Not All Bread is Bad!

25 Mar

If you’ve been following my blog, you are probably well aware that I recommend keeping processed and other simple carbohydrates to a minimum. These carbohydrates include bread. So many of us overindulge in eating “bad” breads such as rolls, hoagie bread, plus the typical store brands of wheat, rye, whole grain, and the dreaded white bread.

First of all I want to mention that almost all of these breads listed above have minimal nutritional value and are not better than white bread. They all have multiple additives, preservatives and are full of empty carbs.

Now that I have sufficiently trashed so many kinds of bread, I can actually recommend a healthy alternative with nutritional value, a significant amount of protein, and a low glycemic index. A low glycemic index food is a food that produces a lower level of circulating glucose in your system than others and usually less carbs and calories.

I do recognize that bread is a part of the American diet and very hard to avoid all together. Since finally identifying this healthier alternative I have switched over and have been very satisfied with the product. The type of bread I recommend is sprouted grain and the brand is Ezekiel.

Sprouted grain bread is harvested from the shoots that grow from the grain or seed. Typical grains are processed from the whole grain before it sprouts. The sprouts require more protein, vitamins, and use up energy (sugar=carbs) in order to grow. This produces bread with higher levels of protein, vitamins, and less carbohydrates than the typical breads you most likely have been consuming.

Ezekiel has 5 different varieties of sprouted grain breads. The Ezekiel brand is also a very natural alternative without any preservatives or artificial ingredients and has no (zero) flour or refined sugars! It’s so natural that I have to keep it in the fridge or it will go bad in a few days on the counter or in the bread drawer.

Why the name Ezekiel? “Take also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils and millet, and spelt and put them in one vessel…” Ezekiel 4:9. When you read the ingredients it makes sense. Remember though, it’s still a bread so I do not recommend eating half the loaf in one sitting. It still has carbs and calories. That being said it has only 80 calories per slice. See the nutritional facts below and notice that all the ingredients are all natural. Feel free to head into your kitchen and compare the ingredients and nutritional information of Ezekiel bread to the bread you purchased recently. I bet you will be amazed.

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Ingredients

Organic Sprouted Wheat, Filtered Water, Organic Malted Barley, Organic Sprouted Rye, Organic Sprouted Barley, Organic Sprouted Oats, Organic Sprouted Millet, Organic Sprouted Corn, Organic Sprouted Brown Rice, Fresh Yeast, Organic Wheat Gluten, Sea Salt.

Be careful of other brands of sprouted grains as many have additives and artificial ingredients. Read the labels carefully. By the way I think Ezekiel bread tastes the best when it’s toasted. Enjoy!

Stay Healthy!….DocMatthew

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The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

 

 

 

Improved Weight Loss With Exercise in the Morning on an Empty Stomach?

4 Feb

I was sitting at my kitchen table last weekend reading the New York Times and having 
a cup of coffee. I was planning on having breakfast after that and eventually hitting my home 
gym. That’s my typical weekend protocol…at least it was until I read something interesting, which has already changed my workout routine.

The New York Times published an article citing a 2010 Belgium study, which indicated that people who exercised before breakfast on an empty stomach lost more weight and burned more calories throughout the rest of the day than those who did the same amount of exercise after they ate. Study participants even loaded on extra carbohydrate calories, and the fasting exercisers failed to gain weight compared with the weight gainers who were given the same amount of calories (just before exercise instead of after.)

imagesThe researchers believe that exercising while fasting puts your body directly into fat burning mode as typically our bodies process carbs before fats. Since we should not have many carbohydrates in our system early in the morning, our fat burning machine turns on instantly with exercise. The researches also believe that this process causes a chemical process in our muscles that improves metabolism of carbohydrates throughout the remainder of the day.

To be perfectly honest, this study and news report did not fare well with me. I almost always exercise after eating and during the workweek; I usually exercise late at night. This just works better with my schedule. I am sure many of you can relate.

Let’s take a step back though and remember that exercise (at any time of day) is better than no exercise at all. Exercise after eating is still beneficial and worthwhile. In fact exercising after carbohydrate loading has its own benefits of enhancing a workout by increasing stamina and energy. If your goal is to enhance a workout and reach certain goals then a fasting workout may not be the best choice. If your goal, however, is to lose weight or maintain weight then it may be worth trying to change your exercise routine to a morning fasting one.

My personal goal is to maintain my weight, and at times, lose a few pounds. Having said that, though, I also like to reach certain goals with my exercise in terms of performance and endurance. I typically exercise a minimum of 4-5 days per week. My new goal is to change at least half of my workouts to
a pre-breakfast routine. I think I’ll be able to change my weekend workouts to early morning and possibly do the same one time during the workweek. I will touch base after a month or two to update you on my progress. If you decide to do the same, please comment and let us all know about your experience.

Stay Healthy!….DocMatthew

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Medical Disclaimer

The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

 

Probiotics: What Are They? Should I? Shouldn’t I?

28 Jan

We all have bacteria and other microorganisms in our gut or gastrointestinal systems. They normally live in our stomachs and intestines. We actually could not live without them. The good bacteria (probiotics) help us digest food, fight off infections and aid in our absorption of important nutrients such as Vitamin B12. We also have bad bacteria and other microorganisms in our digestive tract. It is the probiotics in our gut that keep a healthy balance by constantly keeping our system in check.

Sometimes the bad bacteria take over and cause illness such as a C. difficile infection (a very bad bacteria) that can lead images
to a serious infectious diarrhea. This usually occurs after a person takes an antibiotic, and the antibiotic fights off the bad bacteria as intended, but it also knocks out some of the good bacteria whose job it is to keep the C. difficile bacteria in check. The C. difficile then overtakes the system causing the illness until it’s identified and treated. This is why your physician may recommend probiotics when he or she prescribes antibiotics to you.

I recommend taking a probiotic during any antibiotic treatment and continuing with the probiotic for one week after the course of antibiotics is completed.

There may be other benefits of taking a probiotic though it’s still early in the game, and we need more information from clinical trials to determine the proven benefits. That being said, there have been a few small trials that are indicating possible benefits of taking probiotics for those with irritable bowel syndrome, allergic rhinitis (hay fever,) travelers diarrhea (Montezuma’s Revenge!,) inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s Disease, preventing yeast infections in women, helping fight skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis and possibly in helping to prevent the flu and colds.

I suggest discussing the benefits and possible risks in taking long-term probiotics with your physician before starting any regimen.

It is also important to note that there are several types of probiotics on the market with different species of microbes. You can also find a healthy amount of probiotics in live cultures such as yogurt. Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium are the most common probiotics that aid in digestion and healthy immunity. There are many different strains of these species that help in different areas as well so it’s important to investigate them more and always read labels. Be sure to look on reputable medical and health sites when doing your research.

Stay Healthy!….DocMatthew

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Make A New Year’s Plan!

7 Jan

Forget the New Year’s “Resolution” to eat healthier….Instead make a New Year’s “Plan” to actually do it!

It’s the beginning of 2015, and we have all most likely made promises and resolutions to ourselves. I’ve decided to get back on track with my diet now that the holidays are over. Like most other people, I’ve partaken in the excesses of parties and gatherings with friends and family over the last couple of months. I must admit that I’ve also enjoyed tasting many of the delicious pastries, desserts, and other phenomenal edible gifts that were generously left at my office by patients, friends and colleagues throughout the holidays.

But the holidays are over, and it’s time to reset the clock and get back to the business of striving for good health and wellness. I have learned that the best way to do this is to plan to do it. Making a promise or declaration is helpful though creating a plan and following it is the difference between success and failure. So as of January 1st I decided to return to my healthy lifestyle of cutting out the majority of the processed carbs in my diet including bread, pasta, rice, cookies, candy, crackers, and chips.

My wife made a trip to the supermarket to restock our supply of fruits and veggies, and I stopped by the local health food store to pick up my favorite protein powder (vegan 1 chocolate flavored vegetable protein extract) for my daily breakfast fruit and veggie smoothie. I have my carrots, apples and mixed nut snacks ready for the office this week. I have my plan and have followed up by buying the supplies required. If I start my day with the promise or intention and without the plan or food supplies I will likely fail. Good intentions only go so far. I know that most people have good intentions but lack the necessary plan and follow through to make it happen. Make your plan and make it happen in 2015!????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

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The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

19 Nov

This is one of my favorite quotes and rings true with many of the difficult things we have to do in life. It applies to long-term goals in school, work and at home. I believe it’s also a great way to look at our health and wellness. If we decide to change our lifestyles
by eating healthy, starting an exercise program, or adding other healthy activities such as yoga or meditation, we can get overwhelmed and not move forward. There are so many options and choices in the health and wellness world. Sadly, most people tend to ignore all of them.Unknown

I believe that in order to jumpstart the process, we should choose a single healthy activity or dietary choice. Let’s say someone decides to start exercising and does not know where to start. She may decide to join a fancy gym and sign up for a few spin classes as well as multiple yoga and zumba classes. She will likely burn out in a few weeks or months because the experience was so overwhelming.

Another approach is for an individual to buy a $60 pair of sneakers and start walking. He could then add biking or perhaps jogging. He will likely soon start to feel the benefits from his new exercise program such as weight loss or an increase in energy. He will then feel motivated to take on new challenges. I am a big fan of using this type of approach to changing one’s diet and lifestyle.

Instead of advising a hesitant patient to enter a strict weight loss program with way too many rules I usually start
with a simple one step instruction. As many of you know I have written several blog entries about the benefits of reducing simple carbs to a minimum. This comes from lowering the amount of breads, pasta, rice, cookies, crackers and cakes that we consume. Some people tend not to respond well to this type of approach, as it can be too difficult to cut out all of these things at once.

I have found that if I advise patients to limit these types of foods after 2pm, or after lunch, people seem to do much better. They tend to learn to cut down on carbs later in the day and get used to eating a larger amount of healthier alternatives such as vegetables, fruits, salads, and lean meats. Very often the dietary changes tend to spill over into their breakfasts and their lunches. If they start to see beneficial effects from cutting carbs (i.e. feeling better and losing weight) then they usually spread the good habits to other parts
of their lifestyle. This may encompass things like discovering healthier foods or starting new exercise habits.

My point here is that we should not fixate on the end result. Stop thinking that you must lose 20 pounds or run a marathon. Start focusing on one healthy activity at a time. You can begin by deciding to do just one of the following: Eat more fruit in a day, consume more vegetables, drink
more water, reduce your carb intake, eat smaller portions, start walking, running, biking, hiking, or using weights. If you already do one of these things then add on another. If you take the first step, you may soon find yourself on a journey.

 

Stay Healthy!….DocMatthew

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The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

 

Vegetable Pasta? Really?

22 Oct

Yes there is such a thing, and we tried it at home just last week. The device is called the Veggetti. It’s a small inexpensive cutting tool that makes squash, zucchini, cucumbers or carrots into a spaghetti or pasta shape. It’s a great way to substitute meals filled with carbohydrates calorie laden pasta with low carb nutrient loaded low calorie healthy veggies.

We used two zucchinis to make vegetable pasta and added turkey meatballs for my family of four at home. We sautéed the veggie pasta in a pan with a little olive oil and then added the turkey meatballs and sprinkled them with Parmesan cheese. I had my doubts about this veggie pasta, but I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, the entire family enjoyed it.

We avoided a typical serving of pasta that could add up to 800 calories and 160 grams of carbs and instead had a healthy serving of zucchini pasta that only had about 80 calories and just 8 grams of carbs. I would recommend using one zucchini for each person or serving as the vegetable pasta shrinks more than 50% when cooked. Using the Veggetti is a great way to fill up at dinner while avoiding the bloating carbs we find in traditional pasta. Make dinner guilt free as it’s tough to overdue dinner with a meal made up of mostly vegetables.

Stay Healthy!….DocMatthew

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zucchini_pastaMedical Disclaimer

The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

 

 

Adding Artificial Sweeteners May Lead to Weight Gain and Diabetes!

1 Oct

A recent study published in Nature, a highly regarded scientific journal, found that non-caloric artificial sweeteners might lead to glucose intolerance and obesity in humans. Glucose (sugar) intolerance generally leads to diabetes. In the study, mice were given a solution of either saccharin, sucralose, or aspartame – three of the most common non-caloric sugar substitutes on the market which are often found in diet sodas, sport drinks, and non-caloric sugar packets. The researchers found that these mice quickly developed glucose intolerance and signs of obesity. These findings were in contrast to the findings of the mice that were given sugar water and regular water. The reason behind the findings was because the sugar substitutes induced changes to the gut bacteria that normally help to digest carbohydrates.

After the researchers made this discovery, they went back to review the diets of 381 known diabetics and found that the individuals who had a history of greater consumption of sugar substitutes had higher rates of obesity and worsening glucose levels in their blood. They then went on to test seven healthy individuals who did not have a history of using sugar substitutes in their diets. The researchers gave them similar solutions of non-caloric sugar substitutes and found that four out of the seven developed glucose intolerance and worsening glucose levels within a week!

Wow! This study could have huge implications. Consider the possibility that the product intended to lower the amount of calories ingested and reduce the amount of sugar intake actually causes people to have higher levels of glucose. The product that was developed to lower the rate of obesity, which is a tremendous epidemic in this country, may actually have been adding fuel to the fire. Now this is just one of the few recent studies pointing to this possibility and seems to be gaining momentum, but we still don’t know for sure.

What we do know for sure is that if we consume natural foods i.e. those foods that are grown in nature, we will be much better off. This goes along with the same saying we were told as children by our parents and teachers – “There are no short cuts in life.” If we take the time to plan out our diets, eat healthy fruits, veggies and lean meats, we will definitely have lower rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and we will feel good too!

Stay Healthy!….DocMatthew

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artificial-sweetenersMedical Disclaimer

The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

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