Low Calorie, High Energy Foods
Posted on September 3, 2014 by Frances Michaelson
The way you feel is a direct result of what you put into your body. High energy comes from eating “whole foods” that offer good vitality and can be easily assimilated by the body. The more a food is processed, the harder your body has to work to break it down. When all this energy goes into digestion, there is very little left for you! Ironically, the foods that most people gravitate to are low calorie and often it is these “well marketed low calorie foods” that leave you starving, causing you to eat more and at the same time rid your body of vitality. Before going into my top choices for high-energy foods, I would like to discuss calories. Not all calories are created equal – this is what most dietitians learn first in school. However, we now know that this is a dated expression and the very reason why low calorie diets do NOT work. If you are counting calories for weight loss and giving no thought to the SOURCE of these calories, you will inevitably fail because your body will not have the energy to stay on this diet. Here is a simple example: If you eat 3 apples that are approximately 80 calories each, you will benefit from a wonderful source of fiber and simple sugars that your body does NOT have to break down, resulting in instant energy. Compare this to a small piece of apple pie with the same amount of calories. It’s now become a complex sugar that your body needs to break down in order to be absorbed. This takes time and energy. The calories are not used as efficiently as those from the “raw apples.” They are stored causing weight gain. Make sense? My point is that even if we choose to eat high-energy foods that are higher in calories, we will stay fueled longer and ultimately eat less. Now let’s take a look at some of these super foods.
What to Eat for More Energy
At the top of my list for high and instant energy with almost zero calories are your dark green leafy vegetables. This is one of the reasons you are hearing so much about kale these days. All dark greens are an excellent source of chlorophyll, calcium, and numerous multi vitamins. They are easily digested (especially when juicing) and give you a kick similar to caffeine without the acidity. I try to juice an entire kale and numerous other greens every other day as we could never eat this amount in one sitting. Juicing is an easy way to fuel up without the calories. Avocados are next in line! Sadly, they have a reputation for being high in fat. Yes, they are an excellent source of raw fat, but they also have B-vitamins, folic acid, and twice the amount of potassium as bananas. I ask my clients to eat at least three avocados a week for a good source of long lasting fuel. Staying away from processed foods and grains will give you the caloric room to even have one every day. Free range egg yolks are a great source of high quality protein and fat. The problem is that most people tend to eat their eggs cooked. In order to benefit from the nine essential amino acids, lecithin and vitamin D in free range eggs, they need to be eaten as close to nature as possible – raw or lightly cooked (soft boiled or poached). If you are eating very little meat, you can easily manage an egg a day. Wild salmon is my go-to for high quality protein and the omega 3 fats EPA and DHA. Adding this to your weekly meal plan agenda twice a week is optimal. My favorite low calorie/high-energy meal is what a call my vitality salad. I eat it every day either for lunch or supper, sometimes both in smaller quantities. This salad has an abundance of vitamins and minerals coming from life! Here is the recipe:
Vitality Salad Recipe
A blend of dark greens (kale, spinach, arugula)
1 red and orange pepper
2 large grated carrots
Grated red and green cabbage
Grated ginger to taste
2 tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
A handful of sprouts (your choice)
A mix of chia, flax and hemp seeds
Sprinkle of nutritional yeast (added bonus of B12)
Lightly cooked wild salmon or 1 avocado (I will vary the fish, or sometimes have no protein from flesh)
Salad dressing – Choice of olive or Udos oil and balsamic or apple cider vinegar to taste
How to Detoxify in One Week
Posted on July 10, 2014 by Frances Michaelson
No one says it better than David Wolfe, “It’s time to clean up. It’s time to turn away from the idea of better living through chemistry and move toward the idea of better living through nature.” He goes on to say, “Since 1940 we have created more than 75,000 synthetic chemicals and released them into the environment and the food chain.” No wonder detox or “cleanse diets” have become so popular.
As a naturopath, I try to teach my clients to live a “detoxifying lifestyle”, which really just requires that we eat high-quality green plant food (organic green vegetables) and fruits, which helps to clean out our bodies and rebuild at the same time. If everyone ate like this most of the time (avoiding processed foods), drank a good amount of high quality water, and practiced meditation at least once a week, a detox would not be necessary. Yet most of the population does not.
There is no question that our health care system is challenged daily, with new methods of protecting and healing the body. Trying to decide what to do to feel better is more confusing than ever. This is why a detox diet has become so popular. Detoxing is good way to kick start the metabolism and begin on a new path to wellness. The only problem is that too many people go full force on either a strict juice fast or a water fast without proper guidance. As a result they often fail due to a negative cleansing reaction. Let’s talk about that!
We’re constantly being sold on the latest and greatest detox diets. The reasons for detoxing include kick-starting your metabolism (especially if you are looking to shed some body fat), giving your digestive system a rest from all the work it does, and to test your will power. The best time to do a detox is when we are experiencing a seasonal change, going with the flow of Mother Nature.
The best length of time to detox or fast is between 3 and 7 days, but you should always do so under the guidance of a certified practitioner. If someone gravitates too quickly to a juice fast, for example, and they do not even eat salads, they will experience very negative cleansing reactions. One must tread gently. When I have a client who would like to experience a detox, I insist that they go slow.
The first step in a detox is to eliminate dairy, meat, and complex carbohydrates. Once they can do this for a few days, we introduce raw fruits and vegetables and then the juicing. If someone wanted to detox for a full week, seven days, then I would say that over the first three, they should eliminate all cooked foods. The next 2 days they should have one organic salad and balance of the day juicing. The last 2 days should be just juice. It is also very important to not go too “green” right away. A softer approach for the digestive system is to combine orange/yellow vegetables with the green initially. Of course, drinking lots of filtered water throughout the day is encouraged while detoxing.
My favorite juice recipe to get started is:
- 1 Kale or Swiss Chard
- 3 Carrots
- 1 Cucumber
- 1 piece of Ginger
- 1 Apple or Pear
- 1/2 a Lemon
A popular question that always comes up for those looking to detox is exercise: “Can one train when on a detox?” The answer is yes, but with less intensity. I would recommend doing higher reps and less weight. The Total Gym is a perfect choice for someone on a detox because it is easy on the joints and allows you to work with your own body weight so that you don’t overdo it.
After one week of eliminating all processed and cooked foods, you should feel fantastic, full of energy, and your skin should be glowing!
Why We Should Be Drinking More Water
Posted on June 20, 2014 by Frances Michaelson
I never ask my clients how many glasses of water they drink a day. Eight glasses (as we have been hearing for decades) is simply not nearly enough. I ask how many liters they have consumed. If you wait until you are thirsty it is already too late. Imagine your poor cells! Once you experience thirst, your cells are literally starving. Your bones become dry and brittle, lose elasticity and become weak if not hydrated. The result is CELLULAR AGING!
Drinking lots of water is critical for good health. Our basic lubricant is water. Water eliminates toxins and poisons. Our lymphatic system is 90% water. Our organs and tissues are 70-90 % water. Bones are 20 % water. Simply put, we cannot function properly without water.
Instead of just thinking about water as a drink, we must think about it as a lubricant. It permits organs to slide against each other when you move around. It helps bones slip in their joints. You could not bend a knee or elbow without it. It also acts as a shock absorbing agent to ward off injury from blows. Muscle tone cannot be maintained without adequate water since muscles are three-fourths water. This is another reason why fatigue affects a dehydrated body.
Food cannot be digested without water. There is a chemical process that goes on in your body called hydrolysis that changes proteins, starches and fats into foods that various cells require in order to work properly. Water is also necessary to stimulate the gastric glands in the stomach. In the intestines, water helps facilitate the absorption of solids and the excretion of waste. Most often, constipation is a result of not drinking enough water.
Our bodies lose approximately 2-3 liters of water every day through the normal activities of breathing, sleeping, and moving around, so we must constantly replace it. Research has shown that people who run, bike, swim, or exercise in the heat have an increased need for water. A long distance runner can lose as much as eight pounds of water!
When the body hasn’t had enough water, it reacts. First, the glands drastically reduced their secretions. Saliva dries up, membranes dry out. We are thirsty. After losing more water without replenishing, other symptoms develop. Symptoms such as headaches, nerves, inability to concentrate, digestion problems, and lack of hunger are common symptoms of dehydration.
How Much Water To Drink
So, how much do we need to drink? To avoid dehydration and general lack of water in the body, I like to suggest this formula: 1 liter for every 40 pounds of body weight. This calculation does not take into account physical activity, warm weather, or being overweight. The more weight you carry or the more you move, the more water you need to drink.
It is also important to drink PURE water. Water from chemically-treated public water systems and even many wells and springs is likely to be loaded with poisonous chemicals and toxic trace elements. Pure water is essential for health and can be obtained from the natural juices of vegetables and fruits or from a reverse osmosis water system that filters all the chemicals and toxins out.
For people that have a difficult time drinking enough water I like to suggest either adding a little chlorophyll (has a mint flavor) or lemon and ginger. A nice recipe, especially in the heat of summer, is the juice of 4 lemons added to 1 liter of water with 2 teaspoons of maple syrup or honey. Lemons help to move your lymphatic system and are extremely alkalizing. Herbal teas also counts as water.
The next time you feel hunger setting in, drink some pure water first. Keeping a bottle (aim for glass, not plastic) with you at all times will help tremendously. Cheers!
How to Get a Flat Stomach by Eating Right
Let’s face it… having a flat stomach is something that most people desire. I would go as far as to say that it’s as exciting as say… winning the lottery! As we all know, flat abs are achieved by BOTH exercising properly and eating the right foods.
Too often people do the same old abdominal exercises over and over again, resulting in little to no change. There is more to life than crunches; yet sadly, due to improper biomechanics, most people usually injure themselves by doing too many sit-ups (crunches) or they see no results. The most efficient way to train the abs and get positive results is to perform a combination of exercises that include various planks and full body functional movement exercises that can be done using a suspension trainer and the Core Trainer by Total Gym.
As a licensed naturopath I know that no matter how well you eat, you will never achieve a flat belly if you do not consume enough fiber in your diet. Choosing the right fiber, however, is the challenge. Bloating in the abdominal area is very common, BUT can be easy to fix by making the right choices in dietary fiber. Too often, foods such as bran muffins and whole grain cereals are chosen for optimal fiber intake. These are far from ideal! They are loaded with sugar and can be hard to digest, causing cramping, boating, gas, etc.
The right type of fiber will make all the difference in how you digest your food, either causing the abdominal area to bloat or respond well. The best source of dietary fiber comes from fruits and vegetables, but most people simply are not eating enough of these foods.
The Two Kinds of Fiber
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Foods with soluble fiber include cucumbers, apples, oranges, celery, blueberries, and psyllium. These foods attract water and, when broken down, form a gel that slows down digestion. This delays the emptying of your stomach and makes you feel full, which helps control your weight gain in the long run. Insoluble fibers are gut-healthy, have a laxative effect, and help with constipation, promoting healthy elimination. Good sources of insoluble fiber are dark green leafy vegetables, grapes and the skins of all fruits and vegetables.
Foods with Both Kinds of Fiber
A simple way to not only increase the amount of fiber in your diet but also add biodense nutrients would be to add sunflower sprouts to your salads or any dish. Other whole foods that contain the highest levels of both soluble and insoluble fiber are psyllium seed husk, flax, and chia seeds, berries, broccoli, brussel sprouts, almonds, peas, green beans, cauliflower, and root vegetables like onions and sweet potatoes.
I am a huge fan of high quality organic husk psyllium and I recommend it to my clients daily. It is very effective in that it offers both soluble and insoluble fiber. Although we try very hard to eat a good amount of whole foods, including raw vegetables and fruits, it is not always that easy. Starting the day with what I call a good cleansing drink (psyllium, chlorophyll and water) gets the job done!
‘Call for global action to fight obesity epidemic’………this was the title of the article featured on page A11 of the Montreal Gazette this morning . It goes on to say that 64% of Canadian men, almost half of women are obese or overweight. What else is knew? We have been hearing the same thing for years . What bothers me is that we have so many more resources around us for good information and education on healthier eating, and a considerable amount of exercise studios, trainers, and equipment available, to help anyone move more .
The problem is that these people are not listening or reading the articles. Let;s stop encouraging them to use the stairs more , or park further away from the door. This is NOT working! They are NOT the ones going to see films , such as Fed Up, as an example. It is people like you and me that are reading the books, doing the exercise, following an alkaline diet, not them! The question is why?
From my perspective, I feel that a CHANGE is just too overwhelming to these people. I have realized that when I meet with a client, I must start with just ONE thing……whether it is to eliminate a food group , or add more vegetables . Asking them to exercise , and eat differently at the same time is just too much.
We must collectively start with small changes. I like to add on, instead of take away. I have had better results by replacing one thing with another, or adding more vegetables to a protein dinner instead of asking clients to eat less protein. Eventually the protein becomes less as they feel better and more satisfied.
Try this yourself . As the saying goes, a little goes a long way!
The reason we all react differently to various diets , food supplements, and even medical drugs is because we are all different. This is why there is not ONE DIET that works for all. Having said that, as organic “FRUGIVORES” , we all require five “things ” to stay alive and well. These five “THINGS” are vitamins, minerals, enzymes, electrolytes, and amino acids. They must come from life.
Most of the clients that I see in my practice are lacking these elements , due to not enough raw food in their diets- veggies , fruits , sprouted grains, seeds , and some nuts.
With all the new food “experts” out there, the right choices have become very confusing for people. As far as I am concerned , there is way too much mis information and hype surrounding gluten free and sugar free products. Sure, sugar coming from complex carbohydrates ( cakes, muffins, breads, pasta ) is evil. Our bodies have a difficult time breaking down these complex sugars . This is a big part of the problem. The simple sugar in fruits is what our bodies can digest easily as there is nothing to be broken down- so yes, eat more of that and less of the other. Eat more raw veggies and less cooked . Eat more sprouted grains and less processed. Get more protein from dark green leafy vegetables , legumes, quinoa , raw fish. Adding in , instead of taking away, will provide you with the precious elements that your cells need to survive. Enjoying your favourite cooked foods, and some savoury dessert once in a while ( even with gluten) , is not what is going to kill you .
Knowing what you need and eating more of that , is what is important. Reading the same old articles about the negative effects of too much gluten, sugar , and processed foods is not the answer. There is enough said about what NOT to eat, let’s encourage what to eat.
I am always willing to teach better eating and lifestyle choices through lecturing in a corporate setting, school, or any group you might be involved in. Please feel free to share this blog and contact me if there is an interest.
Fed Up……the latest documentary
Are you fed up? Is there too much information out there and you do not know who to believe , or is there not enough ? One of my clients told me that she felt that there was too much contradiction from one day to the next and she was confused….who do you listen to? Do we eat dairy or avoid it like the plague? What about gluten? Are we all REALLY gluten intolerant? Where did this outbreak suddenly come from? What about juicing……how often? how much? which juicer?
Did you all see the film Food Matters, or Forks over Knives ? If not, how come? How do we , health addicts, spread the word? How do we reach the masses? This is my question. We keep hearing that obesity is on the rise along with diabetes . We have all these resources around us ……..alternative health practitioners, naturopaths , like myself, yet it seems that practical preventive health protocols are so hard to spread . Health is a result of what goes into your mouth on a daily basis. Your cells need nutrients to survive and regenerate . Foodless foods ( what I call those foods that lack vitamins, minerals , and enzymes) do nothing for you.
Fed Up, is yet another film about the evils of sugar , and incomplete and confusing food labelling . I do not have all the details, but apparently one of the goals of this film is to encourage the food industry to clearly detail the ingredients on the labels. Will this make a difference? Are people actually going to take the time to read before they buy ? I am not sure.
Every morning I juice. I do this as soon as I have a break between clients. For me, this is a non negotiable duty that I must do to ensure that I give my body what it needs in nutrients (vitamins, minerals and enzymes) on a daily basis to perform well, and have positive energy. True, that with juicing, you do not get the fiber, but what you do get is concentrated power for your body that you could never manage to eat in one sitting. For example, while you might only eat one whole carrot, you can drink the juice of five or six carrots. The importance of this in preventing cancer, injuries, or any disease or depletion issue is obvious. When you are healthy, drinking the fresh raw juice just makes you healthier.
To hear more from Frances Michaelson, visit her blog at www.francesmichaelson.com/
What's in Your Shopping Cart?
It seems that whenever we read articles on weight loss and dieting, the focus is always on caloric restriction and lowering portion size. Why not focus on what we should be eating for our bodies to perform well? If we take in alkaline forming foods most of the time, it would be easier to cheat once in a while.
I am still horrified when I am in the supermarket and I take a look at what people are buying. I am still seeing a lot of soft drinks, juices, cheese, canned foods, microwave frozen dinners, and other items I call STUFF. Where are the nutrients in these dead foods? It is no wonder that people are tired, lifeless, lazy and depressed!
We need living whole foods to perform well and feel great. Alkaline nutrients from foods like fruits, raw veggies, and grains including quinoa, wild rice, bulgur, buckwheat, seeds, and some nuts. My rule of thumb is "only purchase foods that you can see and that came from life". We are organic and require organic food sources in order to absorb, digest, utilize and eliminate well. When we take in waste (dead foods), we create waste on the inside. Too much acidic (dead foods) result in waste in our bodies that ferment, creating toxins. All symptoms are a result of this waste material that the body cannot eliminate.
~ Frances Michaelson
To hear more from Frances Michaelson, visit her blog at www.francesmichaelson.com/
Chocolate Milk after a workout? I don’t think so…
Shame on some strength coaches who are preaching the use of chocolate milk to their athletes after a workout, and shame on the media for printing this. Sadly, these people know nothing about nutrition, because if they did, they would realize that sugar, fat and the protein in our milk today is the enemy!
If you have not been educated as to the problem with milk and other dairy food, let me try and explain. Cow’s milk is for cows. Adults cannot digest milk at all and develop deeper congestive problems as they get older. The enzyme called lactase is necessary to break down the lactose-the main sugar in milk. We lack this digestive enzyme, which results in increased mucus production when we drink cow’s milk. This mucus mixed with starch can cause a heavy mucoid plaque to build up on the intestinal walls. Can this explain why you might feel bloated after eating cheese and drinking milk? On top of this, cow’s milk (in this country), is pasteurized. Heat changes the chemistry of the milk, as well as changing its nature from alkaline-forming to acid-forming, and this heat destroys any minerals or vitamins you think you might be getting. So let’s see what is in Chocolate Milk? If it is 250 millilitres of 1%, we are looking at 160 calories, 1.5 grams of saturated fat and 27 grams of carbohydrates (25 grams of which is sugar). Sugar is very nutritionally deficient. Sugar is a fragmented plant food derived from sugar cane, and all of the nutrients have been refined away. This is NOT A RECOVERY DRINK-THIS IS POISON!
Here is my suggestion for an alternative to Chocolate Milk: 1 cup of almond milk, 2-4 dates soaked, 1 tbsp. raw cacao, unsweetened dark cacao or carob powder, organic vanilla extract or vanilla powder and I tbsp. mesquite powder. Throw this into your blender and you will be set to go. Other alternatives, worth looking at are in the VEGA line of products, created by Brendan Brazier. These plant based proteins are carefully researched, digest well and are derived from whole foods. I personally enjoy them and recommend them to my clients.
To hear more from Frances Michaelson, visit her blog at www.francesmichaelson.com/
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