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Archive for the ‘Diet/Nutrition’ Category

Beer That Burns Fat? Yes.

Posted by Joel Marion on November 22, 2010

First off, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  I’m certainly thankful for you – each and every one of you are incredibly special and important me – YOU are the only reason I’m able to do what I love every day and share my passion with so many wonderful people.  Thank you.

Next up – beer :)

So, when it comes to Cheat Days and the Cheat Your Way Thin program, one of the more common questions I receive is the beer question:

“How many beers can I drink, boss?”

Or something akin to that.

Well, within the manual one of the few “rules” I place on Cheat Days is that alcohol consumption be limited.

Why?  Because alcohol intake lowers leptin levels, which is the exact opposite of everything we are trying to do hormonally on a Cheat Day.

So, what then, is the solution?  Well, if you’re looking to get DRUNK, then I’m afraid there is no solution that will suit your lush-ish ways (yes, I know that’s not a word).  However, if you just happen to enjoy the taste of beer and similarly prefer beer as your beverage of choice to wash down your Cheat Day feast, then there is one particular beer that actually may be able to boost your fat loss results:

O’Douls, non-alcoholic.

Fact is, it’s everything that beer is, just without the alcohol, and tastes strikingly similar to most other domestics.  In fact, in a recent “study” (performed in my kitchen) 7 out of 7 people were not able to tell the difference between O’Douls and 2 other alcoholic domestic brews.

So, how can it help you burn fat?

Well, if you’re familiar with the science behind Cheat Your Way Thin, then you know that simple carbohydrates are by far the most effective nutrients for boosting leptin levels.  O’Doul’s contains plenty of simple carbs, without the leptin-plummeting alcohol content (and it tastes just the same…after all, it is beer).

And it also contains ZERO crap carbs, like high-fructose corn syrup (the most common “beverage” sweetener), which has repeatedly been shown to be one of the most fat-promoting carb sources around.

So, for a Cheat Day choice of beer, I gotta recommend O’Doul’s.  Yes, it’s non-alcoholic.  Get over it.

But what if you want to have a beer during the week, not a Cheat Day?  Is that totally off limits, or is it OK to sneak a light beer every so often?

Answer:  Will a light beer on rare occasion totally sabotage your results?  (I know, that’s a question, not an answer).

Considering that most light beers are around 100 calories, if you had 2-3 a week, I’m going to say no, that’s probably not going to make a substantial difference (especially if you’re compensating for that intake via other means [an extra exercise session, decreased cals elsewhere, etc]).

But hey, why not go for the lowest calorie and lowest carb content?  Here are the Top 3 lowest-calorie, lowest-carb beers:

1.  Bud Select 55 (55 cals)

2. Beck’s Premier Light (64 cals)

3. MGD 64 (64 cals)

They’re all less than 3 carbs per 12 oz. and a whopping 2.5% alcohol by volume (that’s how they’re so low calorie).  But, I actually like Beck’s and MGD 64 − full flavor beers despite the minimal calorie content.

So, if you want to enjoy the refreshing taste of an ice cold brewsky (or 5 or 6) on your Cheat Day, go with the leptin-boosting properties of O’douls instead of the leptin-crashing properties of other alcoholic brews.  O’Douls contains the right types of carbs to postively affect leptin (i.e. simple, fast acting, insulin-spiking carbs), while alcohol unfortunately counteracts the intended hormonal purpose of the Cheat Day.

On other days, a 60-calorie low-carb beer won’t do much damage, but it’s all about moderation (limit to a couple times a week and you’ll be good).

By the way, if you’re not using beer and all your favorite foods to lose fat faster every week–especially over the holidays–then what the heck are you doing? :)  Pick up the Cheat Your Way Thin Holiday Edition and get started today with your first big Cheat Day – Thanksgiving!

==> Cheat Your Way Thin Holiday Edition

Find this information helpful?  Question?  Comment?  Drop it below!

And how do you like the new blog design?

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Talk to you in the comments section!


Win a FREE copy of the 1,000 Calorie Challenge System! (24 Hours left!)

Posted by Joel Marion on October 14, 2010

We’re going to make this post extremely quick and easy.

To enter to win one of the 10 THIRTY free copies of the entire 1,000 Calorie Challenge system that we’re GIVING AWAY today, simply reply in the comments section below this post (reply form is at the bottom of the page) with the following information:

In 250 words or less, we want you to tell us exactly why this program is the perfect program for you at this point in your life.  Tell us WHY you NEED access to this information.

Again, please keep your reply less than 250 words, and please, leave finances out of your reply.  This program (via our special launch pre-sale) will be affordable for literally anyone who wants access to  it.  Anyone.

So, again, leaving the financial stuff out, we want you to tell us, based on everything you’ve learned about the strategic 1,000 Calorie Challenge System over the last 6 updates, why this program is the perfect fit for you.

We will keep the contest open until 12 PM EST tomorrow, and then we’ll go through the replies and notify the winners via email sometime late Saturday!

Good luck!

Joel & Arnel

NOTE:  This contest is now closed.

The #1 Fruit for Weight Loss

Posted by Joel Marion on September 13, 2010

You’ve probably heard the tip that if you’re interested in losing weight, it’s a good idea to eat slowly and chew your food at least 15-20 times before swallowing.  Doing so allows your brain and body to actually sense that it’s full, instead of cramming a bunch of food down your throat only to find out 30 mins later that you’re WAY stuffed.

And for that reason (and a few others) , I’m picking cherries as my #1 fruit for weight loss.

With cherries, you can’t just pop 30 in your mouth in two mins like you could, and probably often do, with grapes or blueberries.  Instead, the pits force you to eat them slowly, allowing your satiation sensors to chime in a prevent you from over-indulging.

So that’s reason #1 – built in portion control.

Reason #2, and it’s a BIG one, is that cherries have the LOWEST glycemic index of all fruits, and one of the lowest glycemic indexes of any carbohydrate source—period.

Scoring at a ridiciulously low 22, you can even snack on cherries in the evening without much detriment as their effect on insulin is minimal at best.  Again, it’s not late-night eating that’s the problem, it’s eating the wrong foods (those that cause a substantial rise in fat-loss halting insulin) in evening hours that is.

So next time you’re in the mood for a sweet, satiating snack, reach for a small bowl of cherries and enjoy the goodness.  My new favorite variety is Rainier cherries….Mmmmmmm mmmm good :)

Want to learn some other smart food choices for weight loss (and even some “healthy” foods that you should NEVER eat)?  My good friend Isabel gives you the details in her video here:

3 MORE Flat Belly Food Swaps

Posted by Joel Marion on September 8, 2010

The other week I posted the original 3 Flat Belly Food Swaps article, and due to its extreme popularity, I’m back with three more!

#1 – Swap OUT brown rice, Swap IN quinoa

While brown rice is thought to be the healthy grain, there’s one even better, and that’s quinoa.

Quinoa is a gluten free grain that contains double the protein of brown rice along with greater fiber content and a lower glycemic load.

Not only that, but quinoa is the ONLY grain to contain complete protein and the full spectrum of amino acids.  It comes in several varieties, including “oatmeal-like” flakes and it’s wholegrain rice-like form.

Enjoy it as an oatmeal substitute for breakfast, in salads or casseroles, or as a wholesome whole-grain, high protein side item to any lunch or dinner meal.

#2 – Swap OUT bran flakes, Swap IN Ezekial Golden Flax Cereal

In the original Flat Belly Food Swaps article I exposed the benefits of sprouted grain Ezekial bread over 100% whole wheat, and today I’m here to fill you in on another great Ezekial product, Golden Flax Cereal.

Golden Flax contains 8 grams of protein per 1/2 cup serving, along with plenty of fiber and EFAs making it far superior to Bran Flakes or any other “whole grain” cereal.

#3 – Swap OUT ground beef, Swap IN ground bison

Truthfully, I’m not against beef or ground beef for that matter, but if you’re looking for a leaner, more nutritious alternative to beef (especially for those Protein and Carb meals), look no further than Bison (buffalo).

Bison is generally 60-80% leaner than beef while containing nearly 30% more protein per ounce.  It’s great for burgers and steaks alike and is a great substitute for any recipe calling for beef to add variety and nutrition to your weekly diet.

Want to up your nutrition IQ even more?  Watch this video from my good friend Isabel where she reveals 4 other “healthly” foods that you should NEVER eat, along with her TOP 5 foods for a flat belly:

If you liked todays article, click the “Like” button below!

Digestive Exercise?

Posted by Joel Marion on September 1, 2010

Over the past few days Dr. Samhouri has been dropping knowledge bombs left and right, so much so that I wanted to get in on the action.

So today, I’ve teamed up with Dr. K to write the below article, educating you about how a strategically designed exercise program like Full Throttle Fat Loss can, believe it or not, dramatically improve digestion and lead to a plethora of other benefits that you probably never thought of.  I know you’re going to enjoy it.

Digestive Exercise

By Dr. Kareem Samhouri and Joel Marion, CISSN

We all know that both diet and exercise are important to achieve optimal fat loss results, but what you may not know is how directly related exercise and digestion are-and ultimately, how a very strategic exercise program can in fact improve digestion, causing you to assimilate more nutrients, rid yourself of gastro-intestinal problems, improve overall health and lose fat more efficiently.

Over the past few days, we’ve talked a lot about the central nervous system (CNS) and how it relates to fat loss, but what we haven’t talked about much are the two different divisions of the CNS.

Parasympathetic vs. Sympathetic Activity

You may have heard, or learned at some point, about the “fight or flight” response that our nervous systems resort to when stress is present.  Both of these responses (engaging in the stressor [fight] or running from the stressor [flight]) are stimulatory responses that come from our sympathetic nervous system (SNS).

During exercise, it is the sympathetic, or stimulatory portion of our nervous system that is most active.  This is great, because it helps us move faster, be stronger, and exercise in a much more effective way than if we were turned “off” during exercise.

The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) on the other hand is “calming” in nature and is responsible for the complete opposite response within the body.

Having said that, you can probably guess that the PNS is the system we want working for us most during digestion.  In fact, the actions of the parasympathetic nervous system are often summarized as “rest and digest” as opposed to the “fight or flight” response of the SNS.

Okay, so let’s make some sense of all this and talk about why you actually care about the above brief science lesson.

Exercise and Digestion

As mentioned, your digestive processes function best when your “calming” parasympathetic nervous system is most active.  Unfortunately, most people are almost nearly always in a heightened state of arousal (due to chronic stress), causing the SNS to continually fire and the PNS to take a back seat.

Chronic stimulation not only leads to general burn out and fatigue, but it also regularly hampers digestive activity as the PNS is constantly being overshadowed by stimulatory SNS function.

So how do we, or how can we turn “off” the stimulation in order to allow the “rest and digest” system to function at its fullest?

The answer is strategically “fatiguing” the SNS during exercise so that the PNS can reign at other times of the day.  This is done via multi-energy system training.

Within your body, three energy systems are present:

1. First, your ATP-PC system (or if you prefer the fancy terminology, your Adenosine Triphosphate Phosphocarbonate system), is the energy system at work during quick, super fast, zero to ten second energy.

2. Second, the glycolitic system, thrives on sugar and carbohydrate to produce energy.  This system is most at work during intense activity up to two minutes.

3. Third, your aerobic system, is predominately at work during relatively slower activities lasting longer than 2 minutes.

The beauty of a program like Full Throttle Fat Loss is that it is composed of exercises that fully and strategically tax ALL THREE energy systems.

By doing this, not only will you be burning your sugars and breaking down your carbs properly during exercise (instead of having them latch-on to your love handles), but the other side of this is that you’re actually going to wear out your sympathetic nervous system-stopping the stimulation and endorphin release-and ultimately turn on your parasympathetic while your not exercising.

This means:

  • Much better digestion (as the PNS is the system responsible for proper digestion taking place)
  • Better nutrient absorption (due to proper digestion cleaning out the “gunk” currently in your gastro-intestinal track)
  • Immediate weight loss (resulting from the excretion of that same “gunk”)
  • Reduced overall stress and your body being in the state that it’s naturally supposed to be in at “rest”
  • Greater gains in lean body mass (due to more nutrients being digested and assisting in recovery and repair of muscle tissue)
  • Reduced cortisol (the “stimulatory” stress hormone that results from constant SNS activation) and muscle wasting
  • Reduced belly fat (cortisol is also heavily associated with abdominal fat storage)
  • Improved GI comfort and alleviation of certain GI issues
  • Increased overall health

Can you now see that your nervous system controls literally EVERYTHING related to body transformation?  Truly, it does.

And that’s exactly why Dr. K has created Full Throttle Fat Loss, and that’s exactly why both of us are so excited to release that very program next week.

But, we’ve got even better news for you coming as early as tomorrow…  Stay tuned.

For now, if you have any questions whatsoever about today’s “Digestive Exercise” article for Kareem and I, then drop them below and we’ll be sure to answer them for you.

Three Flat Belly “Food Swaps”

Posted by Joel Marion on August 28, 2010

I just got home from the grocery store.

I’m going to make some fajitas.  Mmmm fajitas.

So what did I buy from the grocery store?  Wouldn’t YOU want to know?

Just kidding, I’ll tell you. 

I bought a bunch of stuff that you already know is healthy (plenty of fruits, veggies, etc) and then quite a few things that most people don’t use but are WAY healthier than the “healthy” option of similar food items that people do normally use.

Confused yet?  Let me break it down in to practical examples.

Most people would choose 100% Whole Wheat bread as a “healthy” option.  I didn’t buy 100% Whole Wheat bread, I bought Ezekial 4:9 Sprouted Grain bread.

Is 100% Whole Wheat bread bad?  No, but Ezekial bread is just 100 times better.  Organic, Sprouted, 100% Whole Grain flourless bread.  And a 2-slice serving even contains 8 grams of complete protein (and 6 grams of fiber).  So yes, it’s better.

Not only did I buy some Ezekial bread, but I also bought some Ezekial flourless tortillas (for my fajitas) – same whole grain, complete protein goodness as above.

So that was the first “healthy” food swap I made.

Second, I bypassed the All Natural Peanut Butter and instead picked up a jar of Enhanced Almond Butter by Naturally More.  Why?  Because Enhanced Almond is like super nut butter, and I’m all about being super.  That and the fact that peanuts are one of the most common food allergens, and when consumed regularly can cause slowed weight loss in those sensitive to it (which is actually the majority of individuals).

In addition to that, Enhanced Almond is also fortified with flaxseeds to give it a nice Omega-3 kick.  Best.  Nutbutter.  Ever.

Up next was my third food swap, and that was when I passed through the dairy isle.  See you later organic milk, I’m grabbing the almond milk instead.

Again, a lot of individuals are sensitive to dairy, and actually experience accelerated fat loss by removing it from their diet.  I hardly drink milk anymore, and instead opt for almond milk whenever possible.  

 No lactose, no dairy, no indigestion, no bloat…and frankly, I think it tastes better.

And oh yeah, it has one THIRD the calories of regular milk while scoring far lower on the Insulin Index.

There’s pretty much no downside.

Eat this, not that.  Hey, that’s a popular book. 

Want to up your nutrition IQ even more?  Watch this video from my good friend Isabel where she reveals 4 other “healthly” foods that you should NEVER eat, along with her TOP 5 foods for a flat belly:

Siberia, Asia, America, and Your Energy Levels

Posted by Joel Marion on August 27, 2010

So what do Siberia, Asia, and America have to do with your energy levels?

Answer:  A LOT.

You see, these three countries (Siberia being a region of Russia) are the native home of an ancient energy boosting herb:  Ginseng.  (everything you never knew about ginseng below)

Now, while you’ve probably heard of ginseng before, you probably DIDN’T know that there are actually 3 different types of Ginseng, and you’ll definitely get the most bang for your ginseng buck when combining the unique “powers” of all three.

A little science lesson:

The active ingredient of both American and Asian ginseng are it’s ginsenosides, Rb-1 and Rg-1.  Rb-1 acts as a depressant to the Central Nervous System (CNS), yielding stress-reducing benefits and a calming effect.  On the other hand, Rg-1 has a stimulatory effect on the CNS, increasing alertness, physical and mental performance, reducing fatigue, and it has even been shown to increase romantic desire and performance.

American Ginseng:  Rb-1 dominant.

Asian Ginseng:  Rg-1 dominant.

By combining the two, you get the benefits of both:  the stress reduction/calming effects of Rb-1, and the increased physical and mental, and sexual energy of Rg-1.

So where does Siberian Ginseng come in to play?

Unlike American and Asian ginseng, Siberian ginseng contains no ginsenosides.  Instead, it’s active ingredient are it’s eleutherosides, which have been shown to boost physical and mental clarity and endurance through different pathways not tapped by its Asian and American counterparts.

Now, to get the full energy benfits of ginseng, you could purchase each type individually and supplement accordingly, OR you could enlist the help of a formula that already contains all three, like Energy Matrix.

In addition to the synergystic combination of all three ginseng species, Energy Matrix also contains several other natural energy enhancers (all providing unique benefits via different mechanisms) like Ginko Biloba, Gutu Kola, and a potent green tea extract.

Do you suffer from Neurotransmitter Burnout?

In case you missed it yesterday, my friends at Energy Matrix are in the middle of a 72-hour “survey recruitment” for qualified consumers as a means to gain testimonials and feedback from people who may be suffering from Neurotransmitter Burnout.

Do you suffer from Neurotransmitter Burnout and potentially qualify for the survey?  Just take the quiz on this page and see if you answer “Yes” to at least 3 of the questions:

Neurotransmitter Burnout Quiz <——– Take the quiz to see if you qualify

Needless to say, I think Energy Matrix is a really “smart” blend of quality, proven ingredients, and if you qualify, the current “survey recruitment” could be an awesome opportunity for you.

See if you qualify by taking the quiz:

Neurotransmitter Burnout Quiz <——- Take the quiz

Keep rockin’,


#1 Thing to Avoid While Dining Out

Posted by Joel Marion on August 24, 2010

Last night I enjoyed a fine, healthy meal at P.F. Chang’s China Bistro.

Now, you’re probably reacting to my above statement in either one of two ways:

1) You’re a bit naive and believe that veggies + protein + rice automatically = healthy.

2) You know that most entrees at P.F. Chang’s are loaded with hidden fat and carbs and are wondering just how I managed to grab a “healthy” meal there.

Well, I ordered Mongolia Beef, which normally would bring in just over 1,000 calories along with 45 grams of fat and 90 grams of carbs.  Not exactly the “healthiest” nutrition profile…

Little side note:  Let’s say, for example, I ordered a regular 3 course meal, consisting of a steamed dumpling appetizer, Mongolian beef entree, and then I went ahead and treated myself to dessert.

Calorie total:  2,472

And that meal isn’t even that BIG.  But it sure does pack in well over a day’s worth of calories for most people.  Just an example of how a reasonable meal at most restaurants is six-pack suicide.

I digress.

So, I managed to bring the fat and carb content of my beef entree down by about 70% and dropped the total calories by 50% all while eating the exact same amount of food, just with a couple swaps.

First, I made the obvious decision and opted for brown rice over white, which truthfully didn’t do a whole lot to save calories, but it did up the meal’s fiber and overall nutritional content.

Second, and here’s where I saved practically ALL the calories, I requested that my entree be prepared with chicken broth, as opposed to the corn starch and canola oil “sauce” that it’s normally mixed with.  In the end, I wound up eating the SAME exact amount of food, but less than HALF the calories.

Which brings me to the crux of this blog post – The #1 thing to avoid at restaurants – the SAUCES.

A huge portion of the sugars and crappy fats are found in the sauces served at restaurants.

  • The dressings on the salads…
  • The sugar/butter mixture drenching the vegetables you special ordered to be “healthy”…
  • The cream sauces on the pasta…
  • The starchy/fat-laden sauces used in stir fries…
  • The cream/butter/sugar-laden sauces served a-top otherwise lean cuts of fish, chicken, and beef…

Do yourself a HUGE favor – next time you’re dining out, be mindful to avoid the sauces.  You’ll save yourself a tremendous amount of calories without sacrificing volume whatsoever.

  • For salad dressing, go with oil/vinegar.
  • For pasta sauce, ask your server if they have a low-fat tomato sauce (most do).
  • For stir fries, request that they prepare your meal with chicken broth (and grab that asian flavor from low-calorie soy sauce instead).
  • For your veggies, ask for a bit of butter on the side so that you’re in control of applying it.
  • For protein sources, skip the sauces for seasonings

Simple tip, but one that will probably save you 10-20 lbs worth of calories over the next few months.

If you want to learn about 4 other “health” foods you should NEVER eat if you want to lose fat, click below to watch the video my friend Isabel put together for you:

Enjoy the tips!


Soy Protein fights belly fat??

Posted by Joel Marion on August 23, 2010

So, here’s a little tid-bid of info that you may not know: 

I subscribe to just about every mainstream fitness magazine available.

Why?  Well, when you have a career in health and fitness, you want to pay attention to what is being talked about in the media, particularly what topics are “hot” amongst other fitness “news” outlets.

And although most articles suck, browsing through a magazine generally gives me at least one idea of something to blog about or write to you about in my newsletter.

Well, tonight’s browsing session was no different.  As I sat here and thumbed through the pages of a rather prominent women’s fitness magazine, I come across this gem of a paragraph:

“Several studies have shown that people who regularly consume soy protein tend to weigh less and have less abdominal fat those who don’t.  The key compounds are the soy isoflavones: These estrogen-like substances not only fight belly fat, but they also protect against the development of breast cancer.”

Um, no.

Here we have an article crediting estrongen-like soy isoflavones for decreased belly fat.  Huh?  Since when do estrogenic compounds decrease belly fat?  Since never, because they actually increase it, and the isoflavones are the exact reason you shouldn’t be eating soy on a regular basis.

And as far as soy protecting against breast cancer, it’s pretty well established that increased exposure to estrogen increases the risk of breast cancer.  And there are MANY studies showing that genistein, the main isoflavone found in soybeans, stimulates the growth of breast cancer cells and tumor growth.

Here are just a few:

Zava DT, Duwe G. Estrogenic and antiproliferative properties of genistein and other flavonoids in human breast cancer cells in vitro. Nutr Cancer 1997; 27: 31-40.

Hsieh CY, Santell RC, Haslam SZ, Helferich WG. Estrogenic effects of genistein on the growth of estrogen receptor- positive human breast cancer (mcf-7) cells in vitro and in vivo. Cancer Res. 1998;58: 3833-3838.

Allred CD, Allred KF, Ju YH, Virant SM., Helferich WG. Soy diets containing varying amounts of genistein stimulate growth of estrogen-dependent (mcf-7) tumors in a dose-dependent manner. Cancer Res. 2001;61: 5045-5050.

Petrakis NL, Barnes S, King EB, Lowenstein J, Wiencke J, Lee MM., Miike R, Kirk M, Coward L. Stimulatory influence of soy protein isolate on breast secretion in pre- and postmenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1996;5: 785- 794.

McMichael-Phillips DF, Harding C, Morton M, Roberts SA, Howell A, Potten CS, Bundred NJ. Effects of soy-protein supplementation on epithelial proliferation in the histologically normal human breast. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998;68: 1431S-1435S.

So where did the author of this article get their information?  I don’t know, since there were no sources listed (surprise, surprise).

I shared the article with my buddy Mike Geary, and he immediately replied with “No wonder why so many people are confused out there!  So many bad sources of information.”

And that’s incredibly true…and sad…because the misinformation really has crippled America’s health.

Well, fortunately, there’s guys like me and Mike, and gals like Isabel De Los Rios to help set the record straight and help clear the cloud of misinformation that fogs up the airwaves each and every day.

Make no mistake, soy is one of the foods you should be AVOIDING if your goal is decreased abdominal fat and increased health and longevity.  If you want to educate yourself on quite a few other so-called “healthy” foods that are anything but, then I highly recommend you check out Isabel’s video here:

Knowledge is power…your friend,


Gain Muscle and Lose Fat – Super Method #2 (Anabolic Burst Cycling)

Posted by Joel Marion on August 20, 2010

On Thursday, I went over Super Method #1 – MEGA Carb Loading, and today I’d like to share a different, yet enormously effective method called Anabolic Burst Cycling through Diet and Exercise (ABCDE).

To be honest, the whole ABCDE approach is rather old news. I first read about it back in Muscle Media 2000 (man, I miss that magazine) some ten years ago when Bill Phillips interviewed some crazy under-the-radar dude named Torbjorn Akerfeldt.

Click here to continue reading

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