Focus ~ Food ~ Fitness


BLOG

By Christos Demetriou 22 Apr, 2017

The human body is a very complex system, and sometimes, seemingly the slightest thing might set it askew. Maybe it was a bowl of ice cream, dinner at a new restaurant, or an experimental recipe. Or maybe it’s something that’s a bit more frequent, and too often, you’re seemingly searching for relief.

One of the most probable suspects of common, occasional digestive woes is that there’s an imbalance within your gut bacterial ecosystem, called the microbiota. While not all that appetising to think about, it is quite fascinating.

Did you know there are 100 TRILLION bacteria living within your gut right now? That’s about three pounds worth. In fact, there are approximately 10 microbes lining your intestinal tract for every cell in your body. That’s a virtual forest living in the gut. These little fellows, called intestinal microbes, feed off of the food that we eat, helping with digestion and absorption, yet they have other very important roles.

For one, they help the immune system function properly. They also help by producing B and K vitamins. And perhaps most important, they consume waste, which prevents pathogenic bacteria from overwhelming the system (or even buying a bit too much real estate). Healthy bacteria, in fact, promote a healthy inflammatory response as well as help promote weight management, appetite control, and healthy carbohydrate metabolism.

As you can see, digestive health is about way more than digestion and absorption or even a little bloating or gas! Healthy bacteria are the good guys in our guts. And we want to make sure we have a healthy balance of them. But how?

A number of factors can upset the balance (leading to an imbalance called gut dysbiosis), including aging, environment, food choices, stress, medications, and more. Fortunately, if you’re looking to support a healthy gut microbiota, one of the first and best places to look is in your fridge.

Here are the   top 3 easily digested foods, followed by the top 3 that might just be killing your gut.

The Top 3 Easily Digested Foods

1) Yogurt

You probably knew yogurt would be on the list, but not all yogurt is created equally. And it’s not just a matter of taste. What makes yogurt one of the most easily digested foods? It is the little bacteria, the health-enhancing probiotics, that create it through the process of fermentation. They’re called “live active cultures.” You’ll want to make sure they’re listed on the label and alive and well. After all, by definition, probiotics must be alive when consumed.

The other caveat is a big one: watch the sugar content! Sugar is great… for feeding bad bacteria, which contradicts why you’re eating your yogurt in the first place. Instead, we recommend buying plain yogurt and adding fresh fruit if you prefer it on the sweeter side. Or, use yogurt not as a dessert but as a sour cream substitute. (Try mixing a spoonful with a ripe avocado for a delicious, creamy veggie dip!)

And if you must go with sweetened versions, shoot for 15 or less grams of sugar. Organizations like the American Heart Association recommend consuming less than 25 grams of added sugar, which, when consumed in excess, may contribute to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. For an extra boost of protein, choose Greek yogurt. When choosing yogurt, it’s best to go organic, which tends to have more omega-3 fats, fewer omega-6 fats, and more conjugated linoleic acid than conventional dairy.

2) Fermented Veggies

Fermented veggies, like sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi, are made through the process of lacto-fermentation. As a result, they are robust sources of the all-important the probiotics we’re looking for, including Lactobacillus brevis and Lactobacillus plantarum, which is regarded as one of the top probiotics for inhibiting bad bacteria and promoting health gut function. This is why they own a spot on out list of easily digested foods.

Buyer beware: many store-bought versions of pickles and sauerkraut are pickled in vinegar and do NOT contain live active cultures. So seek your fermented veggies in the refrigerated case, soaking in their own brine (water and salt mixture) rather than in vinegar.

Kimchi is a special type of Korean fermented food. It’s made with cabbage, radishes, onion, and spices—loads of spices. So if you’re in the mood for something spicy and delicious that naturally supplies active cultures, you might want to give it a try.

Sorry, one more caveat: Because fermented veggies are made with salt, if you’re watching your sodium intake, take a look at the nutrition facts panel and enjoy in moderation.

3) Fibrous Foods

While they don’t necessarily supply probiotics, fibrous foods do help support digestion and regularity, and most of us, quite frankly, don’t eat nearly enough. In fact, According to the American Dietetic Association, the average American consumes only about half the recommend daily intake.

Certain fibrous foods also contain “prebiotics,” which help probiotics grow and flourish within our guts by providing the food they love to eat. In addition, fiber helps keep our systems running smoothly, removing waste through and out of our intestines. The best prebiotic-rich foods include garlic, leeks, onions, dandelion greens, asparagus, bananas (particularly green bananas), barley, oats, apples, wheat bran, and jicama.

Veggies, of course, as well as fruits like berries are great sources of fiber as are beans and nuts.

Optimize Your Digestion

Now that you know our favorite easily digested foods, it’s just as important to know which ones to avoid.   Here are a few of the worst culprits to wreck your gut:

These 3 Foods Wreak Healthy Digestion

1) Artificial Sweeteners

Above, we mentioned that sugar feeds bad bacteria. So you might think artificial sweeteners are a better option. Think again. In fact, artificial sweeteners may be even worse. Two recent studies, one in animals and one in humans, found that commonly used artificial sweeteners (i.e., sucralose and saccharin) significantly altered gut bacteria (reducing the good guys) in a short amount of time—in as little as 5 days in humans. Even after weeks of no artificial sweetener use, the beneficial microbes still had not completely recovered balance.

2) High Fructose Corn Syrup

While good bacteria thrive and proliferate with healthy fibers, pathogenic bacteria (the “bad” guys) thrive on sugar—and they like it sweet! They enjoy cookies, cakes, and processed foods, and they seem to be especially fond of the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is used to sweeten everything from soda to salad dressing. Did you know HFCS makes up 42% of all calorie-containing sweeteners? Because regular sugar has similar effects on gut health, it’s often best to leave it on the table too.

If you’re worried that fruits may have the same detrimental effect with their naturally occurring sugars, the fortunate answer is no. Not at all. Because of the way nature packaged these delicious foods with both fiber and antioxidant-rich phytonutrients, they have a positive effect on gut health as mentioned above.

3) Refined and   Trans   Fats

Refined vegetable oils, which are rich in omega-6 fats, are all too common in the Western diet. And research is showing that this isn’t a good thing. For one, the heavy imbalance in omega fatty acids (too much omega-6, not enough omega-3) has led to a whole host of negative health effects, including, you guessed it, an increase in bad bacteria leading to an unhealthy inflammatory response, making it one of the least easily digested foods

More Benefits of Omega-3

On the other hand, fish oil, which is rich in the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, has been shown to enrich the gut with beneficial bacteria from the Lactobaccillus and Bifidobacterium families.

Increase the first three easily digested foods in your nutrition plan while decreasing the last three, and your gut will likely thank you. As an extra measure of defense, you may also want to invest in a high-quality daily probiotic supplement. With more and more research demonstrating the positive effects of a thriving probiotic population in the gut, it’s a simple “insurance policy.”


By Christos Demetriou 30 Jan, 2017

Scientists at the University of Illinois designed a weight-loss program in which one group ate the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein, while a matched group ate two times the RDA recommended amount. Both groups also exercised. The RDA group lost 12 pounds of fat in 16 weeks, while the higher-protein group lost nearly 20 pounds during the same time period. The RDA group also lost two pounds of muscle. This suggests that you need more protein during a weight-loss program, both to lose fat and to preserve your muscle.

“But wait,” protein naysayers will bark. “Won’t eating all of that protein jeopardize your cardiovascular system? It’s bound to clog your arteries.”

To put that concern to the test, researchers pooled together a group of subjects with high blood pressure and less-than-ideal cholesterol, and tested the impact of adding more protein to their diets. (The OmniHeart study) No one was allowed to gain or lose weight during the test, so any changes couldn’t be chalked up to the benefits of dropping a few pounds. Some subjects ate a diet with 18 percent of their total calories coming from protein, which is pretty close to the USDA’s recommended amount. A second group upped their protein intake to 28 percent.

What happened?

The higher-protein group showed better health across the board. People in that group had greater decreases in blood pressure, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. What’s more, their estimated 10-year risk of heart disease decreased compared to those on the lower protein track. Had these subjects been allowed to lose weight, the results may have been even more dramatic.

So what is optimal? If you go by science, about 30 percent of your calories should come from protein.

At that level, you won’t have to worry about deficiencies, and you’ll know you’re getting enough of the nutrient to lose fat while also improving your heart health. Have some protein at each of your meals and snacks, and you’ll hit the target with ease.

Protein and Energy

Allow me to pause our protein discussion to talk about your blood sugar. When you eat a meal, your body breaks down carbohydrates into individual sugars and dumps them into your bloodstream. It doesn’t matter if those carbs come from broccoli or biscuits. Your body needs energy, and this is how it’s produced. The result is an increase in your blood-sugar levels.

Now, your body is very particular about blood sugar, just like Goldilocks was particular about her porridge – it wants your blood-sugar levels to be just right (70 to 99 milligrams per deciliter, for those of you interested in numbers).

When you eat a big meal, your blood sugar increases a lot. This makes your body freak out. Your pancreas responds by releasing the hormone insulin. Insulin’s job in this case is very simple: Get the excess sugar out of your blood. It does this by going “door to door” throughout your body, knocking on the entry points of muscle and fat cells to see if they’ll open and take in some sugar until blood levels return to just right.

If your body overreacts, your pancreas will release too much insulin. That insulin will knock on too many doors, pulling too much sugar out of your blood. Now you have a new problem: hypoglycemia (hypo = low; glycemia = sugar). You’ll start to feel tired, or hungry, or perhaps both. You get tired because your body’s most immediate energy source, the sugar in your blood, is suddenly depleted. You want to eat because low blood sugar is one of your body’s most powerful hunger signals. Your body will crave carb-rich foods to get your blood sugar back up again, even if you just ate.

Here’s how protein plays into the equation. Protein can help displace those carbs. The amino acids that form the building blocks of protein provoke a much-lower insulin response than the one triggered by a high-carb meal. So consuming more protein will have a less dramatic affect on your blood sugar.

Protein also triggers the release of a hormone called glucagon. Glucagon is the yin to insulin’s yang. While insulin takes sugar from your blood and pushes it into muscle and fat cells, glucagon gets your fat cells to release stored fat into your bloodstream, where it provides fuel for your muscles, brain, and everything else that uses energy. Meaning that of all the types of food you can eat, protein is the most efficient for your body: It controls insulin and helps incinerate fat.

A Better Burn

When we talk about about burning calories, we tend to focus on exercise. But our bodies are constantly using energy throughout the day and night. Even when we’re sleeping, we’re still breathing and pumping blood. Our brains are dreaming. We’re still digesting food and finding places to store it. And not all foods are digested equally.

The components of food—protein, carbohydrates, and fats —require different amounts of energy to digest and process, just as different types and intensities of exercise burn more or fewer calories. Scientists call this metabolic cost the thermic effect of food (TEF).

Protein has a much higher TEF than carbs or fat. That is, simply eating more protein means your body is burning more calories during the process of digestion. In some cases, doubling your protein intake will bump up the number of calories you burn throughout the day. That’s one reason why protein, all by itself, helps you lose weight.

The Building Blocks of Muscle

During digestion, your body breaks down protein into individual amino acids. It uses them in many different ways, putting them together like a child combines Legos to build a castle. (Fortunately, your body does this in a more consistent way than your average elementary schooler.) These castles are your muscle tissue. To build them, you need an adequate supply of building blocks.

But imagine that the Legos did more than just stack on top of each other – they took part in your castle construction by telling you when to build your towers and walls. That’s what the amino acids in protein do. They aren’t just inert pieces of food waiting to be broken down. They actively signal your body to build muscle.

The most important amino acid in this process is leucine, which is found in just about every protein-containing food you’d ever eat. But in order for leucine to optimize and maximize your ability to turn protein into muscle there needs to be a certain amount present—a protein threshold, if you will.

Scientists estimate that this threshold is about 30 grams of protein. You can build muscle with less than this amount or more, but this dosage is what research has found is ideal for optimal functioning.

Once built, muscle is metabolically active, meaning it burns more calories than fat even while you’re at rest. (It scorches through a lot more when you’re active.) And the more muscle you have, the more effective and efficient you become at every activity, which helps you burn more calories.

The All-Day Protein Diet

I recommend consuming lean protein throughout the day. Here are some quick and easy ways to work this essential nutrient into every meal.

*BREAKFAST: eggs, egg whites, lean breakfast meats, Greek yogurt, smoothies with protein powder.

*LUNCH OR DINNER: salmon, chicken breasts, extra-lean ground turkey, extra-lean ground beef, turkey or chicken sausage, lean beef (top round, shoulder roast, skirt steak), tuna, cod, tilapia, shrimp, tofu.

*SNACKS: Nuts and seeds, roasted edamame beans, protein bars (pick bars with at least 10 grams of protein and no more than 30 grams of carbs), protein shakes.


By Christos Demetriou 05 Aug, 2016

Regular exercise can improve your health no matter your age, but as you get older, you might notice changes that affect your activity level. Muscle mass begins to decrease as you age, which can throw off your balance as well as slow your metabolism. You might find yourself more motivated to exercise as you get older to help ward off chronic diseases, control excess weight and stay active for life.

Loss of Muscle Mass

The amount of muscle and fatty tissue you have will change with age. Your body fat can increase by up to 30 percent, which leads to a loss of lean muscle tissue and can affect your sense of balance. This can make it difficult for you to perform exercise activities you once enjoyed. The loss of muscle also lowers your metabolism, because your body uses more energy to maintain muscle tissue than it does fat. As a result, you might find it harder to keep excess pounds at bay once you get older, and you may need to work out more often than you used to.

Energy Level

Your energy levels might decrease with age, making the idea of working out unappealing. But if you keep up with your workouts, you can actually improve your energy level and mood. Regular exercise can enhance the health of your cardiovascular system, helping your body to circulate your blood more efficiently and boost your energy throughout the day. It can also ward off depression and stress and help you sleep better, and all of these benefits will motivate you to get more activity into your life as you age.

Disease Prevention

To stay healthy with age, you need to take care of your body, and this means doing things that help prevent certain chronic diseases. Your bone mass begins to decline once your enter your thirties, putting you at risk for conditions such as osteoporosis. If you are concerned about developing this condition, perform more weight-bearing exercises, such as running and tennis. Regular cardio activity will also help you control high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as ward off type 2 diabetes and some kinds of cancer.


Staying Active

No matter your fitness level, mood or motivation, regular exercise can help you stay active for life. Change your routine according to your concerns as you age. For instance, to help with balance, take up yoga or tai chi. Take a dance class to strengthen your bones, or go for a daily jog to improve your heart health and boost your mood. Don’t let age keep you from the activities you enjoy, and look for exercises that fit your fitness level and goals.




By Christos Demetriou 23 Jul, 2016
According to science, there’s a difference between chronological age and biological age, which means you can be 50 years old and literally have a body of a 40 year old. I’m sure you’ve met someone that not only looks 10 years younger, but has boundless energy and stamina. That being said, I’m sure you’ve seen the exact opposite as well, someone that looks and acts much too OLD for their actual age.

So what’s the deal? Is it genetics? I know it sounds like the most reasonable answer. But genetics have very little to do with how fast or slow you age. Believe it or not, YOU have way more control over the ageing process than you think.

Seriously, it’s not science fiction… you CAN slow your ageing process, BUT only if you know what to do.

...And I’m not talking about having to take anti-ageing pills or hormone supplements. Nope. This is much safer and more effective. It’s something you can do on your own.

There are countless men and women who have cracked the code on ageing and have literally slowed down their biological clock to a crawl. And I’ll show you all the effective anti-ageing tips and tricks in just a minute, but first let’s look at what happens as you age…

Your metabolism slows down to a snail’s pace as you age. This makes burning fat and losing weight next to impossible. The hormones responsible for all of your youth-like qualities such as healthy skin tone, strong lean muscle, robust energy and insatiable sex drive, start declining more and more each year that goes by. And if you’re not proactive, your youth enhancing hormone levels may drop so low that there is no turning back. Ageing makes your bones weaker and more brittle by robbing your body of vital minerals that are essential for strong bones. This is why so many elderly people suffer from hip fractures that can lead to even more serious medical complications.

It’s not just your physical qualities that get negatively affected by aging…your brain suffers as well. Your memory, your ability to solve problems, and your decision making skills all start to decline and worsen each year.
And here’s the real kicker: After 40, your biological age starts to speed up and age faster than your chronological age! In fact, for every year that passes you can age up to 6 months extra. That means when you turn 42, your body is essentially turning 43…if you keep this up, at 48 your body could be as old as 52!!

These are the harsh facts, but it’s the truth. However, it doesn’t need to be this way. YOU have the power to slow aging and prolong your youth. When you apply my anti-aging strategies, you’ll be able to REVERSE the aging process by greatly slowing down your biological aging well below your chronological aging.

Here’s what you can expect when you use some of my anti-aging strategies:

You’ll re-ignite your metabolism, reprogramming your body so you can readily start burning fat right away.You’ll reboot your endocrine system, creating a resurgence of youth enhancing hormones so can get infinitely more energy—and replace flab with lean, strong muscle while boosting your sex drive. You’ll fortify your body by regaining bone density and building a solid foundation. Boost your brain power, enhancing memory and improving your cognitive function making you as sharp as a tack. You’ll dramatically decelerate your body’s ageing process. So, your biological age will age slower than your chronological age—making you look and feel younger each year that passes.

Now I need to warn you… what you’re going to read next is probably going to go against everything you’ve ever heard before. BUT that’s because very few people actually know how to slow their ageing process.

Think about the so-called “experts” giving you anti-aging tips… what do they look like? If they don’t look 10 - 15 years younger than their actual age, do you really think they have the right knowledge?

Look, I’m not one to judge by looks alone, but as far as anti-aging is concerned I’m taking advice from people that look the part and live the part…

Now, here are the 3 WORST mistakes you must AVOID if you want to slow the aging process and increase your metabolism to burn fat, boost your youth enhancing hormones to get more energy & stamina, and build a lean, strong, healthy body:

1. CARDIO

Too many people think that cardio is the answer to everything related to weight-loss and fat-loss. And although cardio can be helpful (if done properly), it does nothing to slow the ageing process. In fact, it does the exact opposite!. Doing long frequent cardio sessions will break down your muscles and increase the production of free radicals. These free radicals are nasty little things that damage the cells in your body and accelerate ageing.

Don’t worry if you’re concerned about your heart health. There is a much more effective way to improve your cardiovascular health, which I’ll cover in just a minute. And here’s the best part: it takes only 1/3 the time of a conventional cardio workout AND it also triggers your youth enhancing hormones instead of those nasty free radicals that age you faster!

 2. A LOW FAT DIET

It’s hard to believe that “low-fat” is still a dietary recommendation because science has proven that fat is not the cause of weight gain or heart disease. In fact, since the introduction of the fat-free diet, the world has gotten more fat and sick than it has ever been before.

Fat is not the enemy. Fat does NOT make you fat. In fact, fat is an absolute must if you want your body to look and feel younger! Why? Because healthy fats are an essential source of good cholesterol, which is KEY to producing the hormones that enhance your youthful qualities. (Not all cholesterol is bad, by the way — good cholesterol is a crucial component of healthy skin tissue, making your skin more supple, glowing, and youthful). If you’re following a low-fat diet, you’re depriving your body of the nutrients it needs to slow ageing and keep your youth.

3. YOGA

Yoga has been around for thousands of years and it’s still around after all this time because it’s very effective for things like improving your inner consciousness, mind-body connection and spiritual health. However, it should NOT be considered an effective form of exercise. Sure, some movements are difficult and physically challenging. BUT strictly physiologically speaking, yoga lacks the necessary components to stimulate your body to build lean muscle, burn fat and most importantly… trigger your youth-enhancing hormones to help slow aging. Yoga can improve your flexibility and calm your mind, but it will NOT stimulate your “youth” hormones.

What To Do Next

If you want to reverse the ageing process, you need to know HOW to trigger your youth-enhancing hormones to slough away old, dead cells while elevating your metabolic process so you can burn away stubborn, flabby fat and replace it with lean, toned muscle.

The answer is metabolic training. Don’t worry, it’s not as technical as it sounds. Let me explain…

Metabolic training involves doing certain types of exercises that involve your entire body, so you can activate as many muscles as you can in a short amount of time. It’s completely different from doing traditional isolated body building exercises (like biceps curls or leg curls) where you’re only using one muscle at a time. This form of exercise takes way too long and doesn’t stimulate enough muscle fibers to increase your fat-burning and youth-enhancing hormones.

Here’s the key: the more muscles you’re able to activate at the same time, the more you’ll be able to trigger your youth-enhancing hormones. This is why using exercises that involve your entire body (upper body and lower body) at the same time is crucial.

That’s not all…there’s a particular way you want perform these exercises, because doing so will trigger your most effective fat burning hormones, so you can burn off your old excess fat that’s been hanging around way too long.

And here’s the best part… you can replace your flabby body parts with lean, toned muscle by simply following these exercise protocols, because not only do they trigger your youth-enhancing hormones and fat-burning hormones—they also boosts your testosterone. Testosterone is your ultimate lean-muscle building—hormone for BOTH men and women. And much like other hormones, your testosterone levels naturally start to decline after the age of 40, which is why it’s so difficult to gain lean muscle and maintain that youthful body tone as you get older.

Turning back the clock is easy when you know HOW to trigger the right hormones in your body. And I’ll show you the specifics behind this easy, insanely effective method on the next page. Soon you’ll be able to trigger your youth enhancing hormones, along with your fat-burning and lean-muscle building hormones so you can defy the ageing process and look and feel 10 years younger!

Share by: