A Holiday Gift Just For You: More Energy!

Protein shakes are everywhere these days. But how do you know you’re getting the right one? So many of the shakes on the market are full of sugar and unhealthy ingredients that are going to work against your health and energy.

DrJen_Recipe_MintyMojo

I know it can still be difficult to sort through ingredients lists until you find the right one. The shakes I use for myself, my family, and my patients are my very own Endless Energy Protein Shakes - I wanted to take the guesswork out of it for them and for you.

If you’d prefer to shop around, I created this guide to help you pick out a healthy protein shake that’s going to give you lasting, sustainable energy.

You want your shake to be gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. You also want to pick the right source of protein, fiber, and a sweetener that’s not going to wreak havoc with your blood sugar.

To help you stay healthy this holiday season, I want to give you a coupon for $5 off any of my Endless Energy Protein Shakes.

To redeem your coupon, select your shake and enter coupon code ENERGYSHAKE at checkout (the coupon code is one use per customer and expires end of day December 10th, 2014).

Happy Holidays!

A Guide to the Perfect Protein Shake

protein shakeOne of the most important things you can do for your health is get a good dose of protein within an hour of waking up. The easiest way I’ve found to do that is with a high­-quality protein shake.

Protein shakes are everywhere these days. But how do you know you’re getting the right one? So many of the shakes on the market these days are full of sugar and unhealthy fillers and other ingredients that are going to work against your health and energy.

I wanted to make it easy for people to find high­-quality protein and fiber powder, so I made it available for purchase on my webstore at jenlandamd.com/webstore.

If you prefer to shop around, here are some guidelines on how to choose a healthy protein powder that’s going to give you a great start to your day:

1. Choose a high quality protein source (minimum of 20g protein per serving). The best sources of protein: pea, rice, potato, hemp, chia, beef, chlorella. Avoid: Soy or milk­-based proteins like whey protein.

2. Choose the right sweetener (less than 6g per serving). Look for: stevia, lo han guo, xylitol, rice syrup, or evaporated cane juice syrup. Avoid: Artificial and other types of sweeteners, including aspartame, sucralose, and maltitol.

3. Add fiber (at least 5g per serving). Fiber keeps you feeling fuller longer and balances your blood sugar. Look for: apple pectin, prune powder, larch arabinogalactans, blend of soluble and insoluble fibers. Avoid: Soy (soy protein isolate and other fillers), artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners.

4. Jazz it up! Once you’ve found the right base for your protein shake, you can make it something you look forward to drinking every morning with delicious, healthy add-ins. Some of my favorites are: coconut milk, spinach or kale, 100% cocoa powder or cocoa nibs, berries (fruit is yummy, but don’t go overboard – fruit has lots of sugar!), and natural flavors like peppermint or coconut. Yum!

From my webstore:

Video

Endless Energy Shake Giveaway!

Making sure I get a high protein, low carb breakfast within an hour of waking up is how I stay energetic and fit during the busy holiday season. It helps me manage that extra holiday stress and keep up my self care.

Most days of the week, I drink a protein shake to keep me going. It’s fast, it’s delicious, and I know I’m getting the protein my body needs to help me start my day.

This is a video of me in my kitchen, making my favorite morning protein shake. I want you to see exactly how quick and easy it is to make a healthy, delicious breakfast that’s going to give you the energy you need to keep you going throughout your busy day.

My favorite source of high quality protein shake powder is available on my webstore at jenlandamd.com/webstore.

And, this holiday season I’m getting in the giving spirit, by giving away one of my high quality protein shakes to get you started on the right path toward more energy and healthier, happier start to your day every day.

ENTER NOW:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Why You’re Probably Doing Breakfast Wrong

660_fried_eggs

Back when I was an OB-GYN resident in New York City, every morning I used to stop at a food cart on my way to work and get my favorite breakfast: a cinnamon bagel with cream cheese and a diet coke. I didn’t think of my breakfast as being sugar laden. But in reality, every day I was giving my body a sugar rush.

Moments after eating a high-carb food, your blood sugar shoots up—and in as little as an hour, it crashes. I didn’t know it at the time, but my go-to meal was to blame for my unrelenting exhaustion by 11 am, as well as my mood swings and weight gain.

You might think that if you know well enough to avoid this carbohydrate and fat-bomb at breakfast, you’re doing a good job. But if you’re skipping protein at your morning meal, you might as well have a big, fat bagel.

I understand—amidst the chaos of getting your day started, you’re probably lucky to scarf down a granola bar or a banana on the way to work. But these grain- and sugar-rich breakfasts (yes, fruit has natural sugars, but they’re still sugars!) can cause blood sugar highs and lows that contribute to weight gain. This sugary fare can even increase your risk of developing diabetes.

Your body recognizes every carbohydrate—even granola and fruit—as glucose, or sugar. If these carbs are not paired with a protein, which slows sugar absorption in the body, you set yourself up for a quick blood sugar spike and then a crash that leaves you ravenous soon after eating. And packaged cereals? Forget it. They contain tons of refined sugars, which bring on belly fat and inflammation in the body quicker than you can say Frosted Mini-Wheats!

Protein is the most critical nutrient you need at breakfast, and at every meal and snack thereafter. A protein-rich breakfast not only busts hunger and cravings for the rest of the day, but it also keeps your blood sugar and cortisol levels stable, encourages muscle growth and helps you burn fat. In a 2008 study published in the journal Nature, people who ate eggs for breakfast lost 65 percent more weight than those who ate bagels. Eggs can fill you up, helping you avoid the sugar traps of most American breakfast foods—thus reducing your risk of diabetes.

If you want the ability to burn fat first thing in the morning and energy that takes you through the day, my recommendation is that you aim to eat at least 20 grams of protein within an hour of waking and at every meal for the rest of the day. You should also aim to consume 5 to 10 grams of protein from every snack.

Try one of these protein-packed morning meals for a breakfast upgrade:

1. Protein shake: This is an ideal option for those who don’t like to eat first thing, or who get nauseated by the smell of food. You could add fruit, greens, and nuts or seeds to boost your nutrient intake. Drinking a protein shake within an hour of waking is a big part of my Three Weeks to Endless Energy program, and my patients have seen remarkable results from making this one change only. You can find my top choice for high quality protein shake powder in my webstore.

2. A healthier hot cereal: Make quinoa and add almond milk, nuts and blueberries. Quinoa is packed with protein and has fewer carbs than oatmeal. Nuts have protein and healthy fat, and blueberries are a huge source of antioxidants.

3. Breakfast wrap: Cook organic chicken sausage or turkey bacon, and wrap it in a gluten-free corn tortilla with diced tomato and avocado.

4. Quick eggs: Make an egg omelet with broccoli and tomatoes; cook two hard-boiled eggs and enjoy with sliced avocado; or make sliced turkey and roll it up with guacamole.

5. Almond flour-based muffin-in-a-minute mug: This is my kids’ favorite— and it’s packed with protein and healthy fats. Get the recipe here.

This article originally appeared over at Fox News. Where I’m a regular health and wellness contributor. 

Why caloric restriction alone won’t help you live longer

PORTION_SIZE_640

 

Caloric restriction, defined as reducing calorie intake by at least 30 percent, has gained a cult following since it was first studied in the 1930s. Scores of people swear that by dialing consumption way down, and eating far less, you can gain vitality and longevity. And while studies cited by the National Institutes of Health report that caloric restriction (often referred to as “CR”) did have some positive effects on health in rhesus monkeys, the NIH announced in 2012 that it has not been shown to boost overall longevity. (These findings conflicted with those published in 2009, which found that caloric restriction did, in fact, extend life in monkeys.)

The final word on these studies has yet to be published. But I don’t believe we need to wait for it. If you want to live a longer, better life, portion control plays a role, sure— but the reason I’m not one for the CR diet is because I believe you should be far more focused on what’s ON your plate, rather than what isn’t.

The danger inherent to the idea of caloric restriction is the belief that simply consuming less food is enough to fend off chronic disease and give you optimal health— without much concern for the food itself. If this were true, we’d all be able to eat cheeseburgers and french fries in smaller portions every day and call ourselves healthier. If you put emphasis on what you’re not eating rather than what you are, you’re missing the mark.

A great example of what I mean is the popular diet program Weight Watchers and similar plans such as Nutrisystem, which completely flop in terms of nutritional benefits. They certainly restrict your daily caloric intake and you may lose weight, but with Weight Watchers, you could still end up eating a slice of pizza at each meal and stay within your allotted “points” for the day. You’re still consuming a high-carbohydrate, low-nutrient diet— essentially an inflammatory diet— and this puts you at risk of all the top killers, including cancer, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease and dementia later in life. Eating a limited number of calories does not necessarily equal a health-promoting, life-extending diet.

Some of the caloric restriction research findings also point to the importance of food quality and, I believe, give us a clue to the longevity puzzle. In the two studies I mentioned above, launched in the ‘80s and coming to a close now, the calorie-restricted monkeys were fed different kinds of food. One group, studied at The University of Wisconsin, was fed a diet high in sucrose, or sugar, that lacked trace dietary chemicals and minerals. Not surprisingly, when this unhealthy diet was given in lower quantities, the monkeys experienced better health and lived longer lives— and control group monkeys that were given unlimited quantities of this food died earlier. By contrast, in the other study, calorie-restricted monkeys as well as the control group monkeys were fed anatural-ingredient diet. This resulted in about the same health outcomes between them.

So while limiting nutritionally poor food will help your health, you should focus on replacing lousy foods altogether. What I recommend to you is the same thing I tell my patients every day: Your best shot at keeping chronic diseases at bay and extending your lifespan is replacing high-sugar, processed foods with a wholesome, nutrient-dense diet of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, legumes, some grains, nuts and seeds.

Is half of your plate filled with plant-based foods at each meal? Do you have a lean protein and a healthy fat represented on your plate? Are you consuming clean food that is as close as possible to its most natural state? If not, quit counting calories and focus on making these changes.

This article originally appeared over at Fox News, where I’m a regular contributor.