Dealing with Food Cravings.

Instagram and food shows have made it harder to lose weight. I can’t even count how many times I’ve come across a video on YouTube teaching you how to make cookies and cream donuts only to find myself at the grocery store 20 minutes later looking for something similar to what I just saw. The thing about all of this variety and access to tasty foods is that they aren’t necessarily the healthiest at times. Yes, I understand that a little bit of balance will allow us to enjoy our Pasta and Ice Cream while maintaining optimal health, but that’s easier said than done.

 

I always roll my eyes at people who talk about food strictly from a numbers standpoint and disregard the cravings aspect of it. I know I can have 5 cookies and stay within 50g of carbs, but what if its hard for me to only eat 5 cookies? What if I want more? What will numbers do for me then?

 

With that being said, here are my 3 tips to help you deal with food cravings.

 

1.     Create a set of rules that qualify you to eat something high in sugar. For example, I always tell clients to have your dessert match your activity level. Plan on meeting a friend for ice cream and waffles? Then plan to workout before going out.

 

2.     Distract yourself. In some cases, your going to simply eat whatever you have your mind set on. In most cases, cravings are another way of your body saying its bored. Have a random craving for mango sticky rice 2 hours after dinner? Go out for a walk at the mall, call a friend to chat or even better, go to the gym. Placing your focus on something else cuts the edge of the anticipation of something sweet.

 

3.     Understand that you can eat whatever you want, but you have a choice to decide what you eat. Framing foods this way will take the power away from cheesecake. I have this idea that if Louis Vuitton purses were sold for $35 at Ross then the hype of having one would go away. This same thought process happens with food. The more you say you can’t eat it, the more you want to eat it.

 

And those are my 3 tips on dealing with cravings. Remember, food shouldn’t simply be looked at as bad and good, but instead over consumed and under consumed.

Tips for Improved Sleep and Recovery

Sleep:

 

Here I’ll share with you some tips to improve sleep quality and regulate your circadian rhythm. For anyone unaware, our circadian rhythm is our body’s physiological clock that determines when we should sleep and wake up. Regulating our circadian rhythm is important to us as it serves as a modulator of regeneration and hormone secretion.

 

In a clinical setting, sufficient sleep falls between 8-9 hours. I know some of you may be reading this and you’re probably rolling your eyes, as your lifestyle may or may not accommodate 8-9 hours of sleep. At the very least, studies have shown that getting less than 6 hours of sleep increases your risk of metabolic syndrome. Here are some tips to improve your sleep quality:

 

1.     Carbs at night: Consuming carbohydrates at night are beneficial because of its effects on blood sugar and its ability to release melatonin. By consuming carbs at night we prevent blood sugar and insulin from dipping and cortisol from rising. Preventing this is optimal because when blood sugar dips too low while we sleep, cortisol (a stress hormone) is released and tells the body to release its own blood sugar, which can cause a disruption in sleep and in turn, increases fat.

2.     Magnesium: The one and only supplement that I recommend without a doubt is a good magnesium supplement. Magnesium functions as a natural muscle relaxant that works on the central nervous system. Magnesium supplementation also relaxes the smooth muscles of the digestive system, which promotes regular bowel movements. Deficient individuals may get a calming effect when they supplement with magnesium.

3.     Electronic detox: The electronic detox is pretty much what it sounds like. I’ll always recommend that we limit as much blue light that emits from computer screens before bed as much as possible. The reason for this? It’s because blue light signals the brain to down regulate melatonin production. You’ve most likely heard of melatonin as being the body’s sleep hormone. When we mess with melatonin, we disrupt our circadian rhythm (biological clock). When blue light hits our eyes, it tells the body to wake up which leads to disrupted sleep cycles. Traditionally we are exposed to less light as the sun goes down. Of course, with the emergence of smartphones, laptops and iPads we’re constantly exposing ourselves to artificial light.

4.     Blue Blocking Glasses: This may be extreme to some but if your job requires you to spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen, then our next best thing is to limit blue light by enlisting the help of tools such as blue blocking glasses. As I’ve mentioned in my last point, our bodies should be in line with when the sun rises and when the sun goes down. Investing in a pair of blue blocking glasses may be a small hack to get our bodies to wind down as the evening approaches.

5.     Cool/Clean Room: The idea of cleaning your room is more of a lifestyle hack. The premise is that if you clear your surrounding environment, then you’ll also clear your mind. Most people who have trouble getting to sleep have things running through their mind and never give themselves a chance to relax. Clear your room and clear your mind!

 

Recovery:

 

1. Massage Therapy: Massage therapy has positive effects on pain management, immune function and overall mood. A preliminary study done at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles took blood samples before and after massage therapy and found that 45 minutes of massage therapy had a positive effect on reducing inflammatory markers leading them to believe that immune function was enhanced by the massage. Soft tissue work promotes circulation, which improves overall recovery time by circulating nutrients to the worked muscles. I recommend going as a preventative and recovery measure and not simply going when injured.

 

Here’s how I do it: Frequency is up to you (and your insurance coverage). The one thing I make sure of is that I go after I’ve worked out and never before I’m about to do something active. Massage therapy can put you in an extremely relaxed state and may inhibit your coordination and reaction speed. My recommendation is to do it on a rest day.

 

2. Epsom Salt Bath: Remember all the wonderful benefits of magnesium I talked about earlier in the supplementation section? Well, you can also increase your magnesium intake by taking a warm bath in Epsom salt. Epsom salt is basically sulphate and magnesium. Take all the added benefits of magnesium such as restoring electrolyte balance, calming the nervous system and increasing sleep quality and add the benefits of hot water on joint health and you have your reason to soak in Epsom salts. You can find Epsom salts at most pharmacies or grocery stores. Please note that while it is called Epsom salt, it is nowhere close to regular table salt (so don’t try to bio-hack anything here).

 

Here’s how I do it: Add 2-3 cups of Epsom Salt into a warm bath. Have a large glass of water nearby and relax for 15 minutes or until you start to feel dizzy. You can go in and out when you start to feel overheated.

 

3. Contrast Showers: Contrast showers have been something I’ve utilized from time to time after my workouts. The premise is that going from hot to cold causes increased blood flow to the tissues. This allows the body to recover faster by increasing circulation and oxygenated blood to the whole body. Hot water vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels) while cold water causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels). This causes a pumping action of the blood vessels.

 

Here’s how I do it: I’ll usually shower first and foremost with soap and get the shampooing and washing out of the way. Once that’s out of the way I’ll turn the water to an extremely cold temperature for 1 minute, then switch it back to hot water for another minute making sure to target areas of the body with blood flow. Ill do this about 5 – 8 times.

 

4. Infrared Sauna: Studies have shown numerous benefits to sauna use as a therapeutic tool. Most studies have supported cardiovascular benefits when it comes to individuals with hypertension but did you know that it also has beneficial effects on strength and performance? A Finnish study was conducted at the University of Jyvaskyla found that when infrared heat enters 3-4 cm into fat tissue; it has a positive effect on recovery from maximal endurance performance. Although more research is needed to prove this, infrared saunas have a positive effect on detoxifying the body as well.

 

 

Studies:

 

Infrared on performance:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4493260/

 

Massage Therapy and its positive effect on Immune system:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20809811

 

How to Properly Prepare and Eat at a Buffet

How to Properly Prepare and Eat at a Buffet

I’m a lover of the buffet. What’s not to love? Firstly, you’re taking away the stress of ordering the wrong meal or not having enough of a good one. I know with quantity, the quality can go down, but when you find the right balance between quantity and quality, it’s a beautiful thing.

3 Ways to Improve Metabolic Flexibility and Fat Loss

3 Ways to Improve Metabolic Flexibility and Fat Loss

 

Lately the term “Metabolic Flexibility” has been thrown around a lot lately.  To keep things simple, “metabolic flexibility refers to the body’s ability to efficiently switch from one fuel source to another. To me, metabolic flexibility simply means the body’s ability to burn fat when the appropriate conditions are made. To kick things off, I’ll immediately say that the ketogenic diet is one of the more straightforward ways to improve metabolic flexibility because of its ability provide the body with the machinery needed to utilize fat more efficiently.

Does meal timing matter? What should we eat before and after training?

Does meal timing matter? What should we eat before and after training?

The most asked question I get when it comes to nutrition and performance is “what do I eat before or after I workout”. The minimalists will say that meal timing is in the details and that timing your meals in relation to your workout doesn’t really matter in the greater scheme of things. This is somewhat true.

How To Fit Wine Into a Healthy Lifestyle

Drinking wine is like having an old friend from out of town visit. It’s always a fun time for the first week, but after the third week, you’re tired of holding in your farts and the visit becomes stressful. Ok, that example was a little extreme but you get the idea. I know we’ve heard about the antioxidant and polyphenol content of wine and all you really want to know at this point is how we can fit wine into a healthy lifestyle.

 

You love wine and I love wine (I love wine so much, that I made a drinking montage from my afternoon in Napa). Check it HERE.

 

Here are some tips to consider that make wine drinking optimal to your health and keep the fat gain controlled.

 

1.     Drink it post-workout: if you’ve trained hard enough, you’ll simply be replenishing liver glycogen (remember that fructose is metabolized in the liver). I say, “trained hard enough”, because some people don’t even train with enough intensity to start tapping into liver glycogen. However, if you’ve trained hard enough, the fructose from wine will replenish glycogen in a post-workout fasted state. Also, you’ll get “lit” off a glass or two :)

 

2.     Dry Wines are best: Dry wine = Less sugar. This lessens the caloric effect of the wine you’re drinking. I have to mention that calories are not the only thing to consider when drinking wine. When were drinking we need consider the hormonal effect it starts to have when we start to over consume. However, calories do play a part in the equation, and if we can take care of the caloric aspect of wine, then were covering at least one of our bases. Did I mention that dryer wines have higher alcohol content? Get turnt faster with dryer wines!

 

3.     Dance: Hear me out. I’m not just trying to be cute. When alcohol is ingested, the body uses acetate (found in alcohol) as a substrate for energy since acetate is the same by product of fat oxidation. The problem is, fat oxidation is halted in place of burning acetate. Basically, when we drink, we're constantly burning alcohol instead of glucose or fat. This increases the chances that our food gets stored as fat rather than utilized as fuel. This is why gaining fat from alcohol is really only a problem in a fed state.  What better way to utilize all that alcohol by dancing at the same time? Also, I realize that it’s not practical to advise someone to hit the big three lifts after a few drinks. Or is it?

 

4.     Mix carbonated mineral water or ice with sweeter wines: Let’s say you do opt for a sweet wine. If that’s the case, mix a little San Pellegrino or Perrier into the wine to dilute it. It takes on the consistency of a sangria or light sparkling wine. You’re getting “more” in your glass while drinking less alcohol. Another option to use instead of soda or mineral water is ice (more so recommended for a white wine). The traditionalist may hate on you, but they’re not looking out for your waistline.

 

At the end of the day, these are just casual tips and tricks that incorporate wine into a healthy lifestyle. When in doubt, moderation is always the answer. I’m also realistic in that some occasions call for a night of untracked Sangria. If that’s the case, enjoy yourself and don't "Drake" and drive. 

A Quick and Easy Guide to Magnesium Supplementation.

A Quick and Easy Guide to Magnesium Supplementation.

I understand there are a number of detailed resources that get into the specifics of magnesium, but I wanted to share with you an easy and quick guide to the most popular forms of magnesium. With that being said, I’ll start off by saying I’m a huge fan of supplementing with magnesium. In fact, magnesium is one of the most deficient minerals in the world.

How To Eat Well While On Vacation.

How To Eat Well While On Vacation.

I’m currently in the midst of travelling and it got me thinking about how I’m going to find balance with all the good food I come across. So far, the last 10 days have become one big food tour and prior to travelling, I made sure not to put any restrictions on what I eat while I’m away. To give you an idea of some of the “challenges” I’ve come across, I’ve eaten at a Vegas buffet, had my first fried chicken meal from Jollibee’s, wined and dined in Napa Valley and stuffed my face with crab in Oakland.

What Diet Should I Follow?

What Diet Should I Follow?

It would be a safe answer for me to tell you that the diet you choose is simply the diet that you’re most compliant with, but that answer is only part of a bigger answer and it’s not a sexy way to end a blog post. The nutrition scene has really become a war of tribes. Lately the landscape seems to be predominantly owned by the Paleo, Keto, Vegan and IIFYM tribes.

An Intro Into Fat Loss. It's not what you think...

An Intro Into Fat Loss. It's not what you think...

On paper losing weight is easy. To be quite honest, there’s enough literature that can be found in books and the Internet that can show you how to lose weight. There’s no secret to it. The reason why it seems like there’s a new revolutionary diet that comes out every year is because people have learned to re-package and market diets that have existed for years and found a way to make it new again.

How To Apply Principles of The Macrobiotic Diet Into Your Life

How To Apply Principles of The Macrobiotic Diet Into Your Life

For anyone unaware, the Macrobiotic diet is more of a blueprint to healthy eating than a diet. It’s origins stem from Japan. I wont get too deep into the origins and history of it, but just know that this diet is known as the “Art of Prolonging Life” and follows a set of rules that promotes principles such as eating locally, seasonally and in moderation.

Are You Getting Enough Fibre in Your Diet?

Are You Getting Enough Fibre in Your Diet?

I’ve been playing around with my most ideal way of conveying my message through this blog, and I’ve come to the conclusion that my style is “simple and digestible information”. So just like the topic of this blog post, I’m going to keep my information “simple and digestible” (see what I did there?).

Lessons Learned: Thinking before You speak.

Lessons Learned: Thinking before You speak.

I’m currently sitting in Whole Foods right now inspired to write a quick post on silence. Here’s the story. I just got off the train after taking the subway uptown and while I was on the train an older gentleman said he didn’t appreciate the fact that I had put my foot up on a seat.

Can Carbs at Night Improve Sleep Quality? Will It Make me Fat?

Can Carbs at Night Improve Sleep Quality? Will It Make me Fat?

I recently made an Instagram post where I mentioned that when people experience weight loss from eliminating dense carbs, it’s usually from a restriction of overall calories rather than just the carbs alone. I feel like I’ve been the defender of carbs lately and today’s post will only support this further.

Why Do Asians Turn Red When They Drink?

Why Do Asians Turn Red When They Drink?

Every time I see my girlfriend have a glass of wine, I’ll see her instantly turn red. I walk into a room and find myself always asking her “how much did you have?” The thing is, she’d usually only have a glass or two but it would make her turn super red. The reason for this? The “Asian Flush”.

Healthy Fast Food Options.

Healthy Fast Food Options.

Sometimes we don’t have the time to cook and sometimes you need to eat and you need to find something fast. There’s nothing wrong with that. In today’s post I wanted to share with you some of my favourite “fast food” options.  Of course when tackling on a specific weight gain/weight loss goal, its better to be prepared, but ideal foods can be found outside the house if you do your proper research. The following “fast food” choices are based on taste, macronutrient content, the amount of time it takes to order and affordability. Here we go…

Is Saw Palmetto a True Testosterone Booster?

Is Saw Palmetto a True Testosterone Booster?

I remember sitting in class listening to an instructor rave about Saw Palmetto. For anyone unaware of what Saw Palmetto is, it’s an extract of a plant from the Serenoa repens palm plant. Saw Palmetto is usually used for its ability to block the conversion of free testosterone to DHT (dihydrostestosterone). DHT is a more potent version of testosterone. 

how much of a role does food play when addressing pain and inflammation?

how much of a role does food play when addressing pain and inflammation?

My goal isn’t to breakdown inflammation at the cellular level in this post. I’ll admit that the title sounds pretty broad and general. I’m also not here to tell you that your goji berry, mint and arugula salad will magically heal your nagging knee pain. Mostly because I don’t see the combo of those ingredients tasting good together (in my opinion) but most importantly, because there’s so many factors that come into play when addressing an injury and saying that food alone will heal everything would be untrue.