Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Importance of Drinking Water

Do I REALLY Have to Drink Water?

Yes.  You do.  We all know that drinking water is important, but the reasons why are not always so clear.  And with so many other beverages at your finger tips, it’s easy to bypass the plain, boring water unless you really have a buy in as to why it’s so necessary.

Reasons Why You Should Drink Waterwater-man

  1. Weight Loss - Drinking water is one of the best tools for weight loss!  First of all, it often replaces high-calorie drinks like soda and juice and alcohol with a drink that doesn’t have any calories. But it’s also a great appetite suppressant, and often when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, no sugar.
  2. Heart Healthy - Drinking water, a good amount of water, could lower your risks of a heart attack. A six-year study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses.
  3. Energy – Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired — even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2 percent of your body weight. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated — and this can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and other symptoms.
  4. Headache Cure - Another symptom of dehydration is headaches. In fact, often when we have headaches it’s simply a matter of not drinking water enough. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.
  5. Healthy Skin - Drinking water can clear up your skin and people often report a healthy glow after drinking water. It won’t happen overnight, of course, but just a week of drinking a healthy amount of water can have good effects on your skin.
  6. Digestive Problems - Our digestive systems need a good amount of water to digest food properly. Often water can help cure stomach acid problems, and water along with fiber can cure constipation (often a result of dehydration).
  7. Cleansing - Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.
  8. Cancer Risk Related to the digestive system item above, drinking water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. Drinking lots of water can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.
  9. Better ExerciseBeing dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities, slowing you down and making it harder to lift weights. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure you are drinking water before, during and after exercise.

How Much Water is Enough?

To figure out how much water you need to drink daily, simply divide your weight in half and the answer is the number of ounces you need.  So for me, that’s 114/2=57 oz. which is seven 8 oz glasses per day.  If you’ve never measured out your water, be sure you do!  Most people think a ‘glass’ of water is much more than it actually is.  :) (hint: it’s more like the short glass, not the tall one)

When Should I drink my Water?

water-glass-headache-lgThe best time for drinking water may not be what you expect.  Most of us are in the habit of having a glass of water with our meals, but this is actually not the best time for water intake.  At meal time, your stomach is filled with digestive acids and enzymes who’s job it is to digest your food.  If you dilute those acids and enzymes, they will not be able to digest your food as efficiently, slowing or disrupting your digestion.  Cold water makes this problem even worse.  It is recommended that you avoid drinking water (or other fluids) 30 minutes before or after your meals.  A few sips of room temperature water to help wash down your bites is ok, just avoid large amounts.
My daily water intake schedule goes like this:
  • One warm glass of water with fresh lemon juice first thing in the morning, followed by my workout and additional glass of water throughout.  Wait 20 min while prepping breakfast….
  • Breakfast.  Wait 30 min then…
  • Water, at least 16 oz.
  • Lunch
  • Water, at least 16 oz.
  • Dinner
  • Water, at least 8-10 oz (can’t drink too much before bed!!)
  • Bed

What’s This I Hear About Lemon Water?

lemonWarm lemon water in the morning helps kickstart the digestion process for the day.  There are many health benefits of lemons that have been known for centuries. The two biggest are lemons’ strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers and their use as a weight loss aid because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain many substances–notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene–that promote immunity and fight infection.
HOW TO DO IT: You should be using purified water and it should be warm-lukewarm not scalding hot. You want to avoid ice cold water, since that can be a lot for your body to process and it takes more energy to process ice cold water than the warm. Always use fresh lemons, organic if possible, never bottled lemon juice. I squeeze 1/2 a lemon with each glass and I drink it down first thing before I eat a single thing, or workout, etc.

Can I Add Anything to My Water?

orange-mint-waterThere are lots of great things that you are free to add to your water to give it some interest for fun or if you are having trouble with plain water.  Here’s some suggestions:
  • Give a Squeeze: Add fresh citrus juice, lemon, orange or lime
  • Infuse: Fill a large jug with water, add sliced fruit (try citrus, berries, melon or pineapple); refrigerate overnight.
  • Leaf It: Tear up some fresh mint or basil leaves and steep in water before drinking.
  • Cuke It: Add sliced cucumber!
  • Tea Time:  Any herbal tea is a great way to add flavor and can be served hot or cold.

What About Coffee and Caffeinated Teas?

coffee_beansHaving a small cup of coffee or caffeinated tea is acceptable while eating clean.  It’s the stuff you put IN your coffee that’s often the problem.  Too much caffeine however has some nasty side effects so limit your intake to about 200 mg (2 small cups max).  Remember that caffeinated coffee and teas like Green or White are ok once or twice, the teas are actually quite beneficial, but the caffeine acts as a diuretic, so you will need to add a little extra water to compensate.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Recipe: Simple Chinese Cabbage Dish

I had a bunch of Chinese cabbage that I had cut up and put in my fridge—and I've been really trying to eat it raw with salad but just don't like the way it tasted.

So instead of throwing it out, I decided to try something with it by cooking it up. Low and behold...it's super tasty now!

Here's what I did (it's super simple and took about 5 minutes since I already had the Chinese cabbage chopped up):

• a head of Chinese cabbage cut up
• 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil
• garlic
• sea salt (I used an Epicure garlic and sea salt grinder mix I had, but you could use minced garlic or garlic powder if that's what you have!)

• Take out a pan and put the heat just above medium.
• Add the coconut oil to the pan and heat it up.
• Add some garlic and sea salt...not too much—just start it off with a moderate amount.
• Add the Chinese cabbage and keep mixing it up for about 3-5 minutes until it starts to look limp, but don't overcook it!
• Taste it and see if you should add more salt/garlic...whatever tastes good to you!
• Remove from heat and eat!
• Store the remainder in a container in the fridge and heat it up later for some other meal.

You could basically do this with any vegetables. The coconut oil gives it a buttery taste AND coconut oil is really healthy for you, helping you to feel full and not want to eat as quickly after you've eaten. Yum.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

How Do You Deal With Eating No Bread??? + Recipe

Image from Satisfying Eats.
One of the questions I get from people about going wheat-free is "I love bread too much! I could never give it up.  How did you deal with eating no bread???"

Let me start by saying that I USED TO LOOOOOVVVVEEEE BREAD!  I'd eat toast whenever I could.  But once I decided to cut wheat/wheat flour out of my life after reading "Wheat Belly" by Dr. William Davis, I knew that not eating bread would be one of my most difficult challenges.  But there are options!

I was given this really great and simple wheat-free bread recipe from a friend.  It's just 6 basic ingredients (natural peanut butter, egg, vinegar, baking soda, salt and sweetener)!!!

I made the recipe when I first started going wheat-free and could still have my toast and jam when I got the craving for it!

But what surprised me most is that, over time, I didn't even feel like making it anymore as my craving for bread-type foods disappeared. Gone. Nada.  

So if you're thinking about giving wheat-free a try this recipe is a must...and so is reading "Wheat Belly" to really drill in the why's.



Wheat Belly Blog Recipes

A great resource for some wheat-free recipes that aren't loaded with bad, bad starches (like lots of gluten-free recipes are!!!) is the official "Wheat Belly" author's own website! Check out this feed for a bunch of recipes he's shared: http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/category/recipes/

And while you're at the site, you can sign up for his free recipe newsletter about halfway down the page on the left!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

If You Completely Ignored Your Goals and Focused on This One Thing Would You Get Better Results?

This guy nails it on the head. Goals are great, but they do put huge amounts of stress on people. Focusing on the system you put in place to reach your goals is much more important and ensures you have small focused feedback loops to reflect upon all the time! The tips in here can apply to all parts of your life, not just fitness and nutrition. Excellent article--don't miss it!

What's Your Food Kryptonite?

Here are some really good tips about dealing with your food "kryptonite"—those foods you just can't stay away from! Myfitnesspal is also a great site for tracking what you've eaten and there a great free app as well!

My Favourite Healthy Chili Recipe!

This is probably my all-time favourite chili recipe that's really simple to make since you just throw it all in a slow cooker! This chili is really low in fat, which you may think is a good thing, but the truth is that you need fat in your diet to help keep you feeling full and satisfied (or you'll just be hungry again quickly). So I always try to put some sort of full fat/light shredded cheese or full fat/light sour cream on top of the chili to help balance that out. Without the cheese/sour cream, there's about 280 calories, 45g carbs, 22g protein and 2g fat. Enjoy!


Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

YIELD: Serves 6


① 1 16 oz. can black beans, drained
② 1 16 oz. can kidney beans, drained
③ 2 garlic cloves, minced
④ 1 medium onion, chopped
⑤ 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
⑥ 1 green bell pepper, chopped
⑦ 10 oz. package (1 1/4 cups) frozen corn kernels
⑧ 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
⑨ 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
⑩ 1 tbsp. cumin
⑪ 1 tbsp. chili powder
⑫ 1 tsp. dried oregano
⑬ 1 tsp. kosher salt
⑭ 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, uncooked
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Optional toppings: Additional cilantro, shredded cheese, chopped scallions, red onion, sour cream, etc.


Combine ingredients 1 through 14 in a slow cooker*. Stir until combined. Place uncooked chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
Thirty minutes before serving, pull chicken breasts apart with two forks. Stir and continue cooking. Top with fresh cilantro or any other desired toppings.
Serve with Honey Jalapeño Cornbread, if desired.
* Tip: If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can also use an oven safe, 5 1/2 quart or larger pot. Simmer at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours.

Chicken chili adapted from Skinny Taste

My Top 3 Tips For Success!

Here are my top 3 tips for success based on my past experience losing 60 lbs plus working out at home:
  1. Aim to work out first thing in the morning! I usually work out first thing (on an empty stomach) as I find it provides these benefits: It ensures that IF for some reason you cant work out in the morning, then you still have the afternoon or after work in the evening to make up that missed workout! I find it's just an extra chance to ensure I get my workout in each and every day. Also, when you work out in the morning...YOU'RE DONE! You don't have a looming cloud over your head all day where you know you have to still workout when you get home...your evenings are now free to do whatever else you want.
  2. Figure out what your top food addiction is and cut it out! It could be sugar, wheat flour, etc. For me, it's both sugar and wheat flour...I'm not celiac (severe gluten issues) but I do know that I feel much much better now that I haven't eaten wheat for over 20 months straight now. I know I was addicted to products made of wheat/wheat flour and now that I'm not eating them, all of my severe food cravings are gone and I find that I "eat to live" rather than "live to eat". It's freed me to focus on other things in life. So try to figure out what that crutch is for you and cut it out completely (don't just cut down...that's like cutting back on your heroine addiction—it's not going to work!) and see how you feel! Trust me...at first you will feel awful (migraines, lethargy) as your body yells at you for not giving what it CRAVES—but that passes and then you're free. Let me know if you need any advice.
  3. You NEED a support network to support your goals! Groups like these are really important to keep you on track with achieving your goals. Seeing others succeed and have setbacks (I have setbacks all the time just like you!) is the best way to know you're not alone and others are in the same boat. You will experience setbacks, I promise, but it won't matter as long as you're looking for support and know you are giving it an A+ effort and not letting your mind play tricks on you (it's really good at that). Your support network also ensures that when those people in your life see your successes and feel insecure about themselves, their criticisms stemming from their insecurity can be ignored and you have some place to come to for TRUE SUPPORT.
If you have any tips, feel free to share them!


Hello! My name is Justin Stanley.

At 5'8", I used to weigh 215 lbs and decided enough was enough! I took control of my life and started eating healthy and exercising regularly in my own living room. I lost over 60 lbs! I've done various at-home workout programs and now live a wheat-free eating lifestyle and feel fantastic.  I also completed my first marathon ever in Rome, Italy in March 2011!

I'm now looking to help others who need to take charge of their fitness and nutrition goals once and for all! I became an Independent Team Beachbody Coach so I could do just that!