Never Load Carbohydrates!
As an athlete, the majority of my coaches recommended carbohydrate loading the night before a game. The thought process behind this is that by eating complex carbohydrates (that huge bowl of pasta) the night before your competition, your muscles will fill up with stored sugar (stored glucose is called glycogen). This is then supposed to provide your muscles with more fuel during your competition, allowing you to have better endurance and more energy. From the surface, it seems to make sense. However, this is why myths are created. They all look good on the surface, that’s why they have survived over the years. Once you begin to pull back some layers and dig a little deeper, the holes begin to appear.
There are three facts why you should never carbohydrate load before a competition:
FACT 1 - Your body does not store glucose (glycogen) very efficiently.
You have learned that your body is a “feed as it goes machine.” The only thing your body is efficient at storing is fat, because it provides so much energy. Your body stores glucose primarily in two places: your liver and your skeletal muscle (the muscle you use to play your sport.) At best, your liver can store about 100-120 grams of glucose. That’s only 400-480 calories (4 calories per gram of glucose)! This is crucial to understand because the glucose stored in your liver is your body’s source of blood sugar. When your blood sugar drops; your liver releases glucose into your blood to keep your blood sugar stable. When your liver runs out of glucose, it begins to convert amino acids (muscle) into sugar. This is how low blood sugar triggers your body to consume its muscle.
Your skeletal muscles can store more glucose then your liver, however when you carbohydrate load, you spike your blood sugar. This causes your body to store fat as well as the glucose in your muscles. Whenever there is an excess of glucose in your body, most likely some of it will be stored as fat. In addition, anytime you spike your blood sugar, you create unstable blood sugar levels. This goes against the purpose of having a solid Body Confidence Structure. Your Structure is designed to maintain stable blood sugar. Storing fat and having unstable blood sugar is not how you improve your performance.
FACT 2 - The stored sugar (glycogen) in your skeletal muscle cannot be used as blood sugar.
This philosophy also came into being because people always thought that all the stored glucose in your muscle could be utilized by your body for energy. There’s one big problem with this: it’s impossible. Your skeletal muscle lacks the enzyme glucose-6 phosphatase. Without this enzyme, your skeletal muscle cannot provide the rest of your body with glucose. The stored sugar in your skeletal muscle can ONLY be used by that muscle.
Each sport utilizes some muscles more than others, which means that once your more active muscles run out of stored sugar, they have no more fuel. These muscles now become reliant on your liver for energy. Most likely, if your muscles are out of fuel; your liver is out of its stored glucose. This then triggers your liver to begin converting amino acids (muscle) into sugar in order to provide your muscles with fuel. This entire process will negatively affect your performance.
FACT 3 - You will experience energy drops during competition
The first two facts will cause you to have energy crashes during your competition because the lack of available glucose in your body triggers low blood sugar. Low blood sugar is always accompanied with low energy. In addition, carbohydrate loading the night before will ensure that you begin your competition with unstable blood sugar. This will also cause energy challenges throughout.
All 3 facts clearly show why you should never carbohydrate load. It can only hinder your performance. The facts are that your body needs to be fed consistently before, during and after your competition. Approaching your nutrition like this will take your performance to a higher level, and leads us into the second strategy on getting your competitive edge.
Author of the NY Times Best Seller, Body Confidence
Creator and CEO of Venice Nutrition
Cancer patients can benefit greatly from a proper exercise and fitness program, especially after something like a mesothelioma prognosis. Although it was once believed widely that patients should rest, medical professionals now agree that exercise and light activity is beneficial to all cancer patients. They recommend that these patients get 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise. This is the same guideline for the general public.
Swimming is one great option for cancer patients that wish to exercise during their treatment plans. The water allows for virtually no impact on joints, and lap swimming can build lung strength in those suffering from lung cancer or mesothelioma. The warm water can be soothing to the body and mind as well, especially after rounds of chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
Another great option for cancer patients is yoga. This exercise is low impact and greatly improves flexibility and balance. It is also calming and helps to balance stress levels, especially for cancer patients facing increased tension during their illnesses.
Cancer patients can also cycle, walk or jog. These exercises can help build muscle mass that may have been lost from their illnesses. These types of exercises also help reduce fatigue by bolstering energy and the feel good brain chemicals of dopamine and serotonin. Patients must be careful not to lose weight, however, especially if they are already losing weight from their treatment side effects. They also must be careful to avoid small gym atmospheres with poor ventilation, which could present problems to their already weakened immune systems.
Across the country, health and wellness facilities are starting to offer special exercise and fitness programs for both current cancer patients and cancer survivors. In some areas, like Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs, actual cancer communities are cropping up that cater to the cancer patient and offer support, understanding and health and wellness options while they are undergoing care.
Cancer patients can also ask their doctors and oncologists for advice about exercising during a cancer treatment plan. If they can't lay out an exact plan, they will refer the patients to specialized wellness professionals who can.
Outreach and Awareness Coordinator for Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.
Millions of people all over the world have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. If you are one of them I'm sure you have heard doctor's say "you just have to learn to live with the pain", or maybe they prescribed you with painkillers and muscle relaxers like they did for me. Or maybe they even said "it's all in your mind" - that one is the killer, it least it was for me. To be in that much pain and someone tell you it doesn't really exist, that is alot for anyone to take in.
I can tell you right now that you can improve dramatically.
It's been over 10 years since I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, there was a time I couldn't even walk for 5 minutes without being in severe pain. If anyone else has been there you know how depressing this can be and without the support of the medical field you become hopeless.
Well there is hope and it is possible to get back to the way you were before the onset of Fibromyalgia. I can now do anything I want and live the life I want to live - I'm no longer a prisoner to Fibromylagia.
Looking back, it's hard to believe that I was told time and again (by 13 different doctors) that I simply had to "live with the pain". Do I have flare-ups from time to time? Yes and I think that is part of the auto-immune condition, and the great thing is within 24-48 hours I can turn it all around. The best thing is knowing that you can do this, that you have control over your own body.
I hope this topic helps those who think there is no hope, because there is hope and you Can get better.
My husband, Mark Macdonald, wrote the book Body Confidence (which is a NY Times Best Seller) and my extended story is in the book, and I followed the entire program to get myself back to the way I was before the onset of Fibromyalgia (1999)- and I live by the principles of the book to stay in a place where I can feel great everyday. I hope that those who suffer with Fibromyalgia are soon on the road to recovery.
As a Nutrition Coach and Chef who has struggled with
digestive challenges since the age of 15, I’ve never had the luxury of depending on a protein bar to get through a
Though I can appreciate the convenience of a balanced and portable
bar, feeling as though there’s a heavy rock sitting undigested in the pit of my
stomach just isn’t worth it. And despite
recommending a number of perfectly balanced bars to our clients and members,
the protein bar has sadly remained an elusive part of my regular diet. Until now.
I recently had the pleasure of trying the Power Crunch Bar;
a delectable, cream filled wafer cookie packed with high quality protein. With
an average of 200 calories, 13 grams of complete protein, 10 grams of carbohydrates and 12 grams of fat
per bar, Power Crunch has an impressive balance
of nutrients to stabilize my blood sugar and get me to my next meal.
And because the Power Crunch bar contains only hydrolyzed whey protein (read: easily digested and absorbed) and no
sugar alcohols, its gentle on my stomach.
In fact, last Saturday at our New Level of Thinking Event, I devoured three Power Crunch Bars in between a
full day of presentations. I kept
waiting for the inevitable stomach pain and bloating. But it never came.
So, it goes without saying that the Power Crunch Bar is
balanced and easily digested, but how does it taste? As a “foodie”, flavor is right up there on my
priority list. It’s hard to believe
that this delicious cookie wafer is actually good for me. But who am I to
If you’ve ever tried wafer cookies as a kid, you already
have a good idea of what to expect when unwrapping a Power Crunch Bar. Picture sweet cream nestled between layers of
crispy, light as air wafers. Yeah, it’s
that good. And unlike most protein bars,
the Power Crunch Bar is sweet without being overly so, thanks to only 5 grams
of sugar and either Sucralose or natural Stevia, a calorie free sweetener that won’t spike blood
I had the opportunity to try three of the six flavors
available; French Vanilla Crème, Triple Chocolate and Peanut Butter Crème. Though the French Vanilla Crème and Triple Chocolate
are closely tied in flavor in my opinion, there is something so distinct about
the Triple Chocolate. The taste
reminds me of hot chocolate; where the sweet and almost salty flavors of cocoa blend together harmoniously. Add a mix of creamy and crunchy textures and
you’ve got one perfect bar.
A friend of mine who is also a Chef, recently laughed when I
tried to introduce him to these
bars. He told me he’s been eating them
for years and claims there’s nothing better than a Power Crunch Bar paired with
a mug of hot coffee. When it comes to
food and flavor, the guy knows what he’s talking about.
I can’t begin to explain how convenient it has been this
past week to casually toss a protein bar in my purse while on my way out the
door. Or how wonderful it’s been to eat
a wafer cookie that is helping (not hindering) my quest for great health.
If you’ve already unearthed a protein bar that you’re
passionate about and works for your body, you’re on the right track. And if you’re open to trying something new,
or you struggle with digestive challenges like me, you may just want to give
the Power Crunch Bar a try. I’m willing
to bet you’ll have a new favorite!
Golden stuffing fresh out of the oven. Garlicky mashed potatoes swimming in butter. Sweet potato pie smothered in whipped cream. If the thought of all this mouth-watering holiday fare sends you into a panic, you’re in the right place. As Head Chef and Lead Nutrition Coach of Venice Nutrition, I’ve worked with plenty of dubious clients who just don’t seem to share my enthusiasm for the upcoming seasonal feasts. Why? Because for many, the holidays represent “inevitable” weight gain, not to mention the anxiety, fatigue and depression that tag along with it. So, is there a way to truly let go and embrace all of the joy the holidays have to offer while still fitting into your skinny jeans? Yes! Follow my holiday checklist below and I promise come January 1st, your standard “I will lose weight” resolution won’t be necessary this year.
1. First, figure out what you really want to achieve. Take a moment to jot down precise and realistic goals specific to what you wish to accomplish from now until January 1st. Here’s an example of how.
Goal: “I want to prevent gaining weight this holiday season. In order to do this while still enjoying my family, friends and the festivities, I will:
(Plan of Action)
1. Add an extra 15 minutes of cardio onto my workouts 3 times per week for the next two months.
2. Aim for at least 75 ounces of water per day by bringing a bottle of water with me to work that I can refill frequently.
3. Cut back my restaurant meals to one time per week for the next two months to make up for all the holiday extras. This means I need to make and pack my lunch the night before the next work day two extra times per week.
Whether you want to lose weight, boost your energy or simply maintain your size, your goals need to be practical to your lifestyle and schedule like the examples above (who can’t bring a water bottle with them to work or while running errands with the kids?). Bottom line: Create do-able goals along with realistic means to make them happen and you will succeed.
2. Next, check out these must-read blogs. Over the years, I’ve authored quite a few How to Survive the Holidays blogs that my clients (and me) rely on year after year. Here’s the ones that you need to prepare yourself for the next few months:
Thanksgiving: How to Stay on Course with Your Nutrition- A step-by-step plan on making confident choices while still enjoying the holidays. Find it here
Holiday Secrets from a Nutrition Coach and Chef- A must read for my fellow “all or nothing” thinkers. Learn how to let go of the excuses and the guilt for real results. Find it here.
Thanksgiving: The “Day-After” Survival Guide- An effective go-to guide perfect for the “morning after” too much food and indulgence. Find it here.
3. And finally, open your mind to the possibilities. I’m always bummed when I overhear someone say, "There's no way I can be fit over the holidays. I’ll worry about it after the first of the year.” I’m sure you can guess what happens to these cynics. They’re the ones battling an extra ten pounds each year come spring time. Living healthy isn’t something you skip for a few months. There will be times (like the holidays) when your standards are slightly lowered and you may indulge a bit more. As long as you have a “base” or health structure to fall back on, you are never too far from your goals or your goal weight. And trust me, losing an extra two pounds is a heck of a lot easier and quicker than having to lose an extra ten.
Don't have a health structure that you can rely on? Consider becoming a member of Venice Nutrition; we’ll create your entire health structure including customized meal plans, personalized exercise program and even sleep and stress help specifically for you. In addition, you’ll benefit from the ongoing support system most of us need this time of year. Learn more here.
Already a member? Consider working one on one with a Certified Nutrition Coach either by phone or a consulting center to keep you motivated all season long and take your body to that next level. Learn more here.
No matter if you want join a nutrition program or go it alone, remember the keys to succcess. Create realistic goals along with a plan, arm yourself with the correct education (and please beware of all the misinformation out there; it can really slow you down) and keep a healthy mindset. Though the holidays are wonderful, they can be quite hectic. Don't complicate them further by trying to do too much. Have a happy and healthy holiday season!
Lead Nutrition Coach and Head Chef
We all know that fruit and veggies are a vital part of a balanced diet. In fact, eating plenty of colorful produce while stabilizing your blood sugar can help you to prevent disease, improve your digestion, reverse the signs of aging and even reach your weight loss goals. Think of fruit and vegetables as edible powerhouses, jam- packed with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. So what’s preventing so many of us from getting enough? As Head Chef and Lead Nutrition Coach of Venice Nutrition, I believe that fruit and veggies have a bad "rep". After all, it’s tough to get inspired over boring carrot sticks or a plain old apple. Luckily, we’ve created countless delicious recipes full of vibrant produce in our Recipe Collection. No matter your age or health, now is the time to stock up on fruits and veggies in a creative way so you’ll actually enjoy eating them. Here is a menu of my favorite produce inspired recipes from our collection (for the full recipes and many more, check out your Recipe Tab in your online program today)
Fruit & Veggie Filled Breakfast and Snack Recipes:
Greek Yogurt Parfait- A sweet and creamy blend of high protein Greek yogurt, fresh antioxidant packed berries and nuts
Cottage Cheese Bowl- An unexpectedly delicious combo of fresh apples, peanut butter, cinnamon and vanilla sweetened cottage cheese
Western Omelet- A hearty omelet of chopped tomato, onion, bell pepper, lean ham and melted cheddar
Banana Pineapple Smoothie- A tropical smoothie blended with fresh pineapple, banana, milk and protein powder
Fruit and Veggie Filled Lunch, Dinners and Sides:
Boca Burgers with Roasted Veggies and Garlic Herb Sauce- A classic soy burger with roasted red peppers, sweet onions, tomato, arugula and melted cheese topped with a homemade garlic and herb sauce
Zesty Shrimp Salad- A delicious blend of diced mango, red onion, corn, greens and grilled shrimp with a citrus honey lime dressing
Turkey Veggie Meat Sauce – A hearty meat sauce made of lean ground turkey, portabella mushrooms, spinach and yellow bell peppers
Pork Tenderloin with Butternut Squash and Apples- Lean pork tenderloin smothered in fruit juice and pungent garlic then roasted with hearty butternut squash and sweet apples
Vegetable Salsa- A zesty salsa of corn, black beans, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, perfect for topping your favorite protein
Sweet Potato Soup- A thick and creamy soup of sweet potatoes, apples and carrots simmered to perfection
Fruit Filled Desserts:
Sweet Stuffed Apples – A delectable dessert of warm, juicy apples baked with a walnut, oat, sugar and butter stuffing
Strawberry Frozen Yogurt- A cold, creamy frozen yogurt full of strawberries and good-for-you protein
As you can see, incorporating more fruit and veggies into your daily diet can be easy, delicious and anything but boring. And remember, we are always updating our collection of recipes and we invite you to check your Recipe Tab often!
Lead Nutrition Coach and Head Chef
By now you know how much we love summer. There’s nothing quite like cooking out with family and friends, taking your workout outdoors and showing off those hard earned muscles under the summer sun. Unfortunately, it’s also our least favorite time of year to spend in a sweltering kitchen! Don’t want to slave over the oven? No problem, fall back on these quick and tasty meal ideas instead…..
Low fat cottage cheese- with real berries, pineapple or any fruit (without added sugar) is quick and light enough for a summer snack, breakfast or lunch.
Greek Yogurt Parfait - Still haven’t tried this one? Check it out under your recipe tab. We promise, you won’t be disappointed! Bonus: Double up the recipe to have plenty on hand for the week.
Lean turkey roll up on a low carbohydrate, whole wheat wrap- Go ahead and load it up with anything you’ve got in the fridge- tomatoes, lettuce, hummus, onions, olives, roasted red peppers, salad fixings, etc. Add some sliced avocado for delicious, heart healthy fat.
Salad topped with tuna, cottage cheese, turkey or pre-cooked chicken. The summer is the perfect time to get creative with your salads. Layer your favorite greens with veggies, chopped or dried fruit, toasted nuts, light dressing and some protein and you’ve got a colorful meal in minutes.
A Protein and Fruit Smoothie is an ideal way to cool down this summer and get a big dose of calcium, fiber, and powerful antioxidants. Even better, having a smoothie a day can help ward off cravings for other high calorie summer time treats like ice cream. Blend low fat milk or soymilk (try Lactaid if your lactose intolerant) with fruit (bananas and berries for example), some “good” fat like peanut butter, nuts, or ground flax seed, with your favorite protein powder (whey or soy) and ice until smooth. Our favorite combo: banana, strawberries, natural peanut butter, vanilla protein powder, 1% low fat milk and ice all swirled together in a blender….delicious!
Want more ideas? Check out your Recipe Tab! Each recipe in our collection is specifically designed to be balanced, delicious, FAST and EASY! And the majority of recipes can be made in bulk and even frozen for meals later on (which fits in nicely with your busy summer). How about Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad or BBQ Shrimp Kebobs? Sure, some of these recipes will require cooking but if you take the time to cook in bulk once or twice this week, you can make enough food to last you for days. Give it a shot and your summer might just get a whole lot easier!
Enjoy your summer. And feel free to drop us a line about your FAST and favorite summer time meals….we’d love to hear from you!
The Venice Nutrition Team
Becoming a Certified Nutritionist has many benefits in both the Health and Fitness world as well as the Corporate World.
With the Venice Nutrition Certification Course you can legally coach clients anywhere in the US. Many other countries may also use this Nutrition Certification; we recommend checking with the guidelines for your specific Country.
Our Certified Nutrition Coaches use their certificates in many ways. Here is a list of some of them:
1. One-on-One in person nutrition consulting with clients. Venice Nutrition offers all the tools necessary to build clients customized meal plans to meet their personal preferences and goals. This is all done through our online nutrition software program.
2. Long Distance phone coaching to reach a broader audience. Our customized software system can be used for this as well.
3. If you are a personal trainer and are not looking to add a nutrition consulting practice to your business, you can use the Nutrition Certificate simply to have the ability to Legally give nutrition advice to clients.
4. If you are a health professional such as a chiropractor, pilates instructor, personal trainer, etc... and have your own private office/studio, you can get team members certified and add nutrition consulting as an additional service to best serve your clientele. It's also a great way to increase revenue for your company.
5. Many of our Coaches work in the Corporate World doing everything from 1 hour presentations to full year long retainer programs. We offer all the tools and training necessary to get this started as well. This information is available inside of the Venice Nutrition Coaches Network which will be accessible to you once you purchase the nutrition certification course. To learn more about the types of presentations we offer small companies and large corporations alike please visit our Workplace Wellness website.
6. Many of our Coaches also like to do presentation within their communities, places such as high schools, churches, sport specific clubs, etc...
There are many things you can do and accomplish by earning your Nutrition Certificate. For more details please visit our Health Professionals Division website.
Chief Operations Officer
Venice Nutrition LLC
On occasion, I like nothing more than a sweetened glass of cold iced tea or hot mug of coffee. What I don’t like is “drinking” my calories. If there’s a way to impart sweetness without spiking my blood sugar, I’m all for it. I recently had the pleasure of trying Truvia, the newest “real” sweetener made from the stevia plant, to hit the market. I was pleasantly surprised; Truvia was naturally sweet, blended perfectly with my cup of Vanilla and Pomegranate tea and had no aftertaste (really). I decided to share my research on what makes Truvia stand out from the crowd of sugar-free sweeteners.
According to truvia.com, truvia trumps other natural sweeteners made from stevia, because it’s made from rebiana, “the best tasting part of the stevia leaf”. Truvia is calorie free with no effect on the glycemic index, making it a fantastic choice for diabetics and people like me who stabilize their blood sugar for optimal health. Truvia is tasty stirred in your favorite beverage, sprinkled on fruit and can even be used in baking. One packet equals 2 teaspoons of pure sugar (without the sugar spike and calories of course).
All in all, Truvia is a naturally tasty way to add some guilt free sweetness to your life. For more info, check out http://www.truvia.com
Lead Nutrition Coach and Head Chef
Everyone knows that a walk or jog outdoors on a beautiful summer day is so much more exciting than pounding it out on the treadmill. But if you’ve ever felt a little woozy or suffered from heat exhaustion afterwards, then you know how tough the blazing sun can be on your body. What you might not realize is how risky it can be too. In fact, prolonged or excessive exercise in the sun is one of the leading causes of heat stroke, a dangerous combo of exhaustion, muscle cramps and dehydration that can lead to shock, brain damage, organ failure and even death.
The good news is you don’t need to give up your favorite summer exercise; you just need to be smart about how you do it. Here are a few pointers to stay safe this summer.
- Stay hydrated. If you’re thirsty, you are already dehydrated. It’s wise to drink plenty of water throughout the day leading up to your workout and bring water with you during your workout. If you’re an endurance athlete and exercising for long amounts of time outdoors, a low sugar sports drink with electrolytes can help to keep you hydrated and balanced.
- Don’t overdress! Wear loose fitting active wear, preferably made of moisture wick fabric.
- Check with your doctor if you’re on meds. Certain medications can make you more likely to suffer from heat related illnesses.
- Take breaks in the shade and workout in the shade if possible.
- Don’t forget sunscreen- aim for a waterproof version with an SPF of at least 30. Remember, an SPF of 30 will protect your skin in the sun for 30 minutes…plan accordingly.
- A hat and sunglasses are your best friends in the heat.
- Listen to your body. If you feel any exhaustion, muscle cramping, fatigue, excess thirst, headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea or start sweating more than usual, stop your workout immediately and get help.
Here’s to a beautiful, healthy summer!
The Venice Nutrition Team
*info derived from myoptumhealth.com and healthline.com