Sep 29

3D Anatomy Software for Personal Trainers and Fitness/Health Gyms

3D Anatomy Software for Personal Trainers and Fitness/Health Gyms

 

In these past few years my personal training and sports nutrition coaching business has really taken off and I have been gifted with some of the most incredibly hard working clients and friends. I get to see and connect with them everyday while helping them achieve their health and fitness goals. You can see some of their success stories here.

One of the greatest enjoyments I get out of coaching my clients is watching how they develop their own awareness of body and mind over the course of their programs. One way in which we can do this is by teaching them basic, and in-depth, human anatomy as it relates to their own bodies, injuries, and programs.

3d4medical essential anatomy

Today I wanted to share a new interface with you and show you what software you can use to teach and learn more about human anatomy and biology.

By using Apple TV and an ipad I am able to show my clients the skeleton, skeletal muscle, connective tissue, lymphatic, arterial/venous, digestive, and urinary systems of the body through 3D interactive imaging.

3d4medical essentials anatomy

I can also show them biological procedures and conditions with short educational video clips for further education. The human body is far too fascinating and these apps make understanding ones-self that much more easy and fun!

Here are some links to the apps that I use in the video below:
http://www.3d4medical.com/
http://www.visiblebody.com/index.html

 


Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with either Anatomy App companies and do not make any profit off of them, I simply use them for my own business and find them very helpful.

 

 

 

Jul 15

Homemade Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard

Homemade Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard

I’ve been waiting a long time to try and post this new recipe of mine. Growing up as a child, some of my fondest memories were going to half off movies with my pops and getting Reeses Peanut Cup Blizzards.

Fast forward to today and I still LOVE Reeses Peanut Cup Blizzards but I’ve learn to TRACK my macronutrient intake so I can still enjoy the foods I love while maintaining a lean/shredded and healthy physique. So I still go out with friends and family and usually get a small or medium blizzard, however this recipe is EASY to make at home and is lower in calories!

The Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 262g Breyer’s 1/2 the Fat Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
  • 31g Skim Milk
  • 44g (5 pcs.) No Sugar Added Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • 1/4 Tsp. Xanthum Gum
  • 1/2 Tsp. Home-made Sweetener (266g Erythritol/3g Stevia)

*OPTIONAL: If you don’t mind a few more calories and are looking for a HIGHER PROTEIN version you can add Vanilla Whey protein AND/OR Quest Nutrition’s Peanut Butter Cups 

Method:

  1. Start blending the ice cream, milk, xanthum gum, and Sweetener of choice
  2. Chop up the Reese Cups and add them into the ice cream mix thoroughly
  3. Serve Cold and Enjoy!

Macronutrients:

Per Recipe (340g)

Calories: 445

Protein: 6g

Carbs: 71g

Fat: 20g

LOWER CALORIE UPDATE (Breyer’s No Sugar Added Vanilla Ice Cream):

Homemade Reeses Cup Blizzard

Ingredients:

  • 262g Breyer’s No Sugar Added Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 31g Skim Milk
  • 44g (5 pcs) No Sugar Added Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • 1g (1/4 Tsp) Xanthum Gum
  • 10g (2 Tsp) Home-made Sweetener (266g Erythritol/3g Stevia)

Macronutrients:

Per Recipe (348g)

Calories: 386.5

Protein: 10g

Carbs: 59g

Fat: 21.4g

Comparison

Here are the macronutrients for 340g of a STORE BOUGHT Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard:

Calories: 675
Protein: 16g
Carbs: 95g
Fats: 26g

As you can see from above you are SAVING 288 calories and saving money while at it! :)

TRY this recipe out and if you like it please share it! :)

Jun 25

Product Review: Some New Macro Friendly Goodies

Product Review: Some New Macro Friendly Goodies

 

In the past year, I have been fortunate enough to be involved and have the opportunity to have 3 photo shoots and now I have ANOTHER one next week on July 3rd which I have been working very hard on. Recently I have been creating many new recipes involving low macronutrient/calories as well as higher volume (fiber/water containing) foods.

Recently I became a member of MacroMagic Facebook page and started following Eric Johnson and Kim Hoeltje. MacroMagic has many good meal ideas and both Eric and Kim have wicked youtube channels for low macronutrient recipes for when dieting down to low bodyfat levels.

I recently visited the low carb grocery and picked up a few items that I discovered from Eric and Kim and I wanted to share some of them with ya’ll.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. First on the list is Joseph’s Bakery Lavash Roll. This thin LOW CARB brea∂ is massive and only contains 80 calories PER sheet, that of which is 4g of fat, 14g of carbs (3g FIBER), and 10g of protein! You can use this bread to make cream cheese filled pin wheels, thin pizza doughs, and chips using an oven on broil.

Joseph's bakery lavash bread roll pin wheel

This is a Lavash Roll Stuffed with low fat cream cheese, greek yogurt, vanilla whey, and sweetener. Topped with Walden Farms pancake and chocolate syrup, YUM!

2. Next we have Joseph’s Bakery Tortilla Wraps. These wraps are soft and taste amazing and they only contain 70 calories per wrap that of which 1.5g is fat, 11g is carbs (6g FIBER), and 7g is protein! I used these to make stuffed wraps, tortillas, AND even cut them then broiled them to make crispy chips. Some olive oil spray and sea salt made them real nice chips with a side of salsa.

Joseph's bakery tortilla

 

3. Thirdly was Joseph’s Bakery Mini and Normal size Pita Bread. These tasted great but were a little delicate so care was needed if you wanted to stuff them. The normal sized pita’s contain 60 calories that of which 1.5g is fat, 10g is carbs (5g FIBER), and 7g is protein! The Mini Pita’s were 50 calories that of which 1g is fat, 7g is carbs (4g FIBER), and 5g is protein!

Joseph's Bakery Pita

I stuffed this pita with low fat cream cheese, greek yogurt, vanilla whey, sweetener and topped it with Walden Farms Marshmallow dip and chocolate syrup!

Joseph's bakery mini pitas

These mini pitas are stuffed with Wild Ground Elk Meat and Walden Farms Honey BBQ Sauce!

4. Da Vinci’s SUGAR FREE German Chocolate cake syrup has come in handy for adding flavour to my thick protein shakes and POV cakes and contains 0 calories (relatively). It has a little after taste but is well worth it when mixed in a recipe or smoothie.

5. Also good for adding into protein shakes and cake recipes, is Capella Hazelnut flavour drops. These are super concentrated and make a difference when adding variety to your low calorie, low macronutrient meals.

6. Walden Farms Marshmallow Dip doesn’t taste all that amazing by itself but with their pancake and chocolate syrups it definitely adds presentation and variety to the look of your crepes, POV cakes, and puddings/parfaits without adding calories.

7. Next up, is Mrs. Butter Worth’s Sugar free Pancake Syrup. Walden Farm’s Pancake syrup is pretty awesome and is pretty much calorie FREE.However at $4-5 a bottle it can be a bit pricey over time and not easy to get just anywhere in Canada. Save-on-Foods has this syrup and it tastes great (slight aftertaste) and only contains 20 calories PER 60ml! I used this syrup in Kim Hoeltje’s Cookie Dough Dip recipe. Click here for a homemade Walden Farm’s Pancake Syrup Recipe.

8. Finally The Low Carb Grocery stocks Sugar FREE, Fat FREE, JELLO Pudding mixes which are freaking awesome for low calorie cheesecake recipes and other awesome snacks!

Sugar Free Fat Free Jello Pudding Mix    

 

You can CHECK OUT these recipes and more by going to my food and recipe page here!

 

 

Jun 21

How to make Homemade Walden Farms Pancake Syrup

Homemade Walden Farms Pancake Syrup

A while back I wrote a couple product reviews of some of the Walden Farms zero calorie syrups (here, here, and here).

The biggest drawback to Walden Farms is the price tag. Here is a recipe for the pancake syrup to save you some money.

Homemade Walden Farms Pancake Syrup

The Recipe

This recipe can make up to 1-2 bottles depending on how thick you want the syrup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp Maple Extract
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1-1.5 tsp. Xanthum Gum (more if thicker is desired)
  • 8-12 tsp of homemade sweetener (Stevia/Erythritol), Splenda packets, or pure Sucralose (96-216mg or around 1/16-1/8 tsp)

Method:

  1. Microwave your water until boiling and add in the xanthum gum and stir thoroughly
  2. Microwave again until boiling and then add in your sweetener of choice and salt
  3. Fill the used walden farms bottle about 1/2 to 3/4 with mixture and add in your maple extract (to make pouring easier you can thin out the mixture with water and stirring)
  4. Pour in enough water to fill the rest of the bottle and SHAKE vigorously
  5. Store in the fridge and shake before use, enjoy!

Walden Farms Chocolate Syrup?

To make Walden Farms Chocolate Syrup knock off, add in 6 Teaspoons of cocoa powder and/or chocolate imitation concentrate and use LESS maple extract

Jun 03

Homemade Quest Protein Bars

Homemade Quest Protein Bars

A while back I wrote a blog post on the famous Quest Protein Bars and listed as well as tasted all the different varieties at the time. (A tasty blog post I must say).

Today I want to introduce and teach you how to DESIGN and CREATE your own Homemade Quest Protein Bars to save money and save calories/Macronutrients.

Quest Bars are great but at $2-3 per bar, the price can really add up quick, especially if eating them everyday.

The secret ingredient

The ingredient that allows the protein bars to be LOW carb and chewy (binder) is a syrup called Vita-Fiber. You can purchase it here.

The Syrup contains IMO, a high quality isomalto-oligosaccharide, made from starch. It is a dietary fiber, prebiotic, and low-calorie sweetener.

 

The Recipes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bar:

– 55g Vita-fiber

– 30g Chocolate Whey Protein Powder (for BEST results use a whey that contains concentrate NOT just isolate)

– 2 Tsp. Protein Plus Peanut Flour

– 1 Tsp. Unsweetened cocoa Powder

  

Method:

1. Heat the Vita-Fiber for 35 seconds in the microwave or pan until you see it bubble

2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly

3. Form in a silicone loaf pan into a bar like shape

4. Place into the fridge or freezer to let it sit for 1 hour, or less if using the freezer

NOTE: You can use many different ingredients and flavourings to your protein bars and the creative possibilities are endless. Just remember to add the extra macros for them.

Macronutrients

Per Bar: 75g

Calories: 226

Protein: 28g

Carbs: 44g

Fiber: 39.5g

Fats: 0.9g

Chocolate Protein Bar:

– 55g Vita-fiber

– 30g Chocolate Whey Protein Powder (for BEST results use a whey that contains concentrate NOT just isolate)

– 2 Tsp. Unsweetened cocoa Powder

– 1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

Method:

*Follow above

Macronutrients:

Per Bar: 105g

Calories: 218

Protein: 27g

Carbs: 44g

Fiber: 39.6g

Fats: 0.7g

More Recipes to come, Click HERE to see more!

May 26

Low Fat, Low Carb, High PROTEIN Chocolate Cauliflower Cake

Here is a recipe for a Low Fat, Low Carb, High PROTEIN Chocolate Cauliflower Cake:

ANNA’S CHOCOLATE CAULIFLOWER CAKE

I got this recipe from Anna McManamey.

This is an amazing HIGH VOLUME PROTEIN Cake recipe for those looking for a LOW carb, LOW macronutrient recipe when dieting down to low body fat levels.

It only has the slightest hint of cauliflower but its really faint and you can experiment with more sweetener and cocoa powder to mask it.

Its hard to beat a cake recipe where you can eat the WHOLE damn thing and still have room in your day for other macros/calories.

Recipe

Serves 8

Ingredients

– 70g (2 scoops) Kaizen Whey chocolate protein powder
– 300g frozen cauliflower, thawed, & finely processed in food processor
– 28g (4 tbsp) flaxseed meal
– 42g (1/4 cup) Homemade Sweetener (click here)
– 5g (1 tsp) baking powder
– 7g (2 tbsp) cacao

– 252g (1 cup) egg whites
– 1 Tsp vanilla extract

Method:

1. Freeze the cauliflower, thaw it, then us a food processor to a VERY fine texture

2. Blend all the ingredients together and bake in a lined cake tin/dish at 350F for approximately 30 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

3. Remove onto a dish and add additional toppings if desired. You will need to track the macronutrients in the additional toppings.

Here is my topping:

– 20g Walden Farms Pancake Syrup
– 20g Kaizen Chocolate Whey Protein Powder

Macronutrients Per Recipe 651g (Excluding toppings):
664 calories
102.3g Protein
36.5g Carbs
15.5g Fat

Fiber: 18.3g

Macronutrients Per Slice 81.4g (1/8 serving, Excluding toppings):

83 calories
12.8g Protein
4.5g Carbs
1.9g Fat

Fiber: 2.3g

TRY OUT this recipe out and let me know what you think! Feel free to share it with family and friends and give a shout out to Anna McManamey for the recipe! :)

May 26

How to Make Your Own Homemade Sweetener: Truvia Alternative

Today I want to introduce to you a homemade sweetener. When creating and making recipes that are LOWER fat, LOWER carb, and overall macronutrient friendly it sure helps to use a zero calorie sweetener such as Truvia. A lot of people opt for Splenda but splenda contains calories due to the fact they maltodextrin as their ‘bulking’ agent.

Truvia is a good tasting sweetener that you can use in place of granulated sugar. However at $10-15 per tub it can be rather expensive to buy. Here is an alternative to Truvia that you can make easily at home and it tastes great in recipes!

First off I ordered Erythritol and 98% Stevia extract from iherb.com. I bought 5 pounds of Erythritol for $34 and 113g of Frontier stevia for $25. Buying in bulk can greatly save you money BUT keep in mind that shipping will be somewhere around $10-15 and MAKE SURE you pick it up from over the US border or expect to pay almost $15-20 in duty (sneaky bastards). Gives you a reason to fill up on gas ;)

What is Erythritol and is it safe?

Erythritol exists in naturally low levels in fruits, cheese, wine, and beer and is about 70% as sweet as sugar. The body absorbs erythritol, but it is not metabolized (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8457525).

A dose of 0.3g/kilogram of body weight resulted in NO change in blood glucose or insulin and 90% of the erythritol was excreted in the urine.

Calories??
The available energy content of erythritol as 0.4 calories per gram (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8039489)(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8933644)

 

What is Stevia and is it safe?

Stevia has long been promoted as a natural sugar substitute, and an alternative to the artificial sweeteners

It is derived from a South American shrub, and is 250 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar

It has been used as a sweetener by the indigenous peoples of South America for centuries, and has also been used in Japan for over 30 years

Stevia’s history would imply that it is safe, but we cannot for certain establish the safety of a substance just because it has been used for a long time

 

Regulation:

Unlike many artificial sweeteners which have been approved for use in numerous countries, stevia’s regulatory status VARIES from country to country, and also varies depending on the TYPE of stevia extract:

*The sweet stevia extracts are known as steviol glycosidesthe two main glycosides are stevioside and rebaudioside A.

The ADI of 4 milligrams of steviol glycosides per kilogram of body weight (high consumers might exceed the ADI, especially if a person were to replace all of his/her sweeteners with stevia)
(The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JEFCA) has evaluated the research on stevia)

*1 Tsp. = 0.64g SO a 158 pound person (71.8kg) can consume 287.2mg/day = 0.2872 g = Less than half a Tsp.

 

Stevia Metabolism

Stevia is not absorbed by your body but passes through your stomach undigested. Once the stevia reaches your intestines, the bacteria in your intestines break it down into steviol (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12738193) (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17202597)(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17202597)

You EXCRETE some of the steviol in your feces, while absorbing the rest into your blood where your liver quickly converts it into steviol glucuronide, which you then excrete in your urine (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17202597)

 

Consensus

The majority of evidence indicates that stevia is SAFE when consumed at amounts below the ADI but If you use a lot of stevia, it can be easy to EXCEED the ADI. Ofcourse this would be an everyday thing.  If you have allergies, eczema, or asthma, you may want to be careful with stevia or use another sweetener, as some people with these conditions may be allergic to stevia.(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9183561)(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17202597)(http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1398-9995.2007.01317.x/pdf)

 

The Recipe

And finally here is the recipe for the Truvia Alternative:
266g Erythritol
4g Stevia Extract

Shake really well and wala!

May 11

Indian Sweet Recipe: Sugar FREE, LOW Fat, HIGH Protein Doodh Peda

 

Indian Sweet Recipe: Sugar FREE, LOW Fat, HIGH Protein Doodh Peda

Growing up in North Delta, next to Surrey BC, a lot of my closest friends were and are east indian so I got to experience a lot of different ethnic foods. One great thing about coming over to my friends houses as the white kid is all the food their parents would feed me and offer to me to try. This of course did NOT help me in my childhood obesity days but it was very enjoyable and gave me some major perspective on world cuisine.

One of the most interesting and tasty foods I ever tried were the indian sweets I would get around the holiday Diwali. I have a VERY strong sweet tooth so the syrupy and sugary indian sweets like Gulab Jamun, barfi, peda, and jalebi were some of my favourite addictions.

Unfortunately traditional indian sweet recipes are extremely HIGH in calories because of the deep frying and the amount of ghee (clarified butter) and sugar they use to make them. Being in the fitness and nutrition industry has gotten me more and more intrigued about creating LOWER calorie versions of these sweets.

Thus started my mini obsession.

Doodh Peda

Out of all the Indian sweets I’ve tried, one of my all time favourites (aside from Gulab Jamuns) is Doodh Peda. It is a doughy like sweet that can be nice and chewy with a hint of Cardamom and sometimes saffron.

After attempting many different recipes using condensed milk and the microwave I’ve found the LOWEST CALORIE and LOWEST FAT version I could come up with.

How?

How I was able to achieve such a LOW CALORIE version was using 0 calorie sweeteners like stevia or pure sucralose, STICK FREE Pan, SKIM Milk, and olive oil SPRAY.

The Recipe:

 

Ingredients:

976g (4 cups) Skim Milk 

1g Stevia

0.5g (1/4 Tsp) Cardamom

1/4 Tsp Citric Acid

6g (2 Tsp) Corn flour (dissolved in 3-4 tsp water without any lumps )

Ghee or olive oil spray – to grease

  

Method:

  1. Boil milk in a STICK FREE pan and stir once in a while to avoid burning the bottom.
  2. Approximately, after 1 hour the milk should be reduced to half. Then add citric acid (or lime juice), sweetener, and corn cornstarch dissolved in water.
  3. Stir the milk every 2 to 3 minutes. Once the milk starts to thicken, stir the mix continuously.
  4. Once the mix is almost thickened to a doughy state, remove from heat and allow this to cool.
  5. Grease your hands with little olive oil spray, then shape them into small balls and garnish with any nuts of your choice (optional).

  

Macronutrients:

Serving: Full recipe 155g

Calories: 364.2

P: 33g

C: 54.2g

F: 1.7g

Sodium: 410mg

Conclusion:

This version of the Doodh Peda is not as rich or creamy compare to using sweetened condensed milk, full fat whole milk, or a whack load of ghee and sugar. This version also takes more TIME compared to the instant versions of using a microwave.

Comparisons:

Here are the Macronutrients in the microwave version using condensed milk and instant skim milk powder:

Serving: 232.25g

Calories: 1,019

P: 46.4g

C: 159.3g

F: 16.2g

Here are the Macronutrients in the stove top version using Evaporated milk and instant skim milk powder:

Serving: Full recipe 255g

Calories: 1190

P: 68g

C: 142.4g

F: 36.9

As you can see Doodh Peda is a very rich sweet and these recipes I’ve tried above are still lower calorie versions than even more traditional peda’s you typically buy in the store.

Try out the LOW CALORIE recipe above and if you want you can ADD ghee/butter OR use WHOLE MILK for a more rich and creamy version. Just don’t forget to count the extra fat calories because they will be significantly higher.

Chocolate Doodh Peda (10g of Cocoa Powder):

If you LIKED this blog update and think it may help someone you know feel free to share it or comment below! :)

May 07

Homemade Big Mac Healthy Recipe

I’ll be honest, I am not a fan of fast food. Not because fast food is the ONLY problem in our obesity sized society or THE reason why cancer rates are at an all time high. I just don’t find the quality and price worth it. It just doesn’t taste good to me.

The famous Mcdonalds Big Mac is an unforgettable burger for most people so I decided to create and make a custom homemade big mac recipe with higher quality ingredients and beef. So here it is:

Big Mac Recipe:

 

Lets ofcourse start with the most important part of a Big Mac, the Special Sauce!

 Big mac Sauce

Special Sauce Recipe:

300g (16 Tbsp) – Mayo: (100g – Light Mayo & 200g Whipped 50% Less fat)
15g (3 Tsp) – Sweet Relish
15g (1 Tbsp) – Prepared Yellow Mustard
5g (1 Tsp) White Wine Vinegar
2g (1 Tsp) Onion Powder
3g (1 Tsp) Garlic Powder
2g (1 Tsp) Paprika
8g (2 Tsp) White Sugar

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: 1 Tbsp (15g)

Calories: 32.16 calories

Protein: 0.13g

Carbs: 2.81g

Fats: 2.33g

Sodium: 127mg

_________________

 

Burger Recipe:

 

Ingredients:

20g (1.5 Tbsp) Homemade Mcdonald’s Big Mac Special Sauce

125g (1.5 Slices) Dempster’s Deluxe White Hamburger Buns
70g each. (2) Lean Ground Beef Patties (95% lean)
20g (1 slice) Cracker Barrel Medium Light Cheddar Cheese (42% less fat – 21% MF)
20g (2 Tbsp) Finely chopped onion
28g (1/2 Cup) shredded iceberg lettuce
7g (2 slice) Pickle

I flattened the 70g Lean ground beef patties as flat as possible using parchment paper

Assembly Steps:

1. Add 10g of Special sauce to the bottom bun (pre-toasted)

2. Add 1 Tbsp onion & 1/4 cup lettuce

3. Lay over 1 slice cracker barrel medium light cheddar cheese

4. Add the cut middle bun and add 10g of special sauce

5. Add more onion & lettuce along with two slices of pickles

6. Add the final patty and top with the top bun

Enjoy!

 

homemade big mac

 

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: 1 Burger (318g)

Calories: 612.9

Protein: 45.4g

Carbs: 59.4g

Fats: 19g

Sodium: 1022mg

 

Conclusion:

 

This burger tasted absolutely delicious and VERY VERY much like the original Mcdonalds Big Mac but more FRESH and higher QUALITY.

Try out this Big Mac recipe and comment below how it turned out for you.

 

If you LIKED this blog update and think it may help someone you know feel free to share it or comment below! :)

May 04

Photo Shoot UPDATE – Mission Accomplished

In the last blog post (here) I showed you guys my photo shoot prep for my April 26 shoot with Oh Boy productions. Peak week went very well and I ended up needing to CUT carbs a bit more closer to the shoot day to look a little LESS soft. For those who missed the last video, here is what I typically did for my prep:

Here is what I did in terms of Carbohydrate Front Loading, water, and sodium manipulation (maintenance):

 

peak week

If you’re interested in what can be achieved in ONLY 3 weeks time take a look at my Flipagram where I took a picture each morning for 21 days:

And here are some pictures from my shoot:

Weight: ~149 lbs.
Height: 5’8″
BF% (BIA): 6-7%

Photo-Shoot Date: April 26th/2014


DAILY MACRO TARGETS:
Calories: 2,000
P: 150g
C: 260g
F: 40g

Sodium: 6000mg
Water: 4-5L

WEDNESDAY CARB RE-FEED:
Calories: 2,300
P: 150g
C: 335g
F: 40g

Sodium: 6000mg
Water: 4-5L

Supplements:
Creatine Monohydrate: 3g
Multi-Mineral Vitamin & B-complex (2)
Caffeine 200-400mg
Ephedrine: 24-32mg

Disclaimer:
No steroid or GH drugs were used or have ever been used besides stimulants (caffeine, ephedrine)   Peak weekphoto shoot prep photo shoot prep       

If you LIKED this blog update and think it may help someone you know feel free to share it or comment below! :)

Apr 16

Bodybuilding Prep VIDEO: Entire Days Nutrition & Training for PhotoShoot

bodybuilding prep

A Welcomed Surprise

2 Weeks ago I had an unsuspected surprise. My sister’s boyfriend works for Oh boy productions, the same videography company who filmed my segment of Empowered Health on CHEK TV. Recently, Oh boy productions has started their own professional photography services and hired me to promote their travelling services.

Immediately I jumped on the train and said YES! This is what I was looking for and needed to take my body composition to the next level for the summer. Normally by the summertime I have abs and look pretty good but progress can sometimes be slower because of no REAL goal deadline. But when there is a strong extrinsic factor like a photoshoot or contest it completely changes the game and my mindstate becomes pinpoint accurate.

After I confirmed the date for April 26th I begun planning my 3 week bodybuilding prep for the photoshoot:

bodybuilding prep

Here is a VIDEO Blog I did of my entire days worth of eating and training:


 

Here are my current Macronutrient and Calorie intakes for the Prep:

Current body stats:
157-158 lbs.
~7-8% Bodyfat
Height: 5’8″

DAILY MACRO TARGETS:
Calories: 2,000
Protein: 150g
Carbohydrate: 260g
Fat: 40g
Sodium: 5000-7000mg

1x/WEEK CARB RE-FEED:
Calories: 2,300
Protein: 150g
Carbohydrate: 335g
Fat: 40g
Sodium: 5000-7000mg

Supplements:
– (2) Multi-Mineral Vitamins
– (2) 32mg ephedrine & 200mg caffeine
– 2g NutraSea Fish Oil
– 3-4g Creatine Monohydrate
– 2g Beta Alanine

If you LIKED this blog update and think it may help someone you know feel free to share it or comment below! :)

Feb 15

Protein Ice Cream – Dream Come True?

Ice cream is definitely one of my favorite desserts, especially ice milk in Reese Cup Blizzards to be exact. Unfortunately when dieting down to very lean body fat levels it becomes difficult to have full fat and high carb containing ice cream on a daily basis. It can be done in moderation, but I don’t know about you but I don’t like only having 2 or 3 spoons full at a time. Keep in mind many people have success including natural ice creams into their contest prep and diet (especially men) but for women on a lower calories diet this can be a life saver!

This recipe works great for making a High PROTEIN Ice Cream or High PROTEIN milk shakes.

Recipe (Chocolate Flavour):

1 Full Serving of Whey Protein powder (35g of Kaizen Chocolate Whey Protein Isolate is what I used)
10-15g Unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
3 cups crushed ice or 4-5 cups chunk ice
1/2-1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp xanthum gum (1/4 tsp if stomach does not tolerate)
– Artificial Sweetener like stevia, Sucralose etc..
OPTIONAL: Favour extracts (ie. Chocolate, peppermint, butter scotch), Cocao chips, nuts etc..

protein ice cream

Directions:

Use a high powered blender like a Vitamix, Blendtec, or maybe a magic bullet. Blend the ingredients all together until all the ice crystals are completely blended into a soft serve. Eat up and Enjoy!

 protein ice cream

Macronutrient Breakdown:

Serving Size: Full Recipe
Calories: 176 kcal
Protein: 33.6g
Carbs: 12g
Fats: 2.3g

If you enjoyed this article or tried this recipe please COMMENT below or SHARE with your family and friends who might find this helpful :)

Feb 14

Ranch Dressing – High Protein Low Fat Alternative… Say What??

A client and good friend of mine recently referred me to a recipe he has been eating using Fat Free Greek Yogurt and Ranch Seasoning mix to make ranch dressing. Ranch dip and salad dressing is one of those comfort foods which the majority of the western world loves and probably over consumes. Give a child a bowl of broccoli or carrots and watch how fast they gobble it up. Now place a bowl of Ranch Dip next to it and compare their consumption now. (I think in most cases you’ll find quite the difference in rabbit mode).

Unfortunately ranch dip/dressing contains A LOT of calories with only 1Tbs being a whopping 140 calories, most of which is coming from fats (15 grams) and NO PROTEIN. Not that ranch cannot be consumed in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet, BUT it isn’t exactly a fat loss friendly food when dieting down to lean levels.

So what if you could remove the FAT calories and add 300% more PROTEIN?

Ranch Dressing

There were two kinds of Ranch Seasoning mixes to choose from. Hidden Valley (Left) and Uncle Dans (Right). I decided to test out both and give you my subjective review.

Here are the ingredients for each one:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, Hidden Valley’s ingredients list is a lot longer than Uncle Dan’s AND it does contain MSG. The majority of research on humans has shown NO harmful effects of moderate MSG consumption short term, unless injected. [1] Mild side effects have been reported like fatigue, muscle tightness or cramping, and headaches in higher doses but these results have been inconsistent. [2,3] I personally have used and cooked with MSG before and have only had good things to say about its moderate use.

 

Recipe:

200g Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
7-10g Hidden Valley Ranch Mix OR Uncle Dan’s Ranch Mix (depending on your taste and salt tolerance)

 

Conclusion

I was AMAZED how good these dips tasted even though they contained ~21g protein and ZERO grams of fat! Out of the two kinds I tried, I liked Uncle Dan’s Ranch Mix more and it contains LESS ingredients so thats a bonus.

I’m sure if a dressing was what you were looking for then adding in some milk/butter milk or even water may help achieving a more liquid consistency.

The sodium intake in these mixes is quite high (hence the amazing taste) so tracking sodium intake near a show would be a wise idea.

Macronutrient Breakdown:

Serving Size: 210g (Uncle Dan’s)
Calories: 144 kcal
Carbs: 14g
Fat: 0g
Protein: 20.6g

UPDATE:

Here is a homemade ranch recipe you can use instead of the prepackaged:

Ranch Greek Yogurt

Recipe (Per 500g Greek Yogurt)

• 1 tablespoon dried parsley, crushed
• 2 teaspoons dried dill
• 2 teaspoons onion powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper

• ½ cup dried buttermilk powder **optional

Macros (Excluding Buttermilk powder):
Calories: 38 kcal
Protein: 1.9g
Carbs: 8.3g
Fats: 0.3g

References:

1. Zhang WM, Kuchár S, Mozes S. Body fat and RNA content of the VMH cells in rats neonatally treated with monosodium glutamateBrain Res Bull. (1994)
2. Geha RS, et alMulticenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multiple-challenge evaluation of reported reactions to monosodium glutamateJ Allergy Clin Immunol. (2000)
3. Yang WH, et alThe monosodium glutamate symptom complex: assessment in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized studyJ Allergy Clin Immunol. (1997)

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If you enjoyed this post or tried this recipe please COMMENT below or SHARE this article with your family and friends. :)

Aug 05

Low Calorie Recipes: Miracle Noodles Review

Low Calorie Recipes: Miracle Noodles Review

low calorie recipes

Recently I’ve gotten into a lot of products created with the intention of REDUCING overall caloric intake while giving low calorie recipes some flavour and variety.

Almost everyone I know says to me how much they LOVE pasta dishes and wheat flour noodle recipes, and for good reason. Spaghetti and different pasta dishes are extremely satisfying and filling and have a very good homie feel to them, especially when in the form of a big family cooked dinner.

Besides people with Celiac Disease (CD), a serious condition where people cannot tolerate gluten/wheat containing foods; most people can consume wheat based noodles and lose a great deal of body fat provided they are still in a caloric deficit and other nutritional facets are met (I won’t go into detail here). The problem with spaghetti and different pasta dishes (asides from vast quantities of melted cheese) is the fact that on a per serving basis, noodles contain a relatively large amount of CALORIES from carbohydrates and are EASILY over consumed on a daily basis.

I know from personal experience just how delicious spaghetti noodles are in a home cooked meal and how easy it is to go back for 2 or 3 more plate fulls. The problem is that from a macronutrient point of view just one cup (140g) of cooked spaghetti contains 221 calories and from of that 172 calories from carbs. [1]

Now I’m NOT at all saying that carbohydrates are bad and in fact I promote a fair amount of carbs depending on one’s goals and individual biological need. For a petite woman or someone dieting down to really LOW bodyfat levels this can make their overall nutritional intake for the day hard to meet and may even take away from more of the nutrient dense source carbs such as fruit and vegetables. *Some people may tolerate higher carb fat loss plans while others may do better on higher fat/moderate carb plans.

Miracle Noodles: An Alternative

While searching through the Low Carb Grocery I noticed these relatively new noodles that have gotten some popular media attention. They are called Miracle Noodles and are made out of a soluble fiber called Glucomannan which they get from a plant grown in Japan called Konnyaku. 

low calorie recipes miracle noodles

The Miracle noodles also contain a calcium additive to keep their shape intact which is known as pickling lime or calcium hydroxide. The noodles also contain NO soy, tofu, casein, legume or gluten (great for my CD friends).

So What’s The Point?

While the company claims some health benefits like increased nutrient absorption and ‘blah blah’ I see this product as a potential tool for helping those achieving low body fat levels when more BULK is wanted in one’s meals without adding extra calories and carbohydrates. The company claims that each serving of Miracle Noodles contains ZERO calories with the exception of the Garlic and Herb Fettuccine and Spinach noodles which contain 15 kcals. Adding more FIBER and bulk to ones meals can help fill up one’s stomach, increase feeding duration, and slow digestion all of which may help in REDUCING overall caloric intake from day to day.

Taste Testing

I ordered a variety of Miracle Noodles to try them out and give you guys an honest and unbiased review.

The first step in preparing the noodles was to strain them to reduce some of the flavour given off by the noodles. The SMELL of the noodles is VERY fishy from the fermenting process but this is removed by straining and blanching.

low calorie recipes miracle noodles

The next step as mentioned is a 1-5 minute blanching process in BOILING water.

You can then strain the noodles and pat dry with a paper towel and even CUT them with scissors.

My Subjective Opinion:

Out of the packages, the noodles and rice were squishy, slimy, and very fishy. The texture of the noodles once cooked was a squishier version of traditional pastas and rices and the flavour was quite plain. The lack of flavour works out just fine because this allows you to adapt the flavour of the dish to any low calorie recipe you’re cooking the noodles with. The flavour of the Garlic and Herb Fettuccine and Spinach noodles was mild but significant and I quite liked the subtleness of it.

In a Meal:

Here is one meal example I did which turned out to be my breakfast meal with the Miracle Noodles Rice product. Low calorie recipes miracle noodlesLow calorie recipes miracle noodles *Fried Miracle Noodles Rice, cooked romaine lettuce, 4 eggs, Mrs. Dash, Sea Salt, Turmeric and coconut oil for the pan. The Rice definitely added more bulk and something to munch on but I still missed my rice. Here are a couple other meals (Spinach noodles left; Garlic and Herb Fettuccine right): Low calorie recipes miracle noodles

Conclusion

The price per packet of miracle noodles is about $3 so you’re not doing your wallet a big favour if you’re eating multiple packets a day. BUT if it helps you REDUCE your caloric intake for those low body fat levels and/or serious health concerns than it may be a very wise choice. Personally the texture is okay, although a tad squishy, and it does seem to add more BULK to the meals which I like. However I think I still prefer just tracking my carbohydrate intake and using traditional wheat noodles and rices while getting to lean body fat levels. Moderation is key for me, and making sure I am still getting about 2-3 servings of BOTH fruits and vegetables per 2000 calories.   Disclaimer: I am not at all affiliated with Miracle Noodles company and do not make any money of their products or The Low Carb Grocery. I just found the product and idea very interesting to try and thought that some of my clients and readers could benefit from using them to manage their fat loss goals.   Reference: 1. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5780/2 2. http://www.miraclenoodle.com/t-faq.aspx

Jul 12

Miracle Berry Fruit: Psychedelics For Your Taste Buds

The Miracle Berry Fruit

miracle berry fruit

A couple weeks ago, with the help of the interwebz, I discovered a fairly new trend in the culinary realms that have been using of a little West African Berry called the Miracle berry (Synsepalum dulcificum). Apparently aboriginal cultures in West Africa have been using these berries to spruce up their rather bland diets, but how?

How Miracle Berries Work:

Miracle Berries contain a glycoprotein known as miraculin.[1][2] When eaten, this molecule binds to your tongue’s taste buds and causes sour foods to taste sweet.

According to Wikipedia:

“At neutral pH, miraculin binds and blocks the receptors, but at low pH (resulting from ingestion of sour foods) miraculin binds protons and becomes able to activate the sweet receptors, resulting in the perception of sweet taste.[3] This effect lasts until the protein is washed away by saliva (up to about 60 minutes).[4]”

Taste Test:

Below is a video review I did of the Miracle berry tablets I ordered off Amazon.

I tried many different foods (all of which I had to calculate into my Macros for the day as to not mess up my summer diet)

I bought Miracle Frooties brand but there are also mBerry tablets and an Miracle Berry asian brand tablets all of which can be purchased off ebay for 15-20 bucks.

miracle berry fruitmiracle berry fruit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mBerry’s website (here) also sells 5 fresh Miracle Berries for 10.00 bucks plus shipping.

Can the Miracle Berry Fruit Benefit Fat Loss?

The Miracle berry itself is rather LOW in calories and when the pulp is dehydrated and combined with potato starch to make the tablets the calories are insignificant. IF one can use the miracle berry to enhance the flavours in recipes while REDUCING their caloric intake through less sugar and carbohydrates then it MAY be useful for fat loss and weight management.

fat loss miracle berry

Most fat loss supplements that make a very small percentage difference tend to burn more holes in your pockets than fat around your waist. Miracle Berry tablets cost around $1.70-2.00 or less. This is not extremely high and is equal or less than some fat loss supplements on the market. In theory this would cost an extra 8-10 dollars a day if you’re eating 4-5 meals a day. By adding more lemon and citrus foods as well as vinegars to ones recipes/meals you can increase sweetness and flavour without adding a lot of extra calories. There is actually a Miracle Berry Diet Cook Book designed by Homaro Cantu which you can be purchased off Amazon here. Sugar might not be the devil like this book leads on BUT it does contain significant calories and not much in the way of micronutrients. Each tablet lasts around 30-60 minutes + depending on the person and the rate of miraculin wash out  which is enough for one meal sit down.

Can I grow Miracle Berries?

There are a few websites out there, including mBerry, where you can actually buy the Miracle Berry plant. Prices depend on the maturity of the plant.

miracle berry fruit plant

A Canadian website here, sells small plants for 10 bucks BUT these plants take 2 years to start fruiting the actual berries. They sell a one year waiting plant for $60 and a READY to fruit plant for $90. They also sell 10 Seeds for 15 bucks but you can also get seeds from Amazon for about a dollar each.

miracle berry fruit seeds

Conclusion:

The Miracle Berry Fruit works as advertised and literally changes sour foods into sweet tasting foods. Its fun to try and may be useful as a natural sweetener and meal flavour enhancer for fat loss and weight management. HOWEVER it may not be that practical or economical when you can use other natural sweeteners like stevia to sweeten foods.

After all you could always just eat LESS calories from carbohydrates and fats, and maintain a high protein diet but I digress.

Disclaimer: I am not at all affiliated with any miracle berry company or product. I just found the product and idea very interesting to try and thought that some of my clients and readers could benefit from using them to manage their fat loss goals.

References:

1. McCurry, Justin (2005-11-25). “Miracle berry lets Japanese dieters get sweet from sour”. London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
2. 
Balko, Radley (2007-02-08). “Free the Miracle Fruit!”. Reason Magazine. Retrieved 2008-07-22.
3. 
Koizumi, Ayako. “Human Sweet Taste Receptor Mediates Acid-induced Sweetness of Miraculin”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
4. 
Park, Madison (March 25, 2009). “Miracle fruit turns sour things sweet”. CNN. Retrieved 2009-03-25.

Jun 12

Raw Food Diet: Broccoli Vs. Beef Steak

Raw Food Diet: Broccoli Vs. Beef Steak

raw food diet

The other week a good friend of mine shared this comparison of protein content in 100 calories of broccoli compared to 100 calories of beef steak picture (above). Now this was a post going around Facebook by a Raw Food company (which will remain unnamed) and so I felt the need to display my response here:

Hold on to your seat for this one.

#1

First off comparing beef steak to broccoli is asinine. Lets ASSUME now that because these are raw food diet advocates that these figures represent RAW beef steak (lean) and RAW broccoli. 100 calories from RAW beef steak is a measly 85.5g total weight while 100 calories from raw broccoli is almost 3 cups chopped worth, 294g total weight. This is because broccoli is extremely high in fiber and is water dense.

#2

We are talking about different amino acid ratios. That much RAW beef steak is about 22% protein and the broccoli is about 3%. From a health standpoint, muscle and lean body mass is important especially if your goal is to get stronger and build or tone muscle. This is where the steak shines, why?
A 100g weight of raw beef steak contains 1747mg of Leucine, a Branch Chain amino acid shown to stimulate MPS (muscle protein synthesis)[1,2] and promote the satiating affects from insulin and its counter part amylin. [3,4]

This can PREVENT muscle breakdown (proteolysis) and promote Muscle protein Synthesis all while keeping you full longer between meals. This can also mean less binging and calorie intake; and sustained energy levels.

A 100g weight of raw Broccoli ONLY contains 129mg of Leucine and lacks a lot of the other Essential amino acids that steak carries in comparison.

 

NOTE: The picture above is also slightly wrong. 100 calories of broccoli contains 8.2g of protein NOT 11.2g. RAW beef contains about 17g per 100 calories (According to Nutritondata.com).

#3

Raw food diet advocates tend to practice extremes and its funny to know that by actually steaming or lightly cooking vegetables like broccoli, you promote the pre-digestion of the “roughage” and can even increase nutrient absorption. [5]

Raw food diet broccoli

#4

Not only this but by substituting broccoli for steak you’re also missing out on, or lacking, some very powerful nutrients like Creatine, Carnosine, Carnitine, Vitamin B12, Omega 3 fatty acids, cholesterol, the list goes on. [6]

Conclusion

Its just not a fair comparison and any diet extreme like the Raw food diet for the purpose of “optimal” health is misleading and unjustified. If you wan’t to eat ONLY raw thats fine I’m not judging you but don’t push it on people (omnivores) saying that plant proteins are superior to animal based sources.

Instead why don’t we combine the two magical foods together and be in awe of their harmonious beauty coexisting together in moderation:

raw food diet beef and broccoli

For more information on the nutrient profile of red meat click here. [6]

References:

1. Howatson G, Hoad M, Goodall S, Tallent J, Bell PG, French DN. Exercise-induced muscle damage is reduced in resistance-trained males by branched chain amino acids: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 May 8;9(1):20.
2. Motil KJ, Matthews DE, Bier DM, Burke JF, Munro HN, Young VR. Whole-body leucine and lysine metabolism: response to dietary protein intake in young men. Am J Physiol. 1981 Jun;240(6):E712-21.)
3. .Yang J, Leucine metabolism in regulation of insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells. Nutr Rev. 2010 May
4. Osto, M., et al. Modulation of the satiating effect of amylin by central ghrelin, leptin, and insulin. Physiol Behav. 91(5):566-572, 2007.
5. Garcia AL, Mohan R, Koebnick C, Bub A, Heuer T, Strassner C, Groeneveld MJ, Katz N, Elmadfa I, Leitzmann C, Hoffmann I. Plasma beta-carotene is not a suitable biomarker of fruit and vegetable intake in german subjects with a long-term high consumption of fruits and vegetables. Ann Nutr Metab. 2010;56(1):23-30. Epub 2009 Nov 27.
6. Williams, PG, Nutritional composition of red meat, Nutrition & Dietetics, 2007, 64(Suppl 4), S113-S119.

Jun 11

Omega Fish Oil – The Real Oily Deal

Omega Fish Oil – The Real Oily Deal

Omega Fish oil

A good friend of mine, and client, asked me about omega fish oil supplementation and omega 3 fatty acids, here is my response:Long chain fatty acids (n3 fatty acids) from fish oils have quite a bit of evidence and research indicating their benefits on cognitive function, cardiovascular, autoimmune, psychiatric, and neurodegenerative diseases. [1,2]

Dosage

Most good research coincides with the American Heart Association and shows safe effective dosages around 2-4g for those looking to LOWER high blood triglycerides and 1g for those with previous CHD. For most healthy individuals eating a variety of fatty fish twice a week or from foods rich in omega 3’s like flax oil is probably enough. [3]

flax oil omega fish oil

Safety

Excessively high amounts have been investigated to see whether or not that kind of supplementation causes harm and the overall evidence shows this NOT to be of concern [4,5,6,7]. People with Angina should probably stay clear however. [7] Heating long chain fatty acids often through cooking, may not be such a great idea as these fatty acids are susceptible to oxidation and can affect Cell DNA. [8]

What Kind

Omega Fish oils contain a direct source of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which carry over the benefits. ALA (Alpha Linolenic acid) found in plant sources like flax seeds lack these due to a slower conversion process in the body from ALA to EPA and then little DHA. [9] It would be more efficient to consume animal based long chain fatty acids. The supplement brands I recommend are refined triglycerides and don’t taste or smell fishy. This is great because burping up fish breath bubbles is not very attractive and pleasing. Look for Nutrasea fish oils OR Nordic Naturals fish oils

omega fish oil

What about FAT LOSS?

Little research has been done to conclude whether or not fish oil can improve body composition and metabolism. Studies showing lean mass gains and fat loss with fish oil supplementation are not without their flaws and study limitations. More research is needed to support the idea that omega 3 fatty acids from fish oils can help significantly with fat loss. I have my high doubts that it will turn out to be a magic pill. [10,11]

omega fish oil

Conclusion

For healthy individuals that are not eating fatty fish often, Fish oil supplementation from 1-4g doses seems safe and effective for overall health and more research is warranted. As for fat loss, there isn’t enough data available to conclude any such thing. Bottom line is if you are eating enough naturally occurring omega-3’s in your diet then small doses of fish oil can help from a health stand point BUT its not magical.

References:

1. Abeywardena MY, Patten GS. Role of ω3 Longchain polyunsaturated fatty acids in reducing cardio-metabolic risk factors. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2011 Sep 1;11(3):232-46.

2. Wall R, et al. Fatty acids from fish: the anti-inflammatory potential of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Nutr Rev. 2010 May;68(5):280-9.

3. Kris-Etherton PM, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease: new recommendations from the American Heart Association. Arterioscler Thromb V asc Biol. 2003 Feb 1;23(2):151-2.

4. Marik PE, Varon J. Omega-3 dietary supplements and the risk of cardiovascular events: a systematic review. Clin Cardiol. 2009 Jul;32(7):365-72.

5. León H, et al. Effect of fish oil on arrhythmias and mortality: systematic review. BMJ. 2008 Dec 23;337:a2931.

6. Wang C, et al. n-3 Fatty acids from fish or fish-oil supplements, but not alpha-linolenic acid, benefit cardiovascular disease outcomes in primary- and secondary- prevention studies: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jul;84(1):5-17.

7. Zhao YT. et al. Prevention of sudden cardiac death with omega-3 fatty acids in patients with coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Ann Med. 2009;41(4):301-10.

8. Fujioka K, Shibamoto T. Formation of genotoxic dicarbonyl compounds in dietary oils upon oxidation. Lipids. 2004 May;39(5):481-6.

9. Fokkema MR, et al. Short-term supplementation of low-dose gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), or GLA plus ALA does not augment LCP omega 3 status of Dutch vegans to an appreciable extent. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids, 2000; 63 (5): 287-92.

10. Effects of supplemental fish oil on resting metabolic rate, body composition, and salivary cortisol in healthy adults. Noreen EE, et al. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010 Oct 8;7(1):31.

11. Effects of omega-3 supplementation in combination with diet and exercise on weight loss and body composition. Defina LF, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Dec 15.

 

May 09

Quest Protein Bars: Another Hyped Up Candy Bar?

Quest Protein Bars: Another Hyped Up Candy Bar?

 

protein bars

 

 

Last week I ordered from The Low Carb Grocery in Burnaby BC and decided to try out the new (newish) Quest Protein Bars I heard about while listening to a Muscle College podcast with Dr. Layne Norton and Dr. Jake Wilson.

 

Now I’ve tried protein bars before in the beginning lifting days when I knew much less about protein quality and nutrition. These bars tended to use protein concentrates and forms of protein that contained trace amounts lactose, refined sugars, and other questionable forms of fats. Most of all they contained a fairly high amount of overall calories.

 

What Is So Special?

 

What caught my eye about these protein bars is that they are pretty well “Low Carb” and use High quality Whey protein Isolates. 

 

Protein Bars

 

 

First off I want you to take note of the small ingredient list.

LOW CARB?

The bar technically is a low carb bar. They claim that the bars only contain only 4-5g of “Active Carbs” because the remaining total of carbs comes from fiber.

Now I am under the impression that depending on the fiber used, fiber per gram contains somewhere between 1-2 calories. However their form of fiber (Natural Pre-biotic fiber) could potentially be calorie free.

The bar DOES contain Erythritol which is a Sugar Alcohol and contains about 0.4 calories per gram [1]

Erythritol is about 70% as sweet as sugar and is better tolerated by most people than other sugar alcohols (under 35g). [2]

 

 

 

 

What I Taste Tested

 

Protein Bars

I believe I ordered every bar they offered in singles which cost about $2-3 per bar. If you buy 30 I think you get one free. Below is my own subjective review of each flavour, your taste opinion may drastically differ from mine.

 

protein barsChocolate Peanut Butter:

– Smells like chocolate peanut butter

– Chewy

– Salty

– Distinct chocolate peanut butter flavour

– I would buy and recommend this

 

 

 

 

protein barsCinnamon Roll:

– Smells very much like fresh cinnamon rolls

– Buttery cinnamon flavour

– Chewy

– Tastes like a chewy cinnamon roll

– I would buy and recommend this

 

 

 

 

protein barsCoconut Cashew:

– Light coconut smell

– Chewy

– Light coconut flavour

– Light almond flavour

– I would buy and recommend this if you like coconut

 

 

 

 

protein barsLemon Cream Pie:

– STRONG Lemon cream pie Smell

– Medium lemon creme pie flavour

– Chewy

– I would buy and recommend this

 

 

 

 

 

protein bars*Banana Nut Muffin:

– STRONG banana nut muffin smell

– Taste exactly like a banana nut muffin

– chewy

– Extremely good

– I would buy and recommend this

 

 

 

 

protein barsMixed Berry Bliss:

– Light berry smell

– Distinct dried fruit flavour exactly like fruit pop tart filling

– Chewy

– I would buy and recommend this UNLESS you want a more natural fruit taste

 

 

 

 

protein barsChocolate Brownie:

– Strong Chocolate Smell

– More chewy than a traditional brownie

– Tastes like a chocolate brownie

– I would buy and recommend this if looking for an alternative to brownies for a high protein snack to go

 

 

 

 

protein barsPeanut Butter Supreme:

– Light peanut butter smell

– Reminds me a lot like previous peanut butter protein bars but with better ingredients

– chewy

– Not bad but not any better tasting than some of the other kinds of protein bars

– I would still recommend them to people with peanut butter cravings

 

 

 

protein barsVanilla Almond Crunch:

– Light vanilla/nut smell

– Mild vanilla and almond flavours

– Tasted good but not over powering

– Chewy

– I would buy and recommend this

 

 

 

 

protein barsStrawberry Cheesecake:

– STRONG Strawberry smell

– Chewy

– Has that distinct strawberry syrup flavour like the stuff you put on ice-cream

– More like strawberry syrup and vanilla ice-cream than cheesecake

– I would buy and recommend this

 

 

 

 

protein barsPeanut Butter And Jelly:

– Distinct peanut butter and jelly smell

– Very distinct peanut butter and jelly taste which I’m a big fan of

– Chewy

– I would buy and recommend this if you like PB&J sandwiches

 

 

 

 


protein bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:

 

– Smells like a cookie dough protein bar
– Texture is chewy and not too dry
– Has a nice cookie dough flavour thats not strong and you can taste the chocolate chip flavour in it too
– I like it and would buy it again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


protein bars

 

Protein Peanut Butter Cups:

– Smells like dark cooking chocolate
– Texture is dryer and chalkier than Reese
– Tastes about 50-60% as good as Reese cups
– I like it as an alternative but it doesn’t match Reese cups in texture and overall flavour

 

 

 

 

protein bars*White Chocolate Raspberry:

– Mild white chocolate smell

– Chewy in a good way

– Has that distinct raspberry flavour sort of like pop-tart quality but I REALLy enjoyed it

– You can taste the white chocolate flavour and its mild but goes well with the raspberry

– I would buy and recommend this because it tasted really good

 

 

*Favourites

 

 Conclusion:

Quest Nutrition has done a tremendous job at producing smells that match their description and flavours vary from strong to light but all contain very close if not spot on flavours to their descriptions.

I liked them all BUT my Favourites were the Banana Nut Muffin and the Cinnamon Roll bar.

These bars can be very useful for those who have a VERY busy lifestyle where getting in enough protein while on the go is a hassle or near impossible due to time.

The “low carb” style of the bar is VERY helpful, NOT because carbs are bad but because the added calories from carbs can make it more difficult for people to lose body fat especially when dieting to get to leaner stage conditions.

 

 

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Quest Protein bars or with The Low Carb Grocery. I simply find their products and services helpful for my clients and people like you who are working so hard on their bodies and health.

 

References:

1. Noda K, Serum glucose and insulin levels and erythritol balance after oral administration of erythritol in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1994 Apr;48(4):286-92.

2. Storey D, Gastrointestinal tolerance of erythritol and xylitol ingested in a liquid.Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Mar;61(3):349-54. Epub 2006 Sep 20.

 

May 09

Low Calorie Recipes: Dessert Sauces & Dips Part II

Low Calorie Recipes: Dessert Sauces & Dips Part II

 

In my last post on 0 calorie desserts and syrups (here) I reviewed Walden Farms Caramel Syrup and their Chocolate Dip products. Today I wan’t to add three more products to the on going reviews that I think can be of great help to those who are attempting to get very lean for the summer, like myself.

Once again I ordered from The Low Carb Grocery and received my products the morning after. I absolutely love their service!

Before I go on to review the dessert and syrup products I want to repeat myself to those who might have missed my post on Store Bought Salad Dressings Part III.

 

Nutrient Density and Empty Calories?

Before you drill me for advocating more nutrition-less products containing artificial sweeteners and other “chemicals” I wan’t to make it very clear where I am coming from.

First off from a soley scientific based approach, these ingredients and foods have all been proven to be completely safe when consumed under the recommended acceptable daily intake (ADI). And I am talking about randomized tightly controlled clinical trials using BOTH human and animal testing.

If you or anyone you know has tried products like these and has gotten a negative reaction then I recommend taking a critical look at other parts of your diet FIRST before judging them and IF you’re sure its an ingredient in one of these products then don’t eat it, plain and simple. These products are NOT poison but if you get a negative reaction from it then don’t consume it. But stop telling everyone else it is poison and that they should avoid consuming it, even in moderation.

Going to extreme levels of body fat like sub 10% if a male (and closer to 4-6%) is damn hard for a lot of people. These products can not only make your food taste better but can allow you to stay on track during difficult times when eating around family at events and what not (Family BBQ’s anyone?)

Nutrition extremists like to claim that because a food is so called “NOT nutrient dense” this means it is not optimal or not healthy. Well to be perfectly clear here there is NO definite definition on what classifies a food to be nutrient dense or not. [1] There is however a new Nutrient Rich Foods Index (NRFI) which attempts to do such thing, but it too is not perfect. [2]

If you’re consuming the needed nutrients from all the vegetables and whole foods you should be eating then having nutrition-less “condiments” is NOT going to kill you and may actually allow you to eat MORE of these “healthy” and life extending foods. Moderation might be cliche but like with other things in life, it is a fine balance between polar opposites.

I am NOT claiming that these products taste perfect or are exactly like their originals but they do “help” flavouring your favourite Low Calorie Recipes and they especially taste pretty good when MIXED with foods.

 

On To The Products

low calorie recipes

Blueberry Syrup:

Smell: had a mild and berry like aroma close to that of grape medicine (let that be a warning)

Taste: it did not taste like it smelled but had a taste close to like that of left over water from de-thawed frozen blueberries only more sweet

– It had a small tangy sensation in the back of throat but not too bad and didn’t linger

Texture: Thicker than water but not as thick as the pancake syrup

– I would consider buying this for dieting when eating pancakes and waffles as a 0 calorie substitute

 

Pancake Syrup:

Smell: had a distinct light maple syrup smell

Taste: it tasted like a mild maple syrup taste or more so like mimicking the artificial aunt jemima stuff

Texture: it was surprisingly thick like traditional pancake syrup but still more liquidy

– I would buy this again for waffles and pancakes on occasion when dieting for extreme levels of low body fat

 

Chocolate Syrup:

Smell: it had the same chocolate smell as the chocolate dip (distinct chocolate but different, like pudding)

Taste: wasn’t too bad but definitely NOT real chocolate. Does have a distinct chocolate pudding flavour so if craving it might be good on ice-cream or some other dessert

Texture: had a liquid syrup consistency unlike the Chocolate Dip which had more thickeners in it

– I probably wouldn’t buy this unless I was using it to pour over ice-cream or some dessert to avoid adding more sugar, fat, and calories

 

Favourites

I think out of all these syrups and dessert sauces including the caramel and chocolate dip I would recommend going with the:

1. Caramel Syrup for apples and for over cold desserts
2. Pancake Syrup for homemade waffles and pancakes which can be made in high protein and very low calorie forms
3. Blueberry Syrup, also for homemade waffles and pancakes
4. Chocolate syrup but not for on its own but for drizzling on cold desserts when the choco-cravings get too intense

 

Disclaimer: I am NOT at all affilated with The Low Carb Grocery or Walden Farms products, I just found their website and tried their service and products and was very pleased and I think many clients and people like you could benefit.

 

References:

1.  Miller GD, et al. It is time for a positive approach to dietary guidance using nutrient density as a basic principle. J Nutr. 2009 Jun;139(6):1198-202.

2. Fulgoni VL 3rd, et al. Development and validation of the nutrient-rich foods index: a tool to measure nutritional quality of foods. J Nutr. 2009 Aug;139(8):1549-54.

May 09

Low Calorie Recipes: Store Bought Salad Dressings Part III

Low Calorie Recipes: Store Bought Salad Dressings Part III

 

In the past months I’ve been having a blast buying and trying some low to zero calorie products from The Low Carb Grocery in Burnaby BC.

It is that time of year for me to get down to single digit body fat levels and reveal the muscle I’ve worked so hard for in the past year. Today I want to chime in with some more products I decided to order over The Low Carb Grocery website because their service and shipping is so good. You can see my previous posts on these products here, herehere, and here.

Nutrient Density and Empty Calories?

Before you drill me for advocating more nutrition-less products containing artificial sweeteners and other “chemicals” I wan’t to make it very clear where I am coming from.

First off from a soley scientific based approach, these ingredients and foods have all been proven to be completely safe when consumed under the recommended acceptable daily intake (ADI). And I am talking about randomized tightly controlled clinical trials using BOTH human and animal testing.

If you or anyone you know has tried products like these and has gotten a negative reaction then I recommend taking a critical look at other parts of your diet FIRST before judging them and IF you’re sure its an ingredient in one of these products then don’t eat it, plain and simple. These products are NOT poison but if you get a negative reaction from it then don’t consume it. But stop telling everyone else it is poison and that they should avoid consuming it, even in moderation.

Going to extreme levels of body fat like sub 10% if a male (and closer to 4-6%) is damn hard for a lot of people. These products can not only make your food taste better but can allow you to stay on track during difficult times when eating around family at events and what not (Family BBQ’s anyone?)

Nutrition extremists like to claim that because a food is so called “NOT nutrient dense” this means it is not optimal or not healthy. Well to be perfectly clear here there is NO definite definition on what classifies a food to be nutrient dense or not. [1] There is however a new Nutrient Rich Foods Index (NRFI) which attempts to do such thing, but it too is not perfect. [2]

If you’re consuming the needed nutrients from all the vegetables and whole foods you should be eating then having nutrition-less “condiments” is NOT going to kill you and may actually allow you to eat MORE of these “healthy” and life extending foods. Moderation might be cliche but like with other things in life, it is a fine balance between polar opposites.

I am NOT claiming that these products taste perfect or are exactly like their originals but they do “help” flavouring your favourite Low Calorie Recipes and they especially taste pretty good when MIXED with foods.

On To The Products:

low calorie recipes

What I ordered:

1. Alfredo Sauce
2. Caesar Dressing
3. Honey BBQ Sauce
4. Thick & Spicy BBQ Sauce

*All of these products are made by a company called Walden Farms

 

Taste Testing

*These reviews are VERY subjective so be forewarned, what I consider good may not at all be what YOU consider good.

low calorie recipes

Alfredo Sauce

Smell: smells really good like cheesy/creamy alfredo

Taste: tasted really creamy even though it contained no fat and was cheesy, very much like alfredo sauce but less rich

– It had slight sweetness but not at all over powering IMO

– I would love to try this with pasta

Texture: creamy surprisingly and looks as if it would mix very well with pasta

– I highly recommend this to anyone on a low calorie/fat diet who is going for ripped abs and if Alfredo pasta dishes are being craved

 

Caesar Dressing

Smell: almost smelled like parmesan and herb

Taste: not bad at all, was a lot less “vinegar like” than other Walden Farms dressings and would go great with romaine lettuce

– It had a slight parmesan flavour which is very fitting

Texture: it was thicker than I expected, much like traditional caesar dressings

– I would highly recommend trying this one as an alternative to traditional caesar dressing

 

Honey BBQ Sauce

Smell: had a distinct honey smell infused in the BBQ sauce aroma

Taste: it was sweet tasting and much more mildly spicy than the Thick & Spicy BBQ Sauce

– Had a very slight bitter after taste but very mild and did not linger

Texture: had the same thickness as the other BBQ sauces

– My favourite BBQ sauce so far, next to the hickory smoke as I am not a spicy food fan

 

Thick & Spicy BBQ Sauce

Smell: had a spicy smoked bbq sauce smell

Taste: was spicy and sweet with that walden farms vinegar flavour

Texture: liquidy but not as much as the hickory smoke BBQ sauce

– Probably too spicy for me to fully enjoy the flavours in larger amounts but I am sure many would enjoy this

 

 

My Favourites

Overall I surprisingly liked almost all of them. The Honey BBQ Sauce, the Alfredo Sauce and the Caesar Dressing were all products I would love to mix in with my Low Calorie Recipes.

The only reason the Thick & Spicy BBQ Sauce wasn’t my forte was because of the spice. Anyone who loves spicy foods would find this product a good substitue for BBQ Sauce in the summer.

 

For the dessert sauces and dips click here and here.

 

Disclaimer: I am NOT at all affilated with The Low Carb Grocery or Walden Farms products, I just found their website and tried their service and products and was very pleased and I think many clients and people like you could benefit.

 

References:

1.  Miller GD, et al. It is time for a positive approach to dietary guidance using nutrient density as a basic principle. J Nutr. 2009 Jun;139(6):1198-202.

2. Fulgoni VL 3rd, et al. Development and validation of the nutrient-rich foods index: a tool to measure nutritional quality of foods. J Nutr. 2009 Aug;139(8):1549-54.

 

 

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