Sep 4, 2016

Back to Healthy and Fit Grocery Shopping

Last weekend (Saturday, August 27), some of the La Quinta World Gym RockFit folks met me at
The Awesome RockFit Gang at Trader Joe's in La Quinta
Trader Joe's in La Quinta, California to grasp a better understanding on how to grocery shop for health and fitness.

While we had an awesome time, there were many great questions, comments and concerns that arose –– even a few that I was unable to address.

So, in an effort to ensure that my "fitness class" always gets the best, I've decided to research, clarify, and/or expand upon some of them (TEN areas*) at the end of this blog post.

This is not only to show my gratitude for those that made this fitness class so much fun, but I'd like to share this valuable information with my fitness clients (past, present and future) here in the desert, as well as anyone interested in losing body fat and gaining health. 

In the meantime, below is the "Healthy and Fit Grocery-Shopping Guide" that I had prepared for World Gym, which will reflect some minor adjustments.

What should I eat?

One of the most common questions I get asked as a fitness expert is this: “What should I eat?”

While it is a great question, the answer is that cleaning up your calories are more important than decreasing them. It is the first and most important step you must take if you truly want to lose body fat and gain health.

So what does it mean to “clean up your calories?” Well, it basically means consuming “GOOD FOODS” that will are ensure your success, while eliminating those that are detrimental to health and fitness.

Even as the chart below will provide a good base, this "Healthy and Fit Grocery-Shopping Guide” will provide more details on how to choose quality foods.
  • Clean and pure foods — natural, fresh, organic, and "animal friendly"
  • Lean, healthy, fibrous, and alive foods
  • Natural foods created for human consumption
  • Carefully chosen man-made or man-manipulated foods
  • Beware of packaged and processed foods items

To be a little more specific, below (after the water break) you'll find a condensed version of what to eat (“GOOD FOODS"); however, everyone has different tastes. So the more you increase your health, fitness and nutritional knowledge, the more variety you’ll enjoy in your diet. Moreover, make sure you enlist your children into this adventure. The sooner our youth learn healthy and fit habits, the better!

If you are a vegan or vegetarian, just use the tips that apply to you. Also know your food allergies. The most common are dairy products, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, strawberries, gluten, wheat, and soy.

As far as liquid consumption, it is critical to stay hydrated. So, DRINK WATER ALL DAY EVERY DAY! And, be cautious with the other beverages that you consume.


Another key question circulating ideal health and fitness this: How much water should I drink each day?

First, while most are aware that water is vital to life (it is an important as oxygen) it is also critical for health and fitness. In fact, the "human body is made up largely of water" (50 to 70% of body weight) and "water serves a number of essential functions to keep us all going."

Keep in mind, "Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water," notes the Mayo Clinic.
How much water, then?  
The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day.
Other fitness gurus and experts such as Jillian Michaels recommend this:
There is no real one-size-fits-all approach to water consumption. As a general rule of thumb, men should consume 128 ounces of water daily, and women should consume 88 ounces, but this doesn't mean you need to drink this amount of water every day. Other beverages, as well as the moisture content of foods, also count toward your water intake.

Here at you'll find a way simple way to "Calculate Your Recommended Water Intake!"

Keep in mind that environment and intense exercise will alter your water requirements. Also, you may need to consume more water if you take medications, consume alcohol, or are on an "extra-low carb" diet plan.


GOOD FOODS Bullet Point Presentation: 
  • Fresh-water fish (with fins and scales)
  • Organic free-range and grass-fed animal meats (beef, poultry, turkey)
  • Eggs from organic, free-range, vegetarian-fed hens
  • Organic low- to no-fat dairy products that are also low in sugar
  • Plant protein sources such as fresh or even canned legumes as well as raw and unsalted nuts and seeds *The controversy surrounding eating raw almonds
  • Plant protein products that are lean and pure
  • Organic whole grains
  • Grain products that are sprouted, stone ground (baked, never fried)
  • Organic (if possible) fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Fresh and untainted herbs and spices
  • Extra-virgin olive oil and other unrefined vegetable oils
  • All-natural, low-fat and healthy spreads, sauces, sweeteners, salad dressings, and dips
  • All-natural, low-fat and smart diet cheats (gluten-free is a good idea)

21 Tips to Healthy & Fit Grocery Shopping

My new best friends!
#1. Try your BEST to choose your meats, eggs and dairy products from "animal friendly" sources (organic, free range, cage-free and grass-fed animals), while your fruits and vegetables should be natural, fresh and organic. This may mean that you spend a little more money and make more trips to the grocery store, but it most likely will lead to fewer visits to the doctor’s office.

#2. If possible, try shopping at a natural, healthy food store or a health-conscious grocery store. This helps you pick healthy and fit foods. Great places to shop are Trader Joe's, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Whole Foods Market; however, some of your basic supermarkets will work as well.

#3. Support your local organic farmer, of which, these days you can find their fresh produce at some major supermarkets.

*A great point was made that it IS best to get fruits and vegetables that are in season

#4. Do not go to the grocery store when you are hungry. This might cause you to break down and buy everything –– even bad foods.

#5. In order to make grocery shopping easier and efficient, bring your lists, which should include the following:
  • Healthy and fit meal plans for the whole family
  • Healthy and fit recipes that even the kids can enjoy 

#6. Know that it is the outside aisles that store all the fresh produce as well as meats, dairy and other foods that require refrigeration. This is where most of your “GOOD FOODS” are located.

#7. Liquid consumption can make or break your diet when you are trying to shed those unwanted fat pounds. Obviously, whether diet or regular, sodas are a huge issue for your health. While there is nothing wrong with coffee or tea (in fact they have value), most man-made beverages today contain tons of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and other “poisonous” ingredients. So, be very selective when choosing what you drink. This includes flavored water, tea, juice (both veggie and fruit) as well as protein, energy, sports and health drinks.  

*There were some questions surrounding the consumption of alcohol and its impact on fat-loss
*One person wanted a little more advice on making her own protein shake/smoothie

#8. Energy and food bars are another “trick” of the health and fitness trade. Considering that most (not all) are glorified candy bars, use caution when buying them.

#9. Fresh wild salmon, halibut, or snapper are great sources of protein. Poultry choices should be lean (skinless chicken breasts and lean ground turkey). Due to its high fat content, even lean beef should be limited to once or twice per month. NOTE: "From an 8-ounce serving of cooked filet mignon, you'll get 25 grams of fat, or 225 calories from fat. From this amount, you'll get 9.8 grams of saturated fat, 10 grams of monounsaturated fat and 0.9 grams of polyunsaturated fat."

#10. Skip the deli section unless you know what is in the pre-made dishes. Exceptions are rotisserie chickens, fresh turkey breast, high-quality deli meats, and some salads. While there are some safe hot dogs, ask yourself this question: "Do You Really Want to Eat Hot Dogs After Knowing This?"

#11. Be careful with dairy products that are high in fat such as butter and cheese. Skip those that are manipulated and made with too many ingredients. Plain butter is better than man-made butter spreads such as Margarine, which is an artificial product. Choose other dairy products that are low in fat and have little or no sugar; such as milk, yogurt and cream cheese.  And if you are lactose intolerant, prefer a vegan diet, there's soy, almond and rice milk as well as soy yogurts that you can get.

#12. As far as plant protein: You can include a variety of legumes, nuts, seeds, and some almond or nut butter as well as a few healthy plant protein products such as hummus. Even though its a "good fat," moderation is key with some of these "GOOD FOODS."

#13. When selecting your carbohydrates, fruits and veggies are the best (even bananas and potatoes); however, a variety of whole grains, such as quinoa, rice, buckwheat, and oats are great as well. Just be careful with grain products. Most are processed and full of fat, sugar and tons of ingredients that are bad for health and fitness. Yet, there are many choices such as mochi, rice cakes, sprouted corn tortillas as well as some breads, pasta, and cereals that are safe.

*The "eliminating all white food" diets were discussed
*Ezekiel Bread: Good or bad?  
*What about pasta?
*Speaking of fiber.... And, a great find: high-fiber pasta

#14. Be careful when selecting salad dressing, sauces and condiments –– they are added calories from fat and sugar that will make you fat. If you buy salad dressing, make sure it’s low- fat, low-sodium, and sugar-free. Olive oil and Balsamic vinegar is even better. Lemon is great too. Also, salsa and marinara sauces are OK as well as mustard and horseradish, to name a few. BE SELECTIVE!

#15. When cooking healthy and fit meals, a little olive oil, soy sauce and some BBQ sauces are OK. However, it is in choosing a variety of untainted herbs and spices as well as fresh veggies and fruit that will add flavor and significantly increase the health value of your meals (and baking for that matter). For example, anise, basil, bell peppers, broccoli, cayenne pepper, chili peppers, chives, cilantro, cinnamon, cumin, eggplant, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, nutmeg, oregano, onions, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, shallots, spinach, turmeric, thyme. But make sure you SKIP the table salt, because most natural foods (meat, fish, poultry, dairy foods, eggs, as well as nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and vegetables) contain the essential mineral, sodium.  NOTE: "Healthy and Fit Cooking Segment" in the works!

#16. Be sure that you are very selective when buying canned or frozen food items. Some exceptions are frozen fish and meats, as well as vegetables and fruits, providing there is nothing else in them. Also canned foods such as tuna in water, chickpeas, kidney beans and some soups are good choices. 

#17. Know that the majority of those so-called healthy frozen entrees (Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, Weight Watchers Smart Ones, etc) are NOT fit to consume –– as they are jammed-packed with sodium and other unhealthy ingredients. In fact, BE very leery of ALL man-made products that claim to be healthy and fit.

#18. Always read labels when you are buying ANY packaged, processed food or man-made food items. And make sure that check the expiration dates on packaged foods. IMPORTANT NOTE: “How to Read Food Labels” guide below.

#19. Resist the junk food (donuts, cakes, candy and potato chips). But allow for “planned diet cheat”
Finding Fun Foods!
such as healthy pudding, light sorbet, or even "fit" frozen yogurt and ice cream. Consider Angel Food cake with fresh strawberries, or maybe baked chips and other crunchy snacks so that you won’t cheat on something you shouldn’t. While you should only consume these on occasion (more so during your fat-loss maintenance phase), your kids will enjoy these healthier choices.

#20. While table sugar is taboo, there are other healthy products that can sooth that sweet tooth, such as honey or Agave nectar, fruit spread, and sugar-free applesauce. There’s also dried fruit that, while you're more likely to consume more calories than when you eat fresh fruit, it's still a good choice –– as long as there are no other added ingredients.

*I stand corrected on recommending Agave Nectar

#21. If you shouldn’t eat it or can't pronounce it, DON’T buy it!

Read Food Labels: Your health, wellness & fitness levels depend on it!

When it comes to grocery shopping, wholesome foods in their natural state are the best choices. But in today's society we are bombarded with man-made and man-manipulated foods as well as processed food products –– with MOST of them being unhealthy, unfit and even harmful.

Keep in mind that many of our foods (even wholesome foods) come in a package and we should take every measure to educate ourselves in what we are about to buy (eat and drink).


Below are some facts to consider about packaged foods that will shed some light on this topic. Later, I've provided some great tools to use when you are about to buy or consume packaged, processed and man-made food products.


First, take a peak at the entire food label, however, don’t believe everything you read –– as the food industry is in the money business, marketing their products with misconceptions and hype (at least what they can get away with). Things to be aware of are Nutrient Content Descriptors, health claims, 100% natural, organic assertions, food allergy alerts and so on.

Graphic from the FDA

While most consumers are familiar with the “NUTRITION FACTS” found on the back of packaged food items, which includes both mandatory and voluntary information, in May 2016, it got a make-over (see RIGHT).

Here are some things to consider:
  • “Servings Per Container,” and “Serving Size” just gives you an idea on just that: Servings. Keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to healthy and fit food choices.
  • The “Amount per Serving” that includes “Total Calories” as well as additional nutrients, is key to knowing whether the product has any nutritional value at all (the QUALITY).
  • At the bottom of the label you will find the “Percent Daily Values (DV),” which is based on a 2000-calorie diet, and comes from the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” that apparently was designed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1980 and is updated every five years.
  • Keep in mind that NOT all diets are based on 2000 calories per day as well as the fact that gaining muscle and losing fat may require a different percent daily value with some key nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates and fats.

One Ingredient: Rolled Oats
10 Ingredient Oatmeal
Foods with more than one ingredient must have an ingredient list on the label, yet those with just one ingredient do this as well. The example here is plain “Quaker Oats," which has ONE ingredient: “whole grain rolled oats.” Yet, flavored Quaker Oats is a disaster (see graphics and compare) with TEN ingredients.

What’s key here is that ingredients, which can be found at different places on packaged foods, are listed in descending order by weight. Those in the largest amounts are listed first, and so on. This information is particularly helpful to individuals with food sensitivities, food allergies, and those that prefer a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Taken together, the list of ingredients and the nutrition facts are absolutely invaluable for those that want to lose fat and gain health –– and even for those that are aiming to maintain what they have worked so hard to attain. It allows you (THE CONSUMER) to rate packaged foods and food products in order to make informed decisions on whether it is a quality product that can be place on your “GOOD FOODS” list –– one that has nutritional value with key nutrients as well as fiber, vitamins and minerals. Last but not least, this information makes it easier to limit saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, sodium, and other food additives and preservatives –– especially those that are detrimental to health, wellness and fitness.

What about food additives?

That answer would require an entire book to explain, so let’s just say that when it comes to food additives, the long-term safety of most of them is still unknown. So ask yourself this question: do you really want to leave your future health to chance?"

To really know what you are getting when you buy packaged, processed foods as well as man-made food products, DO YOUR HOMEWORK, because your health, wellness and fitness levels depend on it!

For more detailed information on reading labels, check these out:

Three Quick Quality Food Tests

#1. “GOOD FOODS”: Six-Question Test

For now, below are some quick quality food tests that will help you on your “get fit” journey. First is a quick six-question test that you can perform when deciding what to eat and drink. This is where the quality and purity of calories are determined. When choosing a food and/or a food product, you must be able to answer, “yes” to three or more of the six questions listed below.

Using this “GOOD FOOD” test will ensure that your food choices fit into a program that fosters maximum fat loss and ensures better health.

#1 – is it LEAN?
  • Low in all fats, especially “bad fat” such as saturated fats and trans fats
#2 – is it HEALTHY?
  • Low in sugar
  • Low in sodium
  • Low in saturated fat and watch the cholesterol
  • Free of empty and unnecessary calories
  • Free of trans fats
  • Full of nutritional value
#3 – Where’s the FIBER? (Exceptions are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy)

#4 – is it CLEAN? (What are the ingredients?)
  • Is it processed?
  • Low or no preservatives and additives
  • Free of flavoring agents, coloring agents, etc.
  • Free of chemicals and other fake foods
  • Free of hidden fats, sugars, sodium, and white flour
  • If packaged, does it have less than 6 ingredients?
#5 – Is it PURE?
  • Natural vs. processed
  • Fresh vs. man-manipulated
  • Organic vs. non-organic
  • Animal friendly meats vs. NOT
  • Real vs. genetically modified 
  • If it is a packaged food, what are the ingredients listed and the order of those ingredients?
*This extremely tuned-in August 2016 group mentioned Genetically Modified Foods (GMO) many times 

#6 – Is it ALIVE? (With the exception of animal protein, of course as well as other cautions that should be considered)
  • Sprouted grains and legumes
  • Raw nuts and seeds (be selective)
  • Raw fruits and vegetables

#2. Packaged Food Analysis

Choosing packaged foods and man-made food products is NOT always “black and white”. There will always be Best – Moderate – Marginal – Worst. However, there are seven main questions that you can ask when you are purchasing packaged food items, which will at least get you in the ballpark.

#1. Who made it?
#2. How was it made?
#3. How many ingredients are in it?
#4. What is in it (what are the ingredients)?

You should also wonder:
#5. Where was the product made?
#6. What kind of factories and equipment were used?
#7. What are the conditions and practices of the company that made, processed or packaged the product?

#3. “Mini Guide to Deal with the Number of Ingredients Found in Packaged Foods and Man-Made Food Products” that will help you determine how many are appropriate.

Number of Ingredients Signals
  • 1 Ideal
  • 3 Excellent
  • 5 Probably OK
  • 6-9 May need further analysis
  • 10-19 Could be a problem
  • 20-29 Caution
  • 30 + Stay away!
There are a exceptions to this "mine guide," which are mainly when it comes to protein shake mixes, fortified energy, sports and health drinks, as well as energy and food bars that have added vitamins and minerals. There are also some man-made products that have more than 10 ingredients that are pure. Nevertheless, you must still choose those that meet a high quality food and liquid criteria. KNOW WHAT YOU ARE PUTTING INTO YOUR BODY!

Prepared August 23, 2016 / Revised September 3, 2016 


Terrific "good food" questions and comments!
Ten Terrific Questions, Comments and Concerns: August 2016 RockFit Class

#1) The controversy surrounding eating raw almonds:

Yep, nuts and seeds are a "super healthy foods!" Yet, don't include peanuts in that list, because they are in fact legumes. "Peanuts actually grow underground, as opposed to nuts like walnuts, almonds, etc. that grow on trees (and are sometimes referred to as "tree nuts")," documents The Peanut Institute.

Nuts and seeds are great plant protein source that contain "good fats" (unsaturated fats and Omega-3 fatty acids) that have many health benefits. They are jammed-packed full of vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants, plant sterols and the amino acid, L-Arginine.

While that's all good and dandy, keep in mind that nuts and seeds are high in calories and good fat. So, when you are trying to lose weight, be cautious on the amount you consume each day, because those daily fat grams add up. Moderation is key.

Still, many in the nutrition world advise eating "Raw Nuts and Seeds," including almonds. Yet, others claim, "The raw, 'organic,' almonds you find in your health food store are toxic and could cause inflammatory conditions and cancer?"

According to, here's the issue:
A few years ago after a salmonella scare was traced back to raw almonds, the USDA decided that virtually all raw almonds had to be pasteurized. Instead of addressing the environment that caused contamination, they attacked the nut. Pasteurization would eliminate the risk of contamination and by utilizing a special fumigation process – they could still be labeled raw. People have been deceived into thinking this process is safe ever since.

The truth is, pasteurized, raw, “organic” almonds are not safe and they’re not raw. Raw foods are living organisms that contain enzymes, a high nutrient content, and have the ability to sprout. Pasteurized almonds are dead almonds. They have little to no enzyme activity, poor nutrient content, and cannot sprout.
They also note that, "In the United States you can only purchase un-pasteurized almonds from the farmer/grower via a roadside stand or legally online...

Another perspective from March 2012 on "Eating Raw Nuts" can be found at
Pasteurized almonds sold in North America can still be labeled "raw" even though they've been subjected to one of the treatment processes listed above. There are generally no truly "raw" almonds sold in North America, so don't be misled. It is possible to purchase raw almonds in the U.S., but it has to be done very carefully from vendors selling small quantities that have a waiver from the pasteurization requirement. The key is to find a company with the waiver that is NOT pasteurizing them. I personally enjoy raw almonds nearly every day, as it is an outstanding food.

#2) A great point was made that it IS best to get fruits and vegetables that are in season:

Yes, there are many reasons it is better to choose seasonal fruits and vegetables found locally and organic, as opposed to what's randomly placed in the produce section, which was shipped in from all over the world. 

The reasons not only include taste, creativity as well as environmental, economic and community value, but the nutritional value is key. The reality is that seasonal, locally harvested produce have significantly better taste and are a much higher quality food. For further evidence, check this piece out: "Benefits of Eating What’s in Season."

#3) There were some questions surrounding the consumption of alcohol and its impact on fat-loss:

While there are numerous, dangerous effects that consuming excessive amounts of alcohol have on the body and mind, there are many ways that alcohol hinders fat loss.
Consider this, which is found over at
Unlike macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats, alcohol supplies what nutritionists often refer to as empty calories: calories without nutrition. To make matters worse, it is the first fuel to be used when combined with carbohydrates, fats and proteins, postponing the fat-burning process and contributing to greater fat storage.

They also quote diet guru Robert C Atkins, regarding alcohols affect on fat storage:
"Here's the problem with all alcoholic beverages, and the reason I recommend refraining from alcohol consumption on the diet. Alcohol, whenever taken in, is the first fuel to burn. While that's going on, your body will not burn fat. This does not stop the weight loss, it simply postpones it, since the alcohol does not store as glycogen, and you immediately go back into ketosis/lipolysis after the alcohol is used up.

If you must drink alcohol, wine is an acceptable addition to levels beyond the Induction diet. If wine does not suit your taste, straight liquor such as scotch, rye, vodka, and gin would be appropriate, as long as the mixer is sugarless; this means no juice, tonic water; or non-diet soda. Seltzer and diet soda are appropriate."

While gives some tips on "How to Drink Without Gaining Weight," it is my professional opinion that when it comes to alcohol consumption for those on a body fat-loss mission: LESS IS BEST. 

#4) One person wanted a little more advice on making her own protein shake/smoothie: 

Due to egg allergies, one woman asked me about protein shakes. While she shared her own great recipes, we didn't have time to chat further. So, I decided to share some ideas here –– actually from "48 Delicious Protein Shake Recipes."

The trick is to find a quality protein powder that suits your dietary considerations. Also, many of these protein shakes are made with dairy that you can substitute with almond or rice milk, as well as water or fresh juice.

#5) The "eliminating all white food" diets were discussed:

OK, another trendy diet is "The Eat Nothing White Diet," of which, as noted by SF Gates Healthy Eating, "goes by a number of other names, including the "No White Foods" diet and the "No White at Night" diet.  Either way, "All are based on the same principle -- the key to losing weight is to stop eating a specific list of white foods."

According to SF Gate:
This entails eliminating the following foods from your diet: white rice, white potatoes, white beans, white sugar and any product made with refined sugar and white flour products like white bread or pasta.
No White Foods diet followers are also told to avoid using solid fats that are white without artificial coloring added, such as cheddar cheese or butter. The only exceptions to the no-white rule are cauliflower, egg whites, parsnips, milk, white fish and white poultry meat. A dieter should replace the restricted foods in his meals with brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and bread and a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.

--Graphic from
While much of this is good advice, I've highlighted what I believe is NOT.  However, there is nothing wrong with potatoes or white rice.
And there is a place for some pasta and breads –– even on a fat-loss plan.

Remember, just like "good fat grams" add up, so do "good carbs". Moderation is key...

What the "NO White Diet" and other trendy diets use is the Glycemic Index, which "is a numerical Index that ranks carbohydrates based on their rate of glycemic response (i.e. their conversion to glucose within the human body), in order to scare people away from even natural foods such as potatoes, white rice, bananas and carrots.


While the Glycemic Index is great for those with diabetes and other blood sugar issues, it is also great at analyzing man-made food items. However, it is not the only guide you should use when choosing a diet program that will help you lose fat and gain health. And, why would you want eliminate natural foods like fruits and vegetables of any kind.

And what about that rice they want you to give up at the weight-loss altar? Well, "White rice has a GI rating of about 65, and brown rice has a slightly lower rating of 55," according to the Harvard Medical School. So don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. 

Not to mention, "The Glycemic Index is not a perfect system for evaluating foods since it does not evaluate all of the foods within a meal," appropriately notes SF Gate Healthy Eating.

My professional recommendation would be to eliminate these instead: 
  • The Three BIG WHITES: White bread, white table salt, and white refined sugar
  • The Three Big F's: Fried, Fast and Fake Foods

#6) Ezekiel Bread: Good or evil?  

Since bread and pasta are mane-made food items, choosing good ones is a little trickier. When it comes to bread, my recommendation is to choose whole grain breads such as Ezekiel Bread, because it is a healthier option over other breads. According to Dr. Josh Axe, "It has do with its preparation" –– "specifically that the grains used to make Ezekiel Bread have been sprouted."

Dr. Axe goes on to list the benefits of sprouted grain breads compared to breads that are made with grains that haven’t been sprouted, which is worth a look. Yet, here's a hint: complete protein, better digestibility, more nutrient dense and better absorption of those nutrients, and higher in fiber.

While most bread is dangerous, there are many healthy gluten-free types of bread you can choose from.  The other option I like to throw out there is Sourdough Bread., documents Sourdough Bread "is bread which has been leavened with a sourdough starter. It may or may not be a sour bread, depending on the characteristics of the starter."

The piece, "A Healthy Bread that is Good For You!" takes on the topic of "A True Sourdough Bread":

Sourdough bread is bread that is baked without the use of modernized yeast. It is the traditional way bread was made thousands of years ago. The bread rises

The bread rises slowly allowing the bread to ferment for several days to up to a month. This helps to promote the growth of more probiotic organisms. Last month I took a course on grains from
 The author then links to "10 Reasons to Eat Sourdough Bread!"
--Photo from

However, again, you have to be selective. Try to find what I call "pure" sourdough bread that is made with "traditional sourdough recipes," which include only 3 ingredients: sourdough starter (which consists of flour and water), salt and flour. "There is no yeast, no milk, no oils and no sweeteners.  It’s about as natural as you get when it comes to bread," notes Tiffany at

The good news is you can find a "pure" sourdough bread that has three or four ingredients –– or you can make your own.

#7) What about pasta? 
---Trader Joe’s Organic Black Bean Rotini

As far as pasta goes: You can skip old regular white pasta and choose from made from whole wheat as well as a variety of gluten-free pasta such as those made from corn, brown rice, and quinoa. These are much healthier than any products made with white flour, which according to nutrition experts, "is stripped down to remove the grain’s bran and germ, and with them, fiber, protein, iron and B vitamins." This goes for white pastas that are “enriched” with added fibers and vitamins.

Again: bread and pasta carry their fare share of carbs per serving –– so moderation is key when you are on a fat-loss program.

#8) Speaking of fiber.... And, a great find: high-fiber pasta: 

It was fun to see that our youngest attendee from our "healthy and fit grocery-shopping" class found a great high-fiber pasta (we all cheered!): Trader Joe’s Organic Black Bean Rotini, which carries 14 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber in every serving.

That brings us to an important issue: Due to the excessive amounts of processed foods and man-made food items found in the American diet, most Americans are not consuming enough fiber each day.

Dietary fiber — found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — is not only essential for a health (intestinal health, lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease, and more), it is beneficial for those seeking excellent fitness levels.

In fact, when I discuss diet with my clients, I always ask them, "Show Me the Fiber!" And, I'm always amazed that they are either clueless when it comes to "fibrous foods" and/or they fall short of the daily fiber recommendations, of which according to the Institute of Medicine for adults are as follows:

Age 50 or younger
  • Men 38 grams
  • Women 25 grams
Age 51 or older
  • Men 30 grams
  • Women 21 grams
So, skip the processed foods and bulk up on legumes, whole grains, fruits and veggies as well as some nuts and seeds.

#9) I stand corrected on recommending Agave Nectar:

It turns out that Agave Nectar, which has been promoted as a great alternative sweetener (including by me), is NOT that great after all. According to Dr. Josh Axe and many other nutritionists, "Agave is not healthier than honey, sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), or any other type of sweetener.” You can read why HERE.

Graphic from the Non GMO Project
#10) This extremely tuned-in August 2016 group mentioned Genetically Modified Foods (GMO) many time: 

The following key points are documented at The Non GMO Project:
What is a GMO?
A GMO, or genetically modified organism, is a plant, animal, microorganism or other organism whose genetic makeup has been modified using recombinant DNA methods (also called gene splicing), gene modification or transgenic technology. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. Visit the What is GMO page for more information and a list of high-risk crops.

Are GMOs safe?
Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe and have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. The U.S. and Canadian governments, though, have approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale.

Are GMOs labeled?
Sixty-four countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, require genetically modified foods to be labeled 1. While a 2015 ABC News survey found that 93% of Americans believe genetically modified foods should be labeled, GMOs are not required to be labeled in the U.S. and Canada 2. In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice they deserve.

Which foods might contain GMOs?
Most packaged foods contain ingredients derived from corn, soy, canola, and sugar beet — and the vast majority of those crops grown in North America are genetically modified 3. To see a list of high-risk crops, visit the What is GMO page.
Please take the time to educate yourself in this area...

Now that the kids are back in school, isn't it time that you get back to "Healthy and Fit Grocery Shopping" –– or take your first steps in that direction?

Signing off,

Through E.A.M. (Education, Application & Motivation), we can make a difference in our own health, wellness and fitness as well as those of others. 

By, Christine Lakatos, ACE Certified Fitness Trainer since 1995 –– with over 35 years experience in the heath and fitness industry

Personal Training Services:
  • World Gym La Quinta, CA
  • Private Fitness studio in Palm Desert, CA 
  • "In Home" across the Coachella Valley

For a Free Consultation contact me at World Gym, La Quinta or email me at

Please consult your physician or health care professional prior to starting any exercise program or a particular diet regimen.

While this site offers health, fitness and nutritional information and tips backed by over 36 years experience in the health and fitness industry as well as American Council on Exercise (ACE) accreditation, which requires continuing education every two years, it is designed for educational purposes only. It is not recommended as a substitute for your doctor's advice or that of a "Registered Dietitian or Qualified Nutritionist."  
The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk. 

Lastly, keep in mind that each FITNESS FLASH gives one big part of the fat-loss, improved health equation. There's more to come... 


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