Is Too Much Protein Bad?

Is Too Much Protein Bad?With 2014 lurking just around the corner, I’m sure many of us will be looking into diets and exploring what foods we should eat to lose weight. I’ve written about this topic many times in the past, including a few blog posts about foods that will help you feel more full for a longer period of time. One way to achieve this is by eating protein.

A mistake that I once made that I’m sure many other people will make is to load up on protein. It makes sense, right? If protein fills you up, just drink a couple protein shakes mixed with fruits and veggies and you’ll be good for the day while keeping your calorie intake to a minimum. The one caveat is that you need to burn that protein.

Your body requires a certain amount of protein. Once you reach that limit, the excess is converted into energy. When you have a surplus of energy–meaning you’re not physically burning it off–the body converts it into fat. So if you plan on making a couple of smoothies each day loaded with protein powder, you need to exercise hard to make use of the protein. Any extra could potentially be turned into fat, making you gain weight rather than lose it.

So how much protein should you eat each day? About 50g to 100g of protein is the recommended daily amount of protein that you should be consuming. When choosing a protein powder, try looking for one that’s balanced with other ingredients, such as fiber. Manitoba Harvest makes a variety of hemp protein powders with different percentages of protein. Onnit also has Hemp Force protein powder which is balanced out with other nutritional ingredients that your body will use, so you’re not just loading up on protein and gaining weight as a result.

What is the Nutri Bullet Blender?

What is the Nutri Bullet Blender?I first heard about the Nutri Bullet on a podcast. I knew nothing about it, but immediately I thought of an informercial product based on the name alone. Turns out I was right, as the Nutri Bullet blender is like the big brother of the Magic Bullet, an (in)famous staple of late-night television.

The Nutri Bullet NBR-12 can be thought of as an upgraded version of the Magic Bullet. Like its name implies, it’s for more nutrition-minded folks rather than those who are looking to blend up margaritas and milkshakes. The Nutri Bullet certainly can blend those drinks, but it’s been reconfigured and optimized for making fruit and vegetable-heavy blended drinks for the health conscious.

The Nutri Bullet features a patented blade design with “cyclonic action” which I take it means that it pulls ingredients into the blades so you don’t have to start and stop the blender to adjust the position of your ingredients. It’s apparently good enough to liquefy just about anything you’d want to add to your smoothie, from fruits and veggies, ice, nuts, seeds, and stems.

Compared to the blender I’m using now, what I like about the Nutri Bullet is that, like the Magic Bullet, the container you put your ingredients in to blend them is the container you drink your smoothie out of. This limits the amount of clean up, which is always a bonus as far as I’m concerned, even though I have a dishwasher.

The Nutri Bullet comes with the base, a tall cup, two short cups, one flat blade, an emulsifying blade, two resealable lids, and literature about the unit along with some recipes. The unit features a 600-watt motor, which should be more than capable for producing a smoothie each day in the home, but it’s nearly 1,000 watts less powerful than the commercial-grade Blendtec Wildside. That being said, the Nutri Bullet is also $300 to $400 less than a Blendtec or Vitamix blender.

The Nutri Bullet is certainly an attractive little blender in terms of features and price, and I would be curious to try it out to see just how well it performs. Based on Amazon.com reviews, the majority of people seem to be quite happy with the product. There are occasional one-star reviews, but many of those seem to be based on the price rather than the performance of the product itself.

With 2014 just around the corner, I’d say that the Nutri Bullet is an interesting blender to consider if you’re thinking about starting off the new year with a focus on your health. It’s a fraction of the cost of a high-end blender which means the commitment level isn’t high if you tend to flake out on your resolutions after a few weeks. I’d also suggest purchasing something like this over a juicer. A product like the Nutri Bullet NBR-12 uses the whole fruit and vegetable, helping you to feel full longer and to obtain the vitamins, nutrients, and fiber found in the skin and pulp of fruits and veggies that you’d be throwing away when using a juicer.

Fitbit Force Activity Tracker

Fitbit Force Activity TrackerWant to know what’s at the top of my Christmas list this year? The Fitbit Force activity and sleep tracker.

Yes, there are numerous such devices on the market currently, and I’ve written about some on this blog in the past. However, I’ve never bought one because I always feel like something better will be released immediately after I pull the trigger. This is how it is with all technology though, and if you want something, just buy it. There’s always going to be something new around the bend.

The Fitbit Force is essentially an upgraded version of the Fitbit Flex. The Force is a little wider than the Flex, but it has a small OLED display on the front of it compared to the tiny illuminated dots that were on the Flex. The Force can actually show you the time along with stats as you go about your day. Or, you can choose sync the device with your smartphone via Bluetooth 4.0 without taking the device off your wrist. These Android and iPhone apps will let you view your progress and compare it to previous days.

So what exactly can the Fitbit Force do for you? It can visualize your activity, showing you exactly how active you are. It counts your steps, distance, stairs climbed, calories burned, and active minutes. It will show you when you’re not being active compared to previous days, allowing you to adjust your routine to boost your activity. There are some days when I know I should be doing more, but it will be hard to ignore and not feel guilty when it’s presented to me on my phone through an attractive interface with pie charts and bar graphs.

The nice thing about the Fitbit Flex is that you can keep it on all the time and will rarely have to take it off. You can wash dishes with it on, take a shower, and do other activities where it might get splashed or a little bit wet. But unlike the Misfit Wearable, you can’t take it swimming. You’re also encouraged to wear it while you sleep, and after putting the device in sleep mode, it will monitor your sleep and present you with the data when you wake up. Speaking of which, you can even set an alarm and have the Force wake you with vibrations that you will feel but your partner won’t.

There are lots of great things about the Fitbit Force, but as I mentioned, there are some features found on other devices that the Force lacks. But after comparing a number of these fitness trackers, I found that the Force had the combination of features that appealed to me and my lifestyle the most. That’s why I’m hoping there’s one sitting under my tree on Christmas morning.

How to Stay Focused on Your Goals During Thanksgiving

How to Stay Focused on Your Goals During ThanksgivingFirst, let me start off this post by responding to a comment I received the other day. The commenter said that this blog has turned into an Onnit advertisement compared to what it once was. I agree that as my blog posts have become less frequent more have been focused towards Onnit than just general posts about staying healthy.

I have a list of topics I want to write about, and I also have a list of Onnit news that I think might appeal to readers of this blog. I can understand how my enthusiasm for the company, its products, Joe Rogan, and his podcast can seem purely like an advertisement, but my intentions aren’t simply to shill Onnit products.

I started out this blog as a way to answer the questions that I had about things related to health and fitness. Like, what is kale and why is it healthy? Why do my knees make so much noise, and should I be worried? How can I prevent a hangover? I’m going to tone down the Onnit posts and keep them limited to when an exciting new product launches and when the company has a sale on its products. I don’t need to cover the minutia of the company and every little product that it releases. I’ll steer this ship back towards what Tight Lightning once was and answer more of the questions I have about living a healthy life while limiting the posts that feel like ads to my readers. I hope that you guys will continue to visit this blog in 2014.

With that out of the way and off my chest, let’s talk about Thanksgiving. As a Canadian, I’ve already celebrated Thanksgiving. It was last month, I’m over it, and it wasn’t a big deal to me. To Americans though, it’s a whole other beast. It’s essentially the beginning of the holiday season. The family, the friends, the shopping and presents, and of course, the FOOD. I work in the food industry so I know how hard it can be to resist everything that will destroy your diet.

So what can you do during Thanksgiving to prevent yourself from ruining all the hard work you’ve accomplished this year? Here are a few ideas to keep you from gaining too much weight over the next month:

Exercise
If you don’t normally exercise on the weekend, maybe force yourself to, just as an added boost to help burn off the extra calories you consume during Thanksgiving. Do this either before the big meal or the day after, if you can muster up the motivation to do so.

Eat a Balanced Breakfast and Lunch
If you eat a healthy, balanced breakfast and follow it up with a filling lunch, you may be inclined to eat less during dinnertime. For breakfast and lunch, choose protein and whole grains to keep you feeling full right up until Thanksgiving dinner.

Don’t Deny Yourself
It’s important that you don’t deny yourself of anything that you want during Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season. However, as I have talked about on this blog in the past, the key is moderation. Have one cookie, not four. Have a piece of pie, but skip the ice cream. Have a plate of dinner, but not seconds. Keep your portion sizes in control and give yourself a limit and you shouldn’t feel too badly once you head back to work after the long weekend.

Eat Slowly
Everyone knows that the slower you eat, the more time your body has to respond to what you put into it. You’ll feel more full quicker and end up eating less if you don’t inhale your dinner. So slow down, relax, and enjoy the time with your family and friends.

Don’t Get Drunk
Alcohol is not only full of extra calories you don’t need during the holidays, it can crush your willpower as well. The more inebriated you become, the more likely you are to eat what you otherwise wouldn’t, and you’re more likely to wake up hungover. What happens when you’re hungover? You crave more food and you definitely don’t exercise. It’s a slippery slope, so be careful.

Take a Picture
I’ll admit it, I have a picture on my computer of what I used to look like when I was about 20 lbs. heavier. I also have one for inspiration when I was at my prime. Where I’m at now is somewhere in the middle, but I can use both of the pictures to keep myself in check. One shows me what I can turn back into if I get lazy and unfocused, and the other shows me what I’m capable of when I set a goal and accomplish it.

And there you have it. Those are my suggestions on how you can keep your body and your diet in check during Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season. If you have any tips you’d like to share, feel free to post about them in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Ultimate Steel Mace Workout

The Ultimate Steel Mace WorkoutThe problem with owning exercise equipment like a steel mace ¬†or a steel club is that workouts are a little hard to come by. You can’t exactly stream this stuff over Netflix, so you’re left with ordering obscure DVDs over the internet that may or may not be what you’re looking for. Because these DVDs don’t sell high volumes, the cost of them is often higher than you’d pay for something like The Avengers on Blu-Ray. Of course there’s always home-made YouTube clips of guys swinging around steel clubs, but the production leaves a lot to be desired.

What Onnit has done is taken the next logical step in its fitness empire. The company is not only bringing steel maces and steel clubs to the masses, its now also providing the workout routines so you can make the most of this equipment. A smart move, I thought, but what I like even more is the delivery method. Gone are the days of physical media, either in the form of a video tape or disc. No longer will you have to wait days or weeks for your video to arrive in the mail. Onnit is now offering digital downloads, the first of which is The Ultimate Steel Mace Workout.

The advantages to a digital download are plentiful. Pay for it, download it, and begin your workout within a few minutes. No waiting by the mailbox for your video to be delivered. Going on the road? Copy the video file to your laptop, tablet, or even your smart phone to take it on the road with you. Back it up to a USB stick and ensure you never accidentally delete or lose it. The workout can be with you wherever you go–indoors or out–and you won’t have to be tied to your television.

But enough about the format, let’s talk about The Ultimate Steel Mace Workout itself, which is hosted by Mr. Onnit, Aubrey Marcus. Aubrey has designed a workout that’s suitable for any skill level. Obviously, newbies will want to start with the lowest weight possible, and savages can go for the heaviest if they can handle it. Aubrey then puts you through an intense full body workout that pushes your cardio and strength to its limits, and then brings you back down with a yoga cooldown.

The video also features “extras” or bonus features in the form of videos that outline the history of the mace and techniques you’ll use in the video to ensure proper form. Priced at only $5, it’s cheap enough to take a gamble on if you own and use steel clubs. Don’t have steel clubs? Onnit is selling them right now at a 10% discount.

I haven’t yet purchased The Ultimate Steel Mace workout, but I’m definitely intrigued, and with Onnit’s track record, I’m sure it’s a quality product.