about this? Is it too much sunscreen? Poor diet? Liver problems? Kidney issues? Some combination of all four factors? Let’s go deeper so we can see…What is up with Vitamin D? What is Vitamin D? Vitamin D is an essential nutrient obtained from food or sunlight. Vitamin D can be attained by plant sources as ergocaliciferol (D2) and animal sources as cholecalciferol (D3). Its main function is to regulate calcium and phosphorous in the bloodstream and to promote healthy bone formation. With adequate amounts of sunlight, the body can synthesize Vitamin D. By definition vitamins must be obtained by the diet since they cannot be synthesized in sufficient amounts by the organism. This makes Vitamin D unique, since it can be obtained from a source outside of food...

Kate’s Miracle Hydrating Beverage

This week I thought I would give you all a little break from tons of science jargon and write a simple blog about my favorite homemade beverage: what I like to call “Kate’s Miracle Hydrating Beverage.” I refer to it this way because my concoction is: an amazing blood sugar regulator; helps with weight loss; inhibits muscle breakdown;  helps reduce stress in the body; easy to make; will help you avoid energy UPS and DOWNS; and can be used as a pre-, during and post-workout drink AND it tastes great (well, at least I think so). Many people who come to me for nutritional help have a hard time regulating their blood sugar.  This is usually due to: eating too little or too much; skipping meals; poor cellular metabolism; the inability to store glycogen (stored sugar); eating the wrong foods, eating the wrong combinations of foods; or a combination of all of these. To help alleviate blood sugar UPS and DOWNS, I usually suggest to my clients to eat anywhere from 6-8 small meals/day…The problem is most of my clients are incredibly busy throughout the day, making eating 6-8 meals/day fairly challenging.   For those that may only be able to eat 3 meals in a day, I have them sip on my hydrating miracle beverage between meals.  Sipping on my hydrating drink can be very helpful to keeping their blood sugar stable, avoiding energy UPS and DOWNS.  Regulating your blood sugar is vital for helping anyone who wants to lose weight, improve energy and heal a damaged metabolism. So without further ado, here is my favorite workout/healthy beverage to...

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I'm on a nutrient kick this week--so one more.

What Is Vitamin B6?

-Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin. Thus, it is not stored in the body.

-It can be found in three forms: pyridoxine glucoside (PNG), pyridoxal phosphate (PLP), and pyridoxamine phosphate (PMP). PNG is found in plants and grains; PLP and PMP are found in animal sources.

-PNG is a form of Vitamin B6 found in plants, particularly cruciferous vegetables. According to a study in The American Journal for Clinical Nutrition, the presence of PNG in plants can decrease the bioavailability of B6 by 75–85 percent. Essentially, although plants contain Vitamin B6, the fact that it is the PNG form makes the B6 hard to get. PNG is also found in grains.

-PLP is the active form of B6 and is the cofactor in a multitude of metabolic functions. These include: protein, fat, and sugar metabolism, neurotransmitter, hemoglobin and histamine synthesis, and gene expression.

-Animal sources of B6 (pyridoxal phosphate(PLP), and pyridoxamine phosphate(PMP) have almost 100=percent bioavailability.

Thus, the most bioavailable sources of B6 are beef, liver, eggs, and milk. Potatoes and bananas are the best non-animal sources.

-The RDA of B6 is 1.3-1.7mg/day

Beef liver - 3oz = .5mg

Beef 3 oz = .3mg

Egg (1 large) = .1 mg

Milk (1 cup ) =.1mg

Potato (1 large) =.6mg

Banana( 1 large) =.5mg
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