Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pregnancy: Two eggs a day will keep the NTD's away

If you're a woman who is trying to get pregnant, or who currently is pregnant, you better get cracking; eggs that is.

Eggs are often thought of as an inexpensive source of high quality protein, however, for pregnant women, they also serve another important purpose.

Eggs, specifically their yolks, are incredibly rich in the very important B-vitamin, choline.

Just like Folic Acid, choline taken during pregnancy is shown to be a key factor in the development of infant's memory functions, and in later life, choline may improve memory.

Research has shown that insufficient intake of choline during pregnancy (this research must be done in animals, because it's absolutely NOT ethical to do so in humans) can cause either defective memory or lower memory capacity.

Choline has also recently been shown to protect against the development of Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) in women who were currently taking adequate amounts of Folic Acid. Thus, it appears that taking Folic Acid isn't enough to produce the healthiest baby possible.

Each egg yolk contains 125 mg of choline. The National Academy of Sciences recommend that women of childbearing age consume 425 mg of choline per day and those who are pregnant consume 450 mg per day.

Consuming two eggs a day (for breakfast, at lunch, or for dinner) provides you with 250 mg of choline. And, the benefits of including eggs at your breakfast also helps improve satiety. The rest of your choline can come from additional eggs (it's ok to eat more than two eggs a day), or other foods rich in choline, like steak, cauliflower and wheat germ.

Yet, for some pregnant women, the smell of eggs brings on uneasy feelings. In this case, try hiding the eggs in a baked product or perhaps in a salad. If that doesn't work, consider an extra choline supplement as most pre-natal vitamins do not contain enough, if any choline at all (yet... that is going to change very soon).

Eggs also have the benefit of containing beneficial protein, iron, zinc, lutein and zeathanthin - nutrients that support the development of a health baby and a healthy you.

So, as I said at the beginning of this post, "Ladies: get cracking!" Your baby's memory and health will greatly benefit and so will you.
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Monday, July 27, 2009

Do you have to drink a protein shake after your workout?

I get this question all the time from readers:

"Do I have to drink a whey protein shake right after my weight-training workout, like you recommend in your books, or can I eat a whole food meal containing protein and get the same benefits?"

Well, the truth is that you don't HAVE to drink a whey protein shake after each and every workout, but there are benefits. The reason why whey is recommended before and after each workout is because of the special amino acid profile (amino acids are the building blocks of protein and each protein has a different profile) it contains. Whey is very high in the amino acid Leucine, (containing about 12% leucine) which is one of the essential branch chain amino acids primarily responsible for prompting muscle protein synthesis.

Following your weight workout, initiating muscle protein synthesis is important because, if you worked your muscles hard enough, you purposefully damaged them. This damage and repair process following a workout is exactly how you develop more muscle tissue and in turn, melt away unsightly body fat.

So, your goal after your workout is to help your muscles repair as quickly as possible so you can:
a) return to the gym sooner than later and continue your fat-burning, muscle-building process
b) prevent your muscles from feeling so sore that you never want to lift again

Drinking a whey protein shake will definitely help you do this, but what if you workout just before dinner and you'd rather eat your protein than drink it? (Also, so you can enjoy a dinner with your family instead of sitting on the sidelines enjoying the view).

Well, you can absolutely enjoy a whole meal instead of a shake and still reap the benefits of leucine.

Certain whole proteins are particularly rich in leucine, so following your workout, make sure you have at least a 3 oz serving of these particular proteins:
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Chicken
  • Whole Eggs (the yolks have more leucine than whites)
  • Milk
In fact, a lot of research has been done on the benefits of drinking milk following a workout.

Also, new research is coming out about the benefits of eating eggs and a powerful workout food:

Eggs Pack Protein, Power and Strength

As an example, a good way to support your muscles after your workout with a whole meal is to have a glass of milk with a 2 egg omelet and 2 extra whites, steamed veggies (carrots and corn, in addition to dark green veggies would be good post-workout), and fresh fruit (pineapple would be a good choice due to it's greater sugar content and anti-inflammatory properties). Your family will probably go for this as well, and you won't go broke in the process!

So, if you're watching what you eat and you'd rather eat a whole meal following your workout than drink a shake, go right ahead. Just make sure you include a good portion of the proteins listed above and your muscles will thank you.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Help for Sore Muscles

Last month, I offered free samples of Tiger Balm Neck and Shoulder Rub to three lucky readers. This Chinese formula has been used for as long as I've been alive (don't really know how long exactly... :) ) and has helped many people soothe their sore muscles without using drugs.

Tiger Balm recently re-invented their formula into a new Neck and Shoulder Rub cream. It works fantastically and is much more user-friendly than their previous formulas.

I wanted to share the testimonials from my readers who used this product, just so you can see how good it really is (Note: I am NOT receiving any kickbacks from this product. I just truly think it's great).

From Lauryn:

Cassandra, I'm finally getting around to responding to your email about the Tiger Balm rub you sent me. I have to say I love it so far. I'm currently training for a triathlon and going through the New Rules of Lifting as my strength training, so I'm working pretty hard most days. All of my workouts are in the afternoon, so I don't have to do too much once I'm done. Typically it will be workout, foam roller/stretch, protein shake, dinner, relax for a few hours, then shower, cold water for about 1 minute, then some Tiger Balm on the sore spots and bed. The neck and shoulder rub is a lot nicer to use than the original Tiger Balm since its not so sticky and doesn't smell quite so much. You definitely feel the tingle a few minutes after you put it on, but its nothing burning. The neck and shoulder seems to work just fine on the legs and back as well as the neck and shoulders too, which is nice. In the mornings I wake up refreshed and most of my soreness is gone. I know there are a lot of other things that go into recovery, but I think the Tiger Balm is really helping me out. I appreciate you sending me this sample, and will most likely order another bottle when this one runs out. Thanks again for everything! Lauryn S

From Patty T:

Hi Cassandra, THANK YOU so much for the Tiger Balm! I received it yesterday and the timing was perfect. I pulled a personal best today in the deadlift... a measly 60 lbs plus bar weight but considering I've been doing it for all of 3 weeks, I'm happy :) My back muscles, however, are talking to me and grumbling a little from the extra effort. The Tiger Balm is helping tremendously. Thanks for everything! Sincerely, Patty

If you have sore muscles, especially from lifting (the best soreness there is in my humble opinion), you should give this a try!

Next week I'm going to be posting a review of a set of curtains I'm getting from Bedroomfurniture.com My current curtains just aren't doing the trick and I'm so excited about these new ones. Check out the site for your bedroom needs too! :) Try their platform beds too if you're looking for a new bed; they're awesome!!

Hope you're having a great weekend!! Happy Summer!
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Friday, July 24, 2009

Wal-Mart Pushing a Green Movement

Not many people know this about me, but I'm totally an environmentalist. I posted a bit about my recycling/green passion here back in January. I'm so concerned about what's going to happen to our planet that I'm almost considering switching careers and becoming and environmental scientist. But... after 12 years of nutrition, I think I'll just combine the two.

For example, to show my concern, my father-in-law recently moved out of his home after 30 years (my mother-in-law passed away 7 years ago), and as you can imagine, he threw away a lot of "junk". However, I wasn't going to let him just toss everything. Instead, I went through every garbage can and separated the papers from the plastics from the metal from the electronics. I took all the recyclables to the local recycling center, found a special electronics recycling station for all the old computer parts and accessories, and took anything re-usable to the Salvation Army.

Also, in my own home, I've reduced our trash so much through recycling and composting that we only have to take the trash "out" every 2 to 3 weeks (Our recycling bin though is packed!)

So when one of my friends, Summer, passed along this great story about Wal-Mart pushing the green movement, I was ecstatic! And what better company than this to do so considering that many people who have little to no clue about their carbon footprint/environmental impact shop there and waste more than necessary?

I'm glad to see Wal-Mart doing this - it'll only help our planet instead of continually harming it.

Read the article below. You can find it all over the internet to read about it more. Enjoy!

Wal-Mart To Become Green Umpire

Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:49pm EDT

PepsiCo (PEP) buys lots of renewable energy, while a Coca Cola (KO) plant recycles plastic bottles. Should environmentalists drink Pepsi or Coke?

Dell (DELL) is "carbon neutral." Hewlett Packard (HPQ) says it designs for the environment. Whose laptops are more "green"?

So many choices, so little reliable guidance: Clorox GreenWorks or Seventh Generation? Local or organic strawberries? Paper or plastic? Who's to say?

Wal-Mart (WMT), that's who.

The giant retailer ($406 billion in revenues in 2008) is developing an ambitious, comprehensive, and fiendishly complex plan to measure the sustainability of every product it sells. Wal-Mart has been working quietly on what it calls a "sustainability index" for more than a year, and it will take another year or two for labels to appear on products. But the company's grand plan-"audacious beyond words" is how one insider describes it-has the potential to transform retailing by requiring manufacturers of consumer products to dig deep into their supply chains, measure their environmental impact, and compete on those terms for favorable treatment from the world's most powerful retailer.

Wal-Mart intends to announce the sustainability index at a meeting on Thursday, July 16, at its corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., to which hundreds of suppliers, academics, environmentalists, and government officials have been invited. There, the company will unveil a sustainability consortium led by the University of Arkansas and Arizona State University that will provide scientific research to support the effort. Faculty at Duke, Harvard, Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Michigan have been involved in planning the index, but they haven't yet agreed to join the consortium, in part because some college administrators are skittish about working with Wal-Mart. Consumer-goods companies Procter & Gamble (PG), General Mills (GIS), Tyson (TSN), and Unilever (UN), among others, are partners in the consortium. And competing retailers including Costco (COST), Target (TGT), and Kroger (KR) have been invited to join. This is, in other words, a very big deal.

Wal-Mart declined to discuss the index in advance of its meeting. So did other retailers. But details are trickling out.

"Bringing clarity to this question of what is more sustainable is a key role for Wal-Mart," said Rand Waddoups, senior director of business strategy and sustainability at Wal-Mart, when we talked at a Greenbiz.com conference in May.

"Imagine one day when every product on the shelf has behind it enough information from a life-cycle-thinking perspective that allows us to be much, much more intelligent about how we're buying," he went on. "And really, in the end, eventually, what consumers should be."

While Waddoups did not say much more than that, he made clear that one goal of the index will be to help consumers navigate conflicting or misleading claims.

"We understand green-washing. [Our customer] doesn't. She may not even be aware that it's going on," he said.

The initiative raises a thicket of questions, some about the very idea of a sustainability index and others about the nitty-gritty of its execution. To begin with, an obvious question: Who chose Wal-Mart to be America's regulator?

This isn't a facetious question. Wal-Mart has an enormous influence over which products get made, and which don't. Last year, the company said it would stop selling baby bottles containing the chemical bisphenol-A, which is approved by U.S. and European regulators. (A story that I wrote about this for Fortune magazine ran under the headline "Wal-Mart: the New FDA"). When, as part of its ambitious sustainability program, Wal-Mart said it would sell only concentrated laundry detergent, which uses less packaging and water, manufacturers fell into line. The company even makes foreign policy, of sorts, declaring last year that it would stop selling products made with cotton from Uzbekistan, to try to put an end to forced child labor in cotton harvesting.

Wal-Mart doesn't ultimately want to own the sustainability index, which is why it is forming the consortium. "They are willing to get the ball rolling, but they want to hand it off to someone else," an insider says. Most likely, the index will eventually be run by a nonprofit group financed by retailers and suppliers, much like the Marine Stewardship Council, which certifies the sustainability of fisheries, and the Forest Stewardship Council, which does the same for wood products.

Still, measuring the sustainability of a flat-screen TV, a trampoline, a backpack, a baby stroller, or a bag of poultry feed—all of which are sold by Wal-Mart—is a whole lot more complicated than certifying a fishery or forest. Wal-Mart plans to use a tool known as Life Cycle Assessment, which is designed to measure the full environmental impact of a product through manufacture, use, and disposal. It will ask its 60,000 suppliers to help.

"The idea is to be as comprehensive as possible," says Jon Johnson, who holds the Walton professorship in sustainability at the University of Arkansas. "Unless you look at the entire life cycle of the product, you just can't measure the environmental impact." Johnson and Jay Golden, an assistant professor in the school of sustainability at Arizona State, are leading the consortium.

For the index to work, consumer-goods makers will need to understand the origins of everything they put into their products. Wal-Mart has talked about assessing sustainability in four broad categories: energy and greenhouse gas emissions, materials, natural resources, and "people and communities," which will attempt to measure social impacts. Right now, most supply chains are opaque: Try tracing a hamburger to a particular cow.

"Can you have trackable, traceable supply chains that give you full visibility?" asks Andrew Hutson of the Environmental Defense Fund, who works with Wal-Mart. "It is extraordinarily difficult at this moment. But it can be done." We'll soon see if he is right.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A great pick-me-up poem

The Red BirdImage by spisharam - Back and Catching up =) via Flickr

Hi Friends,

Since my graduation (from both my internship and PhD), I've been trying to sort through my life and figure out what exactly I'm going to do with myself. It's just so weird. I never would have thought that after all this schooling and work, that I'd be hanging out in job limbo land. But, I am.

I am working: at a physician's office for anti-aging and natural medicine (which is super cool - started a few weeks ago and love it); doing personal training and boot camps (been doing that for over a year); and now, also teaching a University level nutrition course in the Fall.

But, it just seemed to me that it would be different and I'd be doing so much more. However a wonderful quote I read recently said:

"Apply yourself. Get all the education you can. But then, do something with it. Don't just sit there."

How true it that? It's not like success always just falls in your lap. You need to work your butt off to get there. So, in these tough times, we all just need to keep our chins up and know if we keep working hard, good things will come.

Here's a poem one of my good friends, Michelle sent me tonight. She's a beautiful, smart and savvy girl that has her hard times, but finds that writing poems helps her get though it easier. I hope you find this poem below as supportive as I found it for me:

I sat beside a bird today
He turned to me and started to say,
“Good day to you, how do you do?”
I said, “Not great, I’m starting to hate –
My school, my life, my food and house.
I only wish I were a mouse,
Who could hide in a hole and eat cheese all day
Then I would have no bills to pay.”
The bird then chirped a mean, mean chirp
He said, “You cannot be such a jerk.”
He said, “Look at the sky, how blue and free..
Look at the trees, how green you see?”
I nodded my head and agreed, “But what has this to do with my plead?”
He said, “It’s not the school, the food, or the house
And how do you know how happy is the mouse?
You have many an opportunity each day
The mouse can barely see over the hay.
You can see for miles and miles
And you, yourself, you need to smile.
You must open your eyes and look at the future
And realize the obstacles that you encounter
Are merely small and large heaps of hay
That you will jump over and then say:
“I’ve done it again - my life is great!”
And then you can notice all the wonders
This small world has to bring us.”
And then that bird flew far away.
I sat on the bench and stared into space.
I noticed the eyes of a little gray face.
It was a mouse – just smiling away.
And I knew then I would love all the world
Because I sat next to a bird today.
It was a bird that said not to be smug
To look at the simple things in life
And you will experience not the strife
But the triumphs that your life does bring
So listen to the birds, how pretty the song they sing.
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Friday, July 17, 2009

Training like women!

Hey Readers!

Just wanted to share with you a video of my workout yesterday with my good friend, Charron. That's me sumo deadlifting (nice butt, eh?) and her doing a push-up ball matrix.

We did this at our gym in Vernon, CT: Lightning Fitness. If you're in the area, come join us! Both my training partner, Matt Mills, CSCS, and I train clients here and we have a ton of fun!

Let's get strong! Lift like a man... look like a godess !

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New look for my blog

Hello Readers!

I just changed the look of my blog.

Please let me know what you think.

Thank you!!!

Networking about nutrition in Chicago

Yesterday I flew in and out of Chicago to speak at the American Egg Board - Egg Nutrition Center's Annual Nutrition Meeting. I was presenting the data from my dissertation work that they funded over the past three years.

I wasn't sure what this meeting was going to be all about, but it turned out to be a pleasant experience and a great networking opportunity.

While there, I heard Donald Layman PhD speak. If you don't know who he is, he's basically "THE" expert on protein intake for muscle mass synthesis and satiety. In fact, he shared with us that he's writing his very own diet book all about how higher protein diets improve satiety. I think this one's going to be a winner, and I'm totally looking forward to it.

I also met a great group of nutritionists, researchers and dietitians from Food Minds, a public affairs company. They're doing some great work in the nutrition world, including influencing the direction the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Two of their goals (along with the help of others, are to remove the restrictions on dietary cholesterol (because there's NO reason to restrict this awesome nutrient, especially from eggs) and to encourage Americans to eat more protein to improve satiety and weight control.

Finally, there is a fantastic PR group called Edelman, bringing truth of science to the public, without skewing the messages. Check out their nutrition page and see all the wonderful things they're doing.

I will post more tomorrow about what I learned yesterday protein, eggs and how these can help you maintain a healthy body weight and lots of lean muscle mass. Today, first, I have to go to work!!! :)

In health, Cassandra

Monday, July 13, 2009

Are artificial sweeteners healthier than real sugar?

Artificial Sweeteners - Splenda & EqualImage by Bukowsky18 via Flickr

A few weeks ago, I posted a research study summary that showed an increase incidence of diabetes in people that used artificial sweeteners.

I thought this study was quite interesting because I've often wondered if artificial sweeteners really were the best substitute for sugar.

As I mentioned, in the lab, when we were studying low-carb dieters, whenever we'd allow someone to have an artificially sweetened food, it would knock them out of ketosis . If you don't know what ketosis is, it's the state your body will enter in order to use fat as a major fuel source when you're not consuming a lot of carbohydrates.

So, in the case of artificial sweeteners, even though they're considered a "zero-calorie" food item, the body seems to actually be responding to it just like it was sugar.

In fact, that's what the investigators stated:

Artificial sweeteners activate sweet taste receptors in enteroendocrine cells, leading to the release of incretin, which is known to contribute to glucose absorption. Recent epidemiologic studies in Circulation (2008;117:754-761) and Obesity (2008;16:1894-1900) showed an association between diet soda consumption and the development of obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Also, looking into pubmed, you will find plenty of other studies that say the same thing.

For example, this study by Nakagawa Y et al, PLoS One. 2009;4(4), Sweet taste receptor expressed in pancreatic beta-cells activates the calcium and cyclic AMP signaling systems and stimulates insulin secretion, states:

...artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, succharin, and acesulfame-K increased insulin secretion and augmented secretion induced by glucose. ...

Then, this study by Swithers SE et al, A role for sweet taste: calorie predictive relations in energy regulation by rats, states:

We found that reducing the correlation between sweet taste and the caloric content of foods using artificial sweeteners in rats resulted in increased caloric intake, increased body weight, and increased adiposity, as well as diminished caloric compensation and blunted thermic responses to sweet-tasting diets. These results suggest that consumption of products containing artificial sweeteners may lead to increased body weight and obesity by interfering with fundamental homeostatic, physiological processes.

So, what's the answer? What should we use instead of sugar?

Well, in my personal opinion, we've become a nation addicted to sugar and most of us need to go to rehab. I know that sounds a little harsh, but I think it's true.

We've lost our appreciation for Mother Nature's sweetness from fruit and other natural foods and instead need to go to sickenly high levels of sweetness with excess sugar/artificial sweeteners to get any satisfaction.

Sure, a little sugar can be ok, but why do we need to drink/eat everything with a mega-dose of sweeteness?

How many times have I heard that "I just can't go without my Crystal Light, or Chocolate Cake, or Ice Cream or Sweet Treat, etc, each day?" Way too often.

Sugar is almost like cigarettes or another addictive substance. It may not seem easy to quit it at first, but it is possible.

I have one female client for example that only used to use artificially sweetened whey protein products. She then switched to unsweetened hemp protein, rice protein and egg white protein for a month. When she went back to the original whey product, she was disgusted at how sweet it was!

On the topic of whey protein: I now buy unsweetened whey protein from trueprotein.com. I don't miss the sweeteness at all and the natural vanilla extract added to it makes it very enjoyable in smoothies, in oatmeal, etc. You should try it too.

So, the take home message is that artificial sweeteners seem to be no better, and in fact might be worse that regular sugar (now, I'm not talking about HFCS here, just regular sugar).

Try to reduce your taste preference for sugar by reducing all artificial sweeteners in your diet. If you need the sugar, just eat something with natural sugars, or with real sugar instead and be accountable to those calories instead of thinking your doing your body a favor.

Once you start to eat less sugar, you'll start to crave it less and find many foods sweeter than they need be.

Please let me know your thoughts.

In health, Cassandra

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Testimonial for the benefits of glucomannan

Cover of "Women's Health Perfect Body Die...Cover via Amazon

This was was pretty busy for me: lots of work, and not much time at the computer at all. So, I'm sorry for not publishing all the great posts after last week's blog right away (I seriously am considering getting an iPhone so I can approve comments and blog on the road... that phone rocks).

Anyhow, what I'd really like to bring your attention to today is one of the comments an anonymous reader posting regarding her experiences with glucomannan. Her feedback really speaks the power of this special fiber and how it can help men and women with poor blood sugar and appetite control.

Here's her story:

First of all, I want to thank you for your book, Women's Health Perfect Body diet, which really introduced me to Glucomannan. I had heard of this fiber before, but never had taken it seriously.

Let me cut to the chase. I am not on any diet (except that I avoid casein and gluten for health reasons), and to be honest, I bought your book because I wanted to learn more about this unique fiber, not because I wanted a new diet.

End result: Glucomannan is helping my prediabetes unlike everything else I've tried. I finally feel like a normal person as far as food is concerned. I can literally go HOURS without food, thanks to glucomannan. I used to be hungry ALL DAY LONG.

The secret, as you say in your book is not swallowing the capsules, but emptying them whole into food.

I use the capsules to open up and dump in food when I'm away from home. At home I use Konjac brand Glucomannan powder to mix into food/beverages.

Thank you for your book, recipes, and wonderful tips on using this amazing fiber. I can't believe it's not more popular.

Please come out with a cookbook entirely devoted to glucomannan.

Because of this centuries old fiber, I will finally reach my goal weight.

Thank you again for bringing it to public attention. I truly believe it's saved my health.

Whoever this is: Please send me an email at cassandraforsythe@gmail.com because I have something special for you.

Best, Cassandra

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fiber helps you achieve your own perfect body

Weight loss is hard. Period.

And, for most women, it can be really hard. For women, our hormones, genetic evolution and hectic lives as wife, mother, worker and housekeeper really make it difficult to take of those pounds that have creeped up over the years.

Sure, maybe it's easy to lose a few pounds here and there, especially when those pounds are just unwanted water weight. But, to really lose weight, it takes some effort.

It's not just about eating less either, although that can help since many of us eat much more than our bodies need (especially at holiday events, picnics and celebrations). It's really about eating better calories and eating them more consistently.

But, to some, those "better" calories might not always be as filling or give us that same feeling that unhealthy calories gave us (ie., the difference between eating a large ice cream cone vs. a bowl full of berries with a slice of cheese).

That's why I love fiber and one of the major reasons I included it in my book, Perfect Body Diet.

Fiber can help fill you up and make you feel very satisfied without adding excess calories.

One of my favorite fibers is glucomannan (pictured above as part of Your Perfect Mannan glucomannan).

I first learned about this fiber while researching it at the University of Connecticut for a weight loss and exercise study. For this investigation, we had our subjects consume 2 capsules (containing 2 g fiber) three times a day before meals. For some, the fiber helped them eat less, but for others it wasn't that effective.

The problem was taking the fiber in capsule form and not the fiber itself.

I then learned while at a fiber conference I attended, that glucomannan and other fibers, worked best when then were consumed as part of a meal and not as a separate unit (like a capsule). Mixing the fiber in food (like as part of a smoothie or added to yogurt), makes the food thicker, more filling and thus, helps you eat less later on in the day. It also makes you feel more satisfied at that meal time.

Another issue with glucomannan is that the actual plant it comes from can be processed in many different ways to produce different thickening-rate abilities, different granularities, different solubilities in food and different rates of digestion. Some might not thicken food well, might make it grainy, and might not dissolve easily, leaving your food lumpy.

So, after testing and checking the type of glucomannan in several different brands of products, I found that Your Perfect Mannan brand had the properties that were most desired for consumption within a food product.

Also, this product does not contain any other fillers (like magnesium stearate) or starch, instead of 100% pure fiber.

In your quest for your own perfect body, fiber can really be your best ally. It can help you choose the right proportion of healthy foods, but still feel as full and as satisfied as you did eating more of potentially unhealthy items.

If you haven't tried fiber yet and are struggling to reach your ideal weight, I highly recommend Your Perfect Mannan glucomannan. Let me know what you think. For additional recipes with this weight-loss fiber, check you my book, Perfect Body Diet.

Beaches and bikinis, here we come!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Technical Challenges to Reducing Sugar in Foods

Sugar sugarImage by dhammza via Flickr

When I first moved here from Canada, I was amazed at how much excess sugar was found in foods. From breads to crackers to canned vegetables to frozen fruit, there was just more sugar in US foods than Canadian foods.

However, according to this scientific report, food scientists say that some sugar is necessary to provide proper texture to food (and impart better taste).

Sugar Interview

Yes, I totally agree with this statement and interview, but there seems to be much more than necessary nowadays. This is one of the reasons that food is now so irresistible (and as a result, leads to our state of over-fatness)

What are your thoughts?

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Friday, July 3, 2009

What are your 4th of July long weekend plans?

EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23:  Ben Cat...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Happy 4th of July weekend to all my American family and friends!

(Yes, I'm both Canadian and American, so I'm sending love to both!)

Since most people have Friday off (including myself), I hope you're all making it as enjoyable as possible without sacrificing your health and fitness goals.

Today my husband and I are heading out for good mountain bike ride around our area. We both own Ellsworth mountain bikes, and love to hit the trails when we can. Even our dogs join us (the oldest one, Kodi, who is 15, stays home though).

Last night, we all went for a walk in the park, despite the rain and thunder that just won't stop.... and finished up with movies and strawberries for snacking (yummy).

Tomorrow, we're going down to the lake, to do some wakeboarding and BBQ'ing. However, one has to be careful when enjoying their time at a BBQ - BBQ's are typically full of high sugar, high bad fat, and high refined carb foods: cookies, cakes, brownies, chips, pretzels, refined hot dogs, etc... the list can go on and on.

I even saw one women in front of me at the grocery store by $175 worth of "BBQ" food which included the items I listed above plus a whole lot more. It was scary. I felt sorry for her arteries and waist line.

Since most people are going to do some sort of picnic/BBQ celebrating, why not try to enjoy the seasonal foods that aren't going to destroy your health and fitness acheivements? Sure, we all need to enjoy something naughty now and then, but there is a limit. So, instead of cookies, cakes and other sugary foods, why not bring along fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries and other fresh and fun food items? Instead of bags of chips, why not crunchy carrots, cucumbers or snap peas? For meat, choose unprocessed cuts of any product you like - the porterhouse isn't going to clog your arteries, it's all the trans fat in those baked goods you might have bought.

I hope all of you have a safe and fabulous 4th of July with friends, family and fun.

I'll be back after the weekend to talk more about the potential downfalls of artificial sweeteners.

In health, Cassandra

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I am Canadian! Happy Canada Day!

To all my Canadian friends and family:

O Canada lyrics

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command
With glowing hearts we see thee rise
The True North strong and free!

From far and wide
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee