Five Cholesterol Myths and What to Eat Instead

June 6, 2017

I’m jumping right on a few of the most damaging cholesterol myths because I make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to what exactly cholesterol is.

Myth #1: “Cholesterol” is cholesterol

While cholesterol is an actual molecule what it is bound to while it’s floating through your blood is what’s more important than just how much of it there is overall. In fact depending on what it’s combined with it can have opposite effects on your arteries and heart. Yes, opposite! So cholesterol is just one component of a compound that floats around your blood. These compounds contain cholesterol as well as fats and special proteins called “lipoproteins”. They’re grouped into two main categories:

  • HDL: High Density Lipoprotein (AKA “good” cholesterol) that “cleans up” some of those infamous “arterial plaques” and transports cholesterol back to the liver.
  • LDL: Low Density Lipoprotein (AKA “bad” cholesterol) that transports cholesterol from the liver (and is the kind found to accumulate in arteries and become easily oxidized hence its bad rep.)

And yes, it’s even more complicated than this. Each of these categories is further broken down into subcategories which can also be measured in a blood test. So “cholesterol” isn’t simply cholesterol because it has very different effects on your body depending on which other molecul

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May 31, 2017

You may feel tired, cold or that you’ve gained weight.  Maybe your digestion seems a bit more “sluggish”. It might be that your metabolism is slow. But why does this happen?  Why do metabolic rates slow down? What causes my metabolism to slow down? Metabolism includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy.  And there are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories). But don’t worry – we know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”!  In fact it’s so complicated I’m only going to list a few of the common things that can slow it down. Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down: ●   low thyroid hormone ●   your history of dieting ●   your size and body composition ●   your activity level ●   lack of sleep We’ll briefly touch on each one below and I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”.

Low thyroid hormones

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism.  When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down.  The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active.   Ideally it should work to keep yo

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May 24, 2017

You may have this weird kind of relationship with your “weight”. I mean, it doesn’t define you (obviously). What you weigh can matter but only to a certain extent. Let’s look at your waist circumference (well… you look at yours and I’ll look at mine). Waist Circumference (AKA “Belly Fat”) Do you remember the fruity body shape descriptions being like an “apple” or a “pear”? The apple is kinda round around the middle (you know – belly fat-ish, kinda beer belly-ish) and the pear is rounder around the hips/thighs. THAT is what we’re talking about here. Do you know which shape is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes) and heart issues (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases). Yup – that apple or beer belly shape! And it’s not because of the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat that you may refer to as a “muffin top”. The health risk is actually due to the fat inside the abdomen covering the liver, intestines and other organs there. This internal fat is called “visceral fat” and that’s where a lot of the problem actually is. It’s this “un-pinchable” fat. The reason the visceral fat can be a health issue is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure. So as

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May 16, 2017

Are you resigned to not sleeping through the night?

Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?

Do not fear, I have some great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing.

Sleep is something we all do every day and yet we’re just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind.  People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation.  And don’t forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.

Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program?

What are the three main purposes of sleep?

  • To restore our body and mind.  Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify”

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May 9, 2017

Yes, we’re talking testosterone.  That muscle-building hormone.  But I’m not going to recommend that you take any anabolic steroid hormones or anything like that. I am going to give you two solid tips on how you can boost your testosterone levels naturally with two natural supplements.

Tip #1: Get enough zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral that helps with a number of processes in your body (it helps over 300 enzymes).  Zinc helps your immune system, helps to produce critical proteins and DNA, and also helps with wound healing.  Enough zinc is necessary to maintain healthy skin and for optimal ability to taste and smell.  Zinc is an antioxidant and can be supplemented to support optimal levels of testosterone because it helps the enzymes that converts cholesterol into testosterone. Good sources of zinc include egg yolks, and shellfish but also plants can provide zinc such as beans and nuts.  The best dietary source of zinc are oysters. The daily recommended dose of zinc for men is 11 mg/day (for women it’s 8 mg/day).  Low zinc levels are rare but tend to occur in athletes, vegans and people who sweat a lot (zinc is lost in sweat).  And low zinc levels have been l

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May 2, 2017

Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere! And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you.  Right? Well, maybe… Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat. This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health. Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it. What you eat and drink The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important.  Don’t get me wrong limiting the amount of what you eat can certainly help you lose some weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term health and maximu

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Posted in Health/Fitness, Healthy Tricks, Recipes by Mari Pizarro
April 25, 2017

This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.  What it really means is that your metabolic rate technically describes all of the biochemical reactions in your body.  It’s how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do. You know that if your metabolic rate is too slow you might gain weight easily and perhaps lack energy throughout the day. But what exactly does this all mean? Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive.  And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible. Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

  • Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity, etc.).
  • Allow activities you can’t control (e.g. heartbeat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).
  • Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into a system, let’s call it metabolism, it’s easy to imagine that these can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right. Which brings us to the definition of “metabolism”. Metabolism or metabolic rate: This is how fast this system works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!). The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

  • Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).
  • Heat (i.e. from all

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Posted in Health/Fitness, Healthy Tricks, Recipes, Uncategorized by Mari Pizarro
December 20, 2016

If you tend to gain weight during the holidays, you are not alone. Studies show that on average we gain 1.5 pounds over the 8-week period just before Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. This might not sound like a lot but the problem is that we don’t usually lose this weight once we’ve gained it. That can add up to 15 pounds in a decade or more! This doesn’t have to be your reality and it certainly won’t be mine.  Let me share a few proven ideas with you. I give you Mari’s Personal Top 10 Tips to Stay Trim During the Holidays (or at least to avoid gaining weight).

  1. PLEASE do not try to start a weight loss program during this time. I’ve done this more than once in the past only to fail and resent myself in the end.  This is the time to enjoy, not to count calories.
  2. DO NOT sacrifice your workout routine. Don’t try to convince yourself that because it is the holidays it’s OK not to continue with your movement routine.  Whatever it is you are doing at home or at the gym, keep moving; park your car far from the mall entrance, take the stairs, take a stroll to see the decorations.  Daily movement will keep you focused, energetic, and healthier.
  3. EAT before going to a party or holiday dinner. Avoid arriving famished to a place where unhealthy food will be served.  My favorite hunger-calming foods are a handful of nuts, a

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Posted in Health/Fitness by Mari Pizarro

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