Monthly Archives: October 2014

Strange Weight Loss Tips That Work

Recently, the hosts of the TV show The Doctors discussed a few bizarre weight loss tips that

The color blue has been shown to suppress appetite.
The color blue has been shown to suppress appetite.

can actually help you shed pounds a little faster. We thought some of the tips were great, so we wanted to share them with you. It also got us thinking and we came up with a few more tips and tricks of our own. They may seem strange at first, but don’t knock ‘em til you try ‘em! You may just end up losing more weight in the end.

  • When eating out, sit at the end of the table. This tip was actually from one of the doctors on The Doctors and we thought it was a great one. When you’re out with a group of people at a restaurant, the waiter tends to place bread or chip baskets in the middle of the table. Make it a point to sit at the end of the table so it’s more work for you to get to that basket and it’s not sitting right in front of you screaming in your face.
  • Eat spicy food. Cayenne pepper helps boost your metabolism, so eating spicy food regularly can actually help promote weight loss. This doesn’t mean dump some cayenne pepper on your plate of chili cheese fries, but consider adding a little kick to your healthy meals.
  • Eat in front of a mirror. It may seem vain, but it works. Eating in front of a mirror has been shown to decrease the amount of calories that you take in by nearly 33 percent.
  • Go for individually wrapped treats. We generally like to encourage eating fresh, whole foods, but when you do reach for a piece of chocolate or candy, stick to individually wrapped varieties. Research shows that individuals eat 30 percent less candy when they actually had to unwrap each piece first. It’s a lot harder to eat a handful of wrapped candy than it is to pop a handful of M&Ms into your mouth.
  • Light vanilla-scented candles. Research shows that the smell of vanilla has been shown to reduce dessert cravings. Instead of reaching for that vanilla ice cream, light a vanilla candle or put a couple capfuls of vanilla extract in a coffee cup in the oven and bake at 300°F for about an hour.
  • Turn down the lights. Researchers at Ohio State University did an animal study that found that mice who slept in total darkness – as opposed to dim lights from the television or other electronics – were less prone to obesity than those who snoozed in complete darkness. While we can’t say with 100 percent certainty that these findings translate to humans, it can’t hurt to try!
  • Shut off the TV. People who watch less TV during the day tend to burn more calories on average than people who spend more time in front of the television. This may be because you’re forced to do something other than sit, but whatever the reason, it works.
  • Get a smaller plate. When you have a bigger plate, you tend to serve yourself more because you’re trying to fill up that empty space. Save yourself some calories by using smaller plates and bowls. You’ll still be satisfied and you’ll trick your brain into thinking that you ate more than you actually did.
  • Surround yourself with blue. Research shows that the color blue acts as an appetite suppressant, so people tend to eat about one-third less when in a blue room. On the other hand, red, yellow, and orange tend to boost appetite. Get yourself a blue tablecloth and a blue tablecloth and you may take in fewer calories.

 

Laying the Smack Down on Sugar

sugar
Sweetened beverages are the leading source of added sugar in the diet.

You’ve probably heard this before, but just in case you haven’t: added sugar is bad for you. REALLY bad for you. Fat gets the flak for many health problems, like obesity and heart troubles, but it’s really sugar that’s largely to blame. Now we know what you’re thinking “everything in moderation, right?”, but in this case, it might not be so simple. Of course, it would unrealistic to tell you that you should never eat a single granule of the sweet stuff again, but if there’s one thing you should work on massively cutting out from your diet, it’s sugar.

Sugar and Weight Gain

Let’s get the obvious problem out of the way first – when consumed in excess, sugar can cause weight gain. By itself, all sugar contains are calories and carbohydrates. There is no protein, no healthy fats, no enzymes, no vitamins, no minerals, no antioxidants. Nothing. When you eat sugar, all you’re doing is giving yourself empty calories. These calories don’t fill you up and, in fact, eating a lot of sugar can actually cause fluctuations in blood glucose that make you hungry and cause you to overeat; so it’s not just the calories in sugar that can lead to weight gain, it’s the excess food you’re likely to consume because of it, too.

Weight gain is only the tip of the iceberg. Added sugar has also been linked to high blood pressure, low blood sugar, depression, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, diabetes, acne, atherosclerosis, and hormone fluctuations. Too much of the sweet stuff is also associated with violent outburst and aggressive behavior.

The Scary Truth

Despite added sugar’s terrible effect on health, Americans are consuming more of it than ever. A typical American adult consumes 22 teaspoons per day. And want to know what’s more alarming? The average American child consumes 32 teaspoons each day – that’s over 500 calories from sugar alone. And remember, these are empty calories. There is no nutritional value there.

Making The Distinction

Now let’s make it clear that we’re talking about added sugar here – the sugar you put in your coffee or the fructose in your fruit drink. We’re not talking about the sugar that’s found naturally in fruits or yogurt. This sugar is packaged nicely with other nutrients like vitamins, calcium, and fiber. Although you still shouldn’t overdo natural sugars when you’re trying to lose weight, they’re their own separate category.

Cutting It Out

Unfortunately, added sugar is in so many things that it’s incredibly easy to overdo it if you don’t know any better. Luckily, we’re here to help you get to the bottom of where added sugar comes from and how to help you cut it out of your – and your kids’ – diet. The number one source of added sugar – a whopping 49.7% — in the diet is sweetened beverages. You may know that soda contains loads of sugar, but this also includes energy drinks, sports drinks, sweetened teas, bottled lemonades, and flavored waters. If it’s liquid and it’s sweet, it’s a safe assumption that there’s sugar in it (and if there’s not, it’s sweetened with artificial sweeteners, which is a topic for another day). An easy way to cut out sugar is to swap all your sweetened beverages for water. The bonus to this is that you’ll keep your body hydrated, which can help boost weight loss. Other sources include candy, syrups, cakes, cookies, pies, dairy desserts, (like ice cream!) and other grain-based foods.

Sugar by Any Other Name

The key to cutting out added sugar is to eat mostly fresh, whole, unprocessed foods. So many packaged and processed foods contain added sugar that it’s enough to make your head spin. When you do eat packaged and processed foods, do your due diligence by reading labels and avoiding foods that list sugar in their ingredient lists. Unfortunately, sugar is not always listed as “sugar” on the label, so it can take some detective work. Sugar may be listed as lactose, dextrose, fructose, brown rice syrup, and corn syrup solids, among many others. Here’s a list of the different names for sugar and why you should avoid each one. Familiarize yourself with this list or print it out and bring it with you when you go shopping to make detecting foods with added sugar a little easier.

Thinking Outside the Pie: the Benefits of Pumpkin

It’s officially fall and you know that that means – pumpkin everywhere you turn. When you pumpkinthink of pumpkin, you may have visions of pumpkin pies and pumpkin spice lattes dancing in your head, but the gourd – which is actually classified as a fruit botanically – offers so much more than that. When done right, pumpkin can be a beautiful addition to your healthy diet.

Full of Fiber

One single cup of pureed pumpkin – the pure stuff, not the sugar-laden pie filling – contains 7 grams of fiber. That’s almost 25 percent of what you need for an entire day and more than you would get from eating two slices of whole-grain bread. Fiber slows down digestion, which helps keep you full, which translates to less eating and more weight loss.

Low in Calories

In addition to being high in fiber, pumpkin also has a high water content which makes it beneficial for weight loss in two ways. First, it helps keep you hydrated so that you’re not holding onto excess water weight. Second, the high water content means that a larger volume contains fewer calories so you can fill up without overdoing it. One cup of pureed pumpkin contains less than 90 calories!

More than Weight Loss

With pumpkin it’s not just about weight loss. Pumpkin is loaded with beta-carotene, an antioxidant that’s great for your eyes and skin and can also help fight cancer. Pumpkin is also packed with vitamin C and vitamin A, two nutrients that boost your immunity and can help you recover from colds faster. It’s also a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid that has been shown to improve your mood and promote better sleep, which also promotes weight loss.

Don’t Forget the Seeds!

It’s not just the flesh of the pumpkin that has tons of nutritional benefit, though; pumpkin seeds pack their own little punch. Pumpkin seeds are high in protein and contain the healthy fats that help fill you up until your next meal. Because they’re shelf-stable and easy to take on the go, these seeds make a great snack. Stash them in your desk drawer, leave them in your glove box or carry them around in your purse for hunger emergencies.

Now What?

So now that you know how good pumpkin is for you, you may still be left wondering how to get it into your diet in a way that doesn’t involve a pie crust or an upscale coffee shop. The good news is that pumpkin is very versatile so there are several ways you can reap the benefits without getting bored. You can add a serving of pureed pumpkin to your breakfast smoothie or cut up some fresh pumpkin and roast it with olive oil and salt. You can make pumpkin soup or blend it with some frozen bananas and a little bit of coconut milk for a sweet after dinner treat. There are so many options that would be impossible to list them without rambling on and on; so instead, here’s this roundup of 45 different healthy pumpkin recipes. Let us know your favorites!

 

Troubleshooting: How to Make Your Diet Work For You

How many times have you heard someone say “Ugh, I can’t. I’m on a diet.” followed by a

A positive attitude is a major factor for success.
A positive attitude is a major factor for success.

sigh or a longing look or even an eye roll? How many times have you said it yourself? Being on a diet means you can’t have the things you want. Being on a diet means you have to feel hungry and deprived all the time. Being on a diet means that all of the fun has been sucked out of your life. Right? Oh, so wrong.

The problem with “diets” is usually not the diet itself. It’s your attitude about it. The problem with a large majority of people is that the minute they tell themselves that they’re on a diet, their attitude changes to one of negativity. They feel constrained and limited. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Like everything else in life, a diet is what you make it.

Stop Saying “I Can’t”

One of the most common phrases from someone on a specific diet plan is “I can’t.” I can’t eat that. I can’t have this. I can’t. The word “can’t” is negative in and of itself. It makes you feel like you’re restricted from having things that you want and that doesn’t feel good. Instead of focusing on the things you aren’t eating and saying “I can’t”, focus on the positive. Say things like “I’m making the choice to not eat that because my health is important and I’d like to lose some weight” or “I’m privileged to have a healthy meal for lunch today instead of one that is full of empty calories and makes me feel sluggish”. When you use positive phrases like these instead of the word “can’t”, it can help change your perspective and give you back control.

Don’t Force Foods

Kale is great for you; there’s no doubt about it. But if you hate kale and you regularly force yourself to eat it, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Another problem with diets is that people tend to think they have to force themselves to eat certain foods or choke down foods that they don’t like. While you do have to change your habits, you don’t have to suffer through the entire thing. There are plenty of healthy foods out there that can help you lose weight. The key is to find them. You’ll have to buy vegetables you’re not familiar with and try recipes that you’ve never heard of, but you’ll find the foods that work for you; and when you do, eating them becomes less of a chore and more of a pleasurable activity.

Get Your Friends Involved

Food has become somewhat of a culture. While the main purpose of food is to sustain life, it has turned into a social activity. You grab lunch with your friends; you eat popcorn and candy at the movies; you go out for happy hour after work – it seems like most activities nowadays involve food. Do you go out to your favorite restaurant and do your best to get the salad or do you decline plans altogether so you’re not tempted at all? Many people choose the latter and this can really put a damper on your social life. Instead of getting stuck in a rut where you’re turning down plans and avoiding nights out, get your friends and family on board. Make it a point to get out and do fun things that don’t involve food. Instead of lunch with your friends, go for a quick hike together and talk. Skip the movie and popcorn and go bowling instead. Instead of girls’ night at the bar, hit a spa and get pedicures or facials. There are many fun things you can do instead of eat.

Think About the Long-Term

The key to making lasting changes is to think in the long-term. A healthy lifestyle is not a temporary thing. The goal isn’t to be on a diet for 6 months, lose weight, and then go back to eating the way you used to. The point is to change your life for the better, permanently. Implement small changes and make them a part of your regular lifestyle. If you want a small treat, have it and then get right back on track. It’s all about balance, not deprivation.

Being on a diet is not the end of the world. Actually, it’s often the start of a brand new world that’s about to open up for you. Choose foods you enjoy, take pleasure in your meals, and remember the reason you’re doing it: your health. And what’s more important than that?

Lipotropic Injections: Why Loving Fat is a Good Thing

If you follow us on Facebook, you may have seen that we’re running a special this monthlipotropic injections on all 10-packs of lipotropic injections (at both locations!). Right now, when you purchase a 10-pack of injections you can get them at 20% off! But if you’re not familiar with lipotopic injections, that offer may not be as appealing as it should be. So what are lipotropic injections and what can they do for you? Well, we’re glad you asked. We currently offer 3 different types of lipotropic injections. Here’s a quick breakdown of each of them.

What Does Lipotropic Mean?

Before we get into the types of injections we offer, let’s discuss the term “lipotropic”. Lipotropic literally means “fat-loving” which doesn’t sound like something you want when it comes to weight loss, but don’t let the translation fool you – you do want it. Lipotropics are substances that have the ability to liquefy fats. They help decrease fat deposits and speed up the removal of fats from the liver, which ultimately translates to weight loss. Lipotropics are most effective when combined with a calorie-controlled diet.

Lipo-B

Lipo-B is a lipotropic injection that contains 3 types of lipotropics – choline, inositol, and methionine – as well as a combination of the B vitamins 5, 6, and 12. Choline is important for brain and nerve function, liver metabolism, and the transport of nutrients throughout the body. Many people are deficient in choline, which tends to cause weight gain. Inositol is a little known member of the vitamin B-complex family. Inositol helps prevent the buildup and accumulation of fat and helps break down fatty acids. It has also been shown to increase mood. Methionine supports healthy growth and metabolism and has been shown to prevent excess fat in the liver and body and decrease inflammation. The B vitamins support the metabolism of carbohydrates and fatty acids and help increase your energy levels.

Lipo Excel

Lipo Excel injections are similar to Lipo-B injections, but they work even faster. In addition to the ingredients found in Lipo-B, Lipo Excel injections contain Adenosine. Adenosine, which also occurs naturally in the body, helps promote weight loss while also increasing energy, improving mood, and boosting metabolism.

Lipo Blast

Lipo Blast contains all of the ingredients in Lipo-B with the benefit of added B vitamins. In addition to vitamins B-5, B-6, and B-12, Lipo Blast contains vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3, and B-7. These B vitamins provide more metabolic support, increase energy, and help you break down fat even more effectively.

Advantages of Injections over Pills

Although all of these components are available in oral supplement form, there are some MAJOR advantages to getting injections. One of the biggest advantages is increased absorption. When you take a pill orally, it has to travel through your digestive system and into your stomach and small intestines, where it is broken down and then finally reaches your bloodstream. Unfortunately, this whole process impairs absorption so you’re not really getting as much of the supplement as you think you are. When you get an injection, you bypass the entire digestive system so absorption is quicker and more efficient. Another benefit is that injections tend to last longer, so you don’t need to get them as frequently as you would need to take pills.

If lipotropic injections sound like something you may be interested in, give us a call at either of our locations (602-374-3374 or 480-968-5673). We would be happy to talk to you and answer any of your questions. If you’re already sold, come on in and see us whenever is convenient for you! No appointments necessary. Remember, our special offer ends 10/31!

Candy Overload: Tips for Surviving Halloween

Halloween is quickly approaching and we’re not sure what’s scarier: the ghosts and snickersgoblins running through the streets or the sheer amount of candy overcrowding the shelves. Everywhere you look there are bags and bags of chocolates, chewy candies, and sour candies and it seems like they’re practically calling out to you. But these seemingly harmless little packages contain loads of sugar (not to mention other not-so-healthy ingredients) and it’s no secret that sugar is bad for your waistline – and the rest of your body too. So how can you safely get through the biggest candy time of the year without packing on the pounds? The answers may seem simple, but sometimes, simple is just what it takes to be effective.

Don’t Buy Candy Until Halloween

If you’re a planner, you probably want to cross “pick up Halloween candy” off your checklist ASAP. The problem with this is that the earlier you buy the candy, the more it sits around, and the more tempted you’re going to be to have a piece here and take a bite there. Next thing you know, the entire bag is gone and you’re off to the store to buy some more. Even if procrastinating is out of your nature, wait until the last minute to buy candy – and we mean the literal last minute. Stop at the grocery store on the way home from work on Halloween. The bonus? Many stores will already have candy on sale at this time in an effort to clear their shelves to make room for next season’s treats so you’ll be able to save a few bucks too.

Buy Candy You Don’t Like

When buying candy for trick-or-treaters, it’s pretty common to reach for candy that’s your favorite. You know you like it, so it will obviously be the best choice for the kiddos coming to your door, right? Don’t do this. Instead of buying the candy you love, which will only be there to tempt you (especially if there’s leftovers), buy candy that you don’t really care for. If chocolate is your thing, go for sour candies. If you love taffy, pick up some chocolate bars. If you consider yourself a lover of all things candy, do your best to choose something that you’re least likely to binge on – even if it means picking up those black licorice sticks.

Call In the Reinforcements

If you have no choice but to buy candy a week or two early, enlist the help of your spouse, children, or a friend and ask this person to hide the candy in a REALLY good spot somewhere in your house. Have you ever heard the phrase “out of sight, out of mind”? It’s a lot easier to pass on candy when you have no idea where it is than if you have it sitting in a huge bowl on your dining room table just waiting for the trick-or-treaters (who aren’t coming for two weeks).

Don’t Go Shopping Hungry

This is an everyday rule, but it’s even more important during the Halloween season when candy is everywhere you look: don’t go shopping hungry. When you go shopping on an empty stomach, that voice on your shoulder that says “It’s okay, a little candy isn’t going to matter much” tends to be a lot louder than if you went shopping feeling satisfied after a healthy, balanced meal.

Don’t Buy Candy

Okay, this may make you the least popular house on the block, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. If your sweet tooth just cannot be tamed, don’t even tempt yourself. Your health is more important than candy and let’s face it – the kids will be getting plenty of candy from the other houses. If you still want to participate in the Halloween fun, buy non-edible treats like sticker packets or bottles of bubbles and hand those out instead.

The Most Important Meal of the Day? Building a Healthy Breakfast

You’ve probably heard the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” over and over again. While it may not be the most important – we’re inclined to think all meals are important – this popular bit of advice has some roots in trueggsth. The breakfast you choose sets the precedent for the entire day. If you skip breakfast, you’re bound to be ravenous by lunchtime. If you eat a sugary, refined carbohydrate-rich breakfast, you set yourself for a blood sugar roller-coaster ride. If you choose a protein-packed meal that’s loaded with fiber-rich veggies, you can help foster weight loss and even improve your mental capacity throughout the day. So what are the steps to building a healthy breakfast?

Start with Protein

Many breakfast plates are loaded with carbohydrates, like cereals, waffles, pancakes, and toasts, and seriously lacking in protein. While carbohydrates are important, they don’t help keep you full like protein does. In fact, eating lean proteins at breakfast can help reduce the urge to snack throughout the day. Start building your breakfast plate by choosing quality sources of protein like eggs, unflavored Greek yogurt, or a handful of unsalted nuts.

Add Some Fresh Produce

Fruits and vegetables are packed with micronutrients and including them at breakfast makes it more likely that you’ll meet your vitamin and mineral needs for the day. Fruits and veggies are also loaded with fiber and water, which helps fill you up without contributing an excess amount of calories. Add some mild tasting vegetables, like broccoli, zucchini, or spinach to your scrambled eggs; mix some berries into your Greek yogurt; or chop up some banana and toss it with almonds for a filling “monkey salad”.

Consider Whole Grains

Although a protein- and fiber-packed breakfast is often enough to get you through until lunch, whole grains have their place at the breakfast table as well. Be choosy with your grains, though, because they are not all created equal. Opt for slow-digesting grains like steel cut oats or oat bran. Don’t be fooled by cold cereals that are “made with whole grains”. Manufacturers are allowed to use that phrase even if there is only a tiny amount of whole grains in a product and the rest is all sugar.

Think Outside the Box

There is no rule that says only certain foods are acceptable for breakfast and others are off-limits, yet so many people categorize certain foods as “breakfast foods”, while saving others for lunch or dinner. You don’t always have to eat a veggie omelet or a bowl of yogurt in the morning. Eat whatever you want! If you made chicken with roasted vegetables for dinner the night before and have leftovers, eat those. Bake a sweet potato, top it with some ground turkey, and have some steamed broccoli on the side. It may sound strange, especially if you’re used to eating waffles or pancakes for breakfast, but try it out. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much you like it.

Raspberry Ketones: What Can They Do For You?

Our product of the month – Mango-Plex with Raspberry Ketone – is one of the top selling Raspberry Ketonesupplements here at Valley Medical. This supplement is loaded with beneficial ingredients, including African mango seed, green tea, green coffee bean, and raspberry ketones. Wait, what? Raspberry ketones, you say? I’ve heard about those before, but can you tell me more? Well, we’re glad you asked.

What Are They?

Raspberry ketones are natural substances that give raspberries their smell. Cranberries, kiwis, and blueberries also contain small amounts of raspberry ketones, but as the name not-so-subtly points out, the concentration is highest in raspberries. Raspberry ketones are used in small amounts in some processed foods as a natural flavor, but in higher doses, they are being used in many weight loss supplements, including Mango-Plex.

How Do They Work?

Researchers became interested in raspberry ketones as a weight loss supplement when they noticed that the molecular structure was similar to that of two other substances already known to boost metabolism: capsaicin and synephrine. Because the structure was so similar, researchers concluded that raspberry ketones would work in the same way as these two metabolism-boosting supplements. Then they set out to test that theory.

The Science

Researchers’ suspicions were backed up when a 2010 animal study reported that raspberry ketones can help increase the breakdown of fat and stimulate the release of adiponectin, a hormone that helps boost metabolism and regulate blood sugar levels. In most cases, thinner people have higher adiponectin levels than people who are overweight. On the other hand, low levels of adiponectin are associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

If you’re interested in seeing what raspberry ketones – paired with several other metabolism-boosting ingredients – can do for you, take advantage of our October special, which includes a bottle of Mango-Plex with Raspberry Ketone.

Chia Seeds: The Ancient Superfood

If you haven’t hopped aboard the chia seed train yet, you’re missing out on something huge. That’s figurative of course, since chia seeds are tiny; but don’t let their small size fool you: chia seeds are LOADED with nutrition. Adding these seeds to your diet can not only help you lose weight, it provides a host of other benefits as well.chia seeds

Chia Seeds for Weight Loss

Chia seeds are loaded with protein and fiber. In fact, almost all of the carbohydrates in chia seeds are in the form of fiber. Protein is considered the most “weight loss-friendly” nutrient because it helps reduce appetite and can keep you full for an extended period of time. Some research also shows that protein can reduce the urge for nighttime snacking and decrease obsessive thoughts about food (1, 2). It’s not only the amount of protein that makes chia seeds a superfood for your diet, it’s the amino acid content of these proteins. Chia seeds contain a good balance of the essential amino acids that your body can’t make.

The fiber in chia seeds also contributes to weight loss by absorbing water and expanding in your stomach. This helps delay the emptying of your stomach, which means that you feel fuller for a longer period of time. A single ounce of chia seeds contains 10 grams of fiber – almost half the amount recommended for an entire day!

Other Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Benefits

The benefits of chia seeds don’t stop at weight loss. These little seeds are rich in calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus – three minerals that help keep your bones strong. In fact, gram for gram, chia seeds have more calcium than a lot of dairy products. Chia seeds are also loaded with antioxidants, which not only protect the fats in the seeds themselves from going rancid (so the seeds don’t go bad before you have a chance to use them), but they protect your body from many chronic diseases, like heart disease and cancer.

How to Use Them

If you’re new to chia seeds, you may be a little intimidated by them at first – and that’s okay. Chia seeds are fairly bland, so you can easily incorporate them into your diet in various ways until you find a way – or many different ways – that work for you. You can also eat them whole, unlike flaxseeds, so there’s no extra grinding step necessary.

If you drink smoothies, throw a spoonful of chia seeds in the blender with everything else. If you prefer a little texture in your smoothies, you can mix the chia seeds into your smoothie after blending to keep them whole. You can sprinkle chia seeds on top of your yogurt, stir them into your oatmeal, or top off your cereal with them. They’re not just for breakfast, though. You can also toss some chia seeds into vegetable side dishes. You can even use chia seeds as substitute for eggs in baked goods. The possibilities really are endless.

To get you started on incorporating chia seeds into your diet, here’s a chia seed pudding recipe from Juli at PaleOMG. You can make this at night and eat in the morning for breakfast or save it for a sweet, filling, healthy treat for after dinner.