What Lifestyle (diet) is good for you?

Does it really matter what diet plan you use, as long as you pick one and lose the weight! Well yes there many diets out there you have to do your homework based on your lifestyle needs.  If you’re someone that doesn’t like a lot of red meat then maybe the Mediterranean Diet might be good for you. SO here are a list of diets that you might want to look at as ranked by U.S News and World Report , in collaboration with 41 “ health experts “ : drum roll please…..

  1. Mediterranean Diet – research has shown that this diet helps reduce the “ risk “ of heart disease and may help reduce you LDL (bad) cholesterol and may help reduce a host of other chronic diseases.
  2. DASH Diet it may help reduce those who suffer from high blood pressure , may help reduce the risk of diabetes and help fight depression
  3. Flexitarian Diet this diet is mainly for those of us that want to go vegetarian, but every now and then have a craving for a fat juicy burger but go lean lol! This may be a great way to transition to a vegetarian lifestyle.
  4. MIND Diet, hey this diet was designed by researchers at Rush University in Chicago. The article I read states “In fact, one study found the diet may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. I never heard of it but it’s doesn’t hurt to try if Alzheimer’s runs in the family. Weight Watchers tied with the MIND Diet, counting those points again!

Low ranking diets in The Keto Diet, yes the Keto diet simply because there is not enough research to back up its health benefits. But losing weight is a health benefit in my book, just use common since when doing this diet and eat your damn veggies. Also ranking low was the Dukan Diet (not dunkin doughnuts lol) and the WHOLE30 diet.  So there are the low rollers for you.

Bottom line it really going to depend on what your lifestyle and dietary need are. I’ve tried them all and for me personally because I’m not trying to lose weight I would have to go with the Mediterranean Diet simply because I like the food choices and there has been some research the shows people who consume foods in the Mediterranean Diet have experienced some long life benefits by using the Met Diet along with some other lifestyle choices “LIKE WALKING” AND BEING PYHSICALLY ACTIVE . All I can say is use common sense and make your choice wisely!!!

What’s the Deal with Butter

So what's the deal with butter? When should you use salted butter v unsalted butter and why?

Salted butter vs. unsalted butter. Butter is available both with and without salt. The salt is added for extra flavor and to help preserve it so it has a longer shelf life. The problem is that sometimes the salt in butter can be more than a recipe needs. Choosing unsalted butter gives you more control over how much salt your dish contains. If you only have salted butter, the best thing to do is omit approximately ¼ teaspoon of salt per ½ cup (one stick) of butter used in the recipe.

And if you're wondering whether or not you can leave butter out on the counter, well the answer is yes , as long as it is covered. Butter can be left out for days or even weeks without it becoming a safety issues. If the butter is salted it can stay out even longer . Click here for more info on butter shelf life

Powerful Protein

“When life gives you lemons, ask for something higher in protein.” – Anonymous

Simply put, we wouldn’t exist without protein. Protein plays a lead role in nearly every function in your body.

It’s part of every cell in your body, and is used to help build muscle, organs, and other tissues. It’s also important for brain health and to help make enzymes, hormones, and other necessary chemicals.

Not only that, eating the right amount of protein will help to boost your metabolism and keep your weight in check.

AND….protein can also help you avoid gaining unwanted weight in the first place. This is because when you’re eating enough protein, you’ll feel fuller for a longer period of time, and have less of an urge to eat junk food.

In fact, studies have shown that when women eat around 30% of their diet from protein, they eat 441 fewer calories per day ( this will help with weight management ).

So here's a little challenge for you!  Try eating about 30% of your calories from protein – which is ideal for fat ­loss and maintaining lean muscle mass.

You’ll be eating high­-quality proteins like grass-­fed meats, wild fish, and free­range poultry ( vegetarians will need to perhaps try eating more nuts , Tufu ,etc.) If you’re thinking that eating like this may start to get expensive…. it really doesn’t have to!

A lot of times you can find items at a discounted price ­ just buy in bulk and freeze them! Also,­ make sure you check out local farms and farmers markets, season permitting.

Most of the time, you’ll be able to get a much better deal because you’re buying direct from the source. Not only that, but it’s always great to support our local community!




The Skinny on Fat…

We hear it all the time ­, fat is BAD for you! Drink skim milk instead of whole. Get fat-­free yogurt instead of full-­fat. Have an egg white omelet. Trim the fat off your meat and remove the skin before you eat it!

But is this really the best advice? Here are the real facts about fat… It’s important to understand that eating fat does not make us fat.

If you’re looking for the shady criminal to blame,­ look no further than the processed carbs, sugar, and H.F.C.S ( HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP) that find their way into almost everything we eat.

Plain and simple: eating SUGAR makes us fat.

Now it’s definitely important to not overeat on your healthy fats, as too much of anything will have an impact on your waistline.

Please keep in mind that the key words are healthy fats.

Healthy fats include things like coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, grass-­fed butter and ghee, animal fats (duck, beef, pork), Omega 3’s (found in fish), etc.

The “bad” kinds of fat you want to stay away from are trans-fats.

Most trans fats that people eat have been cooked up in a laboratory kitchen where scientists “hydrogenate” certain oils so they have a longer shelf life. Trans fats are found in a LOT of packaged foods­ like baked goods, donuts, pie crusts, cookies, crackers, margarine, and a lot of fried foods.

Basically look at your labels­ and if you see anything labeled “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” get rid of it fast.

In addition to trans fats, you also want to stay away from refined oils that tend to be high in Omega-6’s (which throw off the ideal Omega­-3's to Omega-­6's balance) like peanut oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, and corn oil.

Not that you know what kinds of fat NOT to eat, let’s talk about why the right kinds of fat are GREAT for your body.

Healthy fats are incredible for your body. They are important for:

Making hormones Brain health Energy levels

Supporting your thyroid Strengthening your bones Strengthening your immune system Reducing your risk for Cancer

And the list goes on….

If you’re thinking that eating more healthy fats will increase your cholesterol and put you at an increased risk for heart disease, get ready for these facts:

* “No study to date has adequately shown any significant link between dietary and serum cholesterol levels or any significant causative link between cholesterol and actual heart disease” – Nora Gedgaudas, Primal Body Primal Mind (pg. 80)

  • About half of people admitted to hospitals with heart disease have normal cholesterol

AND….in 2015, the DGAC (Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee) has recommended that limitations on dietary cholesterol be removed from their guidelines for Americans. WIN! http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/DietNutrition/55425

I encourage you NOT to take my word for it, but to do your own research and explore the links above.

You’ll be blown away by what you find and also by the myths that will be shattered when you read the science.

The great news is... that grass-­fed beef, real butter, and bacon (all in moderation, of course) are back on the menu!  But as always, I encourage you to do your own research on the subject!

The Not-So Sweet Truth About Sugar…

Added sugars (that don’t occur naturally in the foods you are eating) can be absolutely detrimental to your health.

I’m talking about diseases like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, digestive disorders, arthritis, and the list goes on and on.

Sugar Crystal

Consuming a high amount of refined sugars is a LEADING cause of inflammation in your body.

Did you know that soda and other sugary drinks are the #1 source of calories in the American diet!? Here are a few not-­so-­sweet facts about sugar:

  1. Sugar promotes inflammation in the body – the root cause of disease
  2. Large amounts of sugar will suppress your immune system. (imagine how your immune systems suffers if you’re eating processed sugars every meal)
  3. Sugar suppresses the release of HGH (Human Growth Hormone) in the body
  4. Sugars will raise your insulin levels ­ which over time can lead to a whole host of diseases Sugars have a massive negative effect on energy levels throughout the day
  5. Impacts your hormones and your ability to deal with stress
  6. Artificial sugars like Splenda and Aspartame are no better for you, either. They have been proven to have countless negative effects in your body and especially in your brain. Sugar in itself is NOT bad. In fact, we need a certain amount of it to even survive and be able to think straight.
  7. The problem really stems from the quick rise in our blood sugar levels when we consume large amounts sugar on a regular basis.

When you eat healthy carbs, like a sweet potato or an apple, you’re also eating the fiber that comes along with it. Digestion is slowed down, so even though you’re eating sugar, your blood sugar levels do not raise as fast. Your body can easily handle it.

If you drink a Coke, there’s no fiber or anything to slow down the digestive process, and your blood sugar levels spike to unnatural highs.

So, for this challenge, we’re going to keep it close to nature.

Try to stay away from ALL white and refined sugar, high-­fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners.

Acceptable substitutes (in moderation, of course) Green Leaf Stevia and Erythritol. Out of the mention sweeteners , Erythritol is my go to ! Click here to find out why

Green Leaf Stevia is a much less processed form of Stevia and does not have an impact on your blood sugar levels. It has been around for centuries. It’s about 30-­40 times sweeter than regular sugar… so make sure you only use the smallest amount! Erythritol is about 70% as sweet as sugar and only contain .24 calories per gram , but I encourage you to do your own research!

Remember ­ this is a LIFESTYLE approach, not a fad diet. I don’t want you feeling deprived in any way, so it’s all about finding healthier alternatives to what you’re already eating!


Get Your Sleep

Get your sleep!

Deepen Your Sleep        

What happens to our bodies when we sleep is nothing short of a miracle. Our bodies are busy restoring, detoxing, and regenerating without us even being consciously aware of it. We all know how important sleep is, but unfortunately, so many of us struggle with getting the solid 6-8 hours we need every night.  Not only that- but the QUALITY of sleep seems to be on the decline as well. 


This week, your challenge is to aim for 6-8 hours of quality, deep sleep each night.  Here are a few ways to improve the quality of your sleep:


  1. Sleeping in complete darkness. It’s important for regulating the circadian rhythm- and even small amounts of light can reduce melatonin levels and disrupt sleep. Tip: Cover all light sources, remove any unnecessary electronics, and try blackout curtains if you have windows. 
  2. Avoid technology for at least 90 minutes before bed! This includes the computer, TV and even using your cell phone.  
  3. Adjust your thermostat to around 65 degrees- that temperature has been shown to promote the highest quality of sleep in most people.
  4. Reduce the noise nearby if possible. Or- if you need some background, calming noise, try a free app called Noisli.
  5. Choose the right mattress! Make sure you’re getting enough support.
  6. Keep air inside your home clean and fresh. Studies have directly linked indoor air pollution with some of the sleeping disorders. Tip: Keep plants inside your home or try an inexpensive air filter or purifier.


Your challenge is to implement 1 or more strategies and aim for 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep!  Do you accept!?  Let me know in a comment below!


Buying seafood…what should you look for?

Buying seafood can be very hard if you don't know what to look for. So here are a few tips that will help you make the best choice.

  1. Use your eyes, hands,and nose when selecting fresh fish or shellfish. Fresh whole fish should have bright, clear eyes that are often protruding, bright red or pink gills, firm yet elastic flesh, and shiny skin. Your purchase should feel cold, not cool, to the touch.And it shouldn’t smell “fishy.”The odor should be that of a fresh sea breeze.
  2. Fish Fillets or Steaks. Note that fillets and steaks should have firm, elastic flesh and a fresh-cut, moist appearance, with no browning around the edges. Fillets separate if they are left too long in the case. The flesh should be almost translucent — as if you can almost see through it. There should be little evidence of bruising or reddening of the flesh from retention of blood. Prepackaged steaks and fillets should contain a minimum of liquid. Fish fillets stored in liquid deteriorate quickly.
  3. Shellfish. They may be sold live, cooked, or fresh-shucked. Each form and species has different quality signs to examine.The shells of live clams, oysters, or mussels should look moist and be tightly closed. If the shells gape slightly, have your retailer tap them. If the shells do not close, do not purchase them. Do not purchase live shellfish with cracked shells. The bottom shell of an oyster should be well cupped — a sign that the oyster inside is plump and well formed. The “neck” or “snout” of soft-shelled clams should show movement.The meats of fresh-shucked clams, oysters, or mussels should be plump and covered with their liquor. Their liquor should be clear or slightly opalescent (slightly milky or light gray) and free of shell or grit. There should be no strong odor.


  4. Raw shrimp meat should be firm and have a mild odor. The shells of most varieties are translucent with a grayish green, pinkish tan, or light pink tint.The shells should not have blackened edges or black spots — this is a sign of quality loss. Cooked shrimp meat should be firm and have no disagreeable odor. The color of the meat should be white with red or pink tints. Tiger shrimp have blueish colored shells with black lines between the segments of the shell (these are not black spots).
  5. Scallops are not usually sold live because they are highly perishable. Typically scallops are shucked at sea shortly after capture. On occasion, day boats will bring whole scallops to market or local restaurants. Fresh scallop meats have a firm texture and a distinctly sweet odor. A sour or iodine smell indicates spoilage. The smaller bay and calico scallops are usually creamy white, although there may be some normal light tan or pink coloration. The larger sea scallops are also generally creamy white, although they may show some normal light orange or pink color.

Hope this helps when selecting seafood! As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

Resource info from JSE Certified Personal Fitness Chef Seafood Safe-Handling

Broccoli Chicken Casserole

Here's a recipe that may be a good way to get the kids to eat some veggies. A Broccoli Chicken Casserole and very easy to make. Below are listed the ingredients and instructions. I think the next time I make this recipe I will add a few more veggies to it.  It's also low carb and keto friendly!

TIP** cut recipe in half if making for a couple of people or vacuum seal it and freeze leftovers a vacuum sealer


  • 20 chicken breast, shredded
  • 2 cups broccoli florets (we used frozen)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 oz. pork rinds, crushed


  1. Preheat oven to 450
  2. In a deep mixing bowl, combine chicken broccoli florets, olive oil and sour.Mix to combine thoroughly.
  3. Place the mixture into a greased 8x11” baking dish, pressing into an even
  4. Drizzle heavy cream over the entire layer. Season with salt, pepper and oregano.
  5. Add the cheddar cheese to the top and add the crushed pork rinds over the cheese for a crispy casserole
  6. Bake for about 20-25

Nutrition is per ¼ of the casserole Calories: 548, 42 Fat, 44 Protein, 4 Carbs ( low carb recipe) If you would like a low fat recipe please feel free to contact me !

Fitness For You At Any Age

Smart tips for fitness at any age!

If your over 40 , you've probably noticed that is very easy to gain and and very hard to sometimes lose weight. Changes in hormone levels, eating habits, activity level ( moving food up to your mouth doesn't count as an activity lol ). Here are a few tips to help. Here are 7 ways that can help you!

1. Eat your fruits and veggies. They have the nutrients with  added sugars in them , fiber  and can serve as a great snack while watching your favorite show.

2. Don't skip breakfast ( did you know " breakfast : break-a-fast is derived from the 15th century which meant " dinner " and was the first meal of the day ). Eating breakfast can help lower the chances of you over eating when having a mid-morning snack or smaller lunch portion.

3. Cook your meal and bake your own treats using healthier alternatives for your ingredients ( almond flour, erythritol, coconut flour ) for a complete list please feel free to contact me at kevendb@myfitnesschefchicago.com

4. Don't opt for a second helping everyday you eat. Make eating a more social event ( talk more a the table ) in your life and consume a glass of cool water before your first bite and continue sipping on cool water during your meal . You will be amazed at how much that helps you decrease the amount of calories consumed during your meal.

5. Consider doing resistance training ( body weight counts as resistance training ) and adding that to your fitness routine. It has been proven that muscle burns more fat throughout the day . Don't get me wrong, cardio is great for you ,but you only burn calories while your heart rate is elevated. Once your heart rate returns to normal your body ceases burning excess calories ( beyond what's needed for bodily functions ) . So hit the weights , use your body or exercise bands.

6. Watch what you eat! Be mindful of the choices you make when selecting food. There are many smart phone apps that can help you monitor the quality of food you chose to consume. MyFitnessPal , Fooducate, and Lose It are a few.

7. Get plenty of sleep and find a way to reduce stress in your life ( meditation or a hobby ). Learn to relax ,enjoy family ,friends and life.


More Than a Salad!

Salads have always been a great add-on meal or used as a main dish. There are so many different salads and many are even sold a fast-food joints.  Some people love salads and some people hate them. Presentations can make or break a salad ( click here to view images).  I like to keep thing fast and simple.

I took some romaine lettuce , yellow , red and orange peppers along with red onions and cucumbers. It's very easy and fast to make and if you want to make a meal out of it can can always add some protein to it ( chicken , steak eggs or tuna ).  Make sure to use a lettuce that is more nutrient dense than iceberg lettuce . Now, if you have children you are trying to introduce salads to, then maybe iceberg is a good starter base; otherwise, go with a romaine , Boston lettuce , red or green lettuce , Arugula/Rocket etc.

Make sure to slice veggies up small enough so you can taste a little of everything in the salad. If you cut veggies too large than you can't enjoy all of the texture and taste together . Part of enjoying a good salad is being able to enjoy each aspect of the salad . Try adding some toasted shaved almonds  cooked in cayenne pepper ( only if you like it spicy ) . If you do something spicy then add something sweet in salad like sweet banana pepper, green grapes or dried cranberries ( check sugar content ) .

Remember, keep it simple and make it fun ! Enjoy some music while making your salad with  your favorite glass of wine!