POSTED ON October 29, 2013
Confused about carbs and how they fit into carb cycling? Believe me, you’re not alone! Many of my most frequently asked questions are about carbs. And yes, with all the talk of “carbs this” and “carbs that” in the media, it can get a bit confusing. It gets even more complicated when you think you need to keep track of grams of carbs per meal and per day and the “good” vs. the “bad.”
It’s time to rethink how you think about carbs, agreed?!
First, the basics: carbs—and the roles they play in your diet—are actually pretty simple. If it comes from a plant, it’s a carb, and carbs are the preferred fuel source for your muscles and organs. Breads, beans, potatoes, table sugar, fruits, and vegetables are all carbs.
There are two categories of carbs: simple and complex. The simple, not-so-healthy ones are found in foods such as cakes, cookies, some commercially made breads, and many processed foods. Fruits are also considered simple carbs because of the type of sugar they contain, but they’re a healthy choice because they’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, antioxidants, and some fiber. Your body breaks down simple, not-so-healthy carbs very quickly, which spikes your blood sugar levels and stimulates the release of insulin, resulting in a craving for more simple carbs. And that is soooo not good!
Complex, healthy carbs – like those found in legumes, root vegetables, whole-grains, cereals, breads and pastas – are typically high in fiber, which slows food digestion and the release of sugars. This keeps your blood sugar and energy levels steady (and longer lasting), so your calorie-burning furnace stays hot and burns more calories! And that is awesome! ☺
So how do carbs fit into our carb cycling program? It’s actually pretty simple. No matter what carb cycle you choose, every breakfast of every day is a high-carb meal, which means you’ll eat a portion each of protein, carbs, and hopefully vegetables. Every breakfast, every day. Your carb can be a grain, a legume, a starchy or root veggie, or a fruit.
On low-carb days, your remaining four meals (spaced every three hours) consist of a portion each of protein, fat, and veggies (think fibrous green veggies, not the starchy, root kind), and on high-carb days, your remaining four meals (spaced every three hours) are made up of a portion each of protein and complex carbs (grains, legumes, starchy or root veggies, or fruits). And if you’re still hungry, you can always throw in a portion of veggies (again, the fibrous greens). Remember: with carb cycling, you can have a portion of fibrous green veggies with every single meal (starchy, root veggies, like potatoes, will fall into the carb category)! Pretty simple, right?
Here’s what it looks like, including some handy portion size helps:
Here’s another great idea that will help with carb confusion: sign up for Chris’s FREE enewsletter at ChrisPowell.com, and you’ll receive a FREE printable food guide that will make choosing foods for your low-carb and high-carb meals even easier!
Here’s the most important take-away about carbs: with carbs and carb cycling, it’s not about a magic number of grams of carbs to eat every day. It’s about spreading your carb intake throughout your high-carb days—using portion sizes instead of gram counts—so your body gets the greatest benefits from those healthy carbs you eat. And wouldn’t you much rather measure portions sizes than count grams? I know I would!
Caribbean Jerk Chicken
POSTED ON March 20, 2013
Caribbean Jerk Chicken from
Choose More, Lose More for Life
by Chris Powell
Try this family dinner favorite straight from Chris’ new book, Choose More, Lose More for Life, on shelves May 7th!
Caribbean Jerk Chicken
||Olive oil in spritzer bottle
||Soy sauce, low-sodium
||2 1/2 Tbsp
||Caribbean Jerk seasoning
|1. Put all ingredients into a gallon-size zip-top bag and seal. Gently massage bag to mix ingredients and fully coat meat with marinade. Let site for at least 30 minutes (or prepare the night before or morning of for even more flavor.)
|2. Remove meat from bag and discard any remaining marinade. Grill over medium heat or broil, cooking on each side to desired doneness.
|3. Serve immediately with your favorite side for a high- or low-carb day; or portion out and store in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to reheat and enjoy.
||Serve with a side salad or veggies of your choosing.
||Serve with a side salad or veggies of your choosing.
||Drizzle with salad dressing.
||Serve with your favorite card side dish, such as brown rice
or black beans.
|This is just one of many delicious recipes from Choose More, Lose More for Life. The book is loaded with high- and low-carb options! Chris knocked this one out of the park, I must say! For more info on the book, click the links below.
Excerpted from the Hyperion book, Chris Powell’s Choose More, Lose More for Life. Copyright © 2013 Chris Powell. All rights reserved.
HEART-y Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
POSTED ON February 15, 2013
Can you believe we’re already half way through February – National Heart Healthy Month!?! I love experimenting with new recipes, especially those that include gluten free heart healthy foods. Finding recipes that fit our gluten free needs as well as our on-the-go lifestyle is always hard and this recipe is a perfect fit!
Combine the dry ingredients together.
Enjoy these yummy muffins as part of a high carb snack or breakfast. It’s also an easy way to get your kids to eat something made with 3 heart healthy foods that tastes great! The whole family will love these!
HEART-y Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
♥ 2 1/2 cups gluten free, old-fashioned rolled oats*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
♥ 1/4 cup chopped Almonds
Combine the wet and dry ingredients together.
1/4 cup applesauce
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
♥ 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (Would be yummy with apples, pears, or berries too!)**
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place liners in muffin tins.2. Combine oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, almonds and blueberries in a bowl.
3. Whisk together applesauce, almond milk, egg, and maple syrup in a small bowl. Pour into dry ingredients. (NOTE: the “batter” will almost seem soupy. There is no flour to absorb the liquid. Don’t panic, the oats will soak it all up while it’s baking.)
Delicious HEART-y Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
4. Fill lined muffin tins 2/3 full with batter.
5. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until muffins are golden brown on top.
6. Allow to cool a bit before serving. You can store these in the fridge in an air tight container. To freeze, allow muffins to cool completely then store in air tight container in the freezer.
*Non-gluten free oats can be used if available and you’re not avoiding gluten for health reasons.
**The fruit will naturally sweeten the muffins. If you find you want them sweeter, try adding up to 1-2 tablespoons stevia but we enjoy them with just the fruit.
Easy Dinner Fixings: Garlic Lime Chicken
POSTED ON January 2, 2013
Yummy Garlic Lime Chicken
In need of an easy dinner? You’ll love this recipe. It’s so easy and delicious! And . . . just change the side dish and it works for either a low carb day or a high carb day!
Tip: (Save time! Mix up a whole bunch of seasoning at once to have on hand! You’ll need about ½ Tbsp per recipe.)
Garlic Lime Chicken – Serves 2
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons low sodium chicken broth
1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon thyme
- Mix seasonings together in large zip-top baggie. Add chicken breasts to the bag, seal, and smoosh around until all chicken is well coated with seasoning.
- Add butter and olive oil to pan and melt.
- Add chicken and cook on both sides until done. Remove from pan and keep warm.
- To skillet, add lime juice and broth. Using a whisk, mix the liquids and browned bits off pan bottom and sides. Continue cooking until sauce has reduced slightly.
- Add chicken back to the pan, coating with the sauce. Then serve.
On a low carb day, serve with your favorite veggies like asparagus or broccoli and a green salad.
On a high carb day, sweet potatoes make a great side dish or diced potatoes. (I added just a touch of cheese for our guilt free day!)
Find more recipes like this in our free app!
Carb Cycling: The Turbo Cycle
POSTED ON July 31, 2012
If you want to shed those extra pounds extra fast, the Turbo Cycle is for you. Of the four carb cycles, this cycle takes off weight the fastest. Unlike the Easy and Classic cycles, which alternate low and high-carb days, the Turbo Cycle pits two low-carb days against every high-carb day. That means you’ll burn fat two days in a row before your body’s furnace (metabolism) is re-stoked on your high-carb day, and you’ll lose weight really, really fast!
Even though the Turbo Cycle has an extra low-carb day as compared to the Easy and Classic cycles, it is not a calorie-restricted cycle. Women should not consume fewer than 1,200 calories a day, and men should not consume fewer than 1,500 calories a day. And since you’ll have two low-carb days in a row, you may feel less energetic on the second low-carb day. But this is okay. These low-carb days are powerful weight-loss accelerators!
Here’s what a Turbo Cycle week looks like:
As with the other cycles, you can stay with the Turbo Cycle as long as you want, or you can change cycles. This program is tailor-made to you and you alone!
For more information on the Turbo Cycle or any other cycle, check out my book, Choose More, Lose More for Life.
Carb Cycling: The Classic Cycle
The Classic Cycle was first introduced in Chris’ book, Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution. While the Easy Cycle is the easiest cycle, the Classic Cycle is the simplest carb cycle. It offers a quick and easy introduction to carb cycling and results in fast and steady weight loss.
Unlike the Easy Cycle, which has a reward meal incorporated into every high-carb day, the Classic Cycle has an entire reward day every week. Imagine that—a whole day to satisfy those cravings for your favorite foods! And you’ll still lose weight.
Here’s what a Classic Cycle week looks like:
With the Classic Cycle, besides losing weight at a quick and constant pace, you’ll also be able to tune into what is happening in your body during this carb cycle process. You’ll learn and actually feel how food affects your body, and while you may experience some brief periods of nausea, headaches, low energy and other symptoms as you change the way you fuel your body, these will be temporary. In the end, you’ll have a whole new appreciation for this marvelous body you have! And as with the Easy Cycle, you can stick with the Classic Cycle throughout your weight loss journey or move onto another cycle. You are in control!
Find more information on the Classic Cycle in both my books—Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution and Choose More, Lose More for Life.
Carb Cycling: The Fit Cycle
Do you want to “lean up” without compromising your athletic performance? Do you want to train for long periods of time? Then the Fit Cycle is the cycle for you. The Fit Cycle not only eliminates fat, but it also supplies your body with the fuel it needs to perform successfully, no matter what sport you choose to excel in.
Unlike the other three carb cycles, the Fit Cycle only has two low-carb days per week, and there’s a very important reason for this: The extra high-carb day allows your muscles to absorb more fuel (glycogen), which you’ll need for maximum athletic performance. During your low-carb days, when this supply of glycogen gets depleted, your muscles will develop insulin sensitivity. When you then have a high-carb day or your reward day, these insulin-sensitive muscles will actually soak up more carbs, your body will burn this extra fuel instead of storing it as fat, and you’ll still lose weight. It’s an amazing process!
Here’s what a Fit Cycle week looks like:
With the Fit Cycle you won’t lose weight as fast as with the Turbo Cycle, but you will be able to maintain your athletic performance. However, if you do experience a slight decrease in your athletic performance with this cycle, and you’re not as concerned about losing weight, try combining the Fit Cycle with pre- and post-workout supplements or meal replacement shakes with some extra macronutrients.
And as with the other cycles, you can stay on the Fit Cycle or change cycles at any time. It all depends on your weight loss and athletic goals.
For more information on the Fit Cycle or any other cycle, check out my book, Choose More, Lose More for Life.
Carb Cycling: The Easy Cycle
Do you have a hard time going without your favorite foods, but you still want to lose weight? Then the Easy Cycle is for you. In this cycle you alternate low-carb and high-carb days, and on every single high-carb day you can have a reward meal, as long as that meal isn’t your dinner meal.
That’s right, you can eat the foods you love—four days a week— and still reach your weight loss goals. And by favorite foods I mean pizza, ice cream, bacon, chocolate cake, cheesecake—they’re all okay. The power of this cycle is that if you get those favorite food cravings on low-carb days, you only have to wait until the next day to satisfy them. Anyone can do that! Success can be yours with this cycle.
How is this possible? First of all, you’ll be following the low-carb/high-carb eating plan for your non-reward meals, and the success of this pattern has been proven many times over. And even though you’ll be rewarding yourself, you’ll be rewarding yourself less often. Let’s say you usually eat seven servings of ice cream a week. With the Easy Cycle you’re already eliminating three bowls of ice cream a week, and that’s a lot of calories! You’re satisfying your cravings without depriving yourself, and losing weight.
Here’s what an Easy Cycle week looks like:
For all your meals, on both low and high-carb days, try and eat smaller portions than you would pre-carb cycle. The more calories you can cut, the faster you’ll lose that extra weight!
And yes, you won’t lose weight as quickly as you would in other cycles, but the important thing is that you will lose weight, and you’ll also be forming healthy habits that will last a lifetime. And when you’re ready, you can move onto another cycle if you want to. Or you can stay with the Easy Cycle throughout your weight loss journey. It’s totally up to you!
For more information on the Easy Cycle or any other cycle, check out my book, Choose More, Lose More for Life.
Carb Cycling 101
Carb cycling is the foundation of what my husband, Chris Powell and I, do every day and with every client. It works! I’m going to introduce you to the basics of carb cycling and the four different carb cycling plans—Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit—as well as 9-Minute Missions, which work in combination with carb cycling for optimal weight loss results.
First up, the carb cycling basics.
What is Carb Cycling?
Carb cycling is an eating plan with alternating high-carb and low-carb days. It’s that simple. It also has built-in reward days or reward meals (depending on the plan you’re following), so you can still eat your favorite foods on a regular basis. Sounds pretty much perfect, right? You can eat healthy foods, enjoy foods you love, and still lose weight.
While each plan has a different mix of high-carb and low-carb days, each day works basically the same:
- Eat five meals—no more, no less.
- Eat a high-carb breakfast that includes both protein and carbs within 30 minutes of waking.
- Eat your remaining 4 meals—either high-carb or low-carb, depending on the plan you’re following—every 3 hours.
- Choose approved foods (Sign up on Chris’ website to receive a FREE printable food guide!)
- Drink a gallon of water.
How does it work?
In order to lose weight, our bodies need the right combination of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats. Here’s why:
- Protein builds and maintains muscles and these muscles burn calories like an inferno. Protein also breaks down more slowly than carbs and fat, which burns even more calories and helps you feel fuller longer.
- Carbs are the preferred fuel source for your muscles and organs, and they come in healthy versions (vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes), and not-so-healthy versions (cakes, cookies, soda, doughnuts, candy, and many processed foods). Healthy carbs are also crucial for burning calories, and since they break down more slowly than those not-so-healthy carbs, they keep your blood sugar and energy levels steady, and they also keep your calorie-burning furnace hot so it burns more calories!
- Healthy fats (unsaturated fats) eaten in moderation help the development and function of your eyes and brain and help prevent heart disease, stroke, depression, and arthritis. Healthy fats also help keep your energy levels steady and keep you from feeling hungry.
So why do we alternate high-carb and low-carb days in carb cycling? On high-carb days you’re stocking your calorie-burning furnace so that on low-carb days your furnace burns fat, and lots of it! This pattern tricks your metabolism into burning a lot of calories, even on those low-carb days. It’s an amazing and well-proven process.
What are the benefits?
Carb cycling has many benefits:
- It fits any lifestyle.
- You’ll learn how to shed weight and body fat, and how to make smart lifestyle choices for the rest of your life. This puts YOU in control.
- You’ll feel better and have more energy.
- You’ll eat the foods you love.
- You’ll build lean, strong muscles.
- You’ll be empowered physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
We’ve touched briefly on carb cycling. Learn more about my four Carb Cycling plans to find your ideal one and let’s get cycling!
Easy Carb Cycle
Classic Carb Cycle
Turbo Carb Cycle
Fit Carb Cycle
We’ve just skimmed the surface of carb cycling here. Get even more details on carb cycling in our books Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution, and Choose More, Lose More for Life