Category Archives for "Health"

You Know You’re A Health Nut When…

It is funny how the older I get the more concerned I have become about my health. Now I can’t say that I subscribe to all of these but I found myself reflecting back on how bad I used to be about my health and nutrition! And I can’t tell you how many of #2 I ate in my 20’s!

1. It’s not a meal unless it has something green in it.

Even your breakfast contains kale. Especially kale. In fact, you’re probably eating kale right now.

2. And you don’t consider processed goods a food source anymore.

What is this shit?

3. Life before almond milk is unimaginable.

Remember when you used to drink soy?

4. And you can’t believe people are still drinking this:

And you have to count to 10 every time someone tells you milk is essential for calcium. Because cows specifically produce milk to nourish people, right?

5. Ani Phyo, Kris Carr, Kathryn Budig, Brendan Brasier, among others, are demi-gods in your eyes.

The kings and queens of the health world, to which you can only aspire. I mean, look at Kris Carr – the woman has cancer and she looks better than you do.

6. And you recognize Gwyneth for being a healthy living guru…

…more than an actress.

7. Your friends surprise you on your birthday with this:

Decadent super chocolate-candy birthday day with whipped cream and extra icing…

8. But you would genuinely prefer this:

Raw cacao, avocado, coconut oil, lucuma and maca cake with an almond base. Mmmm…

9. You personal library looks like this:

You might not be certified, but, let’s face it, you’re basically a nutritionist. You’re pretty sure you know more than most health professionals. You’ve probably read more books on health than you did for your degree. And this time, because you actually wanted to.

10. You know the ‘Clean Fifteen’ and ‘Dirty Dozen’ off by heart…

…so you can have your organic produce and save money too.

11. And in the supermarket you eye what people are buying, and judge them for it.

All that processed meat and sugar… really?

12. You don’t know how you ever got through the day before you started practicing yoga/ meditation

… and you wish sun salutations were more acceptable in public spaces, like the middle of the office, classroom, train, bus, supermarket, shop floor, family gathering…

13. And if you don’t already teach yoga…

… then you’re probably thinking about it, whether day dreaming about a career change, or as a straight up life path.

14. You positively make sure that you eat chocolate everyday.

Because theobroma cacao is a superfood, after all, so you absolutely HAVE to have it. Every. Single. Day.

It’s for your health, okay?

15. You get stressed when you can’t sleep, because you’ve read about how bad sleep deprivation is for your body.

This is one of the worst possible things that can happen.

And then you get stressed because your stressed, which is even worse, so you’re basically just going to die now, regardless of diet and exercise.

16. Saturated fat doesn’t faze you.

You’ve heard the latest studies and are positively in love with coconut. Cook with coconut oil? Of course! A spoonful of coconut oil in smoothies? Yes please!

17. You rarely get colds…

.. with all your green juices/immuni-teas/raw ginger/other healthy techniques, you have a superhuman ability to fight off winter illnesses.

18. Though you have, at some point, realized that you suffer from Candida.

Long, long list of ambiguous symptoms, of which you have three, pertaining to many possible disorders/causes…
… but it must be Candida!

19. Whole Foods/Planet Organic is your personal mecca.

You still remember the first time you went in one, and you were like, there’s an entire supermarket dedicated to food like this?! You still walk around it in awe and can’t believe some of the things you can pick up there.

20. You would rather spend money on organic food/ yoga classes than new clothes.

And can also justify this spending in ‘I don’t smoke/ binge drink/ eat fast food, but if I did, I would spend this much, therefore it’s okay to buy this fresh juice/mochi/umeboshi plum/raw food anything”

C’mon. You know you’ve done this.

21. These look better to you

Crispy dehydrated kale. YUM!

22. …than these:

Reconstituted potato deep fried in rancid oil with added chemicals? I think I’ll pass.

23. You would infinitely rather hang out at this bar…

24. …than this bar.

Delicious nutritious drinks that will give you a healthy glow and not lead to decisions you regret, and looking like hell the next day, please.

25. Your friends think your crazy.

If you don’t live in California (so I believe), your health obsession can make you feel pretty lonely. But you don’t care because you feel and look fabulous. And those special people in your life love you anyway.

26. You have strong opinions on Raw Foodism, Paleo, Veganism, 80/10/10.

And you get agitated when people don’t see eye to eye with you.

27. No matter how healthy you think you are…

… there’ll always be someone, online or not, telling you you’re diet is appalling for still eating carbohydrates/animal protein/fat/sugar/raw/cooked/gluten/dairy/vegan/processed foods.

You’ve seen far too many show downs on forums and MindBodyGreen. Best just to listen to your own body, for a change.

28. But ultimately, it’s a blessing to experience this beautiful world…

… and whatever healthy means to you, you want to honor your body, regardless of its physical shape, ability or size, that allows you live in it.

Read more:

Please decide

If you’re like most people then reading this subject line was a little uncomfortable and you may have even experienced a bit of anxiety.

Decisions sign in the skyMake a decision? Do I have to?

We are forced to make decisions every day, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

When you stop to think about it, your life is the sum total of all the decisions that you’ve ever made up to this point. Your health, your mindset, your finances are all an outcome of the decisions you’ve made.

Some decisions are so small that they seem insignificant…

…and other decisions weigh on you for days because you know that the outcome will change the course of your life.

You’ll wade through a myriad of trivial decisions today – ranging from the flavor of your coffee, to the gas you put into your car, to the food you put into your body. It’s easy to be fooled into believing that these have no real impact on the big picture – – but they do.

You’ll shift over to automatic while making your habitual decisions today – these ones no longer require a second thought since your preferences are defaulted.

The time you wake up each morning, the way you take your eggs, the frequency in which you exercise. Your habitual decisions play a huge part in determining major factors in your life, and these ones aren’t always easy to modify once the habit is in place.

We’re always making decisions…

Big ones like “should you marry him/her”, “should you have another child”, “Should you stick it out another year at that job”? Life changing decisions are forks in the road that demand your full attention and analysis.

There’s a famous quote from General Norman Schwartzkopf: “A bad decision is better than no decision” which makes sense when you realize that indecision is a decision. It’s best to simply bite the bullet, choose a side, and stick with it (unless you realize you made the wrong decision lol).

You make a life changing decision when you chose to get fit.

I want to help you with that…

I want to help you reach your goal in a big way.

And the fastest way I know for reaching a fitness goal is to begin a challenging and consistent exercise program, like the ones that I offer to my clients.

And that leads us to the decision that I want you to make today…

Will you reply to this blog post, call, or sign up for my life-changing fitness program?

Spots are filling up quickly – decide now!

In health,

Coach Dave

The Number One Reason You are Not Losing Weight

fitness tips for burning fat

Are you still spending long hours doing cardio and not losing weight?

If so, I have a feeling that you may be struggling wit your weight loss. Listen, don’t beat yourself up over it. For decades now we have been preaching that you need to be doing 30-45 of cardiovascular exercise and so with that statement came the birth of the stair master and elliptical.

I can remember when I first started working out in the gym I would see people with their book or magazine just stepping up and down for 45 minutes and not really sweating all that much! I can tell you I absolutely hated getting on the stair master but I along with the rest of the herd did what I needed to do to mark off the list that I did cardio.

Shoot to be honest it wasn’t until I started teaching and taking Spin classes that I changed up my long boring cardio session.

So, if long boring isn’t the answer then what is? Well in this video I reveal the answer and the answer could set you on a new course to being fit and finally losing the weight that you so desperately want to do!

Here is the link to the video directly

In health,

Coach Dave

P.S. if you want to be part of a community with other health and fitness minded people then come join my FREE Facebook group!

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The 7 Worst Items in Your Kitchen

The 7 Worst Items in Your Kitchen

MessyPantry-e1330477209938Sure, you consider yourself to be a healthy person, but do you really have healthy food in your kitchen? You’d be surprised how many fattening foods you’re still buying and eating. Keep reading to learn the 7 Worst Items inside your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator.

1. Breakfast Cereal

It’s delicious, it’s easy to prepare, and sometimes it even gives you enough energy to get to lunchtime. Unfortunately, breakfast cereal is often jam-packed with extra sugars that will do more to drag you down than build you up for your day. Prefer the flavorless kinds? Then be ready to be hungry soon, as they often don’t provide enough good calories to fill you up for long. Still hungry for a bowl of cereal? Consider this: they’re one of the most processed foods on the market.

2. Flavored Yogurt

Yes, flavored yogurt tastes much better than its plain peers, but going with a pre-flavored yogurt will instantly double the amount of sugar you consume. Fortunately, overcoming the flavorless thing can be done healthily. All you have to do is add chopped, fresh fruit of your choice and enjoy!

3. Frozen Entrees

It’s hard to believe how many people rely on frozen TV dinners on a regular basis. If you’re a frozen believer, it’s time to put your health before convenience. On top of frequently lacking all the vitamins and minerals you need for optimal health, frozen dinners often ooze with trans-fats and sodium. This means that while your palate may be pleased, your waist, arteries, and heart will not.

4. Diet Soda

One of the most dangerous items to ever be invented was the diet soda. By trimming certain things from the ingredients list, soda manufacturers guaranteed a giant market share, consisting largely of people who are attempting to be health conscious. Unfortunately, diet soda messes with your body’s ability to recognize and manage sugar properly. And while diet drinks may be calorie-free, those who drink them are at a much greater risk for weight gain than those who do not.

5. Popcorn

No, all popcorn is not to be avoided at all costs. But more than likely, a lot of the unpopped kernels in your kitchen should be ditched. Here’s a good way to determine if your popcorn is at war with your good health. Is it in a prepackaged bag that simply has to be tossed in the microwave to be cooked? Then stay away! Those prepackaged popcorn packages, whether lightly buttered, drowning in butter, or candied, offer no benefit. If you’re going to do popcorn, you’ll need to pop it the old-fashioned way, preferably via air popping.

6. “Skinny” Desserts

The word “skinny” is alluring. It’s what you want to achieve. And marketers know that. Unfortunately, marketers are not tied to some code of ethics that prevents them from using words that are not factual. What they are tied to is doing whatever it takes to sell more of their product. A great way to do that is to toss the word “skinny” on your favorite dessert item. You’ll buy it, thinking you’ve saved yourself valuable calories, but all you’ve probably done is buy a smaller portion of the same stuff, only there isn’t any natural sugar and flavor. It’s all artificial.

7. Granola Bars

Enjoyed by healthy hikers around the world, granola bars are the final unexpected bad choice in your kitchen. This one may have you scratching your head when you consider that your favorite kind is crammed with every fruit and nut you can imagine. But read the ingredient label and you’ll soon see that there is probably more sugar—make that high-fructose corn syrup—than goodness your body can use. Are you ready to ditch the unhealthy items from your kitchen in order to take your fitness to the next level? Would you like to know without a shadow of a doubt that you are going to lose weight in the coming months?

It’s my goal to see you achieve greatness. I believe that you’ve got what it takes.

If you would like a 10 minute coaching call to see if my Ultimate Fitness Transformation program is right for you then click the link and fill out the form.

In health,

Coach Dave

It’s Only Your Life..

Today I’m going to let you in on a little secret…it’s not hard to get and stay fit. It’s not about hard work and deprivation.

My LifeIt’s all about boundaries. Let me explain…

When you were a child your parents set boundaries around you. They were the authority on what was or wasn’t acceptable behavior. You had to complete your chores before dinner. You had to finish your homework before going out to play. You had to eat all your vegetables before dessert.

If you failed to comply with these boundaries then you knew that there would be consequences.

As an adult you, and only you, are the authority on what is or isn’t acceptable behavior. You are in the position to set boundaries around yourself. These boundaries serve as a framework of order around you – a rock of support in an otherwise chaotic world.

With self-imposed boundaries you can assure your success in anything…specifically with weight loss.

Your fitness boundaries have to be self-imposed—no one is going to do it for you. Don’t look at this as a bad thing! Self-imposed boundaries are self-empowering. Let’s face it, you’ve been living life without fitness boundaries.

You eat whatever you want, whenever you want it.
You use any excuse to avoid exercise.
You indulge whenever it feels good.

How to Lose Weight by Setting Fitness Boundaries

Your Fitness Boundaries

It’s time to introduce boundaries back into your life. These boundaries are the key to unleashing your ideal fit and healthy body.

Fitness Boundary #1: What you eat

If you were to be perfectly honest with me, you could list off the foods that are unhealthy and fattening. So why are you still eating them? You know that refined, fried, processed and sugary foods are not good for you.

Place boundaries around what you will allow yourself to eat. Acceptable food items include whole foods, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats.

Fitness Boundary #2: How you exercise

I know that you’re not an Olympic athlete, but that doesn’t mean that you can simply pass on exercise. By now you are well aware of the host of benefits that exercise provides. With regular exercise you’ll look great, feel amazing and have more energy than ever.

Place boundaries around how often you must exercise. Choose exercise that is challenging and fun – don’t be afraid to try new activities that improve your strength and endurance.

Fitness Boundary #3: When you indulge

Let’s face it, we live in a world where indulging has become the norm, rather than the exception. When you live life without fitness boundaries, everyday is an opportunity to indulge. These indulgences all add up quickly, causing your clothes to become tight and your energy levels to drop.

Place boundaries around when you can indulge. You’ll find that by limiting your indulgences you’ll end up enjoying them even more.

Putting It In Action

Sit down and take a long, hard look at your lifestyle. Are you eating as healthy as you could be? Are you exercising 3-5 times each week? Are you indulging too often?

Answer the following questions:

What 3 food items can I eliminate from my daily diet? (These should be nutritionally void items like high-calories beverages, fast food, packaged snacks, high-fat food, candy or desserts.)
When can I schedule exercise into my week? (Pick 3-5 days, and select a specific timeframe. Example: I’m going to exercise on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 5am-6am.)
When will I allow myself to indulge? (Don’t go overboard here, especially if you need to lose weight. Enjoy a treat a couple times each month, and do so guilt-free knowing that you’ve maintained healthy food boundaries the rest of the time.

Remember that self-imposed boundaries are self-empowering.

Fitness boundaries put your fitness results on autopilot. If you know what constitutes an acceptable meal, then choosing what to eat just got a whole lot easier. If you’re committed to exercising 3 times a week, soon it becomes second nature.

Need help setting up your fitness boundaries? I am here to help – call or email me now!

In health,

Coach Dave


P.S. this was taken from my fitness newsletter. You can read the entire newsletter here

15 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism Besides Exercise

Small changes, large pay off.

NOTE: Exercise is crucial to a healthy metabolism. You should still exercise. However, there are some additional methods that can help keep that engine revved up.

1. Eat foods with omega-3s.

Eat foods with omega-3s.

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Foods like avocados have omega-3 fatty acids that contain a myriad of benefits. Don’t get turned off by the word fatty. These acids help regulate blood sugar and inflammation, which can help keep your metabolism steady. For easy recipes that include avocado click here.

2. Don’t forget to eat breakfast.

15 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism Besides Exercise

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It’s the most important meal of the day for a reason. Eating breakfast is crucial in maintaining optimal energy levels throughout the day. Skipping breakfast sends your body in to starvation mode, which conserves energy by slowing down your metabolism. That’s what you don’t want.

3. Snack when you are hungry.

15 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism Besides Exercise

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Snacking during the day not only keeps hunger at bay, but it keeps your energy level consistent. This will keep your metabolism revved up by maintaining normal blood sugar levels. The key is to eat healthy snacks. For several snack ideas click here.

4. Spice up your life.

15 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism Besides Exercise

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Add some hot sauce or chile peppers to your meal. Spicy condiments contain capsaicin, which has been shown to increase resting metabolic rates by spiking hormone levels. A number of delicious spicy recipes exist. Don’t be afraid of the hurt.

5. Engage in some heavy breathing.

15 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism Besides Exercise

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Yes, it’s a natural function but taking a little time daily to focus on your breathing can be beneficial. Breathing brings oxygen into your body and more oxygen = more energy burned = higher metabolism. Take a few minutes out of your day to do some deep breathing exercises. A little bit goes a long way over time.

6. Drink some green tea.

15 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism Besides Exercise

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Green tea contains phenols. Phenols are chemical compounds that increase your body’s internal furnace. Drinking green tea throughout the day can keep that furnace and those calories burning.

7. Eat dark chocolate.

15 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism Besides Exercise

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No, this is not a joke. Dark chocolate (70% cacao and up) contains caffeine and the antioxidant catechin which, are both know to be metabolism boosters. Just don’t over do it.

8. Eat yogurt.

Eat yogurt.

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Not froyo with a pound of Oreos, sprinkles, and gummy bears, but regular yogurt. Yogurt contains many nutrients which can raise your bodies resting metabolic rate. Try to stick to healthier yogurt offerings.

9. Include more lean protein in your diet.

Include more lean protein in your diet.

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Foods containing lean protein require a lot more of your body’s energy to burn, which increases your metabolism. They also keep you full and satisfied longer then other food choices. For a great recipe click here.

10. Don’t ever skip meals.

15 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism Besides Exercise

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This is easy advice to follow. Skipping meals will not get you a smaller waist line. Missing meals actually convinces the body that it’s starving so it slows down your metabolism. If you’re hungry you should eat.

11. Drink plenty of cold water.

15 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism Besides Exercise

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Water is good for you to begin with, and research indicates that drinking six cups of cold water daily can boost your metabolism by burning an extra 50 calories a day. That adds up a loss of five pounds over the course of a year.

12. Go nuts!

Go nuts!

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Nuts like walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, and pistachios contain many vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids that aid in boosting metabolism. Just don’t get too crazy. A handful is more than enough.

13. Take some time to de-stress.

15 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism Besides Exercise

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Stress causes the production of cortisol which among other things can slow down your metabolism. Read a book, get a massage, or just relax. Making time to alleviate stress will benefit your life in more ways than one.

14. Have a light snack right before bed.

15 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism Besides Exercise

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Having a light snack before bed can actually increase your nocturnal metabolism. Several healthy options exist.

15. Get some shut eye.

15 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism Besides Exercise

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A good night’s rest is essential for a healthy metabolism. Sleeping eight hours nightly increases energy levels throughout the day, and helps to keep stress hormones and blood sugar levels stable.

Read more:

9 Tips to Burn More Fat—Faster

9 Tips to Burn More Fat—Faster

Unwanted fat slows you down and makes you feel less confident. Fortunately, if you take the right steps, you can burn off pounds of fat faster than you ever imagined.

fitness tips for burning fatHow can you get started on this mission? With these nine fat-burning tips…

Fat Burn Tip #1:

Hit the Weights: Losing weight is always a good idea. Unless you’re losing so much you’re also burning off muscle. By adding weight training into your routine, you’ll ensure your muscle is here to stay.

As an added perk, muscle burns more fat faster, and you burn more fat and burn it for longer after an intense weight-lifting session than you would with just cardio.

Fat Burn Tip #2:

Run like Crazy: You’ve got to want it, but if you’re willing to sprint 100 yards 10 times in a row, you’ll melt away about 500 calories from your waistline. That’s a Big Mac or two Snickers bars you just burned off! Do that a few days a week and you’ll have a new body in no time.

Fat Burn Tip #3:

Down the Green: It may seem odd that drinking unsweetened green tea can help you burn fat, but try a glass of it after working out. Not only does it taste good, but it will cause your love handles to fall off your sides faster.

Fat Burn Tip #4:

Work Out Early: Like everyone else in the world, you’ve got a lot to do in the day. Imagine if you could get to the gym or run a few miles before it all gets started? By hitting your routine when you first wake up, before you even eat breakfast, your body will burn fat like there’s no tomorrow!

Fat Burn Tip #5:

Go to Sleep: Just because you’re awake doesn’t mean you’re doing good things for your body. Live in a constant state of sleep deprivation and you won’t be able to work out as hard as you should, and you’ll likely wind up making poor food and drink choices—especially late at night.

Fat Burn Tip #6:

Stop Sitting: Working a desk job is no excuse to stay on your backside all day. Need to talk with a coworker? Leave the email and phone alone and get up and talk with your coworker face to face. Then take a quick walk during lunchtime to rejuvenate yourself and power up for the rest of the day. Making activity part of your lifestyle will go a long way toward shaving off pounds faster!

Fat Burn Tip #7:

Wait for Seconds: Your instinct may tell you to grab a second helping of meat and potatoes as soon as round one is over. But if you want to burn off fat, give yourself 20 minutes after eating your first plate to let your brain catch up to your stomach. Most likely, you’ll feel full after that amount of time and will avoid adding unnecessary calories you’ll just have to burn off later.

Fat Burn Tip #8:

Add Ice: Want to burn more fat faster, without even trying? Then stop drinking room-temperature water. Instead, drop some ice into your water and drink it when it’s nice and cold. It may seem like an old wives’ tale, but drinking cold water has been proven to force your body to burn calories in order to warm the water to body temperature.

Fat Burn Tip #9:

Go for Lean Protein: You want to burn fat, and protein makes it possible. How? By helping to boost your metabolism and build more fat-burning muscle. So grab a chicken breast and a spoon of peanut butter to give your body the upper hand against forcing fat far, far away!

In health,

Coach Dave

Is Coconut Oil Really Good For Weight Loss?

using coconut oil

Is coconut oil really good for weight loss? I know that when it comes to losing weight most people are desperate to try anything to accelerate the fat loss. Hey listen I am no different than you. If I hear a lot of people talking about how they have been doing this or that when it comes to their dieting and it appears to be working my interest is definitely peaked. However, since there are a ton of articles supporting the use of coconut oil to help with weight loss, shiner hair, after metabolism and the list goes on I thought I would get a professional dietician friend of mine to weigh in on the matter.

Before you go cuckoo for coconut (oil) know your facts…
Coconut oil has a huge presence in the grocery shelves, on the internet and in the health food industry. The claim is that coconut oil is the “healthiest oil on earth.” Proponents tout that it is unique due to the fact that it is made up of medium chain fatty acids (MCT) which are metabolized “differently,” promotes weight loss, increases metabolism and energy by balancing hormones and thyroid and boosts brain function in people with Alzheimer’s. It is promoted as the latest cure-all. This would lead us to believe we should all stock up! Not so fast.

Amazing Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

From Visually.

coconut_oilThe evidence that coconut oil is a superfood with magical powers is not convincing and many claims appear to be testimonials than clinical evidence. Based on information gleaned from Harvard School of Public Health, there appears to be few peer-reviewed research and limited evidence on disease outcomes. The scientific studies are lacking to support the many claims. Most of the studies using coconut oil have been associated with cholesterol levels.
Neither the American Heart Association nor the U.S. Government 2010 Dietary Guidelines suggest that coconut oil is superior over other saturated fats. And like other saturated fats should be limited to 7%-10% of calories because of its increased risk for heart disease. Another leading authority, the Mayo Clinic suggests that although eating coconut oil in moderation for a short-term probably won’t harm your health it may not help you with weight loss. It goes on to point out that coconut oil is actually more saturated than butter and lard which when eaten in lieue of healthier fats, can affect heart health.

Saturated fats are generally found in animal products like fatty meat, whole milk dairy products, poultry with skin, and beef fat. Tropical oil such as palm, palm kernel and coconut oil are also saturated fat. All fats are a combination of fatty acids. It is true that 58% of coconut oil is medium-chain fatty acids, (44% lauric, 5.9% capric and 7.4% caprylic acid) and have been touted as more efficiently metabolized. Since coconut oil contains more lauric acid, it cannot be assumed to have to same health effects as 100% MCT’s. Coconut oil contains 92% saturated fat compared to butter that is 63% saturated fat. Saturated fat is the main cause of high blood cholesterol.

If you’re looking for real health benefits and want something good for weight loss it’s better to switch from saturated fat to unsaturated fats by using vegetable oils, like olive oil, canola, soybean or corn and avocado and nut oils. As a comparison, olive and soybean oils are only about 15% saturated. Both monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat help your total and LDL cholesterol. Omega-3 is another fat that helps in brain development, immune system, heart health. Coconut oil contains 0g omega-3 so no amount will contribute to these needs.

Bottom line, coconut oil is not a cure-all. The effects of consuming coconut oil on cardiovascular disease are complex. Considerable research is still needed to understand the role of tropical oil in our diet and its effects on disease. The current consensus is that we need to focus on quality of fat, using primarily monounsaturated and use fat in moderation. Coconut oil can be used as one of a variety of plant-based foods in our diet. Only small amounts should be consumed. For successful weight loss and prevention of chronic disease, it’s best to stick to the basics on an overall healthy eating plan and exercise. For more information and guidance with your personalized eating plan, contact a registered dietitian nutritionist, For a Fact Sheet on Coconut Oil and Health, go to

Cindy Kleckner, RDN, LD, FAND is an evidence-based practitioner and available to help clients find the most suitable way of eating to improve health and wellbeing. Cindy is an acclaimed culinary dietitian who has co-authored two books, Hypertension Cookbook for Dummies and DASH Diet for Dummies. She is a consultant to the famed Cooper Clinic and Cooper Fitness Center at Craig Ranch where she presents healthy culinary demonstrations. She is also a frequent speaker for both professional and consumer audiences. See more at…,-RD,-LD.aspx and…

If you are wanting to jump start your weight loss and need a step by step plan then take the “7 Day Fat Loss Jump Start Challenge. You can join for FREE by joining below.

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In health,

Coach Dave

How Meditation Affects The Brain

Humans have meditated for thousands of years, for religious purposes or just to quiet the mind. There are many meditation techniques but for the most part they can be lumped into two broad categories: non directive (mind wanders freely) and concentrative (suppresses random thoughts). Any differences in how the body responds to each type have not been well known prior to this study. A new study led by Svend Davanger from the University of Oslo has investigated what happens in the brain during meditation versus casual resting. The results were published in an open access format in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Acem meditation came about in the 1960s in Norway as a non-religious technique that focuses on mentally repeating a word in order to relax the mind and body. Acem does not seek to reach any particular state of consciousness, but instead allows thoughts to come and go from the mind as they become absorbed by the mantra.

The study used 14 participants who are experienced in Acem and they underwent functional MRI (fMRI) to measure brain activity during three different states: nondirective meditation, such as Acem which allows fleeting thoughts provided the mantra is repeated; open monitoring, which allows the person to experience whatever random thoughts come into their head; and focused attention, in which the person deliberately tries to prevent random thoughts and focuses solely on their breathing.

The ability to reduce the number of times the mind wanders during focused attention exercise has been heralded as a benefit of long-term experience with meditation. That assertion typically comes from those who self-report the amount of time they are on task, and not from studies that have actually tracked the amount of time the person meditating is able to focus thoughts. This study found that when the participants were asked to push a button and track when they were no longer thinking about their breath, the more experienced meditators didn’t really have much of an advantage over those that were newer to it. During the 20 minutes it took to complete the fMRI, the participants pressed their buttons about once every 80 seconds.

The results found that activity was significantly increased in the areas of the brain associated with emotions and memories during the non directive meditation, compared to the focused meditation. This was an unexpected result, as the it was assumed that actively concentrating would have increased brain activity.

“I was surprised that the activity of the brain was greatest when the person’s thoughts wandered freely on their own, rather than when the brain worked to be more strongly focused,” said lead author Jian Xu in a press release. “When the subjects stopped doing a specific task and were not really doing anything special, there was an increase in activity in the area of the brain where we process thoughts and feelings. It is described as a kind of resting network. And it was this area that was most active during nondirective meditation.”

“Meditation is an activity that is practiced by millions of people. It is important that we find out how this really works,” Davanger said. “In recent years there has been a sharp increase in international research on meditation. Several universities in the US spend a great deal of money to research in the field. So I think it is important that we are also active.”

The left images show the brain during concentrative meditation, while images to the right show the brain during nondirective meditation. Credit: Norwegian University of Science and Technology

[Header image “Meditate” credited to Nadir Hashmi via flickr, used in accordance with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

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