IIFYM: Part 2 Are you doing it right?

images4MRCJONZWe have all heard the phrase “IIFYM brah!” and have seen the endless number of Poptart pictures on Instagram. IIFYM has been huge in the diet and workout industry as of lately. Even my first post on IIFYM has seen the most hits out of all the ones here on my blog. I personally shift back and forth from eating things I WANT to eat and eating things I SHOULD eat when it comes to macro tracking. First let’s start with the three macros one tracks when dieting or bulking: Fat, Protein and Carbs. There are a ton of sites and ways to calculate your macros and calories. From IIFYM.com to the plethora of google results you can get just by typing it in, it might be hard to choose the right formula.

Fret no more! Direct your attention to this article written by a good friend of mine: Scott Herman Fitness Now this isn’t a shameless plug or a bit of spam. I’ve known him since we were in high school and his fitness success has exploded on the internet. You can find him on Youtube as well and follow all his free workout videos.

By calculating the correct number of calories and macro percentages based on your goals, you will find that losing weight or gaining weight can be very easy.

One of the biggest takeaways from IIFYM however is what you put into your body. Many of these IGers will swear by IIFYM and because they are lean and “make gainz” IIFYM and eating poptarts and pizza must be right. Here is where I disagree. There are so many chemical in today’s foods that by eating whatever you want as long as it fits your macros, can set your body up for self destruction later on. Why do I say this? Another good friend of mine recently beat cancer by changing his diet and incorporating raw greens juicing and healthy organic foods into his diet. He is a professional bodybuilder and admits to eating fast food at least once a week as his cheat meal before his cancer diagnosis. After cancer, he realized that more should go into what you put into your body. Forget about all the conspiracy theories and people who go for media drama and hype, there are a number of chemicals that are banned in other countries but not here in the US (for those readers who are outside of the US, check online to see if any other chemicals your nation might use are considered harmful).

By raw juicing and eating organic, grass fed beef and chicken, you can rid your body of the harmful chemicals that are snuck into your foods. While it’s great to look lean and cut, what good is that going to do you if you decrease your future quality of life? Be smart about this folks!!

Now I don’t claim to have vast amounts of knowledge in dieting and nutrition. However I’m sure this photo will prove that I have made great progress in trying to understand health and fitness:



While it might be fun to eat poptarts and pizza, please consider the damage you may be causing to your body. Instead, focus on clean foods that will round out your macros while allowing yourself to cheat once and a while so you don’t binge on snack foods. If you have any questions on counting calories or macros, comment below and we will get back to you right away!

As always, following along on Instagram and come on over to our Facebook page Fitness by Claire



Prostate Cancer Awareness


Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States. It is also one of the leading causes of cancer death among men of all races and Hispanic origin populations.

In 2010 (the most recent year numbers are available)—

  • 196,038 men in the United States were diagnosed with prostate cancer.*†
  • 28,560 men in the United States died from prostate cancer.*†

*Incidence counts cover about 97% of the U.S. population; death counts cover about 100% of the U.S. population. Use caution when comparing incidence and death counts.

This is a type of cancer that can go undetected for many, many years. I wanted to take a moment and stray from my normal, albeit lacking, posts of fitness and pinterest to address a more serious issue. Here is the story of my husband’s diagnosis with prostate cancer:

First let me start by letting you know why we went to the urologist to begin with. My husband has a history of passing kidney stones. Not that big of a deal, but they’ve caused him quite a bit of pain in the past. He explained this to his primary care doctor and was given a referral to a urologist here in Miami to follow up. They did his annual exam of his prostate and said it felt firm but nothing to be concerned about. We held on to the referral for a few months until he thought he was passing another stone. Something told him to use the referral and just get checked out.

He came home that day to tell me that they too said it felt firm and decided to run is PSA level. PSA stands for Prostate Specific Antigen and I highly recommend to all you men if you are getting your yearly exam, as for a PSA blood test, takes 2 sec and could save your life.  The doctor told him his PSA was 2.1, which was very high for a guy of 44 years of age. He offered us two options: Option 1, biopsy just to be sure. Option 2 was to repeat the PSA test in 6 months and see if it had changed. We opted for the biopsy. We don’t like to take chances. On February 6th we returned to the doctor for the results of the biopsy test. We were headed to Jacksonville that evening. The biopsy was positive for cancer. 2 of the 14 samples they took came back positive. Since we had a week between the biopsy and the results, we had pretty much prepared for this kind of news. In fact, at this point, the doctor looked more upset than we did.

After we received the news, then began the scheduling of all of his appointments. He was going to need blood work, chest x-ray, urinalysis, all the good stuff to clear him for surgery. The surgery was booked for March 19th and they would use the Davinci Robot for the surgery. For you guys out there, I want to let you know that neither the biopsy nor the cystoscopy are NOT pleasant procedures for you to go through. No matter what anyone says, no many should have to have those things inserted into those areas for any reason. As his wife, I was allowed in the room for both procedures. I’ve learned more than I thought I could about the male urinary tract system, that’s for sure!

His surgery went very well. Took about 90 min from start to finish. Doctor came out and told us he took two lymphnodes to test because they were a bit enlarged. It was my husband’s first surgery ever so I was concerned how he would respond to it all. They had a drain in which was taken out the next day and he went home with the catheter for about a week after. I spent the night with him in the hospital and while it was hard to watch him just laying there in so much pain, I’m glad I was afforded the opportunity to not have to leave his side. We came home the next day and unfortunately that night was not a good one. We called an ambulance because the pain from his bladder spasms was so bad he was shaking. After giving him the Tylenol with codeine he felt a bit better.

We slept on the couch the entire week he had the catheter. Before his surgery we went couch shopping just for the occasion. We bought a couch that reclined on each end and that was instrumental to his recovery that week. The hardest part was getting  him to get up and walk around. They pump them so full of gas for the surgery, that the only way to expel it is to move. Well I imagine walking around with a catheter inside is uncomfortable, but it’s the only way to feel better.

It has since been almost a month since the surgery and while he is still passing clots, he is feeling better as each day passes. The final pathology report was 1% of the gland was cancer, 5mm tumor. All margins clear. I could not have asked for better results. This man is my life, my soul mate. It took me 30 years to find him and the thought of losing him was absolutely earth shattering. I truly feel blessed that we caught it so early and that he is making a full recovery, for I’d be lost without this man.

I want this post to serve as awareness to all men who read it. This is a cancer that has a very high survivability rate, if caught early enough. Please, get your yearly exam done and always be aware of what your body tells you. Please feel free to comment or ask questions if you’ve found yourself with this diagnosis. Not only will I try to answer the best I can, I have a few forums where the guys have been extremely helpful in answering any and all questions.


Apple Cider Vinegar

Many people question the validity of Apple Cider Vinegar having as many health benefits as scientists say it does. I wanted to take this opportunity to provide some information I came across on apple cider vinegar and why you should incorporate this into your diet daily!


Apple cider vinegar is purported to treat numerous diseases, health   conditions, and annoyances. To name a few, it kills  head lice, reverses aging, eases digestion, prevents flu, prevents acne, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation, kills fungus, regulate pH balance, dissolves kidney stones and helps relieve allergies, migraines, asthma, nausea,  heart burn and wash toxins from the body.      Can it really do all these things? You bet it can and more! But what does science say?

  • Diabetes. The effect of apple cider vinegar on blood sugar levels is   perhaps the best researched and the most promising of APV’s  health benefits. Several studies have found that   vinegar may help lower glucose levels. For instance, a study (White, A. Diabetes Care, November 2007)  of 11   people with type 2 diabetes found that taking two tablespoons of apple   cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4%-6%. In another study from Arizona State University, subjects took a drink of 20 grams of apple cider vinegar and   40 grams of water. Those with insulin   resistance who drank the vinegar had 34% lower postprandial (after-meal)   glucose compared to controls. Vinegar may be the most cost-effective medicine in history, but most people with diabetes still aren’t taking it.
  • High Cholesterol. A 2006 study reported in Medscape General Medicine, showed evidence that ACV could lower cholesterol.  In a study published in a foreign medical journal, scientists found an   apple cider vinegar-enhanced diet may increase in HDL (good   cholesterol), and reduce levels of triglycerides. Research in rats suggests that apple-cider vinegar can help  control triglycerides and cholesterol (Journal of Agricultural and  Food Chemistry, June 22, 2011).
  • Blood Pressure and Heart Health. Another study in rats found that vinegar could lower high blood   pressure. A large observational study also found that people who ate oil   and vinegar dressing on salads five to six times a week had lower rates   of heart disease than people who didn’t. Researchers   have suggested that ‘this reduction in blood pressure may be caused by the   significant reduction in renin activity and the subsequent decrease in   angiotensin II’. Potassium in   the vinegar ‘balances sodium levels in the body, which aids in   maintaining blood pressure within healthy limits’ and ‘apple cider   vinegar also contains magnesium, a mineral that works to relax   blood vessel walls and thus lower high blood pressure’.
  • CancerA few laboratory studies have found that vinegar may be   able to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. One study found that eating vinegar was   associated with a decreased risk of esophageal cancer. Another   associated it with an increased risk of bladder cancer.   In recent trials, pectin, which can be found in ACV, has shown promise   in helping to slow the growth of cancerous cells within the prostate (http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100702/Modified-Citrus-Pectin-holds-promise-against-prostate-cancer.aspx).   In addition, apple cider vinegar’s acidity aids in detoxifying and   cleansing the digestive tract and cleaning out the colon, which supports   the health of the prostate as well.
  • Weight LossFor thousands of years, vinegar has been used for   weight loss. White vinegar (and perhaps other types) might help people   feel full. A  study (Ostman, E. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005) of 12 people found that those who ate a piece of   bread along with small amounts of  vinegar felt fuller and more   satisfied than those who just ate the bread. A 2009 study on mice showed that consuming acetic acid (the active component in ACV), upregulates the expression of genes for   fatty acid oxidation enzymes in the liver causing a suppression in body   fat accumulation. In a double-blind experiment, obese Japanese were assigned to three different groups based on similar body weights, body mass indexes (BMI), and waist circumference. Each group drank a 500 ml drink   containing either 30ml, 15ml, or 0ml of vinegar daily for 12 weeks.   Those in the 30ml and 15ml groups had lower BMI, visceral fat area, waist circumference, serum triglyceride,   and body weight to the control group of 0ml. The 12-week weight losses   were modest: 1.2kg in the 15ml group and 1.7kg in the 30ml group.   These two groups consumed a similar number of calories to the control   group and also performed a similar amount of exercise, so the effect is   not likely to have been due to an impact on appetite or other lifestyle   changes. It was concluded that consumption of vinegar might reduce   obesity.
  • Alkaline Acid Balance: Some alternative practitioners recommend using apple cider vinegar to   restore alkaline acid balance. The theory behind the alkaline diet is   that our blood is slightly alkaline (with a normal pH level of between   7.35 and 7.45) and that our diet should reflect this pH level.   Proponents of the alkaline-acid theory believe that a diet high in   acid-producing foods leads to lack of energy, excessive mucous   production, infections, anxiety, irritability, headache, sore throat,   nasal and sinus congestion, allergic reactions, and increased risk of   conditions such as arthritis and gout

Read the full article here: http://preventdisease.com/news/13/071113_Is-Apple-Cider-Vinegar-That-Powerful-of-a-Health-Tonic-Science-Says-Yes.shtml


Summerly, J. (2013, July 11). Is Apple Cider Vinegar That Powerful of a Health Tonic? Science Says Yes. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from http://preventdisease.com/news/13/071113_Is-Apple-Cider-Vinegar-That-Powerful-of-a-Health-Tonic-Science-Says-Yes.shtml


Favorite Paleo Pins of the Week!

I’ve considered doing a weekly post with some of my favorite food pins from Pinterest. Coming soon will also be Juice recipes for those of you who have picked up juicing like we just did. We have been doing it with a specific idea in mind: fight cancer. I don’t know how well it works, but we will find out in the coming months. For now, enjoy these Paleo Recipes!

Wheat Free Pancakes

Wheat Free Pancakes


Zucchini Spice Muffins

Zucchini Spice Muffins

Banana, Bacon, Almond Butter Snack

Banana, Bacon, Almond Butter Snack

Almond Flour Breakfast BiscuitsIf you are not on pinterest you need to be on it! If you are then please click on this link and follow my boards! http://www.pinterest.com/levyii/boards

Preventing Strokes and Melanoma

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This is me on June 28, 2013. If you’ve read my blog before, my first post was about the stroke I had. I tore the inner lining of my carotid artery and needed an emergency angiogram and stent placement to open it back up. No one thinks they will have a stroke at 30, and I surely didn’t think I would have one. I maintain a very healthy diet, workout 5 days a week for 2 hours at least each day, don’t eat junk food, and my cholesterol is perfect. I’d like to take a moment and tell all of you how to do everything you can to minimize the possibility of having a stroke.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for having a stroke. Many people are on daily medication to control their blood pressure. Normal BP rates vary for everyone, however mine was very normal. Before the stroke my blood pressure was usually 116/70 and that was after two cups of coffee. I could tell the nurse when I would see the doctor what my BP would be and I would only be a few numbers off. Most grocery stores these days have free BP machines that you can check where your rates are for free. I highly recommend you try it, even once. It’s a useful tool that should not be over looked.

Smoking and Alcohol

Both of these things can increase your risk for stroke. Smoking is a gross habit and should not be done simply because of all the negative health affects you can suffer from. If a risk of stroke isn’t enough to scare you out of smoking, then the cancer should.

Knowing Cholesterol Levels

This is one that most people might not be aware of. You should get your cholesterol checked by your doctor. Anything over 200 is not good and should be addressed. Mine, is 176, perfect according to my doctor. When they did the angiogram they said there was no sign of any arteries having plaque in them.

Symptoms of a Stroke

If you experience ANY of these symptoms you should see a doctor. Never second guess the way your body feels. It took a week for me to have a doctor take me seriously because I am so young. I didn’t experience all of the symptoms either, which made me even more unsure as to whether or not I was actually having a stroke.

  1. Trouble walking
  2. trouble with speaking and understanding
  3. paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg
  4. trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  5. headache

Now, I experienced the trouble seeing as my left eye went cloudy, my right hand wouldn’t open and when I raised my arms above my head (Thank you Grey’s Anatomy for teaching me this trick!) my right arm fell, as if it were super tired. I also had an ongoing headache for quite a few days. The only thing that helped is that I took aspirin that day so the doctors believe it reduced the strength of the stroke.

Now on to Melanoma. I’m going to first start by saying I haven’t been diagnosed yet. However, more than one person in my family has had or currently suffers from melanoma. For almost a year now I have been going to the dermatologist to have precancerous moles removed. They are precancerous because the lab results come back as atypical and dysplastic. Because it runs in my family, my genetic makeup is more susceptible to mutating and turning into skin cancer.

Sunscreen is one of the most important sun protection tools out there. Not enough people use it. We are so focused as a society on tan bodies that it drives young teens to tanning beds during the winter months. I was one of those teens. Turns out those are notorious for causing skin cancer 15-20 years later in life. Even after you have sworn off tanning beds, you can develop it, the damage has already been done.

To prevent melanoma, do frequent skin checks on yourself. Check the color of your moles and freckles to make sure they aren’t changing. Check for symmetry. If you cut the mole in half, are both sides equal in shape and color? Do you have new moles that weren’t there recently and are growing in size or do you have any bigger than the eraser at the end of a pencil? If you have any moles you are suspicious of, get them looked at. Your doctor can do a biopsy and make sure it’s nothing to worry about. If they go untreated, they can metastasize rapidly and turn into lung, brain, liver, etc cancer before you realize it. Try to stay out of the sun from the hours of 10 am to 4 pm but if you must, get good sunscreen and be careful!