Icelandic Fitness

nutrition

Coconut Oil: The New Superfood

Coconut Oil: The New Super Food?

coconut oil

It’s become one of the most talked about foods on the Internet, with some calling it a “super food.” Coconut oil is said to slow aging, help your heart and thyroid, protect against disease and assist you in losing weight. Still, organizations such as the American Heart Association continue to caution consumers against all tropical oils, including coconut oil. So what’s the real story?

 

For most Americans, coconut oil was something we never heard of. Now, it’s becoming more of a staple cooking oil in many homes. The reason is that its unique combination of fatty acids has been found to have positive effects on health. Plus, coconut oil contains antioxidants, known to protect us from cell damage, aging and disease.

 

This might sound scary – coconut oil is mostly saturated fat. We’ve all been told to avoid saturated fat. However, the saturated fat in coconut oil is not the average run-of-the-mill saturated fat that you would find in cheese or steak. The fat in coconut oil contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length.

 

So, what does that mean? Well, medium-chain fatty acids are metabolized differently. They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they’re used as a quick source of energy.  Which can help you burn fat and lose weight.

 

Of course, it may sound a little strange that weight loss can come from eating something that’s pretty high in calories. One tablespoon of coconut oil contains an average of 117 calories and 13 grams of fat. But, what you weigh is not just a matter of calories; it’s the quality and the source of those calories. It’s a fact that different foods affect our bodies and hormones in different ways. The bottom line- a calorie is not a calorie.

 

And, body fat is not just body fat. Coconut oil appears to be especially effective in reducing abdominal fat, which makes itself at home in the abdominal cavity and crowds around organs. Abdominal fat is thought to be the most dangerous fat of all and is associated with many diseases, like diabetes. Two studies, one with 40 women, another with 20 obese men, found that including an ounce of coconut oil in their diet each day led to a pretty significant reduction in abdominal fat. And the test subjects did not change their eating or exercise habits. They just added in coconut oil.

 

So what about the cautions from the American Heart Association? Well, it’s mostly about moderation; the Association would like you to limit your saturated fat intake to no more than 16 grams a day. And, like any oil, you should use coconut oil in moderation.

 

However, not all coconut oil is created equal. Avoid the refined coconut oil; go for the organic virgin coconut oil. It’s probably sitting right there on your grocery store shelf. There are a variety of brands with a range of prices.

 

And, once you try it, you might want to look into all the other uses for coconut oil. Like, hair conditioner, toothpaste, moisturizer, makeup remover; the list goes on. For some people, coconut oil is a “miracle” they can’t live without.

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

 

Should you be taking Probiotics

Probiotics- Pros and Cons

 

A few of my clients have been asking me lately about probiotics- what are they and what can they really do for you. Well- if you eat yogurt, you’re already taking one kind of probiotic. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system.

 

Most think bacteria is a bad thing, but our bodies are full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are considered good bacteria because they keep your gut healthy by helping food move through your system.

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By the end of next year, the global sales of probiotics are expected to top $42 billion- that’s how popular they’ve become. Probiotics can come in tablet, capsule, powder, lozenge and gum form, and also in foods like yogurt.

 

Doctors often suggest patients take probiotics to help with digestive problems. And because they’ve become so popular, you can even find probiotics in chocolate.

 

How do they work? Well, researchers are still trying to figure that out.

Here are some of the ways they may keep you healthy:

 

  • When you lose “good” bacteria in your body, like after you take antibiotics, probiotics can help replace them.
  • They can lower the amount of “bad” bacteria in your system.
  • They can help balance out the “good” and “bad” bacteria.

Quite a few types of bacteria are classified as probiotics. They have different benefits, but mostly come from two groups. Your doctor can tell you what might be best for you.

Lactobacillus. It’s in yogurt and other fermented goods. It’s probably the most common. Different strains can help with diarrhea and may help people who can’t digest lactose, the sugar in milk.

Bifidobacterium. You can also find it in some dairy products. It seems to help ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

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There is also research that shows probiotics can help with non-stomach related problems, like:

 

  • Eczema and other skin conditions.
  • Urinary and vaginal health.
  • Preventing allergies and colds.
  • Oral health

 

Probiotics are regulated like food, not like medications. The FDA does not require the makers of probiotic supplements to prove their products are safe or that they work. So, that’s why it’s very important to talk to your doctor about the correct product and dose.

 

In general, probiotic foods and supplements are thought to be safe.  But you could have mild side effects like an upset stomach; diarrhea, gas, and bloating for the first couple of days after you start them. It’s possible they could also trigger allergic reactions.

 

The bottom line is that probiotics could be very helpful in making you feel better and stronger. But, before you shell out the cash, ask your doctor whether putting “good” bacteria in your body is what’s best for you.

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

Lose weight, clean out your refrigerator

stateofslim

One of my clients is trying to lose 15 pounds by May for her trip to the Kentucky Derby with the Colorado Diet. She cleaned out her fridge this week and gave me all her temptations. That’s one way to rid yourself of temptation.

What’s the Colorado Diet? It’s an easy to follow program that’s aimed at resetting your metabolism.

The diet is outlined in the book “State of Slim,” written by two doctors at the CU Medical Center. The plan is pretty simple- eat healthy and exercise more. It’s a sixteen-week program that promises to help you lose around 20 pounds.

The book includes recipes, sample menus and an exercise plan that will have you exercising 70 minutes a day by the end of the four months. If you’re just starting out, that might sound like a lot of activity, but the plan slowly ramps up the time you spend working out.

The authors don’t really want to describe the Colorado Diet as a diet, but a lifestyle change. Colorado is the leanest states in the nation. And, it’s not necessarily because we eat better (at least not all the time), but we hike, bike, swim, run, ski- we move. The mountains and our open spaces are great incentives to get outdoors almost any month of the year.

Still- what you put in your mouth matters. That’s why my client cleaned out her fridge. The Colorado Diet advocates what I’ve been telling the clients I work with for years- eat smaller meals more often, eat breakfast within an hour of waking up and have the right carb and protein mix at every meal.

Whenever I work with someone new, I always ask them to keep a food diary for a few days so they (and I) can see exactly what they’re eating. Making a few small adjustments, such as, high-protein Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt, will make a difference.

The bottom line, with diet or exercise, it’s better to start out slowly than to try and make all the changes all at once. That’s a recipe for failure.

You can check out the Colorado Diet here: http://www.stateofslim.com

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

5 Common Garden Herbs

5 Common Garden Herbs

 

Every year I plant a vegetable and herb garden. Getting outside provides great health benefits, and by planting an herb garden I bring those benefits into the kitchen all year long. Five of the most common herbs you can grow yourself are basil, mint, cilantro, dill, and chives. Each herb provides different health benefits.

Garden Herbs

Garden Herbs

 Basil

Basil for instance, has flavonoids that help prevent damage to our cells from radiation and oxygen-based damage. Basil helps prevent more common illnesses too. The volatile oils in provide protection against unwanted growth of bacteria in our bodies, preventing bacterial infections. Basil has also been found to be an anti-inflammatory, so if you have arthritis or IBS try including more basil in your diet – you will feel better! One extra use for basil is as a solution to rinse the rest of your fruits and vegetables with.

 Mint

We all know mint for the wonderful taste it can provide. There is more mint can provide you though. Mint can be mashed with oil and applied to your forehead to relieve a headache. Mint can also serve as a decongestant, so you definitely want to keep some on hand for your next cold. For ladies, mint is a great natural way to deal with menstrual cramps. Finally, mint is anti-bacterial, so if needed you can rub it on wounds.

 Cilantro

Cilantro is one of the best tasting herbs – just try it on a taco! There’s more than just taste to cilantro, though. Studies show it may help prevent cardiovascular damage. Cilantro can also help cure diabetes. Cilantro may improve sleep quality because it is also believed to have anti-anxiety effects. Cilantro can even clean your teeth and gums.

 Dill

Dill is similar to basil. Dill has properties that help prevent body damage from harmful environmental agents, particularly those found in all types of smoke. Dill also has bacteria regulating effects like basil. In addition, dill can aide in preventing osteoporosis.

 Chives

Chives are a great low-calorie flavor addition to your meals like the rest of these herbs. Chives also have a lot of fiber too, which is an important part of a healthy diet. The high sources of vitamins A and K in chives make it a great resource for preventing cancer, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. If you are pregnant, chives are also a great source of folic acid, a key to preventing defects in newborns.

 

My favorite part of including herbs in my diet is that they are a low-calorie taste provider. So there is no guilt about using them. How do you enjoy herbs?

Benefits of Cold Water North Atlantic Fish

Many Americans shy away from eating fish. What Americans don’t realize is how much they’re missing. Fish, especially the North Atlantic fish, such as cod and salmon have amazing health benefits.

7 reasons to eat North Atlantic fish are:

  • Improve your heart health with the omega-3, vitamin B-12, and vitamin B-6 found in these fish.
  • Decrease your chance of a heart attack.
  • Lower your bad cholesterol; increase your good cholesterol.
  •  Selenium band B-12 may also protect against cancer
  • Keep your brain healthy and energized. The healthy fats in salmon and cod could help prevent Alzheimer’s.
  • Eating these fish helps balance your mood.
  • Selenium and omega-3 found in these fish are also anti-inflammatory. They can help treat arthritis and migraines.

 

Below are two great recipes I have found for enjoying cod and salmon. Both recipes are courtesy of Whole Foods. My adaptations are in bold.

Baked Cod with Summer Vegetables

icelandic-cod

Ingredients:

· 4 (6-ounce) cod fillets
· 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
· 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
· 1 large tomato, diced
· 1 green bell pepper, diced
· 1 yellow squash or zucchini, diced
· 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
· 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
· 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
· For additional flavor add 1 zested lemon
· Flat leaf parsely will add flavor
Top of Form
Bottom of Form

Method:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush cod with 1 tablespoon oil, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and place in a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. In a large bowl, combine tomato, bell pepper, squash, olives, garlic, lemon zest, parsley, and black pepper. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss to combine. Spoon mixture over cod and bake until vegetables are tender and fish is just cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve the cod and vegetables with some of the juices in the pan spooned over the top.

Nutritional Info:

Per Serving:310 calories (120 from fat), 13g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 95mg cholesterol,840mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 40g protein

 

 

Ingredients:

· 1 1/2 pound skinless salmon fillets, cut into 1-inch chunks
· 1 zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
· 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch squares
· 1 cup button mushrooms
· 1 lime, Juice of
· 1/2 cup soy sauce (I do not use.)
· 1/4 cup honey
· 1 garlic clove, minced
· Salt and fresh ground pepper
· 4 (16-inch) bamboo skewers, soaked in water 1/2 hour
· Basting Sauce
· 2 limes, Juice of
· 1/4 cup honey (preferably creamed)
Method:

Place salmon chunks and cut vegetables in a large flat dish. In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, soy sauce, honey and garlic until honey is dissolved; pour over salmon and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, lightly toss, cover and refrigerate about 30 minutes. Oil grill and preheat to medium-high. Alternate marinated salmon and vegetables onto soaked skewers.

In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice and honey for basting sauce. Place skewers on hot grill and cook ten minutes, turning once and basting often with honey-lime mixture.
Nutritional Info:

Per Serving:450 calories (170 from fat), 19g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 100mg cholesterol,840mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 30g sugar), 36g protein

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

About Jason Stone

Jason Stone is the founder and owner of Icelandic Fitness in Denver, Colorado. “Growing up in a military family I had the opportunity to travel the world. Of all the places I have lived and traveled Iceland held a special place in my heart. The country is one of the most inspiring places in the world. With the most amazing natural beauty and people you could imagine,” Stone said.

Jason Stone specializes in strength and conditioning, corrective exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle coaching. His individualized and integrative programs have helped individuals and athletes of all ages improve performance, prevent and heal injuries, and improve overall health and wellness.

With a pre-medical degree from the University of Florida and over 13 years of sports performance coaching and injury prevention treatment and exercise,  Jason Stone is committed to being one of the top strength, conditioning, and rehabilitation experts in Colorado. He, and the rest of the Icelandic fitness staff, hold clients accountable to their goals and guide them along the way. Whether its a 50 pounds of weight loss ,or the last 10 pounds before your wedding, you will reach your goal if you follow the Icelandic fitness and nutrition program. Our weekly, monthly, and quarterly assessments help you track your progress and succeed with your goal.

Education

  • BS University of Florida, Microbiology and minor in Chemistry
  • Muscle Activation Techniques
  • RTS Training Specialist
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Kendal Yonomoto Golf Medball training​

It is never too soon to start working out

With childhood obesity rates increasing and physical fitness classes decreasing

 in our schools, many parents are turning to fitness professionals not only for 

themselves, but also for their kids. 

 

The latest statistics from the American Obesity Association shows that 30 

percent of children, ages 6 to 18 are overweight, and another 15 percent are 

obese. 

 

It’s not surprising that parents are seeking new ways to defeat this growing trend.

 

Recently I began training my youngest and maybe my most gifted young client.  

Little Haley is a seven year old with some serious strength and coordination. 

Check out the form.

 

 

This is Haley in 2013, she is now an All-State Soccer star.