Dr. Ann Cuts Through The Carb Confusion!

healthy carbs        Article from Dr. Ann- 

Carbs continue to be a source of controversy in many American’s minds. Are you one of the countless Americans suffering from total carb confusion?  I suspect many of you are, which is a shame because doing your carbs right is the second most powerful nutritional strategy available to you to protect your health.  And when you look at the spectacular body of science related to the topic of carbs and health and carbs and body weight, the situation is crystal clear – meaning some carbs are good for you while others are not.  The purpose of this column is to set you straight on this issue – liberating you from any doubt, confusion or reticence you have towards this vital food group.

Let me establish first and foremost that I’m not an advocate of low carb dieting or low carb living.  I am a huge proponent, however, of right carb living. Have your carbs – and eat them too – just be sure they are the right ones.

Before I tell you about the delicious categories of make-me-healthier right carbs, I have to tell you about the wrong ones:

The Great White Hazards -

There is one and only one category of carbs that I want you to minimize – namely the highly refined, also known as high glycemic “Great White Hazards.”  These infamous foods include: white flour products, white rice, white potatoes, and sugar/sweets.  I collectively refer to these foods as the “Great White Hazards” because we know they can:

  • Promote fat storage
  • Perpetuate appetite
  • Promote cardiovascular disease
  • Increase the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Promote certain cancers

The teacher in me wants to make sure you understand how these staples of the modern American diet have so many adverse effects in the human body.  The simple answer lies in the fact that these particular carbohydrates are so quickly and easily digested.  We have learned over the past decade that eating rapidly digested carbs results in sudden spikes of blood glucose (sugar) and insulin levels that adversely effect human metabolism and ultimately lead to the health risks noted above.  To stay on the right track, keep the wrong carbs to a minimum.  Remember this simple, nutritional motto – See White, Think Fat, Think Disease!

Now that we have tackled the wrong carbs, I want to make sure you have a firm grasp on the right carbs.  When it comes to your health and body weight, the difference between the wrong carbs and the right carbs is like night and day.  In fact, including more of the right carbs in your diet can facilitate weight loss while simultaneously protecting you from a host of dreaded, chronic diseases.  There are 4 delicious categories of right carbs: whole grains, beans, fruits and non-starchy vegetables.  Fruits and vegetables are such an important nutritional topic that I will devote an entire column to them in the future.  For now, I would like to expound on the virtues of the other right carbs.

Miracle Beans:

I consider beans the most underutilized, economical superfood nature has to offer.  They are a nutritional powerhouse – loaded with healthy vegetable protein, high in fiber and teaming with B vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial phytochemicals.  Additionally, they are digested more slowly which means they will not spike your glucose and insulin levels like the Great White Hazards.  In other words, they fill you up without filling you out.  Finally, we also know that beans lower cholesterol, decrease the risk of heart disease, stabilize blood glucose levels, improve gastrointestinal health, lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of some cancers.

When I say “beans,” I mean any of the delicious 24 varieties available – black beans, chick peas, butter beans, field peas, lentils, etc.  Whether canned, fresh, frozen or dried, all beans are tasty, filling, cheap, versatile, convenient and fantastic for your waistline and your health.

“Great” Grains

By all means, I want you to have your bread and your cereals.  Your job is to simply be sure they are always truly 100% whole grain.  True whole grains provide a wonderful package of health promoting nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber and are more difficult to digest than their refined, nutrient-stripped “Great White Hazard” counterparts.  People that eat the most whole grains have greater long term success with body weight and experience less heart disease, cancer, diabetes and digestive illness.

To be sure you are getting only “whole grains” and not refined flour, make sure the label on your bread or cereal products say “100% whole grain.”  If the ingredient list contains “wheat flour,” “enriched wheat flour” or any other grain without the word “whole” written in front of it, it’s nothing more than refined flour disguised as the healthier option!

It is vital to your health and your waistline to swap out the wrong carbs for the right ones.  By eating “miracle” beans and “great” grains in lieu of the Great White Hazards, you will be taking proactive and powerful steps to maximizing your wellness and vitality.

Thank you Dr. Ann for clearing that up.  In addition, I would like to add, if you are an athlete or weekend warrior or want the best results from a workout, carbs are an essential part of your nutritional strategy.  If you want the power to perform at your best while working out and your body to properly recover, carbs have to be in the mix, just  keep to the healthy carbs.

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Avoid Shoulder Injury – Three Key Moves For Strong Shoulder!

Want to look more confident, have your waist appear slimmer, and improve function on a daily basis?  Well than, look no further than training your deltoids – your shoulders. Most movements we use every day include using our shoulders including pushing, pulling or lifting over our heads.

Most of time these muscles are not worked properly or are overlooked.  The shoulder joint is a complex ball and socket joint that is capable of flexion, extension, rotation and more, therefore there are three extinct muscles that need to be trained properly.  The shoulder is made up of the anterior, medial and posterior deltoids.  Most people over train the anterior delts, (the front of the shoulder) and risk injury and imbalances by neglecting the medial and posterior delts.  If you are interested in avoiding the 69% of people who end up with a shoulder injury at some point in their lifetime, add these exercises to your workout 2-3 x per week.  They are easy to do and don’t take up much time at all.

Shoulder Press – Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and core stabilized. With a dumbbell in ea. hand, bring your upper arms up until they are even with the sides of your shoulders.  Press the weights upward until your arms are fully extended overhead and lower back to the sides of your shoulders to finish the movement.




45-Degree Incline Row – Lying on a 45- degree incline bench, let your arms hang straight while holding a dumbbell in each hand.  Slowly lift your arms as high as possible by squeezing the shoulder blades together.  Throughout the movement, the upper arms should remain perpendicular to the body, with the forearms pointed towards the floor.  After reaching the top of the movement, slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.



Seated Rear Lateral Raise – Sit on the edge of a bench with your feet on the floor.  While bending over and, if flexibility allows, resting your torso on your thighs, hold the dumbbells while the arms are extended under your legs.  Maintain a flat back position as you slowly raise your arms to your sides until your elbows are at shoulder height.  The arms should be perpendicular to your torso, with a fixed elbow position of 10-30 degree angle throughout the movement.  Slowly lower the weights back to starting position.


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Hydrate To Lose Weight

Most of us have don’t drink enough water or keep our bodies well hydrated so that we can function at our best.  There are many benefits to keeping our bodies hydrated and weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight are no exceptions.  If you find drinking water is boring, try adding some sliced lemon or a dash of real fruit juice to your water bottle to help the process.  Aim for 8 glasses a day or more if you are vigorously exercising. How hydration can help you lose or maintain weight. Water is calorie free Helps you feel fuller longer Gets rid of toxins and helps the digestive system Helps to curve cravings like salt and sugar- thirst gets misinterpreted as hunger. Increases metabolism, dehydration slows down metabolism Helps with headaches, migraines and joint pain. Fruit also works as a good hydrator, so eat fruit as a snack between meals. Directly effects energy levels so workouts are more productive and burn more calories. Staying hydrated plays a critical role in your overall health and fitness levels and helps you to lose weight so start taking action today!

Strong Core – Healthy Back

Core strength is critical to maintaining a healthy body.  It helps with good posture, everyday activity; helps avoid back pain and perform at our best.  According to studies, 80% of people will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.  This can be avoided with a good core strength program which includes more than just your core muscles, but every muscle between your shoulders to your hips.

Today I am going to focus on just one of them, the Transverse Abdominals. This is the most important ab muscle to strengthen first.  It is the deepest muscle running horizontally under the Rectus Abdominal (the six pack muscles), and if properly worked will support your back, prevent or reduce back pain, and contribute to a flat stomach and improve athletics all around. One of the best exercises to target this very important muscle is the plank.

Try beginning with 30 seconds and work up to a minute.  After that, you may want to hold out one arm for 15 sec, then the other.  Move to lifting a leg for 15sec. and then the other.  Lastly, come back to a standard plank and hold for another 30 seconds.  If you are a beginner this will take time so be consistent and you will notice progression.

One really easy way to strengthen the transverse abdominals throughout the day is practicing “the vacuum”.  I practice this while I’m driving, especially at stop lights. Inhale, and as you exhale, suck in your abs deeply and hold while breathing normally. (do not hold your breath)  Hold for 10-30 seconds.  This exercise trains your muscles to stay pulled in forcing better posture and alleviating lower back pain.  Although this exercise doesn’t burn fat, it will contribute to a smaller waist and flatter abs.  Try doing this 10x a day.  This really works!

Post 4th Of July Detox

detoxBack from my up north 4th of July vacation where I enjoyed foods I normally don’t eat. We’re talking brats, ice cream, beer and wine. Oh did I forget to mention a stop into Barbs Bakery.  Seriously!!!  Yes, way more sugar, salt and calories then I’m use to consuming. So here is what I do to detox and get back on track.

First day back from vacation start the day with a tall glass of lemon water and one hour of spinning (any exercise is good, even brisk walking.  Just get the heart rate up) – no coffee. Fix myself a tall green smoothie made with romaine, apple, carrots, cucumber, ginger and lemon.

Lunch- Huge kale salad with lemon vinaigrette.  Lemon water

More lemon water through out the day plus dandelion tea.  ( great for detoxing)

Dinner- more kale salad plus more dandelion tea.

Go to bed early!

Day two – feeling much better already just by giving my body extra nutrients exercise and rest!!  Continue with lemon water, dandelion tea and kale salads.  Added a berry smoothie and Greek yogurt to the mix, no sugar.  An hour of yoga and brisk walking.

Day three- Added coffee back in, what can I say, I love my coffee.  Continue with lemon water and dandelion tea throughout the day.  One hour of boot camp class, strength training, cardio, and stretching.  Hard boil egg with fruit for breakfast.

Lunch- Huge salad with mixed greens and veggies.

Berry Smoothie with lemon and Greek yogurt.

Vegetable soup

I’ll continue to eat especially clean for the rest of the week and slowly add other protein into my meals.  Easy to do and helps me get back on track to feeling full of energy.

Feel free to share any strategies or tips you find helpful to detox after a vacation!




This salad will make anyone love Kale!

If you are not on the Kale craze train yet, here are some reasons to get on the ride.

Kale scores as having the highest antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer nutrients.  It’s so good for the heart and lowers cholesterol plus supports the body’s detoxification process.  This stuff should be in your diet regularly.  Here is one of my new found favorite ways to eat this super food thanks to “The Food Babe” for this recipe.  If you’re not familiar with Vani, check out her web site at www.foodbabe.com .

Melt In Your Mouth Kale Salad-


  • 1 bunch of lacinato or dinosaur kale, stems removed, rinsed and patted dry
  • ⅓ cup currants (or chopped raisins)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp local honey
  • ½ cup pine nuts toasted
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp grated raw parmesan cheese


  1. In a food processor, process kale into small chopped pieces
  2. To make dressing, stir lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper together in a large bowl
  3. Add chopped kale, currants, pine nuts and parmesan to bowl with dressing
  4. Stir all ingredients together and serve
  5. (Optional – Save some pine nuts and/or parmesan cheese for top of salad before serving for presentation purposes)

Try this salad today and share how you liked it!

kale salad

A Guide To Reaching Your Fitness Goals

smart goal setting conceptIf you are falling short of your fitness goals or having trouble knowing where to start, implementing SMART strategies are a must in reaching your goals.  SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.  No matter how small or large the goal, following these guidelines will get you moving in the right direction and reaching your target.  Start by getting yourself a notebook and writing it down.  I know its old school using a paper and pen, but studies show that simply writing down your goals and an action plan makes a huge difference in your success.  Visualize yourself doing everything in your action plan and reaching your goals

Specific- Make sure you start with a clear goal in mind and write it down!  If you goal is too general you’re not setting yourself up for success but more of the same. Example:  I am going to lose 10 lbs. by September 1st.

Measurable- You will need to track your progress to see how you are doing.  For weight loss you will want to weigh in weekly or biweekly or track your measurements with a tape measure and write it down.

Attainable-.Make sure you set yourself up for success by reaching for an attainable number.  Research suggest that a 5-10 % weight loss is attainable for most people.  So, an attainable goal could be I will lose 7% of my body weight.

Relevant- Make sure it its important to where you are in life right now.  Don’t make your goals someone else’s or what someone is pressuring you to do.  It has to make sense to you specifically and fit into your life.

Time-Bound- Make sure you include an end point.  Knowing you have a deadline keeps you motivated.  Healthy weight loss is about 1-2 lbs. per week so if you use the 7% as your goal and 3 months as your end point, you are now on track to reach your goal in a set amount of time.

Now write down an action plan you can start to implement weekly.  For example-

I will walk 5 day for 30 minutes

I will drink 8 glass of water every day

I will bring my lunch to work instead of eating out.

Keep track of how you are doing at the end of each day and write it down.  Once you reach that goal, go head and start another or move into phase two of a larger goal.  If you want to reach your goals, and I know you do, becoming a better YOU starts with SMART goals. Just like with anything else you aspire to get done,  you must have a plan and work the plan.

Have you used SMART goals before?  If so, share how it worked out for you.


Gluten Free, Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Banana-Peanut-Butter-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies-2I love finding recipes for healthy treats, and these little cookies by two peas & their pod really deliver.  You can even eat them for breakfast!

These cookies have it all-banana, peanut butter, oatmeal, and chocolate chips! And guess what? They are gluten-free and vegan too!


3 large, very ripe bananas, peeled
1/2 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil, slightly warmed, but not melted or add in raw unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons agave nectar or pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork. Stir in the peanut butter, coconut oil, agave, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.

3. In a separate medium bowl, stir together the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are set. Let cool on baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

I love these cookies eaten right out of the freezer.

Chocolate For Breakfast!

cocoaResearch has proven cocoa powder contain compounds that help protect against stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  So try adding this delicious stuff to some recipes and enjoy a boost of health.

Chocolate Spinach Smoothie-  (serves 6-7oz servings)

1 cup of non-fat milk or almond milk

1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa

2 ripe bananas

1 cup of raw spinach

1 Tbs. honey

3 cups of ice


Chocolate Oatmeal-

2 cups of uncooked oats

1 1/2 cups of water

1 cup of non-fat milk

1/2 t of salt

1/4 cup of cocoa powder

1 T of ground cinnamon

2 T of pure maple syrup

Cook for 5-7 minutes until liquid is absorbed

I find myself keeping this raw cocoa in my cabinet at all times.  Share how you use this other than baking. If you don’t have any of this stuff, go out and get it!


How to maximize your workout through recovery.

We want results from our workouts, right?  Understanding the recovery phase is essential to getting the best results possible.  Over training is a common mistake that can cause injury, cease progress from occurring and cause unnecessary frustration.

When we workout, our job is to break down muscle. In order to get the results from that breakdown, we need to let the muscles recover to make progress in our fitness.  You may have heard to strength train muscles on nonconsecutive days so that the muscles can recover from the workout.  So what is actually happening in this recovery phase and why is it so necessary?  When we strength train properly, the muscle tissue actually breaks down and in the recovery phase, which begins right after the workout, the muscles begin to repair themselves.  Without repair, muscles don’t get the opportunity to heal and get stronger.  Rest days is where the repair magic happens.  Does that mean no movement on rest days?  On the contrary.

Recovering muscles need  blood flow and circulation to bring nutrients to the tissue which in turn facilitate improvement in the recovery.  So on non-training days (rest day) find activities that require easy movement like walking, swimming, biking or any activity that   involves movement without over taxing the body.

The time between workouts will vary depending on the individual’s fitness levels, the intensity of the workout, nutrients and lifestyle.  A well designed workout will leave the muscles feeling  mildly sore but not debilitating.  The next workout should occur between 24-48 hours from the last workout.   Rest is an importance piece of recovery as well as sleep, proper nutrition and easy movement that enhances circulation.