Protein is key to overall health and wellness, but when it comes to including protein in meals, many people struggle with portion size – ending up with too little, or way too much. A good rule of thumb is to keep your protein portion about the size of a deck of cards. Protein provides sustained nutrition for our bodies, and performs many important functions:

  • Balance blood sugar: When you eat carbs, your body breaks them down into glucose. A high amount of carbohydrates means a spike in blood sugar – which is great if you need a quick boost. If you need sustained energy, however, protein is the way to go. Protein is broken down into components called amino acids, which do not elevate blood sugar. Amino acids are the building blocks for new proteins, and are integral to all kinds of cellular and metabolic processes.

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I am often asked, “which is healthier: juicing or smoothies?”

In fact, smoothies and juices serve different purposes. The health benefits of juices vs. smoothies depend entirely on your desired nutritional outcome.

I make smoothies when I need a nutritious snack, filled with protein and fiber, to hold me over. On the other hand, when I need a boost (especially in the morning) I turn to juicing. Fresh pressed juice is essentially a direct shot of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes into your system – a great coffee substitute for those looking to ditch caffeine.

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We all know that after school snack time is critical. Somehow, that time of day transforms your kitchen into the set of The Walking Dead, where you might find yourself hurling pizza bagels at the snapping jaws of your 4th grader – just to stay alive.

While it is easy to rely on the convenience of processed, microwavable foods, there are healthy alternatives that are just as quick to prepare, and tastier too. Why not try a smoothie to curb that afternoon hunger?

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Homemade Nutella

Nutella has advertised for many years that their gooey, chocolatey, sugar loaded spread is healthy. The makers of Nutella, Ferrero, Inc. has sold their spread as a nourishing breakfast option but neglected to mention that in a teaspoon there can be up to 21 grams of sugar. This is far beyond the recommended daily intake for sugar, according to the World Health Organization. The WHO recommends, Americans should limit their sugar intake to 25 grams per day.

Well, since we all cannot just have one teaspoon on our morning toast, we will have exceeded our sugar intake at breakfast! Read more

Good Fats vs. Bad Fats

UGH! Who wants to talk about fat?

Well, fatty acids and triglycerides are important components for all of our body’s cells. Fats contain more energy per gram than proteins and carbohydrates. FATS ARE FUEL.


All fats are composed of fatty acids, which are a long chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen attached to them. There are varying lengths to the chains, and those chains can be saturated or unsaturated.

Long Chain Saturated Fats:

Long chain saturated fats are solid at room temperature because all of the carbon atoms have a hydrogen atom attached to them. There is no “bend” in the structure of the molecule. They have beneficial effects on your heart, they support immune function, and deliver fat-soluble vitamins A,D, K and E to all the cells and tissues.

milk and meat

Medium Chain Saturated Fats:

Medium chain saturated fats are metabolized differently than the long chain fats. They don’t require bile for digestion, and they head right to the liver – so it’s easily digestible energy!

  • These fats are rich in lauric acid, found in mother’s milk, and is antiviral, antibacterial, and contains antioxidant properties.
  • These fats promote weight loss because they enhance fat burning.

coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut butter, and breast milk

Unsaturated Fats:

  • Monounsaturated fats: These have been shown to reduce LDL (the bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels, and increase HDL levels (the good cholesterol), as well as reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure.

olive oil, canola oil, macadamia nuts, avocado, almonds, and egg yolks

  • Polyunsaturated fats: There are two categories:
    • Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids: The most important ones are EPA and DHA, found in seafood, which help reduce inflammation throughout the body and brain.
    • Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids: The most important ones are linoleic acid found in nuts, seeds, poultry, and avocados, and arachidonic acid found in meat, poultry and eggs. Arachidonic acid is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain!

Omega-3 vs. Omega-6 in Our Diets

The average consumption of Omega-6 to Omega-3 (in the standard American diet) is 20:1. We want to strive toward a 1:1 ratio by greatly reducing the consumption of Omega-6 fatty acids.

The reason for the large discrepancy is:

Omega-6 is found in nuts, seeds, and avocados, but they are also found in abundance in processed and refined oils such as soybean, corn, and safflower oils. These oils can be found in our favorite foods: chips, crackers, salad dressings, and power bars.

So, our diets are heavy in Omega-6 and we don’t realize we are over-consuming them. It is necessary to consume them, but in the form of whole foods – as opposed to processed foods.

Increasing your Omega-3 intake while decreasing your Omega-6 intake will level off this large discrepancy. The Institute of Medicine recommends an intake of 1.1 mg/day for both Omega-6 and Omega-3.

Omega-3 fatty acids food sources include, but are not limited to: fish, grass-fed beef, flaxseed oil, eggs, edamame, and walnuts.



Pumpkin Seeds:

A quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains half the recommended daily amount of magnesium. This mineral is important for proper bone formation, relaxation of blood vessels, and the production of proteins. These seeds are also a rich source of zinc (that supports immune function) and a rich source of omega-3 fats. They are an important food for men and prostate health. In addition, they are loaded with tryptophan, an amino acid that your body converts to serotonin, which then turns into melatonin for a restful night’s sleep. I like to throw these in salads or in with roasted vegetables.

Serving Size: ¼ cup
Calories: 190
Fat: 16g
Carbs: 1g
Protein: 10g

77% fat, 2% carbs, 21%protein

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