Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Quick Lunch Rx: Chicken, Pesto & Guacamole Wrap

This is a quick and delicious wrap that is loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats, vegetables, protein, and quality carbs. You can make this in less than 5 minutes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cooked chicken breast, chopped and seasoned to taste
  • 1 sprouted-grain or whole-grain wrap
  • 1-2 large handfuls baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped cucumbers
  • 2 tbsp basil Olive Oil pesto
  • 2 tbsp guacamole
  • 1 plum or other small piece of fruit

Directions: Evenly spread pesto onto wrap. Lay spinach on top in an even layer. Then lay down chicken breast on top of spinach. Spread guacamole on top of chicken breast and toss in diced cucumbers.

Enjoy with carrots and hummus or other produce of choice. Makes 1 serving for men, or 2 for women.

Eat good – and Live Life Well!

John Aaron Villarreal
johnaaron-massage.com

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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,

cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician
prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Great Grapefruit!

The summer season is here and it’s time for cool citrus drinks, but don’t rely on only a summer of lemonade. Instead, step up to the tartness of grapefruit, and gather an array of additional health benefits.

In the health world, few words get as much applause and attention as "antioxidants." You’ve read enough of my posts and Recipe Rx’s to know that. Well, what do you think gives a grapefruit its’ pretty pink and red color? It’s the antioxidant lycopene.


Grapefruit juice contains some of the highest levels of antioxidants (along with grape, apple, and cranberry juice), and regardless of whether you eat or sip on your antioxidants, getting plenty of grapefruit in your diet gives you an advantage over a number of cancers.


Still can’t handle the bitter tart taste? Try a little honey on top. It'll be sweet and sour and loaded with health-boosting perks!


Another benefit of grapefruit is a type of fiber found in it; pectin. Pectin's main benefit isn't keeping you regular, though. Instead, it helps fight cholesterol. A number of studies have found that the pectin found in any kind of grapefruit lowers bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein cholesterol). If you eat red grapefruit, you'll also enjoy the benefit of reduced triglycerides - the chemical form fat takes on in foods and in your body.


Along with pectin's magical ability to lower cholesterol levels, it also helps reduce cholesterol's effects on the arteries. In other words, eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice can help your arteries avoid the narrowing that occurs when excess cholesterol and fats build up inside the artery walls, a process that leads to heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in America.
(are you listening my fellow 40+ year olds???)

Like other citrus, grapefruit is loaded with vitamin C. Aside from aiding in the fight against the common cold, a vitamin C-filled diet can also reduce the severity of asthma, arthritis, and other diseases that are brought about by inflammation.



A Cautionary Note on Medications:

Despite the number of health benefits, grapefruit isn't for everyone.

Normally, enzymes lining the small intestines destroy a certain portion of the medication you take, causing only a limited amount to make its way to your blood stream.

However, grapefruit juice wields the power to prevent your intestinal lining from working in that manner. When grapefruit juice keeps these enzymes from doing their jobs, you wind up with an extremely large amount of medicine in your body, which can be dangerous.


Certain medications that treat high cholesterol, seizures, depression, high blood pressure, and abnormal heart rhythms are all likely candidates for this frightening effect.

If you're taking any of these medications, talk with your physician before adding grapefruit to your diet.
And, if you're already a big fan of grapefruit, don’t worry. Perhaps your physician can recommend an alternative medication that can be taken safely with grapefruit.

Until next time – Live Life Well,


John Aaron Villarreal

johnaaron-massage.com


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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Recipe Rx - Japanese Infusion Smoothie for Two

This is a great recipe (especially us 40+ year olds) that not only helps maintain focus and energy, but is loaded with antioxidants. As you may already know, antioxidants help neutralize free radicals which are unstable molecules linked to the development of a number of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's.

According to the USDA database of the antioxidant activity of selected foods (ORAC values), blueberries rank among the highest on a per serving basis. It is believed that substances in blueberries called polyphenols, specifically anthocyanins that give blueberries their blue hue, are the major contributors to the antioxidant activity of blueberries.


Add to that matcha green tea which purportedly has 70 times the antioxidants of orange juice, and perhaps even more than blueberries, and its unique EGCG catechin element (the subject of much current research) is one of the most powerful immune-boosting and anti-cancer substances known.


As for Black sesame seeds, they are rich in phytosterols. Phytosterols are plant compounds very similar in structure (chemical) to cholesterol. Consuming more dietary phytosterols not only decreases blood cholesterol levels but reduces the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Sesame seeds offer the highest phytosterol content (400 to 413 mg per 100 grams or 3.5 ounces) of all nuts and seeds.


Japanese Infusion Smoothie for two

½ cup low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt
1 cup frozen blueberries

1 teaspoon ground black sesame seeds

½ teaspoon matcha green tea

1 and ½ cups of rice milk

2 ice cubes


Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until frothy. Pour into a chilled glass and enjoy.


Total Calories: 251 Carb=42g Prot=8.7g Fat=6.2
Source: The Brain Diet


Until next time - Live Life Well,

John Aaron Villarreal


johnaaron-massage.com

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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,
cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Catching Z’s and Dropping Pounds

Maybe you’ve been working really hard at losing those last 10 pounds. You’ve done everything you can think of from cutting back on the amount of calories you eat, to working out twice a day. You’ve even sworn off desserts! So why do those extra pounds hold such a stubborn grip on you?

Well, if you’ve read a couple of my most recent posts, you could be sabotaging your efforts by neglecting your sleep.
As I’ve been saying, your ability to maintain a healthy weight can directly correlate your ability to obtain adequate quality. The interesting thing is that the two benefits are symbiotic in that losing weight is a good way to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.

Why? There are a number of reasons.


For starters, a significant number of overweight people tend to suffer from sleep apnea. This is a condition which commonly causes snoring. However, the snoring is severe enough to obstruct a persons’ breathing for prolonged periods, as he or she sleeps. However, there are recorded cases where individuals have been cured of sleep apnea through weight loss.


Another way your sleep may improve through weight loss is through a reduction of joint pain, including chronic back pain. The link between being back pain and being overweight has been researched for years. And if you have experienced an episode where you may have hurt your back, you can attest to the fact that while back pain is bothersome during the day, it can be extremely bad at night when you try to lie down to sleep. Is it any wonder how this can have a negative impact on your quality of sleep?


Regardless of whether you are currently overweight or suffering from either of the problems mentioned above, one this is certain: you must find time for exercise and adequate rest. Do not be discouraged that results aren’t instantaneous. Instead, make the effort to do all you can to improve your health and quality of life and renew your vow daily
A happier, healthier life is closer than you think.

Until next time – Live Life Well
,

John Aaron Villarreal

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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Back to Bed

So, since we’ve already gone over some of the benefits of actively getting enough sleep, I’m sure you are eager to secure better sleep help with your weight loss efforts. Yet, you may be wondering how do I get better sleep?

The first step is to prepare for bed time. Choose a bed time and stick with it. You need to be sure you have enough time to sleep. Many studies suggest that while you may be able to function on four or five hours of sleep each night, most people require more. On average, you should be getting about eight hours of sleep each night, give or take an hour.


I know for some of you this may mean you will be giving up your late night dancing, movies or television. It may even mean you delay your morning workout, but getting your body's hormones regulated will pay off.


Sometimes I find clients that spend plenty of time in bed at night wake up feeling un-rested in the morning. If you have the same issues, you may be living with a sleep disorder and may need a professional evaluation.


Sleep disorders vary from sleep apnea (pauses in breathing as you sleep) to restless legs syndrome (irresistible urges to move your legs when you rest) to narcolepsy (constant sleepiness). They disrupt your bedtime routine and your entire day from the moment you wake up. However, proper diagnosis and treatment can provide you the relief you need.


Adding to my previous posting; Sleep loss can also increase the production of another hormone – cortisol (the stress hormone). Like the combination of leptin and ghrelin, cortisol is also directly responsible for regulating whether you feel hungry or full. So be sure to get your rest!


Until next time - Live Life Well,


John Aaron Villarreal

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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Recipe Rx - Wasabi Salmon Burgers

Whenever I ask a client about what food group they should avoid eating, most usually answer "fats." Although I tend to agree that consuming large amounts of fat should be avoided, there are some types of fat that we simply can't live without. Among them are the omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids not only play a vital role in the health of the membrane of every cell in our body, it also helps protect us from a number of key health threats such as heart disease and stroke.


Some research has even shown that omega-3s can help to reduce symptoms of hypertension, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), joint pain and other rheumatoid problems, as well as certain skin ailments.


More recently, research indicates that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can boost the immune system and help protect us from the onset of Alzheimer's disease.


Today’s Recipe Prescription is for Wasabi Salmon Burgers. Delicious and easy to make, this recipe brings out the flavors of salmon with a Japanese-inspired fusion of ginger, sesame oil and wasabi, Plus, they are packed with omega-3s and additional nutrients and anti-oxidants.


Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce 1 1/2 teaspoons wasabi powder, (see Note) 1/2 teaspoon honey 2 cans boneless, wild caught pink salmon (drained) 2 scallions, finely chopped 1/4 red bell pepper (finely chopped) 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs 1 egg, lightly beaten 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Preparation
Whisk soy sauce, wasabi powder and honey in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients and mix by hand. Form the mixture into 4 patties. The mixture will be moist and loose, but holds together nicely once the first side is cooked.


Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and cook the patties over medium heat for 1-2 minutes for each side. Turn and continue to cook until firm and fragrant.

Spoon the reserved wasabi glaze evenly over the burgers and cook for 15 seconds more. Serve immediately (4 servings).


If you serve these patties on whole-wheat buns, consider reduced-fat mayonnaise and sliced cucumbers as condiments. Or skip the buns and set the patties atop a vinegary salad of greens, carrots, radishes and sprouts.


Tips & Notes:
Wasabi powder, when mixed with water, becomes the green paste most of us know from sushi restaurants. The powder is available in jars in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets or in almost all Asian markets. Store at room temperature for up to 1 year.


Nutrition Per serving:
184 calories; 7 g fat ( 1 g sat , 2 g mono ); 117 mg cholesterol; 3 g carbohydrates; 1 g added sugars; 27 g protein; 0 g fiber; 369 mg sodium; 464 mg potassium.


Nutrition Bonus:
Selenium (84% daily value), omega-3s. Exchanges: 4 lean meat


Until next time - Live Life Well,

John Aaron Villarreal
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johnaaron-massage.com
For more info on Omega-3 benefits, click here

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sleeping Gets Hormonal

That's right: it’s all hormones! If you’ve read any of my articles regarding sleep and weight loss, then you know the medical fact that spending an ample amount of time getting shuteye is essential to helping your body get rid of those unwanted pounds. But have you ever wondering how it works? Read on as I try to make sense of this amazing process.

Our bodies are filled with all kinds of hormones that are responsible for doing any number of things. Two hormones; leptin and ghrelin, are predominantly responsible for influences on your appetite. In other words, these two hormones make you feel either hungry or satiated. Ghrelin is responsible for making you to feel hungry and leptin alerts your brain to the sensation that you are “full” and have had enough to eat.


Here’s where the problem with sleep deprivation begins. A lack of sleep can result in your leptin levels to plummet and your ghrelin levels to rise. The result being that you feel hungry more often than you ought to and, when you finally get to eat, your brain doesn’t clue into the notion that you've had enough to eat until you are over fed.


Have too many sleepless nights and you can imagine the damage that can be done to all the hard work you've put into your healthy living plan. Over the next few postings, I will blog more how you can get the most of your sleep patterns. In the mean time, I’ll be making plans to go to bed early tonight. ; )


Until then - Live Life Well,


John Aaron Villarreal

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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,
cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician
prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Crux of Metabolism: Breakfast

So we've reviewed a bit of what metabolism is and the benefits of improving it, but are you really serious about getting the most out of your metabolism? The saying really is true. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day! If you think you can have a high metabolism by skipping it and fasting until your afternoon meal, you are dead wrong. Not eating break-fast, puts you at a higher risk for slowed metabolism.
I know, you say I don't have time, or that you're just not a breakfast kind of person, but without this meal - you are limiting the amount of progress you can make toward a better body and greater health.
In fact, here are a few ways skipping breakfast will do the body bad.
1. It makes you hungrier at lunch and other times than you should be. When this happens, you don't make good choices - and you know it!
2. It gives you nothing to start with. When your stomach is empty, your body is doing everything possible to hang onto the calories at its disposal. Hence why you have no energy without breakfast!
3. It starts you off all wrong. Start your day with a poor dietary decision, and you're sure to make more of them throughout the day.
Breakfast doesn't have to be big, but it must be consumed. At the very least, you can try a glass of reduced fat milk, or milk substitute. Then add other foods as you are able, like whole wheat toast, a piece of fresh fruit or boiled eggs. As always, I am here to help you if you need it.
Until then - Live Life Well,
John Aaron Villarreal
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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Friday, May 6, 2011

How To Boost Metabolism

While there are a handful of factors that limit your ability to increase or decrease your metabolism, you can take your low metabolism by the horns and give it a boost with the right steps. Since you know that muscle burns more calories than fat, you probably already guessed the first step to speeding up your slow metabolism.
Get more muscles. A little flab here and there won't make a huge difference, but muscle burns energy faster than flab. So if you want the highest possible metabolism, you'll need to increase your muscle mass. Do this by exercising on a regular basis (three days a week at the least), and be sure to mix in plenty of weight lifting with your running, bicycling, and swimming. If you're over 40 years of age, you may need some extra time in the gym, as you also have to fight your metabolism's desire to slow down regardless of your routine.

Get five meals. Eating three times a day may be how you did things growing up, but unless you want to grow out, you've got to eat up more often. By substituting three large meals for five or more small meals throughout the day, you give your body confidence that there will be plenty of food coming later. This confidence allows your body to burn off more calories all day long.

Get good foods. Eating five or six times a day will have the greatest impact on your metabolism if you're filling up on the right stuff. That means tossing the extra slice of cake in the trash and going for a handful of carrots instead. Or grab some oatmeal for a fill up that will provide a slow-burning boost to your metabolic low.

As always, if you need help organizing your plan to increase your metabolism, consider hiring a professional. I’m available any time you are ready.

Until then - Life Life Well,

John Aaron Villarreal
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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What Is Metabolism?

Inside your body, a complex process is going on that involves hormones, enzymes, and food. Known as metabolism, this process is responsible for your body's ability to take food and turn it into energy. Additionally, your metabolism determines if you take that energy and burn it off with ease or if it sits around on your body and goes nowhere (except for maybe your thighs, hips and belly) fast.

Though you probably wish your metabolism was sky high (everyone wants that sleek body - right?), there are a number of factors you can't change that determine the level of your metabolism. These include age, sex, and your genes. That's right - being over 40 decreases your metabolism, as does being a woman or having a family history of slow metabolism.

Ever wondered why the first few pounds of weight loss come so easily for some people? It's because your body has to work a little harder when you're overweight. So when you make a small lifestyle change, your higher metabolism does the rest of the work by helping shed pounds with a bit more ease.

Unfortunately, keeping a high metabolism isn't after you've lost the initial few pounds. But if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you'll need to have your metabolism working for you.

There's a lot of talk about metabolism, and it seems that all the skinny folks have a large amount of it. But what exactly is metabolism, why is it important to your body, and what can you do to increase your metabolism? You're about to find out!

Over the next few posts, I will present ways to improve your metabolism and make the most out of your weight loss progress.

Until then, Live Life Well,

John Aaron Villarreal
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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.