Archive for the ‘Nutrition information’ Category

Carbohydrates are a huge part of the American diet, but sometimes we over utilize them. Here is a great video to explain the roll of carbohydrates in our bodies.



Stress is a huge part of many people’s lives, but how you deal with it can make the difference between healthy living and non-healthy living.

We all know that we need to drink water, but I bet a huge number of your just don’t get around to it. Here are some great reasons to work on hydrating yourself better.





By Tom Nikkola, CSCS, CISSN, Pn1

For years, outside of the sports nutrition community, protein’s importance was overlooked as the debates about nutrition focused on carbohydrates and fat.

More recently, higher-protein intakes have been shown to be very powerful for supporting weight management programs. They seem to play a role in improving a number of other health outcomes as well, but there are still a number of myths surrounding higher-protein intakes.

The following are six of the most common high-protein myths I still come across. Now you’ll know the truth behind these myths.

1. You can only use 30 grams of protein in a meal

As it relates to maintenance or development of lean body mass, protein both increases protein synthesis and decreases protein breakdown. The more you can increase protein synthesis and/or decrease protein breakdown, the more lean body mass you can build.

Protein synthesis is maximally stimulated after consuming 20-30 grams of high-quality protein. But research shows that protein breakdown is further reduced at higher levels.

A study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition addressed this 30-gram-per-meal myth.[i]

First, the researchers found that when individuals consumed 80% of their daily protein in a single meal, it caused a greater overall anabolic response for the day than when the protein was split up over several meals. This could be because the total protein intake for the day wasn’t excessively high.

Second, they found that the greater the amount of protein individuals consumed, the greater the overall anabolic response was. Greater protein intakes in a meal caused protein breakdown to slow even more. Clearly, the higher amount of protein from a meal was digested and absorbed, and it had a greater impact than a lesser amount, such as the often espoused 30-gram recommendation.

There is a likely a cap at which the total protein intake for the day reaches a limit on its anabolic effect. It’s probably closer to the “one gram per pound body weight” often recommended by sports nutritionists. Split that up over 3-4 meals, and you’ll need to eat a lot more protein than just 30 grams with each meal.

2. Excess protein just turns to fat

To be clear, we’re talking about pure protein. Often, when people envision protein, it’s protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, and dairy. You can’t get away with eating as much filet mignon, cooked in butter and topped with crabmeat and hollandaise sauce as your stomach can hold. There’s a lot more in such a meal than just protein.

However, assuming carbohydrates and fat are kept in check, it seems that eating more and more protein has virtually no effect on fat gain. After a certain point, it doesn’t help in adding more lean mass either.

To test the effects of a super-high protein diet, Dr. Jose Antonio and his team studied two groups of resistance-trained men and women. One group followed a diet that included 1.0 gram of protein per pound of body weight. The other group doubled that amount, eating 2.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight. That’s a lot of protein!

It would be nearly impossible to eat such large amounts from whole food, so a large amount of the extra protein came from protein shakes. This also helped minimize the introduction of additional carbohydrates and fat.

The second group ate an average of 145 grams of protein extra per day and did not gain any weight. Also, they did not eat less carbohydrate or fat. That’s right. They ate 145 grams more protein than the other group and didn’t gain weight. In fact, they averaged about 800 calories more than their maintenance level and didn’t gain body fat. They also didn’t gain any extra muscle from that much more protein. It’s a good example of why You Can’t Count on Calorie-Counting for Weight Management.

Eating too much protein-rich food, with all the fixings and side dishes will surely pack on the pounds, but excess protein itself isn’t a cause of fat gain.

3. Too much protein is hard on the kidneys

One of the byproducts of protein digestion is urea. Urea is filtered by the kidneys, so the theory is that as protein intake goes up, urea goes up which puts an excessive load on the kidneys. While it’s true that urea increases, there is not evidence to show that it’s bad for those with healthy kidney function.

After two years of tracking participants on either a higher-protein, low-carb diet or a lower-fat, low-protein diet, those who ate a higher protein diet experienced no negative impact on kidney health.[ii]

Another study followed three groups over two years. They followed a low-fat, a Mediterranean, or a higher-protein, low-carb diet. After two years, there was no difference in kidney function for any of the groups. The participants were moderately obese individuals, some of who had type II diabetes and some of whom did not.[iii]

Those with a pre-existing kidney issue may need to limit protein intake, but for those with healthy kidneys, evidence suggests higher protein intake is fine.[iv]

4. High protein diets decrease bone density

Just as higher protein intakes help maintain or even increase muscle tissue, they also support greater bone density. High-protein diets do not leach minerals from bone and decrease bone density. To the contrary, they’ve been shown to enhance mineral reabsorption and increase bone density. The greater issue when it comes to bone density is taking in enough calcium, magnesium and vitamin D to support good bone health.[v],[vi]

Women are more likely to follow a low-calorie diet, which is often low in protein. Low protein diets, rather than high-protein diets can contribute to decreased bone density.[vii] Women are already more prone to bone density loss as they get older, so adding a low-protein diet to their lifestyle could accelerate the loss of bone density. The importance of higher protein intake should be stressed to support optimal bone density.

5. Too much protein raises insulin and increases fat storage

Protein consumption does cause a small rise in insulin levels. Insulin is necessary to help shuttle amino acids into muscle cells. The rise in insulin is nowhere near the rise that carbohydrates cause, but protein does cause a rise in insulin.

If someone is following a ketogenic diet as part of cancer therapy, to enhance endurance performance or to address significant blood sugar regulation issues, a higher-protein intake may temporarily take him or her out of ketosis.

For most people, even those with type II diabetes, the increase in insulin from protein is not significant compared to the benefits of the higher-protein intakes. If there was an issue, we would not consistently see the improvements in metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes that we see in research using higher-protein diets.

6. You only need the RDA for protein, which is 0.36 g/lb per day.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is amusingly small: 0.36 grams per pound body weight.

For a 150-pound adult, that would be 55 grams per day, about 8 ounces of lean meat.

While such a paltry amount of protein might be enough to sustain life, it’s certainly not enough to have achieve optimal levels of health and fitness, or to achieve a superior level of quality of life.

As Bosse and Dixon stated in their JISSN paper:

The “lay” recommendation to consume 1 g protein/lb of bodyweight/day (2.2 g/kg/day) while resistance training has pervaded for years. Nutrition professionals often deem this lay recommendation excessive and not supported by research. However, as this review shows, this “lay” recommendation aligns well with research that assesses applied outcome measures of strength and body composition in studies of duration > 4 weeks.[viii]


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Are you confused by other areas of exercise, nutrition and metabolism? To understand fact from fiction,

Download the Core 3 Training Manual

Tom Nikkola, CSCS, CISSN, Pn1
Tom is the Senior Director of Fitness Strategy and Business Development at Life Time Fitness. He began his fitness career in 2001 as a personal trainer and played a number of roles at Life Time, including Senior Director of Nutrition and Weight Management. In that role, he helped evolve and develop Life Time’s lab testing, nutritional products, and nutrition coaching services, while also helping to launch the brand Life Time Weight Loss.

Here is a tasty and quick recipes to keep you on track with your fitness goals!


Serves 4-5
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

1 Zucchini
1 Yellow Squash
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 Cup Cottage Cheese or Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 lbs Italian Sausage
1 pkg Organic Pepperoni
1 Jar Marinara
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tbsp Grape seed oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a skillet cook the Italian sausage until done. Meanwhile, slice the zucchini and the yellow squash in thin slices or use a mandolin to cut. Take cottage cheese, parmesan and Italian seasoning and mix together.  In a 9×9 (it will be tight) or an 9×12 baking pan (you may need another zucchini) place the Grape seed oil on bottom of pan and spread evenly. Place one layer of zucchini/yellow squash on bottom of pan. Follow with a thin layer of cottage cheese mixture, pepperoni, mushrooms and marinara. Top with another layer of zucchini/yellow squash. Follow with Italian sausage, remaining cottage cheese mixture, marinara and cover with mozzarella cheese. Bake in oven for 35 minutes or until cheese is completely melted on top.

Happy Holiday’s from Strength Train 4 Life!  We know the holiday’s come with lots of opportunities to indulge in those amazing homemade sweets. Here is one recipe that can curb that sweet tooth, but keep you healthy at the same time.

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Coconut Macaroons

5 cups Shredded Coconut
4 Large eggs
1/2 cup coconut sugar or sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the egg whites, sugar, and vanilla together on medium-high speed until foamy and the sugar is mostly dissolved – at least 2 minutes. Fold in the coconut, making sure the coconut is evenly moistened.

Using a large cookie scoop, scoop 2 Tablespoons of the mixture and place onto prepared baking sheet – at least 2 inches apart. Make sure the mounds are very compact and neat, as pictured above.

Bake until lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Make sure to rotate the pan to ensure even baking. Otherwise some tops may burn. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheets before enjoying. Cover leftover macaroons tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days or 3 days at room temperature. Macaroons freeze well, up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Quick and Easy Protein Balls
Prep time: 10 minutes

1/2 cup all natural nut butter (almond, cashew butter, peanut butter, etc)
1/8 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup vanilla protein powder (1/2 vegan protein powder)
3 tbsp honey or agave syrup

Mix the nut butter, salt and honey in medium size bowl. Add protein powder and stir. It should appear to be dough like. If to wet add small amount of additional protein powder, if too dry add small amount of milk, coconut milk or almond milk.

Scoop and to into one inch size balls. For added taste roll in unsweetened coconut flakes, cocoa powder, dark chocolate or cinnamon. Store in air tight container!


We’re often tempted to treat weight loss like a simple formula-based endeavor.

When we do this, cut out that, add this, and reduce that, success is inevitable – right?

In the world of human foibles and personalities, however, the picture is a little more complicated. It’s why motivation matters, why mindset matters, why the odd and unusual, shot-in-the-dark strategy can sometimes be the linchpin for a whole process.

Over the years, I’ve coached many clients who were diligent and intelligent, who showed up and gave their full effort, but some small aspect of their mindset or lifestyle became a hangup. Something – sometimes an element not even related to their health – was holding them back. The answer? We got creative, and they enjoyed the full measure of their success.

Think for a moment about the personal practices and offbeat advice that have had the most impact on you, and check out these ten unconventional ideas that may boost your weight loss momentum.

Sink your scale.

Ah, the scale…the great and powerful scale. It’s the only fixture (besides a mirror) that can put us in a bad mood just by doing its job. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve asked clients to stop weighing themselves so much (daily) I probably wouldn’t need a paycheck any longer.

The only thing the scale is good for on a daily basis is telling us how much the world weighs on our shoulders. What a way to start your day!

To avoid this nagging mood-crusher, one of our fitness professionals actually had his client put her bathroom scale at the bottom of her swimming pool and text him a photo of it sitting under several feet of water each morning to show him she wasn’t hyper-focused on her daily weight!

Guess what. She’s one of LTWL’s most popular success stories. The fact is, a simple scale can’t come close to measuring all the changes happening within the body when it’s finally being nourished and rested in a way that allows fat to melt off. Stop watching the scale, and start noticing how you feel.

Go on a [media] fast.

Another odd piece of advice I’ve regularly given my clients in the past is to ignore every weight loss and health message from popular media sources for at least a few months. That’s how long it generally takes for folks to truly find their behavioral rhythm for optimal function.

Yep, a media fast can be remarkably effective at simplifying an individual’s change process. Too often, the mainstream media dishes out generalized claims that are extrapolated from observational research (a type of research not well-suited for drawing cause & effect conclusions).

Headlines seem to change their tune daily (e.g. the value/danger of eggs or red meat). The back and forth effect can be flat-out confusing for a person trying to find what works best for him/her. There’s a time and place for more information from media sources, but I’ve rarely seen it work positively as people build momentum on their paths to success.

Customize your “feed.”

The power of social influence cannot be underestimated, and you can use it for your advantage. When setting up your Twitter or Facebook news feeds, take control of who influences you. Only “follow” the people and organizations that inspire you to become as healthy as you can be.

Think about how many times each day or week you open up your news feed and feel influenced, whether by friends splurging on junk food after a workout or by a healthier update from one who’s showcasing her latest hiking endeavor or backyard produce. Maybe it means unsubscribing from “sad news” sources and “liking” pages that post nothing but affirming messages.

Go off the grid.

I love it when clients want to dig into their processes and share their knowledge and progress with their social networks, but it can get in the way sometimes.

Going off the grid – abstaining from constant updates and electronic high-fives – to firmly connect with their process can solidify changes just as well as having an army of supporters “liking” every check-in at the club. Imagine you had three solid months of no communication with your electronic world. What value could that bring to your active, health-centric lifestyle? How much could the extra “me” time and focus be worth to you?

Although three months is (for most of us) an extreme goal, set a target limit for devices and stick to it. Solidify your success with some much-deserved tech-free time.

Donate your (favorite) old outfit.

I know you may like a certain outfit that brings out your eye color or accentuates your swanky fashion taste, but if it’s a size or two bigger than you want to be, shouldn’t you let someone else enjoy it?

What about donating some of your favorite clothing to someone else in need to gently nudge you into those smaller sizes? Many of my clients have made a deal with themselves to never again buy clothes in certain sizes to accommodate their mediocre progress and to donate their nicest “old” sized clothing to someone in need. All of them have told me it’s made all the difference in the world for their transformation.

Splurge on new clothes (in a smaller size).

This “unconventional” tip may not seem too different from the previous, but it is. It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to spend hard-earned cash on nice clothes that don’t fit yet.

For competitive personalities, however, this turns on all sorts of change motivation. Talk about getting serious about your weight loss strategies! When there’s fresh new garb to show off, no one wants to stall on getting fit to enjoy it. Sometimes this tactic works even better for men than women! Can you say beach-bod season?

Get a manicure (or massage).

Sure, not all guys are interested in putting the “man” in “manicure,” but a little self-indulgence can go a long way. A weekly or monthly reward to make yourself feel pampered after all your hard work is well-deserved and recommended as part of a healthy lifestyle.

It shouldn’t always be a nose-to-the-grindstone game to lose weight. Self-indulgence is a great way to enjoy some much needed downtime to reflect on your hard work and dedication without using food as a reward.

Do the opposite of what hasn’t worked.

I’ve had so many conversations with clients who’ve said they’re trying various diet programs, low calorie meals and snacks, obscure pills or excessive calorie-torching exercise efforts that promise quick changes.

The hopes and frustrations are hard to distinguish, but one thing’s often certain: we probably need to completely change our approach.

When I ask, “How’s that working for you?” as Dr. John Berardi would, I’m really asking if it’s worth it to continue these efforts despite minimal or non-existent progress. Do you need to work out more or less, harder or easier? Worry more or less? Sleep more or less? In my experience, the common weight loss mentality often loses sight of how to best balance these critical lifestyle considerations. It’s okay to work hard; just be sure to rest harder and nourish better.

Eat like your life depended on it (because it does).

This is a little drastic, but what if you were ill with a life-threatening disease or even a nagging chronic condition like diabetes? Would you eat differently?

Dr. Mark Hyman has often said the best way to avoid diabetes is to eat as though we already have the disease. It seems to make sense to me. Apply that logic this week when you grocery shop, prepare dinners or pack your lunch, and pretend you’re battling a serious health condition.

If you were feeding a relative or friend who was trying to boost his/her resiliency, immunity or general health, would you even consider some of the choices you commonly do for yourself? How would you change your life to maximize wholesome nourishment and minimize suspect ingredients? These are the questions I ponder and hope my clients will (eventually) too.

Take (silly) photos.

Personally, I think it would be awesome if our members posted goofy, light-hearted “selfies” on our Facebook site to show how much fun it is to gain strength and energy while working out, living the Healthy Way of Life and transforming their futures.

Not many of my weight loss clients have been willing to do so, but documenting the visual transformation on the journey to “fit” can be so much fun.

Oftentimes, I’d show clients their membership profile photos a few weeks into their journeys to highlight how much more life, energy and humor was just waiting to shine through once they strung together enough health-minded days.

Wrinkles and bags disappear, happiness and youth are renewed, and jaw-lines and confidence become more prominent as clients adopt even basic daily behaviors. These seemingly subtle changes are often obvious to co-workers or friends but go unnoticed to the person transforming. Casting aside the camera-shy attitude can add some real fun and feedback to the journey towards success.

Measure by hours instead of days, weeks, pounds or inches.

If I asked you what “healthy” people do differently each hour compared to those who struggle, what would you say? What if you emulated exactly what those “healthy” people did hour by hour? How would your approach change?

Chances are, you’d feel less overwhelmed by the slew of changes that happen over a week’s span to simply focus on the now. Healthy people would do a few squats at their desks or walk a few flights of stairs rather than stay put during the extra seven minutes after a meeting ended early. Healthy people would skip the bun and ask for a salad instead of fries. Healthy people would take a deep breath and realize everything will be okay despite a minor stress.

Go ahead, be healthy this hour. Repeat it next hour, and by the end of the week, you will reflect on the fact you had a much healthier seven days! Be closer to “perfect” just this hour. Simply act “as if” now. Later on, when you assess your progress, you can be pleased you’ve improved more than lapsed.

Thanks for reading today, everyone. Are you interested in hearing more about unconventional and motivational practices to spur your success? Talk with one of our weight loss coaches today.

In health, Paul Kriegler – Corporate Registered Dietitian

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

Cauliflower Pizza

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Time: 60 mins cook time
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print


1 small to medium sized head of cauliflower – should yield 2 to 3 cups once processed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (crush it even more between your fingers)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (crust it even more between you fingers)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
optional a few shakes of crushed red pepper
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1 egg
optional 1 tablespoon almond mealPlace a pizza stone in the oven, or baking sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a cutting board, place a large piece of parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking oil.Wash and throughly dry a small head of cauliflower. Don’t get one the size of your head unless you are planning on making 2 pizzas. Cut off the florets, you don’t need much stem. Just stick with the florets. Pulse in your food processor for about 30 seconds, until you get powdery snow like cauliflower. See above photo. You should end up with 2 to 3 cups cauliflower “snow”. Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Microwave for 4 minutes. Dump cooked cauliflower onto a clean tea towel and allow to cool for a bit before attempting the next step.Once cauliflower is cool enough to handle, wrap it up in the dish towel and wring the heck out of it. You want to squeeze out as much water as possible. This will ensure you get a chewy pizza like crust instead of a crumbly mess.Dumped cauliflower into a bowl. Now add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (crush up the leaves even more between your fingers before adding), 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (crush up the leaves even more between your fingers before adding), 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt), and a dash of red pepper if you want. I also added 1 tablespoon almond meal because my cauliflower yielded closer to 2 cups of cauli snow, this is optional and I would not add the almond meal if you have closer to 3 cups of cauli snow. Now add your egg and mix away. Hands tend to work best.

Once mixed together, use your hands to form the dough into a crust on your oiled parchment paper. Pat it down thoroughly, you want it nice and tightly formed together. Don’t make it too thick or thin either.
Using a cutting board slide the parchment paper onto your hot pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 8 – 11 minutes, until it starts to turn golden brown. Remove from oven.
Add your own personal toppings. Slide parchment with topped pizza back in the hot oven and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and slightly golden.

Nutrition Facts
Servings 6.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 69
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2 g 4 %
Saturated Fat 1 g 6 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 35 mg 12 %
Sodium 171 mg 7 %
Potassium 448 mg 13 %
Total Carbohydrate 8 g 3 %
Dietary Fiber 4 g 14 %
Sugars 3 g
Protein 6 g 12 %
Vitamin A 3 %
Vitamin C 108 %
Calcium 9 %
Iron 5 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Cauliflower crust recipe pulled from