Chocolate linked to lower body fat…hell yeah!

Cacao-lovers, this one’s for you: A new study has linked chocolate consumption and lower body-fat levels, a finding that goes against the conventional wisdom that chocolate is fattening. Obviously they didn’t feed their participants Hershey kisses…

Researchers at the University of Granada in Spain found that eating chocolate was associated with lower level of total fat deposits, even in cases where people were not dieting or exercising.

The researchers, whose findings were published in the journal Nutrition, speculated that the results could be due to catechins, a type of antioxidant that may positively influence cortisol production and insulin sensitivity — both factors in becoming overweight or obese.

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, has received some good press in recent years for its antioxidant properties. Most nutrition experts agree that chocolate with 60 percent cacao or higher has the most health benefits. Still, it has never been a dieter’s darling due to its sugar, fat, cholesterol, and calorie content. And when you look at the ingredients in most chocolate brands, it looks more like candy hell than antioxidant heaven…

But hey, as a chocolate lover, I’ll take any kind of study telling me to keep eating it!

Just as with everything though, quality trumps quantity, so look for the best (at least 65% dark) chocolate you can afford, and really savor it. For me, I would not make it through another New England winter without my Alain Chartier dark chocolate bars.

A word of caution before you go and grab your favorite choco treat:

  • If you know or suspect adrenal fatigue, bypass the chocolate. I had to forgo chocolate for a year while nursing my adrenals back to health. Chocolate will not make you feel good if your adrenals are burnt out.
  • If you have trouble with falling and/or staying asleep, don’t consume dark chocolate everyday and avoid indulging past lunch time.
  • If you cannot give up your afternoon chocolate treat without becoming hysterical, then it’s time to let go sister! Addictions are never recommended.

Other than that, I say go for it! Lick it, chew it, swoon over it…it’s all good:)

Get your superfood on! Introducing Scoop…

In my two years in practice, I have been approached relentlessly by representatives for Isagenix, BeachBody, Arbonne, and a slew of other companies I can’t even remember. It is a crazy market for “nutraceutical” products, and everyone wants a share of it.

But every time I looked into the products or company practices, I could not get on board for two different reasons: I believe that people need to stop relying on shakes and powders to sustain them (bodies need REAL food to thrive), and most of the products mentioned above have ingredients in them I would never feed my body, no matter what marketing gimmick they use to try to convince me.

Additionally, my clients rely on me to do the research for them and trust my judgement, so I never thought it was worth the couple of dollars I might make on selling these shakes and protein powders.

However, I “get” that most of you have a real need for some affordable and easy ways to get your greens and nutrients in, and that time in the kitchen can be tough with life, kids, work, or travel. With my genetic issues with nutrient absorption and poor mitochondria health, I do too.

Now the wait is over…you can now get your superfood on in one convenient and awesome product from a small company in Boulder, Colorado.

Let me introduce you to SKOOP and their amazing A-Game superfood blend!

I have been using A-Game for a few weeks now, as my incredibly sensitive and discerning body is my best lab to test out products (I can’t tell you how many protein powders have made me vomit!), and I love it, especially in this bitter winter when juicing isn’t always a good option.

Not to mention that I can get my greens, adaptogens, fiber, omega 3s, antioxidants, enzymes, and probiotics in ONE serving, instead of cluttering my counter with dozens of products. Hell yeah!

Here are the reasons I use A-Game and feel that I can endorse it:

  • It is a powerful way to put superfoods to work for you. The 41 plant-based ingredients have been thoughtfully selected to work synergistically with each other.
  • It is anti-oxidant-rich, micro and phytonutrient-dense (versus macro) to help you fight inflammation and acidic build-up while helping with energy, productivity, and resilience.
  • For those who have a hard time consuming or digesting greens, it covers your basics, as each serving has the equivalent of 10 servings of vegetables.
  • I love that this product contains adaptogens has all of us experience chronic stress and I am a big fan of adaptogen to support your nervous system and hormones.
  • Added bonus: enzymes and probiotics.
  • No fillers, gluten, dairy, corn, artificial sweeteners, colorants, or other unsavory ingredients. You still need to check the ingredients list to see if you are sensitive to some of the fruits or vegetables used.
  • It is palatable, not a chalky goo.
  • It is versatile. There are many ways to consume your A-Game. I have put it in warm water, almond milk, chia pudding, cookies, and oatmeal.

What it is NOT:

  • A-Game is NOT a protein shake (Skoop is working on a protein powder product), it is a superfood blend designed to flood your body with the nutrients, enzymes, and fiber that it needs. You can get your protein through the vehicle you use to take your A-Game, such as a nut-based smoothie or nut milk, or chia/quinoa pudding.
  • It does NOT replace a meal (enough already with the powdered meal replacements that your body CANNOT digest); it enhances and assist with digestive, cognitive, and healing functions.
  •  It is NOT an excuse to go binge on pizza ’cause you had your A-Game earlier on…

What I could do without:

  • Stevia. If you are on sugar free diet, this makes it tough for you to take A-Game, and some people react to stevia.
  • Xantham gum.

But ultimately, as powders go, this is the one for me.

Finally, to help you decide for yourself, here is a table the company put together. To their credit, they didn’t even bother with the worst offenders, such as Isagenix which contains gluten, soy, additives, and corn.

And remember that no matter which green superfood powder you introduce to your body, start with a fourth or half the single serving and monitor how your body feels. These powders are best consumed in the morning and outside of heavy meals.

Grab your own supply at a discounted price HERE!

Resolutions versus commitments, failure versus success.

I’m going to stop overeating. I’m going to stop smoking. I’m going to learn to eat healthy. I’m going to, you know, change.

People don’t even make New Year’s resolutions anymore because they made them year after year, right after Ryan Seacrest’s countdown to midnight, only to give up within days.

They had the best intentions.

They had the best of intentions to go to the gym. But by January 15, they forgot where the gym was located.

So why even bother to set yourself up for failure again? What does it really take for you to make real progress, instead of merely writing a new “wish list” with no real investment on your part?

I have coached with some incredibly motivated and successful mentors, have attended many workshops on performance and success, read hundreds of books, researched everything I could on the subject, and learned from my own successes and failures.

To help you navigate 2014 without the pain of regret, here are my golden nuggets to support you through change that will last past your New Year’s hangover.

  • Have a compelling vision for what you truly want, not what you think you need. The vision needs to be important enough to change your behavior and motivate you to spend your time, money, and energy on it. Wanting to lose X amount of weight is rarely compelling enough for someone to really stay the course and change habits for long. It would require having to “push” yourself to do something, which requires willpower, versus creating a vision that “pulls” you, excites you, and turns you on. There needs to be a strong emotional intensity to your vision for it to carry you forward.
  • Review it and feel its emotional intensity and heart-deep “why” everyday to see and feel if it is still something you really want and are ready to keep at the top of your priority list. Most people write down their New Year resolutions, only to never look at them again past January. You cannot stay committed and engaged if you conveniently “forget” all about it.
  • Raise your standards! Most of us have low expectations, making us lazy, judgmental, and unwilling to take full responsibility. We also surround ourselves with others with even lower standards, giving us an excuse to stay stuck in mediocrity. The fastest way to get closer to your goals is to raise your own standards by making your vision and goals a “must” instead of a “should”. “Should” never gets done, whereas “must” does. Instead of holding on to the identity of “big bones”, “genetic obesity”, “can’t-leave-without-cheese” or “slow metabolism”, why not raise your own standard of who you are, the “athlete”, the “skinny-hip-mama”, the “green-juice-lover”, etc. You will be surprised at how quickly change happens once you embody a different “personality”.
  • Back up your new standards with small rituals and commit to them. Rituals guarantee your success or failure and are a big part of creating lasting change. However, they mean nothing if you don’t commit to them. Identifying yourself with the new “athlete” in you will require the commitment to lace up your sneakers and go for a walk or a yoga class day in and day out, until it is just what you do and who you are. If you cannot commit, know that it just isn’t that important to you, or you have what I call an underlying commitment that you might not be aware of, and that underlying commitment is taking precedent. So let go of the guilt. Either drop it out of your vision or goals for yourself, or work to understand the self-sabotaging commitment and let it go.
  • Remember to feed your need for fun and flexibility! It does not mean coming up with excuses, it means finding a way to commit to what you want in a way that is as irresistible as possible.

It’s not that hard. Unless you are already convinced it will be. And yes, it will take some discipline at the beginning, but isn’t regret more painful than discipline?

I am making it easy for you to get started. Here is one of my favorite and quick exercise, courtesy of Tony Robbins:

  • Pick an area of your life that you want to improve. Write in details what it is like right now.
  • Ask yourself: what are the rituals that have created this reality for me? Write them down. It could be the daily pre-work trip to Dunkin Donuts, or the hours spent on Facebook instead of running.
  • What do you want this area of your life to look like going forward? Describe it vividly, feel this new reality. Again, be detailed.
  • Ask yourself: what are the rituals that would get me there? Meditating for five minutes before getting up? Going for a short walk everyday after lunch? Reading one new book each week? Spending at least one quality hour with my spouse and/or children every night?

Yes, you’ll have to find the time. No, there isn’t a magic pill to make New Year’s resolution succeed. But the promise of a fresh start is powerful and compelling…why not ride the wave?