All I want for Christmas is more sleep

sleep

‘Tis the season to get too little sleep!

The CDC estimates that 50-70 million Americans probably have some kind of sleep disorder. And according to a recent poll, close to 40% of Americans  get less than 7 hours of sleep a night!

Add the craziness of the holidays — shopping, parties, activities, and an unending to-do list running through your mind — and one can imagine that 7 hours shrinking and shrinking…

So what can happen to your mind and body with too few Zzzzzzz’s??

  • Weight gain. As if it wasn’t hard enough to keep the extra lbs at bay through the holidays. The late nights and early mornings can make it even harder! Not only does sleep loss stimulate your appetite, but it can make you crave bigger portions of high-calorie, high-carbohydrate foods and create a tendency towards unhealthy choices at the grocery store.
  • Makes you look older. When you don’t get enough sleep over time, your body releases an excess of the hormone cortisol, which breaks down collagen in the body, causing those pesky fine lines. In the short term, there are those puffy eyes and dark circles to contend with…
  • Makes you forgetful, impairs your cognitive abilities. Just one night of sleep deprivation has been linked to significant loss of brain tissue. Sleeplessness not only impairs memory, but also reasoning, problem solving, attention, alertness and concentration.
  • Which leads us to…impairing your ability to drive. Just don’t do it. Sleepiness is the cause of 100,000 car accidents and 1,550 accident-related deaths each year.
  • Chronic sleep deprivation can put you at risk for serious health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and depression.

SO HOW CAN YOU GET MORE SLEEP???

  • Create a soothing environment. Soft lighting, comfortable bedding, relaxing music. Get the TV’s, computers, tablets and phones out of the bedroom, turn the temperature down a few degrees, and turn any bright clocks away from you.
  • Find a routine and stick to it consistently. Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every night and every morning. Yes, even on the weekends.
  • Avoid indigestion and heartburn by limiting foods and drinks before bed. Say no to alcohol and caffeine.
  • Consider natural sleep enhancers, such as herbal tea or warm milk. Ask your doctor about over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids.
  • Nip the nap. If you can’t get through your day without a snooze, limit it to 20 minutes or less. Anything longer than that can make you groggy for the rest of the day and make it harder to fall asleep that night.
  • De-stress and let your worries go. Keep a journal by your bed and use it to write down those random thoughts and concerns that keep you awake. Close the book and know that there’s nothing you can do about it in the next 8 hours anyway. Try adding meditation, gentle yoga or a warm bath into your daily routine.
  • See your favorite doctor. If sleep continues to be a problem, consider getting a check up and ask your doctor about the possibility of a sleep disorder.

SWEET DREAMS!

 

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Eggnog?? YES!

eggnog

No need to skip this yummy holiday tradition!

Try this IP Phase 1-4 friendly recipe for delicious, satisfying Egg Nog!

  • 1 Ideal Protein Vanilla Pudding Mix
  • Da Vinci’s Sugar Free Eggnog Syrup
  • 2 Splenda packets
  • 4 eggs, divided
  • 1 oz milk
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 7 oz water
  1. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color.
  2. Gradually add Splenda packets and continue to beat until dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Mix the Ideal Protein Vanilla Pudding Mix with water and milk.
  4. In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the prepared pudding mix with the nutmeg and cinnamon (optional), and bring to a boil. Stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and Splenda mixture.
  6. Once mixed, return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F.
  7. Pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator to chill.
  8. In a separate medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks.
  9. With the mixer running gradually, add the Da Vinci’s Sugar Free Eggnog Syrup.
  10. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

Ideal Protein Tips for Surviving the Holidays!

PLAN AHEAD!

There are 3 different approaches to surviving (and enjoying!) the holiday season while on the Ideal Protein Diet.

The Iron Will Approach

Whether you are already in Phase 4, about to graduate, or new to Ideal Protein, you have choices to make. In a perfect world, we would all choose the “Iron Will” approach to the holidays, eating nothing that compromises ketosis.

Dieters who are new to the program and haven’t yet mastered a strong set of healthy eating habits are good candidates for this approach, as are those with only a short time left before they reach their goal, since eating foods that compromise fat burning can extend their time on the program by up to two weeks. So, keep that in mind and remember that failing to plan is planning to fail.

If you’re celebrating outside of your home, bring a large plate of veggies with Walden Farms dips to munch on and share. If you plan to use the “iron will” approach, here are some key phrases you can use to excuse yourself politely from eating things you don’t want to:

The Crafty Dismissal…”Ooh, that looks delicious! But I’m stuffed, so I’ll have to take it home for later.”

The Firm Hand…”Thank you for respecting the fact that I have some personal goals I am working on. That looks delicious, but it would compromise my progress, so I’ll have to wait.”

The Medical Excuse…”My doctor recently told me I am pre-diabetic/diabetic, so I really have to watch out for foods that spike my insulin. I’ll have to pass.”

The Allergy Excuse…”No thanks -I recently found out I have food allergies, so I’ll have to pass.”

The One Day Pass Approach

Since Thanksgiving and Christmas come once a year, many dieters feel they’ve earned a day off from IP. If you choose this approach and decide to eat foods that will compromise fat burning, here are some things to keep in mind as you proceed.

Moderation is KEY…Don’t undo all the healthy habits you’ve learned and established! Practice regulating portion sizes by eating only one or two bites of your favorite holiday foods and do NOT go back for seconds. Skip the cookies and pies…they’re full of fast-acting sugar and fat and they’re just not worth it. More importantly, if you don’t moderate, you may actually feel sick the next day!

The One Day Pass is just that– ONE DAY ONLY! Offset the impact by following it up with three days of ultra low-carb veggies and NO restricted items. Your pancreas needs to recuperate, plus this will get you back into ketosis quicker.

The Hog Wild Approach

This is not an acceptable approach if you are serious about changing your body, your health and your life. In addition to the negative physical impact it will have, this approach can seriously interrupt your motivation to lose weight, so here are some things to consider before going Hog Wild!

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.” Don’t expect to do something the same way you always have and see different results. Binge eating and lack of portion control are part of what has led many dieters to the weight they were when they began their Ideal Protein journey.

You are likely to feel very unwell that night, the next day, or even for several days after. You may even feel hungover if you consumed a large amount of sugar, whether you drank alcohol or not.

You will retain excess water. Every gram of glycogen you replenish in your system will have 4 grams of water bonded to it, making you feel bloated along with guilty and regretful. It’s just not worth it!

It’s costly. Going hog wild will direct your pancreas to revert to its old habits, stop fat loss, waste up to five days of progress, and ultimately extend your time on the program as well as compromise your overall results.

Whatever approach you choose,  you still need to write down everything you eat and drink in your food journal!

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November is American Diabetes Month

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“Eat Well, America” is the theme for the American Diabetes Assocation’s American Diabetes Month. As the ADA celebrates its 75th year, they are ready to show our nation just how easy and joyful healthy eating can be.

Each week, the Association will share nutritious recipes selected by noted chefs and cookbook authors for every meal of the day, including snacks and special occasion treats. Not only that, but they’ll teach you how to choose, prepare, serve and eat healthy food that is both delicious and nutritious. From tip sheets to shopping lists, they’ll help you make healthy eating a fun and easy part of your daily life. (Ideal Protein dieters, please note that these recipes and shopping lists will be for Phase 4 only. If you need help modifying recipes for Phase 1-3, please talk to your coach!)

Some facts about diabetes…

How Prevalent is it?

  • Diabetes affects nearly 30 million children and adults in the U.S. today—nearly 10 percent of the population.
  • Another 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Recent estimates project that as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes by 2050 unless we take steps to Stop Diabetes®.
  • Every 19 seconds someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with diabetes.
  • African Americans and Hispanics are almost twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic whites.

The Toll on Your Health…

  • Diabetes nearly doubles the risk for heart attack and for death from heart disease.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among working-age adults.
  • The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes.
  • Roughly 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nerve damage that could result in pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion, sexual dysfunction and other nerve problems.

The Dollars and Cents…

  • The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. is $245 billion.
  • Direct medical costs reach $176 billion and the average medical expenditure among people with diabetes is more than two times higher than those without the disease.
  • Indirect costs amount to $69 billion (disability, work loss, premature mortality).
  • 1 in 10 health care dollars is spent treating diabetes and its complications.
  • 1 in 5 health care dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes.

For more information, visit diabetesforecast.org or call 1-800-DIABETES.

EAT WELL, AMERICA!

Exercise and Ideal Protein

While intense exercise is not recommended while on the Ideal Protein protocol, there are things you can do to stay active and strengthen your body. Incorporate walking or biking into your daily activity. Yoga and Pilates are also great ways to stay fit or increase your fitness level while dieting. Just remember to keep the intensity at a low level. You should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising. If you are too breathless to talk, ease up. And if you feel lightheaded at all, stop exercising immediately. Talk with your Ideal Protein Coach if you have concerns about starting or continuing your exercise routine. And check with your physician if you have any conditions that may require medical clearance prior to exercise.

Resistance bands are fantastic tools to have at home. They’re inexpensive, lightweight, don’t take up much room in the closet, and are easy to learn to use. You can get a great total-body workout with just a band or two. When you use resistance bands, you improve your balance and strengthen isolated muscle groups. You can also vary the tension to gradually challenge yourself.

bands

Some muscles in your body are stronger than others, so you’ll want bands in 2-3 different tension levels to start. I recommend visiting your local sporting goods store and asking for assistance in finding the right levels for you. If you have access to a gym, seek out a personal trainer or knowledgeable staff member for help.

Resistance band exercises don’t need to be complicated to be effective. Here are some great beginner exercises from POPSUGAR Fitness to get you started:

Easy Resistance Band Exercises

Once you feel like you’ve mastered the bands, you can move on to more advanced moves. Greatist.com has a comprehensive list of 33 band exercises you can try:

33 Resistance Band Exercises

Start slowly. You may feel some muscle fatigue and soreness following a workout. Give your muscles a day of rest if you do. And as always, drink lots of water! You’ll want to drink an additional 16-20 ounces of water during exercise.

Good luck!

All About Coulis

Coulis (pronounced “koo-lee”) is a simple, thick sauce made from pureed vegetables or fruits. It’s very versatile, and can be used as a base for soups, an accompaniment for fish, roasted meat or vegetable dishes, or even as a dip. Plus, it’s a great way to use up leftover veggies! Having company for dinner? Use coulis to jazz up your dishes and make them look more sophisticated.

coulis

Try this recipe for Bell Pepper Coulis, or experiment with your own!

  • 2-3 large red, yellow or orange bell peppers
  • 2 oz. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped shallots
  • ¼ cup vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt & ground white pepper, to taste
  1. Remove the core, seeds and membranes from the peppers and roughly chop them.
  2. Heat a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat for a minute, then add the olive oil and heat for another minute.
  3. Add the shallots and sauté for a minute or two or until they’re slightly translucent.
  4. Reduce heat to low, add the chopped pepper. Cover and sweat for about 15 minutes or until tender.
  5. Add a couple of tablespoons of stock and cook for another minute or two.
  6. Remove from heat and puree in a blender.
  7. Tip: Use care when processing hot items in a blender as the hot steam can sometimes blow the blender lid off. Start on a slow speed with the lid slightly ajar to vent any steam, then seal the lid and increase the blending speed.
  8. Add vinegar, adjust consistency with remaining stock, and season to taste with Kosher salt and white pepper.

Click on the link below to watch a video from lowfatlowcarb.com for a demonstration on making coulis!

Vegetable Coulis

Happy cooking! Enjoy!

In a Salmon Kind of Mood

I’m sitting here thinking about what to have for dinner tonight. It’s been kind of a cold, rainy day, so the first thing that comes to mind is soup. But I have to admit, I really don’t feel like putting forth the effort that goes along with homemade soups (and I’m generally anti-canned soup, although I do make exceptions).

So what sounds good? Easy oven-baked salmon and roasted veggies.

Try this kicky spice rub next time you’re in the salmon kind of mood…

  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon dry peppercorns
  • Sea salt
  1. Combine cumin, coriander, fennel and peppercorns in a frying pan and toast on the stove, shaking gently until seeds become fragrant.
  2. Crush seeds in mortar and pestle or pour into spare pepper grinder. Season salmon with salt, then liberally rub toasted seeds on fillet.
  3. Bake 12-15 minutes at 450 degrees, or grill until on medium-high heat 4-5 minutes each side (spray grill first).

Serve with roasted seasonal veggies of your choice! Toss them in a little (and I do mean a LITTLE) olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt before roasting. Yum.

Dinner is served!

salmon4

Keeping September Simple

If your September is anything like mine, you’re already exhausted on day 10.

Back-to-school obligations, soccer practices, homework, and just the general overwhelming feeling of wanting so badly to be organized…but still failing miserably at it….

While we would all love to be that person who makes beautiful, complicated meals every night, it’s not always possible. So my advice is: for the insane month of September, keep it simple.

I’m starting you off with a couple of recipes your whole family will enjoy, and that are so simple it’s almost silly. Phase 1-4 Friendly!!!

Slow Cooker Italian Beef

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Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lb bottom round beef roast(lean)
  • 1 Cup Low Sodium Beef Stock
  • 3 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1 jar pepperoncini rings

Directions:

Place roast into the slow cooker. Add 1 cup low sodium beef broth and Italian seasoning. One hour before the roast is done add the peppers to the slow cooker. Total cooking time should be about 8-10 hours on low.

Serve on top of a salad or wrapped in boston lettuce leaves.

Really Really Good Pork Tenderloin

Amazing-Pork-Tenderloin

Ingredients:

  • 1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
  • 1 1/2 cup low sodium beef broth, no sugar added
  • 3 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 8 teaspoons dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place pork tenderloin in the slow cooker with herbs and spices.
  2. Pour broth, and soy sauce over the top, turning the pork to coat.
  3. Carefully spread garlic over the pork, leaving as much on top of the roast during cooking as possible.
  4. Sprinkle with pepper, cover, and cook on low setting for 4 hours.

Happy September! Enjoy!!!