4 Healthy Fats from Fruits

Guest post by Andrew Rice 

Fat . . . fruit. Fat . . . fruit. Let’s say that one more time: fat . . . fruit. Hardly rolls off the tongue, does it? Most fruits and vegetables have very little fat. But there are exceptions; some of the best sources of healthy fats are fruits. Working them into your diet can provide your body with healthy fat that actually lowers your bad cholesterol while raising the good cholesterol to help protect you from heart disease. Not only that, these healthy, fatty fruits provide an array of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, something a slab of bacon just can’t do.

But not all fruit and vegetable fats are created equal, so let’s take a look at some fatty produce and how to incorporate it into your healthy diet. (Ben’s note; remember to always buy organic)

The Avocado

d654b82c868934f0_avocado_burning_question.preview

It’s hard to believe, really, that something so rich and buttery-tasting is a fruit. To me, an avocado is one of nature’s perfect foods, straight from the tree to you. It’s simple, packs a lot of energy, and satisfies your hunger.

Ounce for ounce, an avocado has as many total grams of fat as a Big Mac®, something that led to its being vilified during the “fat free” diet crazes of the past. Seventy-five percent of the calories in an avocado come from fat, whereas most fruits derive their calories from sugars. But ever since nutritionists sorted out the difference between bad and good monounsaturated fats, the avocado has been voted back onto the island.

Half a California avocado has an excellent overall nutrient profile: 114 calories, 2 grams of protein, 4.5 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of fat, most of which (8 grams) is monounsaturated fat.

The monounsaturated fat found in avocados is mostly oleic acid, which, according to a 1996 study by researchers at the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social in Mexico, may help lower cholesterol. This study found that after seven days of a diet rich in avocados, subjects saw significant decreases in both total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, as well as an 11 percent increase in HDL (“good”) cholesterol. In other words, it showed that avocados raised good cholesterol levels while lowering the bad, a one-two punch against heart disease.

But good fats are not the only attractive side of this leathery-skinned green fruit. Avocados also have 60 percent more potassium than bananas, making them a great post-workout recovery food. They’re also rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants.

You’ll also find a large amount of omega-3s and omega-6s in avocados, excellent news for vegetarians and vegans who want to incorporate these beneficial fatty acids into their diet without consuming fish oil, poultry, or eggs.

Really, the only way you can go wrong eating avocados is if you eat so many of them that the excess calories make you overweight. But as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, bring on the avocados.

Cuckoo for Coconut

50-Benefits-of-Coconut-Oil

You can argue that a coconut isn’t a fruit. People will also argue that a tomato is a vegetable and that a peanut, which is really a legume, is a nut. Whatever. We eat them all. While the avocado is unabashedly awesome for your health, the health benefits of the coconut’s flesh, and particularly its milk, are less clear-cut.

This is because unlike the avocado, with its wonderfully healthy monounsaturated fats, which provide it with its silky flavor, the coconut is rich in saturated fats. However, different kinds of saturated fats have different chemical compositions, depending on the number of carbon atoms they contain. The saturated fat in coconut oil consists mainly of lauric acid and myristic acid, whereas red meat like beef contains mostly palmitic acid. Lauric acid has been shown to increase good cholesterol levels, and, along with myristic acide, may have antimicrobial/anti-acne properties. Consumption of palmitic acid, on the other hand, has been shown to increase risk of heart disease in humans.

According to researchers, consuming coconut flesh and/or coconut oil can raise your cholesterol levels, but since they raise your good cholesterol more than your bad cholesterol, things would seem to balance out. But here’s where the research gets complicated: When studying the nutritional properties of one food, it’s important to take into account the other foods it’s consumed with, especially in terms of regional dietary habits.

The Asia Pacific Health and Nutrition Centre at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, studies the eating habits of people in Indonesia and other Pacific island regions who consume diets rich in coconut. Coconut has long been a staple in this region, where there has traditionally been a very low incidence of heart disease. But because the percentage of coconut in the regional diet has been declining for decades as imported foods like red meat have become more available, the incidence of coronary heart disease among these people has increased.

The reason appears to be that Pacific islanders have traditionally consumed coconut along with large quantities of fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish. (As a side note, the night before I finished this article, I had a traditional Thai dish that combined coconut, fish, and vegetables: squid curry.) So if coconut, coconut milk, and/or coconut oil encourage you to choose to cook a delicious meal of fresh vegetables and seafood, it’ll probably do you good. If you just like the taste of fresh coconut meat, it’s probably not doing you any harm. But frying your donuts in coconut oil isn’t going to turn them into anything resembling a healthy treat.

Olives

olives-cropped

The only fruit that can top the avocado for beneficial fats is the humble olive. Health researchers have been lauding the benefits of the olive and its oil for decades, and the olive rightfully holds a place of honor in the healthful Mediterranean diet.

The main type of fat found in all kinds of olives and olive oils is monounsaturated fatty acid, which helps to lower your total cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels. According to Mayo Cinic researchers, monounsaturated fatty acids may also help normalize blood clotting, as well as benefitting insulin levels and helping to control blood sugar.

In my own experience, cured olives are also highly portable, keep well without refrigeration, and satisfy the same type of hunger that might otherwise have me reaching for a piece of cheese or salami, neither of which is going to lower my cholesterol. My primary salad dressing of choice is simply extra virgin olive oil with a dash of balsamic vinegar. Both good things. Trading in your overly processed bottled dressing for some self-mixed olive oil and vinegar is a great way to cut your intake of sugar and unhealthy fats with no loss of taste or enjoyment.

The weirdest fruit of all? The durian

Durian-Fruit-Thai

To be honest, I’m really only writing about the durian for its novelty factor. Unless you grew up in Southeast Asia, it might be hard to feel any love for this giant prickly fruit that, when it’s ready to eat, smells like an overripe armpit. (Yes, you read that right: It smells like B.O.)

But the durian doesn’t taste like it smells, and it’s a great source of beneficial fats. One 100-gram serving (a little more than a third of a cup of cubed pieces) contains 147 calories and 5 grams (or 8 percent of your daily requirement) of beneficial monounsaturated fat. And unlike olives, the durian is also a source of the amino acid tryptophan, which is known to increase seratonin levels in your brain, which can lift your mood. (Interestingly enough, avocados have fairly high tryptophan levels too.)

Finally, like many other tropical fruits, the durian is a good overall source of fiber and vitamins. So next time you’re in a Thai or Indonesian fruit market and get a whiff of something that smells like it needs to take a bath, consider giving the durian a chance.

As soon as I learn a recipe for a delicious durian-avocado-coconut-olive shake, you’ll be the first to hear. Until then, I’ll be putting my money where my mouth is and eating a lot of guacamole and olives to help my cholesterol. And I’ll leave the durians for you.

The Problem With Your Diet (Plus Protein Pancakes Recipe!)

For more than 20 years the media has bombarded us with a perpetual diet craze. An avalanche of fad diets are announced one after another as breaking news while producing zero true results.

Sure, you may lose 5, 10 or even 20 pounds on a fad diet…but you’ll gain it all back and then some. How can I be so confident that your results will be short lived? It’s actually a simple concept, and once you understand it you will be forever saved from the tortures of yo-yo dieting.

Fad diets saddle you with unreasonable calorie restrictions and some even cut out entire food groups just to produce that short lived drop in weight-a process that is actually harmful to your health. The fad diets also ignore one major component to shaping up: exercise.

You see, most fad diets operate on one age old premise: cut calories, cut calories, cut calories. By restricting the type and amount of food consumed the fad dieter usually sees an immediate drop in weight. If only it stopped there…

But it doesn’t stop there. Life continues, and the fad dieter returns to their pre-diet eating habits-with one major difference in their body due to the sudden drop in pounds. Their calorie requirements have gotten smaller.

In practical terms this means that the dieter will begin gaining weight even though they are eating their normal pre-diet portions. And since exercise hasn’t become a part of their routine, the unneeded calories will result in pounds gained. So what’s a dieter to do? Find a brand new diet to follow-right? Wrong.

There is a way to drop pounds and firm your body, but you won’t read about it in the next diet book or hear it on the newsThe solution to your fad dieting nightmare is a lifestyle change. 

What is a lifestyle change? To change your lifestyle means to replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones, and to do so consistently. It isn’t something you do for a week or two, only to revert back your old ways-a lifestyle change redefines who you are. 

I know this is starting to sound like some heavy stuff, but hear me out. Changing your lifestyle from one that is unhealthy to one that is healthy will be the best thing that you ever do for yourself. Trust me, I help people like you make this change every day with amazing results.

Fact: The shape of your body is the direct result of your current lifestyle. 

women-in-silhouette

So how do I change my lifestyle? That is a great question, and the answer is actually easier than you might think.

Most people who are unhappy with their bodies are really only holding on to a few bad habits. Once these destructive habits are identified and then replaced with healthy habits their body naturally transforms from one that they loathe to one that they are proud of.

In other words, to get the body that you want simply determine your unhealthy habits and replace them with healthy ones. Here are the most prevalent unhealthy habits:

  • The habit of inactivity. Failing to exercise on a consistent basis is one of the most destructive obstacles for your health and figure. (The key word here is consistent. If you aren’t exercising at least 3-4 times each week then you own this habit.)

  • The habit of hormonal imbalance. The problem goes beyond how a few (hundred) extra calories can impact your gut. Your bodily functions are regulated by chemicals called hormones—and hormones are regulated by a series of glands throughout your body known as your endocrine system. These glands don’t work independently. Much like a government, a soufflé recipe, they’re all interconnected and if one part is impacted, it can cause a cascade of health issues, including weight gain. Hack your hormones, win the battle.

  • The habit of empty calories. Filling your diet with foods that hold little to no nutritional value is a great way to expand your waist. (Hint: if a food item is made up of mainly sugar or trans fat consider it ’empty’ calories.)

You can lose weight and improve both your appearance and your health.
You can look and feel great.
You can transform yourself into the person that you’ve always wanted to be.

eaa3f1cee4704e55747c0f955c62aebd

Don’t let another day go by that leaves you a slave to unhealthy habits. Take action now. Call or email me today and together we will recreate your lifestyle and redefine your body.

By the way, I should mention another deadly habit that destroys too many people’s dreams. The habit of procrastination.

How many times have you told yourself that you will start eating healthy tomorrow? How many times have you promised that you would call me to start your personal training program? Each day that you succumb to the habit of procrastination is a day that pulls you farther and farther from your goals.

Break that nasty habit of procrastination-contact me today.

It’s Just a Number

We spend so much time worrying about getting the number on the scale to drop that it’s easy to get discouraged when your weight loss slows for a time. When you workout hard and eat right your body gains muscle while losing fat—this isn’t shown by the number on the scale. It’s shown by inches lost, in the way your clothes fit better than ever, and in how you look and feel amazing.

Flax Meal Protein Cakes

7-27-2014Who doesn’t love pancakes? Here’s a recipe that you can enjoy guilt free. These pancakes are packed with protein and contain omega-3 fatty acid from the flax meal. Omega-3 fatty acids are not manufactured naturally in your body, and thus must come from your diet as they are essential for growth and development.

Servings: 2

 

Here’s what you need…

  • 1 egg and 2 egg whites (organic, pastured eggs)

  • 2/3 cup organic full fat cottage cheese

  • 1/2 cup organic whole grain cornmeal

  • 2 tablespoon organic whole wheat flour

  • 1 teaspoon organic baking powder

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1/3 cup organic milk

  • 2 tablespoon organic cold pressed flax meal

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

  • Sliced banana *optional*

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

  2. Bake on a 350-degree griddle lightly greased with cooking spray. Serve with sliced banana.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 264 calories, 4g fat, 39g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, and 20g protein.

Sleep and Skinny Jeans

What does skinny jeans and sleep have in common? Find out below.

Guest post by Karen Tonnis 

Your mission: to add lean muscle, form some well-defined curves. The prescription: get some sleep!

Crazy as it sounds, that’s the advice you’ll get from bodybuilders, trainers, professional coaches, and fitness experts in general. The fact is your body can only heal, repair, and grow during deep sleep. You can be doing the right things—perfectly portioning out your food, doing hardcore lifting that pushes you to the edge—but all that effort will be negated without enough recovery. You can’t cheat on sleep. We know sleep is essential to life, just like eating and breathing. But there are many theories as to exactly why we sleep, with no one clear answer. One is that sleep “restores” what our bodies lose while we’re awake. And recent findings actually support this theory, showing that many of the major restorative functions in the body, like muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and the release of growth hormones, occur mostly, or as noted above, only during sleep.

Warning signs that you’re sleep-deprived

article-0-020B147F000004B0-356_634x420

Have a sneaking suspicion you might not be getting the sleep you need? You’re not alone. An estimated 50 to 70 million people in the U.S. don’t get adequate sleep every night. Here are a few classic signs:

  • Hitting the snooze button consistently on your alarm clock

  • Yawning uncontrollably and at inappropriate times (e.g., workplace meetings, parent-teacher conferences)

  • Feeling sluggish in the afternoon

  • Getting drowsy while driving

  • Having heavy eyelids and watery eyes

  • Experiencing memory lapses

  • Experiencing irritability and low energy

  • Feeling excessive hungriness or a complete lack of appetite

Tips for catching quality z’s

z-web 

Now that you know how important sleep is, don’t let it get away from you. Here are some handy tips to make the most of your rest time.

  • From 4 to 6 hours before bedtime, avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other chemicals that interfere with sleep.

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night. And wake up at the same time every morning. If you’re getting enough sleep, you’ll wake up automatically without an alarm clock.

  • Get regular exercise. Physical activity, especially aerobic exercise, can help you fall asleep faster and make your sleep more restful.

  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that eases the transition between being awake and sleeping.

  • Sleep primarily at night. Short naps are great for recharging and catching up on missed sleep, but too many naps, and naps that are too long, can interfere with your regular schedule.

Make the most of your workouts

 

Be honest with yourself. If you’re doing the work and the healthy eating plan and you’re still not seeing great results, it could be lack of sleep that’s holding back your progress. Remember, your body is an incredible machine. Give it a chance to recover and build for the jump-start you’ve been looking for.