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Gluten Free Flour Power

Grains.  Carbs.  Gluten. OH MY!

Going gluten free continues to be one of THE biggest nutrition trends.

This isn’t a discussion about gluten free, though.  We covered gluten free eating in the past.  Rather, today’s blog covers a few flours that have some unique properties, above and beyond just carbs. Though, coincidentally, each of those mentioned below are gluten free if you follow a gluten free diet.

And each have more protein than all purpose flour (and aren’t stripped of their nutrients).  They also have more fiber (to the tune of 12 grams for coconut flour)!

Makes that seemingly nutrition less bread a lot better.  Right? 

Let’s explore a few options — options you can find in any grocery store or even make yourself.

Ready?

Coconut Flour

gluten free coconut flourThis is fairly new on the mainstream scene.  As the name implies, it comes from the meat (white part) of the coconut.  It’s much, much drier than traditional flour or whole wheat flour, so you certainly can’t do equal substitutions and even get remotely the same end product.  I have swapped half the regular flour with coconut flour before and that seemed to work.  I also so a suggestion to add one extra egg for every 1/4 cup of coconut flour when substituting for regular flour.  Haven’t tried this, yet, so can’t confirm.

Coconut seems to work well in foods that have a lot of moisture from other ingredients (bananas, like in banana bread or eggs, for example). 

For just 1/4 cup it packs a wholloping 12 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. 

This is 3 times the amount of fiber and an equal amount of protein.

For those who are avoiding gluten, coconut flour is gluten free. 

Almond Flour

We love almond flour at the Mohr House.  It’s great in breads, muffins and similar products.  Though using it when baking certainly makes a different product, one that burns more easily.  But have no fear.  There are plenty of great recipes online that use almond flour for a fantastic end product.

Almond flour boasts an impressive 6 grams of protein for just 1/4 cup and 3 grams of fiber.  Because it comes from almonds, which are naturally high in healthy fats, it’s also much higher in fat.  We like this kind of fat, though, so eat up!

Like coconut flour, almond flour is also gluten free.

Quinoa Flour

You’ve likely heard of the grain, quinoa.  It came on the scene with "great vengeance and curious anger" (said in a Samuel Jackson voice from Pulp Fiction) … and for good reason.  It’s a complete protein.  It’s high in fiber.  And it has a great flavor.

Well, grind up quinoa and what do you get? 

Right.

Quinoa Flour.  While not quite as high in fiber as coconut flour or as high in protein as almond flour, it certainly packs a more nutritious punch than all purpose or whole wheat flours.  This is one we have only explored a bit.  It certainly gives a more "grainy" texture to whatever you use it for, but that can lend itself really well to many products. 

One quarter cup of quinoa flour isn’t quite as high in protein or fiber as the other two mentioned.  But definitely nothing to sneeze at.

At 1/4 of a cup, quinoa flour offers 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. Still not bad when you consider how little 1/4 cup is and that most recipes call for double if not 4 times that amount (so 1/2 or 1 cup).

Sticking with a gluten free theme, this flour too is gluten free, if that’s the type of diet you follow.

Simple recipe searches can surely bring up any number of ideas for each of these three flours and many, many more. 

Nutrition should be about exploration. 

Try new flavors.

Try new foods.

And whatever you try … try to have fun doing it!

 

51 Ways to Make 2014 Awesome(r)

This is not some silly New Year’s Resolution list.

Rather, It’s one that will help you live a better 2014, whatever your goals may be. 

I highly recommend printing it out and rereading some of these.  Just writing them helped me and the list is now sitting next to my desk.  

Whatever your resolutions may be, these simple 51 tips will help you achieve any goal faster.  Or at the very least happier.

 

 

  1. Smile more.  A favorite quote we say around here is "if you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours."  Everyone speaks the language of smiles.  You’ll be happier and so will everyone around you.
  2. Turn off your phone.  No need to stare at a dimly lit screen 24 hours/per day.  Human interaction is powerful.
  3. Buy a pedometer.  The goal is to get at least 10,000 steps per day.  And a recent study showed doing so will slash the risk of dying from a heart attack by 56%.  Is that meaningful enough?
  4. Read a book.  I’m aiming to read 1 book per month.  I’m not the fastest reader in the world, so this is a manageable goal. 
  5. Turn off the TV.  Watching doom and gloom news 24 hours per day or living for reality TV watching someone else live their lives won’t make you better.  Be a participant in life vs a viewer of someone else.
  6. Keep a gratitude journal.  Very simply write 10 things you’re thankful for every morning when you wake up.  Maybe it’s as simple as the sky being blue, the weather in Louisville today getting out of the below zero temps, etc.
  7. Find an accountability partner.  This is someone (or a group) who holds you accountable.  Maybe it’s to your exercise, your work, goals, etc.  It doesn’t matter who it is, but make it someone who can support you when you’re struggling and motivate you when you’re on fire.
  8. Focus on YOU.  Too many people give everything of themselves to others.  This is great, but also having some ME time is important. 
  9. Do something that scares you. 

  10. Don’t engage in negativity.  Gossip at work?  No thanks, walk away.  Focus on everything that’s WRONG?  Nope, that won’t make anything or anyone better. 
  11. Send a note to someone.  How exciting is it to get actual mail?  Send someone a note – unexpectedly – sharing some positive words about them.  Everyone will win.
  12. Plan a menu for the week every Sunday.  This simple task will transform how you eat – rather than flying by the seat of your pants, you will have direction.
  13. Write your "ta da" list for the following day while in bed.  Yes, we call it a "ta da" list because that’s how you feel when it’s done.  Writing it the night before clears your head to get solid rest and gives you a plan to start your day right.
  14. Do something for YOU when you wake up.  Maybe it’s going to the gym. Maybe it’s reading something you enjoy.  Quietly enjoying a cup of coffee or tea.  Whatever it is, take a few minutes of "me" time without looking at your phone, email, Facebook, etc.
  15. Reach out to someone you have not connected with in awhile.  Maybe it’s a relative or friend.  Whoever it is, reach out and say hello. 
  16. Move.  More.  We can’t stress this one enough.  It will save your life.  See #3.
  17. Lift heavier weights (with good form, of course). 
  18. Start everyday with a large class of water (before drinking anything else).
  19. Learn something new.  A friend just told me he’s taking stand up comedy classes.  Maybe it’s music lessons a language.  Whatever it is, go out on a limb and try it.
  20. Learn to cook.  This should be #1 – it’s that important.  Just some basic skills.  We’re not asking you host a show on the Food Network.
  21. Create an emergency fund.  Having some money "just in case" will give you a serious sense of relief.  Most experts suggest just $1000 to start.
  22. Realize "urgent" doesn’t mean "important."  Emails, phone calls, etc are often urgent but don’t jump at someone else’s emergency when they take priority over yours.
  23. Do hard tasks first.  You’ll feel a true sense of accomplishment when those are out of the way rather than tackling the "easy" stuff.
  24. Batch your tasks.  We started doing this ourselves and it’s helped a ton.   Block 50 minutes to work on something without any interruptions.  Then, when that’s up, take 10 minutes to stand, move around, handle some less important tasks.  Then get back to the next 50 minutes.
  25. Don’t confuse being busy and being active.  We’re all busy.  Not enough of us are active.
  26. Pick up the phone.  Email & texts can often lead to miscommunication.  Pick up the phone and actually call someone to eliminate that.
  27. Travel.  This doesn’t have to be to some exotic far away land (though that’s nice too).  Maybe there’s something in your area you’ve never seen or done.  Just a short drive to a completely new place and experience.
  28. Tell your kids you love them.  A lot.  If you don’t have kids, tell your spouse, parents, etc.  Better yet, tell them all.
  29. Hug someone.  Everyone can use a solid hug.  Daily.
  30. Give more to get more.  Donate to a charity, church, etc.  Find a charity(ies) you believe in and donate.  We’re big supporters of the Wounded Warrior Project & Toys for Tots, but support whatever you believe in.
  31. Play.  Being silly is awesome.  Even as adults.  Just play more and let yourself go.
  32. Write your kids a letter.  Don’t have kids?  Maybe you have  nieces or nephews.  They’ll appreciate it when they grow up.
  33. Be the most positive person you know.
  34. Say "thank you" and "please" more often.  What we learned in kindergarten still holds true at any age.
  35. Focus on process goals.  Not just the end point. What will it take to get to the end point?  That’s what’s important.
  36. Complement someone.  Daily.
  37. Buy a coffee for the person behind you.
  38. Listen more, talk less.
  39. Be a student and always learning.
  40. Get organized.  A messy desk doesn’t mean you have a lot going on.  It means you’re messy.
  41. Put down gossip magazines and pick up Success Magazine.
  42. Sign up for a race you’ve never done.
  43. Participate in a charity event in your area.
  44. Donate your time.  A little bit goes a long way.
  45. Be generous.
  46. Drink more water.
  47. Next time you go out to eat, tip 100%.  You’ll make someone’s day.
  48. Every workout is a good one, even if you have just 10 minutes.  No one ever got done with a workout and felt bad about it.
  49. Eat together as a family.
  50. Talk about the "best part of your day" each night at the dinner table.
  51. Pay your kids $1 every time you say the word ‘no’ to them.  It will add up quickly and can curb that habit fast.

You don’t have to work on all 51 of these now.  Hopefully at least a few resonate with you to make 2014 even better than you originally planned!

Please click the ‘like’ button below if at least 1 of these "spoke" to you.

Easy Lunch Box Upgrades

It is back to school time for kiddos around the country.

I know because I’ve seen the pictures on Facebook.

One question that often comes up with back to school time is what to feed the kids.

There’s certainly no shortage of prepackaged, overly processed options marketed to moms and dads with the promise of “time saver, convenience” foods but some are just downright awful.

Let’s explore a few of the worst …

… and follow it up with a few that would be great, great options for busy kiddos, on the go.

Easy Lunch Box Upgrades

Lose It: Lunchables:  It’s a toss up between the Lunchables mini hot dogs that come with a sugar drink and candy or the Lunchables Chicken Sliders with the same sides.  Don’t be fooled by the “Good Source of Protein” marketing on the package; that poor quality protein, along with those awful sides, are also packed with loads of sugar and sodium. None of the Lunchable options are smart choices when trying to fuel the little ones for their day ahead and any after school activities.

 

Choose It: Pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store, a package of sprouted grain tortillas and make simple rollups and avocado.  Slice the already cooked chicken, avocado and add it to the wrap.  Roll it up like a burrito, and either serve it as such or slice it like a sushi roll.  Lunch done in 5 minutes!

 

Lose It: Smucker’s Uncrustables:  C’mon, PBJ might be the easiest meal to make.  Ever.  Between the partially hydrogenated oil in the bread and peanut butter, the jelly where 2 out of 3 ingredients are high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup, it leaves a lot to be desired.

 

Choose It: Pick up some sprouted grain bread, Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter that has 2 ingredients — peanuts and salt — and some frozen berries.  Here’s the trick, rather than traditional jelly, let the frozen berries defrost, mash them up and use that as the “jelly.”  You can also slice banana on there or fresh grapes, instead of the berries.

 

Lose It: Crackers.  Snacking on the go is common, from after-school activities to weekends filled with sports games and play dates.  It’s important to make sure that on-the-go snacks are nutritious and delicious. The problem, most on-the-go snacks, and crackers in particular, are completely void of any nutrition.  The buttery flavor often comes from trans fat and they do nothing to actually satisfy your hunger or fuel your body.  They’re nothing but empty carbohydrates and you and your kids are already over carbed.

Choose It: Mixed Nuts. Pre-pack your favorite healthful nuts (I’m partial to the Wonderful Pistachios Sweet Chili) in snack-sized bags (one serving is about 49 pistachios for 160 calories).  You can also keep some convenient 1 oz. (80 calorie) Wonderful Pistachios grab-and-go packs on hand to toss in your kiddo’s lunch boxes or when you need to grab a snack in a hurry. Our girls love these because as our four year old says “it’s fun to open the shell.”  We’re happy she likes to get crackin’ on those shells, because it slows her down from her normal rapid eating, plus pistachios offer fiber and protein. 

Lose It: Kellogg’s Special K Chocolatey Pretzel Bar.  Some bars are OK and we’re definitely OK with our kiddos eating them on occasion.  But others miss the mark.  Kellogg’s Special K Chocolatey Pretzel Bars are an example of “ones that miss.”  They have partially hydrogenated oil, lack protein, particularly since sugar or one of its many aliases pops up repeatedly, and as a whole have many more ingredients than I’d suggest in a bar.

Choose It: Kit’s Organic Bars, from the makers of Clif Bar.  We like them in the sense that they are made with real ingredients you can pronounce, don’t have added sugars or junky fats…and they taste incredible.  Have no question at all with our kiddos eating these.  We also love KIND Bars.  Between the heart healthy nuts, protein and fiber boost and incredible taste, all with ingredients you can pronounce, it’s a win win for all.  And our girls are raging fans of both!

Lose It: Soda.  I don’t think this one needs much explanation, though it continues to surface and I see kids everywhere gulping down this sugar water.

Choose It: Water with fresh fruit sliced in it for some added flavor.  If you’re looking to break away from plain water alone, check out Vita Coco’s newest Kids line of coconut water based drinks, with just 8 grams of sugar per 6 oz.  We like Vita Coco Kids products because they contain coconut water, natural fruit flavors, vitamin C and no artificial sweeteners … our kids certainly are big fans of these products.  Of course, milk is smart, too.

 

Fish Oil Causes Prostate Cancer?

I’m sitting in my hotel yesterday morning enjoying a cup of coffee.

fish oil prostate cancerAs I’m paging through the USA Today (guilty pleasure #1 when traveling) and listening to a morning TV show (guilty pleasure #2 when traveling) I heard the news anchor say something that almost made me spew my coffee.

“If you’re chewing your fish oil right now, immediately spit it out.  A new study just released found fish oil increases the risk of prostate cancer by 71%.”

As someone who takes fish oil daily, is an educator for a fish oil company, and when asked what supplements you should take, respond with “fish oil and vitamin D” I needed to hear more.
Because I work with a lot of media, I also had a hunch that there was more to tell than just what the TV anchor was reporting.  

 

The devil is in the details.

The little blurb I heard also conflicted with a large meta analysis (review of many studies) published in 2010 that showed fish consumption was protective against prostate cancer mortality. 

Back to this current study, which I’ve now had the chance to read in its entirety and got to talk with a handful of colleagues about.  The authors in this particular study said their results agreed with two other studies that had similar findings.  However they left out the many other studies that didn’t have similar findings, including the large review study published just a few years ago.

So now that I’ve had the chance to read the study, let’s pick through this a bit to hopefully help calm your nerves.

Translating research into results.

This was a large study – what’s called an epidemiological study, where researchers pick an outcome (in this case, prostate cancer) and then try to determine what may have led to that outcome (in this case, omega-3 levels of patients who had what’s called high grade prostate cancer). 

These types of studies are OK, but certainly can not determine cause and effect.  I had a long conversation with my friend, nutrition expert and physician, Dr. Hector Lopez, who summed it up well “this type of study and data limit the strength of the findings – these are not cause and effect studies.” 

In other words, from the findings of this study, it is 100% impossible and irresponsible to conclude that fish or fish oil cause an increase in risk for prostate cancer, though this was seen all over the media today.  And, interestingly, even the authors of this current study admit they don’t know why omega-3s – which normally display anti-cancer effects across the board – would promote prostate tumors.  Even stranger since, in the authors words, the men in the study had  “very low concentrations of omega-3′s."  We’ll talk more about their concentrations in a minute.

Let’s look a bit more in depth at the study itself. 

The method used for analysis of omega-3 levels was a single blood test, which was done when these subjects entered the long term study.

But there’s a major flaw in that type of analysis.  Single blood tests are not an accurate way of measuring omega-3 levels. This is simply an acute measure of omega-3 intake; something that could be affected by eating a single fish meal or taking a single dose of fish oil, but are not an accurate assessment of long term intake (the most important measurement).  

In fact, a recent research study by well known omega-3 expert, Dr. Bill Harris, confirmed that very point – single blood tests, like those used in this particular study, are not an accurate assessment of true, long term intake.  I also had a lengthy conversation with omega-3 researcher and expert Dr. Doug Bibus today who actually does blood serum tests to truly measure the level of omega-3 in your blood tissue and he confirmed my thoughts. If you do in fact want to get your blood tissue measured, go to http://www.Omega3Test.com and you can have it done.

Speaking of the analysis, when you look closely at the actual blood values — again, not a truly accurate tool to measure blood tissue levels of omega-3 fats, but still what was used in this study — the difference between the combined cancer group and control group was just 0.2%.  The blood level was 4.66% in the combined cancer group vs. 4.48% in the control (no cancer).  

What about countries with high seafood intakes who naturally have higher omega-3 intakes because of their diet?  We don’t see levels of prostate cancer among men skyrocketing in Japan, Iceland, etc.  So that conclusion isn’t valid in our opinion.

Research is like a woman’s bikini.  It can hide or reveal as much as you want.

So, all that being said, it’s important to take all studies with a grain of salt and keep your eye on the big picture.  Again, research can hide or reveal whatever you want.  I’m not saying these researchers or others are deceitful; there are just different statistical analyses, ways to look at data, etc that may not be appropriate in different situations.  That’s why it’s important to look at multiple studies (or keep reading this blog so we can do that for you).

Alright, so where do we go from here?



3 Take Home Points:

  1. Hopefully you’re eating fish regularly — wild salmon, sardines, anchovies, tuna, etc — 2-3 times per week.  That’s first and foremost.  Food first as fish offers a whole slew of other great nutrients, above and beyond just omega-3’s.
  2. The abundance of well controlled research, most governing bodies, well informed researchers and experts who study and talk about this regularly … agree that supplementing with a high quality fish oil is safe, healthy and smart.  We use, like and trust Nordic Naturals – take it ourselves and give it to our two girls.
  3. While we believe fish oil is a great piece to the dietary puzzle, it is not a magic bullet.  It is also important to decrease less healthy fats (processed saturated fats, trans fats), soybean oil, corn oil, fried foods, etc. in the diet.

Please do us a big favor and click the like button below to share this story on Facebook because the media isn’t telling the entire truth!

What’s the Deal with the Paleo Diet?

Checking in a Monday …

… answering one of the MOST common questions we get.

What Do You Think About the Paleo Diet?

Well, let’s take a step back and talk about the Paleo Diet a bit first.

What is the Paleo Diet?

To really simplify it, the idea is to eat like our ancestors who ate a lot less processed of a diet than we currently do

More specifically there are some simple guidelines about foods to choose and those to avoid (this list from a popular Paleo Diet website).  Similar lists are out there that are even a bit more limited (eat fruit, but only berries — veggies, except nightshades, like eggplant and tomatoes, etc).

Eat Avoid
Fruit Dairy
Veggies Grains
Lean Meat Processed Food & Sugar
Seafood Legumes
Nuts & Seeds Starches
Healthy Fats Alcohol

Let’s first talk about all we agree with.  Because at the end of the day, 90% of nutrition experts agree on most nutrition habits.  What’s funny is everyone always wants us to focus on the little part where there is a discrepancy.

We at Mohr Results are 100% on board with all those foods to include on the list above as a majority of the diet.

However there are a few in the "avoid" column we certainly believe are fantastic for you.

To be honest, the only one we completely agree with in that list is processed foods and sugar.  The devil is in the details.

Dairy certainly has some great nutrients.  Cottage cheese & Greek yogurt, for example — two easy sources of protein that work great in meals or as snacks.  Grains, same thing – lots of benefits when you choose the right types and that’s the issue.  Grains offer a ton of fiber and other nutrients.  Sure, most people do eat too many grains and, well, the "grains" they choose are hardly high fiber grains.  That’s the issue.

We’re fans of quality, fibrous grains in the right portions.  Same with legumes, which are a great source of fiber too.

The issue, really, is folks want to make nutrition black or white believing a food or food group is good or bad.

In fact, in response to a blog I wrote the other day, someone followed up on Twitter saying.

"Beans and Grains are Pro Inflammatory = Leaky Gut"

Really? 

Let’s look at the big picture.  Asian cultures usually eat rice (a grain) with every single meal. Italians include pasta (grain) and/or bread (grain) with most meals.  Usually white flour pasta, at that. 

Are we seeing an epidemic of "Leaky gut" around the world from the grains?  Not quite.

Nutrition is not black or white. 

Now, I’m not saying there aren’t some great qualities of eating less processed, more whole foods.  Of course there are and we love that about the "Paleo Diet" approach.  Less processed foods, more of a ‘clean’ diet for lack of a better term.

We’ve been "preaching" nutrition quality over nutrition quantity for years. 

Where we don’t agree are in some of the details. 

Alcohol for example – if caveman had beer, I can assure you they would drink it!  All jokes aside, alcohol does have some health benefits if you drink in moderation.  Of course beans and the right grains all have great nutrients.  Same with dairy, if there are no allergies.

Anytime an entire food group is demonized or completely off limits, the diet itself has limitations.

Paleo Diet

There are no miracle diets.

There are not evil food groups.

There is no magic food(s) that boost fat loss.

We guide people to make smarter food choices most of the time.

Show them how to make smart choices when faced with challenging situations.  No need to preach to me or everyone else how YOU eat and pretend that it’s written in stone.  There are a lot of approaches that work — "Paleo" might work for you, though a true nutrition expert can guide people to make appropriate choices for their lifestyle. 

Though telling people not to eat x or y, limit only specific foods because a food causes some type of issue/symptoms is easier than teaching …

… it’s not a solution that can last.  

"Give a man fish and feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime." 

Like this post?  Can you do us a favor and click the ‘like’ button below?

 

 

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