Cranberry-Lime Drink with a splash of Strawberry Watermelon!


Hey everybody,

I wanted to share a very healthy beverage recipe with you.  I drink a couple of glasses of this every day, usually with both lunch and dinner. It certainly is more enjoyable than just plain water and at the same time is providing quite a few health benefits as well.

To mix a half gallon that you can keep in the refrigerator you’ll need:

1. 1/2 quart of 100% pure cranberry juice, not from concentrate
2. 6-8 limes
3. Mio brand (or if you have a local supermarket brand) Strawberry Watermelon water flavoring

Put a generous amount of ice cubes into a half gallon beverage container.  Pour in the cranberry juice.  I’ve been using the Lakewood brand, but since we just got a Trader Joe’s here in San Antonio, I’ve switched over to their brand as it’s about half the price!  Pure cranberry juice can be expensive, but Trader Joe’s comes through for you if you have one close by.  Now pure cranberry juice is a little on the tart and bitter side, because it doesn’t have any added sugars but this is also what makes it so healthy.  Cranberry juice has a high mix of natural vitamins and minerals AND it’s also highly effective in the treatment of urinary tract, bladder and kidney infections.  It also has a healthy dose of dietary fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemical nutrients to help protect you against heart disease and cancer.

Since it’s high in vitamin C and other  components, it can help break down and prevent the formation of kidney stones. A lesser known fact is that it also contains components that help prevent the formation of oral bacteria that can lead to gum disease and plaque.

… OK, so next you’ll want to slice the limes in half and squeeze the lime juice into the container.  I use a lime press for this to make sure that I get as much of the juice out as possible.

Some of the benefit of lime juice is that it can aid in weight loss, it’s good for your skin, and it aids in digestion.  It’s famous as a cure for scurvy, the disease that’s caused by a deficiency of vitamin C and characterized by frequent infections, cracked lips and lip corners, ulcers on your tongue and mouth.  Due to a large amount of vitamin C and flavonoids, both of which are class-1 antioxidants, lime juice helps your skin and naturally helps depress body odor.

… Now you can add 6-8 squirts of the Mio Strawberry Watermelon water flavoring.  This stuff is pretty concentrated, so this is the amount that works for me.  You may need to adjust the amount to your preferences.  Now the Mio, or any other brand of drink flavoring has artificial sweeteners in them, so if you have a problem with that for any reason, feel free to sweeten with your preferred source.  I just happen to love the flavor so I use either the Mio, or my local HEB brand of the same flavor.

Once you have it all mixed up, put it in the refrigerator to chill.  Now you’ve got a healthy, tasty, go -to beverage that packs a pretty good amount of vitamins and minerals available to you rather than reaching for a diet soda or a beer.

If you try it, let me know how you like it and if you made any modifications.  Until then…

Stay Fit Forever!


Avocado Chocolate Pudding – Video Recipe

***Disclaimer #1: I was not going to post this yet because I wanted to put up an exercise demonstration instead.  Unfortunately, YouTube is taking a LONG time to process that video.

***Disclaimer #2: I usually put 1 Tbsp. of Vanilla Extract and 1 tsp. of Cinnamon in this recipe as well, but I had run out of the vanilla extract and totally forgot to put the cinnamon in until after I had already edited the video.  You can just as easily sprinkle the cinnamon on top when you serve it.  I’m REAL big on cinnamon, but that will be the subject of another article coming soon…

…now for the article…

After much interest  from my clients, I’m finally posting my recipe for Avocado Chocolate Pudding. I originally found the basis for this recipe online somewhere and after thinking about it for a while, I figured out how to reduce the amount of sugar (Maple Syrup) and to increase the protein content while still maintaining a smooth, chocolate-y texture and flavor.

For this recipe you’ll need the following:

2 – ripe, peeled pitted and diced avocados – medium sized
1/2 cup pure maple syrup – light amber
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup Syntha-6 Chocolate Peanut Butter protein powder
1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract (optional)
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon (optional)
Pinch of Sea Salt

In a blender add the ingredients in the order listed.  This will make the blending process easier.  Once everything is in the blender, start pulsing until the mixture starts to fold into itself.  You’ll need to use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the blender to loosen any dry powder and get it to move down into the stream.

You’ll see when you have a nice, smooth, consistent texture.  Empty the contents of the blender either into a large bowl or individual serving cups, cover and chill.  If you’re in a hurry, you can eat it as soon as it comes out of the blender!

This is actually a very healthy dessert.  The avocados provide healthy fats as well as a good amount of fiber.  The cocoa powder is naturally high in antioxidants and is reasonably low in calories.  The protein powder helps make this a power snack as well by providing high quality protein, branch chain amino acids and other beneficial nutrients.  The almond milk is low calorie as well and provides gluten free protein to boot.

Maple syrup is still a sugar, but we’ve been able to reduce the amount used in the recipe by half since the protein powder has it’s own no calorie sweetener.

I normally put vanilla extract and cinnamon in as well, but some people don’t like the additional flavor.  You can add or delete according to your tastes.

This is a dessert that you don’t have to be ashamed of as well as being delicious! Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Stay Fit Forever!

Hummus Deconstruct – Video Recipe



Today we take traditional hummus and do a little tweaking to make it a whole lot healthier for our purposes while keeping a creamy texture and tangy flavor.

The recipe calls for:

1 – can Garbanzo beans/Chick Peas, drained and rinsed
2 – Tbsp. Olive Oil
6 – Tbsp. Lemon or Lime Juice
2 – Tbsp. Chia Seeds (left to soak in 6 oz. water for 10 min.)

Season with:
Garlic Powder
Mrs. Dash
Cayenne Pepper

By using the chia seeds, we’ve effectively reduced the fat content of the recipe by 26 grams, or basically 240 calories… ALL FROM FAT!!

Plus we’ve added Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s as well as an additional 4 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber in just TWO TABLESPOONS of this stuff!

Try it out and let me know what you think.


Twenty Ten – No Equipment Interval Workout!


Ok, I think it’s time for a workout.  I get a lot of questions on how to get and stay lean.  While diet plays a large part in determining how lean you’ll be able to get, you still have to find ways to boost your metabolism.

A lot of people are under the assumption that you have to drastically reduce your food intake if you want to lose weight/fat.  I’m here to tell you that is NOT the case!

In actuality, when you dramatically reduce your caloric intake you will initially lose weight.  Some of it will be fat but most of it will probably be fluid.  Once that is gone, you’re progress will slow down and eventually stop.  The reason for this is because your body is an efficient machine.  It will realize that it is receiving less nutrition, so it will counter your move by “turning down” your metabolic thermostat.  The sad thing about this is that over time, this will become your new “set point”, so if and an when you go back to eating regularly, you’ll usually rebound and actually GAIN weight, over and above where you started.

The truth is, you want to feed your body WELL and OFTEN!  By doing so, you are telling it that it will regularly receive good nutrition so there won’t be a need to dial things down.  In fact, by introducing some good metabolic training methods, you can actually “turn up the heat” and get your metabolism into a higher gear!  Personally, I eat anywhere from 5-7 times a day, and I consume roughly 3200-3500 calories. That’s a far cry from some of these 800-1200 calorie plans that I see a lot of people trying.  You’ll starve AND get frustrated doing that.

Sure, we want to work out to make our muscles either harder or larger.  That still won’t do you any good if you have a thick layer of body fat covering them up.  Think of the Princess and the Pea…  Wow, I might be dating myself there!  This is where Interval Training comes into play.

Interval training works because it is extremely efficient at raising your metabolic rate, and then keeping it there.  It’s different than steady state cardio in that you’re doing shorter bursts of higher intensity work so that you’re actually stimulating your muscles rather than just simply burning calories.  The effect is twofold.  Plus, with interval training, your metabolic rate stays elevated longer after you finish your workout as opposed to steady state cardio, which means you burn more calories for an extended amount of time.

Watch the video and see how you can incorporate interval training into your routine.  Replace some of your steady state cardio with interval training and turn up your thermostat!

Stay Fit Forever!

Healthy Fats VS Bad Fats – Do YOU know the difference?


So today, I was training one of my clients and he said to me, “Hey, I saw your recipe for the Avocado Tuna Lime Spread and I was so excited!”

So naturally, I asked him, “Why?”

He responded, “Avocados are like my favorite ‘sinful’ food, but you said they were healthy fats, what did you mean by that?”

For a moment in my brain,  I was like, “Really??!”

I guess with the advent of the internet and all the health conscious information being thrown about, I was surprised to find that it was still such a mystery to some folks.  I then started to explain to my client about the different types of fats, and what constituted a “healthy” fat as opposed to a “bad” fat.

So, rather than re-invent the wheel, I decided to use the power of the internet to find a definitive explanation of dietary fats and how they impact your body and health. The following information is from, a non profit organization that provides reliable information to those seeking it.  It’s a little lengthy, but it does a GREAT job at explaining the differences between good and bad fat, where to find both, and guidelines as to what a healthy consumption would be.  So, here goes:


Despite what you may have been told, fat isn’t always the bad guy in the waistline wars. Bad fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats, are guilty of the unhealthy things all fats have been blamed for—weight gain, clogged arteries, and so forth. But good fats such as the monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3s have the opposite effect.

As a matter of fact, healthy fats play a huge role in helping you manage your moods, stay on top of your mental game, fight fatigue, and even control your weight.

The answer isn’t cutting out the fat—it’s learning to make healthy choices and to replace bad fats with good ones that promote health and well-being.

Myth: All fats are equal—and equally bad for you.

Fact: Saturated fats and trans fats are bad for you because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease. But monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease.

Myth: Lowering the amount of fat you eat is what matters the most.

Fact: The mix of fats that you eat, rather than the total amount in your diet, is what matters most when it comes to your cholesterol and health. The key is to eat more good fats and less bad fats.

Myth: Fat-free means healthy.

Fact: A “fat-free” label doesn’t mean you can eat all you want without consequences to your waistline. Many fat-free foods are high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and calories.

Myth: Eating a low-fat diet is the key to weight loss.

Fact: The obesity rates for Americans have doubled in the last 20 years, coinciding with the low-fat revolution. Cutting calories is the key to weight loss, and since fats are filling, they can help curb overeating.

Myth: All body fat is the same.

Fact: Where you carry your fat matters. The health risks are greater if you tend to carry your weight around your abdomen, as opposed to your hips and thighs. A lot of belly fat is stored deep below the skin surrounding the abdominal organs and liver, and is closely linked to insulin resistance and diabetes.

Types of dietary fat: Good fats vs. bad fats

To understand good and bad fats, you need to know the names of the players and some information about them. There are four major types of fats:

  • monounsaturated fats
  • polyunsaturated fats
  • saturated fats
  • trans fats

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health.

Monounsaturated fat Polyunsaturated fat
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Peanut butter
  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
  • Soymilk
  • Tofu

Saturated fats and trans fats are known as the “bad fats” because they increase your risk of disease and elevate cholesterol.

Appearance-wise, saturated fats and trans fats tend to be solid at room temperature (think of butter or traditional stick margarine), while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be liquid (think of olive or corn oil).

Saturated fat Trans fat
  • High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Chicken with the skin
  • Whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream)
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Palm and coconut oil
  • Lard
  • Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
  • Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips)
  • Stick margarine
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish)
  • Candy bars

General guidelines for choosing healthy fats

With so many different sources of dietary fat—some good and some bad—the choices can get confusing. But the bottom line is simple: don’t go no-fat, go good fat.

If you are concerned about your weight or heart health, rather than avoiding fat in your diet, try replacing saturated fats and trans fats with good fats. This might mean replacing some of the meat you eat with beans and legumes, or using olive oil rather than butter.

  • Try to eliminate trans fats from your diet. Check food labels for trans fats. Avoiding commercially-baked goods goes a long way. Also limit fast food.
  • Limit your intake of saturated fats by cutting back on red meat and full-fat dairy foods. Try replacing red meat with beans, nuts, poultry, and fish whenever possible, and switching from whole milk and other full-fat dairy foods to lower fat versions.
  • Eat omega-3 fats every day. Good sources include fish, walnuts, ground flax seeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil.

How much fat is too much?

How much fat is too much depends on your lifestyle, your weight, your age and most importantly the state of your health. The USDA recommends that the average individual:

  • Keep total fat intake to 20-35% of calories
  • Limit saturated fats to less than 10% of your calories (200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet)
  • Limit trans fats to 1% of calories (2 grams per day for a 2000 calorie diet)

Saturated fats: Reduce this bad fat

When focusing on healthy fats, a good place to start is reducing your consumption of saturated fats. Saturated fats are mainly found in animal products such as red meat and whole milk dairy products. Poultry and fish also contain saturated fat, but less than red meat.

Simple ways to reduce saturated fat

  • Eat less red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) and more fish and chicken
  • Go for lean cuts of meat, and stick to white meat, which has less saturated fat.
  • Bake, broil, or grill instead of frying.
  • Remove the skin from chicken and trim as much fat off of meat as possible before cooking.
  • Avoid breaded meats and vegetables and deep-fried foods.
  • Choose low-fat milk and lower-fat cheeses like mozzarella whenever possible; enjoy full-fat dairy in moderation.
  • Use liquid vegetable oils such as olive oil or canola oil instead of lard, shortening, or butter.
  • Avoid cream and cheese sauces, or have them served on the side.
Sources of Saturated Fats Healthier Options
Butter Olive oil
Cheese Low-fat or reduced-fat cheese
Red meat White meat chicken or turkey
Cream Low-fat milk or fat-free creamer
Eggs Egg whites, an egg substitute (e.g. Eggbeaters), or tofu
Ice cream Frozen yogurt or reduced fat ice cream
Whole milk Skim or 1% milk
Sour cream Plain, non-fat yogurt

Eliminate trans fats from your diet

A trans fat is a normal fat molecule that has been twisted and deformed during a process called hydrogenation. During this process, liquid vegetable oil is heated and combined with hydrogen gas. Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils makes them more stable and less likely to spoil, which is very good for food manufacturers—and very bad for you.

No amount of trans fats is healthy. Trans fats contribute to major health problems, from heart disease to cancer.

Sources of trans fats

Many people think of margarine when they picture trans fats, and it’s true that some margarines are loaded with them. However, the primary source of trans fats in the Western diet comes from commercially-prepared baked goods and snack foods:

  • Baked goods – cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, pie crusts, pizza dough, and some breads like hamburger buns
  • Fried foods – doughnuts, French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, and hard taco shells
  • Snack foods – potato, corn, and tortilla chips; candy; packaged or microwave popcorn
  • Solid fats – stick margarine and semi-solid vegetable shortening
  • Pre-mixed products – cake mix, pancake mix, and chocolate drink mix

Be a trans fat detective

  • When shopping, read the labels and watch out for “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredients. Even if the food claims to be trans fat free, this ingredient makes it suspect.
  • With margarine, choose the soft-tub versions, and make sure the product has zero grams of trans fat and no partially hydrogenated oils.
  • When eating out, put fried foods, biscuits, and other baked goods on your “skip” list. Avoid these products unless you know that the restaurant has eliminated trans fat.
  • Avoid fast food. Most states have no labeling regulations for fast food, and it can even be advertised as cholesterol-free when cooked in vegetable oil.
  • When eating out, ask your server or counter person what type of oil your food will be cooked in. If it’s partially hydrogenated oil, run the other way or ask if your food can be prepared using olive oil, which most restaurants have in stock.

Getting more good, unsaturated fats in your diet

Okay, so you realize you need to avoid saturated fat and trans fat… but how do you get the healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats everyone keeps talking about?

The best sources of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and fish.

  • Cook with olive oil. Use olive oil for stovetop cooking, rather than butter, stick margarine, or lard. For baking, try canola or vegetable oil.
  • Eat more avocados. Try them in sandwiches or salads or make guacamole. Along with being loaded with heart and brain-healthy fats, they make for a filling and satisfying meal.
  • Reach for the nuts. You can also add nuts to vegetable dishes or use them instead of breadcrumbs on chicken or fish.
  • Snack on olives. Olives are high in healthy monounsaturated fats. But unlike most other high-fat foods, they make for a low-calorie snack when eaten on their own. Try them plain or make a tapenade for dipping.
  • Dress your own salad. Commercial salad dressings are often high in saturated fat or made with damaged trans fat oils. Create your own healthy dressings with high-quality, cold-pressed olive oil, flaxseed oil, or sesame oil.

Damaged fat: When good fats go bad

A good fat can become bad if heat, light, or oxygen damages it. Polyunsaturated fats are the most fragile. Oils that are high in polyunsaturated fats (such as flaxseed oil) must be refrigerated and kept in an opaque container. Cooking with these oils also damages the fats. Never use oils, seeds, or nuts after they begin to smell or taste rank or bitter.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Superfats for the brain and heart

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat. While all types of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, omega-3 fats are proving to be especially beneficial.

We’re still learning about the many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, but research has shown that they can:

  • Prevent and reduce the symptoms of depression
  • Protect against memory loss and dementia
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer
  • Ease arthritis, joint pain, and inflammatory skin conditions
  • Support a healthy pregnancy

Omega-3 fatty acids and mental health

Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain. Research indicates that they play a vital role in cognitive function (memory, problem-solving abilities, etc.) as well as emotional health.

Getting more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can help you battle fatigue, sharpen your memory, and balance your mood. Studies have shown that omega-3s can be helpful in the treatment of depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and bipolar disorder.

There are several different types of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • EPA and DHA – Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have the most research to back up their health benefits. Both are found in abundance in cold-water fatty fish.
  • ALA – Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) comes from plants. Studies suggest that it’s a less potent form of omega-3 than EPA and DHA. The best sources include flaxseed, walnuts, and canola oil.

Fish: The best food source of omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fats are a type of essential fatty acid, meaning they are essential to health, but your body can’t make them. You can only get omega-3 fats from food.

The best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, or sardines, or high-quality cold-water fish oil supplements. Canned albacore tuna and lake trout can also be good sources, depending on how the fish were raised and processed.

Some people avoid seafood because they worry about mercury or other possible toxins in fish. However, most experts agree that the benefits of eating two servings a week of these cold-water fatty fish outweigh the risks.

If you’re a vegetarian or you don’t like fish, you can still get your omega-3 fix by eating algae (which is high in DHA) or taking a fish oil or algae supplement.

Choosing the best omega-3 supplement

With so many omega-3 and fish oil supplements and fortified foods, making the right choice can be tricky. These guidelines can help.

  • Avoid products that don’t list the source of their omega-3s. Does the package list the source of omega-3 fatty acids? If not, chances are it’s ALA (sometimes from plain old canola or soybean oil), which most Westerners already get plenty of.
  • Don’t fall for fortified foods. Many fortified foods (such as margarine, eggs, and milk) claim to be high in omega-3 fatty acids, but often, the real amount of omega-3 is miniscule.
  • Look for the total amount of EPA and DHA on the label. The bottle may say 1,000 milligrams of fish oil, but it’s the amount of omega-3 that matters. Read the small print. It may show only 300 mg of EPA and DHA (sometimes listed as “omega-3 fatty acids”), which means you’d have to take three capsules to get close to 1,000 milligrams of omega-3.
  • Choose supplements that are mercury-free, pharmaceutical grade and molecularly distilled. Make sure the supplement contains both DHA and EPA. They may be hard to find, but supplements with higher concentrations of EPA are better.

Fish oil supplements can cause stomach upset and belching, especially when you first start taking them. To reduce these side effects, take them with food. You may also want to start with a low dose and gradually increase it, or divide the dose among your three meals.

How much omega-3 do I need?

The American Heart Association recommends consuming 1–3 grams per day of EPA and DHA (1 gram = 1,000 milligrams). For the treatment of mental health issues, including depression and ADHD, look for supplements that are high in EPA, which has been shown to elevate and stabilize mood. Aim for at least 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per day.

The truth about dietary fat and cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty, wax-like substance that your body needs to function properly. In and of itself, cholesterol isn’t bad. But when you get too much of it, it can have a negative impact on your health.

Cholesterol comes from two sources: your body and food. Your body (specifically, the liver) produces some of the cholesterol you need naturally. But you also get cholesterol directly from any animal products you eat, such as eggs, meat, and dairy. Together, these two sources contribute to your blood cholesterol level.

Good vs. bad cholesterol

As with dietary fat, there are good and bad types of cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is the “good” kind of cholesterol found in your blood. LDL cholesterol is the “bad” kind. The key is to keep HDL levels high and LDL levels low. High levels of HDL cholesterol help protect against heart disease and stroke, while high levels of LDL cholesterol can clog arteries, increasing your risk.

Research shows that there is only a weak link between the amount of cholesterol you eat and your blood cholesterol levels. The biggest influence on your total and LDL cholesterol is the type of fats you eat—not your dietary cholesterol. So instead of counting cholesterol, simply focus on replacing bad fats with good fats.

  • Monounsaturated fats lower total and bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, while increasing good cholesterol (HDL).
  • Polyunsaturated fats lower triglycerides and fight inflammation.
  • Saturated fats raise your blood cholesterol.
  • Trans fats are even worse than saturated fats, since they not only raise your bad LDL cholesterol, but also lower the good HDL cholesterol.