Thursday, October 24, 2013

Increasing Your Metabolism

What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is a biochemical process by which your body breaks down food and converts food into energy.

3 Factors that determine your metabolic rate or energy needs:
1) Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) [60-75% of needs]: energy needed for basic body functions like breathing, growing/repairing, blood circulation.  BMR is based on age, sex, body size, and amount of lean body mass.
2) Food Processing (Thermogenesis) [10% of needs]: Energy needed to breakdown and digest food.
3) Physical Activity [15-30% of needs]: Energy needed to perform your daily activities and exercise (i.e. walking, running, cleaning the house, etc.).

The 3 keys to increasing your metabolic rate are to increase your lean body mass, increase your daily physical activity and consume a diet adequate in calories and protein. And here is how...

4 Steps to Boost your Metabolism
1. Aerobic Exercise
  • Aerobic exercise works to increase your metabolic rate and is the most efficient way to burn calories.
  • Examples: walking, running, playing tennis/basketball, cycling, etc.
  • Your body not only burns calories while exercising but continues to burn calories for a period of time after exercise.
  •  Higher intensity workouts increase basic metabolic rate more than moderate intensity workouts (e.g.  running vs. jogging).
  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 5 days a week.

2. Strength Training
  • Strength training helps build lean body mass and increases your daily basal metabolic rate.
  • The higher your percentage of lean body mass the more calories your body burns a day. This is because lean body mass burns more calories than fat mass.
  • Exercise examples: Weight Lifting, Push-Ups, Sit-Ups, Pilates, etc.
  • Aim for strength training exercises at least 2-3 times per week.
3. Protein
  • Your body burns more calories digesting protein than fat or carbohydrates. Therefore, diets with a higher percentage of protein have a higher percent of calories burned through thermogenesis.
  • Dietary protein also helps build/maintain lean body mass.
  • How much protein do you need a day?  50% ideal body weight (e.g. Ideal weight: 140 pounds= need ~70 grams protein per day
  • Include protein at each meal/snack
    •  3-4 ounces protein per meal
    •  1-2 ounces protein per snack

 4.  Consume an adequate amount of protein and calories throughout the day!
  • Eat at least 1000 calories per day.
    • Going on a crash diet will cause weight loss, but your metabolic rate and lean body mass will also decrease. 
  • Eat Breakfast!
    • Eating first thing in the morning helps kick your metabolism into gear. 
  • Eating smaller more frequent meals.
    • Eating throughout the day helps keep your metabolism running, allowing your body to burn calories more efficiently.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Apples to Apples

Apple picking is one of my favorite things to do in the fall. There is just nothing like an apple just off the tree!  This year, with my husband and some friends, I spent a gorgeous fall afternoon at a local apple orchard picking apples, eating apples and enjoying some delicious apple cider donuts.

The following day was rainy but perfect for spending in the kitchen, cooking up some of our favorite apple dishes. I decided on two of our favorites: apple crisp and applesauce. I made a few changes to the basic recipes for a healthy, fun twist! 


Only 3 ingredients.. apples, apple cider or water, and cinnamon! The apples themselves are sweet enough, no sugar needed!

Boil apples with apple cider/water for 15 minutes until soft!

  Keeping the skins on during cooking adds color, and nutrients to the applesauce! I used a colander to mash the apples and remove the apple skins and cores after cooking.  If you don't have a colander remove the cores and skins before cooking  and then mash the apples with a potato masher or food processor. 
Once the applesauce is made, add cinnamon for added flavor. Homemade applesauce keeps 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator, or can be frozen to enjoy later.

Applesauce Recipe
  • 6 apples
  • 2 cups of cider, or water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
1. Wash apples then cut apples into quarters (you do not need to peel or core apples).
2. Add cut apples and liquid to large pot. Boil apples on medium high for 15 minutes or until soft.
3. Once apples completely cooked let cool.
4. Add apple mixture to colander and mash apples to remove skins and apple cores.
5. Add cinnamon to applesauce and stir to combine.


For the apple mixture, first cut 4 apples into slices. For added color, flavor and fiber, keep the skins on the apples! Then toss the apple slices with lemon juice, or orange juice, and sugar. As for the topping, mix together oats, flour, brown sugar, melted butter and cinnamon.
Cover the apple slices with the oatmeal mixture. Place the apple crisp in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until apples are soft.
Let apple crisp cool slightly, then serve with a scoop of  light vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt!



  • 4 medium apples
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbso lemon juice or orange juice
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix apples with sugar and lemon juice then place apple mixture evenly on bottom of 11x7 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray
3. For the topping in a medium size bowl mix together the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Top apples with evenly with oat mixture.
4. Bake crisp for 45 minutes
5. Top with light vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt