The Quick Guide To Intermittent Fasting

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Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern. It is not a diet.

It’s not about what you choose to eat. But it’s all about when you eat (or don’t eat).

It’s eating, or not eating, in a strategic way.

Though it has recently gained a huge following it has been around for ages. We were once hunters and gatherers who might go for days without food. Our bodies are well-oiled machines, designed to withstand feast or famine.

Modern day eating often centers around a fast-paced life. Eating frequent meals and snacks of highly processed and fast foods is the norm for many of us.

But this doesn’t give our bodies time to rejuvenate and repair the damage these chemicals can do over time.

So in many ways IF is a more natural way of eating.

Anyone can do it. It’s especially popular with weightlifters and elite athletes, likely because it allows you to retain and even gain muscle while losing fat.

The Most Popular Methods Of Intermittent Fasting

intermittent fasting
It’s all in the timing!

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work? (The Sciencey Stuff)

When you eat a meal your body spends several hours processing and digesting the food. During this time, the body takes energy from the food you’ve eaten.

When you’re eating, or in a feeding state, insulin production tends to be high; This prevents your body from burning stored fat.

But, when our body is in a fasting state the blood sugar and insulin levels are reduced dramatically. There is a sharp increase in human growth hormone.

All these physiological changes turn the body into a fat burning machine…and benefit we love!

Will I Be Hungry While Intermittent Fasting?

Some people experience hunger pangs the first few days while the body is adjusting to the new eating pattern.

Like anything else, when your body becomes accustomed to doing something for so long, it takes a little time to re-calibrate and adjust to the new schedule.

Initial hunger may be stronger in some people and not obvious to others.

If you decide to try IF I urge you to stick with it for a week or more before you make up your mind. Once the initial adjustment to the calorie restriction is over you may find yourself wishing you’d found it sooner. (This has been my experience!)

Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

There are several impressive benefits of IF:intermittent fasting

  • weight loss (1)
  • fat loss, especially in the belly (2)
  • stronger insulin sensitivity (3)
  • increased human growth hormone (HGH) production (4)
  • increased metabolic rate (5)
  • changes in gene function related to longevity (6)
  • cellular repair (7)
  • may reduce inflammation (8)
  • better brain health (9)
  • may protect against cancer (10)

Other Benefits of IM

  • less time-consuming because you spend less time preparing food and eating meals
  • less expensive because you eat less
  • simplifies your life and gives you more time to do the things you love (or need to do)

Special Considerations

Certain people should consult their physician or avoid intermittent fasting altogether. This includes:

  • people with eating disorders or anyone who is underweight
  • people with blood sugar issues, such as hypoglycemia (personal note about this below)
  • women who are having problems with fertility – Some women who do IF experience amenorrhea. Their menstrual period stops temporarily, but typically resumes after they return to an ordinary eating schedule.

Please keep in mind that every one is different and there are exceptions.

For example, although I was diagnosed with reactive hypoglycemia two years ago I’m loving IF (the 16/8 schedule). I’ve found it is beneficial for my blood sugar issues. During the fasting periods, I’m cognitively sharper, have more energy and find it easier to concentrate.

If you’re not sure if it’s right for you it’s always best to check with a medical professional.

intermittent fasting
If you’re a weightlifter make sure to eat plenty of protein.

A note to weightlifters and gym rats: Keep in mind that you’re probably eating fewer calories overall. Make sure you’re consuming plenty of protein so you don’t run the risk of losing muscle mass (which I’m sure is the last thing you’d want to happen).

Supplements such as caffeine (pre-workout), BCAAs, Glutamine and Creatine are good ones to look into.

You might like to try this Healthy Coffee Drink Recipe before your training sessions.

If you’re not sure whether IM is a good choice for you, it’s always best to consult with a medical professional who can help you figure out what’s best for your unique self.

Please keep in mind it does not take the place of eating a healthy diet of fresh, whole foods and plenty of protein to fuel your body.

Wrap-Up

Intermittent fasting has some pretty impressive health benefits including increased longevity, fat loss and weight loss, blood sugar regulation and brain health.

You may want to try it yourself and see if you like it.

IM is an eating pattern which can help people health-wise.

Have you tried IM? Do you have questions about it that weren’t answered here. Please leave your comments and questions below. I love hearing from you!


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My Favorite Protein Oatmeal With Coconut And Almonds

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protein oatmeal
My Favorite Protein Oatmeal With Coconut And Almonds

Do you enjoy eating breakfast foods anytime of day?

Because I’m doing intermittent fasting (more on this in a later post), I’m often hungry for breakfast foods even if I eat my first meal of the day at 1:00 in the afternoon.

Oatmeal And The Days Of Yore

To me, oatmeal is a comfort food. I have fond memories of my mom or dad cooking a big pot of oatmeal with raisins and butter. Sometimes we would put brown sugar in it. And we always topped it with creamy milk.

When my husband and I were first married I found it interesting that he had never heard of putting milk on his oatmeal. He thought it was strange that anyone would. And I was perplexed as to why anyone wouldn’t add milk.

Ah, young love…

In my mind oatmeal goes with milk, like peanut butter goes with jelly.

Consequently, I’ve tried eating oatmeal without milk, but can’t stomach it. I have some texture issues and oatmeal without milk is one of them!

Can you say, “gloppy mush”?

But, I digress…

Oatmeal is full of fiber and healthy whole grains. If you are on a gluten-free eating plan you might be interested to know oats are gluten-free. But please be aware that you must read the side of the package to make sure the oatmeal was processed in a gluten-free facility.

Over the years I have eaten my oats with different toppings including chopped apples, pecans, walnuts, almonds, blueberries, strawberries, butter or coconut oil, raisins, or if I really want to indulge, brown sugar.

Protein Oatmeal

I like adding protein to my oats. This essential element satisfies even the hungriest appetite. Best of all, the added protein gives you satiety.

There are many forms of protein that make healthy additions. My wise husband likes to add a scoop of peanut butter to his. And, really, how could something as delicious as rich, creamy peanut butter not be a plus?

Nuts and seeds are a also good source of protein. Nuts have also been shown to increase longevity.

Or, you can add whey protein powder, like the one I used to make My Favorite Peanut Butter Protein Shake.

In addition, you could add a dollop of Greek yogurt for the added protein and essential probiotics.

Currently, this is my favorite way to eat them:

My Favorite Protein Oatmeal With Coconut And Almonds

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 1/4 to 1/2 scoop protein powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • stevia, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

Instructions

  1. Mix the first four ingredients.
  2. Cook this mixture either on the stove top or in a microwavable bowl in the microwave.
  3. After oats are cooked, stir in milk.
  4. Add cinnamon and/or stevia to taste.
  5. Top with coconut flakes and slivered almonds.
  6. Enjoy!
http://www.lorigeurin.com/protein-oatmeal/

I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Pass the milk and eat up!

What is your favorite way to eat oatmeal? With or without milk?


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Body Image: You’ve Always Been Beautiful

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Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

When you think of things that are beautiful what, or who, do you think of?

Maybe,body image

  • the beach
  • the sunset
  • a lovely bouquet of flowers
  • a bride on her wedding day
  • a blanket of pure, white snow covering as far as the eye can see
  • a vibrant painting
  • a waterfall
  • the Grand Canyon
  • early morning light
  • butterflies
  • the view from atop a mountain
  • a desert
  • a dessert (see what I did there?)
  • a starry night
  • fall leaves
  • a rugged landscape

And the list goes on and on. Beauty is such a relative term. We each have our own idea about what is beautiful.

Words Of Wisdom

As a girl I remember my sweet Mom once telling me, “Beauty is as beauty does”.

body image
My Mom and Me

I’ve passed this advice along to our daughters, and remind them that true beauty comes from what’s inside our heart.

But, if you have teenagers, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. It’s not an easy concept to encourage a healthy body image to a young person who is growing up in our culture. This becomes especially true when they become more mobile and get social media accounts.

Obsessing about outward appearances can be quite discouraging and damaging to our self concept, young and old alike. It can make us feel that we’ll never quite measure up to the airbrushed photos that we see everywhere. Believe me, I’ve been there.

Years ago, body image was an issue mostly girls and women dealt with, but it’s becoming more prevalent with boys and men now.

Media Overload

The belief that “beauty comes from the inside” is completely opposite from the messages we’re bombarded with daily.

From photo-shopped magazine covers and newspaper ads, to TV commercials and movies–It’s incredibly challenging to teach this concept to girls (and boys) when we are inundated (courtesy of our culture) with YouTube videos, our nations strange obsession with celebrities, selfies and plastic surgery.

Where Does True Beauty Come From?

In Psalms it says “Those who look to Him (God) are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”

Ultimately, I believe God is the only one who can make me into a truly beautiful person. And I’m definitely a work in progress!

I’m thankful that no matter how badly I mess up, He can bring beauty from ashes. 

He can bring good out of the bad in our crazy, mixed-up world.

I truly believe everyone is beautiful in their own special way. But so many people, men and women alike, believe the lies we’ve been taught from our appearance-obsessed society.

body imageWe were created for a purpose that is so much greater than simply being a certain size, or having the perfect hair, makeup, shoes, abs, biceps, skin, face, eyes…et cetera, et cetera.

I’m certainly not saying there’s anything wrong with improving our appearance, dressing nicely or looking put together. I’m into fashion and love to wear the latest trends as much as the next girl (when I’m not working from home in yoga pants and t-shirts).

We can also make positive changes by working out and eating healthy, whole foods. We can use natural remedies, such as coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. Or sculpt our bodies by lifting weights. We can also lose weight or lower our body fat.

These things can make us healthier and even fit into our favorite pair of  jeans more easily or give us a longer life expectancy.

But, they don’t change the beauty that’s inside us.

I hope you know you’re beautiful!

What do you think about the media and it’s influence on body image? Please share your thoughts below in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you!


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9 Impressive Health Benefits of Coffee

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Coffee is incredibly healthy. Research has recently found coffee has impressive health benefits such as helping health benefits of coffeeprevent diabetes and improve liver and brain health.

It’s the second most consumed beverage in the world, after water. And did you know that 54% of Americans report drinking coffee every day (1)?

Personally, I’m not a morning person, but the robust scent of coffee brewing helps me (and several members of our family of six) wake up each morning.

The delightful experience of drinking coffee brings with it the promise of each new day. Who can relate? 🙂

Coffee is extremely high in antioxidants, which can help protect against aging, oxidative stress and many diseases, such as cancer.

Nutrition Information About Coffee

One cup of coffee has about:

  • 2 – 5 calories
  • 0 sugar
  • 0 fat
  • 0 carbs
  • 124 mg potassium
  • 10 mg magnesium
  • 11% of the RDA of Vitamin B2
  • 6% of the RDA of Vitamin B6

The amount of caffeine in coffee varies, depending on the type of bean used and the manufacturer.

Health Benefits of Coffee

1. Coffee Is High In Antioxidants

According to research, coffee provides more antioxidants in American diets than even fruits and vegetables (2).

Antioxidants reduce inflammation in the body. And, because inflammation leads to all sorts of diseases and conditions, this is a very good thing for coffee drinkers!

The polyphenols found in coffee may also help prevent oxidative stress and raise the body’s immune function.

The strong antioxidants, caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid found in coffee, help fight free radical damage.

2. Coffee May Reduce The Risk Of Some Types Of Cancer

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, but drinking coffee may help prevent it.

In fact, research has shown coffee drinkers have up to a 40% reduced risk of liver cancer (3) (4).

Colorectal cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death worldwide (5). In a large study of 489,706 people, drinking 4-5 cups of coffee a day reduced the risk of colorectal cancer by 15% (6).

3. Coffee May Improve Brain Function And Give You More Energy

The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant, which can help you be more alert and diminish fatigue (7).

Coffee has also be shown to help reduce your risk, or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in older adults (8).

In other research coffee was shown to protect against Parkinson’s disease (9). Also, patients with Parkinson’s were shown to have an overall improvement of symptoms when they drank coffee regularly.

4. Coffee Can Boost Your Metabolism

The caffeine in coffee was shown to boost the metabolism 3-11% (10).  Most supplements designed to burn fat contain caffeine.

Another study showed caffeine can boost the burning of fat by as much as 29% in people who are lean, and 10% in people who are obese (11). That’s pretty impressive!

If you add coconut oil to your coffee you might able to boost your fat burn even more.

(For more about natural ways to burn fat, please check out 8 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar.)

5. Coffee Could Lower Your Risk Of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

About 300 million people worldwide have Type 2 Diabetes, and those numbers continue to increase.

Research suggests drinking coffee (six cups or more per day) could lower the risk of Type 2 Diabetes (12).

Another study showed that people who drink four or more cups of coffee per day could reduce their risk of Type 2 Diabetes by 50% (13)!

If you’re drinking this much coffee, just make sure to drink plenty of water to counteract the diuretic effects of coffee.

6. Coffee Can Help Protect Your Liver

The liver is the largest organ (and gland) in your body. It’s responsible for more than 500 important roles in the body. It removes toxins and produces chemicals which help with digestion.

And, a fun fact about the liver is that it is the only organ in the body that is able to regenerate! Pretty cool, huh?

Cirrhosis of the liver happens when healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue. This is caused by alcohol or viral hepatitis B and C (14).

People who drink 4 or more cups of coffee per day have up to an 80% reduction in their risk for cirrhosis of the liver, or alcoholic liver disease (15).

7. Coffee Can Help You Feel Happier

Depression is an illness that affects the brain chemistry. Depression has a variety of symptoms such as insomnia, feeling hopeless or worthless, feeling persistently sad or irritable and having trouble concentrating.

Coffee is a mild anti-depressant because it aids in the production of neurotransmitters, like seratonin and dopamine.

A Harvard study showed drinking 2-4 cups of coffee per day could reduce the risk of suicide by 50% (16).

8. Coffee Boosts Your Athletic Performance And Endurance

Coffee is a performance enhancer.

Many athletes know drinking a cup of coffee before athletic training or an event can boost their endurance and performance.

Caffeine increases the levels of Adrenaline in the blood (17).  This “fight or flight” hormone primes the body for intense exertion.

In fact, caffeine can boost athletic performance by about 11-12% (18).

9. Coffee Can Improve Heart Health And Reduce The Risk Of Strokes

Consuming coffee regularly is associated with reduced mortality for all causes, including cardiovascular disease (19).

In addition, coffee was shown to reduce the rate of heart problems and stroke (20) (21).

health benefits of coffeeThe Takeaway

Despite any bad press you may have heard about coffee, it actually healthy and chock full of antioxidants.

Regularly drinking coffee can help with athletic performance, boost your metabolism, protecting against cancer, strokes, heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver.

All in all, coffee is pretty awesome, don’t you think?

Drink coffee. Be well!

You might like to try My Healthy Coffee Drink (With Coconut Oil) Recipe.

Can you think of more health benefits of coffee you would add to the list? Please leave your comments or questions below. I’d love to connect with you!


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Extreme Weight Loss And Metabolism: “The Biggest Loser”

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extreme weight lossIf you’ve ever tried losing weight you might know how difficult it is.

Truth be told, weight loss is often more challenging and complex than the simplified “eat less, work out more” mentality would have us think. Anyone who has tried to lose “those last ten pounds” can attest to this.

Effects Of Extreme Weight Loss On The Metabolism

A recent study published in the medical journal, Obesity, measured the effects of extreme weight loss on the basal metabolic rate (BMR),  resting metabolic rate (RMR) and body composition of fourteen former contestants from “The Biggest Loser”.

If you haven’t heard about it yet, the study focused on where the contestants were six years after losing all the weight. (1) Four of them now weigh more than when they were on the show, and all but one of the contestants have gained a significant amount of the weight back.

One contestant, Danny Cahill, lost an astounding 239 pounds in seven months. I didn’t even know this was humanly possible! But in the years since his extreme weight loss he has gained more than 100 pounds back.

When a person loses an extreme amount of weight it is normal for their metabolic rate to slow down because one who weighs less requires fewer calories to maintain the same weight than someone who weighs more. Makes sense, right?

Normally we would expect the body to adapt to the weight loss and the metabolism to adjust to the new weight. But that’s not what happened with most of the former contestants in the study.

The researchers found even after the contestants gained a significant amount of weight back, their metabolic rate continued to slow. It was lower than other people who weighed the same.extreme weight loss and metabolism

It was as though their bodies were doing everything possible to prevent them from losing more weight, or even maintain their new weight.

What Do We Know About Our Metabolism?

Our metabolism includes all the processes our body goes through to convert the food we eat (calories) to energy our bodies can use.

You may have heard that each of us has a magic weight, or a set point. This is the weight our body wants to stay at. It’s comfortable and easy for our body to stay at this weight, but it makes weight loss very difficult.

When we lose weight our BMR slows down. It reduces the amount of calories we burn when we’re at rest. (2) Some of the former Biggest Loser contestants had a BMR much lower than would be expected of someone who had the same body composition and weight.

This is also why we hear “yo-yo dieting” isn’t good. Each time we gain and lose (and gain and lose) weight it impacts out metabolic rate and body composition.

The Biggest Loser contestants lost an incredible amount of weight. Many of us gain and lose only ten or fifteen pounds at a time, but even so, it can change our BMR. And doing this repeatedly can make it more difficult to lose weight the next time.

Despite these findings, there is hope for anyone wanting to lose weight. In fact there are many things we can do to help increase our metabolism and lose weight.

What You Can Do To Speed Up Your Metabolism

1. Strength Train! extreme weight loss and metabolism

The more muscle you have the more calories you burn.

In addition to lifting weights or using resistance bands, there are so many body weight workouts you can do that will help build lean muscle mass. There are many free workouts available online.

I have a couple of fitness apps on my phone that I love. Most don’t require any equipment and are free. Currently I’m using:

  • Seven This one is based on the 7-Minute Workout concept. It works all the major muscle groups and only takes 7 minutes to complete.
  • 30 Day Push Up Challenge Push ups are great for building and toning muscles in the arms, (obviously) core and back.
  • 5 Minute Planks Call me crazy, but I love planks! There, I said it. 😉 They’re great for building muscle tone in the abs and back.
  • SWORKIT  One of my favorites! This one allows you to choose between strength training, yoga, stretching, or cardio workouts. You can also specify how long you want the workout to last.

I tend to use one for a while, get bored with it, then try another one. (Just keepin’ it real) Do what works for you!

Please keep in mind that your body needs plenty of high-quality protein to build muscle. You might like to try My Favorite Peanut Butter Protein Shake for a delicious and sustaining boost of energy.

2. Eat Whole Foods (And Stay Away From Processed Junk)extreme weight loss and metabolism

Consuming processed foods like prepackaged snack foods, artificial sweeteners (or artificial anything) can slow your metabolism and mess with your thyroid and hormones. The body treats them like toxins, so we need to limit them.

Focus on eating a diet rich in whole foods such as grass-fed beef, eggs, fish, fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, (such as coconut oil) nuts and seeds. These foods have all the building blocks our bodies need to support a strong metabolism.

3. Get Plenty Of Sleep

When you don’t get enough sleep your metabolism slows down to save energy. (3)

Also, when we don’t get enough sleep our bodies aren’t able to regulate our blood sugar as effectively. This can lead to hunger pains and increased cravings for food.

Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night and keep your metabolic furnace burning.

If you liked this article, you might like to check out 17 Ways To Lose Weight Faster and 5 Health Benefits Of Whey Protein.

What do you think about “The Biggest Loser” Study? Please share your thoughts below.


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