Seltzer Water and Weight Loss: The Skinny on the Bubbly

There’s this major company that makes seltzer drinks. And let’s just say that every time said company comes out with a new flavor, there’s also a major uproar. We’re talking uproar in a good way. People go nuts; and oftentimes, the new flavors start selling out so fast that they become extremely difficult to find in stores. When this happens, we also start to get a lot of questions about whether or not seltzer drinks are conducive with a weight loss goal. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, so it’s no wonder you’re confused. Some weight loss programs allow seltzer, while others tell you to steer clear, so which is it? Can you drink seltzer water when you’re trying to lose weight?

seltzer water

What is Seltzer Water?

It’s simple really. Seltzer water is plain water that has carbonation added to it. To do this, manufacturers take carbon dioxide gas and add it to the water under pressure. Now this is where it gets a little tricky, so pay attention. Although the terms “seltzer water”, “club soda”, and “tonic water” are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing.
While seltzer water is simply water and carbon dioxide, club soda generally has sodium and other minerals like potassium bicarbonate or potassium sulfate added to it. Tonic water contains a compound called quinine, which gives it its signature bitter taste, along with sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup.
For the purposes of this article, we are discussing seltzer water only. Club soda comes with its own concerns and tonic water, which as just as much if not more sugar than soda, is completely off limits when trying to lose weight.

Dispelling the Myths

Because seltzer water contains no calories and no sugar, drinking it won’t cause weight gain or stall weight loss; but there is a murky area. As you probably know, carbon dioxide is a gas. When you introduce excess gas into your stomach, what happens? Yes, you guessed it. Bloating. While drinking seltzer water counts toward your daily water intake, unlike flat water, drinking too much can leave you feeling uncomfortably full and bloated. Now, of course, this doesn’t mean actual fat pounds gained, but it’s something to consider when trying to fit into those skinny jeans.
There are also a few other concerns regarding bone and dental health. The pH of seltzer water is around 3 to 4 (flat water falls around a 7), making it slightly acidic. Because of this, there are concerns that regularly drinking seltzer water could destroy the enamel on your teeth, making you more prone to cavities, and prompt your bones to release minerals into the blood to increase the pH of your body. Studies have shown that both of these concerns are unfounded; seltzer water is safe for both your bones and teeth. On the other hand, when combined with sugar, as is the case with tonic and soda, carbonated beverages do have the potential to cause enamel erosion.

Benefits of Seltzer Water

In addition to dispelling these myths about seltzer water, some studies went so far as to research added benefits of drinking the bubbly stuff over flat water. One study found that drinking seltzer water over flat water may help you feel full longer. This can prevent overeating and actually lead to weight loss. In this study, researchers concluded that seltzer water may trigger food to stay in the upper portion of the stomach longer, which translates to feeling full for longer.
Another study found that drinking seltzer water may help alleviate digestive problems like constipation and stomach pain (associated with indigestion).

The Verdict

If you want to add seltzer water to your diet plan, you can do so with peace of mind. The bubbly stuff won’t inhibit weight loss or cause weight gain; and your teeth and bones will remain as healthy as ever. Just make sure that you’re staying away from tonic water or any flavored carbonated drinks that contain added sugar of any kind (we’re looking at you high fructose corn syrup).

Product of the Month! DaVinci Mango-Plex with Raspberry Ketones

Love is in the air this February and what better way to celebrate than by showing yourself the love you deserve? Whether you’re just starting with your weight loss goals this month or continuing on with your New Year’s resolutions, our monthly special can help. This February, we’re offering one of our best selling supplements – Mango-Plex with Raspberry Ketone – as our FREE product of the month as part of our monthly special.

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, Mango-Plex with Raspberry Ketone ABSOLUTELY FREE!

mangoplex

There is a reason Mango-Plex with Raspberry Ketone is one of the top selling supplements here at Valley Medical. It contains several beneficial ingredients, including African mango seed, green tea, green coffee bean; but the star of the show is the raspberry ketones. Raspberry ketones get a lot of attention for their ability to boost metabolism and support weight loss*, but many people are not entirely sure what they are or how they work. We’re here to clarify.

What Are They?

Raspberry ketones are natural substances that give raspberries their smell. Cranberries, kiwis, and blueberries also contain small amounts of raspberry ketones, but the concentration is highest in raspberries. Some processed foods use raspberry ketones in small amounts as a natural flavor; but weight loss supplements like Mango-Plex contain higher doses.

How Do They Work?

Researchers became interested in raspberry ketones as a weight loss supplement when they noticed that the molecular structure was similar to that of two other substances already known to boost metabolism: capsaicin and synephrine. Because of the similar structures, researchers concluded that raspberry ketones would work in the same way. Then they set out to test that theory.

The Science

Researchers’ suspicions were backed up when a 2010 animal study reported that raspberry ketones can help increase the breakdown of fat and stimulate the release of adiponectin, a hormone that helps boost metabolism and regulate blood sugar levels. In most cases, thinner people have higher adiponectin levels than people who are overweight. On the other hand, low levels of adiponectin are associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Summary of Benefits
  • Aids in weight loss by increasing metabolism*
  • Lowers cholesterol levels due to the high fiber content helping to remove bad cholesterol*
  • Improves diabetes control by enhancing metabolic pathways linked to insulin resistance*
  • Regulates blood pressure by affecting the blood vessels*
  • Can have anti-cancer potential*
  • May have antibacterial properties*

If you want to see what Mango-Plex can do for you, take advantage of our February monthly special by visiting any of our locations. No appointment necessary!

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.

Ashwagandha: Nature’s Stress Reliever

Last week, we discussed adaptogens and how they help your body respond to stress. We got a lot of questions about ashwagandha, a specific type of adaptogen that’s been getting a lot of press recently; so we wanted to dive in a little deeper and give you more information about this important herb.

ashwagandha

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is a traditional herb that has been used in Ayurvedic, Indian, and African medicine for centuries. In Sanskrit, the name ashwagandha translates to “the smell of a horse”. Many do say that the herb smells “horse-like”, but don’t let that scare you away. Some refer to Ashwagandha as Indian ginseng, but it doesn’t really belong to the ginseng family; it’s part of the tomato family. The herb is native to Africa, India, and the Middle East, but farmers now also grow it in United States.

Benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha’s major claim to fame is its ability to help the body cope with stress, but the benefits reach much further than that. Ashwagandha may also:

  • Boost the immune system*
  • Improve learning and memory*
  • Reduce anxiety and depression*
  • Stabilize blood sugar*
  • Lower cholesterol*
  • Improve energy and decrease fatigue*
  • Improve concentration*
  • Decrease pain, swelling, and inflammation*
How to Include Ashwagandha in Your Diet

The most common way to consume ashwagandha is in capsule form, but it’s also often available as part of multi-vitamin nutritional supplements or protein powders or as a tea. Typically, the recommended dose is 600 to 1,000 milligrams twice per day. The adaptogenic herb is readily available at most health food and supplement stores.

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

Adaptogens: Your Secret Weapon Against Stress

What if we told you that 75 to 90 percent of all doctor’s visits are due to stress-related illnesses? Even worse, what if we told you that stress is a factor in five out of the six leading causes of death?

In recent years, stress has developed into a $1 trillion health epidemic. That’s more expensive than the cost of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined. So what can you do? How can you manage stress in an era that seems to glorify the concept of “busy”?

While it’s true that you can’t get rid of stress completely (some stress is actually good), there are many things that you can do to manage it. You probably already know about the big guys — meditation, yoga, and deep breathing, for example — but there’s another player in the game that frequently falls off the radar, and that’s adaptogens.

intramax

What are Adaptogens?

The term adaptogens was first coined by a Russian pharmacologist named Lazarev in 1947. He defined an adaptogen as any agent that helps an organism counteract any physical, chemical, or biological stressor by generating a nonspecific resistance. In simpler terms, an adaptogen is a substance that helps reduce stress levels by acting on the body as a whole.

In addition to helping reduce stress, adaptogens also:

  • increase energy and stamina
  • improve strength and mental focus
  • boost the immune system
  • balance mood
  • support a healthy weight
True Adaptogens

Many herbs are credited with being adaptogens: but in order to be considered a real adaptogen, a substance must meet three criteria:

  1. It must be non-toxic to the person taking it.
  2. It must act on many organs and body systems (rather than just one) and allow the person taking it to better adapt to biological, chemical, and physical stressors.
  3. It must help the body maintain homeostasis (or normal functioning).

Examples of true adaptogens include:

  • American Ginseng root
  • Ashwagandha root
  • Asian Ginseng root
  • Cordyceps
  • Dang Shen root
  • Eleuthero root
  • Holy Basil herb
  • Jiaogulan herb
  • Licorice rhizome
  • Reishi fungus
  • Rhaponticum root
  • Rhodiola root
  • Wu Wei Zi Berries/Seeds
  • Maca Root
  • Astragalus
How to Take Adaptogens

Luckily, many of these adatogens are easily accessible. Some of them are available as teas, while others are added to protein powders or liquid multi-vitamin products. Intramax, which is dubbed the “crown jewel of multi-vitamins” contains a stress management matrix that offers Ashwagandha, licorice, astragalus, and ginseng all in one place.

The best stress management program combines several methods of stress relief and management, but adaptogens should definitely be a part of that puzzle.

Apple Cider Vinegar: 2017’s Hottest New Superfood?

Okay, so maybe it’s not exactly a “superfood”, but the year just started and there’s already been a lot of talk about apple cider vinegar, or ACV, as the regulars are calling it. For years, celebrities like Megan Fox and Miranda Kerr have sworn by ACV as a weight loss aid. Both beauties claim that drinking the vinegar daily is at least in part responsible for their svelte figures. That all sounds promising – and easy enough – but could it be too good to be true? To find out, we did some research on what the experts had to say.

apple cider vinegar

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help you Lose Weight?

The research on whether apple cider vinegar can actually contribute to weight loss is lacking; but one study out of Japan in 2009 found that drinking two tablespoons of diluted apple cider vinegar twice a day with meals helped participants lose four pounds in a period of 12 weeks. Researchers think that this benefit could be attributed to acetic acid, one of the main components in apple cider vinegar. Acetic acid can help speed up metabolism, contributing to weight loss. Another study found that drinking apple cider vinegar may help reduce appetite; however, researchers speculated this may be due to the fact that some participants felt nauseated after taking it. Although the research is promising, it would take more studies to really make a claim about whether apple cider vinegar can help with weight loss.

Other Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

While it may not be a magic potion for weight loss, apple cider vinegar does have plenty of health benefits, so it’s worth including in your daily diet. It’s rich in beta-carotene, calcium, and potassium, as well as probiotics, and enzymes, which contribute to a healthy gut and digestive system. Apple Cider Vinegar is also rich in antioxidants, which help fight off the substances (called free radicals) that contribute to cancer.

Choosing an Apple Cider Vinegar

As with most foods, the apple cider vinegar available for purchase differs. Some is highly processed, which leaves it lacking in the nutrition department. When choosing an apple cider vinegar, it’s best to choose a raw version that has the “mother” intact. The “mother” is a cloudy substance that consists of cellulose and acetic acid. It’s the mother that contains most of the vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and enzymes of the vinegar. You’ll be able to spot it right away because the ACV will look cloudy and a bit murky. This is a good thing!

How to Drink It

When drinking apple cider vinegar, it’s best to dilute it in 8 to 10 ounces of water. This makes it easier on the stomach and your tooth enamel, which can respond negatively to the acidity of the vinegar. After drinking the diluted apple cider vinegar, swish warm water in your mouth; and then wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.

Healthy Recipe: Mocha Chia Seed Pudding

We’re probably not alone here when we say that if there’s one thing we’re not willing to completely give up, it’s chocolate. While chocolate does have some health benefits, in most cases, it’s paired with too much refined sugar to make it worth it. We’ve always said that losing weight shouldn’t mean that you have to give up everything you love — and chocolate is no exception.

With this mocha chia seed pudding, you’ll not only get your chocolate fix, but you’ll have the added benefit of healthy fats from the coconut milk and protein and fiber from the chia seeds. You can eat it for breakfast, save it for dessert, or enjoy it as a midday snack.

chia seed pudding

What You Need:
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 Medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
What to Do:
  1. Add all ingredients except dates to a mixing bowl and stir until fully combined. Pour mixture into a blender with dates and blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to glass jars with a cover (mason jars work well).
  2. Let rest covered in the fridge overnight or at least 3-5 hours (or until it’s achieved a pudding-like consistency).
  3. Serve chilled with optional toppings, such as fresh fruit or coconut whipped cream. Leftovers last in the fridge 2 to 3 days, but this chia pudding is best served within a day or two.

Emotions and Weight Loss: How Meditation Can Help You Shed Pounds

When it comes to weight loss, diet and exercise get most of the credit. However, according to research, the key player in the game is actually psychological well-being. When you embark on a weight loss journey, learning to manage emotions and develop a healthy relationship with food isn’t always at the forefront, but maybe it should be. Now, we know what you’re thinking: well, all of that is great, but how do I achieve this psychological well-being? How do I stay present in the moment so that I can enjoy my food and listen to my body’s internal cues? The answer is actually quite simple: meditation.

The Research

Although there is still a lot of research to be done, a survey published by the healthcare network Orlando Health reported that successful weight loss is dependent on management of emotions and psychological well-being more than other any factors. However, 90 percent of the survey participants weren’t even aware of the importance of a positive mental state. Most gave all of the credit to diet and exercise.

Another study done by researchers at Cornell University looked at why some people seem to maintain a healthy weight all their lives, while others struggle. The study, which was published in 2016, reported that the leading three reasons were taking pleasure in food, listening to the body’s internal cues, and lack of guilt after eating. Yet another study out of the Brown University Public School of Health found people who pay more attention to the present and their current thoughts and feelings had lower levels of abdominal fat and were less likely to become obese.

How to Meditate

Although the word can be intimidating for some, meditation is simply the practice of focusing your attention on the moment. This results in more calm and clarity.  In addition to increasing psychological well-being, which can in turn lead to weight loss, meditation has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep patterns, and reduce chronic pain.

It does take practice, but the good news is that there’s no real right or wrong way to do it. If you’re new to meditation, try this:

  1. Find a quiet spot where you’ll be free from any distraction for 5 to 15 minutes.
  2. Get into a comfortable position – you can sit, stand, lie down, or even walk. It’s completely up to you.
  3. Find a point of focus. Many people choose to focus only on their breathing. Feel the breath as it comes in and then goes out. Take note of any tension in your body and relax any areas that feel tight.
  4. Be still.

You can also try guided meditations if you find it difficult to remain still or focus on your own breathing. There are many available for free on YouTube that range from 3 minutes to 3 hours.

If you’re new to meditation, the practice may seem a little silly and pointless at first, but trust us. The benefits of meditation extend to all areas of your life. If you combine meditation with the practice of mindful eating, you’ll be on your way to a slimmer waistline in no time.

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. We know that January is the perfect time to make a fresh start, so we’re offering Skip-a-Meal as part of our January 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.

Why You Shouldn’t Make New Year’s Resolutions

What we’re about to say may surprise you, so hold onto your seats. Ready? Are you sitting down? We don’t think you should make any New Year’s resolutions this year. Now we know this isn’t the popular opinion, but hear us out.

According to statistics, roughly 200 million Americans make New Year’s resolutions each year. Of those 200 million Americans, only about 8 percent actually achieve their New Year’s goals. You would think the number of successful individuals would be a little more impressive than that, given the fact that more than half of the population is participating. However, according to experts, there are more than a few reasons why New Year’s resolutions don’t stick.

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

One of the main reasons that New Year’s resolutions fail is because they’re unrealistic and non-specific. According to research, the most common New Year’s resolutions are lose weight/get fit, save money (spend less), and quit smoking. While these New Year’s resolutions have a positive common theme – they’re all focused on bettering oneself – they also have another commonality: they’re not specific enough and they’re hard. Every single one of these goals requires a major life change, and without a clear cut path or specific goal-setting, you’re basically asking for failure.

Another reason that New Year’s resolutions fail is because people place too much hope on the outcome of their resolution. People convince themselves that if I could just lose weight, or save money, or stop smoking, then I will finally be happy; but that’s not necessarily the case – and when the resolution doesn’t live up to that expectation, people often quit. In order to improve your happiness level, you’ll have to improve your mindset. External things, like weight loss and more money in the bank, will certainly help, but they’re only a piece of a larger puzzle.

What to Do Instead

Now don’t get us wrong – we’re not saying that you shouldn’t make goals to better yourself and then work toward them, we’re just saying that maybe New Year’s resolutions aren’t quite the way to go. The New Year comes with a lot of pressure to start anew, but every day is a blank slate and an opportunity to make a change. If you have a goal, start RIGHT NOW. You don’t have to wait until Monday, or New Year’s Day, or after your birthday. There will always be an excuse not to start now, but they’re often just that: excuses.

Here are some tips to get you started:
  1. Make a goal and then outline steps to get there. If your goal is weight loss, create an action plan. How much weight specifically do you want to lose? And what are you going to do to achieve that goal? Are you going to meal plan and work out three days a week? Write it all down and keep it visible.
  2. Enlist an accountability buddy. Tell someone your goal – bonus points if he/she has a shared goal – and check in with him/her regularly to make sure you’re both staying on track.
  3. Pay attention to your mindset. The major key to achieving your goals is believing you can, celebrating small successes, and overcoming any roadblocks or failures. If you don’t believe in yourself, you’ll never get there. Spend time reading personal development books or listening to motivating podcasts and, most importantly, put what you learn into practice.
  4. Focus on the present. Instead of focusing on the ultimate goal and how much more work you have to do until you get there, focus on the moment. What is one thing you can do right now that will help propel you toward your goal?

What you do think? Will you decide to give up resolutions this year and focus on short-term, everyday goals instead? If not, and you’re making resolutions, what are they? Will the way you approach them change after reading this article? We want to know!

New Year’s Eve Hack: Skinny Cocktails to Keep Your Calories in Check

When we think of New Year’s Eve, we imagine glitz and glam, midnight kisses, and the promise of new beginnings. We also imagine cocktails — sometimes too many cocktails — somewhere in the mix. Unfortunately, many of these fancy cocktails are full of sugar and empty calories that not only directly contribute to an expanding waistline, but make you more likely to overindulge on all the hor d’oeuvres and sweet treats lying around.

We don’t want to take away your New Year’s Eve cocktails, so instead, we’ve figured out a way to turn your favorites into waistline friendly skinny cocktails that you can enjoy (in moderation, of course) without the guilt.

Skinny Cosmo

(approximately 200 calories)

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce club soda
  • 1 splash cranberry juice
  • Juice from 1 lime wedge

Combine ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with fresh fruit, if desired.

skinny cosmo

Skinny Mojito

(approximately 150 calories)

  • 6 lime wedges
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ tsp agave nectar
  • 2 ounces rum
  • 3 ounces club soda
  • 1 cup ice

Place lime wedges and mint leaves into a cocktail shaker. Muddle until broken down and fragrant. Put in remaining ingredients and stir until chilled. Pour into a glass and garnish with lime and mint, if desired.

skinny mojito

Skinny Sangria

(approximately 175 calories per serving – makes 16 servings)

  • 3 apples
  • 3 oranges
  • 1 pound red grapes, halved
  • 3 bottles of Spanish (or Rioja) red wine
  • 1 can diet lemon lime soda
  • 1 can club soda

Cut apples and oranges into thin slices. Combine apples and oranges in a pitcher with grapes. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Chill mixture until ready to serve. Serve over ice.

skinny sangria

Skinny Margarita

(Approximately 150 calories)

  • 1.5 ounces tequila
  • 1 fresh lime
  • ½ fresh lemon
  • 2 slices orange
  • Splash of triple sec
  • Splash of orange juice
  • Splash of soda water

Pour tequila in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Squeeze lime, lemon, and 1 slice of orange into tequila. Add triple sec and pomegranate juice. Shake for 20 seconds. Pour over ice into a salt-rimmed glass and add splash of soda water to the top. Garnish with remaining orange slice.

skinny margarita

Skinny Spritzer

(approximately 120 calories)

  • ¼ cup blueberry juice
  • ¼ cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup champagne
  • 2 tablespoons fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup ice

Combine blueberry, pomegranate, and lime juice in a glass. Mix well. Fill another glass with ice cubes and pour juice mixture over ice. Add champagne and garnish with blueberries.

skinny spritzer