Proteins – are you eating enough?

June 28, 2009


Nutrients can be divided into two major groups:

1)  Macronutrients – protein, carbohydrates and fat – which will be discussed in this chapter.

2)  Micronutrients – vitamins, minerals and water – which will be discussed in other chapters.

Macronutrients – Protein

“I don’t work out so I don’t need a lot of protein!” If only I had a dime for every time I’ve heard my female patients say that! Proteins are an integral part of good nutrition and are absolutely essential, whether or not you are working out. We need protein in our diets to grow, maintain and repair every part of our bodies such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, hair and nails.

Protein also plays a vital role in the formation of:

• Antibodies – needed for proper immune function

• Enzymes –  required for the chemical processes of the body such as digestion

• Blood – red blood cells contain a protein called ‘hemoglobin’ that carries oxygen in the body

• Hormones – such as insulin, which regulates sugar and fat metabolism

Protein also provides the body with energy when we have lowered our intake of carbohydrates and fats, such as when we follow a low-calorie diet or do extreme physical activity.

Sources of Protein

Proteins are made up of 20 or so different amino acids. Eight of them are essential (the body can’t make them on its own) and are required in our diet. Non-essential amino acids can be produced by our bodies from other amino-acids.

High quality protein: Protein that contains all essential amino acids in amounts that our bodies can use to build our own proteins such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and a good quality whey protein powder.

Lower quality protein: Protein that is missing one or more essential amino acid or has unbalanced amounts of amino acids such as legumes (beans, peas and lentils), nuts, seeds and grains (breads, pastas and cereals).

The World Health Organization and many national health agencies have independently conducted studies concluding that our daily protein requirement should be between 10 percent and 15 percent of our daily caloric intake. There is still much controversy over this and the percentages will vary from one source to another. In my opinion, protein percentages should take your Metabolic Typing® into consideration as well as your level of activity.

Daily protein considerations – basic guidelines by different levels of activity


Activity level

Protein per pound
of body weight

Average adult 0.4 gram
Exerciser/active 0.5 to .75 gram
Athlete 0.6 to 0.9 gram
Bodybuilder 1.0 to 1.5 grams


If you don’t have a food scale at home or if you are eating out in a restaurant, here is an easy way to “estimate” your protein content. One serving of protein, be it chicken, beef, fish or seafood, should be about the size of the palm of your hand – it will give you approximately 25 grams of protein.

Approximate Protein Content of Common Foods

• Egg (1 medium) -6 g

• Peanut butter , chunky (2TBSP) -8 g

• Chick-peas, cooked (1/2 cup) – 8 g

• Milk (8 oz.) – 10 g

• Yogurt, low fat, plain (8 oz.) – 12 g

• Almonds (1/2 cup) -15 g

• Tuna, fresh, cooked (3 oz.) – 23 g

• Ground Beef, lean, cooked (3 oz.) -24 g

• Chicken, boneless, cooked (3 oz.) – 27 g

Try to get proteins and dairy from organic sources – grass-fed animals as opposed to grain-fed animals.

In my experience, female patients usually do not eat enough protein. These patients are having a hard time losing weight and are often frustrated. After reviewing their diet or looking at their Metabolic Type®, I often suggest an increase in their protein intake and a decrease in their carbohydrate intake. They often see great results! So instead of packing those low-fat carbohydrate snacks in our lunch bag, let’s think about ways to load up on protein snacks instead. It might be difficult for vegetarians to increase their protein because they don’t eat meat or for busy people with no time to cook. A quality whey protein powder can help give people the protein boost they need.

Don’t be too tempted by protein bars as a quick alternative to other proteins because most bars also contain high levels of unwanted additives. Keep in mind that we can’t live on protein bars alone. They should only be a last resort when fresh, wholesome foods are unavailable. Keep some in your bag for those times when you need something quick and handy (e.g., stuck in traffic or in a waiting room).


Glycemic Index – Why you should pay attention to it

June 26, 2009


The Glycemic Index (GI) of a carbohydrate source is an important factor to take into consideration. Entire books have been written on the subject and I will not attempt to go into great detail, but here is the “gist” of it. The Glycemic Index shows the various rates at which a carbohydrate breaks down and releases glucose into the blood stream. The faster the food breaks down, the higher the index. The Glycemic Index sets sugar at 100 and scores other food against that number, making it a great indicator of our body’s insulin response. As a rule, insulin levels should be kept as steady as possible for optimal health.

There is a ton of information available to you on the topic. You can go online and download lists of high and low Glycemic Index foods to guide you with your carbohydrate choices. The goal should be to choose more food from the low GI index to avoid a spike in your insulin levels. Insulin is an important hormone in regulating fat storage. Eating a low Glycemic Index diet promotes lower body fat and a leaner physique in the long term.

High levels of insulin could lead to unwanted stress on your pancreas and later lead to diabetes. Research shows that one out of three North Americans is now being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and 90 percent of those cases could be avoided with lifestyle changes. Insulin secretion can also have an impact on cancer development as it triggers the release of IGF (insulin growth factor) which stimulates cell growth. Therefore, it could potentially increase the number of cancerous cells. Insulin and IGF also promote inflammation in the body which can lead to other inflammatory diseases such as cancer, arthritis and heart disease.

It has been shown that 75% of what happens to us is lifestyle related – there is a lot one can do to live to 100 years of age! Keeping your blood sugar leveled is definitly one of them!

14 tips on eating your way to wellness

June 24, 2009

  1.  Break your fast(breakfast)- increase metabolism; non-acid producing, low-sugar/glycemic fruits and green/fruit juices; or light, alkalizing foods only.

2.  Grazing-eating 5-6 smaller meals per day vs. 3 large meals (a portion is the size of your fist, not what you can get on your plate).

3. Avoid excessive alcohol, coffee, soda, dairy, SFA, and processed foods.

4. Eat organic food whenever possible and avoid genetically modified foods where possible (reduces pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics)

5. Focus on eating fresh vegetables, lean meats and fruits. Try following a gluten free and a low glycemic index diet as much as you can to keep you bowel healthy and keep your blood sugar stable.

 6. Avoid eating dead foods, or foods that are processed, refined, frozen, or canned (try reducing  anything man made passing your lips).

7. Reduce red meats, especially overcooked meat (carcinogenic)

  8. Avoid eating when you are stressed, depressed, ill, extremely tired or emotional, or when you are not truly hungry, as this inhibits digestion and creates fermentation..

9. Drink lots of good water to keep you body hydrated. 

10. Do not drink to much  liquids – not even water – with your meals and separate your meals from any liquid intake by at least ten minutes – doing so will dilute your digestive enzymes and affect proper digestion. 

11. Properly combing your foods for maximum nourishment and energy.  Consider using the Metabolic Typing ™ approach.

12. Eat slowly and chew all foods completely

13. Avoid eating condensed foods especially animal products, immediately before bed.

14.Take Vitamins to supplement your diet for optimal function when necessary.

Weight training exercises – A need for change

June 23, 2009

I was just talking to a patient yesterday about his work-outs, he was mentioning how he had plateau with his results,I so often hear that comment. I started asking him questions – how often he worked out? – what did he do for his routine? etc.. Not shockingly he has been doing the exact same routine for year and he always does an entire body routine.

Strenght training needs to have variety if you want to have success.  The body is smart and it will adapt to your routine and it will not progress. I suggested to him to start doing a 4 day split: chest and biceps, back and triceps, legs and abs and shoulders, traps and calves. Being a creature of habit, he was not sure…By doing a 4 day split you do 3 exercises per body part – you make the muscles work harder but you give it more time to recuperate and “growth” . In order to see gains with muscles you need to stress the muscle enough to create micro-tears which will create repairs and growth.  Now I’m not talking “Arnold” size here – just your normal natural muscle building which we all need to maintain a good muscle mass and a better metabolic rate!

Check out my strenght training work-out at

The Organic Debate – fruits and vegetables you should eat organic

June 22, 2009


Whether pesticides are harmful to humans is still a leading debate in the produce world. Because of pesticides, the average farm land yields 200 percent more than it did before they were introduced 70 years ago; quite an incentive for some people to ignore the potential health hazards.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) however, considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic. Pesticides have been shown to have many negative effects on our health like: neurotoxicity, disruption of our endocrine system, and immune system suppression.

The following foods tend to be most contaminated and should be bought organic as often as possible:


  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Rasberries


  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beens
  • Lettuce
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Spinash
  • Squash

There is no doubt that eating organic is better, but if you don’t have access to organic or if it’s too expensive, it’s still better to eat conventional vegetables and fruit rather than to avoid them altogether.

Excerpt from the book Wellness On The Go

Deodorant – what you need to know!

June 21, 2009

Here are the most common chemicals used in deodorants that you should avoid buying:

Aluminum – One main concern with deodorants is related to their high levels of aluminum salts. Aluminum chloride, aluminum carbohydrate and aluminum zirconium chlorhydrate glycine complexes can make up 25 percent of the weight of the deodorant/antiperspirant, which is not healthy – especially in Western cultures where most women shave their underarms, resulting in more skin absorption of the harmful substances. Aluminum has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Parabens – These are another concern related to deodorants. Parabens may be listed on labels as: methyl parabens, ethyl parabens, propyl parabens, butyl parabens, isobutyl parabens or E216. These parabens have shown particularly troubling links to cancer, present and intact in breast tumours. Studies have also shown that parabens affect the body much like estrogens do – diminishing muscle mass, allowing for extra storage of fat and prompting male gynecomastia (breast growth).

Propylene Glycol – found in thousands of cosmetic products – to help moisturize. It is also an ingredient used in anti-freeze and brake fluid, so it’s no surprise that it could cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage.

Fragrance – found in many deodorants. While it may seem harmless, it should be avoided as it can cause allergies and lung problems. Unfortunately, the priority of most companies that sell beauty products is their financial bottom line, not your long-term health. Ultimately, we can’t ignore the fact that all the chemicals we use on our body may increase our risk of developing cancer. Knowledge is power, but you have to act on that knowledge.