Keto Coconut Cheesecake Bites

Here is an excellent dessert to try sometime if you need to satisfy that sweet tooth without feeling guilty. Check it out!

Ingredients (Cheesecake)

  • 3 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup crème fraiche
  • 1 teaspoon liquid stevia
  • 1.5 teaspoons coconut flakes

Ingredients (Crust)

  • 2 cups raw, unsalted macadamia nuts
  • .5 cup finely shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • .25 teaspoon salt

Directions (For the crust)

Process macadamia nuts in food processor until finely chopped. Add coconut, coconut oil and salt and pulse until the ingredients come together and the texture is similar to big grains of sand.

Use a Tablespoon measurement to drop scoops of the crust into a 12 count silicone cupcake pan. Use your fingers to press the crust down evenly and firmly in the bottom of each cupcake space.

Refrigerate the crust while preparing the filling.

Directions (Filling)

Dissolve the gelatin in 1 cup hot water by whisking vigorously. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, blend cream cheese until smooth. Add crème fraiche, sweetener (optional) and coconut flavor and blend until combined. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in gelatin, beating until thoroughly blended in.

Pour the batter into the cupcake pan on top of the crusts, filling each space close to the top. Chill at least 2 hours, until set.

To remove the cupcake bites, press from the bottom of the silicone cupcake pan to lift each cheesecake up. Done! Enjoy.

keto cheesecake

Understanding Hormones & Weight Loss

Have you ever had that friend that even when they diet and exercised like crazy they still seemed stuck in a plateau that they could not get out of? I think we can all think of somebody that has done this before, but usually not all for the same reasons. One reason may be the closet eater, who hides the fact that they are gorging on bad food choices behind closed doors. Or the excessive drinker, that says they only drink a few beers once a week, and it’s more like 10 beers at 2-3 times a week. The above two examples are not who we are talking about today. We are talking about the guy or girl that is actually putting in all the hard work but just can’t seem to get past that hump. Why is that? Well, the answer could be as simple as your hormones are not in an optimal state for fat loss….Here may be why.

Feeling Stressed?

We have all heard that stress kills right? Well, not only does it kill you, it also kills any fat loss or muscle gain progress as well. Studies have actually shown that when you are in a stressful state for consistent periods of time you can eat the perfect diet for your goals and still not lose body fat. In fact you will either stay the same, or you may even gain weight! So why does this happen? What is triggered in us that is causing this stress?

Cortisol

Cortisol is the stress hormone, responsible for that fight or flight response in the body that gets released when we are perceived to be under stressful situations. When cortisol stays up it is actually benefiting fat gain, and preventing muscle gain simultaneously. Now lets go back to the question of what is causing this in us? What is causing cortisol to stay elevated? Well, there are a number of things that could be plaguing our day. Here is just a small list…

Job or work environment, family life, Time Management, money management, over training at the gym, excess alcohol consumption, and consistent bad sleep.

This list probably covers the top stressors the average person has in there life. I would say out of all of the issues listed above, the number one issue leading to elevated cortisol is consistent bad sleep. You should always try to get at least 6 hours of sleep each night. Now, I know they say 8 hours is considered best, but I am trying to be as realistic as possible. Quite a lot of us are busy people these days. For example, lately I am in bed around 10 to 10:30pm, and will be up at 4:30am ready to go. Whatever your time window is, please remember to not completely neglect your sleep. Try to make 6 hours be your minimum. Also, remember to keep the “blue lights” off when you go to bed at night. Blue light is the light emitted by television screens and phones, and can interrupt healthy sleeping patterns.

In regards to some of the other stressors listed above I highly doubt anyone is suffering from over training, since it is very difficult for the average person to even over train in the first place. But, as far as the rest of the list goes if you want to make a conscious effort to reduce stress try yoga or even meditation. Look for something you can do to unwind and calm the body. Maybe even massage therapy would be a great idea as well. Just keep in mind if you are at a sticking point in your fat loss results and you know in yourself you are doing all the right things then you may want to consider taking a look at your normal routine and figuring out what changes you need to make to get yourself moving in the right direction. Always remember we are here to help so if you need any assistance in figuring out what to do please feel free to contact me at our email address and we will get it figured out.

Volume vs Intensity? What is best for max results?

Rate Of Perceived Exertion?

Here is something I wanted to share with you guys to put things into perspective for you. How many of you have heard of rate of perceived exertion? If you have great, if not what this means is how much did you actually exert yourself during exercise. From one to ten, rate today’s workout. Was it a 6,8,or even a 10? Now, most people like to think they are giving a 10 effort every single time, but what if I told you that may not be the best approach? Let me explain…

Imagine you and I were at the gym together, and I asked you to do as many push-ups as you could possibly do until failure, not one more repetition in the gas tank. And, let’s say you did 20. Would it be wise to come back to the gym tomorrow and do the same exact thing? Would it be a good idea to even come back and do the same movement in 2 days? The answer is the same… no. But if I said hey, how about you only do 10 or 12 push-ups a day with good form, could you do this everyday? Think about it from this perspective, say you did your push-ups at 12 reps every day for 7 days in a row. You would have done 84 reps in the week. Now, if you did the 20 rep routine that you could only endure 3 times a week, not only did you beat your body up, you also only accomplished 60 reps for the week, which is 30% less volume! I have always been a big proponent of intense training, but if you are only able to do that training 3 good days a week, you may be leaving a lot of progress on the table. Mathematically speaking, in this tiny example there is a 24 rep difference in the week. Multiply that by 52 weeks in a year. You are looking at 1248 repetitions!

Intensity

This is Why the Russians Kick Our Ass

In Russia, they utilize what has been coined as Eastern Block training, a style which incorporates a lot more volume being performed, with lower intensity. The only time the intensity goes up is when you get close to a competition. Other than that you are staying at that 6-7 intensity out of 10 range on your training sessions. But, staying disciplined and consistent with getting in your training sessions, which is key as you can see from the example shown above. So if you are ever wondering if you are training enough or too much because you aren’t seeing progress, I would suggest keeping this in mind. You may need to change up your training routine. If you are exercising 4 days a week, but always feel fatigued and sore, you might be going too intense and may benefit from breaking up your lifting session into more frequent workouts with less intensity. Either that or you are a novice and you have yet to discover what true exertion, or failure is. But that will come with time, just like anything else. That’s it for today, thanks for reading.

The Ultimate Weight Loss Supplement….Discipline

I wanted to touch on something today that is really a punch in the gut for most average people, because in today’s modern world most of us have no self control or self discipline, and it effects us every single day. Even the most simple things you may brush off and not even notice have an effect on your day. For example, the alarm clock, the awful, no good, loud, and obnoxious alarm clock. What do 90% of people do when they hear that sweet sound? Hit snooze at least 3 times, or turn it off and just go back to sleep. Well, right there you already lost. Now you have set yourself up to play from behind the rest of the day, staying in a more stressful, reactive state, rather than being prepared and ready to take on the day’s tasks. Another great example of no discipline can be seen when someone starts a new diet. They start off a few days doing great, and then they completely fall off the wagon and binge on trash food. Or even better, they go get a solid workout in at the gym, and then go “reward” themselves by having some sugary treat that is not only cancelling out the hard work you just did, it’s actually putting you in a worse state! The “reward” if you want to call it that is having the discipline to put in the hard work, and go home and eat sensibly, so then in 8 weeks you can look back and say, “damn, I feel great”! And the reflection in the mirror will show it too. A wise man once said there are only two major pains you will feel in your life….The pain of discipline, and the pain of regret. So the question is do you have the discipline to do what is necessary to take yourself to that next level, or will you give up and have to deal with the pain of regret? The choice is yours.

Why is Re-gaining Weight so Common?

How many times have you seen someone who was obese, begin to lose weight using diet and exercise, and get very close to their end goal, and then they end up stalling out, or even worse, start to put the weight all back on. They seem to be doing most of the right things, but a few slip ups here and there and the weight just sticks back on to them like glue. Here’s why….


Why You Keep Re-Gaining Weight

As we grow up, from a child to an adult, our bodies naturally end up with a fixed number of fat cells that we develop during our childhood years. Then as we hit adolescence that number pretty much stays where it is, unless we begin to eat so much that our body is forced to create new cells. This only occurs when all other fat cells have been filled to the maximum capacity, causing the body to adapt by making new cells. And the worst part is once these cells have been created, they do not go away. You can diminish them down by losing all that excess stored energy that is inside the cell, so in other words you can shrink the fat cells, but you can not eliminate them. So if you were obese with 40% body fat, and drop your body fat percentage to say 17%, you will still have the cells with you equivalent to 40%, but they are not filled because you have utilized the bulk of those cells for energy through what is called lipolysis, which is your bodies’ ability to take stored fat and use it up as energy. Now this is a great thing, to go from 40 to 17 percent, but since such a high percentage of fat was present at one time, this will make you more sensitive to re-gaining body fat since those cells are still present.

The biggest issue with having all these extra cells is when you do lose body fat, those cells are used to being filled up, which provides you extra energy for daily tasks. And since your body has burned through all that extra energy, it will offer resistance at times to try to get itself back to what it thought was normal, aka homeostasis. Also, when these cells are depleted through fat loss, the bodies leptin levels, (hunger hormone) will get kicked on in a lot of cases because again the brain is thinking you are depleted and need to eat, so leptin gets kicked on, and hunger sets in, causing you to over eat or totally cheat on your diet.

Is There Any Way To Eliminate Fat Cells Then?

There is one method that doesn’t technically “kill fat cells”, but converts them into a more useful type of fat, and that is cold exposure. You see there are two types of stored fat cells, white adipose tissue cells, and metabolism stimulating brown fat cells. By using cold therapy, research has shown that white fat cells can begin to convert to brown fat cells, making them more susceptible to be utilized as energy. Now when I say cold therapy, we aren’t even talking about cryo chamber cold or anything like that, we are just talking about cold showers, or applying ice to certain areas of the body. Very simple things to do to help with converting the cells, but there is a catch to this. The cold therapy must be consistently done to keep that conversion happening. So taking a morning walk without a coat, or taking a cold shower, even applying ice after a workout to certain areas all can be beneficial to keeping those fat cells brown, and in a burning state. So if you can’t eliminate them, just convert them!

Low Carb Cashew Turmeric Chicken Salad

Being I am a huge fan of chicken salad I needed to find a good low carb recipe for this to help fill in the void. This one definitely hit the spot on flavor. Check this out!

Low Carb

Chicken Salad Ingredients

  • 3 cups chopped, cooked chicken, approx. 1lb
  • 6 tablespoons cashew cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons coconut aminos
  • 3/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1 inch piece of turmeric root, peeled and grated
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • Cracked black pepper

Cashew Cream Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole, raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

First soak cashews at least 4 hours or overnight in cold water. Drain and rinse.

Put the cashews and 1/2 cup water in a high-powered blender. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed, until the consistency is similar to whipped cream. The texture should be very creamy with no bits of nut left at all.

Next, in a small bowl, whisk together 6 tablespoons of cashew cream, plus the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, coconut aminos, Dijon, olive oil, turmeric root, parsley and salt.

In a large bowl, mix together the chicken, dressing, celery and shallot, and add all the other ingredients in together. Once mixed evenly you can add black pepper if you like to taste. That’s it! Enjoy! Really the hardest part with this recipe is prepping the cashews ahead of time for later use. Other than that this is a breeze to make, and it tastes amazing. Give it a shot.

Keto Breakfast Sandwich

keto breakfast sandwich

You must must must try this very simple to make low carb breakfast sandwich. Here is what you need….

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Birch Benders Keto Pancake and Waffle Mix
  • 1/2 water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2 sandwich slices of cheddar cheese

As a side note the birch benders can be purchased directly from there website www.birchbenders.com

Directions

To begin it is best to start with your base. All you need to do is follow the instructions for the waffles that are on the birch benders keto mix. You should be mixing in the water, keto mix, and coconut oil together to create the waffle batter

Next, you will need to scramble up your two eggs. I recommend using coconut oil to cook the eggs in as well. While cooking the eggs I would get your 3 bacon strips cooked up as well.

Once the waffles are done, layer the sandwich, starting with the waffle at the bottom, then add 1 slice of the cheddar cheese, next approximately 1.5 strips of bacon, then the egg, then add another 1.5 strips of bacon, and one more piece of cheddar cheese. Top it off with the other waffle and you are ready to eat!

Benefits Of A Ketogenic Diet

Where to Begin

The Benefits of a Ketogenic, or Keto Diet are vast to say the least. With that being said let’s take it from the top.

Fat Loss

This is the most popular reasoning that people have attached themselves to the keto diet….Thanks to TV ads and social media. Some of the promises made by slick marketers on how keto will drop bodyfat effortlessly, or selling you some type of keto supplement to help cut weight is almost always snake oil.

But there is truth in the fact that a keto diet will help keep your insulin levels low, which creates a great environment for your body to burn fat. When you are not taking in a lot of carbohydrate, especially 50 grams or less per day, your body will have to pull from other energy sources to fuel itself. The next fuel source from stored glycogen, or carbohydrate would be your bodies stored fat, which is how the magic happens. Once your body begins using stored fat as fuel you will begin to really see some progress in your fat loss goals.

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Greater Hormone Response

Not only does a keto diet aid in fat loss by utilizing stored body fat, it can also aid in increasing key hormones such as growth hormone as well. When the bodies insulin levels are lowered from eating keto, this causes growth hormone to stay more elevated. The benefits of more growth hormone production is tremendous, but here are a few key benefits…

Better Energy Production, Vitality, Joint Support, Fat Loss, Better Looking & Skin, Better Sleep Quality.

So eating keto is not just for weight loss purposes, but really can have anti-aging benefits as well by increasing growth hormone production. Lets move onto the next benefit.

Helps Build Mitochondria

Mitochondria, are the power plants of our cells, turning the nutrients we uptake from foods into ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, which is our cells energy source. The more mitochondria we have the more energy we can receive from food we eat. When the body goes into what’s called ketosis, after eating keto for a while, this state puts new demands on our bodies’ mitochondria, which causes the body to adapt by producing more mitochondria. This means more energy, and an increase in physical performance.

Better Cognitive Function & Reduction In Brain Fog

When the body is in Ketosis, it naturally produces more GABA, an amino acid that acts like a neurotransmitter, a calming neurotransmitter to be exact. Depressed GABA levels have been shown to cause brain fog, which now explains why a lot of dieters that go Keto begin to notice a certain clarity after a few weeks, due to the increase in GABA.

Ketogenic diets have also shown to cause a decrease in cognitive decline in patients with certain nervous system diseases, such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons.

Image result for image of old couple playing chess

So eating a ketogenic diet is not just something that can be beneficial for weight loss purposes, but can be an aid to keep you healthy as you age. But always remember even eating keto you can not ignore food quality, which I can’t stress enough. Until next time.

Is Following a Keto Diet Healthy?

Recently in the media, I have been seeing the keto diet popping up, and not for good reasons. People are making claims that keto diets are causing problems such as heart disease. But is the keto diet as bad as it is being made out to be? Let’s take a look…

Quality vs Quantity

When eating a ketogenic diet it is still very important to pay attention to the quality of the foods you are putting in your body. For example, eating two cheeseburgers without the bun, and a few veggies on it would constitute as being “keto”, but you are also consuming a large amount of trans fats that are known for causing heart disease. So even thou the two cheeseburgers kept your carbohydrates low, it is still a very poor choice in food quality. This concept of quality vs quantity can be applied to any meal of any time of the day. Another great example is breakfast. Instead of eating a few scrambled eggs topped with home made salsa and sliced avocado, you decide to eat one scrambled egg with a pound of bacon and cheese. In this scenario you are again keeping your carb intake low, but the foods you are putting in your system will play a roll in your overall health over time.

keto diet for beginners

Too Obsessed With The Numbers

Another issue that has been getting noticed is the fact that people can’t figure out why sometimes there ketosis readings are coming back so high, meaning they are barely into ketosis even thou they have been eating a very low carbohydrate diet. No one has discovered why this is yet, but I am sure at some point down the road scientists will in fact figure it out. The important part to remember is that you are in ketosis, and you are getting all those benefits from being in that state, which we will discuss in another post because honestly there is a pretty lengthy list. By people getting obsessed with there keto readings they actually end up cutting out some very healthy and beneficial foods in there diet for more meats because the thought process is, “well I guess I should try to cut my carbs from 40 to 15, and then maybe my ketosis reading will be better”. More isn’t always better, and as long as you are in ketosis in the first place, honestly who cares about the number, just be consistent with your diet so you can stay in that state to reap the benefits. Don’t sacrifice eating good quality foods to attempt to get a better ketosis reading. This mistake can cost you in the long run in terms of your overall health, and we have discovered doing so may not even help your numbers anyway. In our next installment we will touch on the benefits of being in ketosis. Until next time.