What to look for or most common beneficial strains

Lactobacillus acidophilus. This probiotic strain is important for maintaining the integrity of your intestinal walls so you can enjoy maximum absorption of nutrients, and it supports a healthy immune system.

Lactobacillus fermentum. These beneficial bacteria help neutralize some of the toxic products made during digestion and promote a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Known as the premier “travel probiotic,” this strain of beneficial bacteria has been found to be extremely effective in reducing occurrences of traveler’s diarrhea.

Bifidobacteria bifidum. Both your small and large intestine need this probiotic strain for smooth, healthy digestion. It’s especially helpful for proper digestion of dairy products.

Bifidobacteria longum. This beneficial bacteria strain helps to crowd out bad bacteria that cause discomfort and helps to neutralize everyday toxins in the gut. It also helps efficiently break down carbohydrates without producing excess gas.


Great Gluten-Free Grains by Sarah Kruse


Food for Thought:

If you must avoid gluten because of Celiac disease or if you’re interested in adding different whole grains to your diet, experiment with these gluten-free options. In their nutritional profiles, these ancient grains surpass the staples of wheat, corn, oats and rice in the American diet.

Amaranth comes from Central and South America and while technically a seed is used like a grain. Light tan in color, this tiny seed has a nutty flavor and unique texture. High in protein, with 25% more fiber than whole wheat, amaranth contains high amounts of iron, magnesium, zinc and folate.

Cooked amaranth can be used as a hot cereal or added to pilafs and soups. The flour can also be added to baked goods for a nutrition boost. The seeds can be popped like popcorn in a dry skillet and coated with honey for a sweet treat.

Buckwheat is a relative of rhubarb and not related to wheat at all. Actually a fruit seed, buckwheat is a good source of protein, containing all eight essential amino acids, as well as magnesium, fiber, calcium and iron. Buckwheat also contains the entire range of B-complex vitamins. When toasted, this triangular-shaped grain is called kasha.

The cooked grains (often called groats) make a hearty breakfast cereal. In Slavic countries, buckwheat is used in soups and savory dishes. The flour can be used to make buckwheat pancakes or crepes. Look for Japanese soba noodles, which are made from 100% buckwheat flour.

Millet contains more protein than wheat, corn and rice. Yellow in color, the small grains are also a good source of fiber, iron and B vitamins. Widely used in Africa, China and India, millet is a versatile grain with a mild flavor.

When cooked, the grain can be used as a pilaf or rice substitute. Increasing the water and cooking the grain longer create a creamy breakfast porridge. Millet flour lends a light flavor to baked goods.

Quinoa, like amaranth, is native to South America and technically a seed; it is related to the beet, chard and spinach plants. Considered a “super grain,” quinoa contains all eight essential amino acids and has a protein profile similar to milk. Quinoa also has more calcium, iron and magnesium than whole wheat. The small round grain is available in white, red and black varieties.

Quinoa cooks faster and has a lighter texture than most grains. Use in pilafs, soups or warm or cold salads, or as a gluten-free substitute for bulgur wheat and couscous. Quinoa pasta, often mixed with corn or rice flour, is also readily available.

Teff is the world’s smallest grain and is native to Africa. Ethiopians use teff to make injera, a flat spongy bread. Key nutrients include protein, fiber, calcium, iron and vitamin B1, zinc and copper.

Because of its size, teff works well as a breakfast cereal or mixed with other grains for side dishes. The mild nutty and slightly sweet flavor makes it a good choice for a variety of baked goods.

Sage Hummus

Shout out to Dinner of Herbs for this amazing Recipe for Sage Hummus! Yum

Dinner of Herbs

Sage Hummus

I intended to make rosemary-flavoured hummus.

Now, I love rosemary.  It has a perfect warm, comforting flavour that makes even soup worth eating.  Evidently I love rosemary a little too much, because I am out.  I actually finished the whole bottle.  This is a first for me!  I think I have now earned the right to the title of this blog: Dinner of Herbs.  (Or should I make it “Dinner of Herb”, since I focus so much on a single herb?)

So what’s the next best thing?  Sage.

If you cannot tell from several of my recent recipes, I am loving my new little food processor.  How ever did I live so long without one?

This is a pretty typical hummus recipe that goes great as a dip with raw vegetables, crackers, or spread on bread.  I’ve also seen some recipes for vegetable pizza that use hummus instead of tomato…

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Happy Leg Day!

15 min dynamic warmup

Pre lift isolated muscle activation
3 sets of 15 x 20 reps

Abductor machine
Adductor machine
Glute machine
Quad extensions
Lying leg curls
Calf raises
Box jumps

Strength workout
4 sets x 8 reps
Barbell front squats
Barbell Bulgarian split squats from clean position
Heavy Leg Press
TRX single leg Pistol Squats

3 x 12 reps
Weighted Hanging leg raises
Decline abdominal transverse sit up
Cable crunch

Cardio Finish
1:1 high / low intervals on bike 20 min

Food log:
1/2 sweet potato
1 cup diced grilled veggies
8 oz chicken
1 multi vitamin, 1 fish oil, 1 probiotic

4 oz chicken
1/4 cup almonds
Animal Flex (joint support supplement)

12 pm
1/2 sweet potato
1 cup diced veggies
8 oz chicken

2-4pm Workout
BCAA Drink

4pm Post workout
2 scoops whey
1 pixy stick

1/2 sweet potato
1 cup diced veggies
8 oz chicken

2 cup veggies
8 oz protein

10pm BCAA drank!

Homemade Protein Bars


2 scoops Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
3 tbsp Peanut Butter, Smooth
2 cups Oats
5 Egg Whites
3 Bananas, Medium
1 ounce Honey
4 ounces Skim Milk or Almond milk
1.5 tsp Cinnamon

Cooking Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the oats in a blender or food processor and pulse until they reach a flour-like texture. Now place the oats in a mixing bowl and add in the cinnamon and chocolate whey protein powder. Next add in the peanut butter and mix thoroughly.

Mash your bananas and add them to this mixture, along with the honey and egg whites. Mix well. Finally, add the skim milk and mix again.

Pour batter into a 9×9 or 9×13 greased baking pan. You may also use a pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the pan. Allow the bars to cool and then cut into 6 bars.


chocolate peanut butter protein bars

Lose 10 Pounds In 10 Minutes!


If that sounds too good to be true, how about: Lose 18 Pounds in Four Days! Is this still too hard to believe? Then, you might want to Lose Five Full Inches of Ugly Belly Fat in Just 30 Days! Better yet, simply swallow a Weight Loss Pill Clinically Proven to Melt Belly Fat!

These and many other claims scream at you from all corners. Magazine covers, infomercials, Google searches, and billboards all pitch quick and easy results if you take this pill or follow that diet or buy this new book. The ads are always filled with fit-looking models chosen to sell a product they have, almost certainly, never used or a diet book they have never read. In fact, can you keep a dirty, little secret? They have all added time in the gym and watched their diet extra closely in the weeks prior to the commercial shoot.

That’s their secret.

The secret to permanent weight loss isn’t a secret if you consistently exercise and follow a diet loaded with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains and nuts and seeds. So why do you have less than a 50/50 shot, according to studies, of maintaining your exercise program beyond six months? Frustration over a perceived lack of results is the number one reason. The hard truth is many of the benefits of exercise are not as easy to spot as Buns of Steel.

Increased energy: The right combination of exercise and nutrition creates a hormonal environment conducive to fat loss, increased muscle strength and increased energy. When your body is working at peak efficiency, your energy levels soar. As a result, everyday things become easier to do.

Increased Self-Esteem: Choosing to begin and continue a fitness program – even when you don’t feel like it – is an amazing way to increase self-esteem. You look better and are more confident, which empowers you in everything you do. You’ll find the self-discipline required and learned through regular exercise spills over into other areas of your life.

Increased Mental Focus: Did you know that the latest research shows that exercise helps keep the brain sharp well into old age? Anything which involves mental acuity (focus and concentration) is improved. You also stand a much better chance of avoiding such diseases as Alzheimer’s and senility.

Decreased Risk of a Heart Attack: By exercising regularly and making positive changes in your diet, you lower your cholesterol and blood pressure and greatly diminish the chances of having a heart attack. One reason is because the action of your muscles pumping blood back to your heart actually stretches the heart, thereby increasing its efficiency even when you are not working out.

Decreased Risk of Osteoporosis: Regular exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, and can even reverse it by building bone tissue. In short, the stress lifting weights puts on your bones causes them to adapt and get stronger, just like your muscles.

Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer: Estradiol and progesterone, two ovarian hormones linked to breast cancer tumor production, are lowered in the body by exercise. A woman’s body is most susceptible to these hormones during the time between ovulation and menstruation. Habitual exercise can actually delay ovulation until later in the menstrual cycle. This reduces the time she must fight these hormones. Fat has long been known to be a catalyst in the production of estrogen (estradiol). Regular exercise burns body fat and decreases the rate of estrogen production.

Increased Strength and Stamina: Your body interprets exercise as stress and adapts to handle that stress with less effort. These adaptations benefit your heart, lungs and central nervous system, while also affecting your muscles. The degree to which adaptations occur is dependent on the type of exercise and the intensity of your workout.

Reduced Depression: The production of Endorphins (feel good hormones) is increased through exercise. Nothing improves mood and suppresses depression better than those endorphins.Decreased Stress Levels: The worries and stresses of everyday living (commuting, work demands, the candy bowl on your secretary’s desk) can stick with you long after the work day is done. Exercise is the perfect natural therapy that can change your mood. You’ll sleep better too.

These are the obvious results we must praise, and find strength in. If we compel ourselves to defeat our demons, change our bad habits, live that lifestyle that we only dream of, and laugh at the face of failure, maybe just maybe, we might get lucky and make a dream come true.



If you flash back to the beginning of 2009, you would have met a very unhappy and unhealthy 325 lb person. Here is the cliff notes version of my lifestyle: My activity was defined by being at work in front of the computer or at home watching my TiVo on my HDTV. Meals were provided by any fast food restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was a weight gaining machine and nothing could stop me.

I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to stop eating and drastically change my lifestyle. If my experience counts for anything, I can tell you that it’s not that easy. And if you were to ask me about when reality smacked me in the face, I’d tell you that I was a masochist because it happened on a daily basis. Of course, there are moments that vividly stand out. Like the time the drive-thru associate knew my name and what I wanted to order, after only hearing my voice… that smack left a bruise. Or the day I caught myself making a decision about where I was going out to eat with a group of friends, by recalling if I could fit in the restaurant’s booth. Nope! Not one of those defining moments did it for me, but all of them as a whole, helped me to take the first step.
For me it was about taking it one step at a time, one foot in front of the other and one small accomplishment after the next. I found victory in not drinking a soda for a whole day, or driving past my regular fast food joint without stopping to order something. Soon, my small steps led me to Michael Collado.

I remember our first conversation. He asked probing questions about my current activity level and my eating habits. It was more than just going through the motions of measurements and data elements. I truly felt like Michael cared and wanted to see me succeed. In fact, it was clear that he believed my success was in direct line with his success; it was no longer a journey on my own, we were in it together. I took my first sigh of relieve.

Who knew that breathing was so important when it comes to exercising? I felt like I heard “Stanley, don’t forget to breath”, “breath in, breath out”, “Stanley, stop holding your breath” from Michael. I also recall gasping for breath at 4:30 in the morning after crying in my car in route to the gym. I had many conversations with myself in the car that went something like this: “You’re already up, don’t turn around. If you call out sick now, he will hear that you’re driving and know you lied.” I learned quickly that I couldn’t even escape my round 2 solo workouts in the afternoon. I can recall holding my breath when Michael called me at 7pm while I was on my way home from work after deciding to skip my 2nd workout. He left a voicemail. Of course I called my voicemail box right away and held my breath while I listened to his message that went something like this: “Stanley, it’s 7pm and you haven’t made it back to the gym. Where are you? You better get back here right now!” Needless to say, I found a way to make a u-turn on 64 West and made it back to the gym. Thankfully, I can look back at those hard times and laugh at myself.

It got easier! I should clarify; the workouts did not get easier! I repeat, did not get easier! Michael made sure I was always challenged. What did get easier was my ability to motivate myself to wake up early or hit the gym for for round 2. It got easier for Michael to know when I was slacking. It also got easier for him to motivate me to work harder because he learned how to push me; He took the time to learn who I am and how I function. But most importantly, it got easier for me to read my own body, to know when to challenge or when to ease off. I discovered more about myself.

I am not an unhappy and unhealthy 325lb person anymore. Training with Michael, I lost a total of 113.5 lbs in 6 months, for a grand total of 123 since the beginning of 2009. Today I am 22 pounds from my goal weight of 180 lbs. I’m also a cycle instructor now, giving back to those who helped me along the way and to those who need 60 mins of motivation. Training with Michael enabled me. I have gained the knowledge I need to eat healthier, the form I need to become stronger, the experience I need to put together an awesome workout, the determination I need to achieve new milestones and the friends I need by my side to challenge me and for me to challenge back.

A long journey is always easier with friends. I was excited to find a friend in Michael Collado. In search of a personal trainer, I found someone who was completely invested in my health and well-being. Someone who took the time to make a workout plan according to me and not just a cookie cutter format. Michael was never afraid to share his knowledge with me, because that knowledge empowered me to become healthier and stronger. Working with Michael was a completely different personal trainer experience. An experience I think others could hardly replicate.

If you’re reading this, I hope that my story serves as motivation for you to take one more step in your journey towards a healthier you. If you feel you’re standing in my old shoes, understand that you’re not alone. I am still fighting to become healthier and Michael continues to share his talents with people just like us. Consider not waiting for your next defining moment to make a change. Instead, find happiness in taking it one step a time. Do not dwell on slip ups, or be discouraged by plateaus. Acknowledge them, learn from them and then take another step forward. Set small goals that in turn will help you reach your long-term goals. Then, there will be so much more to celebrate! And a healthy lifestyle is definitely worth celebrating.image