Healthy Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oatmeal

Fall is right around the corner, but for many of us (especially those of us on the west coast), summer temperatures are still in full force. At this point in the year, when it’s tempting to go without a meal instead of turning the oven on, healthy meals that don’t require heat are worth their weight in gold.

Overnight oatmeal is one of our favorites because it requires very few ingredients, it’s easy to make, there’s no cooking involved, and it’s ready to go in the morning when you might typically be in a rush. Another bonus is that you can really use any combination of ingredients to create an overnight oatmeal that you love.

This chocolate peanut butter overnight oatmeal is a real crowd-pleaser because, well, who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter together? Also, it only requires 6 ingredients, all of which we already had in our pantry. Win-win!

What You Need:

  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk (or almond milk)
  • 1 tablespoon real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ¾ tablespoon chia seeds

What to Do:

  1. In a sealable glass jar (mason jars are ideal for this), combine coconut milk, maple syrup, and cocoa powder. Stir until evenly incorporated.
  2. Add peanut butter, oats, and chia seeds and stir until combined.
  3. Cover jar with the lid and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
  4. Serve cold or microwave for 30 seconds before eating.

Optional: You can enjoy the overnight oats as is, or add additional toppings before eating. Our favorite additions include sliced bananas and crushed walnuts.

How to Get Rid of Stomach Fat

Last week we discussed the different types of body fat and how they affect your health. The most dangerous type of fat, called visceral fat, is found deep within the belly area and surrounds your major organs. The bad news is that having a lot of this type of stomach fat can increase your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. The good news is that although it’s dangerous, it’s very responsive to weight loss attempt — meaning, you can burn it off pretty easily with the right strategy.

Calories In Versus Calories Out

The most basic strategy for all weight loss is this: take in fewer calories than you expend. The source of your calories definitely matters, but simply restricting your calories will have a significant impact on your visceral fat.

Move More

According to researchers at Harvard University, exercise can reduce your waist circumference and help get rid of visceral fat even if you don’t actually lose any weight. To reduce visceral fat, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or biking, on most days of the week.

Consume Calcium

A study done by researchers from the University of Alabama Birmingham reported that the more calcium-rich foods a woman eats, the less visceral fat she gains. Good sources of calcium include plain yogurt, collard greens, broccoli, kale, bok choy, figs, oranges, sardines, and canned salmon.

Avoid Trans Fat and Fructose

Trans fats and fructose (read: high-fructose corn syrup) encourage the storage of fat around the belly. In addition, foods that contain trans fat and fructose are typically processed, packaged foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients anyway.

Sleep Right

Finding your perfect sleep balance is important for reducing visceral fat. Studies show that both too much (more than 8 hours) and too little sleep (fewer than 5 hours) can increase visceral fat. Aim for around 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.

Manage Your Stress

Stress increases production of the hormone cortisol, which prompts the body to store belly fat. If you want to reduce your visceral fat, you’ll need to get your stress levels under control. Try deep breathing, yoga, meditation, exercise, and/or journaling.

The Types of Body Fat — and Why They Matter

When you think about fat, you might not think about the types as much as you think “I just want it gone!”; but recognizing the different types of body fat is important in determining your risk of developing certain health problems. While some fat is nothing more than a cosmetic issue, other types of fat can increase your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and even dementia.

belly fat

Brown Fat

Brown fat, also called Brown Adipose Tissue or BAT, is found mostly in the back of the neck. This type of fat is beneficial and helps convert the calories from the food you eat into heat to keep your core temperature warm.

Brown fat acts like a muscle when triggered by a dip in body temperature. When it’s cold outside, or when you’re standing in a cold shower or swimming in a cold ocean, your brown fat starts to burn calories for energy to heat the body. On average, a normal weight adult stores 2 to 3 ounces of brown fat, which burns about 250 calories over the course of 3 hours.

White Fat

Your body holds significantly more white fat than brown fat. Unlike brown fat, which burns energy, white fat stores energy, but that’s only one of its jobs. White fat also plays a role in hormone production and the control of insulin. Having too much white fat can make the body less sensitive to insulin, and as a result, can lead to insulin resistance and, eventually, diabetes. White fat is categorized even further into two types: subcutaneous and visceral.

Subcutaneous Fat

Almost 80 percent of fat is subcutaneous fat. This is the type of fat that lies just below the skin’s surface. It’s the fat that’s measured when determining body fat percentage; and it’s also the fat that’s typically responsible for the appearance of cellulite (although cellulite is much more complicated than this and a story for a different day).

Subcutaneous fat exists all over the body, but it’s most common in the thighs, hips, and belly. Unlike brown fat, which burns energy, subcutaneous fat stores energy. That’s why, if you regularly eat too many calories, these fatty areas will continue to grow.

Visceral Fat

Visceral fat is the deep fat that wraps around the inner organs and can cause serious health problems. Having a lot of visceral fat increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Typically, visceral fat is found in the stomach area. A big waist and/or belly is a good indication that you have a lot of visceral fat.

Women with a waist circumference of more than 35 inches and men with a waist circumference of more than 40 inches are the biggest risk of developing serious diseases.

 

Product of the Month: Skip-a-Meal Replacement Beverage

Summer may be coming to a close, but there’s plenty of time left to rock that swimsuit and we want you to feel great while doing it. That’s why our Skip-a-Meal Replacement Beverage is part of our monthly special for this month too.

Monthly Special Details

With this special you receive 4 WEEKS of everything listed below for only $295 (that’s a savings of over $200)!

Physician Consult & Weekly Weigh-ins
Meal Plans
FDA Approved Medications
Meta-Blast Supplements
Crave-away Supplements
Weekly Upgraded Injection of B-12
Bi-Weekly Injection of Lipo X
Full Body Analysis on our BODYCOMP Scale

Plus, the product of the month ABSOLUTELY FREE!

skip-a-meal replacement beverage

All about Skip-a-Meal

The Skip-a-Meal Replacement Shake is a whey protein meal replacement shake that serves as a high-protein, low calorie replacement for a higher calorie meal. You can replace one meal with a shake each day, or all three meals. It’s totally up to you.

The shake contains several vitamins and minerals, so it serves as a balanced nutrition source, just like a healthy meal would. One serving of the Skip-a-Meal replacement shakes provides only 192 calories and at least 30% (in some cases, it provides 35%) of each of these vitamins and minerals: vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, vitamin D, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin B-12, biotin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, iodine, magnesium, zinc, and copper. So if you’re drinking the meal replacement three times a day, you don’t have to worry about getting the nutrients you need.

A single serving of the shake also provides 24 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber but only 2 grams of sugar and 5 grams of fat. The even better news? One tub contains 15 servings and you get it FREE when you sign up for our monthly special. Choose from vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry.

If you have any questions about Skip-a-Meal or you want to take advantage of our monthly special, contact us TODAY!

DISCLAIMER * These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Appetite-Suppressing Foods That Can Help Boost Weight Loss

We all know that when it comes to weight loss, there are no magic tricks or quick fixes. It takes dedication and consistency, along with a proper diet and exercise routine and the support that you need to keep going. That being said, these appetite-suppressing foods, when eaten in conjunction with an overall healthy diet plan, may help contribute to greater weight loss.

avocado

Avocado

We started the list with avocado because we think that it’s one of the best foods on the entire planet. You probably already know that avocados are rich in heart-healthy fats, but it’s a certain type of fat, called oleic acid, that packs the true appetite-suppressing punch. Oleic acid is classified as an omega-9 fatty acid. When you eat oleic acid, which is also found in olive oil, your body converts it to a compound called oleoylethanolamide, or OEA. Studies show that OEA travels to the gut lining, where it sends signals of satiety to the brain. When OEA levels are increased, it generally leads to decreased hunger and reduced calorie intake at the next meal.

A word of warning though: while avocados can help suppress appetite, they also contain a lot of calories due to their high fat content. When including avocados in your meal, pay attention to the proper serving size, which is one-third of a medium-sized avocado.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is made by straining out the liquid whey from regular yogurt. This process not only makes the yogurt thicker, it also makes it higher in protein per ounce. According to research, protein keeps you feeling fuller than fat or carbohydrates; so any food that is high in protein has appetite-suppressing effects. Research shows that when people increase protein intake to 30 percent of calories from just 15 percent of calories, they report feeling less hungry and typically eat fewer calories throughout the day.

A single 5.3-ounce container of Greek yogurt contains around 15 grams of protein, compared to just 7 grams for regular varieties; but be choosy when choosing yogurt. Flavored Greek yogurts still have the protein, but they can also contain as much sugar as a can of soda. Plain, nonfat or low-fat yogurt is best.

Flaxseed

Flaxseed packs a one-two punch when it comes to appetite suppression. It’s rich in both omega-3 fats and fiber, two nutrients that keep you feeling full. Fiber is especially beneficial because it has a “bulking” effect. It expands and pulls water into the digestive tract, which leads to feelings of satiety, and it doesn’t contribute any calories. The fat in flaxseed can also slow increases in blood sugar levels, which not only reduces hunger, but irritability as well.

One tablespoon of whole flaxseed contains 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of fat; but make sure to grind your flaxseed before consuming it because your body can’t properly digest whole flaxseed.

Spinach

Spinach contains compounds called thylakoids, which can contribute to appetite suppression and a reduced food intake. According to research, when thylakoids are eaten with a high-fat meal, levels of Cholecystokinin, or CCK, and leptin, two hormones that signal to your brain that you’re full and to stop eating, are increased. On the flipside, thylakoids can also reduce ghrelin, the hormone that tells your body that you’re hungry. When combined with healthy carbohydrates, thylakoids can also help reduce cravings for sugar and sweets.

To reap the benefits of thylakoids, try this magnesium-rich smoothie. It combines spinach with avocado and fruit to give you the fat and carbohydrates you need.

The Basics of Intermittent Fasting

A couple of weeks ago, we discussed HIIT, a type of workout that has been quite the trending topic on social media lately. This week, we wanted to stay with the theme of trending topics and decided to give you the lowdown on the dieting movement that’s also been making its rounds: intermittent fasting. We know it sounds complicated and a little bit intimidating, but when you break it down, it’s actually quite straightforward.

intermittent fasting

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Put simply, intermittent fasting is a term for an eating strategy that alternates between set periods of fasting and eating. There are no guidelines as to what you eat, just when you eat; but even those guidelines are loose, as it’s typically up to you to determine your fasting and eating windows. There are different types of intermittent fasting, but these are two of the most popular patterns:

  • The Leangains Method (also called the 16/8 Method): When following a Leangains intermittent fasting protocol, you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8 hour window. This means that you pick a time, typically in the afternoon, when you will consume all of your calories for the day. Outside of that time, you eat nothing for the rest of the day. For example, you may eat between 12 pm and 8 pm and then fast for the other 16 hours.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: The Eat-Stop-Eat method involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice per week; then eating normally for the rest of the week. For the fasting day, you would typically eat dinner and then fast until dinner the next day.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Most people venture into intermittent fasting for its weight loss benefits, but the eating method has several benefits that reach beyond weight loss.

  • Hormone balance: When you fast, your body adjusts levels of several different hormones to make it easier for your body to use fat as energy. Your levels of human growth hormone (or HGH), which is associated with fat loss and muscle gain, increases as much as five times; while insulin levels drop significantly, helping to lower body fat.
  • Reduced inflammation: In some studies, intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce chronic inflammation, which is associated with many health issues, including asthma, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Heart health: Intermittent fasting may reduce several risk factors for heart disease, including LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and insulin levels.
  • Brain health: Some studies have shown that intermittent fasting may increase levels of a hormone in the brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. Higher levels of BDNF are linked to better long-term memory.

Although the scientific studies on intermittent fasting are fairly recent, the research is promising. We think the trend is definitely worth looking into.

What do you think? Have you tried intermittent fasting? Tell us your thoughts!

*If you have a medical condition, please consult your doctor before trying intermittent fasting. Contraindications include diabetes, blood sugar imbalances, low blood pressure, medications, and pregnancy/breastfeeding. If you are a woman who is trying to conceive, intermittent fasting may not be right for you.

Healthy Recipe: Beef Zucchini Boats

Just like watermelon is the quintessential fruit of summer, zucchini seems to be the vegetable mascot. You see the summer squash everywhere, and sometimes it can be difficult to come up with new ideas for it, but because zucchini has such a mild flavor, the possibilities really are endless.

zucchini boats

These zucchini boats are low in calories and carbohydrates (300 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates per serving), yet high in protein (24 grams per serving). They’re simple to make and even simpler to adapt to your tastes. This recipe, which serves 4, will get you started, but you can add beans or any other vegetables of your choice.

What You Need:
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
What To Do:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut the ends off zucchini and cut each zucchini in half lengthwise.
  3. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the insides of the zucchini halves, leaving a shell or “boat”.
  4. Finely chop the zucchini insides and transfer to a skillet, along with beef, onion, peppers, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until beef is no longer pink.
  5. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Mix well.
  6. Spoon mixture into zucchini shells and place in a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  7. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until zucchini is tender, but not mushy.

What is HIIT? And Should I Be Doing It?

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is nothing new, but with the help of the #HIIT community on social media, the concept has been gaining lots of traction in the fitness world lately. Although HIIT can be done anywhere at any time, lots of gyms are popping up with HIIT classes due to the increasing popularity. So what exactly is HIIT? And how can you make it work for you? We’re here to let you know!

HIIT

What is HIIT?

The most basic definition of HIIT is a workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and periods of less intense activity, or complete rest; but here’s the catch: in order to qualify as HIIT, you need to push yourself to your max for all of the intense bursts of activity. This means that you need to go as hard as you can go (at least a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10) for the full time, and then you can slow it down during the rest periods. Because HIIT requires you to perform at full intensity, the periods of work are short, usually ranging anywhere from 20 to 90 seconds.

A basic example of a HIIT workout is sprinting for one full minute then walking for two minutes, and repeating this set for a period of up 45 minutes.

Benefits of HIIT

The beauty of HIIT is in the intensity. Research shows that when you work harder, your body requires more oxygen, which leads to greater calorie burn. This also translates to burning more calories before and after your workout, or what is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. High-intensity cardiovascular exercise — the kind that leaves you out of breath — raises your metabolic rate to the point where you could burn as much as six to fifteen percent more calories even after your workout ends.

  • Increased fat burning
  • Greater cardiovascular (heart) benefits
  • Improves insulin sensitivity and cholesterol profiles
  • Builds muscle while also burning fat
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Improves endurance
  • Takes less time
  • You can do it anywhere
  • No equipment necessary

Importance of Rest

The high-intensity exercise portion of HIIT is not the only piece of the puzzle though. The rest is just as important. Requiring your body to alternate between two very different states (intense cardio and rest) is excellent cardiovascular conditioning and allows you perform better during the intense activity, which translates to more fat burn. So just like you shouldn’t skimp on intensity, make sure you’re also getting the full period of rest.

Getting Started

There is no one size fits all approach to HIIT; but if you’re new to the fitness trend, there are some basic guidelines you can follow to develop a program that works for you. A good place to start is with a 1:2 ratio of work to rest. That means you’ll be doing an intense exercise, such as running stairs, sprinting, burpees, or spinning, for half as long as you’re resting. So if you’re working for one full intense minute, you’ll rest for two minutes. Repeat this cycle for around 20 to 45 minutes, or until you just can’t handle any more. As you get used to HIIT training, transition your work to rest ratio to 1:1 — one minute working and one minute resting.

Product of the Month: Skip-a-Meal Replacement Beverage

The Skip-a-Meal Replacement Beverage from Progressive Laboratories is without a doubt one of our most popular supplements. It tastes great, it works, and it’s easy to incorporate into a busy lifestyle. It’s especially great to incorporate into those summer months, when you’re hungry, but don’t feel like cooking up a hot meal. That’s why we made Skip-a-Meal part of both our July and August monthly special.

Monthly Special Details

With this special you receive 4 WEEKS of everything listed below for only $295 (that’s a savings of over $200)!

Physician Consult & Weekly Weigh-ins
Meal Plans
FDA Approved Medications
Meta-Blast Supplements
Crave-away Supplements
Weekly Upgraded Injection of B-12
Bi-Weekly Injection of Lipo X
Full Body Analysis on our BODYCOMP Scale

Plus, the product of the month ABSOLUTELY FREE!

skip-a-meal replacement beverage

All about Skip-a-Meal

The Skip-a-Meal Replacement Shake is a whey protein meal replacement shake that serves as a high-protein, low calorie replacement for a higher calorie meal. You can replace one meal with a shake each day, or all three meals. It’s totally up to you.

The shake contains several vitamins and minerals, so it serves as a balanced nutrition source, just like a healthy meal would. One serving of the Skip-a-Meal replacement shakes provides only 192 calories and at least 30% (in some cases, it provides 35%) of each of these vitamins and minerals: vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, vitamin D, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin B-12, biotin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, iodine, magnesium, zinc, and copper. So if you’re drinking the meal replacement three times a day, you don’t have to worry about getting the nutrients you need.

A single serving of the shake also provides 24 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber but only 2 grams of sugar and 5 grams of fat. The even better news? One tub contains 15 servings and you get it FREE when you sign up for our monthly special. Choose from vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry.

If you have any questions about Skip-a-Meal or you want to take advantage of our monthly special, contact us TODAY!

DISCLAIMER * These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Healthy Recipe: Watermelon Salsa

Watermelon is the quintessential summer treat; and while it’s delicious just as it is, we like to shake things up a bit. This watermelon salsa is fresh, tasty, and easy to whip up on a whim. We like serving it with plantain chips, but feel free to serve it with your favorite salsa accompaniment.

watermelon salsa
What You Need:

  • Zest from 1 lime
  • 1/4 c. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 c. seeded, finely chopped watermelon
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 c. chopped red onion
  • 1/3 c. chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Plantain chips, for serving
What To Do:
  1. Mix lime zest, lime juice, and honey in a small bowl. Stir well.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients, except for plantain chips, in a large serving bowl. Fold together until combined. Pour lime and honey mixture over watermelon mixture. Toss until evenly coated.
  3. Serve with plantain chips.