Okay, I’m not big on supplements, but there are two that I take every day and recommend to anyone who is on a calorie restricted diet. The first is a daily Multi-Vitamin and the second Essential Lipids, or Omega 3-6-9 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Here are my thoughts on those, and what I’ve been taking.
A Daily Multi-Vitamin is Good Insurance
Why should you take a daily multi-vitamin? Today’s foods are not as healthy and nutritious as they used to be. Modern technology and food production has stripped our food supply of many nutrients. In addition, in our busy lives we may not get the variety of foods necessary to provide us with all the nutrients our bodies need. A good Multi-Vitamin is a great insurance policy to help make sure your body gets adequate supplies of the vitamins that it needs.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
The Essential Lipids are essential fats our bodies need for a variety of functions. EFA’s help you efficiently burn fat, lower cholesterol, enhance hormone secretion, improve energy levels, strengthen your immune system, improve your mood and thinking ability, improve cell metabolism and they are powerful antioxidants. I remember reading on the side of the bottle of the EFA’s I took several years ago that a study had shown that 8 out of 10 Americans are deficient in essential lipids and 100% of people who are overweight are deficient in these Essential Fatty Acids.
Okay, this is why you need a supplement for EFAs—Our bodies cannot produce these lipids on their own, they have to be ingested daily. So unless you are eating salmon, or flax seed in sufficient quantities on a daily basis, a daily dose of EFA’s just makes sense.
How to Take Your Supplements
Okay, now that you have these two basics … here are my tips on the best way to take them, and what I do.
- Take your supplements with a meal and drink at least 8 ounces of water with them.
- Be consistent by taking your supplements at the same time each day to create a habit.
- When taking your EFA’s (or Omega 3 Fatty Acids), if you are using fish oil capsules and they happen to cause indigestion, switch to flax seed oil gel caps. For the highest quality, look for a gel-cap which contains a combination of both Fish & Plant Based Oils, such as Flax Seed and Evening Primrose Oils among others.
- For optimal absorption of your multi-vitamin supplement, a high quality tablet is superior to a capsule, and a liquid multi-vitamin is superior to a tablet for absorption. I’m currently taking a daily liquid multi-vitamin, and I order it from Amazon: Tropical Oasis Women’s Multi-Vitamin. Tropical Oasis also makes a Liquid Multi-Vitamin for men.
It’s surprising that one of the biggest challenges I hear from people doing the 90 Day Challenge is drinking the daily amount of water that is recommended. It is recommended that each person drink half their weight in ounces each day—for example someone weighing 150 pounds would need to drink at least 75 ounces of water each day. I’m going to explain here why water is so important and then share some tips with you.
Water is the Most Underestimated Nutrient
Drinking enough water is vital to your health and your nutrition plan. While individual needs vary, a “rule of thumb” is to divide your weight by ‘2’ and that’s the amount of water a sedentary person of that size should drink in ounces each day. Water is easily the single most important nutrient for our body. We can survive for several weeks without food but only a few days without water. Water aids in cell metabolism, helps remove toxins from our body, and helps to regulate body temperature. Keep a water bottle handy and sip generously throughout your day.
If you are not drinking enough water you can impair every aspect of your physiology. Dr. Howard Flaks, a bariatric (obesity) specialist in Beverly Hills, California, says, “By not drinking enough water, many people incur excess body fat, poor muscle tone and size, decreased digestive efficiency and organ function, increased toxicity in the body, joint and muscle soreness and water retention.”
Next to air, water is the most necessary element for our survival, yet it is likely the most underestimated of the essential nutrients. We can live without eating food for several weeks, but we can only survive a few days without water. The typical adult body is made up of 60 to 70 percent water. Water provides the body with form and structure, known as turgor; it provides the fluid environment for all cell metabolism, and it regulates the temperature of the body. Water is essential for elimination, breathing, digestion, and joint lubrication among other things.
Is there a link between Hydration and Hunger?
Studies say yes, thirst can be mistaken for hunger. There is evidence of a correlation between the thirst and the hunger drives in the brain. Even in cases of mild to moderate dehydration sugar and food cravings have been observed. In addition, if you are trying to lose weight drinking adequate amounts of water is essential for efficient fat metabolism.
Not drinking enough water can cause water retention because the body will try to hold onto water to compensate. Often drinking more water will solve the problem and your body will release the excess water.
Other effects of even mild to moderate dehydration are increased back and joint pain, daytime fatigue, headaches, and a decrease in motor skill abilities, concentration, and memory retention. Chronic dehydration can even lead to an increased risk for kidney stones and some forms of cancer.
How much water should you drink?
Surprisingly few people know how much water they need to consume on a daily basis for optimal health. It is estimated that a significant percentage of our population, as much as 40% or more, is chronically dehydrated.
Daily requirements to stay hydrated will vary based on the size of the individual, their activity level, as well as the temperature and humidity of the environment. The higher the relative humidity or the more moisture that is in the air, the more difficult it is for the body to regulate its temperature during exercise. You will actually perspire more when the humidity is high. Consequently, you will need to drink more water to stay hydrated.
A more accurate estimate of daily water requirements would be to drink ½ to ¾ of an ounce of water for each pound of body weight. The lesser amount would suffice for an inactive person, and the greater amount would be appropriate for someone who is active. So an inactive 150 pound adult should consume a minimum of 75 ounces of water per day. Add 16 additional ounces for strenuous activity and another 16 ounces if it is hot and the relative humidity is high. So this brings the total up to 107 ounces per day! Divide this amount by the number of hours you are typically awake to find out how much water you should drink each hour since you should consume your water intake through out the day. In our example, this individual should drink approximately 9 ounces of water each hour they are awake. Still, this is just a guideline, actual requirements can vary.
Is it Possible to Drink Too Much Water?
Yes, it is possible, but not likely. Water Intoxication (Hyponatremia) can occur when someone drinks too much water very quickly and their kidneys cannot excrete the excess, which can cause sodium levels in your blood to drop too low. However, this condition is rare. Endurance athletes such as marathon runners are at greater risk because they consume large amounts of water quickly. Healthy adults consuming a normal diet have a very low risk of water intoxication.
So How Do I Drink All That Water?
The key is to drink water often and throughout your day. Keep a container of water with you wherever you are. Generally I have a “favorite” water bottle. Right now, I have several favorite water bottles—I have a set of spiral shaped 32 ounce wide mouth mason jars—I fill three of them up each morning, a total of 96 ounces.This is my daily target of half my weight in ounces plus I add some to offset my morning coffee (If I drink 16 ounces of coffee in the morning, then I need to add 16 ounces of water during the day since coffee is a diuretic.) When those jars are empty, I’ve met my target for the day. I avoid purchasing individual, disposable water bottles. Purchasing water that way is expensive, and all those disposable plastic bottles are not good for the planet, either. I do purchase filtered water by the gallon because the well water where I live doesn’t taste good and goes through a water softening system. I’ve noticed that the plants like rainwater better than the water from my well and I figure if it’s not good for the plants, then it probably isn’t the best choice for me either. For variety, I like to infuse my water with fruit or herbs. Make certain you are well hydrated before exercising and remember to drink water during your exercise sessions. Be sure to re-hydrate when you have finished your exercising.
Right now my favorite infusion is a simple one. I add one slice of orange and one slice of lemon to a 32 ounce jar of water. Other infusions to try: cucumber slices and fresh mint from the garden. Apple slices and mint works well, too. If you have an extra chunk of watermelon, toss it into one of your jars of water. Infusions give your water a subtle taste without adding significant calories or sugar. Also, having colorful chunks of fruit, herbs, or cucumber make your water look more refreshing and appealing. It’s all in the presentation!
Recipe for Turkey Meatballs (or burgers or meatloaf)
This is one of my favorite and most asked for recipes. They are tasty and so versatile. I generally makes some version of this recipe once a week and store them in the refrigerator to use for a number of meals. I like to have a meal prep/cook day and cook several recipes in bulk for the week. You can make this recipe into meatballs, and serve them with a little brown rice or pasta and some sauce, or as turkey burgers served on a whole wheat bun with guacamole (or lite cheese), lettuce and tomato, or as a meatloaf served with broccoli and a small amount of potatoes (I like to cook some sweet potatoes on my prep day).
Actually, I don’t think I really ever make them exactly the same way twice, I like to create different variations of the recipe by using a variety of spices and I don’t always use the same vegetables. I’ll include a couple of versions here and then you might like to create you own version.
- 2 lbs. 99% fat free ground turkey breast
- 1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped finely
- 1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped finely
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1 cup regular oatmeal
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground thyme
- 1 tsp dried cilantro
- 1/2 tsp rotisserie chicken seasoning
- black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 340 degrees
- Spray a frying pan with non-stick cooking spray (I like to use olive oil spray)
- Saute peppers and onions until they are soft, then remove from heat.
- Combine turkey, onions and peppers, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, oatmeal, eggs and spices in a bowl. Clean hands are the very best for mixing it all together!
- Spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.
- Use a 1/4 cup measure or an ice cream scoop to make 24 meatballs of equal size and put them in the muffin tins for cooking.
- *Alternatively you can shape them into mini-meatballs and put them on a baking sheet, make burgers and cook them on the grill, or a meatloaf.
- For the 24 meatball version, I bake them in the oven for 30 minutes.
For variety, change up the spices, &/or the vegetables. I make an Italian Version of this recipe by omitting the peppers. I saute the onions with garlic and add a package of frozen chopped spinach, which I thaw and then squeeze out the excess juices before adding to the recipe. For spices use basil & oregano or Italian Seasoning and a small amount of Parmesan cheese. This version works great served with a little bit of marinara sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on top.
White Fish & Greens
- White Fish (frozen is fine): I’ve used Sea Bass, Dover Sole, Cod, or Tilapia
- Package of Frozen, Chopped Spinach
- Minced Garlic – 2-3 teasponse
- Minced Ginger, or grated Fresh Ginger – 1 – 2 Tablespoons
- Juice of 2 Fresh Lemons
- Lucile’s Creole Original Seasoning (optional)
- Lite Soy Sauce OR Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- Slivered Almonds
In a large non-stick skillet, saute the garlic and ginger in a Tablespoonful of Olive Oil. Add the spinach, juice the lemons and add the juice, cover until the spinach has thawed. Add a little water, if needed. When the spinach has thawed, add the fish and cover again. You can also add either Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or some Lite Soy Sauce at this time, along with Lucile’s Creole Original Seasoning. Cook until the greens are tender and the fish is cooked through. Add some rice on the side and you will have a nutritious, delicious meal! Using about 10 ounces of fish and one package of chopped spinach, this will make about 2 servings for a woman … a man will need more, so perhaps double the recipe and divide it into thirds.
I just discovered Lucile’s Creole Original Seasoning here in the Denver area. You can get it at Lucile’s restaurant, which has several locations in the Denver area; however, after checking I found out you can order it from them online by going to Luciles.com. It isn’t expensive and it is so good in a lot of recipes!
I will post macronutrients later. Right now, I just want to get these recipes up with the ingredients. Depending on which program you are on, we would adjust anyway … MOST men will east very close to one and a half of my meal sizes …. so serving sizes (or portions per recipe) may change depending on your personal situation.