Archive of the Category ‘Weight Management’


Paleo Lunches

The Paleo lunch can be a difficult thing to adjust to if you’re used to throwing chips, cookings, a PB&J, and an apple into a bag before work. This meal may take a little more planning ahead, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.

  • As with breakfast, lunch can be any food that is Paleo! Left-overs, hard-boiled eggs, and the egg muffins I described in the breakfast post are always easy and delicious! Get rid of the idea that lunch (or any meal) has to be a certain kind of food.
  • If you don’t have time to pack a lunch, always have jerky, trail mix, and fruit on hand. Buy good quality jerky that doesn’t have a bunch of added ingredients that will derail you (sugar, soy, MSG, corn syrup, etc). Check out for really yummy Paleo jerky and trail mix! For trail mix, I like to go to Whole Foods or Sprouts and pick out the ingredients in the bulk area that I like the most, then mix it all together when I get home. This is also an easy way to avoid trail mix that is filled with sugar and other tempting non-Paleo ingredients.
  • Salad: throw together a delicious salad with different kinds of lettuce, lots of veggies, maybe some bacon, chicken, fish, and olive oil and vinegar or lemon for dressing.
  • Nitrate-free lunchmeat
  • Homemade Paleo chicken (pictured) or tuna salad
  • Everyday Paleo has great ideas that kids can take to school too!
  • If you don’t feel like being creative every day or constantly googling new recipes, check out the Paleo Plan. This is an awesome website that gives you a month’s worth of recipes for every meal of the day (they even give you a grocery list!), and the whole family can enjoy it.

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When fast food is the only option…

 Ideally, we would all have fresh, healthy, homemade meals all of the time. Unfortunately, unless you have a chef living in your kitchen, this doesn’t always happen. While fast food certainly isn’t the best option, every once in a while it’s the only thing available. Here are some of the better fast food choices:

  • Burger King
    • Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich (no mayo, throw away half of the bun) with a side garden salad and light Italian dressing
    • Veggie Burger without the bun and a side garden salad and light Italian dressing
    • Tendergrill Garden Salad
  • McDonalds
    • Premium Grilled Chicken Club (no mayo, no bacon, no cheese, throw away half the bun) with a side of apple slices or side salad with low fat balsamic vinaigrette or low fat Italian
    • Premium Caesar Salad with grilled chicken, Premium Bacon Ranch salad with grilled chicken, or Premium Southwest Salad with grilled chicken
      • Use either of the low fat dressings for these as well!
  • Boston Market
    • Chicken or Turkey breast with Mediterranean Green Beans, Fresh Steamed Vegetables, or Green Beans
    • Half size of the Mediterranean Salad or Southwest Santa Fe Salad
  • Subway (or other sandwich restaurant)
    • Order a 6 inch sub with wheat bread, choose a lean meat (like turkey, chicken, or tuna), fill with veggies, skip the cheese, and only ask for yellow or Dijon mustard, oil, and/or vinegar (the rest of the sauces are high in calories, sugar, and other things you really don’t want)
    • If you want to take it a step further, order this as a salad with oil and vinegar dressing!

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Avoid a food coma this Thanksgiving!

It happens every year… Thanksgiving comes, there is more food than you know what to do with, and the next thing you know everyone is asleep on the couch. A “food coma” is never fun, even though all of that food tastes so amazing 😉 A food coma is actually a real thing, also know as “post-prandial somnolence.” What this means is that your blood sugar is elevated (much, much higher than normal) from a large, carbohydrate-rich meal. You begin to feel sleepy because your body is using blood and energy to aid in digestion, rather than normal functions. Here are some tips to avoid the dreaded food coma this year and keep your waistline where you want it:

  • Go for a walk after eating to help you digest and keep blood sugar levels in check.
  • Have a game to play after dinner, preferably one that does not require sitting for long periods of time.
  • Eat earlier, so you aren’t also tired because it is late at night.
  • Alcohol adds a lot of calories, makes you tired, and can lead to overeating. Just drinking a little less can make a world of difference!
  • Eat fewer carbs. Stick to the turkey, salad, veggies, fruit, and other dishes that are not overly starchy or sugary (which make you feel sluggish!).
  • Don’t overeat. Just because it is Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you need to stuff yourself. Take small portions of the dishes you really love, then wait about 15 minutes before going back for seconds. It takes a while for your brain to recognize that you are full, so if you slow down and wait, chances are you will rethink the second helpings.

Use these tips and enjoy Thanksgiving—remember that it’s not just about the food, but the people you are with and the time you spend with them!

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Healthy School Lunches

Getting your kids to eat healthy at school can be a bit of a challenge, especially with the food choices that are typically offered in cafeterias. Schools often get rebates from food companies when they buy large quantities of food from them. Unfortunately, this food is often filled with high fructose corn syrup, salt, and trans fat. While it may be more time-consuming to make a lunch at home every day, it can be very easy to put together a healthy lunch for your kids. Here are a few ideas for kid-friendly and healthy lunches:

  • Make your own “Lunchables” by cutting up of cheese and nitrate-free deli meats with whole grain crackers and a piece of fruit.
  • Veggie sticks
  • Apples with nut butter
  • Make your own trail mix and let your kids pick out which nuts, seeds, and dried fruit they want in it
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Fruit salad
  • Celery with nut butter and raisins

Ask your kids what they want to eat, so they don’t miss out on their favorite foods. Don’t make it a big deal to them that they are having a healthy lunch—it’s just a normal lunch that happens to have healthy foods in it! The goal is to create healthy habits early, but not obsessions. Make sure they have treats every once in a while, too (just not as a reward)!

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Healthy on Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I’m making it a goal to not have to unbutton my pants after dinner (and to be comfortable with them fully buttoned!). However, this doesn’t mean I want to just eat a salad with no dressing and a few slices of turkey breast. The average person eats about 3,000 calories at Thanksgiving dinner and is left in a food coma. So how do you avoid this?

Don’t starve yourself all day and “save” all of your calories for dinner; eat normally so that you aren’t ravenous by the time the buffet is laid out.

  • Cocktails are high in calories and have zero nutrients. Have a glass or too of wine at dinner, and leave it at that.
  • Skip the cheese and creamy dips for appetizers, substitute vegetables and hummus or fruit
    Turkey itself is low in fat and high in protein, just don’t slather gravy all over it
  • Salad will help you to feel full without adding a lot of calories. Instead of a creamy dressing (like ranch or blue cheese), try using vinaigrette, which will save a lot of calories and fat.
  • Cornbread stuffing has around 350 calories per cup. Only take a few spoonfuls of stuffing or try one of these Paleo diet recipes, for less calories and no gluten:
  • Have as many non-starchy vegetables as you want as long as they aren’t in a rich casserole.
  • Try mashed sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes or sweet potato pie. Sweet potatoes are nutrient dense and won’t have a great of an effect on your blood sugar.
  • A simple dinner role can have 200 calories or more (without the butter!), so omit the role and save those calories for dessert!
  • Go ahead and have dessert, but don’t take a large slice of every dessert on the table. Pecan pie is delicious, but with up to 800 calories per slice, you might want to think twice. A great option is to have a small slice of pumpkin pie with cool whip. Last year I made a Paleo pumpkin pie that was so good no one even knew it wasn’t a normal one; here is a great recipe to try:

After dinner go for a leisurely walk around the block rather than falling asleep on the couch. Last but not least, remember that Thanksgiving isn’t just about the food; concentrate on enjoying your family and friends!

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Warm Drinks for Cool Weather

Now that it might finally start to get “cold” here in Arizona, those warm, frothy Starbucks drinks are starting to sound pretty good. If you are like me, though, you are trying your hardest to not gain 5 lbs for the holidays. While a simple latte may not sound like a diet disaster, you may be surprised at how many calories they contain. Luckily, all you have to do is make a few simple changes to your beverage to make it healthy.

  • Get the “Tall” size at Starbucks (or small anywhere else). Unless you are ordering a hot tea or coffee without anything added, a small is all you need.
  • Have skim milk in your drink. If you are making a drink at home, you can also try rice milk, almond milk, or coconut milk (just be sure to buy the unsweetened varieties).
  • If you absolutely have to have flavored syrup, get sugar free, but remember that artificial sweeteners may have harmful side effects and should not be consumed on a daily basis.
  • Ask your barista to hold the whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and caramel sauce—whipped cream can add almost 100 calories to your drink!

Remember to look at the sugar content of drinks along with the calories count; 15.55 grams of sugar are in one tablespoon, so if a Grande White Chocolate Mocha with whipped cream has 60 grams of sugar, that is almost FIVE tablespoons of sugar in one drink!

All of Starbucks nutrition facts are online.

  • Brewed Tazo Tea (0 calories)
  • Brewed Coffee (5 calories)
  • Caffé Americano (10 calories)
  • Nonfat Cappuccino (60 calories)
  • Skinny Vanilla Latte (90 calories)
  • Nonfat Caramel Macchiato (140 calories)
  • Caffé Latte (150 calories)
  • Nonfat Vanila Crème No Whip (150 calories)

Also, they are selling those cute reusable cups with the candy cane straws again, which is a great excuse to go try out a new drink 🙂

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Weight Management, Metabolic Health Concerns, Thyroid Health

The two major problems with conventional medical treatment present themselves to my office on a regular basis.

  1. Patients are on the wrong type of thyroid hormone.
  2. Patients are not taking an adequate amount that relieves them of the clinical signs and symptoms of their hypothyroidism.

Let’s address the first problem. The typical type of thyroid hormone that is prescribed is synthetic levothyroxin or T4, most commonly Synthroid®. In fact, Synthroid® is the third most commonly prescribed medication of all medications. This form of thyroid hormone has some problems for many patients. Levothyroxine or T4 is not the active form of thyroid hormone; it is merely a prohormone. The T4 must be converted into the active form of thyroid hormone called T3 or liothyronine or triiodothyronine. This conversion process is not always possible for many patients and they never achieve results from the medication they are taking. I have also seen patients with actual toxic responses to the synthetic T4 they are taking including rashes and severe headaches. Unconverted T4 is toxic to the system.

Natural desiccated thyroid hormone such as Armour® or Nature Throid® is a far more complete product that most people do much better taking. Desiccated thyroid hormone medication is derived from USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) porcine, or pig, sources. It has been successfully treating hypothyroid patients for about 100 years. This medication naturally contains all active and inactive forms of thyroid hormone including T4, T3, and the more inert forms T2, and T1. It also contains small amounts of calcitonin, which is a hormone naturally found in the thyroid gland that regulates calcium metabolism by keeping calcium in the bones and out of the blood. This form of thyroid hormone would inevitably contain things that we have yet discovered or understand. Nature has a way of providing a complement of things that are far beyond the basic understanding of science.

The argument by many physicians against the use of desiccated thyroid hormone medications stems from the incessant need to prescribe a synthetic hormone that is perceived as “more stable” and “more superior” than a natural product. Both of these arguments are patently false. Sources of desiccated thyroid such as Armour® and Nature Throid® are FDA regulated to achieve a particular potency in each batch. And the superiority of natural thyroid speaks loud and clear by the overwhelming majority of patients whose symptoms are largely relieved from a whole product. This is not unlike the marketing that used to take place regarding the “superiority” of infant formula versus breast milk. In fact, many women who still breast-fed were looked upon as being uninformed of the “science.” This, of course, has been proving incorrect. There was no manufactured formula that could possibly compete with the natural known and unknown beneficial components of breast milk.

The second problem regarding the treatment of hypothyroidism is the actual dose of thyroid hormone used. Too often, patients are woefully under treated by thyroid hormone doses that are too low to provide complete symptomatic relief of their hypothyroidism. It is not uncommon to see this with patients on synthetic T4, but I have even seen patients on natural desiccated thyroid hormone who still suffer from the symptoms of hypothyroidism. This is one reason why patients will think that the natural form of thyroid hormone medication “did not work” for them. They were prescribed the desiccated thyroid hormone but were kept on doses that too low for relief. The medication gets the blame when it was actually the doctor who was wielding the medication who should get the blame. So, why is this happening?

The main reason why patients are left on inadequate thyroid hormone doses is because of the laboratory analysis that is used to determine a particular dose. Enter, the TSH, or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. Patients always tell me that they were left on a particular dose of thyroid hormone medication because their doctor said their “labs were great” or “my TSH was normal” even though their clinical signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism were not. The clinical approach to changing a dose of thyroid hormone should be based on the clinical response of the patient’s body tissues to that particular thyroid hormone dose. The TSH simply does not necessarily tell a doctor what is going on with a patient’s body’s response to their thyroid hormone medication. The clinician must learn to be just that…a clinician, and listen to the subtle nuances of the patient. This of course takes time and effort that most conventional doctors cannot afford nor have the specific training to do.

At Iluminar, the individual patient is considered and an in depth clinical process of determining a patient’s cellular response to a dose of thyroid hormone is considered. Some of these clinical assessment tools include the basal body temperature, a thorough tracking of the known clinical signs and symptoms a patient is experiencing, Achilles tendon reflex, and an advanced Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) machine that determines the metabolic rate as it relates to the thyroid hormone dose used.

Contact us now to find out how you can achieve superior results for your Metabolic Health.

Category: Weight Management |

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