Archive for February, 2014

‘Weird’ Body Makeover Trick

There are a lot of body makeover tips, strategies and techniques thrown around.

Recently the hot trend is on intermittent fasting.

Of course gluten has also caught a lot of slack for everything from obesity to inflammation.

Then we have the "typical" body makeover tips:

  • Eat breakfast daily
  • Get more sleep
  • Drink less calories
  • Eat more fruits and veggies
  • The list can go on …

But this one flies under the radar and, well, frankly, is a little "weird" in the sense that it goes against some of what we know and what’s often recommended.


Be a boring eater – forget variety!

What do we mean by this?  It means use a little less variety if you want a greater body makeover.

Here’s the deal.  

While variety is good in terms of the fruits and veggies we eat, the more overall variety we’re faced with, the bigger the challenge to stay on track.

Case in Point — where do you think you’d eat more?

Exhibit A) You’re ravenously hungry, decide to stop at your favorite local "All You Can Eat" buffet for breakfast.
Exhibit B) You’re ravenously hungry, so you decide to stop at a fine dining establishment, where you order off the menu for breakfast;

Hopefully you guessed "Exhibit A" where you’re faced with dozens and dozens of choices vs. just being served what’s on your plate and not having other options.

With so many choices, your mind will want to try all of them.  Everyone eats with their eyes and when you continue to mound your plate, until it looks like a landfill, you’ll overeat.  By a lot.

I’ll admit to falling for this myself.  Recently, while traveling, I was at the hotel restaurant.  It was a beautiful hotel with a breakfast spread to match. I had worked out.  I was hungry. It had been a few hours since waking up.

And a friend had raved about the buffet.

So there I was.  Had the Sunday paper.  It was quiet.  And my friend was right — the buffet was just as incredible as he said.  Everything was local.  All the baked goods were homemade on the premises.  They had every food you could imagine.

But while it all tasted good, it was way more than any one (or 5) people needed.  And I felt bad after — that Thanksgiving, overly stuffed, blek feeling. 

The next day when I went back, I simply ordered off the menu and the food was just as good, just not overdone.  I felt great walking away from that morning.

Big difference. 

How can you apply this message to your daily life?  While maybe you’re not faced with a huge buffet each morning, we also certainly have many options.

What if you took the same approach day in and day out in your own house as I did by ordering off the menu vs. the buffet?

Now we’re not talking about going out to eat only, per se, but simply planning to have the same breakfast every single day (in this example) to limit your choices.

For those in a super tight pinch try this.  It’s fast.  It’s easy.  It tastes amazing.  And it’s incredible for you.  And it’s "boring" meaning it’s the same thing day in and day out.  Like we said, though, consistency takes the thought and guessing game out of it.  And the less you have to think, the more you can focus on the less you can "mess" things up.

Banana Blueberry Coconut Smoothie

1 cup Blue Diamond Almond Coconut milk (because it’s awesome)
1 scoop protein powder (we use Bi Pro from
Frozen blueberries (about 1 cup)
Small handful walnuts
1 frozen banana (remember to peel before freezing)

Blend together, adding more milk (or water) until desired thickness.  Enjoy your new "boring" breakfast of champions.  Want some more ideas?

Check out for 101 different smoothie recipes.

So once again — a reminder to be "boring" when comes to food choices.

You’ll be better of in terms of creating the body — physically and mentally — you’ve always wanted.                                                                                                                   

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A Fat MORE Dangerous Than Trans Fat?

Dietary fat has always been a hot topic of debate.

You likely saw the recent report about how the FDA is slowly but surely removing trans fats from the food supply, citing the 1000′s of deaths caused by these dangerous fats. 

From the emergence of the Atkins diet several decades ago to the fat free craze in the early 90′s, dietary fat has been embraced by many and shunned by others.

It’s safe to say that at least amidst all of the confusion, there is agreement among most experts that quality is crucial and we have to shift our focus away from just "fat is good" or "fat is bad."

Sure, there is still some debate about quality fat — some say butter is the new health food and coconut oil is a healthy saturated fat.  But what’s true?  And why can’t we all just get along?

Well, there is one thing we all can ‘get along’ about … and that’s that artificial trans fat is dangerous, which is why it is being completely removed from the food supply.  It increases your risk of heart disease.  It may be tied to causing an increase in dangerous belly fat, which makes it doubly bad and so much more.

But what if there’s something even worse than trans fat?  And it’s not some unique fat that is rare in the American Diet.  In fact, it’s often where trans fat often comes from…hydrogenated soybean oil…

This time, though it’s not just the hydrogenated part we’re concerned with, however.  It’s the soybean oil itself.  And while you may not use soybean oil regularly to cook with, trust me, it permeates our food supply. 

Why such alarm for such a common oil used in so many food products? 

The fat within soybean oil is mainly an omega-6 fat. 

Let’s backup.

Omega-6 fats are essential fats, meaning we have to get them from the diet.

But we get way, way, WAY too many.

And this is dangerous for many reasons.

  1. It increase inflammation throughout the body.
  2. Inflammation is the underlying issue for most diseases.
  3. Too much omega-6 fats "block" the crucial omega-3 fats.  Some experts suggest omega-3 fat needs are 11 times higher when someone has a high intake of omega-6!  Again, remember omega-6′s are already very high in Western diets.

I can go on, but those 3 bullets are pretty telling of why too many omega-6 fats can be dangerous.  If omega-3 fat needs are 11 times higher with too much omega 6, yet as a whole most don’t eat enough omega-3′s as it is…you can see our concern!  And this is why soybean oil (which is mostly an omega-6 fat) is high up on the "dangerous" list.  If you think you don’t eat much of it, check out this picture — courtesy of famed Omega-3 Researcher, Dr. Joe Hibbeln.  This graph represents a 1000% increase where 0.2 lbs/person/year was produced to 1909 where 25.0 lbs/person/year was produced in 1999. 

omega 6 fat will kill you

  • So we’re not eating enough omega-3′s.
  • We’re eating way too many omega-6′s (meaning we’re also hurting omega-3 status)
  • And soybean oil is one of the major omega-6 culprits in the Western Diet.  Sure, there are others, but this fat permeates the foods we eat. 

The question now becomes…what do we do about this?

No surprise here — eat less prepackaged, prepared foods.  But not just the obvious pastries, Twinkies, Ding Dongs, etc …

…how about MOST prepackaged salad dressings?  EVEN if they say "made with olive oil," that solely means there’s a splash in there somewhere.  I can assure you that if you have a prepackaged salad dressing in your fridge right now, high up on the list (usually 2nd) is soybean oil.

Salad dressing certainly isn’t the only culprit, though a common one.

Most prepackaged foods are loaded with soybean oil, often pushed as a "healthy" alternative to other fats.

But considering a recent report suggested omega-3 fat deficiency causes 96,000 deaths per year (only behind high salt intake for dietary causes of death) and above trans fat intake…

...and high omega-6 diets "block" omega-3 benefits, requiring even higher amounts, you can see why we suggest soybean oil is so dangerous.

Now, we’ll write more about this next week — but there are actually a lot of foods that are very high in omega-6 fats that you may not even be thinking about, sometimes often pushed as great options.  English muffins, tofu, sunflower seeds, sunflower seed butter, chick peas, peanuts and many, many more …

If you’re curious about your personal levels within your body, you can get an Omega-3 Test to find out your levels. I just had mine done and Kara will have hers, too.  Fortunately my blood looks pretty good, but still not in the "optimal" level, which means I’m continuing to tweak and improve to get it there. 

Simply adding more omega-3′s on top of a horrible diet isn’t the answer.  That’s like putting a band aid on the problem.  You can’t go to McDonald’s, take your Nordic Naturals fish oil, and think you’re doing something good.

We need to look at how we can decrease omega-6 fats as well.

Nix the six.  Eat the 3′s! 

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Disclosure:  Nordic Naturals is a client

71 Tips to Lose Fat

  1. Have a clear goal that anyone in the world can measure and understand.
  2. Drink tea. Research suggests that those who drink tea (black, green, or white, as long as it’s from real tea vs. herbal tea) have lower BMI’s and have less body fat. 
  3. Eat cayenne pepper.  A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that when compared to placebo, capsaicin (the active ingredient in cayenne) increased fat burning. 
  4. Decrease/eliminate simple carbs.  They do nothing for you outside of creating a favorable environment for gaining fat.
  5. Eat more veggies. They fill you up, without providing many calories.  Just avoid the high fat/high calorie dressings.
  6. Eat more fruits: No one ever gained weight from eating more fruit even the so called "high sugar" fruits, like bananas, melons and others.
  7. Lift weights.  Heavy weights.  Build more muscle, burn more calories.
  8. Cut down rest time between sets.  This will keep your heart rate elevated causing an increase in calories burned.
  9. Do intervals.  No more strolls through the park.  Study after study after study continues to show intervals are more effective (and in less time).  And physically just look at the body of a sprinter vs. the body of a marathoner. 
  10. Eat more protein.  Replacing refined carbohydrates with lean protein will not only help satiate you, but will also increase your metabolism, through something called the thermic effect of food.
  11. Eat protein more frequently.  Piggy backing on #10, it’s important to also time your intake so you’re eating protein regularly throughout the day … not just in one lump sum, like most do at dinner.  Every meal and snack should include some protein. 
  12. Supplement with fish oil.  A study published in Lipids fed mice diets enhanced EPA and DHA (fish oil).  The researchers learned that the mice fed diets higher in omega-3 fats had significantly less accumulation of body fat.  Other studies have shown similar results.
  13. Do full body exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, pullups,chinups, pushups, etc.  You’ll get more bang for your buck out of each workout.
  14. Cycle carbs depending on workout routine.  Sure, carbs are important, but you surely don’t need as many if you’re not working out or if you workout just 30 minutes per day and then are sitting most of the other 23.5 hours.  
  15. Start meals with a salad.  Salad will provide some bulk to help fill you up, so you eat less calories overall.
  16. Include low-fat water based soups as snacks.  include this with a salad and the two of them will fill you up before getting to the calorie laden meal.
  17. Don’t forget the fiber.  Think of fiber like a sponge; it absorbs water and makes you feel full. Focus on fiber, not carbs.
  18. Drink water.  Professor Dr. Brenda Davy and her Team from VA Tech found that giving people 2 cups of water before each meal resulted in greater weight loss after 12 weeks.  The reason?  It helps fill you up.
  19. Add beans to your salads.  It’s a nice way to add some additional fiber, protein, and healthy carbs. 
  20. Replace one meal/day with a large salad and lean protein.
  21. Self monitor.  Keep a journal.  There’s no better way to track what you’re putting in your mouth. 
  22. Watch your portions.  Avoid the buffet line and never super size a thing; instead make sure you’re following what the nutrition label recommends for a serving.
  23. Weigh and measure foods.  You won’t know how much you’re eating unless you pull out the food scale, measuring cups and spoons. 
  24. Switch to calorie free drinks.  All calories count, whether they’re liquid or solid, so unless it’s low fat milk, opt for tea or water.  Or something I was introduced to in the Netherlands – large bunches of mint, lemon and hot water. 
  25. Weigh yourself.  Studies show daily weights help enhance weight loss efforts.  Don’t live and die by the number.  And of course a scale doesn’t decipher between fat and lean body mass, but it can still be of benefit to keep things "in check."
  26. Eat whole eggs.  Daily.  A study published a couple years ago showed that those who ate whole eggs vs. a bagel for breakfast ate less at the next meal.  A similar study showed eating whole eggs increases HDL (good) cholesterol. 
  27. Eat breakfast (which is convenient with #26 above).  A review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that those who ate breakfast are more successful with long-term weight maintenance.  Other research has shown the same for weight loss.  Grab hardboiled eggs, scrambled eggs, Greek yogurt, a piece of fruit and handful of nuts, or make a smoothie.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.
  28. Eat the bulk of you meals in the AM and eat progressively less throughout the day.  A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that eating the bulk of your calories earlier in the day positive influences weight changes.
  29. Stay upright-you burn more calories.  This means not sitting in front of a computer, TV, phone, etc all day.  Stand and you’ll burn more and be more productive.
  30. Ask your waiter to doggy bag ½ your meal before serving it to you.  If you wait and tell yourself you’ll just eat half.  You won’t.  So don’t even have it put in front of you.
  31. Use the stairs, skip the escalator and elevator.  These won’t make or break success, but every little bit helps, so get in all the movement you can.
  32. Eat low energy dense foods.  These are foods that are high in water and lower in calories, such as fruit, veggies, soups, salads, etc.  Studies at Penn State University have showed that the inclusion of these foods helps individuals eat less total calories overall.
  33. Don’t grocery shop hungry.  Rather than stick to your list, you’ll buy everything in the aisle; foods that are sure to sabotage your goals of getting lean.
  34. Replace side dishes with steamed veggies.  Restaurants will often allow you to switch the fries or chips with steamed veggies; all you have to do is ask.
  35. Bake, don’t fry
  36. Switch to smaller silverware; it forces you to take smaller bites.
  37. Use a grill
  38. Order dressing on the side, dip the fork in dressing, and then in the salad.  This saves a ton more dressing than if one was to order it on the side, then poor the entire cup on the salad anyhow.  Less calories equals less weight. 
  39. In the airport?  Carry your luggage, don’t roll it.  Again, not a deal breaker in terms of success…just another way to increase energy expenditure.
  40. Skip the “Venti lattes” and opt for plain coffee or, better yet, tea.  Those extra large “designer” coffees can pack a wholloping 500 or more calories per serving!
  41. Got oats?  Plain rolled oats will help fill you up more than the high sugar breakfast counterparts.  Moreover, 1 serving provides a lot less calories than the sugar coated alternatives.
  42. Fidget. A study published in the journal Science showed that those who fidgeted more often, changed posture frequently, etc weighed less than those who did not.  This extra movement was termed NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis).
  43. Laugh often.  A study presented at the European Congress on Obesity found those who laughed hard for approximately 10-15 minutes each day burned an additional 10-40 calories/day.  Multiply that by 365 and those calories can add up! 
  44. Don’t use email within your office—get up and walk to a co-workers desk.
  45. Switch to water first thing in the morning vs. juice; you’ll save 100+ calories.
  46. Steam your veggies—don’t sauté in oil
  47. Leave something on your plate at the end of the meal-every little bit counts.
  48. When out to eat, split a meal.  The portions are usually big enough to feed a family.
  49. Skip dessert
  50. Don’t socialize around the food tables at parties; you’re more likely to pick, even though you may not be hungry.
  51. Don’t eat your kids leftovers; every little bit of food adds up, including these "BLTs" (bites, licks and tastes)
  52. Keep chips, dips, and other high fat snack foods out of the house—it’s not about willpower, it’s about being realistic.
  53. If you have a dog, take it for a walk—don’t just let it out in the back.
  54. If you don’t have a pet, offer to walk a neighbors dog.
  55. Use smaller plates and bowls, there will be less room for you to fill up and it makes less food seems like more.
  56. Skip buffets.  You will feel you like you have to get your moneys worth and overeat.
  57. Slow down.  It takes approximately 15-20 minutes for the stomach to sense it’s full.  If you woof down your food like a starving dog, you’ll likely out eat your hunger.
  58. Decrease your food intake by 100 calories per day; theoretically this translates to nearly 1 pound per month (1 lb = 3500 calories).
  59. Buy a pedometer and accumulate at least 10,000 steps each day.
  60. When possible, walk or bike to do your errands. 
  61. Don’t buy in bulk, unless you’re buying toiletries or feeding an army.  The more that is there, the more that you’ll eat.
  62. Stay away from the alcohol—I don’t care if it’s low-carb anything, alcohol provides 7 calories/gram, which means a lot of empty calories and just 1 drink lowers your inhibition so you overeat other calories too
  63. Plan ahead.  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
  64. Pack your meals for the week on Sunday; you never want to be without options.
  65. Keep some healthy snacks — like nuts — in your glove compartment so you’re prepared at all times.
  66. Take before pictures and write down your goals.
  67. Get new friends.  If your friends prefer pizza, wings, nachos and beer on a regular basis, find one’s who are like minded and want to be healthy.  Research has suggested that friends enhance (or can hurt) success.
  68. Put yourself first.  Many people (women in particular) put everyone else ahead of themselves and let their health fall by the side. 
  69. Be honest with yourself—you’re not fooling anyone by “sneaking” different foods.
  70. It’s not all or nothing; if you fall off the bandwagon, jump right back.  Don’t let yourself continue to fall until all progress has been lost.
  71. Wake up early to exercise; you’re more likely to get it done if you don’t wait until after work. 

If you found any of these 71 tips useful, I’d really appreciate you doing a favor and clicking the "like" button below.


Considering February is Heart Health Month, we thought it would be very fitting to revisit a previously posted blog about the much maligned eggs. 

Just when we think the topic of whole eggs versus egg whites is put to rest, it resurfaces.  We disagree and believe egg yolks are great for you and should be included regularly in the diet.

Now, this didn’t exactly look at that topic, though a study came out saying eggs may be as bad for you as smoking!

egg yolks worse than smoking

Yet I opened my email recently and was asked again about a study suggesting regularly eating egg yolks is almost comparable to smoking cigarettes (in terms of their effect on atherosclerotic plaque build up).

 What is this some kind of ‘yolk?!’  Yolk.  Get it?

Right.  I crack me up.  OK, enough with the bad egg puns.

It was plastered all over the media "Egg yolks are almost as dangerous for smoking for atherosclerosis."  And in an instant, the uphill battle that’s been fought to overturn the "eggs are bad" silliness was again leaning towards eggs being "bad."

So I thought maybe what I was seeing was just some writer trying to sensationalize things with the attention grabbing headline.  Gave them the benefit of the doubt.  Until I was able to see the entire, full length "study" — study in quotes because it’s junk science in our opinion …

… lo and behold, the study did in fact conclude that egg yolks are nearly comparable to cigarettes!

Let’s dissect this study to the core for you because we’ve of course have already seen this study reviewed on the news, on different websites, and in mainstream newspapers and it’s scaring consumers.

We have worked hard pushing for eggs to get the love they deserve.  We eat them daily — mainly from "happy, bug eating, dirt scratching, sun loving, free roaming chickens" (as the farmer calls them where we get ours), but we also like Eggland’s Best if the farm isn’t an option.

Anyhow, the study.

The problem, unfortunately, is that this study has more holes in it than Swiss cheese.  Basically the researchers did what’s called a correlation study, based on self report from the subjects, and showed that those who had a high intake of eggs had similar levels of atherosclerotic plaque to that of smokers.

What they didn’t do, however, is consider pretty much any other factor that also can play a role in plaque development.

To take a step back.  Think of plaque like sludge in pipes.  The more hardened sludge you have in your "pipes," the harder your heart has to work to pump blood around your body because your blood is going through a smaller "tube."  Similarly, if a piece of that plaque breaks off, you can then set yourself up to have a stroke or heart attack.  I’m no cardiologist, but neither are what I’d call "good situations."

So basically this study is what’s called a correlation study – and correlation doesn’t mean causation — in other words, doing one thing (eating eggs in this case) doesn’t ’cause’ heart disease.  This study simply examined the correlation between these two things.  While correlation studies aren’t completely useless by any means, there are certainly better ways to study relationships and cause and effect.

One way is to control as much as possible — the confounding factors — to isolate the question that’s trying to be answered.

It’s really impossible to control for every factor.  But with this study there were a ton of controllable factors, which all can play a role in atherosclerosis, that weren’t examined.

To start:

  • Exercise wasn’t even a factor in this study.
  • Saturated fat wasn’t examined.
  • Sugar wasn’t. 
  • Fruit and vegetable intake weren’t.
  • Overall calorie intake wasn’t.
  • Fiber wasn’t either.
  • In fact, no other dietary factor was examined as part of this equation (at least that they mentioned).
  • And while we’re at it, no other lifestyle habits were either.
  • How often people sit vs. stand & overall general activity and movement, even outside of just basic physical activity weren’t either.

Oh yeah, and we shouldn’t leave out that the study subjects were not healthy to begin with.  The subjects are described in the study as "Our referrals were scheduled on an urgent basis soon after ischaemic attacks or stroke."  How can the comparison from unhealthy to healthy even be made?  It can’t (or shouldn’t) have been!

And yet the conclusion was drawn for all people — healthy and otherwise — that egg yolks were almost as bad as smoking cigarettes.  Now I understand it’s tough to control for so many factors, but if you’re trying to determine the effect of something on atherosclerotic plaque, which doesn’t have just one "cause" I suggest at least trying to control for a lot more than was done in this study (and using a variety of subjects, too)…

…then making a strong conclusion like "egg yolk consumption is almost as dangerous as smoking."

The majority of the data suggests egg yolks are a great source of many, many nutrients.  Unfortunately this study may swing that pendulum back and scare people away from these little golden nuggets of goodness; one of the best (and affordable) protein sources in the diet.

So, at the end of the day…again…WE say eat whole eggs and enjoy them!!!

Here’s a favorite egg recipe that takes 2 minutes to prep and cook.

Eggs in a Cup

Crack 2 eggs into a cup.
Add a pinch of salt and pepper (to taste)

Beat the egg until well mixed.

Put the cup in the microwave and microwave for 1-2 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave.


Do us a favor and click the like button below if you found this article useful!  Thanks for your support.

Here’s the reference if anyone is interested in the entire paper.
J. David Spence, David J.A. Jenkins, Jean Davignon. Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque. Atherosclerosis, 2012

Chocolate’s Deep, Dark Secret

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, there’s no time like the present to talk about …


health benefits of chocolateNever has there been a food that means so much to so many. Chocolate is revered by people across the world for good reason. It’s botanical name, Theobroma cacao, literally translates to "Food of the Gods."

And we’ll be honest, we’re big fans of that rich, deep, dark chocolate goodness at the Mohr House. 
Though chocolate has been a part of Valentine’s Day for as long as we know it, its drool worthy, rich flavor also boasts some impressive health benefits to stake its mark in American Heart Month. While this is great news for chocolate lovers, it’s important to distinguish the differences among the different types of chocolate.

Four pumps of chocolate syrup in your latte or marshmallow filled candy bars don’t quite come with the same benefits as 100% raw cacao, which is loaded with flavanols, a super healthy phytonutrient. These flavanols can support cardiovascular health, circulation, and much more.

Let’s look at some of the science behind this powerful health food and see how you can apply it to your own daily routine. A study out of the University of Barcelona found daily consumption of 40 grams of cocoa powder with skim milk for 4 weeks boosted HDL (the heart healthy cholesterol) and reduced LDL (the dangerous cholesterol).

Another recent review, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked at the results of 42 studies to determine overall effects on cardiovascular disease. This review supported the study above, with improvements in cholesterol, but also found reductions in blood pressure, improved circulation and improved insulin resistance. And these results may not be limited to just adults. An Australian study found 7 grams of dark chocolate (equal to about 1 tablespoon of our favorite product — Navitas Naturals Raw Cacao Powder) daily improved children’s blood pressure as well.

Isn’t it nice to know science supports the benefits of having a little homemade hot chocolate on a cool February evening?

Here’s a favorite recipe around here — Ella’s a big fan herself and it’s nice for us knowing she’s getting more than just pure sugar and other "junk" in most hot chocolate packets:

Antioxidant Powerhouse Hot Chocolate 
(from The Doctored Kitchen)

2 tablespoon Navitas Naturals Raw Cacao powder

1 to 2 tablespoons Navitas Naturals Coconut sugar (or local honey)

1 Cup unsweetened, Vanilla Almond Milk (or low-fat Dairy Milk)

Dash Cinnamon

1 teaspoon pure Vanilla extract

dash Cayenne Pepper (optional)

Mix all ingredients with milk in a medium saucepan. Heat it over low to medium heat, without causing it to boil. Stir continuously with a whisk to dissolve the sugar and distribute the cacao. Serve when hot.

Want another way to enjoy the heart healthy benefits of cacao? Try sprinkling Cacao Nibs in a high protein Greek yogurt. This adds a boost of flavor and gives a nice little crunch.

Mind doing us a favor and if you found this useful, please click the like button below to spread the Valentine’s Day love and share it with your friends!!

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