Suffering from a bloated stomach?
Ever feel like you could apply to be a fellow float for the Macy’s Day Parade? Especially after eating what you thought was a healthy meal?
Bloat…not a very sexy word, is it?! Well it happens to the best of us, probably even more so to the healthiest of us!
Bloat, usually referred to as a Food Baby, is caused most times by excess gas, too much food at one sitting and/or a disturbance in the movement of the muscles in the digestive tract.
Bloating can be quite painful and not the same thing as water retention even though you will hear those two interchanged often.
Bloat is a pretty common feeling amongst people…up to 30% of us report experiencing it regularly. Sometimes it could be caused by a serious medical condition, but most likely it’s caused by diet and habits. If you’re part of the 30% that experience it regularly, here are 3 tried and true tips on how to reduce or eliminate it:
Some very beneficial ways to help combat bloat (besides the above) is to supplement with a quality probiotic and use peppermint oil.
I know when trying to eat well and exercise to look your best, it’s discouraging to feel like a first cousin to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. But I promise with some special attention to your diet you’ll find those “trigger foods” to avoid and start to see that flat belly you’re working so hard to achieve! Now pass the nuts…just not the almonds!
What are macronutrients?
All 3 macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) have been the topic of MANY blogs lately.
When you read one telling you to just reduce carbs, you’ll find another one telling you to cut them out altogether.
You’ll read a blog telling you fat will kill you, while the next one you read tells you fat will save you!
And then lastly, you’ll hear that you should literally eat your bodyweight in protein to lose weight while another person is telling you too much protein is bad for you.
“STOP THE INSANITY!!” OK, extra bonus brownie points if you can comment below the fitness trainer who coined that phrase in the early 90’s!
Alright, back to my point. I KNOW this can be SO frustrating and trust me, I deal with it WAY more than you probably do. I make it my mission to share my opinion but to also ALWAYS back that up with medical research, University studies and my own personal self-experimentation. I’m never tying to change your mind for you; I just simply want to give you the facts so you can make the best decision for yourself.
What’s all the fuss about protein?
Let’s put protein under the microscope for a minute here. How much is enough? How much is too much?
In my book, The M.A.D.E. Diet, I purposely give formulas for protein intake because I absolutely do not think “One size fits all” works here. Same thing with carbohydrate consumption but we’ll deal with THAT BEAST another time.
Protein is absolutely essential to life. We need it…period. Protein is basically long chains of amino acids that are linked together, like beads on a necklace. There are 9 essential amino acids that we have to get from our diets, and 12 non-essential amino acids that the body can produce on it’s own.
According to the same people that brought you “MyPlate,” men need 56 grams per day and women need 46 grams per day. Now that amount WILL keep you from having a deficiency but I also think those trying to improve their body composition need more than that.
However (awe come on…you’d knew I’d have a however!) I feel TOO much protein puts undue strain on some of your most important organs, the kidneys. Now quite honestly, you’ll find Bro Science that will tell you this is false, that only people with kidney disease should worry about this. Their “logic” is that the kidneys are always under stress…it’s their job. So adding the stress of too much protein is no big deal!
I would love to ask these guys, “Hey, have you ever run up a steep hill? Stressful, right?! Well, have you ever run up a steep hill with a backpack full of rocks? More stressful, right?!” I mean, come on…which one’s going to break you down faster? Do you want your kidneys to wear themselves out faster too? I didn’t think so.
How much protein?
So now the burning question you have for me is, “Melissa, how much protein should I have?” If I gave you a pretty precise percentage (ah-hem, like the MyPlate people), I’d be doing you a disservice because without knowing YOUR lifestyle and goals, I could be completely wrong!
But I CAN tell you that I believe, through all of my schooling and research, that anywhere between 15-35% is good. I personally stick between 30-35%. I know, I know…that’s so vague but I AM more specific in my lil’ ebook…feel free to check it out. I saved a copy just for YOU!
Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!
Does that word make your mouth water too? I love it and have so much fun with the mugs, t-shirts and memes out there about it.
But the question I get asked is, can I (or should I) eat it everyday?
I love bacon, the salty crunch definitely does it for me, but sadly to say, most of the bacon out there is actually very unhealthy for you. I know, I died a little inside writing that…but it’s true.
40 years ago, it was common knowledge that bacon was like the WORST food on the planet to eat. But the reasoning back then was because of the high salt and saturated fat content. Well today, we are a bit more salt conscious (by eating fewer processed foods) so its ok to have a little more in our natural foods AND we’ve come a long way in learning that saturated fat isn’t the villain we thought it was.
The real story behind bacon…
So why are you still telling us we can’t enjoy bacon every morning? Well unfortunately, pigs raised for pork here in the US have got to be the most poorly treated, fed and raised animals in our farming system. It’s heartbreaking. Their diets (which are essentially our diets) are horrible and since the pesticides and hormones these animals are given are stored in their fat…we eat it in the bacon.
The good news is (you were hoping I’d say that, I know you were), that there ARE ways you can have bacon. There are companies out there that offer pastured, organic, family farmed bacon…but you’re going to pay for it. But I see this as a very good thing, here’s why:
There are many wonderful websites willing to ship healthier bacon right to your door. I just want to really stress to my fellow bacon lovers out there that where your bacon comes from REALLY matters. I want you to avoid it like the plague if it’s from a source like Oscar Meyer! Your quality standards have to be especially high with pork but once you’ve found a source to get it from (look for pastured, organic, sugar, hormone, pesticide and nitrate free), then by all means, have a little bacon!
Here are a few places I trust to get some healthier bacon:
No such thing as a free lunch??
Free, delicious (uncured and sugar-free bacon), plus $15 off your first order, using this link from Butcherbox
After reading USA Today’s article from the American Heart Association “Coconut Oil isn’t Healthy – it never was” , I had to write a response:
First, let’s address the fact that they say coconut oil raises LDL.
What’s interesting, is that 50% of people hospitalized because of heart attacks have “normal” cholesterol levels. Over the past several years, it’s been proven that elevated insulin is what puts you at a greater risk of heart disease. Carbohydrates raise your insulin levels, fats do not. Old science only talked about good and bad cholesterol but new science has found that there are two types of LDL – large, fluffy ones and small, dense ones. Only the dense ones are associated with arterial plaque and can increase the risk of heart disease. Next time that you get your blood work done, have them determine your ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol. If the ratio is less than 2, you have predominately large fluffy LDL particles that won’t do you much harm. If the ratio is greater than 4, you have a lot of small dense LDL particles that can elevate the risk of heart disease. A rise in LDL by saturated fat, like coconut oil, does not necessarily mean an increased risk for heart disease.
Now let’s address the author of this article, Dr. Frank Sacks. It didn’t take much research on my part to find where Dr. Sacks has received multiple payments from pharmaceutical companies. The biggest one being Pfizer, the makers of Lipitor…a cholesterol lowering medication. In 2016, the American Heart Association received over $12,2000,000 from AstraZeneca, an antibiotic company bought by Pfizer. That’s just one of many pharmaceutical companies I found that contribute financially to the AHA.
Now what really gets my goat is their suggestion of us using vegetable oil instead of coconut oil. I shouldn’t be surprised though since many vegetable oil’s are made from soy bean and corn which is extremely profitable for our government and great job security for the pharmaceutical companies. But in case you were buying into the hype that vegetable oil is healthier for you than coconut oil, let me give you a brief explanation as to how it is made:
Step 1: Genetically modified ingredients are picked.
Step 2: Heat the ingredients to unnaturally high temperatures so that they oxidize. Oxidation is lethal to your body.
Step 3: Process with a petroleum solvent to extract the oil from the ingredients.
Step 4: Heat up some more and add some acid to remove any wax solids that formed during the first processing.
Step 5: Treat the oil with more chemicals to improve the color.
Step 6: Deodorize the oil to mask the terrible smell from the chemical processing.
Step 7: Then you can even hydrogenate it so it becomes a solid. Now you have margarine and all its trans-fatty goodness.
Everyone knows trans fat wreaks MAJOR havoc on our health – but “Coconut Oil isn’t healthy”. Cold pressed coconut is still considered a raw food. Not much processing going on there. More from the farm people and less from the factory! And then to add insult to injury, polyunsaturated vegetable oils are highly unstable and they oxidize easily. These kind of oxidized fats cause inflammation and mutation in cells. It’s linked to all sorts of issues like cancer, endometriosis, PCOS and heart disease (duhhh!)!
Why is the AHA recommending them??
Oh yeah, PROFIT! What saddens me the most is that doctors, teachers and organizations, who probably started off with our best interests at heart, have resorted to putting money above all else. It seems like our once trusted health care educators and providers are now being completely seduced and won over by the very rich and persuasive pharmaceutical Don Juan. All I can ask is that you don’t take these sorts of articles and information as iron clad because with just a little bit of research done yourself, you’ll find an ulterior motive…one that probably has lots of dollar signs attached.
So when you ask me what I think about the article that says “Coconut Oil isn’t healthy”, I’d tell you take all “scientific research” with a pinch of salt, and check money and influence isn’t corrupting the author. (I’ll continue using my Coconut Oil 😉 )
Eat smart tips from my guy to yours!
In honor of Father’s Day, I asked the Father of my 2 kiddos to give his “male perspective” on The M.A.D.E Diet.
Many people don’t know this but Mick (my husband) was the one who got me into eating healthier. When we met in high school, he was the one eating clean and I was downing Doritos and Coca Colas.
Although my passion is in helping women, I know many of my ladies have men they love and want to keep healthy too. I thought they might enjoy reading Mick’s no B.S. guide to The M.A.D.E Diet and picking up some eat smart tips along the way!
The MADE diet through a guy’s eyes….
Hey there! I’m Mick McAllister, husband of Melissa McAllister and also co-creator of 8hr. Abs and TeamMADE inc. Just thought I’d share my over simplistic way of understanding this incredible lifestyle change! Because, I don’t need to know all the specifics as long as it works.
Here’s what I noticed right away. Just pretend you’re a caveman. Seriously, you’ll see how history alone will show you the truth in this way of “taking care of yourself” – even in the modern days of 2017 and beyond.
We were created perfectly. Sometimes for answers you just have to peel away all the options that unfortunately can consume us. Thousands of years ago you woke up and food wasn’t abundant and just sitting in a fridge… Nor was there a store on every corner where you could easily get more.
It would take effort or (exercise) to go find and gather your first meal. You just don’t roll out of bed and start your day eating. I’m not talking about bagels and cereal, nor hopping in a car and heading for McDonalds.
You would be lucky to find fruit after hours, but usually some sort of natural vegetation would serve as fuel to continue your hunt for the “treat of meat”. We lived for food and sex. Some things never change!
Because it’s what people want to hear. But it’s not what we need…
In the dark ages (a much simpler time) we had it all nutritionally. Whatever you could find, you could eat; there was no guilt, no overweight people and everything you consumed had benefits for you (as long as it didn’t kill you first!)
We didn’t have internal diseases back then like we do today… People died young due to infection and lack of medicine – NOT like today where medicine and technology is the best it’s ever been, yet it’s used more to overturn our self-made (and repeated) shit decisions to kill ourselves. Slowly.
Wake up and do exercise and effort first, until that effort deserves a fueling. Was it hard to rest 8hrs? Is that why you need to eat as soon as your eyes are open? Let your body get a running start everyday before you feed it. 3-5hrs.
Think before you shovel it in. Could you get it from what walks on and grows from this planet? That’s enough choices for you. Don’t elaborate. Eat smart.
We didn’t “eat all the time” STOP IT! You were lucky to eat at all. 2-3 proper meals a day, with real food, is more than enough. Even if you’re trying to gain weight!!! And remember there were no lights back then, and fire was rare so STOP eating at sundown – 7-8pm
Feed your body from the land and treat it with God’s creatures. 80% of what you should eat is everything except animals. But, eat those animals too, as they provide you magic for your system you can’t find in anything else.
Get your rest. You’ll get eaten alive (back then literally) without proper rest. Pay attention to your pets, you know… those dumb animals. Or are they? Remember, they don’t evolve like us and live their life with a phone in their hand and a bag of chips in the other. They eat when it’s time and get the rest they need.
Simple, like nature. Like a predator!!!
Your energy will increase, you’ll lose weight, bloat, wrinkles, cellulite and increase firmness and definition, sleep like a baby, get yourself off current medications and even reverse existing health issues. Just by following this.
That’s enough for me to understand.
For more details, specifics and answers, visit The M.A.D.E Diet
Happy Father’s Day!
OK Ladies, I’m mostly talking to you here. I know you’ve heard conflicting information about whether or not it is ok to eat soy as a part of your healthy diet. Let me share with you what I’ve learned over the years about this plant-based bean that is rich in fat, carbohydrates and protein.
The hottest topic about soy right now is the fact that it’s near impossible to get non-GMO. 90% of soy produced in the U.S. is genetically modified. Just in case you live in a tiny bubble (like I do) GMO stands for genetically modified organism – which means it’s a new organism, not found in nature, created by scientists. It is NOT modified for nutritional reasons…it’s modified for economic reasons.
Pesticides were introduced in 1994 to lower the loss of crops due to insects. I don’t think you have to be Bill Nye The Science Guy to realize that eating foods that contain Roundup might wreak havoc on your health.
I get it Melissa, conventional soy is bad. But is it ok to eat soy that is non-GMO? Can it be included in my diet?
Let me first say that this is very controversial as well. I’ve noticed that some Doctors defend soy, they say its ok to eat soy and say that you can have certain types as part of a healthy diet. Whole soybeans are full of healthy micronutrients (Manganese, Selenium, Copper, Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, Vitamin B6, Folate, Riboflavin (B2), Thiamin (B1) and Vitamin K) and one would think it should absolutely be a part of a healthy diet…but here’s the catch: soybeans are also very high in phytates, which are substances that bind minerals and reduce their absorption.
Like any legume, they’re VERY calorie dense without a lot of nutrient absorption to make them “worth it.” This is why I don’t include ANY legumes (even peanut butter…I know, I know) in The M.A.D.E. Diet. We want every calorie you consume to be choke full of nutrition as well! It’s VERY difficult to get these days from the foods we eat. Some will say fermented soy can be beneficial to your health (in the form of tempeh, miso and tamari) but it is usually eaten is very small amounts and more like a condiment and not the main course of your meal.
It’s not just a nutrition thing either…
What really stands out about soy is its ability to mess with hormonal functioning. Soy contains large amounts of isoflavones that can activate estrogen receptors in the body. They’re classified as “endocrine disruptors” and can interfere with the normal function of hormones in the body that will either reduce or stimulate estrogen activity. Either way, it will throw your body out of whack having your hormones too high or too low. HELLO mood swings!
The last thing that really caught my eye was its effect on leptin, your satiety hormone. Our obesity epidemic has A LOT to do with our insulin resistance. Because of our Standard American Diets, we produce way too much of it and our bodies have become numb to it. Bad thing is, is that insulin is our fat storing hormone and why it’s getting more and more difficult for us to lose weight. We produce WAY too much and our bodies don’t know it.
Well, we are also becoming leptin resistant, meaning that our bodies are trying to tell us when we’re full and we don’t need food at this time but because of our diets, our bodies aren’t listening to that signal to stop eating…so we overeat. Do you always finish your plate or eat mindlessly only to realize you ate the whole bowl of popcorn or bag of pretzels? That’s leptin resistance.
When it comes to soy, or all legumes really, I tell people that the foods they choose should first and foremost have the most bang for their buck. It’s obvious that Oreos will do nothing for your health, but I really don’t think any bean or grain is worth it either. Always start by filling your plate up with a ton of colorful vegetables and add some healthy fats to them. For breakfast add a couple of eggs. Go ape on a big ‘ol salad for lunch, and for dinner accompany your veggies with a few ounces of meat from an organic source.
As I always say, eat to live…don’t live to eat. Fuel, don’t just feed, your body!
The 2 questions that I get asked almost every day are – will bulletproof coffee break my fast? Is it healthy?
With the trend for High Fat Low Carb eating, and in line with my MADE diet, I often get asked how drinking it will affect your fast.
I know that Dave Asprey states in his books, “The Bulletproof Diet” and “Headstrong” that his coffee does not break your fast. After extensive research of my own, and seeing how my own body reacted I’ve come to the following conclusion…
First off, let me explain exactly what it is before I go any farther. The story goes that Asprey was trekking to Mount Kailash – considered one of the most sacred places on earth – he wanted to learn how to meditate like the monks there. Temperatures got to below 0 Farenheit and Asprey began to feel really bad. He talks about meeting a Tibetan woman who gave him a cup of tea blended with yak butter. After five minutes, he felt better.
“I felt a mental clarity come on,” Asprey said. “Everything just felt easier.”
Dave created a version by mixing a cup of coffee with MCT oil and grass fed butter. It may not sound very good if you’ve never tried it, but it actually makes one tasty cup of Java.
One Cup of Bulletproof Coffee has about 230 cal. Now, although I understand that it is 100% fat calories, it’s still calories and in my humble opinion, your body will use those calories for energy instead of your stored fat… which is really your goal while fasting.
I don’t drink bulletproof coffee every day but if I do, it’s within my eight hour feeding window (it’s actually one of my favorite things, – you can see them all here!). There are many health benefits too … Let me share a few:
1. You are getting the benefits of black coffee which in itself has been shown to help prevent diabetes, protect the brain from Alzheimer’s and help prevent Parkinson’s disease.
2. It can help with weight loss when combined with a higher fat and lower carbohydrate diet. Plus, because of the quality fat, it keeps you full for a very long time.
3. It is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which help the body fight depression, helps relieve the symptoms of asthma, ADHD and Alzheimer’s disease.
4. It is good for the noggin. First off, as I mentioned above… The polyphenols in coffee alone are good for the brain and ward off disease. If you’ve ever been called a fat head, take that as a compliment. Your brain loves fat and if given the right kind…it works optimally. It could just be the power of suggestion but I swear I feel smarter after a cup!
5. Bulletproof coffee is a good source of energy. Again, you’ll get that just from the caffeine but fat can be a very long standing form of energy that won’t give you that crash like a coffee with sugar will.
I believe it will. However, I do think that Bulletproof coffee can be a beneficial part of your day as long as you are aware of its calorie content and you drink it within your feeding window!
The world is my oyster…except I don’t like oysters! But I do love the world, and over the past several years my husband, Mick, and I have become quite the globetrotters! All that being said – we do our best to not let our Healthy Eating Slip!
These past 24 months alone, we’ve been blessed enough to visit places like Africa, Dubai, Ecuador, The Dominican Republic, Mexico, France, Bora Bora, Italy, Hawaii, Jamaica, Canada, Germany and The Maldives. The climate, the people and the food are all so unique and beautiful in their own way. I love to soak up the views, talk to the people and try the local cuisine. You simply HAVE to eat a soft pretzel at the Hofbrauhaus in Germany and there’s no way you’re leaving Italy without trying some pizza.
So how do we stay on track when out of our routine? Can you even think about healthy eating on vacation? It can be a bit tougher when you’re not sure what’s on the menu for dinner, or if you’ll have the time and space to workout.
Here are 5 things I do on vacation to stay on track…[All of these things help me stay as close to my healthy eating routine as possible no matter what surprises come my way]
As far as WHAT to eat for breakfast and dinner, that’s easy….SHARE! Share the naughty foods you want to try with your travel buddy. Don’t each of you get the French croissant or Hawaiian sweet bread. Instead order one for the both of you and just have a taste. Worst-case scenario, you’ll have eaten a half of one but that’s much better than a whole one yourself.
Aside from that, try to keep your carbohydrates on the lower side (especially those containing sugar) and eat plenty of vegetables. I guarantee you’ll love how the locals there take their farm fresh produce and make it…this ain’t your Mom’s frozen bag of corn, peas and carrots.
It’s a Big World out there. Explore.
Your child’s face! Isn’t it the most beautiful sight to see? What my daughter Taylor and I have learned this last 6 months is the incredible effect of diet on your skin.
This is Taylor, and I want to share our nutritional journey together in hopes that it helps other Mom’s, Dad’s and Teens out there losing the battle for healthy skin (which could just be diet related).
Personally, I’ve never had to deal with “bad” skin. My husband, on the other hand, did and went through the whole Accutane prescription in his teens. We were dating and I watched him go through that and it was AWFUL! It literally burned him from the inside out. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy!
Taylor had beautiful skin up until her late teens and started breaking out pretty badly. It was such a blow to her self esteem and I wanted to “fix” it as quickly as I could. So off we went to the dermatologist to see what we could do to fix it.
Well, to sum it all up, over the past 3 years and several doctors later, Taylor has been prescribed birth control, harsh topical creams, has tried EVERY acne skin care regimen and was even finally told that she too needed to be on Accutane herself.
This prescription is SO harsh, if you’ve never looked it up, that Taylor was going to need to get monthly pregnancy tests (severe birth defects are exceptionally high with this drug), was going to have to go BACK on birth control, take blood pressure medication while on it because of possible complications and an additional hormone (called Spironolactone) during the minimum 6 month usage of this drug.
Ummmm, Hell to the NO!!!!
This past winter, we took a family vacation to Colorado with some friends. Let’s just say that these friends don’t have the same dietary discipline the McAllister’s have so there were lots of poor food choices in the cabin. Taylor admittedly indulged in what they brought and the 2nd picture you see is her a few days after being home from that trip. Its amazing the effect of diet on your skin right???
It was at that moment that she had an epiphany and realized it could be a certain food that was causing such trauma to her skin. She vowed to never eat dairy again and hasn’t touched it since. Guess what, her skin is perfect! Now the ironic thing is, during her hardship with her breakouts, I took her to get a food allergy test and she had ZERO allergy’s to dairy…not even a sensitivity!
So my point in sharing this with my fellow Mom’s and Dad’s out there. Before you consider those harsh, harsh, harsh, chemicals prescribed to your child, maybe just try eliminating certain foods from their diets (even if they seem to “tolerate” them well). The effect of diet on your skin could is definitely worth considering. Chances are too, that if certain foods disrupt the skin, it’s also wreaking havoc on the insides that we just can’t see. So if your Teen is…well, acting like a Teen…maybe it’s not just the raging hormones taking control. It could be something as simple as an aversion to a certain food that just keeps them from looking and feeling like themselves! It’s always worth a shot, right?!