How to Boost Your Metabolism and Start Burning Fat, Just By Changing What You Have for Breakfast?

How to Boost Your Metabolism and Start Burning Fat, Just By Changing What You Have for Breakfast?

When most people think of what they have to do in order to lose a substantial amount of fat, they imagine exhausting workouts, making salad your staple dish and feeling hungry all the time. In reality, this approach fails much more often than it succeeds. The more you feel like you are struggling, the more reasons your brain thinks of to avoid the action. In reality, just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it works. I’ve seen plenty of people lose a very substantial amount of fat, just by making simple changes to their eating habits and then sticking to them. I’ve also seen plenty of people buy a gym membership, throw away all the unhealthy foods in their fridge and try to make a big change in order to lose weight, only to give up in a week or two.
In this article, we will discuss a simple diet change that can skyrocket your weight loss, boost your metabolism and give you fast and noticeable weight loss results – simply changing your breakfast from a high-carbohydrate one to a high-protein one.

The Breakfast Most People Have

Almost everyone these days has a high-carbohydrate low-protein/low-fat breakfast. In fact, the healthier a breakfast looks, the higher in carbohydrates it usually is. When most people think of a healthy breakfast, they imagine oats with fruit, like the picture above. Unfortunately, this combination has a high glycemic index, is very high in carbs and contains very little protein. As a result, it slows down your metabolism and forces your body to store a certain amount of the carbohydrates as fat. Although relatively ‘natural’ and free of unhealthy additives, it does not promote weight loss.

Turning Your fat-burning Switch ON

A high-protein breakfast is one way to kick-start your metabolism. What’s interesting, is that women, unlike men can ‘flip’ their fat-burning switch on hormonally, by making certain dietary tweaks (like described in the beta switch). Many women think they are at a disadvantage, because past a certain age, we seem to gain weight easier and lose it harder than men. That’s because men have testosterone, which takes care of fat-burning up to a point. What most women don’t know is that they have much more powerful fat-burning hormones, like thyroxine and estrogen (which burns fat, only if it’s ‘triggered’ to do so), so they are definitley not at a disadvantage.

What to Eat Instead?

Instead, you want a high-protein and moderate-fat breakfast. Not only will this boost your metabolism, but it will make you feel full. Protein is very satiating, unlike carbohydrates that get metabolized quickly, cause an insulin spike and ultimately leave you even more hungry an hour or two later. It’s a dangerous cycle that is a major cause of obesity. Meat and nuts would be the ultimate example of a high-protein breakfast, which many athletes use. I cannot recommend it highly enough, but it’s understandable that some people wouldn’t enjoy such a breakfast. Instead, you can make a quick protein shake that is yogurt-based. It is fine for the shake to contain some fruit, but aim for at least 20-30g of protein. The easiest way to achieve this is to use protein powder, but again I realize many people are not going to do that.
So, here are a few recipes for a high-protein breakfast that work very well for weight loss:
100g cottage cheese + 200ml soy milk + 20g nuts + enough fruit to make it fine-tasting Protein: ~20g
100g tofu + 200ml soy milk + 20g nuts + 1 banana Protein: ~20g
50g peanut butter + 200ml soy milk + 1 banana Protein:~20g
You can find many high-protein recipes for smoothies with a simple search. I personally use hemp protein powder or other nut-protein powder in a shake with yogurt and some fruit. Nut protein powders can be found at health-food stores and are manufactured simply by squeezing the oil out of nuts. Most nuts have a typical nutrition profile of about 50g fat and 25g protein per 100g. When you squeeze the oil out you are left with about 40g of protein per 100g, which makes it very easy to create a breakfast smoothie that pack 30g of protein or more.
To summarize: Having a high-carb, low-protein breakfast shuts down your metabolism – instead have a high-protein, moderate to low-carb, like eggs, meat, nuts, dairy, soy, etc. This will immediately turn your fat-burning switch on, regardless of whether or not you exercise. Try it!
Wishing you great health,

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Posted by Angelina on March 05 2014

Why Limiting Calories Often Does NOT Lead to Weight Loss

If you eat less calories than you expend for a long time (let’s say a month), will you lose weight? Of course – there is no way around it. Your body has to get the ‘fuel’ for your cells from somewhere else. However, things are not that simple. Here are a few reasons why:

  • It is slow – trying to burn fat by restricting calories is the slowest way to lose weight. There are about 9000 kcal in 2,2 lbs of body fat. 2000 kcal per day is a standard caloric expenditure for a person.This means that if you ate nothing for 4,5 days you would lose about 2 pounds. Once you start eating again, you are very unlikely to start eating 2000 kcal per day again. It will usually be a bit more and things will go back to normal.
  • It’s very hard – dealing with the hunger pangs and low blood sugar causes most people to give up.
  • If you are a women, at certain periods your body values your body fat more than your muscles or other tissue. It has to do with leptin and child bearing. This means that you will not burn only fat, but muscle as well, which will not give you a pretty result, to say the least.
  • Your body’s desire for food is designed to help you survive, not to look fit.
  • There are much easier ways! Restricting calories is like trying to get your can up the hill by pushing it instead of driving it – there is no point.

There are many more reasons – most people try to lose weight by restricting about 300-400 calories per day. After a few days, they experience very strong hunger pangs and headaches and sooner or later indulge in binges, which undo their progress. Your body does not look at your daily food intake, but works on a much longer time-frame and knows exactly how to keep you fed. It’s how we survived back in the day when there were no supermarkets and food was not as easily and constantly available.
A much easier and better way to lose weight fast is to:
For men – do intermittent fasting. It’s magic and is a very good way to get lean fast. For women – focus on enabling your body to burn the fat by manipulating leptin. If you have read about this you know that it is very easy and efficient way to start losing fat very fast.
In conclusion, restricting calories is yet another willpower-based strategy, which sooner or later can fail very easily. Exerting willpower to not eat is a very painful and slow way to ‘force’ your body to resort to your fat stores and start burning them.

Lentils: An Inexpensive & Healthy Superfood

Are lentils healthy?

Although many people do not approve of a grain-rich diet (we evolved on an almost completely grain-free diet for thousands of years and this continued for a few centuries even after the invention of fire), lentils are a different story in my book. They are very high in protein – in fact uncooked lentils contain the same amount of protein percentage-wise as lean meat – about 25%. They are also very high in soluble fiber. Several studies have shown that adding lentils to fast-digesting carbohydrates, like rice,  slows down the glucose release and insulin secretion, which gives you much steadier energy levels. In addition to that, lentils cost very little and are very easy to prepare and store.

Benefits of lentils

Here are in no particular order the benefits of lentils:
High in fiber – they keep your digestive system clean, help with healthy gut bacteria and lower cholesterol.
High in protein – this no only means they are nutritious , but that they make you feel full. A common reason for constant food cravings is low-protein intake, mainly linked to cereal snacks, like biscuits.
Cheap – Lentils cost a fraction of what meat and other high-protein sources cost.
Vegan – I am not a big proponent of a meat-free diet, but for those who are, lentils are an excellent ‘replacement’ for meat.
The only drawback of lentils is that if you do not prepare them well and add spices, they do not taste very good! However, following a basic recipe for a lentil stew makes them taste quite well. It is recommended to soak lentils in water for a few hours, which reduces the cooking time greatly.
I personally eat lentils almost every day as I find them very quick and easy to prepare. They also make me feel full and keep my metabolism firing.

Sprouted lentils

Sprouting lentils improves amino-acid profile even more and triggers the beans to produce Vitamin c. About three ounces of cooked sprouted lentils contain about 15mg of Vitamin C. It also makes them much more digestible. Sprouting lentils is very easy – you soak them in water for 8-10 hours, drain and let them sit for a day or two. You will see the little sprouts forming in no time!
Posted by Angelina Wright on February 12th

The Importance of Muscle Tone in Women

Keeping a good muscle tone and retaining your muscle mass is a major issue with weight loss in women. Particularly with starvation or calorie-restrictive diets what most women find is that they lose muscle mass in addition to fat and water. You may think that muscle mass is more important for men than it is for women and you’d be wrong – muscle tone is much more important for women. This is partly because women have much less muscle to start with – once you start losing even a small percentage of it, you get the ‘flabby’ or ‘skinny-fat’ look we certainly don’t want!
How to fix this?
One way is to keep your protein intake high. Many women who try to restrict calories in order to lose weight (which we do not advocate) naturally lower their protein intake and focus on eating fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Unfortunately, the protein content of those foods is very low, which is a major reason why most vegetarians are slim and skinny. Put calorie restriction on top of that and you’ll find that you start to lose muscle mass instead of fat.
Meat and eggs are your friend here – if you are a vegetarian you can also try increasing your lentils/other beans intake in order to eat more protein. However, I would strongly advice that you include at least 50 grams of protein in your diet in order to keep good muscle tone.
Muscle tone is responsible for looking good and having a sexy body in women. Once you start losing muscle mass AND fat the results may not be as pretty as you expect. Fortunately, this can be easily reversed by increasing your protein intake and reducing carbs.
Stay fit,

Adding Fiber to High Glycemic Index Carbs to Achieve a 'Slow Release'

Fiber does one major thing in the body – it slows down digestion and the absorption of carbohydrates, which basically reduces insulin spikes. And we all know that you can’t lose much weight if your insulin is getting spiked thorough the day. Lack of fiber is a major component of a bad diet – the standard American diet is a good example. Although whole grain breads to have some fiber, it really isn’t enough. Vegetables, fruit and beans are the best sources of fiber.
Combining fiber-rich foods with carbohydrates to achieve a ‘slow release’
The easiest way to gain weight is to eat high GI carbohydrates like white rice and bread in the absence of fiber and fat. This immediately spikes your insulin and forces your body to store the excess sugar in your blood. Adding fat and fiber to high glycemic index carbs on the other hand will slow down their release in the bloodstream and keep your blood sugar stable. This is extremely simple and easy to do and most people do it to a degree. The more fiber and healthy fats you include with your carbohydrates, the slower the release and the less the stress on your pancreas.
Stay fit,

Burning Calories vs. Losing Weight

What? Is there a difference between the two? Absolutely – burning calories is simply well… burning calories. It does not automatically equal weight loss. If the calories that you are burning come from tissue fat – you will be losing weight. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Let’s look at caloric expenditure vs weight loss and do a quick calculation:
1000g of fat = 2,2 pounds = Roughly 9000 calories
This means that in order to lose 2 pounds of body fat, you would have to burn 9000 calories. For women, this is the typical caloric requirement for about 5 days. So, not eating anything for 5 days would burn you 2,2 pounds of fat. You can see why calorie-restriction diets fail. Not to mention that your metabolism would greatly slow down after 20+ hours of starvation, leading to even slower fat burn. After starving, your body will do its best to store any excess calorie you eat in order to prevent you from dying of starvation in the future. This is much more applicable to women, as we all know intermittent fasting does work well for men.
So, there you go – trying to ‘burn calories’ is not an effective weight loss strategy. On the other hand, manipulating your metabolism and hormonal environment, by simply tweaking your diet a bit can get you much faster fat loss. By limiting calories, you are trying to ‘force’ your body to resort to burning body fat. However, there is an easier way! How to enable your body to burn body fat is different for men and women and in this article we will focus on men.
Men benefit greatly from intermittent fasting – having an 8 hour (or less) eating window and not eating the rest of the day. This is because they lack the ‘rebound’ effect women suffer from when fasting – in other words, men can fast, burn some fat and then NOT put it back on when they start eating again.

The 3 Fundamentals for Increasing energy Levels

There are three basic fundamentals, which lie at the base of all health and longevity. Surely, a large part of your health is genetics. In fact, genetics make up more than 60% of what will happen to you health-wise. However, the remaining percentage depends on your eating habits, stress and other factors. Let’s explore them:
Eliminating harmful habits/exposure to toxins
No amount of healthy eating can balance a bad habit like smoking for example – it depletes Vitamin C from the body at a rate, which cannot be kept up with. However, there are harmful substances everywhere and at not so obvious places. For example, if you live in an older home, you can have a variety of  general and unspecific symptoms, all related to exposure to mold spores. The common mold Aspergillus for example is found in most homes, where the humidity levels are high. It’s spores can cause a variety of health problems, including difficulty breathing, poor concentration and much more. Most mold spores are carcinogenic also and therefore – you should do your best to avoid exposure to them.
Almost all healthy people who live long and happy lives have one thing in common – they exercise. This may not be the obvious type of exercise, like going to the gym. They might just be an active person overall, and use less transportation, substituting it for walking. Exercise keeps your circulatory system in check, and we know that circulatory and heart conditions sit at the top of death causes. It’s not necessary to be extreme – a 20 minute run several times per week will put you way ahead of most people. Make sure to exercise away from big roads or other polluted areas as this may do you more harm than good – we will talk about this in other articles as well.
Your diet is more important than most people think. Switching to a good diet may take some time in order to see tangible results, which is why many people disregard the effectiveness of a healthy diet. You don’t have be extreme when it comes to your diet also – excluding soft drinks, bread and MSG-ridden meats from your diet will put you way ahead of most people and you will avoid some of the most obviously harmful toxins. In addition to that, I always recommend taking a good quality multivitamin and fish oil – achieving a 100% RDI of most vitamins is very hard through diet alone. The same applies to fish oil.

Low Fat vs. Low Carb – Which is Better for Lowering Blood Pressure?

A low carb and high fat diet is the base of most successful weight loss programs, including the Atkins diet. The mechanism behind weight gain on a high-carb diet is now pretty clear – eating carbohydrates causes spikes in blood sugar, which releases insulin. As a result, any excess sugar is stored by the body as fat. This mechanism is so effective that you can easily gain 5-10 lbs of fat in a few days and more importantly – quickly undo any progress that you have made. Therefore, it is important not to indulge in carb binges soon after you have successfully lost weight. Regardless, lets look at the differences between a low fat and a low carb diet:
Low fat diets and blood pressure

A low-fat and a high-carbohydrate diet is based on the obsolete theory that fat is bad because it is high in calories. It also causes cholesterol and blood lipid problems. At least that’s what we thought. We now know that fat is the main source of energy for the body, and it makes up nearly 100% of cellular walls. Therefore, a low fat diet is generally speaking not a good idea, unless you are trying to deal with a specific medical condition, which requires it.
Losing weight on a low fat diet is also difficult – in order to do so, you would have to eat very frequent and small carbohydrate-rich meals. Eating anything more than can be stored in your muscles and liver (which is about 800 kcal) will result in a fat gain, especially if you are predisposed to gaining weight (which you probably are, since you are reading this article).
High fat, low carb – does it really cause hypertension?

This is the most effective strategy, when it comes to losing weight. But wait, isn’t fat high in calories? It is. In fact, it has more than twice the calories of carbohydrates per gram. However, there are countless examples that support the fact that caloric intake and weight loss are connected only partially. You can easily lose weight while consuming 3000 kcal per day. You can also keep staying overweight, despite your best efforts to starve yourself. It is all in the source of your calories and not the amount.
But what is the best way to lower your blood pressure? Your diet has a big impact on this, but most of the things you have probably already heard about this are wrong – high fat diets do NOT raise blood pressure on their own. To learn more about how to lower your blood pressure, read this report.

The Importance of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most commonly taken vitamins. However, there is still a large percentage of people who don’t get enough. Vitamin C is the primary antioxidant in the body and protects it’s cells from free radical damage. In addition to that, it is also used by the body to produce collagen – an elastic substance, which makes more than 50% of your skin and blood vessels.
Long-term effects of a chronic vitamin c deficiency
Many people today are afraid of high cholesterol. Why? Because it leads to heart disease and arteriosclerosis. However, this is not the whole truth. The reason why high cholesterol is suspected to increase the chance of dying from a heart attack is simple – the cholesterol builds up on the walls of your arteries and as a result – a plaque forms. This causes blood vessels to become more and more narrow, until they barely let any blood through.
Vitamin C has a big implication in this – cholesterol doesn’t build up on the arterial walls, just because it is ‘high’. It does so in order to repair a damage in the structure of the wall. One of the most common causes of such damage is a chronic low-level deficiency of vitamin c, which in turn slows down your body’s production of collagen and other several other, vital to the circulatory system organic chemicals.

Multivitamins vs. Taking Vitamins Separately

I am a big proponent of taking vitamins separately. There are many reasons for that and I will now list some of them:
Zinc or Zinc Aspartate?
Many people don’t look at the form of the vitamins in most multivitamin supplements. For example, zinc aspartate and magnesium aspartate are two often used forms of magnesium. Unfortunately, they break down into aspartic acid, which is certainly not the best thing for you. When buying your vitamins separately, you can choose exactly which form of which vitamin or mineral you want.
Most people don’t need doses as high as in most multivitamins, especially when it comes to B-vitamins. Although those vitamins are water-soluble and have no established toxic levels, Is taking 50 times the normal dose of a certain vitamin healthy? By normal dose, I mean the dose you can obtain from food. I don’t think so and don’t see a point in doing so. In addition, many multivitamins will have low levels of magnesium and vitamin D, which are both extremely important. A part of the reason why is cost – B complex vitamins are the cheapest and it is no coincidence that many multivitamins include more than 3000% RDA of them, especially if they are designed for athletes.
On the other hand, taking minerals together seems to cause no issues at all. I would advice against men taking iron supplements, as they have been linked to a variety of complications and liver problems. Women on the other hand menstruate, which is ho why get rid of excess iron in their body.  The problem with getting your minerals from food is the depleted soil, especially in the US. Magnesium is a prime example of this and less than 30% of people get their RDI.