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What Women Need to Know To Lose Fat, Build Muscle, and Improve Performance (this one’s for you, ladies!)

With summertime and days at the beach right around the corner, this may be a time when many of you are feeling like you’re not quite bikini-ready. Some of you may have even been trying to get into shape over the winter and aren’t seeing the changes you had hoped for. I know for me, I see lots of men in the gym with toned bodies, great muscle definition and six-pack abs…and they don’t exactly seem to be going HAM to get it. I feel like I eat pretty clean and push myself, yet the results (while they are happening) are sloowwwwww. What gives?!

The thing is, women’s bodies differ significantly from men’s in terms of metabolism and somewhat in terms of exercise response. On top of that, there are considerable gender stereotypes and misconceptions that limit women’s ability to get useful advice about how to improve their physiques (i.e. the myth that lifting heavy will make you bulky and/or manly).

I found an article online by the Poliquin Group™ Editorial Staff on How Women’s Metabolism Differs From Men’s & What To Do About It that was so well written that I decided to share it with you all 🙂  They mention 5 key pieces of information that will empower you to meet your goals:

#1: At rest, women burn more glucose (carbs) than men and less fat. In addition, women tend to have greater fat storage after eating, which also contributes to their higher body fat percentage.

From an evolutionary perspective, it’s favorable for women to have more body fat because these fat stores will be used during pregnancy and lactation. Once young women become able to reproduce, their bodies will begin storing fat around the hips and thighs “locking it away” in preparation for having a baby.

The fat around the hips and thighs (called gluteofemoral fat) has a particularly high concentration of DHA, one of the three omega-3 fats. The theory is that gluteofemoral DHA fat is used to make breast milk, and that it is for the development of a baby’s brain.

Research suggests that U.S. women tend to have a low percentage of DHA in their gluteofemoral fat due to low intake of omega-3s. This typically leads to significant weight gain during pregnancy, because the woman’s brain is thought to monitor nutrient status throughout the body, sensing the low DHA stores.

This leads to excessive hunger cues, causing women to eat more, in the quest to store as much DHA as possible for nurturing an infant brain. In contrast, Japanese women have a much higher percentage of DHA in their fat due to high fish intake and are correspondingly leaner.

-!Heart Health trade Essential Omega III Fish Oil with Vitamin E--561800368

I personally like this brand…high quality, low toxins, and meets recommended doses of EPA and DHA. Click photo for more info.

What To Do About It: Regardless of whether you’re planning on having a baby, get adequate DHA in your diet. Shoot for a balanced ratio of omega-3 fats to omega-6 fats by limiting your intake of vegetable fats and oils.

Make your body metabolically flexible so that it is capable of burning fat for energy. Do this by limiting carbohydrates in your diet at certain times so that your body is forced to learn to burn fat. For example, try eating lower carb on a day when you aren’t training but higher carb on workout days. Doing anaerobic-style exercise such as weight lifting and sprints also improves the body’s metabolic flexibility.

 

 

#2: Women and men burn (and store) body fat differently. Women rely on fat for fuel during exercise to a much greater degree than men. This makes exercise absolutely essential for women to lose fat because of the unfortunate fact that women burn much less fat at rest.

In addition, women store fat right below the skin (subcutaneously), whereas men have more visceral fat. Visceral fat is metabolically active and a risk for cardiovascular health and insulin resistance. Meanwhile, for women, having a reasonable amount of lower body fat indicates better health and less heart disease risk!

Women tend to lose fat from the upper body first, but have a harder time losing lower body fat. As mentioned in #1, women’s bodies preferentially store fat for pregnancy, but they also have a greater number of alpha receptors in this region than men. The combination of alpha receptors and estrogen inhibits the loss of fat. Men have a higher total proportion of beta receptors, which makes it easier for them to mobilize fat to burn it off.

To get rid of stubborn lower body fat, research shows women must perform anaerobic training. For example, a recent study found that by adding a strength program to an aerobic exercise protocol produced superior fat loss. Women who did concurrent training lost 12.2 percent of fat mass from the legs, decreased hip circumference by 4 percent, and lost 9.7 percent of the original body fat. In contrast, the women who did aerobic training lost 5.7 percent fat mass from the legs, decreased hip circumference by 4 percent, and lost 5 percent of their original body fat.

Scientists suggest that the higher intensity of resistance exercise helps to stimulate the release of body fat from fat cells so that it can be burned for energy. In addition, it’s possible (though not definitive) that estrogen has a positive effect on fat burning during exercise via a few mechanisms:

• Estrogen appears to limit the breakdown of triglycerides in the blood stream for storage.

• Estrogen enhances epinephrine production for greater fat burning.

• Estrogen stimulates growth hormone, which plays a role in fat metabolism and stimulates blood flow.

What To Do About It: Perform strength training, favoring multi-joint exercises, with a focus on lower body and total body lifts such as squats, deadlifts, step ups, and lunges. Do high-intensity interval training on a track, bike, or by pushing a sled to target the alpha receptors and enhance fat loss from the lower body.

 

#3: Stress affects women’s metabolism, inhibiting fat loss. Of course, stress affects fat loss for everyone, but it’s possible certain kinds of stress are more harmful to women than men.

Stress leads to persistent cortisol secretion, and cortisol’s primary function is to increase blood sugar (bringing with it an insulin spike) so you have enough energy to get through a stressful situation.

When this becomes chronic, the body turns the hormone pregnenolone, which is a precursor to estrogen and testosterone, into progesterone, which is then used to make cortisol and aldosterone. Together these hormones lead to greater fat storage and more fluid retention. Not only will you have more cortisol, but you’ll have less estrogen and testosterone.

Women with lower testosterone than normal have a disadvantage when it comes to fat loss. Although elevated estrogen is not beneficial for loss, low estrogen isn’t either as we saw in #2, because it inhibits the greater fat oxidation that women experience during exercise. The body’s just not working right any more. Everything is out of whack and fat loss simply won’t happen.

What To Do About It:Find stress management strategies that work for you, whether it’s meditation, yoga, psychological therapy, or something else. (In addition, you might want to take an adaptogenic supplement if you think your adrenals are really out of whack)

Focus on optimizing your circadian rhythms. Consider that the body operates around a 24-hour circadian clock. Each person’s clock is slightly different, a trait known as chronotype or tendency toward being a morning or evening person. Chronotype reflects the time of the day that someone’s physical functions (hormone level, body temperature, cognitive faculties, eating and sleeping) are active.

When you adhere to your chronotype, you can promote balance and optimal health. When you go against the clock, the innate rhythms are disrupted. This will increase stress and make fat loss much more difficult.

 

#4: Intermittent fasting and calorie restriction tends to be detrimental for women but beneficial for men.

Intermittent fasting (IF) and calorie restriction is a glaring example of how stress negatively affects women’s metabolism compared to men. Both are metabolically beneficial for most men, allowing them to lose fat, lower inflammation, and improve disease risk factors.

However, research shows fasting is harmful for female reproductive health. Anecdotally, many women have reported that fasting has caused weight gain, blood sugar imbalance, sleeplessness, missed periods, and infertility.

Where men tend to lose fat with fasting, a large portion of women gain it. The mechanism behind this discrepancy likely has to do with how the female body responds to lack of calories. Scientists believe that calorie restriction, even sporadic restriction, causes hormonal dysregulation, and excess cortisol secretion with the body holding onto its fat stores. It’s a “protective response” as the body stores the fat for future survival when calories will be scarce.

What To Do About It: Avoid calorie restriction if you’re exercising at a high intensity or for long duration. Be very cautious with fasting. It sounds counter intuitive but if you give your body enough energy, with balanced fat, carbs and protein, your hormones will be in happy balance, stress will be lower, and your body will be more willing to give up your fat stores.

funny-picture-todays-to-do-eat-workout-be-awesome

#5: Young women have the same ability to build muscle as men. Older women appear to be at a disadvantage when it comes to building muscle.

A common belief is that women can’t build as much muscle as men because they don’t have as much testosterone. Technically this isn’t true. Recent studies show that protein synthesis and gene signaling that leads to muscle gains are nearly equal between young men and women.

However, women start out with less muscle and their bodies tend to be lighter and smaller than men’s, so increases a 10 percent increase in muscle for a woman will be smaller than a man’s in absolute terms.

In addition, very large increases in testosterone such as when a male goes through puberty or when one takes testosterone in the form of steroids do increase muscle mass. The small, transient post-workout increase doesn’t. Rather, the exercise-induced increase is thought to be linked to athletic performance.

A recent study illustrates this: Women and men performed a resistance training workout and then took a protein drink. Muscle protein synthesis was 2.3 times higher in men and 2.7 times higher in women than at rest. Men experienced a 45-fold higher increase in testosterone post-workout than the women, however this had no effect on protein synthesis or gene signaling, which are the primary factors for building muscle.

The exception is older women who have a reduced muscle building response to resistance exercise. They have lower protein synthesis than men of the same age in response to training, which appears to be maintained even when they take supplemental protein, however more research needs to be done regarding dosing.

It’s possible older women require a larger dose of protein or more of the amino acid leucine (which has been found to equalize protein synthesis in older and younger men).

What To Do About It: If you’re a woman who wants to put on muscle, you’re in luck! You won’t look like a man, but you will be able to build muscle in the same way men can. Consider this a good thing!

Do a periodized hypertrophy-style training program that favors moderate reps (8 to 12) and moderate load (65 to 85 percent of the 1RM) for a high volume.

If you just want to get lean, building muscle will help. A small increase in muscle mass will boost your metabolism significantly so you burn exponentially more calories at rest, enabling fat loss.

Use a training program that changes every 3 to 6 weeks to continually shock your body into adapting. Make sure to use heavy enough weights—one of the most common reason women don’t get results from training is that they use weights that are too light.

 

The takeaways:

  • Don’t starve yourself
  • Eat enough protein
  • Include healthy fats in your diet
  • Don’t be afraid of weights/lifting heavy
  • High Intensity Interval training is better than steady state cardio for fat loss
  • Keep stress levels under control

 

Ciao for now!

 

-E

 

 

Ayurvedic Roast™ Review: I can’t believe it’s not coffee!

Hi all! So in case you missed it last week, I elaborated on my absolute love of coffee yet my desire to find a caffeine free alternative that could help me cut back 0r (gasp) even quit caffeine. Well, one day…maybe…haha…but at least cut back. In case you missed the post in which I shared some of the negative (sigh) effects of long term caffeine consumption, check it out here.

I should mention that I’ve tried Teeccino and Pero, two fairly well known coffee substitutes. While they weren’t bad, I didn’t find them comparable enough to be able to replace my beloved java. Sort of like how I feel about chai…it’s good, but it’s not coffee.  So after scouring the internet for other options, I came across this brand called Ayurvedic Roast that had glowing reviews for tasting the most like coffee. I read that “a blind taste test was conducted comparing Ayurvedic Roast™ with the top three coffee substitutes on the market (of which I’m certain Teeccino & Pero were included). Over 200 people tasted all four herbal coffees, with Ayurvedic Roast™ being chosen as the best tasting by the highest percentage of participants.”  On top of that, the stuff brews just like coffee. You can boil it, use a regular drip coffee maker, a coffee or tea press or espresso machine.

My interest was, understandably, piqued.

The info on the site was impressive. It’s 100% certified organic, GMO-free, non-acidic, vegan, and naturally caffeine free. Its unique formula is comprised of barley, rye, chicory root, and includes three antioxidant, adaptogenic, and immunity-enhancing organic ayurvedic herbs: Ashwagandha (an anti-oxidant that boosts the immune system, eases anxiety, helps regulate blood sugar, and can help lower both cholesterol cortisol levels); Shatavari (helps with mood, digestion, and fertility); and also Brahmi (which helps maintain mental clarity, increase circulation, and improve thyroid function).

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So I ordered a bag of the vanilla and, after talking to a gentleman at the company about my plans to review the coffee for my site, had a bag of the original flavor included for a comparison. It’s reasonably priced, and I was very eager to see if it lived up to the hype from the site and other reviews I found online…but tasting is believing.

When my package arrived, I was somewhat skeptical (as any die hard coffee lover would be) but very excited. Upon opening the packages, both the vanilla and original smelled coffee-like out of the gates…the vanilla marginally more so. And the grounds looked coffee-like. So far I was pretty impressed.photo 5

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Look pretty coffee-like to me!

I decided to brew it as I normally would…using my drip coffee maker. I used about 1 rounded tsp per cup, as I normally would with coffee grounds.

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Very impressed with the dark, coffee-like color! To the naked eye, I wouldn’t know it wasn’t coffee!

As it brewed, I was very impressed with the coloring. And as I poured it into my cup and added a bit of coconut sugar and homemade almond milk creamer (the way I normally have my coffee at home), I was pleasantly surprised at how much it looked like my usual coffee!

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Straight out of the pot

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With my almond milk creamer and coconut sugar…Looks yummy!!

Looked good. Smelled good. But now for the real test…the TASTE test…

DELICIOUS !!!!!! Wow! I was seriously blown away. Taste-wise, I prefer the vanilla (marginally) over the original, but then again, I also like flavored coffee. Either way, both taste so much like coffee that I almost wouldn’t know the difference if I hadn’t made it myself.

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You’re looking at a VERY satisfied customer! I can’t believe it’s not coffee!

And as the day went on, I felt surprising very alert, even with no caffeine!  And because I can prepare it just like I do my coffee, it feels the same as far as my morning ritual!

If you’ve ever considered cutting back on caffeine, or even if you haven’t and just want to try a healthy, yummy drink, I HIGHLY recommend trying Ayurvedic Roast. So far, it’s available only online, but I feel so excited about the product that I’m going to see if I can help get it into some stores around me.

Hmmm…now that it’s getting warmer, I may have to try it iced as well 😉

Cheers!

Ciao for now!

-E

Caffeine…things that make you go “hmmm”

As you may have gathered by now, I love coffee. I love the smell, the taste, the ritual of drinking it in the morning. I love coffee shops, getting together with friends or a date for hot cup of java. So why bother with a coffee substitute when the real thing tastes so good?

Well, there’s a lot of debate out there about whether or not coffee is healthy for you. Especially in the abundance we Americans (especially New Yorkers ;-)) drink on the daily. Processed mainly through the liver, caffeine has a relatively short half-life. This means it takes about five to seven hours, on average, to eliminate half of it from your body. So if you’re having 2 cups in the morning and one in the afternoon, that’s almost like being (at least mildly) caffeinated round the clock.

Renowned physician Dr. Mark Hyman wrote a detailed article on the ways that caffeine (cumulatively and in excess) could have a negative impact on one’s health:

  • The caffeine in coffee increases catecholamines, your stress hormones. The stress response triggers cortisol and increases insulin. Insulin increases inflammation and this makes you feel lousy.

  • Habituation to caffeine decreases insulin sensitivity, making it difficult for your cells to respond appropriately to blood sugar. High blood sugar levels lead to arterial deterioration and increased risk of mortality related to cardiovascular disease.

  • Unfiltered coffee has the highest amount of beneficial antioxidants yet also leaks the most diterpenes into your system. These diterpenes have been linked to higher levels of triglycerides, LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and VLDL levels.

  • The helpful chlorogenic acids which may delay glucose absorption in the intestine have also been shown to increase homocysteine levels- an indicator for increased risk of cardiovascular disease which tends to be elevated in diabesity.

  • The acidity of coffee is associated with digestive discomfort, indigestion, heart burn, GERD and dysbiosis (imbalances in your gut flora).

  • Addiction is often an issue with coffee drinkers and makes it really difficult to rely on the body’s natural source of energy. Ask any coffee drinker about how it feels to withdraw from coffee, and you will mistake their story for that of a drug addict’s…

  • Associative addictions trend with coffee – who doesn’t immediately think of warm, frothy sweet cream and sugar when they picture coffee? Surely the business of coffee has inspired a culture addicted to the sugary, fatty tastes of what has become more of a meal then a drink…Enter the beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte

  • 5-HIA, an organic acid and component of the neurotransmitter serotonin (the happy chemical) seen in the urine tends to be elevated in coffee drinkers which means they may be at risk for lower levels of serotonin synthesis in the brain. Serotonin is necessary for normal sleep, bowel function, mood, and energy levels. It is a vicious cycle as caffeine can disrupt sleep and promote anxiety and depression.

  • Elevated urinary excretion of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium have been noted in coffee drinkers. An imbalance in your electrolyte status can lead to serious systemic complications.

  • Constituents in coffee can interfere with normal drug metabolism and detoxification in the liver making it difficult to regulate the normal detoxification process in the liver. Another issue to be aware of with coffee intake is how certain medications such as levothyroxine (thyroid) as well as tricyclic antidepressants are poorly absorbed, making symptoms curiously worse for patients.

Now, I like a caffeine buzz as much as the next person, but I have questioned whether or not my daily coffee consumption is helpful or harmful. Especially when I’ve read information like what Dr. Hyman and other health professionals have said about too much caffeine. I don’t think caffeine is the worst thing I could put in my body, but I certainly file this information under “things that make you go hmmmm.”

So what’s a coffee-lover to do? As I mentioned, I love so much about the coffee drinking experience.  Decaf coffee is over-processed and, in my opinion, just gross; and hot tea doesn’t cut the mustard…But I’d love to find something that I could substitute even if just here and there to drink less caffeine over all.

What if there was something out there that tasted like coffee and still gave you the energy boost but without the caffeine crash and the negative effects like insulin resistance, elevated triglycerides, etc??

I know it sounds too good to be true…but I searched high and low and much to my surprise (and excitement!) I found such a product!! Stay tuned, because a writeup and review of this delightful drink will be coming very soon 🙂

Ciao for now!

-E

Liquid Armor Coffee

The time has come for me to post the much anticipated (at least I’d like to think so) recipe for my delicious, and relatively nutritious, Liquid Armor Coffee!!  As I mentioned previously, this is my modified take on the over-hyped BulletProof ® coffee that has Paleo enthusiasts, cross fitters, and even just us regular folks who love a tasty cup of joe, going crazy and jumping on the buttered/oiled coffee bandwagon.

So, in case you haven’t come across the heavily promoted (and in my opinion, overpriced) recipe for this coffee that will, metaphorically, protect you from being pumped full of encapsulated explosives…here’s the scoop. Basically, you need to buy the coffee that that the BulletProof® head honcho endorses. It’s around $20 for a 12 oz bag because it’s organic and low in mytotoxins, which supposedly will make you feel better than any coffee you’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about paying extra for healthy foods if it’s going to make a significant difference, but to be honest, the coffee I buy for $6 to $8 at Trader Joe’s tastes great and makes me feel pretty darn good, and who’s to say what level of mytotoxins is in your average cup of coffee, particularly if you buy organic. That said, I will at least give credit to the Bulletproof site for mentioning tips to finding the highest performance coffee in your city if you don’t want to pay for the stuff they market on their site.

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Can you tell I love this place? haha

Anyway, the special, pricey beans are part of the deal…another ingredient you “need” is a special MCT oil (Medium Chain Triglycerides…just scientific jargon for healthy fats) that is supposedly 6x stronger than coconut oil.  Well, at $30 for a 32 oz bottle, it’s also about 6 times more expensive than the organic, deliciously flavorful coconut oil I get at old reliable Trader Joe’s. Coconut oil is loaded with health benefits all on its own, …so I personally don’t think it’s worth the upgrade.

And lastly, the original recipe calls for 1-2 tablespoons grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee. I’ve tried my Liquid Armor using both options (unsalted butter & ghee) and I didn’t care for it. I prefer mine with straight up coconut oil, but you’re welcome to experiment and find what you like.

Now for the big reveal…my Liquid Armor Coffee Recipe!

What you’ll need:

1-2 Tablespoons organic coconut oil (can use 1 Tbsp coconut oil & 1 Tbsp unsalted butter or ghee, but I prefer just coconut oil)
8 oz freshly brewed coffee (use filtered water and, ideally a French Press, but I usually just use a regular drip coffee pot and mine tastes delicious)
Blender (I use NutriBullet)

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I always use this coconut oil, and this is one of my favorites of Trader Joe’s coffee.

The instructions are very simple:

1. Brew coffee and add to blender (yes, while hot)
2. Plop in coconut oil (and, if you would like to try it, unsalted butter or ghee)*

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Steps 1 + 2…. I know what you’re thinking…Oil? In my coffee??? But what about my milk? creamer? How will I get it the right caramel-y color??

3. Blend 20-30 seconds until frothy.
Just a tip that with the NutriBullet, sometimes the cap feels stuck after you turn it over. I think it’s a combo of heat and pressure buildup while blending. I find that turning the blender over (lid facing up) and letting it set for 30    seconds or so before opening usually does the trick!

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It will turn a lovely, creamy caramel color…and check out that foam!! 🙂 ❤

4. Pour into your favorite mug/to-go cup and enjoy an awesome tasting cup of coffee with latte-like foam that will make you feel satisfied, focused, and energized 🙂

And there you have it!

Trust me, I was skeptical myself…but now that I’ve made it, I’m hooked. It’s so delicious, natural, and satisfying, but you’ll never know unless you try it. Don’t worry, you can always go back to using the Almond Milk Creamer you just made from my recipe, but this offers a decadent and healthy variation 😉  *You can also add in some cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or sugar (I like brown or coconut sugar), but try it first as is because it’s so yummy, you probably won’t even want to mess with it.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your blender, give it a whirl, and let me know what you think!

Ciao for now,

-E

Homemade, Raw Almond Milk Creamer

Time for another recipe! I know I promised I’d let you in on my Liquid Armor coffee concoction…and I will…but first, I wanted to share with you my latest discovery/creation: Almond Milk Coffee Creamer.  It’s so easy to make, and it’s 100% natural…no added chemicals, preservatives, or processed sweeteners. Plus, I find that the store-bought almond milk in my coffee never turns it the right color. I like mine to be a deliciously smooth caramel color. So after stumbling on a few recipes online for homemade almond milk, I decided to tweak it a bit to make a more concentrated, creamier…um…creamer!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup raw almonds (preferably organic), soaked in water 6-10 hours and rinsed well

  • 1-2 cups filtered water (for blending)*

  • High-powered blender (I used a NutriBullet)

  • Nut milk bag (<- click to go to eBay link where I ordered mine. You could also use a fine strainer or cheese cloth, but I highly recommend getting a nut milk bag…They’re inexpensive and work great!)

*As an aside, you could use this same recipe and make regular almond milk (rather than creamer)…just increase the water to 3-4 cups.

Instructions

  • Measure almonds into a bowl and add enough water so that the almonds are completely submerged. Let soak 6-10 hours.

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These just finished soaking…left them on the counter for 8 hours with the bowl covered in plastic wrap.

  • After the almonds have soaked, drain the water, rinse with purified water, and drain again.

  • Combine soaked, rinsed almonds & 1-2 cups filtered water (less water = more concentrated, creamier almond milk) into a high-powered blender. Again, I used a NutriBullet and, to clarify, I used the “extractor blade” (pictured below …because you are essentially “extracting” the milk from the almonds…as opposed to the other “milling” blade typically used for milling grains, grinding fresh herbs and chopping nuts. (again, I used NutriBullet)

    nutribullet blade

    NutriBullet “Extractor” Blade

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  • Blend until very smooth and creamy.
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Isn’t this awesome!?! It’s like magic 🙂

  • Position the nut milk bag over a large bowl or container (I like using a square one so I can easily pour from that to another container to keep in the fridge as my creamer), then pour the blender contents into the bag to strain.

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    This is the gloriously creamy Almond Milk that will come out of the bag 🙂

  • Squeeze the bag well, until only dry/damp almond pulp remains in the bag. (You can keep the the leftover almond pulp in a container for another recipe…like Paleo Banana Fritter Bites!!)

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Leftover almond meal from the nut milk bag! I use it as is to make my Banana Fritter Bites…one batch makes me about 3 servings of the fritters!

Transfer the almond milk to a sealed container (I used a rinsed out Coffeemate container that my roommate had, but anything you can pour from will work), and store in the fridge for up to a week.

coffee creamer container

And there you have it! The stuff is delicious and nutritious 🙂  I haven’t tried adding anything to the creamer yet, but I’d imagine you could play around with adding things like cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. If any of you make it and try some variations, please feel free to share!

Ciao for now!

-E

Temperature Update!

Well, today will be partly cloudy in NY with a high of 41 degrees F…

Just kidding!! Actually, sadly, I’m not…spring has not sprung here apparently, but this post is not about the weather. I owe you guys an update about my coconut oil experiment!

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I’ll be honest, I dragged my feet on this one because I was hoping to report glorious rising temperatures in the 98 degree range…unfortunately, I haven’t broken my 97.9 degree record and have been averaging about 97.3. I’ve still been going grain/gluten free, and the only other change that I can say I had since I started the coconut experiment is that I cut back on weight training (and the gym in general) after a head cold and daylight savings kicked my butt. So of course, less activity could have affected the body temperature, but I’m still a little bummed that I don’t have more exciting news on the temperature front.

HOWEVER, I will say that I’ve noticed lots of other positives:

  • Clearer and more radiant complexion (a few people told me I was glowing!)
  • Better digestion and, ahem, regularity
  • Less cravings, particularly for sugary snacks
  • More energy during workouts
  • Faster recovery from strenuous weight lifting…particularly leg daycoconut_spr03_310

So, it’s safe to say that I’ve noticed enough benefits to keep making coconut oil a part of my daily diet…especially now that I’m hooked on Liquid Armor Coffee (my own version of the Bulletproof® Coffee that’s been getting so much hype). I named mine Liquid Armor because evidently the company demands that you use a ® symbol when speaking about “Bulletproof® Coffee” because it’s a specific recipe using specific (and overpriced/over-hyped IMO) beans. Anyyyyywayyyy, this is just a lil teaser of a future recipe for my own Liquid Armor Coffee that will be delightful to both your tummies and wallets 🙂 Stay tuned!

Ciao for now!

-E

Paleo Banana Fritter Bites

Good morning! So I’ve had a few inquiries and requests about recipes, and I’m excited to post my very first one today!

Being that I’m on a coconut oil, gluten-free experiment/diet, I’ve been getting creative with options that are on-plan but still delicious. I made my signature Paleo Banana Fritter Bites this morning and remembered to take a photo for the blog post 🙂  Now, being that I made up the recipe myself and don’t really measure anything (I really just eyeball it), I’m going to do my best to give approximate measurements so you can duplicate my creation.

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 egg (I use large, cage-free organic, but any will do)
1/3 cup almond flour/meal (approximate measurement…I’ve also used cashew flour, which is yummy. Use whatever you like best, or go crazy and mix them :-P)
1 -2 (heaping) Tbsp psyllium husk (optional, but great added fiber…sometimes I use chia seeds instead (a sprinkle) and it’s great that way, too)
water (to consistency)
1 medium banana (ripened to preference)
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional, but highly recommended for added yumminess)
healthy dash of cinnamon powder (again, optional, but recommended)
1 Tbsp organic coconut oil

Okay, so now that we have the ingredients list, this is how you mix them together to make the magic happen.

1. In a cereal-size or small mixing bowl, combine egg, almond flour, psyllium husk/chia seeds and enough water to achieve a thick pancake batter consistency.

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2. Peel and cut banana into 1/2- 3/4 inch pieces and add to above mixture. Add vanilla & cinnamon powder (optional, but definitely recommended; I’ve made it with and without, and it’s MUCH more delicious with it). Stir to coat banana pieces with batter.

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3. In large skillet, add coconut oil (enough to fully coat the bottom of the pan…approximately 1 heaping Tbsp does it for me) and get the oil nice and hot.
4. With oil pre-heated and heat turned to medium/medium-high, use a spoon to place banana pieces (make sure you’re grabbing 1 batter-coated slice at a time…they cook best this way) into the oil leaving a little space between each “bite” so they can cook individually.

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5. When each bite is browned on the bottom, use a spoon to flip each bite over to brown/cook the other side.

Emily's Paleo Banana Fritter Bites

The finished product….YUMMMM!

I actually had eaten a few before I took the picture…thankfully I stopped myself and snapped this photo ^^ haha. But seriously, these are so delicious and satisfying that you will hardly believe they are Paleo, gluten-free, and grain-free with no added sugars! Wheeeeee!!! Enjoy for breakfast, as a snack, for dessert…or any time!

If you make them (which I hope you do!), please let me know how you like them and/or if you have any questions about the recipe.

Enjoy!

Ciao for now,

-E