Shakeology® Is Low-Glycemic: What That Means and Why It Matters to You!

What’s the Glycemic Index?

Simply put, the glycemic index is a way to measure how carbohydrates react in your blood. When you eat carbs, your blood sugar level rises anywhere from a little to a lot. The GI (Glycemic Index) uses a scale of 0 to 100, with higher numbers given to foods that cause the most rapid rise in blood sugar.

What do high-GI foods do to my body? They cause the body to produce higher levels of insulin, but sometimes too much. This gives you an energy burst known as a “sugar rush.” It feels good at first, but then your blood sugar drops rapidly and you “crash.” Eating low-GI foods is a smart way to avoid this, because they stabilize your blood sugar levels instead of spiking them.

What kind of high-GI foods to steer away from and why:

Foods with a high GI (above 70) include white bread, pretzels, potatoes, and most processed foods. Eating these foods triggers a rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin levels, which:

  • Encourages the body to store fat

  • Creates a cycle of hunger pangs and feeling unsatisfied

  • Causes an energy crash that leaves you irritated or tired

  • Can lead to high blood pressure, fluid retention and diabetes

In contrast, foods with a low GI (under 55)—like broccoli, oatmeal, peanuts, and Shakeology—help stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels, which:

  • Increases levels of glycogen, a hormone that causes body fat to be burned

  • Helps satisfy feelings of hunger

  • Helps balance moods

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease, helps control diabetes, and positively affects the aging process

So you see, eating low-GI foods like Shakeology is good for you! Shakeology’s GI rating of 24 is much lower than most fruits and some vegetables. Low-GI foods keep your sugar levels in check while supplying nutrition that satisfies, energizes, and helps promote good health!

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You Can Find Motivation Oddest Places

Music, as well as health/fitness, is a passion of mine. So when I found out the lead singer of one of my favorite bands Mikel Jollett (The Airborne Toxic Event) wrote an article for Men’s Health back in 2006 I was excited to read it! Mikel Jollett was a freelance writer prior to the band; I already knew he was ridiculously good at writing from his music, but this Men’s Health article is damn good! I’ve attached that article below. I relate to his article so much because as funny as this may sound,  while I was going through my weight loss transformation of 80lbs I was really motivated by the character Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) of the HBO series True Blood.

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Jason had the exact body I always dreamed about since I was a little fat kid. After each episode of True Blood I felt like working out, haha! When I felt tempted to cheat on my diet, I would think of Jason Stackhouse, and as silly as it sounds this kept me on track with my diet. Motivation can come from the oddest places, but whatever that motivation may be, use it! Put up pictures around your house to keep reminding yourself. Constantly visit whatever motivates you, whether it’s a person, a thought, a feeling, a goal; use the heck out of it!

Here’s the article by Mikel

“Brad Pitt Whipped Me Into Shape”
By Mikel Jollett

I was a big fat slob. Then I went to the movies.

You can find the motivation to get in shape in the oddest places.

Some guys find it in a doctor’s office after a sobering chest exam or blood test or biopsy. Others find it at a high-school reunion when That Girl from 10th-grade biology doesnt recognize them through the haze of cheap vodka, male-pattern baldness, and so many forgotten years. As any good Russian novelist could tell you, life reaches a crossroads – and big changes follow – when sex seems less likely than death.

I found my motivation in the back of a movie theatre in Santa Monica, California. That’s where Brad Pitt comes in, but more about him later.

I was 25 years old, working a hundred hours a week in an office. I hadn’t really set out for that life, but you know how those things go. You’d trade a kidney for an extra zero at the end of your paycheck, and so on. My days were filled with 5-year plans, capital-amortization reports, key-performance indices – i.e., the tortured lexicon of the modern office. For the first time in my life, there wasn’t much time for exercise. Hell, there wasn’t much time for anything but sleep and work. And eating.

unhealthy-eating-86534618Why do so many office events involve food? The candy jar on the secretary’s desk. Doughnuts at morning budget meetings. Rubbery chicken lunches at the Yale Club. Steak dinners with board members. It’s like we’re trying to feed some existential hunger, trying to fill a dark void at the center of office life with caramels, Hershey’s Kisses, and muffin baskets. People eat at the office for the same reason they drink at a bar: to forget they’re there.

I don’t know exactly when it got away from me. In college, on the track team, I had been all-Pac 10 in the 10,000 meters, a svelte 148 pounds whipping around the oval at 70 seconds per quarter mile. At that age, those of us on the cross-country team, those of us who ran 12 to 15 miles a day and ate mountains of food at night, felt like wild beasts. Like we were born to leap boulders, like we were panting, pawing, screaming to run. It’s probably mixed up with some milk-toothed adolescent fantasy, but we really felt like we were pushing the limits of mortality. All that pain and strain and exhaustion and exhilaration. How far can we go? How fast can we run? How much can we take? Let’s find out.

But by age 25, after 3 years in office purgatory, 3 years of meetings and dinners and lunches and drinks, I was up to 225 pounds. Sitting there, listening to these middle-aged men make jokes about their wives over two-martini lunches, I felt caged, fenced in, trapped, old, tired, fat, bored.

I would find myself walking the fluorescent-lit corridors of that ungodly building with reams of green-and-white printout paper covered with endless rows of numbers, a big, round gut hanging over the 38-inch waistline of my green slacks, seething about the budget. “Have you seen these numbers, people?” Every now and then I’d catch a glimpse of my reflection in the office glass and wonder who the fat man was.

Then it happened. In that movie theater in Santa Monica. Fight Club. I know that sounds trite. I know it should have been the birth of my first child or something. But it was Fight Club that did it.

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I remember seeing Marla Singer (played by Helena Bonham Carter), with that ragged eyeliner and waifish body. She was so trashy and dirty and hot and broke. And Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) lived in this abandoned house in the middle of nowhere with the anonymous narrator (Ed Norton). All they ever did was get in fights, wreak havoc, work out, and make fun of the automatons. Though it all ended miserably – but triumphantly! – with that Pixies song when those buildings blew up, God, my life just seemed so tame by comparison, so forgettable, so compliant. I thought, What the hell am I doing? I’m 25 years old.

I saw the movie four times in one week. And I cracked. I quit my job. I dumped my girlfriend. I started working out constantly. Running, swimming, lifting weights, drinking protein shakes, eating apples.

My routine was basic. I thought of it as a matter of simple physics: If I burn more than I consume, my body will metabolize fat. It has to. I figured that at my weight, with my metabolism, I burned about 2,500 calories a day. So I kept to a 2,000 calorie diet and worked out like mad. Four runs a week (100 calories per mile), three swims (100 calories per 15 minutes), four weight sessions (300 calories per hour, plus beach muscles). I made sure I never rang up more than a 7,000 calorie deficit (which equals 2 pounds of fat) in a given week, since your body freaks out when you do that.

It was tedious at first. The runs were painful, I was always sore, and it took so much damn time. I had to make a decision: The plan would come first – it was the only obligation I absolutely had to fulfill. Everything else in my life would have to fit in around it.

After about a month, after the initial shock had worn off, once my feet had calloused over and my hair had become ragged from the chlorine, the plan became something else. A dare. Not in the okay-tough-guy, No Fear, come-over-here-and-check-out-my-glutes kind of way. More like it was a daring thing to do.

Because if you think about it, it’s kind of absurd. Grown adults running through fields, unprompted, unchased, lifting heavy objects for no practical purpose, swimming back and forth repeatedly across a rectangle of water and heavy chemicals. It prompts a question in your mind, while you’re pursuing these senseless tasks: What sort of creature does this kind of thing, anyway?

Over time, the answer becomes obvious, even if it’s just something you feel in your bones: Because this is what I was born to do. This is what this body was made for.

As for the desk job, those hellishly vapid budget reports: Was I honestly made for that crap?

When the money that I’d saved ran out, I started working as a carpenter, walking around with a tool belt on all day, driving a 5-ton truck, familiarizing myself with the layout of Home Depot. It was good to be paid to sweat. The guys I worked with couldn’t quite understand why I was doing basic construction instead of the cushy office job I’d left. “Hey, Stanford U,” they’d say to me, “think you could nail this two-by-four in that frame over there? They teach you how to do that in school?”

The work itself had its benefits. At the end of the day, when my back hurt and my hands ached from pounding a hammer or wielding a screw gun for 8 hours, I felt as though I’d earned a drink. And anyway, there is a certain manful pride in knowing your way around a miter saw and a speed square. But it was mostly monotonous and nothing I had aspired to. I wasn’t in it for that.

I was in it for the sense of possibility. For the idea that you can shake your life up like a soda bottle and smack it against the wall. That whatever prisons we construct in our lives – whether it’s an awful job, a gut, an unhappy marriage, an addiction, the things in life that hem us in, that make us wake up in the morning in a cold sweat and think, How did I get like this? and How can I escape? – all these things are transient. For me, and maybe for anyone, the answer was, just leave. Tear the entire thing down.

In 6 months, I was down 55 pounds – to 170 – and had all the accoutrements that so famously go with exercise: more energy, more confidence, better sleep, less stress. In place of the gut, I had the six-pack I’d had in college. I was also broke and single and had squandered what I had once understood to be a promising future. I didn’t care.

I met a girl in Las Vegas. We exchanged phone numbers, and when I got back to Los Angeles, I called her. She invited me over to her place, a real dump in Culver City that was brimming with empty wine bottles and Liz Phair posters. When I walked in, she was sitting on the couch – skinny, big eyes, flat chested, her shirt half unbuttoned, dirty blonde hair, and lots of eyeliner. My own private Marla Singer. I nearly cried.

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“Have you seen this movie?” she asked, pointing to the television. And I couldn’t even make this up: It was Fight Club – the scene where Ed Norton fakes a fight with his boss to get fired. In the process he destroys the office, cutting his hands and back and face on the shattered galss of a coffee table. He walks out, whistling, pushing a pile of office equipment in a cart, with a smile on his face and blood dripping down his shirt. Fantastic.

I know, I know. Sophomoric. It is, a bit. But whatever the motivation, once I started taking exercise seriously, I felt more alive. I felt that my life had possibilities. I felt stronger. There’s really nothing so basically transformative, nothing so regenerative, as getting in shape. Some of it is simple blood sugar, blood pressure, metabolism, and endorphins. Your high-school P.E. teacher could have told you that. But it’s also the sense that if you can change your body, you can change anything. You feel your muscles working beneath your clothes, you become aware of your heartbeat, and you remember that you’re an animal first and animals do not like to be fenced in.

The fact is, we’re going to be dead someday, and I don’t care how important we are or how much money we make, how refined our taste in wine, music, clothes, literature, art, women. Those things are great, but there’s just no escaping that your life begins and ends in your own body, your health, your ability to talk to That Girl with confidence, smile in the face of sobering news, senselessly lift heavy objects, swim great distances across various geometric figures, test your mortality, shatter some glass, eat an apple, tear across the plains, and run down a bloody gazelle.

It may be absurd, but honestly, you have to fill the void somehow, and you’re simply not going to do it with muffin baskets.

Crazy for Chia Seeds!

Shakeology ingredient, chia seeds, are edible seeds that come from the desert plant Salvia Hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in South America. I’m sure you have seen chia sprouts growing on Chia Pets since the 1980s, but the seeds themselves have a long track record historically as a dietary supplement due to their amazing nutrition! In fact, they date all the way back to pre-Columbian times, where chia seeds were a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diets; women would give them to the warriors for energy and endurance before battle.

As you can see, Chia seeds have been around for a long time but they’re having a second life so-to-speak as the newest ‘it’ health food and potent superfood! In fact, New York Times recently wrote an article about them where they noted the rebirth of chia seeds from the 80s as a health food, read it here.

So what’s all the fuss about? Well, they’re incredibly good for you! They’re an excellent source of Omega-3, antioxidants, protein and fiber. And what do those things do for your health? They can help you feel full for longer, they can support healthy blood sugar levels, they are rich in Omega 3 which is important to heart and cholesterol health, and they help to support healthy, sustained energy levels.

chia-seeds

All these health benefits, complimented by the fact that they have a very mild taste, make them a great superfood to have on hand to add to salads, shakes, oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt, dressings and marinades. You can even add more to your Shakeology for a boost (approximately 1 tsp) but rest assured, they’re already in there so you’ve been getting all these benefits daily for the duration that you’ve been drinking Shakeology. See, you’re ahead of the trend!

When adding extra chia to your Shakeology or any recipe for that matter though, keep in mind that chia is very high in fiber – just 2 tbsp contain almost ¼ of your daily recommended fiber amount. So, just like when you first started drinking fiber-rich Shakeology, make sure your body adjusts gradually; start small and work your way up!

You can also use chia interchangeably with flaxseed, a product many people use as a digestion aid by adding to juices, etc. A couple advantages chia has over flax is that it has a longer shelf life and unlike flax, chia seeds don’t have to be ground before using- they are perfectly digestible in whole form!

Another advantage: when added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, chia forms a gel. Researchers suggest that this reaction also takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar. This can help you feel full for longer making chia seeds a great weight loss tool too!

Enjoy the healthy benefits of chia, one of our favorite superfood-superstars of the year!

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How Can Shakeology Improve Your Digestion?

Many people suffer from digestive symptoms and problems. Some of the main complaints that people have when it comes to digestive problems are bloating, gas, stomach pains, constipation, etc. For each of these symptoms and conditions there is usually an underlying cause as to why they are happening.

Changing your diet to one that’s filled with healthy ingredients rich in prebiotics and probiotics, as well as staying active, can often times be the solution to digestive imbalance. Many of our customers have told us that once they started drinking Shakeology and started getting active, their digestion problems have gotten better or disappeared all together.

“Ever since I started drinking Shakeology, I no longer binge on the bad stuff. Now my skins glows and her digestion is where it should be.”– Becky B.

Shakeology contains many ingredients that are beneficial to the digestive system such as prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes. Prebiotics and Probiotics, are natural components of certain plants. They help support the “friendly” bacteria in your digestive tract and they may also help with the absorption of minerals such as calcium. Digestive enzymes, from plant sources such as pineapples and papayas, help your body break down food into its individual components, making the nutrients easier to absorb. Cooking can destroy food’s natural digestive enzymes, so there’s a good chance that you don’t get enough of them in your diet.

Drinking a glass of Shakeology daily can help move things along, so to speak, because of the prebiotics, probiotics, whole food ingredients, fiber, and digestive enzymes. If you are seeking good health, the place to start is in your digestive tract. Healthy digestion is key to detoxify your body each day and helps prevent unhealthy diseases.

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Antioxidants…Why We Need ‘Um!

Antioxidants are surrounded by a lot of hype. They are touted as everything from disease fighters to memory protectors to the antidote to aging. So what are antioxidants? Why are they important? What is the best way to get them in your diet? 

Antioxidants help fight oxidation, a normal chemical process that takes place in the body every day. Oxidative stress and free radical damage to cells is harmful because it may initiate the early stages of cancer and heart disease. Eating foods rich in antioxidants help fight the oxidation and free radical damage plus, they also help you look and feel younger by helping to slow down the aging process and help to prevent cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases. Finally, an added bonus is that they also help to speed up the recovery from exercise which means more muscle and less fat on your body!

Health organizations such as the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research recommend eating between five and nine servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables every day.

Shakeology meets this recommendation and more because it contains some of the most potent antioxidants on the planet: flavonoids and phytonutrients such as spinach, blue green algae, carrot powder, strawberry powder, and vitamins E and C. All of these help to prevent free radicals from oxidizing and destroying cells. In addition, the ingredients in our antioxidant blend such as pomegranate, acai berry, camu-camu, goji, and blueberry also have powerful antioxidant effects to support your immune system and help protect your body from normal inflammatory response.

So the bottom line is to choose your foods wisely to help prevent healthy-aging as well as cellular health from the stress of oxidation on your cells. Your cells need a variety of antioxidants to fight the destructive little molecules that wage war in the body daily and Shakeology, as well as a well-rounded diet of fruits and vegetables, can help do exactly that!

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Spotlight on Shakeology Ingredient: Moringa

Via The Shakeology Blog

Say hello to moringa, one of the latest additions to the cornucopia of superfoods found in Shakeology! This amazing plant—sometimes called the horseradish tree or the drumstick tree—has been used medicinally the world over dating back the ancient Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians. Moringa is known to promote energy, vitality, athletic performance and weight loss while also promoting a healthy immune system to keep you super healthy. And while all this ancient wisdom is fantastic, this magic shrub can hold its own when looked at from a modern nutritional point of view too.

Although the entire tree is edible, we just use the chlorophyll-rich leaves for Shakeology, which you’ll find packed with vitamins A and C, as well as potassium, iron, and zinc. You’ll also find 96 active phytochemicals and 35 active antioxidants, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), an enzyme especially effective at combating damage done by superoxide, a common free radical.

You’ll also find 18 essential amino acids, including the 9 essential to human life, making it a great addition to any vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian diet. (Although it’s still great for you even if you’re a carnivore.)

See what we mean? The research on moringa goes beyond indigenous folklore. While moringa originated in the foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India, it is grown and farmed throughout the tropics around the world. We source ours primarily from Senegal, due largely to the research of Dr. Lowell Fuglie, arguably the world’s foremost expert on the crop. “Dr. Fuglie found out the soil qualities, the mineral qualities, the temperature, the climate were the best in Senegal,” explained Shakeology co-creator Darin Olien, “and he went all over the world! Also, the labor issues in Senegal are solid and the relative cost is cheaper for us but they get a higher wage than in the other commodities. So you’ve got all those things.”

All in all, moringa is a wonderfully complex supplement and that’s why we chose to include it in the new ‘Superfood Formula’ blend of Chocolate Shakeology. It is one of the 4 new superfoods in the new formula plus the 3 you know from Tropical Strawberry Shakeology: Coconut Flower Nectar, Luo Han Guo, and Himalayan salt. Try it out, let us know what you think and most importantly, take note of the newfound benefits moringa brings you!

Read even more about the science and benefits of this newest superfood ingredient from a thorough study out of Johns Hopkins University at: http://moringamalunggay.com/John_Hopkins.pdf.

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Top 10 Workout Songs August 2012

Music, the language of the soul, is as old as humanity. The therapeutic benefits of music can be traced back in time to ancient shamanistic rituals. Music, as tool of healing was recognized in the writings of Aristotle, Pythagoras and Plato. They believed that it can influence physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being and improve quality of life. In fact, there have been many recent studies that show if you listen to music while exercising, your brain will probably work better too.

Here is my top 10 workout songs as of August 2012, enjoy!

#10 Phoenix – “Lisztomania”: This French band created a song that’s perfect to workout to; a feel-good hit that makes you tap your feet and curl those dumbbells (not at the same time!) 😉

#9 Florence & The Machine – “Spectrum (Say My Name) – Calvin Harris Remix: To be honest, the original version of this song is perfect; I just thought Calvin Harris did a really good job with this remix. Flo’s vocals overpower the music, whereas Calvin Harris’s beats compliment the vocals.

#8 The Black Keys – “Lonely Boy”: “This track moves like the album’s vintage Chevy namesake – a swift, sturdy hunk of all-American cool. Drummer Patrick Carney pounds out a hammer-of-the-gods backbeat while singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach peels off lean riffs and wails about a twisted affair (“You pull my heart out, and I don’t mind bleeding”), sounding like he’s practically frothing at the mouth.” – Rolling Stone Magazine

#7 Ok Go – “White Knuckles”: The sexy bass lines and the funky very upbeat danceable arrangement of this track make it a go to workout song. The video is really cool, you should YouTube it!

#6 Hot Chip – “Night And Day”: Lively and upbeat; this track will make you cut to some dance moves in between sets. NME say’s of Hot Chip, “Bass drums are manipulated expertly so they’re more like feelings than sounds, a steady thump living contentedly in your brain.”

#5 Walk The Moon – “Quesadilla”: First of all, I haven’t the slightest clue why it’s called “Quesadilla”; your guess is as good as mine. The opening drum sequence of this track is like taking a adrenaline shot, the drums come alive and wake me right up! Walk The Moon is currently being played by me on heavy rotation because of their huge, catchy choruses, danceable melodies, and poppy, life-affirming lyrics. Go give them a listen, you can thank me later.

#4 GroupLove – “Lovely Cup”: When I listen to GroupLove I can’t help but have a smile on my face. This track gives me a feeling of an undeniable zest for life, completely irresistible. If you ever get the chance to catch them live, do it!

#3 Awolnation – “People”: You might say this is an ideal song to run to with these lyics; “People, people. Have you heard the good news? There’s people, people. They’re running just like you. Today I say, it’s all that matters for now. For you and I. Wooo! So people, people. Make some good ol’ love.”

#2 Passion Pit – “Cry Like A Ghost”: Their fresh new album ‘Gossamer” hit the streets a week ago; and I haven’t been able to press the stop button ever since. This song in particular was immediately added to the SHREDFAT workout playlist. Go pick up their album, and enjoy!

#1 The Killers – “Runaways”: You didn’t think I’d go through the top 10 without mentioning The Killers did you? This is their new single from their upcoming album ‘Battle Born’, due for a September 2012 release. Last month I had the privilege of seeing The Killers perform live 4 times in 4 different states, in the span of 5 days. It was a truly epic experience. Now every time this song comes on during my workouts I relive those concert moments which get’s my heart racing, and me ready to push past my physical threshold.

You can view, listen and subscribe to my entire SHREDFAT workout playlist below. How cool is that!

Quinoa – A Super Food!

A relatively new addition to American diets, quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wah’) is an ancient grain harvested by the Incas of South America and used for centuries. Quinoa is actually a seed, although it is classified as a grain. The plant is related to Swiss chard, beets and spinach.

Here are some reasons why quinoa should be a part of your diet:

Protein Powerhouse 

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Called a “supergrain” by nutritionists and food gurus, quinoa is derived from the seed of a plant that is related to spinach. Quinoa has a higher protein content than wheat, barley or other major grains. One cup of quinoa has 9 grams, which trumps the protein-rich egg (6 grams). Quinoa, which contains all 8 of the essential amino acids; it’s secret is that it contains an amino acid called lysine, which is lacking in most grains; lysine makes quinoa a complete protein. The World Health Organization equates the protein levels in quinoa to the amount found in milk. Complete proteins are rare in the plant world, making quinoa an excellent food for vegetarians and vegans, or for anyone looking for healthy protein source.

A Great Way To ‘SHRED FAT’

Quinoa’s high fiber content can help you feel full. Its heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats will leave you feeling full while providing more nutritional content than breads or cereals made of refined grains. Compared to food products that rank high on GI, Quinoa slowly increases a person’s blood sugar levels making him or her less prone to eating in between meals. So if you aim to lose weight and reduce your total body fat, you can easily do so by sticking to a Quinoa diet.

Develop Strong Bones

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For vegans, people with lactose intolerance or those who are simply looking for non-dairy sources of this vital mineral, quinoa is a flavorful source of plant-derived calcium. On an ounce-for-ounce basis, quinoa provides over twice the amount of calcium as is found in whole wheat. Calcium builds and maintains bones and teeth, helps regulate the contraction of the heart, and facilitates nerve and muscle function.

Keeps You Regular

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Quinoa offers plenty of insoluble fiber, which helps in regulating bowel movements. This type of fiber can’t dissolve in the water and passes through your intestinal tract to help move stool efficiently through the colon. Good bowel activities reduce the risk of gas, pain, and bloating associated with the lack of fiber. It also lowers the possibility of small pouches formation at weak spots found on the intestine. As a complex carbohydrate, quinoa acts an internal cleanser, easing the progress of food through the digestive tract. Used regularly in your diet, quinoa can help keep you free of constipation and bloating. Unlike more common grains such as wheat, quinoa is gluten-free and can be enjoyed by people with digestive disorders, like celiac disease. The vitamin B and folate in quinoa also help the liver in its role of eliminating wastes from the body, adding to quinoa’s detoxifying properties.

Brain Food

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A cup of cooked quinoa offers 15 percent of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of iron. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction. Iron also increases brain function because the brain takes in about 20% of our blood oxygen. Quinoa’s vitamin B content can help keep the mind sharp, maintain brain volume and stabilize mood.

If you are drinking Shakeology every day (which we recommend), then you might know that quinoa seeds are one of the many super ingredients found in Shakeology. If you aren’t consuming this nutritional powerhouse, what are you waiting for? Buy-Button

Holy Produce Proliferation! 17 Ways to Prepare Extra Fruits and Veggies When You Have a Bumper Crop

Guest Post By Kim Kash 

Maybe your home garden had a bumper crop, so every mixing bowl in your kitchen is full of tomatoes. Or perhaps your neighbor, who has a green thumb and a propensity for random acts of kindness, showed up at your door with enough jalapeños to bring all of Mexico City to tears. Or was it that the zucchinis at the farmer’s market looked so beautiful that you got a little carried away and now don’t even have room in your fridge for the milk?

Either way, it’s easy for fruits and veggies to pile up come summertime. If you’re ready to run screaming and leave the whole pile to rot—don’t! Here are some ideas for making delicious things out of LOTS of produce.

Too Many Tomatoes

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Blender Tomato Sauce. Fill your blender 3/4 full of cored, quartered tomatoes—should be about a half dozen or so. Throw in a few cloves of garlic, a generous handful of basil leaves, and a small onion or a small bunch of green onions or scallions. Salt and pepper to taste, and blend with a little bit of olive oil, tasting and adding up to 1/2 cup to get a smooth but not oily consistency. When you stir this into fresh, hot pasta, the sauce will warm up just enough.

Roasted Tomatoes

Slice tomatoes in half or in big chunks. Arrange on one or more baking sheets. Add big handfuls of basil, cilantro, or spring onions, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tomatoes are wrinkly and soft, and herbs are completely wilted and disintegrating. Put into a bowl, and be sure to scrape all the oil and bits of herb off of the baking pan. Makes a great pasta sauce, bruschetta topping, or chunky topping for chicken, fish, or another cooked vegetable.

Tomato Salad

Mix a variety of colors and types of tomatoes, throw in some herbs, and add a simple oil and vinegar dressing and a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper. Just because it’s salad doesn’t mean it has to have lettuce in it.

Tomato Sauce

Yes, it’s obvious, but this is the Cadillac® method for using up a whole lot of tomatoes at once. Plus, tomato sauce freezes really well. There are too many recipes for us to recommend just one.

A Surplus of Summer Squash

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Grilled Squash

Thickly slice squash lengthwise and roast on the grill.

Summer Squash Bake

Slice or roughly chop a combination of summer squashes, enough to fill a baking dish. Add fresh herbs if you have them. Grate a layer of cheddar, jack, or even mozzarella on top, and use your fingers to sift a little bit of the cheese down into the vegetables. Sprinkle whole-grain breadcrumbs on top if you wish. Bake in a 350-degree oven until the vegetables are soft and the cheese is beginning to brown. Cover with foil if the cheese or breadcrumbs are browning too quickly. If the finished dish is a bit watery (some summer squashes are more watery than others when cooked), just serve with a slotted spoon.

Italian summer squash bake. Same as above, only add tomato sauce, and use mozzarella cheese.

Curried summer squash bake. Same as squash bake above, only omit the cheese and add a drained can of chickpeas, maybe some fresh greens, and 1 to 2 tablespoons curry powder to taste, depending on the quantity of squash you’re baking.

Your signature summer squash bake. Are you getting the idea about this squash bake thing? Summer squash is very mild in flavor, so it plays well with both eastern and western spices. Make a squash bake whenever you need to use up zucchini plus almost any other vegetable or herb or sauce or cheese.

Grate and freeze. Use later for zucchini fritters, zucchini bread, in frittatas, as a thickener for spaghetti sauce, or a filler in any kind of vegetable bake or casserole.

Bustin’ at the Seams with Basil

Pesto. Pesto. Pesto. You can use basil a few leaves at a time in Caprese salads or tomato sauce recipes. But if you need to use up a ton of basil in a hurry, pesto is what you want. Experiment with the many recipes out there—with or without cheese, with various kinds of nuts, with lots of olive oil or very little. Pesto stores beautifully in the fridge, in a tightly closed glass jar with a layer of olive oil covering it. Here’s what you can do with pesto:

  • Smear it on bruschetta.

  • Add it to green salads as a dressing.

  • Use it as a pasta sauce; this is great with cherry tomatoes tossed in.

  • Use it as a sandwich spread.

  • Top grilled or roasted chicken, fish, or vegetables with it.

  • Eat it with a spoon out of the jar.

A Cornucopia of Cucumbers

Nablus souq cucumbers

Raita. This Indian cucumber-yogurt condiment can be thick like a dip, or thin like a sauce, depending on the thickness of the yogurt you use. Thick or thin, whip some yogurt with a whisk to even out its consistency. Then stir it into to a bowl of chopped and (optionally) peeled cucumbers. Add more or less yogurt as you wish. Salt it to taste. If you want a spicy raita, add a seeded, finely chopped hot pepper.

Cucumber water. Peel and slice one or more cucumbers and add to a pitcher of water. Squeeze in a little lemon juice, and serve very cold as a refreshing thirst quencher on a hot day.

Cucumber salad. This was on the supper table almost every summer day when my mother was a child in Kentucky. Very thinly slice cucumbers, pour a little bit of white vinegar over them, and salt. Some people also add a little sugar, but Mom would not approve. These are simple and delicious—but don’t put leftovers in the fridge for next time, because as they marinate in the vinegar, they lose their crispness.

A Big Bell Pepper Buildup

Bell-Peppers

Oven roast or grill. As with basil, there are plenty of recipes that call for one or a few red or yellow bell peppers. But when you have a real bell pepper glut, roasting them is the way to go. Take as many red and yellow bell peppers as you have and spread them on a hot grill, or on the top rack of the oven, set to broil. If you’re using the oven, line the peppers up on the front edge of the rack, and put a baking sheet underneath them to catch drips. When the skin blackens, give them a quarter turn with a good pair of tongs, and repeat until the peppers are charred all the way around. Then remove from the oven or grill and let rest. The charred skin will peel easily off of the cooled peppers. Core and slice the now-soft roasted peppers, coat the strips with olive oil, and store in a tightly closed container. Use these in pasta and on sandwiches and bruschetta.

Excessive Eggplantery

eggplant-harvest

Many recipes call for the notoriously spongy eggplant to be fried in oil. Roasting eggplant instead is much healthier, and roasting on the grill imparts a rich, smoky flavor. In addition to the recipes below, try adding roasted eggplant to casseroles and veggie burgers.

Baba ghanoush. This Middle Eastern dip is often served alongside hummus, with pita bread. Slash one or more eggplants in several places and bake on a pan in a 425-degree oven until very soft. This can take an hour or more, depending on the size of the eggplants. Cool, then peel off the skin. Throw the soft interior into a food processor. For each eggplant, add 2 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of tahini, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and the juice from one lemon. Blend just until incorporated, leaving the texture a little rough. Salt to taste. To serve, make a little well on the top of the baba ghanoush and pour some olive oil into the depression. Sprinkle parsley over the top. (Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.)

Roasted eggplant salad. Roast eggplants as above, peel and roughly chop. Serve in a large salad bowl with toasted pine nuts or walnuts, lots of parsley, and mint. If you have too many tomatoes, chop and add a few of those. Dress with either a light vinaigrette or with a bit of whipped yogurt.

Resource:

  • American Heart Association: www.heart.org

  • Yu Wen Li, Zhao Ya Ping, Xue Zheng, Wang Da Pu (Shanghai Jiao Tong University); Study on Synergistic Effect of Two Antioxidants and Its Anti-ageing Properties [J]; China Oils and Fats; 2002

  • Haibo Wang, Muraleedharan G. Nair, Gale M. Strasburg, Yu-Chen Chang, Alden M. Booren, J. Ian Gray, and David L. DeWitt. Antioxidant and Antiinflammatory Activities of Anthocyanins and Their Aglycon, Cyanidin, from Tart Cherries. Journal of Natural Products 1999, 62 (2), pp 294-2

TOP 10 WORKOUT SONGS JULY 2012

Here is my top 10 workout songs as of July 2012, enjoy!

#10 Kings Of Leon – “Molly’s Chambers”: KOL are one of my favorite bands. Here is one of their older tracks; it’s southern rock at it’s finest. Crank this up, and hit those weights.

#9 Blondie – “Maria”: Yes, this song is from the late 90’s, however it still get’s me going. It’s a kick-starter, a hit song that is timeless in my book.

#8 The Killers – “Bling (Confession Of A King)”: Here we have my number 1 band, The Killers. Lyrics such as “I feel my vision slipping in and out of focus, But I’m pushing on for that horizon, I’m pushing on, Now I’ve got the blowing wind against my face” make this a perfect running song. It’s exhilarating, exercising at a high intensity while shouting “higher and higher” along with Brandon Flowers; give it a try you’ll love it.

#7 The Chain Gang of 1974 – “Devil Is A Lady”: This psychedelic/punk/experimental band from Denver has made a few great workout tracks; this one being my favorite at the moment. “Devil Is A Lady” has an incredibly addictive guitar riff and some pretty awesome synths.

#6 Neon Trees – “1983”: This song has a poppy, dancing beat, along with a catchy flow that will get you dancing in between sets.

#5 Kid Cudi – “Day ‘N’ Nite”: As you can see from previous top 10 posts, I don’t mention many rap songs. Kid Cudi is one of my exceptions; I like his style especially in this upbeat song.

#4 The Black Keys – “Gold On The Ceiling”: “Gold on the Ceiling: a serrated organ growl backed up with a SWAT team of hand claps. It’s Sixties bubblegum garage pop writ large, with T. Rex swagger and a guitar freakout that perfectly mirrors the lyrics, a paranoid rant that makes you shiver while you shimmy.” – Rolling Stone

#3 Man Like Me – “Squeeze”: This song is energetic, incredibly upbeat, and so much fun to dance to. Usually awesome dance songs make for good workout music.

#2 The Wandas – “Thank You Note”: Here we have one of those songs that make you think about all the good people in your life; it puts me in a good mood after every listen.

#1 The Killers – “Spaceman”: Yes I know, I already have a Killers song on my list. So what, deal with it. Spaceman is so much FUN; it’s a “proper synth-pop fist-pumper with an arena-ready chorus and enjoyably daft lyrics”. Listen to this song and you’ll be shouting “oh oh oh oh oh oh oooah”

You can view, listen and subscribe to my entire SHREDFAT workout playlist below. How cool is that!