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Tag Archives: Center for Weight Loss Success

Chicken and Mushrooms with Lemon and Garlic

Posted on October 21, 2021 by

Quick & easy with the bright flavor of lemon!

Ingredients:
4 (3 oz) chicken breasts
4 Tbls finely ground almond flour
2 Tbls butter, divided
8 oz mushrooms, sliced to 1/4”
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup chicken broth
Juice of ½ lemon, cut the remainder in wedges
Fresh parsley
Salt & pepper to taste 

Directions

  1. Flatten chicken breasts with mallet to about ¼ inch thickness.
  2. Dredge chicken in almond flour with very light coating and season with salt & pepper.
  3. Heat 1 Tbls butter in skillet and cook chicken on each side until golden brown and cooked through. Remove to warm plate.
  4. Melt remaining butter in skillet and add garlic and mushrooms. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until tender and add chicken broth. Cook to reduce sauce a bit and add lemon juice.
  5. Spoon mushrooms and sauce over chicken and sprinkle with parsley and lemon wedges to serve.
  6. Add your favorite veggie or side salad to round out your meal!

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories 235
Total Fat 13g
Total Carbohydrates 2g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Protein 27g

Print Recipe: Chicken and Mushrooms with Lemon and Garlic

For more recipes like this, visit our Pinterest page! https://www.pinterest.com/cfwlsva/

Metabolic Syndrome

Posted on June 01, 2021 by

Let’s talk about metabolic syndrome. It’s a question that I hear A LOT! Is it affecting you? Metabolic syndrome is very common. This was a diagnosis that came about over the past 30 years or so. I’ll talk about the history of it and what’s involved with the syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome affects over 64 million people in the United States. That’s about 1/3 of all adults. It describes a collection of metabolic abnormalities. The metabolic abnormalities are what tend to lead to Type II Diabetes and/or Cardiac Disease. It’s important to recognize it and treat it.

It was first described in 1988 by Dr. Gerald Reaven. He noted that people with insulin resistance showed common metabolic disturbances that increase their risk for cardia disease. Originally it was called “Syndrome X, later “Insulin Resistance Syndrome (which is the more accurate name),” and finally “Metabolic Syndrome.” It really all back up to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a common theme for all the parameters that are here. It’s used as a diagnostic tool to identify risk of coronary vascular disease (heart disease). Dr. Reaven noted that a “low fat diet” (it was the diet being preached at the time), makes the syndrome worse.

Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of different things if you have at least 3/5. The first is waist circumference: >40 inches for men and >35 inches for women will put you at risk. That’s abdominal obesity. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be obese. It’s just waist circumference. It looks at fasting triglycerides: >150 mg/dl. Is too high. Next is HDL (the good cholesterol) : <40 for men and <50 for women puts you at risk. Blood pressure should be >135/85. Lastly is fasting glucose which should not be >100mg/dl. Notice that only one of these has to do with weight. You could have a large belly but not be that much overweight.

Metabolic Syndrome really means insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance is a state that your body requires more insulin than normal to try and keep blood sugars normal. It has long been known that a “low fat diet” makes this worse. This obviously implies that a “low carb diet” improves these metabolic derangements. A low carb diet will allow insulin levels to come down. A low carb diet will improve each of the 5 metabolic abnormalities.

How does a low carb diet improve the 5 metabolic abnormalities? It improves waist size. Insulin turns on fat storage. Carbohydrates stimulate insulin release. Low carb decreases insulin release. This improves fat mobilization (weight loss) leading to decreased waist size. Insulin is one of the hormones we have control over. Most hormones we have no control over. Insulin only goes up when we have carbohydrate.

It improves fasting blood sugar. Carbohydrates make the blood sugar increase. If we decrease carbohydrates, we can lower the blood sugar. That will lead to lower insulin.

A low carb diet improves fasting triglycerides. They are made from glycerol. Glycerol is made from sugar. Fatty acids come from both the fat you eat and the carbs. You can’t actually put together the triglycerides without the glycerol molecule which come from the carbohydrate. The fatty acids that are not made in triglycerides can be utilized as an energy source. If we get rid of the carbohydrates (sugar) we can’t make the glycerol molecule needed to make the triglycerides.

The HDL is the good cholesterol. When you restrict your carbohydrate intake, you automatically increase your fat intake. Calories have to come from somewhere. By taking in more fat, you’ll automatically improve your HDL. It’s one of the easiest ways to make your HDL go up. Contrary to popular belief, cholesterol is made from carbs and insulin stimulates the making of cholesterol. Insulin turns on the making of the cholesterol molecules. That will make your total cholesterol go up. You want your HDL to go up. The biggest thing that affects HDL is exercise.

Low carbohydrates improve blood sugar in many ways. Insulin causes sodium retention (salt), leading to water retention, leading to increased blood pressure. If you have a weekend where you eat a lot and gain 5 pounds, it’s not the food you ate, its water. The insulin causes sodium retention. Sodium retention means water retention. Water retention leads to increased blood pressure. Lower insulin levels are going to reverse this. Insulin also stimulates the release of a potent vascular constrictor (endothelin-1). This means the blood vessels themselves are tightening down. If they’re tightening down, that means your blood pressure is going to be higher. Insulin also inhibits the production of a vasodilator (nitric oxide). That means the vessels themselves would relax. The nitric oxide lowers blood pressure. Because insulin inhibits this, it works against lowering blood pressure.

Low carbohydrate decreases insulin levels reversing each of these. We want to manipulate insulin and lower it. We don’t want insulin at zero. It’s a hormone you can’t live without. Keep it as low as possible because insulin tends to cause these other problems.

In summation, Metabolic Syndrome is extremely common affecting >1/3 of the adult population.

It isn’t just people who are way overweight. It includes: abdominal obesity, increased triglycerides, low HDL, high B/P, and high blood sugar. If you have any 3 out of the 5, you have metabolic syndrome. Insulin resistance is the common denominator. If you have metabolic syndrome, you have a significant risk of developing heart disease. A low carb diet will improve each of these factors by improving insulin. This will decrease you risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes.

Call or text to schedule a lab consultation to find out if you have metabolic syndrome or for more information on your weight loss options. 757-873-1880

High Fructose Corn Syrup – Just a Sweetener?

Posted on May 25, 2021 by

High fructose corn syrup can be found in almost everything. Is it the “fruit of the devil” or is it really just a sweetener? Are there more problems with it than just being a sweetener? There’s been a lot of controversy over HFCS. When you think of sugar, you generally think of the white stuff in the bowl. Starting in the mid 1970’s, HFCS began to sneak into our food and beverages. Now it makes up >40% of all caloric sweeteners added to food and beverages. The annual intake has increased 1000% since then. American’s health has suffered. Is this just a coincidence? Is there a potential cause here too?

 

Is HFCS an innocent vegetable or is it liquid death??!!

It’s in everything: soft drinks, fruit juice, frozen yogurts, ketchup, canned fruit, cereal, etc.… It’s in so many products now that if a product doesn’t contain HFCS there will be a label on it stating there is no HFCS.

HFCS was introduced in 1957. It’s a chemical reaction that changes starch in corn to a true sweetener. The industrialization didn’t occur until the mid-1960’s. This was also the time when Castro took over Cuba. A lot of the US sugar came from sugar cane grown in Cuba. When Castro came into power, there was an embargo and we couldn’t import sugar any longer. We had to find a different sweetener and we had lots of extra corn. The farmers were really good at it. High tariff on cane and subsidies for corn farmers made HFCS extremely cheap. So it made its way into just about every food product that uses sweetener.

The problem was we didn’t know if there was a difference between one sweetener versus another. Corn is milled to produce corn starch. Corn starch is processed to yield corn syrup which is almost all glucose. Glucose by itself isn’t very sweet. A number of enzymes are sequentially added to change some of the glucose to fructose. Fructose is a much sweeter sweetener. The typical final concentration of HFCS used in most foods and beverages is about: 55% fructose, 42% glucose, and 3% other sugars.

Why should we care?

Is it really natural? In the chemical transformation could there be mercury contamination? That was a question back in the early days. The other thing that occurs when we do this enzymatic reaction is the formation of carbonyls. Carbonyls can potentially be formed in carbonated beverages. It typically comes from HFCS. The problem is carbonyls can increase cellular damage potentially leading to diabetes. Is it from the carbonyls or from the sugar itself? This also was a time when Americans were taking in a lot more sugar and carbohydrates. It was around the time people were talking about low fat diets. Which change in our diets caused the most problems? It’s hard to tell.

Regular sugar comes from processing sugar cane or sugar beets. Sugar is sucrose. Sucrose is a disaccharide (2 sugar molecules). Sucrose is a glucose and a fructose bonded together. When sugar is digested it’s broken down into 50% glucose and 50% fructose. That doesn’t sound much different than HFCS. There is a difference. Sucrose does have more steps of digestion. HFCS are monosaccharides and don’t need to be digested. The percentages are different than sugar.

Sucrose has the same molecular formula as the glucose and fructose but there’s a lot that has to be broken. It takes more to break it down and utilize it. Is the fructose the problem and not the glucose? Glucose is what we utilize as an energy source. Any carbohydrate we take in that’s used as an energy source is eventually broken down into glucose. Could it be the fructose? Inherently it doesn’t make sense. Fructose is “fruit sugar.” Historically man ate only a small amount of fructose (<15 grams/day). We didn’t have big fruit farms or anything like that. Hunter/gatherers would stumble on a fruit tree every now and then. Nowadays we routinely get about 80-100 grams/day. What could possibly be bad about fruit sugar?

There is a difference between how fructose is digested and the way glucose is digested. Glucose is a simple sugar. It’s what we use as an energy source. It can be burned for energy is every single cell of your body. Mitochondria in the cell metabolize glucose to ATP (energy). ATP is adenosine triphosphate. This is where our energy really is. Glucose can also be stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver. It can be utilized as an energy source or be stored later.

Fructose is metabolized much differently. It’s also a simple sugar. The chemical structure is similar but it can only be broken down in the liver. The rest of the cells in our body can’t actually utilize it. It’s broken down to acetyl CoA. This is the starting point of fatty acid synthesis. This can make your triglycerides, LDL, and HDL worse. This is where fatty liver comes from. This opens the flood gates of fat deposition. When you have fructose it doesn’t actually make your blood sugar go way up. Glucose makes your blood sugar go up.

Fructose can stimulate hunger and indiscriminate eating by NOT stimulating Leptin (a “fullness” hormone) and increasing Ghrelin (a hunger hormone). It won’t make your blood sugar increase, but will worsen insulin resistance, subsequently leading to increased blood sugars and fat storage. Fructose can also cause a depletion of inorganic phosphorus in the liver cells leading to fatigue (due to decreased ATP). If you decrease the phosphorus you have less energy. Fructose can do a number of things that can really work against you.

There are many potential consequences of excess fructose consumption. The biggest consequence is obesity. Fructose turns on fat accumulation everywhere. Once the fatty acids are made in the liver, they can be deposited anywhere. As I mentioned earlier, fructose can cause fatty liver. It worsens lipid profiles: worsens triglycerides, lowers HDL, and raises LDL. It increases hypertension because insulin makes you retain water. It tends to lead to diabetes mellitus. That leads to increased risk of diabetic complications (neuropathy, retinopathy, and kidney problems). It increases uric acid levels. Uric acid leads to gout. And, fructose also causes an increase in accelerated aging-formation of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). That means a sugar molecule gets stuck on other things. If it gets stuck on other proteins that means they can’t function normally. It’s cellular aging.

In summary, there is probably nothing good about HFCS. It’s probably not just the HFCS that is the “fruit of the devil.” The real problem is the fructose itself. The real wolf in sheep’s clothing is likely the fructose itself. Since about 50% of all caloric sweeteners is fructose, you ought to do your best to try and avoid any of them. That doesn’t mean we go crazy on artificial sweeteners. There are potential problems with those too. But that’s another story! (Read more in Artificial Sweeteners – Pros, Cons & Weight Loss)

Low Carb Zuppa Toscana

Posted on August 18, 2020 by

Every bit of the flavor & textures without the carbs!

Ingredients
1 lb Italian turkey sausage (I used spicy)
1 medium onion, diced
1 rib celery, sliced
1 small green pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz package frozen cauliflower florets (or 1 lb head fresh)
6 cups chicken broth
6 cups kale, torn into bite-sized bits
½ cup half & half
Salt & pepper

Directions
1. Brown ground meat and add onions, celery, garlic & peppers. Saute until veggies are softened.
2. Add cauliflower & chicken broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.
3. Add kale and cook until tender.
4. Stir in half & half.
5. Serve hot!

Makes 4-6 servings

Nutrition Facts: (for 6 servings)
Calories 205
Total Fat 5.5g
Total Carbohydrates 16g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Protein 24g

Print Recipe: Low Carb Zuppa Toscana

Grilled Pesto Shrimp Kabobs

Posted on August 14, 2020 by

Pair shrimp kabobs with a fresh garden salad and a slice of melon!

Ingredients
1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 clove garlic
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
3 Tbls olive oil
Salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Toss basil leaves, garlic, parmesan, olive oil and seasonings together in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until blended smooth.
  2. Combine raw shrimp with pesto and allow to marinate for an hour. (I don’t always have an hour and it still tastes great)
  3. Soak 4 wooden skewers in water for 20-30 minutes. Thread shrimp onto skewers and place on metal outdoor grill pan.
  4. Cook over medium-hot grill until shrimp turn pink. Remove from heat immediately to avoid over-cooking. 6-8 minutes should be enough.
  5. Garnish with fresh basil & extra shredded parmesan if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories         220
Total Fat          13g
Total Carbohydrates  1g
Dietary Fiber       0g
Protein           25g

Print Recipe: Grilled Pesto Shrimp Kabobs

Parmesan Meatloaf Minis

Posted on August 07, 2020 by

All of the flavors of Chicken Parmesan without the carbs!

Ingredients
1 lb ground turkey (or chicken)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ small onion, minced
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
2 Tbls fresh basil, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
1 cup marinara sauce
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with foil.
  2. Mix together ground turkey, Parmesan, garlic, onions, Italian seasoning, basil, salt & pepper and egg.
  3. Divide into 4 equal parts and shape into mini loaves.
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through.
  5. Remove from oven and spoon 2-3 Tbls of marinara sauce over each loaf and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  6. Return pan to the oven and place under the broiler until cheese is browned & bubbly.

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories         305
Total Fat          16g
Total Carbohydrates  11g
Dietary Fiber       2g
Protein           28g

Print Recipe: Parmesan Meatloaf Minis

Tomato & Spinach Frittatas

Posted on July 27, 2020 by

For breakfast, brunch or appetizers!

Ingredients
2 cups baby spinach
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
10 eggs
¼ cup milk
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Divide spinach, tomatoes & cheese in the muffin cups.
  3. Mix eggs, garlic, milk and salt & pepper in large bowl and whisk together.
  4. Pour mixture evenly into each cup.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes.

Makes 12 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories         82
Total Fat          5.4g
Total Carbohydrates  2.3g
Dietary Fiber       .6g
Protein           6.4g

Print Recipe: Tomato and Spinach Fritattas

Meal Planning Tips and Menu Ideas

Posted on March 24, 2020 by

Now, more than ever, it’s important to plan your meals and snacks.  If you’re working from home, the kitchen & pantry are just too close for comfort! Really, the last thing you want to get out of your time in quarantine is a larger waistline.

Take the time you’re saving by not commuting and plan your next week or 2 of meals and snacks.  It’s easier than you may think.  Use this handy template or create your own on a whiteboard – whatever works for you!  CFWLS Weekly Meal Planner

Where to start?

  1. Consider how much protein you need for your day.  What is your carbohydrate cap? These are the first 2 things you need to think about.
  2. Make a list of all of the proteins and vegetables in your freezer, refrigerator & pantry. These are things you won’t need to add to your grocery list and a good start for your menu plan.
  3. Find recipes that use the primary ingredients that you have on hand. A great place to start is our Blog page or our Pinterest page. Pick out 4 or 5 to try this week. Most of them are quick & easy and use ingredients that you have on hand or are easy to find. The nutritional information is included but you may need to adjust for serving size if you’re eating less than indicated.
  4. You will want to use the perishables first so look at the proteins & veggies you found in the frig. They will be the key additions to your meals and snacks the early part of your week. I find it easiest to start with dinner (or the main meal of the day) and work from there. Pencil in those meals and you’ve begun!
  5. Fill in the remaining main meals with recipes that contain the items that you found in your freezer and add any missing ingredients to your shopping list.
  6. Breakfasts don’t have to be complicated. Protein shakes, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and the like can be quick and satisfying options. Stay away from any starchy items in your pantry as they tend to lead you toward a slippery slope when it comes to carbs later in the day. Pencil in your week with healthy options that you have and add any missing things to your list.
  7. I leave lunches until last because it’s a great place to use the leftovers from any previous meals. Figure out what you will have left over and slip it into your lunches for the week.  Keep in mind that the end of the week dinners may slip into next week’s plan.
  8. Snacks will be used to make up the rest of your protein target.  Keep in mind that many of these sources will also have carbohydrates so choose wisely.  Here’s our handy ‘Sack Lunch and Snack Ideas Trifold‘ handout for reference.
  9. Now, before you forget, order those missing items from your local grocery store.  Online shopping has made it easy but keep in mind that the wait time right now is longer than normal. You may need to plan on picking up your items (or having them delivered) will be 2 or 3 days out and some items may be out of stock. (plan for allowances) You can refer to our Low Carb Shopping List for more ideas to keep on hand for next week.

Additional resources:
Low Carb Substitutions for Cooking & Baking
Tips on Cooking and Low-Carb Eating
Baritastic Tips – A Great Tracking Tool!
CFWLS Monthly Menu Planner – for long range planning
Kids lunch and snack handout
Menu planner – 3 weeks – these are done for you but you can switch it up a bit!

Enjoy! This can truly be a fun and rewarding experience and is a great teaching tool for family members. Get the kids involved – they catch on quickly.

Reach out to me with any questions! Dawn@CFWLS.com

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Posted on March 13, 2020 by

Wholesome goodness – substantial enough on it’s own or serve it with a salad 😊

Ingredients
1 small head cauliflower, broken into flowerets
1 cup shredded carrot
1 stalk celery, diced fine
1 small onion, diced fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
½ cup chicken broth
1 packet protein Cheese Dip mix
½ cup half and half
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Bacon bits for garnish
Green onion for garnish

Directions

  1. Cook cauliflower, carrots, celery, onion & garlic in 1 cup of water until cauliflower is tender. Remove from heat and mash with potato masher.
  2. Prepare Cheese Dip mix according to directions for soup. Add to cauliflower mixture.
  3. Add chicken broth and half & half. Return to heat and bring to a simmer. Stir in ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese.
  4. Serve with bacon bits and green onion garnish (if desired).

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories                                  165
Total Fat                                   9g
Total Carbohydrates               11g
Dietary Fiber                            3g
Protein                                    11g

Print Recipe: Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Look for this new product in the store!

Chicken Crust Pizza

Posted on March 09, 2020 by

Wow! The protein is in the crust so dress it any way you like it 😊

Ingredients
Crust:
8 ounces chicken breast, cooked and shredded fine
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup shredded Parmesan

Topping: (nutritional info for toppings used here)
2 Tablespoons pesto sauce
¼ cup sliced red pepper
½ cup packed baby spinach
¼ cup shredded Parmesan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place baking stone on center rack.
  2. Cook chicken and shred or finely chop. You could use canned chicken breast as well.
  3. Mix chicken with egg, garlic and ½ cup parmesan cheese.
  4. Press chicken mixture onto parchment paper (on baking sheet or pizza peal), making it about 1/4 inch thick. Slide paper into oven and directly onto hot baking stone. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until crust starts to brown.
  5. Remove from oven and add toppings. Return and bake until hot and cheese is melted.

Makes 3 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories                                 253
Total Fat                                14g
Total Carbohydrates              4.5g
Dietary Fiber                            1g
Protein                                   28g

Print Recipe: Chicken Crust Pizza

Note: This recipe is easily doubled. You can add whatever toppings you like and substitute mozzarella cheese for the Parmesan as a topping. Nutrition values will vary with toppings.