Fight Inflammation With Food And Exercise

November 2nd, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes from the grocery store. Choose the right anti-inflammatory foods, and you may be able to reduce your risk of illness. Consistently pick the wrong ones, and you could accelerate the inflammatory disease process.

What does an anti-inflammatory diet do? Your immune system becomes activated when your body recognizes anything that is foreign—such as an invading microbe, plant pollen, or chemical. This often triggers a process called inflammation. Intermittent bouts of inflammation directed at truly threatening invaders protect your health.

However, sometimes inflammation persists, day in and day out, even when you are not threatened by a foreign invader. That’s when inflammation can become your enemy. Many major diseases that plague us—including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s—have been linked to chronic inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory diet

To reduce levels of inflammation, aim for an overall healthy diet. If you’re looking for an eating plan that closely follows the tenets of anti-inflammatory eating, consider the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils.

Anti-inflammatory foods

An anti-inflammatory diet should include these foods:

  • tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
  • fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
  • spices, especially ginger, turmeric, and cayenne
  • green tea contains antioxidant compounds known as catechins, which reduce inflammation

The health risks of inflammatory foods

Not surprisingly, the same foods on an inflammation diet are generally considered bad for our health, including sodas and refined carbohydrates, as well as red meat and processed meats.

Unhealthy foods also contribute to weight gain, which is itself a risk factor for inflammation. Yet in several studies, even after researchers took obesity into account, the link between foods and inflammation remained, which suggests weight gain isn’t the sole driver.

Foods that cause inflammation

Try to avoid or limit these foods as much as possible:

  • refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
  • French fries and other fried foods
  • soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
  • red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
  • margarine, shortening, and lard

In addition to lowering inflammation, a more natural, less processed diet can have noticeable effects on your physical and emotional health.

The impact of strength training

Strength training also improves chronic inflammation. Strength training’s positive effects on chronic inflammation are probably part of why it is shown to decrease the risk of heart disease and diabetes. To maximize your health gains, train with challenging weights and get adequate rest between your workouts.

Exercise regularly and recover completely. Exercise decreases levels of TNF (tumor necrosis factor) and CRP (C-reactive protein), both of which are involved in systemic inflammation. The key to reaping the benefits of exercise and avoiding chronic inflammation is making sure that you allow enough time for the body to recover after every strenuous session.


Take Control Of Your Metabolism!

October 20th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO keep the lights on in the human body? How does the body power everything from blinking and cell repair to washing dishes and running a marathon?

In the simplest terms, all of these activities are powered by calories, which come from the food we eat. This is your metabolism at work.

To support a healthy metabolism, consider making the following eight dietary and activity changes:

  • Take control
  • Eat enough
  • Boost protein intake
  • Eat breakfast
  • Limit sweets and processed foods
  • Stay hydrated
  • Increase or maintain muscle mass
  • Get enough rest

Moving more and eating well can help ensure your metabolism is running as best it can. Your resting metabolic rate is largely determined by three factors:

  • Body size and composition. People who are larger and have more muscle mass tend to have a higher metabolism.
  • Sex. Males tend to have less body fat and ore muscle mass, leading to a higher metabolism.
  • Age. As you age, you lose muscle mass and your metabolism slows.

For example, a sedentary 55-year-old woman who’s 5′ 4″ tall and weighs 175 pounds only needs about 1,400 calories per day to keep the body going. By contrast, a 55-year-old male who’s 6′ tall and weighs 200 pounds needs nearly 1,800 calories a day to service the basic needs of maintaining the body at rest. When you add in exercise or physical activity, those needs increase no matter who you are.

Weight gain is more likely a product of a calorie surplus from eating and a decline in activity as we get older. That said, you do have control over what and how much you eat and how much you move.

Make a plan and keep track of how much you’re eating, how much you’re moving, and get a sense of how many calories your body needs and burns each day. I advise my clients to keep a food journal if necessary and to eat a “clean” diet. I also schedule 2 30-minute personal training sessions with them weekly and encourage them to enjoy their new strength by staying active between sessions.

Move more, eat often, hydrate, and sleep. Great advice for all of us! Read the entire article from US News here.


Lemon Broccoli

July 7th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

Ingredients

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Cups large Broccoli florets
1 Pinch Sea Salt
1/2 Lemon cut into wedges

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat.
Add the broccoli, stirring constantly until it becomes tender.
Add salt. Serve with lemon wedges.

Ready In 7 minutes
Serves 4

 

by Dr. Mark Hyman


Inside Outside Egg Rolls

May 27th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup cabbage or tri-color coleslaw mix, shredded
  • 1/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
  • 6.5 oz lean grass-fed ground beef – you will need 4.3 oz cooked
  • 2 farm-fresh eggs, whisked
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp Chinese five-spice blend
  • 1 tbsp lite soy sauce or Braggs amino
Directions:
  1. Combine shredded cabbage, celery, and scallions. Toss together. Set aside.
  2. Brown ground beef. Throw the veggies in with the meat.
  3. Sprinkle stir-fry mixture with ginger, garlic, and five-spice blend.
  4. Add soy sauce and whisked eggs into the skillet.
  5. Continue to stir-fry until vegetables are tender, but firm. (No pieces of egg should be visible.)
  6. Remove skillet from heat and serve.

from Sandy’s Kitchen Adventures


Cauliflower Grits with Spicy Shrimp

May 11th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

Ingredients

Cauliflower Grits

  • 1 cup unsweetened cashew milkor coconut milk or grass-fed whole dairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted grass-fed butteror ghee
  • ¼ cup unsalted chicken stockor vegetable stock
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup grated organic sharp cheddar cheese

Shrimp

  • 1 pound shrimppeeled and deveined, 16/20 count
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher saltdivided
  •  teaspoon black pepper
  •  teaspoon cayenne pepper
  •  teaspoon paprika
  • 4 slices nitrate free baconthick-cut, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlicabout 4 cloves
  • ¼ cup yellow oniondiced into ¼-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup red bell pepperdiced into ¼-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oilto substitute bacon grease if desired
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup green onionsthinly sliced

Greens

  • 8 ounces swiss chardsliced into 1-inch strips

Instructions

Cauliflower Grits

  1. Grate or add cauliflower florets to a food processor. You want the cauliflower to be about the size of rice grains. See the video linked here.
  2. Add cauliflower to a medium-sized saute pan and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, constantly stirring to release some moisture from the vegetable.
  3. Add one tablespoon of butter, ¼ cup of cashew milk, ¼ cup of chicken stock, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir and cook until moisture gets absorbed and cauliflower cooks through about 5 minutes.
  4. sing an immersion hand blender or blender, pulse cauliflower mixture until it resembles the texture of grits (smooth yet still grainy). You don’t want the mixture to be completely smooth.
  5. Transfer back to the pan. Turn heat to medium and add in ¼ cup grated cheese, stir until melted. Slowly add about ½ to ¾ cup more cashew milk until the grits are smooth and creamy. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as desired. Keep warm over very low heat while making the shrimp.

Spicy Shrimp

  1. In a medium-sized bowl combine shrimp, ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon pepper, ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon paprika. Set aside. You can add more cayenne pepper if you like it really spicy.
  2. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add diced bacon and cook until crispy, frequently stirring about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel and drain. Keep 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan, or you can remove and use 2 tablespoons of olive oil instead.
  3. Heat pan to medium and add garlic and onion, stir and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add in the bell peppers and cook 1 minute.
  4. Turn heat to medium-high and add shrimp. Cook for 2 minutes on one side, and 1 minute on the other until pink. Add in 4 teaspoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons green onions and cooked bacon. Stir to combine, cook about 1 minute. Transfer shrimp to a warm bowl.

Greens

  1. In the same pan add the swiss chard. Cook on medium-high heat until wilted and tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

To Serve: Stir and reheat grits if needed. Divide grits, greens, and shrimp evenly among serving bowls.

by Jessica Gavin


How Much Protein Should I Eat Daily For Weight Loss?

February 5th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

Decades of scientific research on weight loss have uncovered a few key pieces of information on what helps people successfully win the battle of the bulge.

  • First, we know that while exercise is important, a person’s healthy eating habits likely matters more for weight loss than the hours they spend in the gym.
  • Second, when it comes to dieting, there is no single best one for losing weight; many diets can work quite well as long as total calorie balance is accounted for.
  • Third, dietary protein is one of the key “levers” in a diet that increases the likelihood of someone’s ability to lose weight.

This article is going to cut through a lot of the noise surrounding protein and tell you how much protein you should be eating to lose weight and some of the things you should consider when planning your diet.

WHAT IS PROTEIN?
Protein is an important macronutrient that is involved in nearly all bodily functions and processes. It plays a key role in exercise recovery and is an essential dietary nutrient for healthy living. Protein and amino acids are primarily used to create bodily tissues, form enzymes, and cellular transporters, maintain fluid balance, and more.

HOW MUCH PROTEIN PER DAY TO LOSE WEIGHT?
If you want to lose weight, aim for a daily protein intake between .73 and 1 grams per pound. Athletes and heavy exercisers should consume 1-1.5 grams per pound if aiming for weight loss.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PROTEIN IN WEIGHT LOSS?
Dietary protein can be an important part of a diet that is intended for weight loss. While there are many benefits to dietary protein, there are four main areas that have direct effects on weight loss:

  • Satiety
  • Lean mass
  • Thermic effect of food
  • Storage as body fat

Let us take a deeper dive into each of these topics.

PROTEIN HELPS YOU FEEL FULL LONGER
One of the biggest things that impede weight loss is hunger.

People are far less likely to stick with a nutrition or diet plan if they experience high levels of hunger.

Protein is the most satiating of all the macronutrients.

Several different lines of research have all pointed to the same thing: higher protein intakes tend to provide more satiety and less hunger.

For example, in one study, high protein snacks allowed people to go longer between eating and also caused them to eat less at subsequent meals.

Another study showed that including protein into a glass of water decreased hunger compared to water alone.

Depending on the source of protein, there does appear to be minor differences in the exact amount of satiety that protein provides, however these differences are minor and don’t really make a meaningful impact for most people.

Currently, there is no consensus on the optimal level of daily protein intake in one’s diet with regard to staying full. However, roughly .82-1.32 grams of protein per pound appear to provide substantial benefit on satiety.

PROTEIN PRESERVES LEAN BODY MASS
In addition, protein has another benefit on weight loss: it helps preserve lean body mass during periods of caloric restriction.

One study compared the effect of low protein intake (1.0 grams per kilogram per day) to high protein intake (2.3 g/kg per day) on lean body mass over a short term caloric deficit. On average, the low protein group lost about 1.6 kilograms (3.5 pounds) of muscle mass while the high protein group only lost 0.3 kg (0.66 pounds) of muscle mass.

Currently, most evidence suggests that .73 grams of protein per pound are a recommended daily target for protein intake to spare lean body mass loss during periods of weight loss.

PROTEIN INCREASES THE THERMIC EFFECT OF FOOD
The thermic effect of food is the “cost” of digesting your food.

Essentially, it takes some energy to break food down, digest it, and turn it into energy. Protein has the highest “cost” of all three macronutrients.

While the total effect that the thermic effect of food has on daily energy expenditure and weight loss is small, it is not meaningless and is important to note.

In one study, a high protein diet increased the thermic effect of food by roughly 6-8 kcals per hour when compared to a low protein diet, which may translate to ~50-75 calories per day.

However, not all studies show this large of an effect, and the thermic effect of protein is not likely responsible for most of its benefit, but it may be the “cherry on top” of adequate dietary protein during weight loss.

PROTEIN IS HARD TO STORE AS BODY FAT
During periods of weight loss, there are often times where more energy is consumed than expended. As such, minimizing how much of that excess energy (i.e. calories) is stored as fat is important.

The body processes the three different macronutrients (i.e. proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) in very different ways.

Leaving out a lot of jargon and mumbo jumbo, in order for protein to be stored as fat, it goes through a much different biochemical process than either carbohydrates or fats.

This process makes it much harder for protein to store as body fat.

One study found that protein is stored as body fat with roughly 66% efficiency, while carbohydrates store with 80% efficiency and fats store at 96% efficiency.

During weight loss, overeating protein results in much less stored body fat than overeating on carbohydrates or fat.

While many different diets can be successful for weight loss, the protein content of a diet is one of the important factors to consider when planning a diet. Protein has been shown to promote satiety, help maintain lean body mass, increase the thermic effect of food slightly, and can reduce how efficient the body is at storing extra calories as body fat.

Courtesy of NASM.org


The Surprising Benefits of Weight Training

February 5th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

The most common misconception about weight training is that it adds bulky muscle mass, a fear of some women. While elite male lifters can — and want to — get very developed, for most people the result is simply well-toned muscles.

Other benefits are increased mobility, more support for your joints and the ability to stay self-sufficient in your later years.

As an added bonus, having more muscle can also help you with your weight goal. That’s because the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate and the more calories you burn. Add a calorie cut into the mix and you’ll lose weight.

Muscle is denser than fat and it also takes up less room. That’s why you can look leaner yet actually weigh more than someone without muscle definition.

To make the most of strength training, lift heavier weights than you think you’re able to. Yes, challenge yourself, staying within safe limits. You don’t want to try to lift a weight you can barely pick up off the weight rack, but most people underestimate the amount they can handle or fail to progress to heavier weights, according to the American Council on Exercise, and that limits the effectiveness of strength training.

Keep in mind, too, that you don’t have to spend hours in the gym. All you need are 20 to 30 minutes every other day to accomplish training goals. Do one to three short sets — eight reps per set — with high weights and a mix of exercises that target all the major muscle groups.

If you’re new to strength training, get your doctor’s OK first and work with a trainer on proper form.

Our recommendation is 2 30 -minute sessions or group class + session each week, along with a clean diet, and you’ll be amazed at how good you feel, and look!

By Len Canter
HealthDay Reporter, U.S. News


Cast Iron Whole Chicken

January 27th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

A simple and easy whole roasted chicken that is full of flavor, perfectly moist, and tender! This recipe is gluten-free, allergy-free, and paleo using a no-fail method for success. We think it’s just a fabulous way to up your protein and enjoy a home-cooked meal.

Ingredients:
•1 whole free-range, organic chicken, 4-5 lbs
•2 small Gala apples, chopped
•1 large shallot, chopped
•2 t oil (I use sunflower oil)
•1 1/2 t dried thyme
•1 t dried basil
•1/2 t garlic powder
•1/2 t onion powder
•1/2 t ground ginger
•1/4 t ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375oF
2. Rinse and pat dry the chicken, inside and outside
3. Place chicken in a large seasoned cast iron skillet and stuff with chopped apples and shallot in the cavity of the chicken, place any extra pieces around the chicken in the cast iron skillet
4. Rub the outside with the oil, herbs, and spices
5. Roast in the oven for about 1 hour and 40minutes (about 20 minutes per pound) or until the chicken reaches a safe 180F
6. Remove from oven, cover with foil, let rest for 15-20 minutes before carving

Recipe from Strength & Sunshine


Roasted Zucchini, Squash, Onions, and Tomatoes

August 14th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Ingredients

  • 2 small zucchini (1 lb), cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 2 small yellow squash (1 lb), cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 med onion, cut into 1″ thick squares
  • 14 oz cherry or small Campari tomatoes, sliced in halve
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (1 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 1 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning (or your favorite dried or fresh herbs)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded organic Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh or dried parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line an 18 by 13 inch rimmed baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic and Italian seasoning (if possible let rest 5 – 10 minutes to allow flavors to infuse into oil).
  4. Place zucchini, squash, onions, and tomatoes in a large mixing bowl. Pour olive oil mixture over top and gently toss with hands to evenly coat.
  5. Pour onto the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top of each.
  6. Roast in preheated oven 25 – 30 minutes until veggies are tender and Parmesan is golden brown.
  7. Garnish with parsley if desired and serve warm.

Recipe source: Cooking Classy


Egg And Ham Cups

February 12th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Ingredients
1 slice low-fat, nitrate free, deli ham
1 whole, farm fresh egg
2 tbsp organic, reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
1 slice, thin/small tomatoes, sliced

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
2. Spray the cups of a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Press the sliced ham into the muffin tin cup, forming a ham cup.
4. Place the tomato slice in the cup.
5. Crack the egg and drop it in on top of the tomato. Repeat this process for as many cups as desired.
6. Place the muffin tin in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the egg is almost cooked.
7. Top with cheese and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Let cool for a few minutes. Once the cup has cooled, use a spatula to carefully transfer it to a plate.
Eat with your choice of carbs, such as a piece of fruit or low carb oats.

Courtesy of Jim Stoppani, Ph.D.