Live a Healthier Lifestyle by Understanding Your DNA

Have you ever wondered how your genetic structure can affect your weight? Curious to learn how to utilize this to optimize your health and get back control of your weight?  Diet and Nutrition are not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Numerous studies show that your genes play an important role in your tendency to gain unwanted weight. Let us help you discover your unique nutrigenetic profile, with your own in-depth personalized DNA report which details customized serving units for each macronutrient and exercise plans, specific to your genes, while outlining your personal behavioral tendencies.

Your DNA report will show an appropriate proportion of fats, carbohydrates and protein based on your genetic test results.  The proportion of these macronutrients in your daily food intake plays a key role in maintaining healthy weight and optimal energy levels.  Knowing your own genetic predispositions can help you choose your nutritional and fitness goals.

Proper dietary levels of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins are all necessary for good health, so fad diets which severely restrict one or more of these macronutrients’ groups have many disadvantages.  A better approach is to adopt the best diet for you based on your unique needs.

The Worst Things To Eat When You Have PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome—PCOS—has symptoms that range from irregular or absent periods to excessive facial body and hair and thinning hair on the scalp. One of the first signs is weight gain. The condition occurs from higher-than-normal male hormones. People with PCOS can help their condition with diet. Learning the worst foods for PCOS and what to eat instead is a start.

What you eat makes a huge difference in controlling PCOS.

Insulin resistance and weight gain are two major problems caused by PCOS. Approximately 70% of those with PCOS have insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can cause weight gain and excess weight can cause insulin resistance, so it becomes a vicious cycle that is hard to break. Since the food you eat affects your level of insulin, which then directly affects insulin resistance, a healthy diet is important.

Avoid simple carbs if you have PCOS.

Simple carbs digest quickly and spike your blood sugar level. That spike produces high amounts of insulin that can lead to insulin resistance or make it worse. When there is a high glucose level in the blood, a signal goes out to send more insulin. Insulin helps open the cells to intake glucose. When you have insulin resistance, the cells don’t open to lower the level of glucose in the blood, so the body produces even more insulin. Besides simple carbs like sugar, avoiding fast food, sugary drinks, processed meat, excess red meat and solid fats like margarine or lard can help reduce the symptoms.

Instead of highly processed food, making smarter choices can help insulin resistance and PCOS.

Natural unprocessed food, those high in fiber and fatty fish containing omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, can be part of a PCOS diet. So can vegetables, especially leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower. Dark red and purple fruit like blueberries and cherries should be part of the diet, as well as beans and other legumes. Healthy fat, nuts, and spices like turmeric and cinnamon should be included, and best of all, so should small amounts of dark chocolate.

  • Specific diets that help control PCOS include a low glycemic index diet, an anti-inflammatory diet, and the DASH diet. A study showed that the DASH diet could help women lose belly fat and reduce insulin resistance in 8 weeks.
  • You need adequate protein if you want to lose weight. Protein helps stabilize blood sugar and keeps you feeling full longer. A low-carb diet where 40% or more of the calories come from protein, 30% from fat, and the rest from carbs helps PCOS.
  • Make certain you have adequate fiber if you want to lower insulin resistance. It helps reduce body fat, particularly belly fat that can cause insulin resistance.
  • Probiotics are an important addition to a diet for women with PCOS. They tend to have fewer beneficial bacteria in their digestive tract. Beneficial bacteria make weight loss easier.

For more information, contact us today at ProWeightLoss

Is the Scale Helpful or Harmful?

For a solid two weeks, you followed your weight loss program to a “T”.  You followed the menu plan, you bought new kitchen tools, etc. But you step on the scale and feel defeated -the number is the same as it was two weeks ago.  Or worse, it’s gone up! First, keep the motivation, but tone down the tension.  You are definitely doing the right thing.  Plateaus can happen.  The really good news is that most plateaus are temporary and short-term.

A study tracking 16,000 men and women provides strong evidence that the scale is one of the most effective tools for losing body fat and keeping it off.  So, if you have goals of losing weight, it might be better to shift your relationship with the scale.  Here are five ways you can begin to make friends with your scale:

1. Weigh yourself daily.
Provides accountability and you can see your progress. In one study, daily weighers dropped twice as many pounds as weekly weighers.

2. Take the weekly average.
It’s normal for your daily weight to go up and down.  However, the key is to avoid riding the emotional roller coaster with your shifting scale weight.  Keep the big picture in mind and look for signs of long-term progress.

3. Don’t sweat fluctuations. There can be so many reasons why the scale is not moving. Keep in mind all the reasons for scale fluctuations, including:

  • You didn’t have bowel movement.
  • You consumed a lot of sodium.
  • You ate more food later at night, so it would be sitting in your stomach in the morning.
  • Carbohydrates will hold on to water, so if you consumed more carbs yesterday, you would retain water.
  • You are dehydrated.
  • You’ve had intense workouts, causing inflammation.
  • You’ve been sick.
  • You started a new supplement.
  • Your sleep hasn’t been consistent.
  • You feel stressed out.
  • Menstrual cycle approaching.

4. More muscle is a good thing.
If you are exercising, there is a good chance you are adding muscle! And muscle is much denser than fat, which means it takes up less volume than an equal mass of fat. This explains why it’s possible to become slimmer without a significant drop in weight.

5. Promotes good habits.
Another study found that daily weigh-ins led to “greater adoption of weight control behaviors”, such as reducing snacks between meals, cutting back on dessert portions sizes, exercising for 30 minutes or more and increasing daily steps.

What Is MSG And Is It Really That Bad For You?

MSG stands for monosodium glutamate. It’s a flavor enhancer with a bad reputation for causing health issues. It’s been around for approximately 100 years and occurs naturally in some foods. Japanese professor Kikunae Ikeda discovered it in 1908. He found it in kombu seaweed. He then extracted the amino acid, dissolved and neutralized it to get MSG. More recent research shows it may not be bad for you in smaller doses, but still may affect people sensitive to it.

What exactly is MSG?

MSG comes from an amino acid that your body can make, L-glutamic acid. It occurs naturally in many foods. It’s an odorless crystal-like powder. Once dissolved in water, it separates into free glutamate and sodium. The manufacturing of L-glutamic acid starts by fermenting sugar beet, molasses, or sugar cane. MSG is chemically the same as the glutamic acid found in food and digested similarly. It flavors food with its umami taste, which is meaty. It’s called the fifth basic taste in addition to sweet, sour, bitter, or salty.

Even though most believe MSG is safe, there’s still a debate about safety.

People still report symptoms from consuming food containing MSG. They are part of the MSG symptom complex and include flushing, sweating, chest pain, face pressure, a numb or tingling feeling, nausea, headache, and weakness. Though the FDA—Food and Drug Administration—classified MSG as generally safe but must be listed on the label when it’s added to food.

There are some myths surrounding MSG that can be debunked.

Some people believe MSG is high in sodium, which can cause high blood pressure and heart disease if there’s too much in the diet. Salt contains 40% sodium, while MSG only contains 12%. However, many people use both. Another myth is that MSG also contains gluten. The problem comes from the similar names for the proteins in each. Approximately 30% of gluten is glutamine. However, MSG contains glutamate. Finally, there’s a myth that the body can’t process MSG. The body processes naturally occurring glutamate, and the glutamate in MSG is added to foods the same.

  • Some animal research shows links MSG to obesity, blood sugar fluctuations, liver damage, an increased risk of heart disease, nerve damage, increased inflammation, and behavioral problems.
  • MSG may sabotage your diet by increasing your appetite and promoting weight gain. It may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome that can cause diabetes and heart disease.
  • Most people don’t consume more than 3 grams of MSG daily, but even that amount can cause symptoms in people sensitive to it. Just as most people can tolerate gluten or lactose, some can’t.
  • Food high in MSG includes soups, fast food, processed meat, condiments, chips and snack food, frozen meals, seasoning blends, and instant noodles. The problem may not be MSG, but the foods that contain it.

For more information, contact us today at ProWeightLoss

5 Ways to Learn to Love Vegetables

We all know that we need to eat our “five a day” portions of vegetables, but do we really know why? Here are the most important reasons:

  1. Keeps you fuller longer.
  2. They are great if you want to lose weight.
  3. Good for your gut.
  4. Keeps your skin hydrated.
  5. Provides much needed essential nutrients and vitamins.
  6. Boosts your mood.
  7. Keeps you fueled for extra energy.
  8. Assists in fighting off cravings.
  9. Improves bone health.
  10. Helps to minimize or prevent chronic diseases.

You’ve always known vegetables were good for you, and now you know more about why.  So, if you don’t like vegetables, here are some techniques and tips to learn to like vegetables:

  1. Pair with food you already like, for example add some chopped tomatoes with spinach to a beloved mushroom into an omelette.
  2. Roast your veggies.  Roasted are more delicious! Just add your favorite seasonings.
  3. Enjoy more soups.  Prepare blended soups or smoothies to increase vegetable and fruit consumption.
  4. Add great flavors such as olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, balsamic vinegar, lemon, and your favorite spices.
  5. Add grains + protein for a full meal.  When your greens and veggies are accented by grains, protein, healthy fats, and a fun dressing, it’s hard to get bored of them.  The combinations are endless!

Are Black Beans A Good Source Of Fiber?

Like everywhere in the US, the price of groceries is rising in Massachusetts. One way to salvage your grocery budget is to have a meatless Monday or even go meatless two days a week. Black beans are one of those options for those days. They are filled with nutrients and are a good source of fiber. Next to lentils, they have one of the highest fiber contents.

Why is fiber important to your diet?

Two types of fiber are necessary for a healthy body. One is soluble fiber, which combines with water to create a gel. It’s a probiotic that feeds beneficial bacteria. Insoluble fiber, the second type of fiber, insoluble fiber, doesn’t digest in small intestines but passes through to the colon. It can help slow the absorption of sugar and provide bulk for the stool. There’s a third category of fiber that’s not truly fiber but resistant starch that acts like fiber. It passes through the intestines and into the colon, where gut microbiota feeds on it, creating short-chain fatty acids—SCFA—as waste that reduces inflammation and improves gut health.

Black beans may help people with diabetes.

The color of black beans comes from a powerful antioxidant, anthocyanin, which protects the cells and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity. Black beans also have a low glycemic index to help maintain blood sugar levels. The fiber in black beans slows the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. Beans may be a superfood for people with diabetes. The resistant starch in beans improves gut health and increases insulin sensitivity.

Beans contain all types of fiber, including resistant starch, plus other nutrients.

There are many other reasons to consume black beans besides fiber. The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and zinc in black beans are bone-building materials. Black beans can help lower blood pressure due to their natural calcium, magnesium, and potassium levels. The folate, B6, and potassium in black beans help decrease the risk of heart disease. Selenium and other nutrients help reduce the risk of cancer.

  • The fiber in black beans can aid in weight loss by making you feel full and maintaining that feeling longer. Reducing insulin resistance also aids in weight loss.
  • Studies show how SCFA can help people with diabetes. One study found it influenced the peptide GLP-1 that regulates insulin. The other showed it improved the health of beta cells of the pancreas that produce insulin.
  • Contrary to popular belief, people under 50 need more fiber than older people do. Men under 50 need 38 grams daily, while those over 50 need only 30. For women under 50, 25 grams is necessary, but only 21 grams after age 50.
  • The thick liquid from cooking beans is called aquafaba. It’s a mix of starch and protein and has thickening properties. It can replace eggs in cooking or whipped for mayonnaise or meringues.

For more information, contact us today at ProWeightLoss

Ways To Reset Your Hormones

Most people think of sex hormones like progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone when they think of hormones. Hormones are messengers and in the case of sex hormones, they trigger reactions like the starting of puberty, distribution of body fat, and menopause and the often debated menopause. You have far more hormones than just those. Other hormones control all the functions of the body. Insulin opens the cells to receive glucose. You can reset your hormones, particularly sex hormones, by making certain changes in your life.

You can correct a hormonal imbalance with healthy eating.

Whether it’s sexual hormones or other types of hormones, a healthy diet is a must. Cutting sugar out of your diet can help improve the balance of sex hormones, rebalance ghrelin and leptin—the hunger-satiety hormones, improve the balance between insulin and glucagon and help balance thyroid hormones. Consuming more protein helps boost peptide hormones that control appetite. According to Sara Gottfried, the author of The Hormone Reset Diet, drinking a green protein shake to replace one meal a day can help rebalance sex hormones and make menopause easier.

Get adequate exercise.

Exercise can help reverse insulin resistance, which causes the body to make too much insulin. It also can reduce menopausal symptoms and rebalance sex hormones. It improves blood flow to the muscles and delivery of hormones. Exercise can also help you to lose weight, which aids in balancing all types of hormones. Exercise also boosts hormones that maintain muscle mass, such as DHEA, IGF-1, and testosterone.

Stress hormones can affect all parts of the body and the balance of other hormones.

Learn techniques to help you deal with stress and reduce the production of stress hormones. Stress hormones, such as cortisol, can cause abdominal fat, which is responsible for other hormonal imbalances. High intensity interval training—HIIT—can help burn off stress hormones. All types of exercise, especially HIIT, can deal with estrogen dominance with symptoms that include hot flashes, weight gain, and insomnia. Exercise also increases the production of melatonin, necessary for the sleep-wake cycle, and boosts HGH—the fountain of youth hormone.

  • The gut has specific bacteria that are necessary for the body to overproduce estrogen. Drinking three cups of green tea and improving the gut microbiome with fiber can also help regulate hormones.
  • Get a good night’s sleep to help regulate the hunger-satiety hormones. When you lack sleep, your body produces more ghrelin and less leptin, which makes you feel hungrier.
  • Beware of consuming too much caffeine, since it can increase cortisol. Eliminate caffeinated soft drinks, because of caffeine and sugar. Reduce the amount of coffee you drink and drink it black.
  • Eat prebiotic and probiotic foods to improve gut bacteria. Prebiotic foods include soluble fiber that feeds beneficial bacteria, such as apples, asparagus, or onions. Probiotic foods include kefir and yogurt.

For more information, contact us today at ProWeightLoss

4 Ways to Stop Emotional Eating


Emotional eating can greatly affect our weight-loss efforts. While food can give us a sense of comfort, we can also use food to relieve stress or to simply feel better. This type of eating is a way of filling our emotional needs and not our stomachs. Unfortunately, emotional eating usually makes us feel worse afterwards and leads to overeating accompanied with guilt. Emotional eating can be controlled as long as we can identify our triggers which are key to staying in control.



Start a Food Diary

Keep a food diary and log everything you eat every day. Be sure to include when you ate and how you felt while eating. Over time you may be able to find patterns between your mood and the food you ate. Identifying emotional triggers will help you stay in control and help you differentiate cravings from real hunger.

Find Other Ways to Relieve Stress

Finding other ways to relieve stress will stop us from opening the fridge or scrounging the pantry. Activities such as yoga, reading a book or writing are all great ways to relieve stress. Even simple deep breathing is a form of meditation that can be done anywhere to help us regulate our emotions.

Keep the Temptations Away

If there is no junk food at home, then we can’t eat any! Toss out or give away foods that are high in fat, sugars or calories. Replace unhealthy foods with real foods. Whenever you are feeling a little down, grabbing an apple instead of a bag of chips will not only support weight-loss, but you won’t feel guilty about it afterwards!

Seek Support

During moments of sadness or anxiety make sure to resist isolation. Having a family member come visit or even making a quick phone call can relieve negative emotions. The key to overcoming emotional eating is to find other ways to cope with our emotions other than eating.

The Real Problem With Consuming Grains

Including whole grains in the diet is important. Grains can help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and chronic inflammation. However, consuming grains can also create other problems, like celiac disease. Should you eat grains or cut them from your diet? It’s not a simple answer. First, you must determine how the grain is processed and how it’s prepared for processing. Is it soaked, fermented, or sprouted? Is it whole grain or highly processed and bleached grain?

Grains are seeds, which have an enzyme inhibitor.

For a species of plant to survive, it must be able to reproduce. One method of spreading the plant and preventing overcrowding is via animals. Animals eat the seeds on the plant and eventually the seed is eliminated in their waste in another area. The plant will never sprout until conditions are right and they’re definitely not right in the digestive system of the animal. Even after the seed is eliminated, if it’s too hot, dry, wet, or cold, the plant still won’t sprout. An enzyme inhibitor in the seed prevents both. While the enzyme inhibitor protects the seed, it plays havoc on digestive system in people, since they require enzymes to digest food.

Grains contain phytic acid.

Phytic acid is considered an anti-nutrient and the main way phosphorus is stored in plants. It blocks the breakdown and absorption of magnesium, phosphorous, calcium, zinc, and iron. It does that by attaching to the minerals and creating phytates, making the nutrients unavailable to the body. In earlier times, grains were soaked, fermented, or sprouted for use. That helped eliminate the enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid.

Grains contain lectins.

Complex carbs are harder to digest than simple carbs, which absorb quickly. Lectins are a natural pesticide that protects the plant from insects and pests. It can cause digestive issues, making existing problems far worse. Grains also contain complex proteins that are difficult to digest. Gluten, a complex protein in some grains, has become more prominent since high gluten grain hybridized 50 years ago is now mostly what farmers grow.

  • Milling processes strip most of grains benefits. It removes the bran and germ, which contains fiber and nutrients, leaving only the starchy, high calorie endosperm devoid of nutritional benefits.
  • Processed flour not only lacks nutrients, but it also contains chemicals. It’s bleached and often mixed with sugar and chemicals to increase its shelf-life. If you’re selecting flour or grain products, read the ingredient list.
  • Fermenting, sprouting, or soaking grain makes it easier to digest by removing enzyme inhibitors, phytic acid, and lectins. If you soak grain, use an acidic medium by adding lemon juice, ACV, or yogurt to the liquid.
  • You don’t have to give up all types of grains. Choose ones using the best processing methods or select a type of grain that reduces digestive issues. Ancient pseudo-grains and brown rice could be good choices. Always select whole grains instead of highly processed grains.

For more information, contact us today at ProWeightLoss

The 10 Best Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss

A snack is generally defined as any food eaten between meals.  A snack portion should be enough to satisfy but not to so much that it interferes with your appetite for a main meal.  Snacks can absolutely fit into your diet if you are trying to manage your weight.  Having a plan on the type of snacks you pack for work and on the go will help diversify your food selection, vary the nutrients you get and keep you from getting hungry between meals.  Remember, think nutrient-dense (fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals) and your snacks will help you get the nutrition your body needs and keep you full.

Here are 10 healthy delicious snacks to try:

  1. ¼ cup hummus and veggie sticks (carrots, celery, cucumbers, or peppers).
  2. 6-ounce container plain low-fat Greek yogurt with berries (strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries).
  3. 21 almonds, 12 walnuts halves, or 45 pistachio nuts.
  4. 1 small banana with 2 teaspoons peanut, sunflower, or almond butter.
  5. One ounce of dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao)
  6. 1 slice 100% whole grain toast (e.g., Melba or Ezequiel) with 1.5 Tbsp. peanut butter.
  7. 1 piece reduced-fat string cheese with 1 sliced apple.
  8. Low-fat cottage cheese with blueberries and a sprinkle of granola
  9. 1 hard-cooked egg and 1 slice 100% whole grain toast.
  10. 4 cups organic popcorn sprinkle with 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan or Nutritional Yeast

Be mindful while you eat. Make eating a relaxing break, away from your computer and work. Enjoy it!