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Archives for April 2016

VEGETABLES AND YOUR THYROID

My first thought was to title this “goitrogenic properties and cruciferous vegetables”, but it would have scared you off. That’s because this is something that isn’t talked about very much or is a common topic. But it is a very important topic, so let’s get goin’.

Blocking Up Your Thyroid

A goitrogen is a substance that blocks your thyroid from receiving enough iodine, which can result in an enlargement of the thyroid and a possible goiter. Those of you familiar with the word goiter (or gout) know that it is associated with hyperthyroidism (fast thyroid) or hypothyroidism (slow thyroid). Iodine is very important for thyroid health to regulate its function, and to keep your hormones balanced. Because our body does not make iodine, we have to supplement it with proper nutrition. When iodine is low or non-existent, your thyroid has to work extremely hard and can manifest into a goiter.

I am not going to get into how the thyroid functions in depth, but I am going to make you aware of how you could possibly be slowing down your thyroid without realizing it. And that reason is:

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables include kale, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and spinach, to name a few. See the full list below. For those of you thinking, “my thyroid is fine, I don’t need this information”, keep in mind that your thyroid controls your metabolism. This could be a contributing factor to why you may be gaining weight, your hormones are imbalanced, or you have been fatigued. Your thyroid health is VERY important as a woman.

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How to Eat Them

This post isn’t to tell you that you need to avoid these vegetables altogether, it’s actually to inform you of how you can still eat them, and they won’t be of harm.

  1. Don’t eat any of these vegetables raw. This includes the hardcore juicers out there. Cooking goitrogenic foods limit their negative effects (though not completely), and lessens your chance of them being of harmed. Remember: This also includes the juice bar that you frequent regularly. Or the juices you find at the grocery store. Nine out of ten times they include kale, spinach, and other goitrogenic vegetables. And also, nine out of ten times, you shouldn’t be drinking them anyway. Store bought juices contain too much sugar and preservatives.
  2. Eat them only 2-3 times a week, and rotate them. This includes the cooking of the vegetables. You are doing more harm to yourself than good if you think you are being healthy by eating and drinking handfuls of kale every single day. No “detox” benefit of juicing will ever outweigh a shutdown thyroid.
  3. If you must put them in a smoothie, cook them first, and then blend. I am a huge smoothie advocate, particularly because your nutrients are absorbed and assimilated better that way. The times that I have gotten lazy and not cooked the spinach or kale, it always became a habit that was hard to break. I would soon start to feel “off” which made me regret those decisions. Make it a habit of cooking them first!
  4. Keep in mind that although I am only mentioning vegetables, goitrogens are also present in other foods. Peanuts, soy, and other wheat containing grains can also suppress your thyroid. (Refer to full list above).
  5. Goitrogenic foods are also rich in sulfur, which is very good for your health. For this reason, it’s important to not cut them out completely. The purpose of this post is to lead people away from juicing, blending, or eating these specific veggies every single day. As with all foods, you should rotate.

If you currently have a healthy thyroid, congratulations! This indicates your metabolism is running smoothly and you more than likely feel great on most days. If your levels haven’t checked out up to par during routine blood work, evaluate if this may be a contributing factor. I will do an article in depth of your thyroid health at a later time, but I first wanted to stop some of you who may be getting a little too much use out of that Nutribullet.

We all strive for great health. And it’s unfortunate that there is SO much conflicting information in the media. The best thing you could ever do for yourself is to educate, educate, educate. Those of you who are struggling, know that I’ve been in your shoes. My motivating factor as a health coach is to intercept with those who have given up on their health or weight issues and bring them to a place of confidence. Everyone deserves to feel their very best every single day, and asking for help is all it takes to get there. If you would like to ask for help, sign up for our Custom Meal Plans and we will get you the help you need.

 

References:

Higdon, J. (2015, August). Iodine | Linus Pauling Institute | Oregon State University. Retrieved from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/iodine

Dolan, L. C., Matulka, R. A., & Burdock, G. A. (2010). Naturally occurring food toxins. Toxins2(9), 2289-2332.

Fenwick, G. R., Heaney, R. K., Mullin, W. J., & VanEtten, C. H. (1982). Glucosinolates and their breakdown products in food and food plants. Critical Reviews in Food Science & Nutrition18(2), 123-201.

Parcell, S. (2002). Sulfur in human nutrition and applications in medicine.Alternative Medicine Review7(1), 22-44.

 

In this blog, you’ll learn…

  • Just how important sleep is
  • How your hormones are affected by your sleep
  • And how these hormones affect your fat loss
  • How you can use food and exercise to get better sleep

How Important is Sleep?

We have always been told how important sleep is, but in today’s fast-paced world, we tend to take sleep for granted, all too often giving up a few hours of sleep in order to get more done. This tradeoff comes at a cost, however, and can be very damaging to our overall health and detrimental to fat loss.

Research has shown that lack of sleep can play a big part of weight gain, mainly due to the imbalance of hormones. When you don’t get enough sleep, or your quality of sleep suffers, your metabolism suffers, as well as does your body’s ability to determine when you should eat and when you should stop eating.

Hormones and Fat Loss

Ghrelin is the hormone that tells your body when you need to eat, while the hormone leptin tells your body when to stop eating. Together, they work to balance your energy levels. When you lack sleep, these two hormones become imbalanced. People who get 5 hours or less a night, tend to produce more ghrelin and less leptin, causing the person to eat more. This can work against your fat loss goals, especially as your metabolism slows due to lack of sleep [1]. When you don’t get enough sleep, it increases your risk of obesity and diabetes [2].

To make sure that you are getting enough sleep, it is recommended that you get at least 7 hours of quality sleep per night and there are a few things you can do, besides setting aside the appropriate amount of time needed for sleep [3].

Food and Exercise’s Effect on Sleep

What you eat can play a big part in the amount and quality of sleep that you get as certain foods can help you fall asleep. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that we get from our diet and it also causes sleepiness by creating serotonin. A great food that can be used to fight fat loss can also be used to help you get more sleep and that is the sweet potato, which has the natural muscle relaxant, potassium. The sweet potato is a good choice for a snack before bedtime as it is full of healthy carbohydrates that help allow more tryptophan into the bloodstream than other amino acids [4] [5].

Another way to ensure that you get better sleep is to exercise. Studies show that people who exercise regularly, regardless of what time of day they workout, sleep longer and better than those who do not. What was found was people who exercised for 150 minutes or more a week, saw a 65% increase in sleep quality [6].

Like diet, sleep is crucial to fat loss and your overall health. Lack of sleep has the ability to slow our split-second decision-making, can affect mental health and lead to depression and anxiety and can cause us to be less productive during our waking hours [7].

⚡ Related: Learn how you can hack your sleep for faster fat loss!

The foods you eat on your meal plan and the exercises you do can help contribute to getting a better night’s sleep. All three of these things, nutrition, exercise and sleep, all play a part in successful fat loss.

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Eating After Dark: Myth or Menace

Many people believe that you have to consume your carbs throughout the day and that you can’t have them after dark because you’ll be eating before you go to bed and your metabolism is going to slow down. So the thought is that you can’t eat carbs at night because it is more likely to be stored as fat. And while this makes sense, it is more complicated that.

When you go to sleep at night, what slows down is your energy expenditure and it slows down about 35% during the initial sleeping period. However, as you drift into REM sleep, your sleeping metabolic rate (SMR) actually increases and, unless you’re obese, it is actually higher than your resting metabolic rate. Although this is different than what your energy expenditure would be if you were working out, your body is still working.

⚡ Related: Learn How Sleep Can Affect Your Fat Loss

Insulin and Caloric Intake

There are studies that show that at night, insulin sensitivity can actually decrease, especially when compared to breakfast. When you eat breakfast in the morning, after having fasted all night, your insulin sensitivity increases as your body is going to try and use what you just ate quicker. When compared to the rest of your meals throughout the day, it really isn’t much different.

When eating at night, what matters is whether or not you are consuming more than your caloric needs for the day. If you haven’t consumed your caloric intake during the day, then consuming it at night isn’t going to make a difference. What matters is that you have more calories going out than you have calories going in, not the time of day you consume them.

If you are trying to lose weight, you are going to want to burn more calories than you are taking in. Where you get into trouble is when you have met our caloric needs throughout the day and then continue to snack at night. This is going to put you over your caloric needs and you will be taking in more calories than you are burning during. This is where you are going to begin to gain weight. On the other hand, if you have not met your caloric needs throughout the day, for whatever reason, and you snack at night, you can still continue to take in fewer calories than you are burning and still continue to lose weight.

⚡ Related: Learn How to Time Your Carbs For Effective Weight Loss

What Really Makes the Difference

What matters is a number of carbs you consume, not when you consume them. If you are on a Custom Meal Plan and you are supposed to be eating 150 grams of carbs for the day, it does not matter when you consume those carbs, as long as you are consuming 150 grams and not 300 grams.

Figuring out what your macros are and how much you need to be consuming every day, especially when carb cycling, can be a challenge. This is why we offer Custom Meal Plans, where we can help you plan your meals according to your body and your goals.

Does fasted cardio speed up fat loss?

Fasted cardio is when you are doing cardio on an empty stomach. This doesn’t mean that it is the first thing you do when you wake up, it just means that you do your cardio when your stomach is empty. If your body is still breaking down the food you had previously eaten, your body is in the fed state. You are not back into a fasted state until your body has completely digested the food. Digestion time typically depends on the size of your meal, with the average time being around 12 hours.

Be sure to continue to read after the video to learn more about the after-burn effect!


In theory, when you do fasted cardio, you would think that your body would tap into fat stores and use it as fuel to get through the workout. This would make it seem like fasted cardio would be great for fat loss, but this isn’t the case. The problem is when you go the gym on an empty stomach, or a fasted state, your body is not only going to attack your fat stores, but it can also attack your muscle stores. While there are a few people that can benefit from this, the majority of us won’t.

Depending on what your fitness goals are, there is other cardio you can be doing in place of this, one of them being HIIT (high-intensity interval training), such as HIIT MAX® (FREE 30-Day Trial)

The AFTER-BURN Effect

The difference between using a fasted cardio and using HIIT, is you are using a different energy source. Many people argue that when you do HIIT, you are only using glycogen as fuel, rather than tapping into fat stores, and while this is true, the difference comes after you are done working out. When you do HIIT, your body continues to burn calories after you are done working out.

This is called the after-burn effect. A fasted cardio, which is a low-intensity steady cardio (LISS), does not have this same after-burn effect. So you actually end up burning more using HIIT, which is also known as EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption).

What happens is, when you complete the rigorous activity (HIIT), your body has to pay back the oxygen used, much like a credit card which you use and then have to pay back. After you are done, your body has to continue to work in order to pay back that O2 debt, causing the after-burn effect. Once you finish the workout, you can actually burn 7 – 11% more calories.

For the majority of people, a fasted cardio is irrelevant and isn’t valuable, but there are some that can benefit from it. Fasted cardio can be useful for someone who is already lean and needs to get rid of the very last percentage of body fat. For the majority of us, for 98% of us, we are not at that state. For that small percentage that is, the fasted cardio should be on low carb days. It should be done when in a catabolic state. That is who fasted cardio is for and when it should be used.

Fasted cardio should be used to get those last little areas of stubborn fat, but until you are at that point, HIIT will be much more effective for fat loss. Don’t believe me? Take HIIT MAX® for a test-drive FREE for 30 full days.

If you are doing any fasted cardio, be sure to be drinking BCAAs (which should be taken during any workout), so you can train more intensely without getting as tired as quickly. It also helps preserve lean muscle tissue which is ideal when training in a fasted state.

Always make sure to consume a fast absorbing protein right after your workout, such as a whey protein isolate.

At the end of the day, doing any sort of workout fasted, will not speed up your fat loss, unless you are in a deficit for that day, even fasted HIIT. Fasted cardio is a tool and a good one I’d used properly. If your goal is faster fat loss then HIIT MAX® is the solution.

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