Cheat Like a Champion – How going astray doesn’t have to ruin your health

I’m talking about eating. Bad food choices are part of life. Eating “clean” (i.e., no bad stuff at all) is a great goal but out of reach for a lot of people, including me. From birth, we learn about delicious foods we crave and love to eat. We’re human and get tempted, especially by food that looks and tastes delicious. So, how do we integrate fun foods without blowing our health? With super-easy alterations that don’t require doing a 180° overnight.

Friend, author, and scientific researcher, Jose Antonio, Ph.D., has written extensively about nutrition, supplements, and fitness for decades. In his books, “Dietary Protein and Resistance Training” (2012), “Essentials of Amino Acids in Sports” (2010), and “Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements,” (2008). He discusses the advantages of including “cheat meals” into eating programs. Cheat meals allow you to satisfy cravings and give you a chance to loosen the reigns, but they shouldn’t turn into cheat years.

Believe it or not, cheating should not be a reason to eat less than you normally would at other meals. The energy it takes for your body to work off a cheat meal increases your metabolism that can last for days. This can offset the drop in hormones that occurs when the calorie-deficit diet is again resumed. As a result, a scheduled cheat meal can actually help optimize our body’s hormones to avoid weight-loss plateaus and prevent it from entering starvation mode! It’s true! A well-rounded cheat can help you break through weight-loss plateaus!

Here’s how you make the transition in your food to transform your health.

#1. Don’t Diet

That’s right. Don’t diet. “Diet” is associated with “deprivation” and many of us are deeply attracted to what we can’t have. Many people “go” on a diet and cut out entire categories of foods, like carbs and fats. That deprives us of foods we love and starves our bodies of some of the vital nutrients it needs.

#2. Start with a “Better Bad” Choice

Let me unravel this for you. Food preferences are built into our psyches. We associate the smell and flavor of food with childhood and adult experiences and emotions. So, if we are asking ourselves to cut out our “memory” foods, we are cutting off our memories and emotions. That’s a lot to ask just to lose some weight or change eating habits. It is easier to make minor substitutions that will help us reach our health goal without sacrificing the joy of eating. Here are simple substitutions:

  1. Eat a lean turkey burger instead of a beef burger – with everything you like on it.
  2. Try a whole grain bun instead of a white flour bun.
  3. Try sweet potato fries (yes, they are still fried) instead of other potato fries.
  4. Stick a spoon in a cup of vanilla Greek yogurt with fruit mixed in, freeze it, and eat it like an ice cream cone.
  5. Try zucchini spaghetti (with your regular topping) instead of pasta.

As you get used to small changes, you can change bigger things. Before you know it, you will be “liking the foods you eat” instead of “eating the foods you ‘used’ to like.”

#3. Plan a Little Bit – Just a Little Bit – Ahead

Planning daily meals can be tough. A friend of mine does one thing that helps her keep her weekly food intake on track. (And, yes, she’s a cheater.) The most time-consuming aspect of meal planning for her is cooking up her meat, chicken, or fish. She calls these her “meal bases:” She grills up several chicken breasts and some extra lean ground beef without seasonings (she adds those later). She separates them into 3.5 – 6 ounce bags and puts them in the refrigerator and freezer. She takes them as she needs them. She combines them with different, spices, vegetables, and sauces during the week to make creative, delicious meals. She has also been known to bring her own grilled chicken to a restaurant and add it to a salad she orders. She tries to order dressing on the side to eliminate the calories, sugar, and carbs some dressings can add to a meal.

#4. Indulge in the Spices of Life

Literally. Spices can transform food. They can also change the way you feel about food. Many foods that are healthy choices easily adopt the flavor of spices so well that you may be shocked. Try new spices you have never used before. This can open a world of healthy culinary hedonism. (Some of my favorites include curry, chili, turmeric, cayenne, garlic powder, cracked black pepper, oregano, fresh basil, tarragon, and dill.)

#5. Make it Worth It with No Regrets!

If you’re gonna cheat, go ahead and do it right. Enjoy the indulgence and drop the guilt. Give yourself a break, eat the cheat, ignore the guilt, and leave it at that.

In no time, you can turn your eating habits around and make those “cheat” days into real “treat” days. You will have earned them!

Here’s to a Better You,


Larry North

Host of the Larry North “Better You” radio show

CBS KRLD 1080 am

Sundays 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Central Time

Listen wordwide at

or join the show by calling 214.787.1080

BioTE® Medical practitioners are nationwide. For a provider near you, visit


Learning Up – How a BioTE® Medical seminar meant for doctors changed me

Sometimes we find the best stuff in places we least expect to find it. I recently attended a BioTE® Medical doctor training (I am not a doctor). It was filled with big words I didn’t understand and fancy acronyms to help me understand what I didn’t understand. As if that weren’t humiliating enough, the speakers were all medical doctors who had the equivalent of the entire alphabet in designations after their names. I felt unworthy. But, even with all the above-my-education-level terminology, I loved it. I stayed. I had fun and learned a ton. It stretched my current knowledge base and forced me to “learn up.”

The weekend seminar was all about the benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT for short), specifically the BioTE® Method. But, when given the opportunity to learn something new from the best in the biz, I’m in. BioTE® uses bioidentical (natural) hormones that mimic the way our bodies naturally deliver hormones. Hormone production declines as we age. That may be “normal” but it is not “optimal.” Hormones affect every single cell in our bodies. When our hormone levels are at their highest – on average before age 30 – we can perform so many things better so why wouldn’t we want our hormones to be at the same levels they were at their peak?

BHRT is not new. It has been around since the 1930s. There is a mountain of data supporting its safety and efficacy. Even so, the medical community is somewhat divided due to two major factors: the pharmaceutical industry (affectionately known as “Big Pharma”) and ignorance.

Big Pharma makes its living off the sale of its pharmaceuticals. These are synthetic medications are expensive to make and they bring in huge profits. Competing with bioidentical remedies is a threat to their bottom line. It reminds of when I learned about ear candling and asked my doctor why more doctors didn’t tell their patients about it. He looked at me and said, “Because that would put the makers of antibiotics out of business.” Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is up against the same thing. But, c’mon, if given a choice between a synthetic drug and a natural one that is more effective and safer, who wouldn’t want the latter?

Ignorance is a bigger issue and is unacceptable with so much evidence-based data. There is too much data available to deny the benefits of BHRT. It protects the brain, breast, heart, and bones. It can give you more energy, better sleep, more mental clarity, less moodiness, and more. It just kinda makes you a more pleasant person to be around, too. Can’t hate that.

Dr. Gary Donovitz, the founder and CEO of BioTE® Medical teaches the BioTE® Method himself. He has experts like Dr. Neal Rouzier (the thyroid guy) and Dr. Derrick DeSilva (the nutracuticals guy) speak to the 100+ doctors in the room. Even they learned things they didn’t know.

And, I, who thought my BHRT had brought me to “optimized” discovered that my levels were actually low. I was so impressed with all I had learned that I made an appointment with my doctor before I left the room.

I had no idea I would learn so much on a topic about which I knew so little. Surprise! I got some extremely valuable information in the place I least expected – I shouldn’t have even been there, really. I left thinking that best kinds of seminars are the ones you never meant to attend. These can sometimes be the ones that change your life. This one changed mine.

Just for the optimized health of it,


BioTE® Medical providers are nationwide. For a provider near you, visit




Is it Sauce Yet? – How cabbage helped me eat my way back to childhood

We rarely ate out when I was younger. We had six kids in our family and restaurant dining was not just expensive but impractical. Most nights, my mom cooked and we ate together at home at the table, with the TV OFF. We bonded. We talked. We argued. We picked at our vegetables. We were loud. Family meals were the emotional nourishment of our connectedness, especially pasta. Ah, pasta, drowning in my mom’s homemade spaghetti and meatballs. Food like that helped define our family and pasta was the fastest route back to a life that was no longer mine.

My mom came from a big Italian family. Pasta was a mainstay in our house, my aunts and uncles’ homes, and my grandparents’ house. And, pasta was fine until I hit 50. Menopause gave me stubborn pounds that decided to live on my thighs. Hormones helped (thank you BioTE®) but I needed a nutritional overall for the rest. So, instead of giving up pasta altogether, I decided to find a suitable – gulp – substitute. It worked. I discovered cabbage and before you laugh, hang one.

Cabbage is the “everything food.” It helps keep you regular, is loaded with fiber. It contains antioxidants like vitamin C important in the resistance to infection. It is a source of vitamin K – vital to building and maintaining strong bones. It is anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic, and one full cup is low in carbohydrates and has only 22 measly calories.

To me, cabbage has no real taste by itself but it embraces the flavors of everything else. Cut very thinly then boiled, it gives the illusion of pasta. I top it with all kinds of things, including spaghetti sauce and meatballs. My meatballs are tiny and have lost many of the ingredients they used to have and my sauce is isn’t even a distant relative of my mom’s but mine is good and healthy.

I use all fresh vegetables and herbs. Chopped tomatoes, fresh oregano and basil, a teaspoon of olive oil tossed together placed over freshly steamed cabbage and sprinkled (sparingly) with fresh Romano and Parmesan cheese is divine. I have convinced myself that my take on my mom’s sauce is analogous to my growing up and that is okay. It’s evidence that I can make my way in this world at least in the kitchen.

Getting older has forced me to replace my beloved pasta with cabbage. It tastes different but the aroma still holds a hint of my childhood and with one tasty bite, I am home.


Just for the health of it,


BioTE® Medical providers are nationwide. For a provider near you, visit