Health and Nutrition Blog

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.

Posted in Health/Fitness, Recipes by Mari Pizarro
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 hormone

Posted in Health/Fitness, Recipes by Mari Pizarro

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

Posted in Health/Fitness by Mari Pizarro
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 k

Posted in Health/Fitness by Mari Pizarro
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

Posted in Health/Fitness, Recipes by Mari Pizarro
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,

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

Posted in Health/Fitness, Healthy Tricks, Recipes by Mari Pizarro
April 19, 2017

Sometimes holiday feasts are a surreal experience. And it’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance. It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days. The problem is that sometimes it doesn’t always stop there. Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or All. The. Time. Here are three simple strategies to avoid overeating at meals. (Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!) Tip #1: Start with water When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it’s too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food. But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger? Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast. Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten. And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (…just sayin’). Not only will the water start to fill up your s

Posted in Healthy Tricks, Recipes by Mari Pizarro