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3 Workout Mistakes You Cannot Afford to Make

08 December, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

By: Jason Riley

     

     You finally finish your workout!  What you decide to do next can have long-term implications to your performance, your health and your weight loss. Are you sabotaging your training goals by making these simple blunders? Here are 3 essential truths that you will learn:

Success is a matter of choice

  • Nutritional refueling is a must to maximize your performance, wellness and weight loss strategies
  • Active Dynamic stretching can actually improve your strength, power and muscular endurance
  • Dehydration can negatively impact every facet of your performance and your quality of life

REFUELING:

     How many times do we see clients walking on a treadmill while reading a book, and then going to Starbucks and sucking down that Caramel Frappuccino like their effort in the gym was so deserving. Refueling is more than just a necessity for athletes training hard, it actually takes careful planning. But lets make sure the intensity of the workout was deserving of your post-workout smoothie.

     Nutrient timing is a science that explores the implications of what you eat and how quickly you eat after a workout. It was designed to make sure that you are achieving your workout goals by consuming the necessary nutrients. Intense training, especially weight training, sprinting and HIIT turn our bodies into nutrient vacuums. They want and need nutrients to help the rebuilding and repair mechanisms within our body. During this time, our muscles crave glucose, and start storing it or using it as a fuel for recovery. In addition to that, our post-workout protein consumption ignites our muscles protein synthesis mechanism.

     Although nutrient timing can be an asset to help us achieve our body composition goals and refueling strategies, research also shows that eating well throughout the day is probably more important to your overall body composition goals than simply just focusing on nutrient timing post-workout.  

STRETCHING:

Stretching Girl and Guy

     Stretching is definitely not a sexy term when you are talking about body composition analysis or weight loss measures. Research has shown that while static stretching may not help prevent injuries, increase overall strength, or reduce muscle soreness after working out, it does have some benefits.

     Stretching can be extremely important to quality of life measures. Many people have desk jobs and sit all day long, limiting their hip flexor and quadriceps flexibility. This can lead to low back pain, hip pain and altered biomechanics, which can create unnecessary strains on other muscles that wouldn’t necessarily be prime movers if your flexibility was adequate. Static stretching can promote healthy circulation, enhance range of motion and flexibility as well as reduce stress.  

     Most static stretches attempt to isolate a single muscle. Fascial stretching on the other hand, engages the whole myofascial system.  Understanding fascia is an important step to understanding movement and soft tissue pain . Fascia is like the saran wrap of our bodies. It looks at the connection between the muscles, as well as their neighboring joints, tendons, ligaments and bones, and a multitude of other functions. This has some serious performance and health benefits that will take much more time to dive into.  Stay tuned in future posts to really understand this concept. 

     Another form of stretching called active dynamic stretching can improve strength, power, muscular endurance, speed, stability and overall coordination patterns. This type of stretching is similar to what most athletes do before competitions, and they utilize it to prime the body for the movements that they will encounter in their respective sport. You will see football players, baseball players and track and field athletes all perform active dynamic warm-ups before going out and competing. Active dynamic stretching can even serve as part of your workout if done correctly. The benefits of this type of stretching includes:

  • Increases core body temperature
  • Increases heart rate
  • Improves flexibility
  • Increases nervous system stimulation

     If you are not yet convinced, try performing active dynamic stretching before your workout or static stretching after your workout for a solid 30 days and we guarantee your body will thank you for it.

HYDRATION:

     Girl Athlete Drinking from Bottle

     Water may be considered one of the world’s most fundamental nutrients for life. Therefore, a lack of water within the body is capable of negatively impacting nearly every activity that we try to perform. Since the perception of thirst is an inaccurate indicator of the need to consume water, dehydration has become a common ailment that often goes unnoticed until its too late.

     The more energy you expend, the greater your fluid needs. When working out, maintaining fluid balance is critical for peak athletic performance, regulating core body temperature, lubrication of your joints and helping to transport nutrients to their respective locations. If your urine is clear or light yellow, you’re in good hydration status. But, when your urine is yellow, bright yellow, or brownish in color, that’s when dehydration is a problem.

     When you realize that the body is at least 60% water, you can start to understand why hydration is on the top 3 list of workout blunders. Try incorporating at least ½ of your body weight in ounces of water per day on days that you are not working out (120 lbs = 60oz of water). Workout days will require more water, so bring a bottled water to the gym and drink up to maximize your fluid needs.

     When trying to achieve peak athletic performance, maximize your overall health, or even try to lose body fat and weight, it is important to consider these variables. They will will assist you in reaching your goals. By incorporating proper post-workout fueling strategies, stretching routines and hydration status, you can keep your body functioning optimally.

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Mighty Minerals: The Ultimate Nutritional Supplement

23 November, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

By: Jason Riley

5 REASONS MINERALS ARE A MUST

  • Poor farming practices and soil erosion have allowed our soil to be devoid of essential nutrients
  • Research directly supports the notion that the human body is dependent upon the ingestion of at least 23 minerals to sustain life.
  • Minerals act as catalysts for many of the chemical reactions that occur within our body and aid in the formation of blood and bones, healthy nerve transmission, as well as enabling the body to increase energy production, growth and healing.
  • Mineral supplements should be plant derived, full-spectrum, organically sourced trace minerals, which can be delivered to the cells for immediate uptake.
  • Minerals are not only fundamental for performance before, during and after athletic events, but they are essential for optimal health.

Minerals for Athletic Performance and Quality of Life

      In order to achieve optimal health, we must provide our bodies with all the raw materials required to function, perform and repair.  However, these raw materials can be challenging to find in todays society. Years of poor farming practices and soil erosion have allowed our soil to be devoid of these essential nutrients. Poor nutrient quantity in the soil equates to poor nutrient content in our food, which means you, the consumers’ health and performance suffers.

     Minerals are the basic building blocks of all things, and they are involved in nearly every metabolic function within the body. They act as catalysts for many of the chemical reactions that occur within the body, as well regulate and manage the normal function of all our organs, muscles, and tissues. They ward of disease states, combat fatigue as well as a myriad of other major bodily functions. Many medical and nutritional specialists have concluded that minerals may be even more important than vitamins. The health benefits associated with proper mineral consumption cannot be exaggerated.

     Vitamins and minerals are two very different types of substances, yet they work synergistically to promote good health and wellness. The body cannot process vitamins without a sufficient supply of minerals. Likewise, minerals will be largely ineffective if not supplemented with a vitamin rich diet. For this reason, it is important to ensure that you consume a diet that is high in both vitamins and minerals.

     Traditionally minerals have been broken down into two categories, macro minerals and trace minerals. Macro minerals are generally known to act as either electrolytes in nerve transduction and/or as crystal like structures to strengthen bones. Trace minerals are commonly known to function as co-factors for enzymes involved in biochemical pathways. To help illustrate how important minerals are to the function of the human body we can look at one of the essential minerals. Zinc is an essential cofactor for at least 70 different enzymes, essential for regulation of gene expression, essential for protein folding, and essential for immunity.[i],[ii] Evidence of mineral malnutrition can be seen in several health conditions such as energy loss, premature aging, diminished senses, and degenerative diseases like osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer. What is interesting is that many plants can grow on less than 2 handfuls of minerals, while the body needs a full spectrum of minerals to optimize health.

     Research directly supports the notion that the human body is dependent upon the ingestion of at least 23 minerals to sustain life.[iii] However, over 60 different types of minerals have been found in certain tissues of the body. This suggests that the body may need more than the 23 minerals that research literature has established as essential to life. A missing mineral or vitamin will put the body into a state of imbalance, requiring it to “steal” those nutrients from somewhere else so that we can maintain “normal” living. This will lead to a cascade of deficiencies that the body will continually have to compensate for. This delicate balance affects your health, wellness, energy levels, athletic performance, brain function and immune system. What we need to understand is that not all minerals are alike.

     Plant derived minerals, which have not been destroyed by heat or altered my man-made chemicals are considered living minerals. They are natural, making them easier for your body to absorb and assimilate. These minerals function as the catalysts to enzymes throughout the body. The best minerals are sourced from pre-historic fresh water humate deposits. Humate is a mineral that is mined from the earth. Humate is actually an early stage in the development of coal from organic matter. Humate is rich in humic and fulvic acids, which are active components of soil humus. Fulvic acid increases the availability of nutrients and makes them more readily absorbable. It allows nutrients to work together with one another, breaking them down into the simplest ionic forms chelated by the fulvic acid electrolyte.

     So when looking to maximize your health and performance, make sure your mineral supplements are plant derived, full-spectrum, organically sourced trace minerals, which can be delivered to the cells for immediate uptake. These types of minerals are not only fundamental for performance before, during and after athletic events, but they are essential for optimal health.  Minerals are required for formation of blood and bones, healthy nerve transmission, as well as enabling the body to increase energy production, growth and healing. Although athletes should eat a balanced diet, there are several minerals that are very difficult to obtain in sufficient levels from even a balanced diet since almost all athletes and those exercising require more nutrients than are supplied by the established allowances.[iv]

 Benefits of Plant Derived Fulvic Mineral Supplements:

  • Powerful Electrolyte
  • Powerful Antioxidant
  • Powerful Energy Enhancer
  • Powerful Alkalinizer within body
  • Powerful Immune Enhancer
  • Anti-Viral / Anti-Bacterial properties
  • Aids Nutrient Bio-Availability
  • May Decrease Healing Time

 Here are some examples of Mineral Functions in the body:

 

MINERAL

FUNCTION

Magnesium

Aids in muscle relaxation and lowers anxiety, stress and can lower blood pressure and can help alleviate insomnia

Chromium

Important for glucose uptake which stimulates fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis

Iron

Key element in hemoglobin formation which aids in the circulation of the blood and oxygen

Phosphorus

Integral in reducing muscle weakness, boosting brain function and optimizing body metabolism

Copper

Improves brain function, helps boost immunity and helps iron uptake

Potassium

Can increase water flow in the body, alleviate muscle cramps and ensures proper oxygen distribution

 

Research:

Ashmead, Harvey, PhD— “Tissue Transportation of Organic Trace Minerals” J Appl Nutr, 22:42 1970

Motyka, Max, MS— “Minerals, Trace Minerals, Ultra Trace Minerals” Albion Research Notes vol.5 no.2 May 1996

[i] Saper, R. B. and Rash, R. Zinc: an essential micronutrient. Am Fam.Physician 5-1-2009;79(9):768-772.

[ii] Prasad, A. S. Zinc: role in immunity, oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Curr Opin.Clin Nutr Metab Care 2009;12(6):646-652.

[iii]O'dell B & Sunde, R.A. Handbook of Nutritionally essential Mineral elements. Page 4  Marcel Dekker, New York, 1997.

[iv] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22774482

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Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

18 November, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

Recipe by: Jason Riey

Yes, it is November and pumpkin season is in full effect! Living in Florida, you really don’t get a chance to enjoy the sights and smells of a cool fall day like everyone up north. Autumn comes to us Sunshine State residents in the realm of food. When we see pumpkin lattes, we know fall has officially arrived.

In developing this recipe, we used all organic ingredients and limited the unnecessary junk so that you could enjoy the taste of fall without the guilt. So whether your looking for a post-workout reward, a healthy breakfast option or a late night snack, you won’t want to miss out on these. So grab some Elementz Whey protein from our online store and fuel up my friends.

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes by Jason Riley

Prep Time:              10 min

Cooking Time:        5 min

Yields:                     8 small pancakes

 

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Organic Oat Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Elementz Grass Fed Vanilla Whey Protein
  • 1 T Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Powder
  • ½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • ½ tsp Himalayan Sea Salt

 

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 Organic Free-Range Eggs
  • ¼ cup Plain Greek Yogurt (Noosa or Greek Gods)
  • ¼ cup Organic Pumpkin Puree
  • 2/3 cup Filtered Water
  • 1 tsp Walnut extract
  • 3 T Organic Coconut Oil
  • 1 T Organic Maple Syrup

 

Directions:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well
  2. Combine all liquid ingredients into a separate bowl except the coconut oil and mix well. Heat the coconut oil slightly and mix with wet ingredients to prevent any oil clumping in the recipe. To make a fluffier version of these pancakes, you can also separate the egg yolks and egg whites and beat the egg whites until soft peaks start to form.
  3. Combine the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine just until mixed. Do not over mix.
  4. Heat skillet at 375 degrees and cook for 2-3 minutes or until bubbles form on the top of the pancakes and flip.
  5. Serve and enjoy with some fresh fruit, almond or peanut butter or some good old fashion organic maple syrup.
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The Fats of Life

15 November, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

By: Jason Riley

5 TRUTHS ABOUT FAT:

  • Eating good fats and higher percentage of your calories from fat can actually help you lose weight and obtain a better body composition… You get leaner!
  • Consuming good fats can actually produce more muscle mass by stimulating a better hormone balance after intense exercise
  • When you consume fats that contain essential DHA, your brain processing speeds, reaction times and moods will be enhanced
  • There is an intricate balance between fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D and K and bone mineral strength. You want strong bones? You need to eat fats!
  • Oxidized fats can sabotage your hard work, so be very cautious of oil manufacturing and storage techniques, this includes supplementation.

Fats Avocado Chia Seeds Olive Oil

     Have you ever heard the saying that you are the sum of the people that you surround yourself with? We tend to adapt traits, behaviors and mannerisms of the people that are closest to us. Nutrition is no different! When we consume food, the environment that we place the food in helps determine whether that food becomes an asset or a liability to our bodies. Does it use them for energy for performance, or the expression of disease and decreased quality of life?

     So why is it that we have been told that eating fat will make us fat? Before answering this question, we must understand that not all fats are created equal. Some fats are good for you and will actually help you lose weight, while others will continue to add to that visceral fat that we are all so fervently trying to get rid of. Whether a particular fat is healthy, depends on how that fat communicates with your cells and genes. Bad fats will turn off your fat burning genes, making it harder for you to shed the weight.

     There are numerous studies that will disprove this theory of eating fat makes us fat. One particular study examined women who ate a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet until they felt full. These women actually lost twice as much weight as compared to women who ate a restricted low fat diet. Not only did they lose weight, but their risk factors associated with disease states also diminished. We must then ask the question, how does a decrease in carbohydrate fueling and a subsequent increase in fat consumption help us lose weight? There are numerous answers to that question, but it looks as if 3 main processes are involved: Improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation and the fats help to support your basal metabolic rate. Therefore, eat the right kinds of fat and you ramp up your fat burning potential. Eat the wrong kinds of fats and you gain weight and slow down your metabolism.

     We know that fats are important in many different metabolic processes. It aids in optimal absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as the synthesis of cholesterol and steroid hormones that are critical to your performance and survival. If we become deficient in essential fatty acids, we can limit our ability to utilize our fat-soluble vitamins. In one study, the subjects eating moderate fat exhibited higher testosterone levels than the subjects eating low fat. This finding confirms the results of previous studies, demonstrating that dietary fat is positively linked with testosterone levels. We can ascertain that increased consumption of good fats, more specifically good saturated fats like coconut oil, can positively impact your testosterone levels.

      When looking into fat consumption, you’ve probably heard of mono and polyunsaturated fats. Olive oil, palm oil, nuts and seeds are examples of good fats with high amounts of polyunsaturated fats; however, if not stored or manufactured properly, these oils can actually cause harm to your body. When a molecule gives up an electron to another molecule, it is called oxidation. Oxidation occurs all the time within our bodies creating a multitude of roaming free radicals that cause our cells to age prematurely. We all have seen oxidation at work outside the body when you bite into an apple, leave it out on the kitchen counter, and the brown that starts to grow around that bite mark is an example of oxidation.

      The question becomes, is oil that has become oxidized from air, light or heat dangerous to consume. There are numerous studies that fed oxidized oils to animals and showed increased systemic inflammation, damage to brain cells and a multitude of other negative symptoms. So, could consuming these oxidized oils be a threat to our quality of life or athletic performance? Well, we believe that inflammation can be one of the major causes of non-contact injuries like muscle strains and pulls. Consumption of oxidized oils is definitely not helping your body control inflammation.

     The question becomes how do we protect ourselves from the possible ill effects of consuming oxidized fats. We have listed the following guidelines to help you take control of your health and performance:

  • Store oils that you use for salads, foods and even cooking in a cool, dark place away from light and heat in an airtight container. Examples include:
    • olive oil, palm, canola, corn, avocado, safflower and sunflower
  • Refrigerate nut and seed oils to limit oxidation. Examples include:
    • Almond oil, walnut, hazelnut, flaxseed, macadamia, etc…
  • Choose oils that are packaged in dark glass containers to help keep light away from the oils and preserve its freshness
  • Make sure to place the cap back on the bottles of oil as soon as you finish using the oils. Every second the bottle is left open is inviting more oxidation into the oil.
  • Check expiration dates on the bottles of oil
  • Limit deep-fried foods and do not re-use cooking oils
  • Buy whole, raw nuts that have not been exposed to the roasting process and have not been broken into smaller pieces, which will accelerate the oxidation process.

     Whether your goal is vanity and just wanting to tone up and lose weight, increasing your hormone producing capabilities, balancing your mood or improving your athletic performance, fats play an important role in your daily life. So grab that bottle of coconut oil, handful of nuts and seeds, or oil based dressing and reap the rewards of feeding this all-important macronutrient to your body.

 

References

  1. Brehm, B. et al: A Randomized trial comparing a very low carbohydrate diet and a calorie-restricted low fat diet on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors in healthy women. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2003 Apr; 88(4):1617-23.

  2. Sallinen, J. et al: Relationship between diet and serum anabolic hormone responses to heavy resistance exercise in men. Int J Sports Med 2004 Nov; 25(8):627-33

  3. Volek, JS, Forsythe, CE. The case for not restricting saturated fat on a low carbohydrate diet. Nutr Metabolism (Lond) 2005; 2;21.

  4. Volek, JS. Et al: Testoterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise. J Appl Physiology 1997;82;49-54

  5. http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/01/does-dietary-saturated-fat-increase.html

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5 REASONS ATHLETES SHOULD EAT SWEET POTATOES

09 November, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

By: Jason Riley

  • They contain up to 100% of your daily vitamin A intake
  • Rich in fiber and help provide steady energy for prolonged periods of time
  • Positively impact your immune system
  • Anti-inflammatory food which can directly affect non-contact injuries
  • Play an essential role in athletes fueling strategies

Not only do they taste sweet as pie, but they provide some amazing health benefits to athletes. Sweet potatoes are a very potent fueling option for athletes to consume, regardless of sport. They are rich in slow digesting carbohydrates, which will provide a steady energy state over a long period of time. The bright orange color displays its rich beta-carotene content, and sweet potatoes supply the body with fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and even Vitamin B.

When describing other potential performance benefits, other exotic fruits and vegetables often steal sweet potatoes thunder. However, a large sweet potato can contain up to 100% of the daily intake of vitamin A, and are therefore one of the best foods to consume for vitamin A. Vitamin A found in fruits and vegetables is considered “pro-vitamin A”, and must be converted by the human body into the usable form of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an antioxidant powerhouse and plays a vital role in bone growth, immune system health, and helps the skin and mucus membranes effectively repel bacteria and viruses. It is also critical in maintaining healthy eyesight. Some other sources of beta-carotene are carrots, spinach, kale, cantaloupe, pumpkin and butternut squash.

Among the other performance enhancing benefits of sweet potatoes are their anti-inflammatory properties and blood sugar regulating properties. In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that chronic inflammation is the root cause of many disease states as well as many non-contact injuries in sports. Inflammation is one of the cornerstones of the bodies healing processes, as seen in many injury states with redness, swelling and pain. These symptoms are the body’s way of flooding the site with more nourishment and more immune activity. Stress, too much exercise, injury states, poor food choices and exposure to environmental toxins can all create inflammation within the body, and if not rectified, will wreck havoc with your health and performance.

Carbohydrate foods also influence this inflammatory process. You can control inflammation by keeping blood sugar levels low and stable. Education on how foods impact the inflammatory process is the best strategy for containing it and reducing non-contact injuries and disease states. Eating less processed foods, breads, white potatoes, pastries, sweetened drinks and by avoiding fast foods and products made with high fructose corn syrup we can keep inflammation at bay.

The glycemic index measures how quickly certain foods release carbohydrates into the body. High glycemic foods cause blood sugar levels to spike, while low glycemic foods release glucose slowly into the bloodstream. A surprising fact about sweet potatoes is their ability to help regulate blood sugar levels. Research has confirmed that sweet potato extract can increase blood levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone produced by your fat cells, which regulates the way your body metabolize’s and even lower’s insulin levels. The truth is, carbohydrates play an essential role in an athletes fueling strategy because they are a key source of energy and provide the glucose necessary to replace the glycogen lost during training and competition. So if your looking for a super-food that you may have overlooked, try giving sweet potatoes another shot in your fueling strategy for performance and quality of life measures.

Here are 3 ways that you can enjoy this nutritious food in your meal plans:

 Baked Sweet Potatoes                             Sweet Potatoes with                                     Baked Sweet Potatoes                            with Rosemary & Garlic                        Fried / Scrambled Eggs                               with Greek Yogurt & Chives   

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic                 Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs                   Baked Sweet Potato with Goat Cheese and Chives

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Organic Brownie Recipe: Clean Eating

04 November, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

Organic Cocoa Brownies

Recipe and Photo by: Jason Riley

It's that time of year where sweets become a staple of your daily routine.  So, if you are going to cheat, you might as well try and cheat with some healthy recipes.  We hope that you enjoy this indulgence... As it is one of our favorites.  We recommend using organic ingredients as much as possible within this recipe.  

Regardless of diet, organic foods are recommended. Opting for organic foods is an useful choice for personal and planetary health. Buying organically grown foods is the only way to avoid the barrage of chemicals present in commercially grown food. More than 600 active chemicals are registered for agricultural use in America, producing billions of pounds annually. The average person consumes over 16 pounds of chemical pesticides per year. 

Besides eliminating many of the dangerous pesticides, organically grown foods have more nutrients—vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and micronutrients—than commercially grown foods.  The soil on organic farms is managed and nourished with sustainable practices by responsible standards. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine conducted a review of 41 published studies comparing the nutritional value of organically grown and conventionally grown fruits, vegetables, and grains and concluded that there are considerably more nutrients in organic foods crops. 

Dry Ingredients:
1C        Organic Oat Flour (gluten free)
1/3C     Organic Raw Cocoa Powder
1/3C     Elementz Cocoa Bean Whey Protein
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
1/4C    Organic Chocolate Chips (we use Equal Exchange 70% dark chocolate chips)

 

Wet Ingredients: 

2        Organic Free-Range Eggs
2T      Organic Coconut Oil
1 tsp  Organic vanilla paste (we use Singing Dog Vanilla Company)
½ C   Organic Coconut Sugar
1/3C  Plain Greek Yogurt (we use Noosa or Greek Gods yogurt)
2T      Filtered water or Almond Milk

 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and lightly coat an 8” square baking pan with coconut oil

In a bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, whey protein, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut oil, vanilla paste, coconut sugar, yogurt and water. Combine the two mixtures and stir just until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the 8” square pan.  Top with 70% dark chocolate chips and bake for 22-24 minutes. These will stay moist, but make sure to not over bake as the mixture may become too dry.

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Vitamin D: An Essential Vitamin For Athletes?

02 November, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

     

 By: Jason Riley

     

Vitamin D is essential for life... Not just athletes! Research continues to show that virtually every tissue and cell within the body has receptors for Vitamin D. (1) According to numerous reports, Vitamin D is not technically a vitamin at all, but a pro-hormone. The very presence of receptors specifically for vitamin D defines it as a hormone more than a vitamin. (2)

Since vitamin D can alter the expression of your genes like a pro-hormone, then we can postulate from research that vitamin D deficiency may be linked to numerous acute and chronic medical conditions like cancer, heart disease, arthritis, etc… However, since most our readers are athletes, lets look at how a vitamin D deficiency can effect your acute and long term performance measures, and we will look into quality of life measures in later posts:

  • Increased susceptibility to infections – vitamin D is vital for the immune system functioning and keeping you on the playing field at all times. (3)
  • Decreased adaptive immune response - if you cannot adapt to the stresses imposed on your body, you will not perform at your highest level (4,5)
  • Increased inflammatory related injuries – inflammation in your tissues can increase the susceptibility of non-contact injuries (6)
  • Decreased neuromuscular function – this will impact your bodies protein synthesis capabilities, causing muscle weakness, decreased strength and altered muscle functions (7)
  • Decreased bone density – vitamin D promotes calcium absorption, but it is critical to take vitamin K2 (MK7) with vitamin D3 supplementation.

     Unlike vitamin supplementations, which are heavily used as antioxidants and helping enzyme activity, Vitamin D functions differently. Vitamin D works inside your cells regulating small sections of your gene expressions. Without adequate Vitamin D in the body, your genes will not function adequately.   Physical exercise influences neurotransmitter levels, and there is a possibility that the interactions between neurotransmitters and the specific receptors that they affect can play a role in the onset of fatigue. (8) For example, if our brain is not producing enough neurotransmitters, your brain can call on Vitamin D to ramp up production of an enzyme that will make more neurotransmitters. These connections are crucial for affecting mood, perceived exertion and athletic performance.

     Another function of Vitamin D3 is to promote calcium absorption. Calcium can be absorbed into the bones and teeth and strengthen those structures. Vitamin D supplementation without Vitamin K2 supplementation can also be absorbed into the soft tissues like the arteries. Therefore, vitamin D3 without Vitamin K2 can be a dangerous protocol. Supplementing Vitamin D3 without K2 would be analogous to riding in a car without a driver. You might luck out and end up in the right destination, but chances are you will not end up where you need to be. Taking vitamin K2 with your D3 is like adding a driver to the car. It tells the calcium where to be dropped off, into the bones and teeth and staying away from the arteries.

      As you can see, vitamin D deficiency can wreak havoc on the hard work that you are putting into your performance. In order to take adequate dosing of vitamin D and monitor success, it is important to maintain optimum blood levels of vitamin D. The most accurate way to measure this is thru a serum blood analysis for 25-hydroxy vitamin D. A trained physician or nutritional adviser can assist each client.

 

(1) Norman, AW. From vitamin d to hormone d: fundamentals of the vitamin d endocrine system essential for good health. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008:88 (suppl):491S-9S.

(2) Holick, MF. Vitamin D: evolutionary, physiological and health perspectives. Current Drug Targets. 2011 Jan:12(1):4-18.

(3) Aranow, C. Vitamin D and the immune system. J Investig Med. 2011 Aug:59(6):881-6.

(4) Deluca et al. Vitamin D: its role and uses in immunology. The FASEB Journal. 2001 Dec: 15(14):2579-85.

(5) Peterson and Heffernan. Serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha concentrations are negatively correlated with serum 25 (OH)D concentrations in healthy women. Journal of Inflammation 2008, 5:10.

(6) Willis et al. Vitamin D status and biomarkers of inflammation in runners. Journal of Sports Medicine. 2012 (3):35-42.

(7) Pfeifer et al. Vitamin D and muscle function. Osteoporosis Int, 2002 Mar:13(3):187-94.

(8) Meeusen and De Meirleir. Exercise and Brain Neurotransmission. Sports Med. 20 (3): 160-188. 1995.

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Raw Mint Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

02 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

 

 

With fall now officially upon us, we wanted to share on of our favorite fall recipes with our followers. Pumpkin seems to be what most people relate with the advent of fall, so here it goes... ENJOY!!!

Raw Mint Pumpkin Cheesecake

Chocolate Almond Crust

1 1/4 cups almonds

1/2 cup (@ 8-10 large packed dates – pitted & packed)

1/4 cup organic raisins

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon mesquite powder

1 teaspoon vanilla powder

2 teaspoons water

Pinch of salt

In a food processor grind the almonds to flour.
Add the dates, raisins, salt, vanilla powder and cacao and continue to mix.
Add the water. Grind again and see if the mixture starts to stick together… if not, add another tsp of water and mix again. Press into the bottom of an 8” spring form pan.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

1 1/4 cup packed, cooked pumpkin puree or 1 15oz can pumpkin puree

1 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 T vanilla paste

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cloves

¼ teaspoon ginger

2/3 cup melted organic coconut oil

Blend all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor until smooth.
Slowly pour the Coconut oil into the food processor and keep mixing for an additional 30 seconds. Pour the mixture over the crust.

Mint Chocolate Sauce

3 T Coconut Oil

2 T maple syrup

2 T raw cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla paste

½ tsp peppermint extract

Combine all ingredients into a bowl and whisk together. Pour slowly over the top of the pumpkin pie filling. Now take a knife and swirl the mint chocolate sauce into the pumpkin pie filling in a circular pattern. Once finished, place in refrigerator for 4-5 hours, or in the freezer for about 1 hour and serve cold.

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Breakfast Briefs

21 August, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

 

 

Do you still need to eat Breakfast?

 

Do you tend to over-indulge at lunch?

Are you having trouble losing those extra pounds?

Are you sluggish throughout the day?

Are you having trouble maintaining or increasing muscle mass?

 

If you said yes to any of the aforementioned questions, then you may not be eating breakfast.  The health benefits behind eating breakfast should be enough to convince you to make it a priority.  However, before addressing the benefits, let's prepare a quick overview of your bodies metabolism during sleep.  

While you are sleeping, you enter a fasting state, in which your body does not receive any fuel for six to eight hours.  Even though you aren't physically exerting yourself throughout the night, your body still utilizes carbohydrates and energy stores for life functions (heart, brain, neurons, etc...). Therefore, upon waking, your body goes into a state of conservation; conserving fat and burning what your body deems as expendable.  Your body will start to produce more energy from the very muscle tissue you have worked so diligently to develop.  

Lets look at this cascade of events a little deeper.  The longer you go without adding fuel in the morning, the greater the stress the body perceives.  This causes an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn can cause a multitude of negative consequences on your body.  Increased cortisol stimulates the breakdown of muscle into amino acids, or the building blocks of protein, which can be used for energy.

This increase in cortisol can make gaining or even maintaining your muscle mass that much more difficult.  Cortisol levels can also affect the hormones, which influence hunger.  Once you eat breakfast and lower your cortisol levels, your body will slow the production of these hormones, making you not feel as hungry.  This can help prevent you from over-indulging before or during your next meal.  

Breakfast is an integral meal in everyone's lifestyle, whether you're a high performance athlete or a business executive preparing for a meeting.  A healthy, well-balanced breakfast is essential not only stimulating your energy levels, but helps keep a low cortisol level to aid in decreasing the risk of obesity while aiding in weight maintenance.  

 

#FuelingPerformance

 

 

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Secret to building your Dream ABS

11 March, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

 

Secret to building your Dream ABS

by Elementz Nutrition

 

Many of us spend hours in the gym trying to get that washboard stomach, especially as summer approaches. It is no surprise that frustration occurs when you look at yourself in the mirror and see your abs hidden behind a thin layer of fat after completing 300 crunches. The secret to getting your dream abs starts in the kitchen. Want to be lean? Eat clean. How can you eat clean?  Ditch the refined foods and choose foods such as oatmeal instead of the sugary cereals, sweet potatoes instead of pasta and hummus instead of ranch. By making these adjustments you are not feeding yourself the unneeded “empty calorie” foods. The clean foods will actually provide you with a variety of nutrients that your body needs to perform at its best. You may think that clean-eating means to cut out all fat from your diet, this is not necessarily true. Your body does need some fat to perform, but the key is to limit your intake and try to only consume the healthy fat found in foods like avocado, olive oil and nuts. In addition, make sure you are consuming a whole grain carbohydrate, lean protein and a healthy fat at each meal and snack, with 3 meals and 2-3 snacks a day. Eating small, frequent meals will help from overindulging later, and keep your energy levels up.

As you begin fueling your body with clean foods, the six-pack abs you’ve worked so hard for will appear. Here are some clean food options and their benefits:

 

Clean Fats:

Coconut and Almonds:  These healthy fats help Improve digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and help improve the immune system to fight off sickness and disease. Coconut helps with maintaining blood sugar levels and aid in magnesium and calcium absorption. Almonds are a great source of fiber and protein.                                   

How to include them in your diet:

  • Use coconut oil in replace of other oils when you cook.
  • Take about 15 almonds with you on the go as a snack

 

Clean Carbohydrates:

 

Sweet Potatoes and Oats: These are high fiber carbohydrate foods that provide you with the energy needed during your workouts. The key in choosing carbohydrates is choosing whole wheat/whole grain. High-fiber foods help clean out your digestion pipes and can even help maintain a good cholesterol.                                   

How to include them in your diet:

  • Bake the sweet potatoes rather than a white potato, or even make sweet potato fries by cutting the sweet potato into strips and then pouring 1 tbs. of coconut oil over the strips, and then bake them
  • Choose an oat based granola bar to have as a snack, or add ¼ cup oat based granola to your yogurt           

Clean Protein:

Low-fat Greek Yogurt and Natural Peanut butter: Protein helps keep you feel full longer. The high-protein content in Greek yogurt is ideal for repairing muscle tissue after workouts.  The healthy fat in natural peanut butter is a great addition to breakfast or snacks.

                                   

How to include them in your diet:

  • Add 1 tbs. natural peanut butter such as Earth Balance to your oatmeal in the morning or pair it with an apple or another fruit
  • Mix the low-fat Greek yogurt with fruit for breakfast or blend with banana, natural peanut butter, and Elementz Whey protein to make a smoothie.

 

Myth vs. Fact:

           

Myth:  “The best way to build abs is by doing crunches and other core exercises.”

           

Fact: While building core strength is an ingredient for nice abs, the only way you will really be able to produce the stomach of your dreams is by eating clean balanced meals and snacks throughout the day. By fueling your body with fried and sugary foods you are consuming extra fat and calories. Your body then stores this excess in fat stores. This is why you may notice a thin blanket of fat covering your abs. Try to cut out fried, sugary, and refined foods by replacing them with whole grains such as oats, healthy fats such as avocados, and lean protein such as turkey bacon.

 

Healthy Bites: Recipe of the Month

Vegetarian or Chicken Wraps

           

“Build Your Abs in the Kitchen by Eating Clean.”

 

Want to be lean?  Eat clean! Choosing foods that are nutrient rich help you get full faster and stay satisfied longer in comparison to their sugary, high-fat counterparts.  So if you’re looking for a lean bod, time to clean out your kitchen and stock it full of whole grain carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats, low-fat dairy and lots of fruits and vegetables.

 

Let’s dig into why the ingredients for the “Vegetarian or Chicken Wraps” are part of “eating clean”. Starting with the outside, the whole-wheat tortillas are a carbohydrate source that is high in fiber, so they leave you feeling full longer and provide your body with energy. The black beans are also high in fiber, but black beans are also a protein-rich food. Black beans contain the nutrients folate, magnesium, and zinc, which are important for bone health as well as tissue repair and growth. Hummus is a healthy-fat and is rich in protein and fiber. Hummus also contains zinc, magnesium, and folate. Fresh vegetables such as red bell peppers and spinach can also add a wide variety of nutrients and antioxidants, which helps strengthen your immune system and can aid in fighting off sickness and disease. Choosing vegetables in a variety of colors  provides a  vast array of different nutrients.  You can also substitute the black beans with shredded slices of chicken for the lean protein, as well as Vitamin B6.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • ½ c black beans
  • ½ c Hummus (or substitute for 3 oz. grilled grass fed chicken breast)
  • ½ c veggies (cooked) of choice

 

Directions:

Cover the whole wheat tortilla with the black beans, hummus/chicken, and vegetables for a delicious clean wrap!        

Vegetarian Wrap: 344  calories, 51g Carbs, 6g Fat, 17g Protein

Chicken Wraps:  309 calories, 40g Carbs, 3g Fat, 22g Protein

 

 

Loran Lane MS, RD/LD

Performance Dietitan

 

                                                           

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