amino acids

When I started the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet I had never heard of BCAAs.  I am not a body builder and have no desire to be one or even live that lifestyle, but I really like what Joel Marion has to say about the science of metabolism and fat loss and my system needs a major reboot.  That is why I am completing this 25 day program.

But, not being a body builder and not know about all the various supplements they take, I had some questions.  What are BCAAs?  Why do I have to take them?  How much do I take?  Where do I get them?

As I see what others are asking about them, I also see that people are having a hard time interpreting the label and determining how many pills they need to take.

So, I thought I would take a few minute and share what I have learned and give you a few resources.  I am not a doctor or a trainer or a nutritionist or anyone with any expertise in this.  I am simply following the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet and searched out some additional information I thought some others might find helpful.  Please do not take this information as gospel.  Do your own research and by all means talk to an expert if you have any concerns.

What are BCAAs

BCAA  stands for Branch Chain Amino Acids.  Amino Acids are the “building blocks of Protein”.  Proteins are made up of strings of amino acids.  BCAA are just a specific kind of amino acids that contains a branch in it’s molecular structure.

When we eat protein, it is broken down into amino acids which are then used by our bodies in different ways.  How efficiently we absorb these amino acids varies greatly depending on the quality of the food we eat and differs in different kinds of protein (dairy vs. meat for example).

So, BCAAs are really just the basic fundamentals of proteins in a pill.

Why am I taking BCAA on my fast day?

BCAAs make up about a third of the bodies amino acids and are an essential component of skeletal muscle mass.  The purpose of taking them on the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet fast day is to prevent the loss of muscle mass that would typically go along with the giant caloric deficit we are creating on this day.

How Much Do I Take?

These calculation are specific to the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet and the amounts are just for the fast day.  If you are not using this system, please follow the dosage recommendations on the package.

For the fast day you want to take .3 grams (or 300 mg) per pound of total weight.  You want to take this total amount and split it by six so you can take it six times a day.

Let’s use me as an example…

.3 x 163 lbs = 48.9 grams BCAA per day

Six servings of 8.15 grams

Now lets look at how to determine how many pills to take.  It will very likely be unclear what amount of BCAA will be in each pill so you will need to look at the label and do some math.

On the nutritional label of your BCAA bottle it will list the total amount of BCAAs per serving.  This will likely be broken down on the label by specific amino acids.  You want to add up the amounts listed for each amino acid.  The amino acids start with an L- .    This doesn’t mean per pill though.  It will say how many pills per serving.

For example, my bottle of MRM BCAA+G 6000 says that each serving contains 6000 mg ( = 6 grams ).

There are five pills per serving…

6000 mg / 5 pills = 1200 mg per pill ( = 1.2 grams/pill )

OK, so I need 8.15 grams per serving.

8.15 /1.2 = 6.79 pills per serving

Now we all know you can’t take a part of a capsule so I take 6 pills for a couple of servings and seven for a couple of serving to make it work out.

Close enough.

Where can I get BCAAs?

I got mine at my local natural supplement store, but you can easily get them online as well.

I use the MRM brand and they are available on Amazon for a pretty reasonable price, quite a bit less than what I paid.

Amazon:  MRM BCAA+G 6000 High Potency Formula

Amazon:  Browse BCAA Supplements

Learn More about the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet – Main Website

I hope that this information has been helpful and good luck on your journey.

One of the first things The Gabriel Method encourages is eating a large breakfast to get your day going.  Like all other meals using this approach, breakfast should include a good source of protein, omega 3 and live foods.  You should also take a digestive enzyme capsule before eating to help with digestion. 

So, let’s break these down a little.

Protein

As explained in the book, most of the protein sources we have available to us now are not easily digested by our bodies and the amino acids can not be assimilated and so are then converted into sugar, which is converted to and stored as fat.   It is possible that as little as 15% of the protein that we eat is being properly used.

So what protein sources are the best bang for your buck?  Well,  Jon recommends whey protein powder, which I tried and I think it is really gross.  It’s more the smell than anything and it can ruin a perfectly good smoothie.  I am going to keep trying to find OK ways to use it and I think a little practice about how much is tolerable in what things will help a lot.  

So far, i have found that adding a good amount of citrus (I use lemon juice) to a smoothie cuts the whey protein powder flavor quite a bit and adds a nice tartness to the smoothie.    I have also found that adding a little bit to pancake mix or french toast batter is tolerable.   It is not supposed to change the flavor of foods it is added to and you are supposedly able to add it to anything creamy, but it does taste and it tastes bad, so it’s really a trial and error thing.  

Other and more tasty sources of  protein include…

  • Raw Nuts and Seeds
  • Free Range Chicken and Grass Fed Beef
  • Fish, especially freshwater
  • Organic Yogurt
  • White Cheese made from Goat or Sheep’s milk

I have taken to sprinkling raw nuts or seeds on everything as a way to supplement my protein rather than the whey powder route.  Not as concentrated, but much better tasting.  I have also had fun exploring new cheeses.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

We’ve all heard the news lately about omega fatty acids and how we need to eat more fish.  In the past, our food provided us with an equal amount of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.  Now, with the way our food is processed and prepared, we now take in 20 times as much omega 6 as omega 3 which causes inflammation in the body and results in all kinds of physical ailments and triggers the FAT programs (actually “Famine And Temperature” not fat) that can cause us to retain unnecessary weight.  

Good sources of Omega 3 include…

  • Flax seed and oil
  • Omega 3 enriched eggs
  • Fish – specifically wild cold water fish
  • Organic Meat and Dairy

Flax seeds are awesome and can be sprinkled on everything without really affecting the taste at all.  The catch is they must be freshly ground for maximum potency.  I bought a  second coffee grinder for this and just grind up a little flax while prepping each meal and sprinkle it on everything.  

I also use omega eggs, which I think are also a decent source of protein.  We are trying to eat one fish meal a week, usually alternating between shrimp and fish.   We have never been fish eaters so this is a step for us.  Jon also recommends taking a significant amount of omega 3 supplements, which I have started to do this week. 

Live Foods

This just means that the food is alive and unprocessed.  Lots of fruits and veggies, preferably organic.  Add an extra serving to each meal is my general rule.

Essential Sugars

This is the carb category.  This is definitely the one I am most confused about.  In one sentence he says that bread and starches are “dead carbs” and provide no significant nutritional value, but in the next section he talks about how good for you sprouted bread is.  

Well, until I figure it out I am really enjoying sprouted bread.  This is my favorite find from this program.  It is so yummy.  I especially enjoy the kind with seeds.  It is very different than even a regular piece of wheat bread, but I have completely replaced all other bread, except for the occasional onion bun (I love these).  

Sprouted bread can be found in the organic section of your grocery store and sometimes it is refrigerated.  My Trader Joes carries several varieties and I found some local bakery sprouted seed bread at my local Thriftway that is amazing.  It  works well for toast, sandwiches and makes really amazing french toast.  Yum Yum Yum.

Table sugar and processed breads are the worst of the “dead carbs”.  Jon recommends Xylatol as his sweetener of choice.  It is pretty spendy so I haven’t gone there yet, but will probably pick some up next time I have a little extra in the weekly food budget.  Supposedly it tastes natural and can be used as a one to one replacement for sugar.  For now, I have switched to raw turbinado sugar for my coffee (which is really the only thing I use table sugar directly for).

Fruit, of course, is the best source of essential sugars.  

There are some timing issues that can be important when it comes to carbs.  Eat carbs as early in the day as possible and as late in the meal as possible.  This encourages better digestion and less left overs that can be turned into fat.

In addition to wondering about good bread versus dead carbs, I am also curious how rice fits into all this.  There is no mention of brown or wild rice, which I thought were pretty good for you.  Guess I will have to do some research or maybe I will email Jon and ask him.  Supposedly you can do that from his website.

Supplements

This is my supplement regimen each day…

  • Before Breakfast – A probiotic and a digestive enzyme.  The probiotic you take should be the kind you purchase from and store in the refrigerator, available at your local health food store.  A good all around profile digestive enzyme is best.
  • In the Afternoon – A multi-vitamin and a multi-mineral and my acai supplement.  The guy I talked to at my local health store recommended Real Food Organics Ultimate Daily Nutrition for my daily multi.  It is made from organic food sources only.  Here’s a look at the nutritional information.
  • With Dinner – A digestive enzyme and several Omega 3 capsules.  This is the omega 3 supplement that I take.  According to my guy, it was the second best one, but the top rated one was a little cost prohibitive.

How It All Comes Together

This may sound like a lot of work.  Karli and I were talking about it the other night and he was saying how he could “never do what I do”.  He is pretty picky and particular when it comes to food so some of these things might be a stretch for him (mostly the flax seed scares him I think).  

But really,  I don’t feel like any of this has inconvenienced me or is hard or that I am suffering at all. Eating a big breakfast is something that I am not used to doing and I have had to carve out time to do so.  But, I am not depriving myself of anything and once I had a system in place, all the adds, supplements and meditations weren’t a big deal at all.

I think the visualisation CD has a lot to do with this.  I usually fall asleep within the first few minutes so I’m not really sure exactly what he’s planting in there, but whatever it is I am feeling really good about this whole process and unlike all the “diets” I have tried before, I’m not missing anything.  

This is just stage one and many more changes and additions are coming, but I feel prepared and unafraid and am sure that those changes will come easily as well.

Buy The Book Now!

I have been taking an Acai supplement for about 6 months now and I will tout its benefits all over town, but let’s get one thing perfectly clear…

This is not a diet drug.  If you believe that crap about losing 40 pounds by just taking a pill then you are an idiot, just like I was.

The fact is that I too hoped that it would be some miracle and that I would magically lose all the baby weight in 2 months.  I even combined it with a colon cleanser because I heard that worked better.  No surprise here that I didn’t lose even a pound.

But a miracle like that does not exist, it just doesn’t.  Losing weight and getting fit is about changing the way you eat and exercise and it is just as simple as that.  There is no magic pill, just like everything else in life.  It is time to grow up and take responsibility for our weight, our health, our kids, our happiness, our fulfillment, our lives.  

That’s what this blog is all about and if you want to learn more about what I am doing to take control of and responsibility for my weight then check this out.

Ok, now why is Acai so great?  Acai is chocked full of antioxidants, as much as 10 to 30 times more antioxidants than red wine.  It is also rich in Omega fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and fiber.  A super food so to speak.  These are all essential to our overall health and suprise, your weight loss as well.  

The benefits of all this is better sleep, better digestion, more energy, a more effective immune system and even a better libido.  From my experiences, all of this is a true and accurate representations of the benefits.

I used to have a really hard time falling asleep.  I did not have insomnia or anything like that but it would take me a good 30 minutes to calm my mind and body down enough to go to sleep.  I am not even remotely exaggerating in saying that since I started taking the Acai, I put my head down on the pillow and the next thing I know it is morning.  I fall asleep within minutes and sleep soundly and deeply all night long.   

My favorite part is the energy.  I take my Acai supplements in the afternoon with my multivitamin, because that is when I feel the lowest energy.  I then have the energy to get through the rest of the day and even go to the gym.  And at the gym, I feel stronger and better able to focus on what I am doing.  An the best part is that this is not the jittery energy you get from energy drinks or coffee.  You simply have more energy, simple as that.

So if you are looking for a magic diet pill, this isn’t it.  But, if you are looking for a great nutritional supplement that gives you immediate and long lasting noticeable results, then Acai might be just the thing for you.

I personally take and highly recommend Perfect Acai.  Perfect Acai is organic, sustainably harvested, freeze dried (essential to its effectiveness) and budget friendly.