Archive for ‘Product Review’

December 1, 2012

A Weight-Loss Journey: Everyone Onboard? Check Out This Pilot!

This is a special post. I would like to introduce you to Andrew, an inspiration for all! He shares his weight-loss journey with Nutribabble.com and includes tips and tricks on how he did it. A must-read! 

weight loss, before and after photo, before and after picture, diet, fitness, inspirational weight loss story, inspiration, fitness

At first, was your weight loss on purpose?

My weight loss was on purpose, my weight gain was the accident.

During high school I was part of the track team from freshman to senior year. This kept me in good shape and helped me learn how to exercise in general. Then, as I entered my freshman year of college, I had access to a great gym I used to get into the best shape of my life. However, I ended up discontinuing the use of the gym for a year, as I had enrolled in a gym-less flight training academy.

I found myself eating what I would call garbage… and too much of it. Combine that with no exercise and that’s all it took for me to look the way I did in the first picture. The reflection I saw in the mirror made me feel like I was no longer the man I felt I was inside. Aside from looks, I wanted to ensure I would pass the annual medical exam required for my career. This became my motivation.

weight loss, diet, fitness, inspiration, weight loss journey, before and after photo

What happened next?

Although I didn’t have a gym readily available I knew I could change my body through dieting and running. With my new diet and religious two-mile-a-day-run (which was at an ever accelerating pace), I dropped my weight from 274 to 209 pounds in about two to three months.

At 209 pounds I looked in the mirror and I was happy! Yes, for a bit… but still not where I wanted to be. I would call 209 pounds my starting point.

After obtaining my commercial pilots license, I maintained this weight for several months until I returned to college to finish my degree in aviation safety science. At this point I wanted to start hitting the gym and pack on the muscle I wanted. It took me about a year to get the bulk and definition I was looking for, turning the remaining fat on my body to muscle and adding about 10-15 pounds of lean muscle…thus putting me in the shape I wanted to be, as you can see in my “after” photo.

What was your new exercise routine like?

I used four specific exercise routines to go from broad to eventually a specific type of muscle growth.

First was a simple full body workout. I would work all different parts of my body for five to six days a week, always ending with 15-45 minutes of cardio. This produced some quick muscle gain, and would especially for those just starting to lift weights. The cardio in this routine helped keep my body fat percentage low.

After a while, I knew I hit a plateau and so I moved forward into the second phase. In the second routine I split my workouts to an upper and lower body rotation for five to six days– still with the cardio.weight loss, diet, fitness, inspiration, weight loss journey, before and after photo

After that, I moved into the third phase. In the third routine I paired primary and secondary muscle groups. For example: Back and biceps, chest and triceps etc. I would rotate this for five to six days and continue with cardio and abdominal workouts every day.

In my fourth phase, which is the phase I’m in right now, I spend seven days in the gym and five of the days are spent with a moving rotation of weight training.

  • Day One- Chest
  • Day Two- Shoulders
  • Day Three- Back
  • Day Four- Arms
  • Day Five- Legs

During the lifts I include negative sets and minimum rest periods to maintain an elevated heart rate. I also work my way up in weight for some exercises and work my way down in others… first up then down then up and so on. I end with abs then the cardio. After day five I have a “rest” day where I work my abdominals and spend at least one hour on cardio. Then, I rotate back to day one. Throughout this routine I am constantly increasing weight or reps until I feel I’ve reached a failure point. I also change up the type of exercise to avoid my body getting used to it.

How did you change your diet to compliment your new exercise routine?

My diet is relatively simple. I eat four to five smaller meals a day. I do this to boost my metabolism and avoid insulin spikes. I try to eat more carbs before a workout so I have the energy I need.

I also dropped all alcohol this semester. So far, I see a big difference. Alcohol basically focuses the body on expelling the toxin… putting fat-burning on the back-burner.

weight loss, diet, fitness, inspiration, weight loss journey, before and after photoI drink a lot of water… easily a gallon. My diet is low in fat and high in protein. I consume a regular amount of carbohydrates for my body type. I make sure I get all my calories in before 7:00 p.m. since metabolism slows down at night.

Did you add any supplements to your daily nutritional intake?

I make sure I get enough protein since it’s needed in both muscle growth and support. The body requires about one gram per pound of body weight to maintain current muscle.

Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) are the building blocks of protein, so this supplement helps with muscle recovery and aids against muscle breakdown.

I also supplement with omega’s 3, 6, and 9 since I don’t eat enough foods which contain these essential fatty acids.

Another supplement I take since I’m not getting it from my diet is L-Carnitine, an amino acid found in red meat which helps convert fats to energy.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) helps produce lean muscle mass and would normally be found in red meat and milk. However, due to changes in cattle feeding CLA content in these products is only a fraction of what it was in the 1950’s. Some researchers even suggest it is the possible cause of Americas expanding waistline.

Everything I supplement with is natural and safe. I urge anyone who wants to start any supplement make sure you learn everything there is to know about the supplement before considering it at all and check with your doctor.

What was the hardest part of the process? What helped you keep going?

Getting started was the hardest part for me. If you are an overweight or out of shape person reading, I want you to understand something. When I see a heavyset person in the gym, the first thing that comes to mind is: good for them. It is important to remember that everyone in the gym is there to better themselves.weight loss, diet, fitness, inspiration, weight loss journey, before and after photo

My motivation now is that I have come far and I don’t ever want to go back to where I was. Trust me… you won’t get to the end of your journey and think it wasn’t worth it.

How do you feel about the results?

I am overjoyed with my results and I look forward to my future improvements.

What do you notice about your energy levels?

My energy levels are much higher, and my endurance is greater, I’m not tired all the time. I have more confidence and I would even say I’m a little more outgoing. I really enjoy all I’ve accomplished.

How will you stay in shape?

I continue to train daily– constantly striving to achieve better strength and endurance. My diet and exercise are always on my mind and it has become a way of life now… my number one hobby.

I’ve achieved my goal of creating a sustainable healthy life style, remaining active, feeling great, looking good, and enjoying what I’m doing. I didn’t indulge in some crash diet where I would have had to eat lemons for three weeks to lose ten pounds that’s not sustainable. Fact: If you eat nothing but lemons the rest of your life… you won’t live very long.

If you could give advice to anybody trying to get into better shape right now, what would it be?

  • For all of you that are thinking of making a change, the first thing I want to say is go for it and commit to it. Don’t give up… you can be the you that’s in your head.
  • Train your mind to change your body, you are only able to push you body as long as you will let yourself.
  • Don’t stress the number on the scale so much in the beginning. You may see yourself gain weight as you build muscle since muscle weighs more than fat… but the more muscle you build the more fat your body will burn and you will start to see that number go down. Focus more on your mirror results than the scale in the beginning.
  • Set small goals to achieve, like one more rep, one more set, or five pounds heavier weight. Once achieved set a new goal and always move forward.
  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to other people in the gym or ask questions. Most people will be glad to help you. Even I help people train all the time.
  • Lastly, check out bodybuilding.com. It sounds like a site for elite fitness connoisseurs (at least that’s what I thought), but it’s actually packed with diets, information on how to properly do exercises, vitamins, foods, supplement sales, and basically unlimited amount of articles on anything fitness related. They have stories like mine from real people… that are not only inspirational but some relatively amazing. It’s a perfect place for beginners to pros and everyone in-between. Take advantage of its own type of “social media” type option where users can talk. NB
October 25, 2012

Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

By: Dana Baardsen

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? So can it’s vinegar do the same thing too?

Apple cider vinegar is created after the apples undergo fermentation. During the apple’s fermentation process, it’s natural sugars turn into alcohol. Prolonged fermentation is what actually takes the product a step further, creating the vinegar.

The acetic acid in the apple cider vinegar creates antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which make it a great healing product. It can be ingested or topically applied.

Apple cider vinegar has a lengthy list of health benefits. Some health claims are:

  • Ridding toxins from the body
  • Relieving Allergies
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Aiding fat breakdown
  • Clearing Acne
  • Easing digestion / Preventing stomach illness
  • Regulating pH balance in the body
  • Relieving migraines
  • Slowing the growth of cancer cells
  • Cleaning head lice / Destroying dandruff

WebMD reports five health claims which are backed up by scientific research:

  1. Diabetes- “The effect of vinegar on blood sugar levels is perhaps the best-researched and the most promising of apple cider vinegar’s possible health benefits. Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower glucose levels. For instance, one 2007 study of 11 people with type 2 diabetes found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4%-6%”.
  2. High Cholesterol- “A 2006 study showed evidence that vinegar could lower cholesterol. However, the study was done in rats, so it’s too early to know how it might work in people”.
  3. Heart Health- “Another study in rats found that vinegar could lower high blood pressure. A large observational study also found that people who ate oil and vinegar dressing on salads five to six times a week had lower rates of heart disease than people who didn’t. However, it’s far from clear that the vinegar was the reason”.
  4. Cancer- “A few laboratory studies have found that vinegar may be able to kill cancer cells or slow their growth.  Observational studies of people have been confusing. One found that eating vinegar was associated with a decreased risk of esophageal cancer. Another associated it with an increased risk of bladder cancer“.
  5. Weight Loss- “For thousands of years, vinegar has been used for weight loss. White vinegar (and perhaps other types) might help people feel full. A 2005 study of 12 people found that those who ate a piece of bread along with small amounts of white vinegar felt fuller and more satisfied than those who just ate the bread”.

So if you have interest in trying ACV, you have a few options. Apple cider vinegar is actually sold in pill form, but if you want to indulge naturally on a daily basis, I would recommend adding a splash of the vinegar to a glass of water or fruit juice. Do not take apple cider vinegar straight, because the acidity can be detrimental to the linings of your throat and digestive tract. You must mix! I wouldn’t recommend mixing more than one tablespoon (three teaspoons) into your drink.

If you are applying the product topically to your skin or scalp, mix it with water first to see how your skin reacts.

Just remember, everything in moderation! Good luck!

🙂 I would like to close with a special quotation:

“From my experience with wild apples, I can understand that there may be reason for a savage’s preferring many kinds of food which the civilized man rejects. The former has the palate of an outdoor man. It takes a savage or wild taste to appreciate a wild fruit.” — Henry David Thoreau, Wild Apples NB

July 24, 2012

Healing Weight Loss Crystals

flourite, healing, crystal, properties, spirit

Image: Rainbow Lightning Women on Facebook!

By: Dana Baardsen

My affection for beautiful crystals has existed since I was a little girl. I recall being around the age of five, loving to collect rocks, and on one special occasion my mother gifted me a small “crystal kit“. The kit included six small crystals glued to a piece of paper, which came along with a little booklet describing the facts and value of each one.

The thought of supergluing a crystal to anything irks me now, but at the time I was just obsessed!

To this day I admire crystals, yet own just a few. I came across a gorgeous fluorite crystal today and it inspired me to do a little research on which healing crystals are called upon for diet and weight loss.

Here’s what I found:

quartz, healing, weight loss, stones, inspiration, light, strength, reikiClear Quartz Crystal: This crystal represents physical and spiritual cleansing. Use this crystal as a strengthener and reminder to remove toxins from the body. This stone will also help you consciously make the right choices so you have an easier time ingesting the foods only capable of gifting life and energy to your body.

Agate: This energizing crystal symbolizes the strength within you. Keep this crystal in arms length if you need help uncovering your motivation to hit the gym!pink agate, agate, healing, crystal, weight loss, diet

apatite, blue, healing, weight loss, diet, fitness, dana baardsenApatite: This stone has been discovered all over the world in six countries forming a hexagonal crystal system. This crystal is used in chakra healing on the sacral (navel) chakra. Since this crystal resonates with the sacral chakra, you can utilize it’s energy to cleanse your stomach and aid in the process of digestion. This crystal is also said to spike metabolism!

Tiger’s Eye: Supports physical vitality and energy. This stone is also said to help attune your mind to keep on track and stay mentally motivated. tigers eye, healing, crystal, weight loss, diet, fitness

black onyx, stone, healing, crystals, power, strengthBlack Onyx: Symbol of inner strength and power.

Crystals are beautiful and powerful energetic gifts from the earth! I love admiring their energy and beauty. It is so interesting to me how several of us find such great reward in using these energy gems in healing practices. Meditate with these crystals and carry them around with you as little reminders to stay on track with your fitness goals! Enjoy. NB

May 6, 2012

Japanese Vegan “Jello”

Wagashi, Japanese, NY

By: Dana Baardsen

Nestled in Rockefeller Center, Minamoto Kichoan, is a small formal hiatus for Japanese confections. Rushing through New York, not too many sights catch my eye on the side of the street. Regretfully, I often whiz past some of the most beautiful and unique boutiques on my rushed journeys through Manhattan, as I make my way to work or meetings.

This day in particular, the meeting I had to attend was in the 30 Rock building. A building which is absolutely stunning in itself. You can find Minamoto Kichoan right around the corner at 49th St. west of 5th Ave. What caught my eye was the gorgeous perfection of each confection adorably resting on the other side of the glass window. I knew exactly where I would be upon the completion of my meeting.

In entering the Japanese “bakery” you feel a calm, cool energy which is complimented by the cleanliness and relaxing interior design. Feeling inspired, I admired the artistry which goes into each confection, and then I realized something which made me even more thrilled.Wagashi, Japanese, NY

The confections were all vegan! And not only that, they were made from the fibers of healthful foods. The Wagashi contains barely any fat.

I was pleasantly surprised as I tasted the chilled cherry Wagashi. There is a certain delicate sweetness which undoubtedly makes this treat a Japanese staple.

The ingredients used in Wagashi are, “legumes such as azuki beans and kidney beans, grains such as rice, rice flour and wheat flour, sacharride, potatoes, fruits, nuts such as chestnuts, sesame, agar, and sugar. All of these ingredients are derived from nature. Wagashi includes vegetable protein, vegetable fiber, various vitamins and minerals.” -Minamota Kichoa

Need I say more? Check out the store locations and try some Wagashi near you! NB

March 16, 2012

Top 100 Low Cal Beers!

By: Dana Baardsen

 

Source: shape.com via Dana on Pinterest

March 17th: Everyone is in green, bagpipes are bursting with sound, and there’s no other way to celebrate the old patron saint of Ireland than by sippin’ on some frothy brew… If you want to celebrate your inner-Irish as guiltlessly as possible, check out beertutor.com’s list of the Top 100 Low Cal Beers.

My favorite? Bud Select 55

Happy St. Patties Day! Cheers! NB

March 1, 2012

Quinoa Kick!

quinoa, village harvest, calories, recipes

Village Harvest

By: Dana Baardsen

What IS this stuff?

Quinoa is the only natural grain which provides a complete source of protein. If this doesn’t sound exciting enough to you then you should be aware, protein is made up of amino acids- nine of which are essential. Not only is Quinoa a protein powerhouse (often used by body builders) but it is an absolute complete source of these amino acids. This stuff is great!

My favorite brand of Quinoa, Village Harvest, states “the ancient Incas knew that quinoa was the best source of plant protein on earth. We have rediscovered quinoa, because of its nutty flavor, chewy texture and all essential amino acids”.

The Low-Down:

Brand: Village Harvest Quinoa (Premium Whole Grain) Blue Bag

Nutrition: 1/4 Cup

  • 160 Calories
  • 27g Carbs
  • 6g Protein
  • Contains: Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Copper

Cooking Instructions:

Rinse 1 cup quinoa until water runs clear.

Combine quinoa with two cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer until water is completely absorbed, usually 25 minutes. The germ ring will be visible when the quinoa is fully cooked. Fluff with fork and serve.

Delicious Quinoa Salad Recipe:

Refrigerate Quinoa until it is cooled. Add in chopped onion, celery, parsley, and carrots to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Enjoy.

Wonderful additions to the salad are grilled chicken or chopped avocado for veggies, like me! NB

February 27, 2012

Product Review: Starbucks Fruit & Cheese Bistro Box

starbucks.com

The box contains cheeses like Brie, Gouda and Aged Cheddar. The cheese is complimented by crisp slices of green apple and wholesome 9-grain crackers. Also included are roasted almonds and sweet dried cranberries.The box was just as satisfying as it was healthful.

The Bistro Boxes are sold as snacks, and even the cashier made sure I knew he thought the Bistro Box was just, “the most delicious and perfect snack”. Unfortunately I don’t believe that the Bistro Boxes should be treated as “snacks”. One Bistro Box can run you close to 500 calories. Not only that but more than half of the calories come from fat.
As delicious, healthy and wholesome as the Fruit & Cheese Bistro Box is, it is important to keep in mind that the cheeses, and almonds create a high-calorie, high-fat small meal. If you grab a Caramel Frappuccino with your Bistro Box, keep in mind that you are adding another 410 calories to your “snack”. One afternoon snack at Starbucks can add up to almost 900 calories!
I would definitely recommend trying the Bistro Boxes at Starbucks, but just keep in mind they might not be the best deal if you’re on a low-cal, low-fat diet.

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