Thursday, December 19, 2013

Have Your Steak and Eat It Too

All beef is not created equal; in fact organic free-roaming grass-fed beef has many heart-healthy benefits and has a place in a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. Typical cattle is fed a diet of grains leading to rapid weight gain and fattier meat. Cows are fed antibiotics or growth enhancers, and living conditions are overcrowded and inhumane to say the least.

Organic free-roaming grass fed cattle does not receive antibiotics, growth enhancers, or other byproducts. The cows graze on grass in a pasture and produce much leaner meat, about 1/3 less fat than regular cows. The environmental impact is much more favorable and ethical issues such as living conditions and quality of life are a primary focus.
Less fatty beef means lower saturated fat content, the “bad fat” that can lead to heart disease. Grass fed beef has an added benefit of being high in omega-3 fatty acids, a heart healthy fat that is essential for your brain and may even reduce cancer risks. It is estimated grass-fed beef has 2-6 times more omega-3’s than regular beef.

The ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids is believed to be close to 1:1 in grass-fed beef. Regular beef has over 10:1 ratio which is believed to add inflammation and stress to the body. Organic free-roaming grass-fed beef is also believed to be higher in antioxidants, especially vitamin E. It is estimated grass-fed beef is 2-4 times higher in vitamin E than regular beef.
When you go to the grocery store you will notice grass-fed beef is sometimes darker in color than regular beef, and has much less marbling, or visible fat. Taste wise grass-fed beef has a stronger taste and a more intricate flavor profile. Cost wise you will be spending considerable more money on organic free-roaming grass-fed beef.

Overall beef is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, beta-carotene, iron, zinc, and selenium. When consumed in moderation organic free-roaming grass-fed beef can be an excellent addition to your healthy diet with many health benefits.

Healthy Steak
2-4oz Organic free-roaming grass-fed beef
Salt and pepper

Spray a grill pan with a small amount of oil and heat over medium heat. Season the beef with a small amount of salt and pepper. If you are watching your salt intake just season with pepper. Cook until steak reached your desired doneness.

Steamed Asparagus
Place water in a pot and set a steam basket overtop. Heat pot over medium-high heat until water is boiling. Add asparagus and cover the pot with a lid. Steam until asparagus is tender, about 6-8 minutes.  

Healthy Mashed Potatoes
1 1/2lbs potatoes, cut into cubes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
½ cup nonfat milk
Salt and pepper to taste

In a pot combine potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium-low heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Once fully cooked drain broth and add garlic and milk. Mash the potatoes, adding more milk if needed until potatoes are fluffy. Finish with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper. For those watching their sodium simply omit the added  salt and switch to no sodium broth.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Healthy Habits for 2014

As the year comes to an end we look forward to a new start in 2014. Is living a healthier lifestyle, achieving weight loss, or working out more one of your New Year’s resolutions? Get motivated and start setting goals for yourself. Make a plan to not just live a healthier lifestyle, but commit to eating 5 fruits and vegetables a day. If weight loss is your resolution set realistic goals for yourself and track your progress on a weekly basis. If your plan is to work out more build yourself a schedule. Plan your workouts a month at a time and track your progression at the end of each session. No one is perfect and adopting new habits isn’t easy. Recruit the support of family and friends, remain dedicated to your goals, and believe that if you want to live a healthier life you can do it!

Healthy Habits:

·         Eat breakfast everyday
·         Don’t skip meals
·         Eat fish twice a week
·         Eat out less
·         Limit processed foods
·         Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily
·         Make half your grains whole grain
·         Drink more water, most people need at least 8 cups daily
·         Drink less alcohol
·         Get 8 hours of sleep nightly
·         Stop frying food
·         Achieve a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 5 days each week
·         Strength train at least 2 days each week
·         Take time to relax and appreciate everything you have in life
·         Spend more time with family and friends
·         Become more positive and avoid negative thoughts

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Chocolate: Rich...Creamy...Healthy

Rich, creamy, and healthy....dark chocolate has many health benefits when consumed in moderation. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans which are high in a nutrient called flavanols. Flavanols are a type of antioxidant (also found in wine and tea) which help protect the plant from toxins and help our bodies resist free radical damage.

Research shows flavanols have potential cardiovascular benefits which include lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow possibly reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. The research is not concrete but some studies also show improved insulin sensitivity in diabetics and short term increase in blood flow to the brain improving alertness and performance. One study even found people who consumed flavanol rich chocolate, wine, or tea scored higher on cognitive tests than those who did not.

Cocoa beans undergo processing to turn into chocolate. The more processed the chocolate is, the less flavanols it contains. Milk also interferes with the antioxidants found in chocolate and can block the potential health benefits. Added fat and sugar also reduce the health benefits of chocolate changing it from a "superfood" into a junk food.

Look for chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa and keep your serving size to 1.4-2 ounces daily. Cocoa is very bitter and pungent in taste. Switching from a sugary milk chocolate bar to 70% dark chocolate may be a shock for your taste buds. Some find dark chocolate to be an acquired taste that takes some time to get used to. Start small and eat it with things you enjoy. My guilt free treat is drizzling some melted 72% cocoa over a handful of raspberries. However you choose to enjoy your dark chocolate, know the biggest reward is the impact on your health.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Power of Pomegranate


Sometimes called a Chinese apple, the pomegranate is rich in nutrients and a delicious treat for anyone willing to work hard enough to extract its seeds. Originally grown in India and the Middle East, the pomegranate was used in traditional medicine to remedy many ailments and conditions. While the pomegranates healing properties have not been substantiated by modern medicine it is very apparent the fruit contains many health benefits.

Pomegranates are very high in antioxidants that rival other “Superfoods” such as acai berries and green tea. These powerful antioxidants help protect you from free radical damage and can reduce inflammation within your body. The seeds provide excellent sources of vitamin C that help support healthy connective tissue and fiber to support healthy GI function.

High in vitamin K the fruit supports healthy blood circulation. Studies have shown adults with ischemic heart disease benefited from less ischemia during stress testing when they drank 8oz of pomegranate juice daily for 3 months over those that did not. Some studies also suggest the possible benefit of pomegranate juice reducing LDL accumulation, systolic blood pressure and vital infections.

Also high in phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron the pomegranate is a rich source of many vital vitamins and minerals. It is best to enjoy the seeds of the pomegranate as this unprocessed and fiber rich source locks in the most nutrients. However if you are on the go or just don’t like all the work that goes into de-seeding a pomegranate, its juice can easily be purchased in the store.

                                      Searching for a new way to de-seed a pomegranate?

Try cutting the fruit into quarters and submerging each quarter in a bowl of water. Gently rub the seeds until they fall to the bottom of the bowl. The white waxy part of the fruit will float to the top and be much easier to remove. The water also prevents the juice from spraying out and staining you clothes.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Enjoy Thanksgiving without Packing on the Pounds!

On average we eat as much as 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving! Knowing which foods to cut back on can make a healthy impact on your waistline while still enjoying the foods you love.

Biggest Offenders:                                                                                              
Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows 1 cup 590 calories                   
Pecan Pie 1 slice 500 calories                                                                                      
Apple Pie 1 slice 400 calories                                                                                      
Mashed potatoes with gravy 1 cup 345 calories                                                 
Cornbread stuffing 1 cup 350 calories                                                                     
Mac ‘n Cheese ½ cup 210 calories

Healthiest Options:
Skinless turkey 3oz 135 calories
Roasted Potatoes 1 cup 200 calories
Brussels Sprouts ½ cup 30 calories
Green Beans 1 cup 40 calories
Homemade cranberry sauce 1/3 cup 40 calories

Side by Side:
Turkey, white meat 4oz 180 calories vs. Turkey, dark meat 4oz 325 calories
Roasted Potatoes 1 cup 200 calories vs. Mashed Potatoes with gravy 345 calories
Green Beans 1 cup 40 calories vs. Green Bean Casserole ½ cup 225 calories
Cranberry Relish ½ cup 75 calories vs. Jellied Cranberry Sauce ¼ cup 110 calories
Pumpkin Pie 1 slice 315 calories vs. pecan pie 1 slice 500 calories

Calorie Cutting Tips:
Drink water instead of soda or juice; limit alcohol as much as possible
Eat light at breakfast and lunch to compensate for dinner
Appetizers can quickly add up, focus on the main meal and stay away from pre-meal temptations
Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables (salad, green beans, broccoli, etc.) and the rest of your plate with small samplings of more indulgent side dishes
Take a sliver of pie instead of a whole slice
Skip dessert toppings like whipped cream and ice cream
Take a walk or play an active game, get the family involved and burn some extra calories

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Healthy Hummus

Hummus is delicious, healthy, and can be enjoyed in many different ways. Served as a dip with pita and vegetables or spread on a sandwich, this complete protein is a great staple for vegetarians, vegans, and meat eaters alike.
The main ingredients in hummus are chickpeas and tahini, which are rich in fiber, protein, folic acid, calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium. Additional ingredients such as olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice are also great sources of healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants.
Below is a simple Hummus Recipe I make to share with friends and family. I sometimes add fresh herbs or dried tomatoes to add additional flavor. Play around and see what tastes good to you!
Healthy Hummus Recipe
1/3 Cup Tahini (Sesame Seed Paste)
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 tbs Lemon Juice (about 1/2 lemon)
2 tbs Olive Oil
1 15oz Can of Chickpeas
1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
In a food processor add tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. Blend for 1 minute until smooth. Rinse chickpeas well under water and drain. Add 1/2 of chickpeas to the food processor and blend until smooth. Add second half of chickpeas to the food processor along with the cumin and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick add some water until you reach a desired consistency. Serve with pita chips and vegetables. I also sprinkled some paprika over the hummus to add some color and extra flavor. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

White vs Sweet...Which Potato is Healthier?

Potatoes (as well as corn, peas, and winter squash) are starchy vegetables, meaning they provide high amounts of carbohydrates and nutrients just like grains,  and are higher in calories and sugar than non-starchy vegetables.

Sweet potatoes, not to be confused with yams, are rich in carotenoid pigments-an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are higher in fiber than white potatoes, similar in potassium, and a good source of vitamin C, B6, calcium, magnesium, and manganese.

White potatoes are still a good source of fiber, have a higher amount of protein, and are a good source of potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, B6, magnesium, iron, and folate.

Both potatoes have similar calories, fat, and glycemic index rating.

So why do potatoes have such a bad reputation?
Mostly because we eat too much and do not prepare them in healthy ways. Eating sweet potato fries has little to no benefit over eating regular French fries. Both are laden with oil and are stripped of the insoluble fiber found in the potato's skin. Loading potatoes with marshmallows, sugar, butter, sour cream, or bacon certainly doesn't contribute to a healthy meal either.

Keeping the potato as close to its natural state as possible, and eating 1 serving (about 1/2 cup) at a time will provide a healthy, low fat, nutrient rich vegetable to any meal. Potatoes are even helpful for people looking to lose weight. While higher in calories than nonstarchy vegetables, the insoluble fiber in the skin adds roughage to the diet, and the soluble fiber in the flesh of the potato slows digestion and provides satiety, helping you to feel full longer.

White and sweet and potatoes offer many health benefits. With the sweet potato coming up a bit stronger in nutrient content, white potatoes offer alternative nutrients the sweet potato does not. Eating a variety of sweet and white potatoes contributes to an overall healthy eating plan.

Health-full Cooking:
Pierce a clean sweet potato several times with a fork
Drizzle olive oil and place in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes or until tender
Enjoy plain or sprinkled with cinnamon

Cut a clean white potato into cubes
Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, pepper, garlic, and crushed rosemary
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until tender

Monday, October 21, 2013

Are you Juicing?

A friend of mine received a very interesting memo from her son's school the other day. Water was not to be packed for snack or lunch anymore. Water is not a source of nutrients, only 100% juice will be allowed. Somewhere between laughing from the absurdity and contemplating a call to the school board I realized we are so inundated with "healthy information" we have thrown common sense out the window. Are people really so confused they believe juice is essential? Or even scarier that water is bad for us? Let's set the record straight.....

Juicing collects a concentrated amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidents. The most common nutrients found in juice are vitamin C, potassium, and folate. Some juices will even be fortified with additional nutrients like calcium and vitamin D which is an added benefit. Unfortunately many other vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidents, and phytonutrients found in the skin of fruits and vegetables are left behind. This is why it is so beneficial to balance between juice and whole produce as part of a healthy diet.

Technically juicing is a type of processing and can degrade the nutrients extracted from the fruit or vegetable. Without a protective skin the juice is more likely to loose nutritional value the longer it sits. It is best to drink your juice fresh than storing it for days at a time.

Many Internet claims suggest juice is better absorbed from the lack of fiber, reduces cancer risks, boosts immunity, and aids in weight loss. It is important to note most Internet claims are not substantiated with scientific evidence-based research which takes years to establish. It is also important to note whether juiced or whole....fruits and vegetables are great for you and have amazing health benefits to prevent chronic disease! Just don't follow fads, look for solid truth.

Juice is a concentrated source of calories and natural sugar. Typically juice will be higher in calories and will not fill you up as much as a whole fruit. (Think about which would fill you up more: 1 orange or 1/2 cup of orange juice?) If you are trying to loose weight this is important to keep in mind. The fiber in an orange will leave you more satisfied on fewer calories.

Maybe you are looking to cut down on fiber. Juice can be a good alternative to whole fruits and vegetables while maintaining a good intake of vitamins and minerals. This is especially helpful to my marathon and triathlon clients before a big race.

Kids do not NEED juice! Kids do need regular sources of fruits and vegetables. If your kids will not eat whole fruits and vegetables than juice is a good alternative to get more nutrients into their diet. It is important to drink juice in moderation since it can lead to tooth decay, obesity, and displace other essential nutrients. It is best to limit juice to 4-6oz/day in kids 1-6 years old, and 8-12oz/day for older kids and adults.

Juice can quickly raise blood sugar levels. This can be helpful if your blood sugar is low, but could quickly lead to sugar crashes similar to eating a candy bar. Drinking juice with a meal that includes some protein, fat, or fiber will help slow the absorption and limit the effect juice has on your blood sugar levels.

Last but not least..........

We do not NEED calories 24/7. The human body amazingly stores nutrients and allows us to go many hours without taking in calories while still managing to running efficiently. In fact, constantly taking in calories throughout the day can cause kids to be less hungry at meals for important nutrients like protein and healthy fat. It can also lead to weight gain, obesity, and tooth decay.

Water aids in digestion, prevents constipation, transporting nutrients, regulates body temperature, maintains electrolyte balance, and is involved in almost every bodily process. Fluoridated water prevents tooth decay and is especially important for kids. Water is an essential non-caloric nutrient needed for life. While juice contains some water, vitamins, and minerals it is not a replacement for water...nothing is a replacement for water. Juice does have a place in a healthy diet when consumed in moderation, and can be a substitute for some fruits and vegetables in our diet...not a substitute for water. Just like all things in life.....use common sense and keep everything in moderation!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Fall is upon us, and so our seasonal produce begins to change. Local corn, tomatoes, and peaches are quickly replaced with local apples, mushrooms, and squash. Autumn produce offers a range of earthy flavors and varying textures to satisfy the most discerning palate. Tonight I took advantage of the beautiful acorn squash I came across at a farmers market earlier today. Rich in vitamin C, beta carotene, fiber, manganese, B6, potassium, and vitamin K; acorn squash has amazing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Even more exciting is this vegan friendly recipe is power packed with protein! Each squash if stuffed with quinoa, a complete protein grain that dates back thousands of years. 1 cup of quinoa has about 8g of protein...that's more protein than 1 egg and about as much protein as a cup of milk. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

3 Acorn Squash
1/2 lb Baby Portobello Mushrooms (Roughly Chopped)
1 Small Yellow Onion (Diced)
Pinch of Thyme
1 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup Quinoa
2 Cups Low Sodium Vegetable Broth (Or No Sodium if Desired)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Optional: Parmesan Cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut each acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp to form a bowl. I also cut a little off the back side so the squash would sit upright and not tip over. Place the squash in a baking dish with the "bowl" facing downward. Fill the baking dish with about 1 inch of water and place in the oven. Cook 30-40 minutes or until tender.

In a sauté pan or medium size saucepan heat olive oil. Add the onions and mushrooms, then sprinkle with thyme and ground pepper. Stir frequently and sauté about 6-8 minutes or until mushrooms become tender. Add the quinoa and broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Keep covered and cook about 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

Remove the finished squash from the oven and carefully scoop the quinoa mixture into each squash bowl. If desired top with cheese and pop back into the oven for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve to your guests and enjoy! This recipe serves 6.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Heart Healthy Beef

You do not need to eliminate beef to reduce fat in your diet. The American Heart Association is certifying extra-lean cuts of beef that can fit into a heart-healthy lifestyle. Retailers can display the AHA certified mark to promote the health benefits of meat and help shoppers quickly identify those meats which are low in saturated fat. More may be added but currently 7 cuts are being certified:
  • Sirloin Tip Steak
  • Bottom Round Steak
  • Top Sirloin Stir-fry
  • Top Sirloin Steak
  • Top Sirloin Kabob
  • Top Sirloin Filet
  • Boneless Top Sirloin Petite Roast
 Extra-lean cuts of beef are defined as a 3.5oz serving (about the size of a deck of cards) that contains less than 5g total fat, 2g saturated fat, and 95mg cholesterol.

Lean cuts of beef are defines as a 3.5oz serving (about the size of a deck of cards) that contains less than 10g total fat, 4.5g saturated fat, and 95mg cholesterol.

While the grocery store may make it easy to find heart healthy cuts of meat, there are several cuts that are notorious for being high in fat and very popular in restaurants. These cuts should be limited and consumed in smaller amounts:
  • Filet Mignon
  • Porterhouse Steak
  • Skirt steak (Flank Steak)
  • NY Strip Steak
  • T-bone Steak
  • Rib-eye (Prime Rib)
 There are many other strategies for reducing fat in beef and promoting a healthier lifestyle such as:
  • Marinate meats in vinegar, wine, or citrus juices to help tenderize the beef. Add herbs and spices to add extra flavor without adding salt
  • Look for meats labeled as “loin” or “round” as these are typically lean
  • Choose grass fed beef since it is often lower in saturated fat, cholesterol, and higher in omega-3’s
  • Meats listed as “Select” or “Choice” instead of “Prime” typically has less fat
  • Choose meats with the least amount of visible fat
  • Cut off visible fat before cooking
  • Choose the lowest % of fat in ground beef
  • Drain cooked ground meat by rinsing in hot water and blotting with a paper towel
  • Eat in moderation-limit beef to 6oz at a time and not everyday
While beef can be a good source of protein, iron, zinc, B12, B6, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus, and selenium there are many other meat sources that are also low in fat and great sources of nutrients. Look to incorporate some of these other sources in your diet:
  • Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Pork Top Loin Chop
  • Pork Sirloin Chop
  • Skinless Turkey Breast
  • Cod
  • Light Tuna canned in water
  • Halibut
  • Salmon
As you can see beef can fit into a heart healthy lifestyle and can contribute to your overall health. Following strategies to help limit total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol can be easy especially if you look for the American Heart Association certified mark. Try replacing your usual high fat beef cuts with lower fat beef cuts and experience how easy eating healthy can be.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Drink to Good Health

Staying healthy isn't just about the food we eat, but also the beverages we drink. Believe it or not water is the MOST important nutrient for our body. Involved in almost every process and function within the body, losing even 1% of our body water can result in decreased athletic ability, thirst, and reduced productivity.

Water is an amazing resource that regulates our body temperature, maintains electrolyte balance, lubricates our joints, transports nutrients and chemical messengers throughout our body, and flushes toxin from our body.

Water carries oxygen to our muscles and brain, helping them work harder and us to perform at our best.

Water keeps us looking young by maintaining moisture in our skin helping to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

We can even lose weight from staying well hydrated. Not only is water zero calories but staying well hydrated helps our body metabolize fat more efficiently.

Every day we lose water through sweat, breathing, and going to the bathroom. We lose even more when we exercise or are in a hot environment. We need to replace fluid losses in a timely manner and can use a basic formula to estimate our daily needs. Try to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces. (For example if you weigh 160lbs your goal is to drink  80oz or 10 cups of fluid each day.)
While really any fluid counts towards your daily goal (juice, soda, coffee, ice cream, soup) I like to recommend drinking primarily water, and consume the other sources in moderation.

How can you add more water into your everyday life?
Drink a cup of water when you wake up and with each meal
Replace 1 cup of your usual soda or juice with water instead
Carry a water bottle with you
Add citrus fruit or cucumber to flavor your water
If you do drink juice water it down to reduce calories and sugar intake
Drink before you feel thirsty

What about during exercise?
It is recommended to rehydrate every 15-20 minutes by drinking about 6-12oz. Water is the best source unless you are exercising greater than an hour. Athletes working out greater than an hour can benefit from extra electrolytes and sugar to help replenish glycogen stores. Drinking a sports drink instead can help athletes maintain their stamina and perform better than water alone.

Can you drink too much water?
Of course...drinking too much water, just like eating too much of one food, can make us sick. Consuming too much water is mostly a concern for ultra distance and endurance athletes...such as marathon runners and ironman triathletes. Drinking too much water without enough electrolytes can cause lower than normal sodium levels called hyponatremia. Just remember to drink in moderation and not go overboard with the water bottle.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Feeling Stressed?

Walk it off....studies show brisk walking can reduce stress and improve your health. Taking a walk can release endorphins, a stress relieving hormone. Endorphins can also help alleviate depression, elevate your mood, and increase your self esteem. Taking a walk can remove you from a stressful situation and help quiet your mind and reduce your stress level. Walking can also increase your energy levels and fight fatigue.

How to Start
Walk at least 15-30 minutes a day
Try breaking 30 minutes into 10 minute walks three times a day
Walk at a brisk even pace 
Start with a slow walk as a warm up
End with a slow walk as a cool down
Increase your speed and duration over time
 Wear comfortable shoes such as sneakers to support your feet

Quick Tips
Park your car in a further parking spot
Take the stairs over the elevator
Wear a pedometer to track your progress
Walk with hand weights
Walk up hills

Monday, September 23, 2013

How Often Should We Work Out?

We all know it is important to be active...but how active should we be to stay healthy? The Department of Health & Human Services recommends both kids and adults to engage in an hour or more of physical activity each day.

For significant health benefits the guidelines are:
  • 150 minutes of moderate-intense exercise each week
    • Translation: 30 minutes 5 days a week
  • 75 minutes of vigorous-intense exercise
    • Translation: 25 minutes 3 days a week
And for additional health benefits.....
  • 300 minutes of moderate-intense exercise
  • 150 minutes of vigorous-intense exercise a week

Ideally exercise should include aerobic conditioning and muscular strength to help form a strong cardiovascular system, strong skeletal muscular system, and promote strong bones. Even people who cannot sustain the recommended guidelines can experience health benefits by staying as physically active as their conditions allow.

So what counts as moderate-intense and vigorous intense exercise?

Moderate-Intense Exercise (breathing increases, you can talk easily to your friends but would not be able to sing, you develop a light sweat after several minutes)
  • Dancing
  • Fast paced walking
  • Moving the lawn
  • Gardening
  • Housework/Building
  • Leisurely Swimming
  • Moderate Lifting

Vigorous-Intense Exercise (breathing is quick and deep, you can say only a few words at a time before needing a breath, you start sweating after a few short minutes)
  • Running
  • Aerobic dancing
  • Cycling
  • Fast Swimming
  • Competitive Sports
  • Shoveling Snow
  • Heavy Lifting
Adults and children can make small steps to achieve the physical activity guidelines. Start by setting goals that are appropriate for your current fitness level. Meet with your doctor and make sure it is safe for you to exercise. Increase your activity level slowly and gradually. Keep well hydrated during exercise. And most important of all....have fun!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Breakfast for Busy People

Are you too busy to eat breakfast? Would you prefer sleeping an extra 10 minutes instead of wake up early and making an omelet?

Maybe you are trying to lose weight and skipping breakfast helps you cut calories and reduce the amount of food you eat...

Whatever the reason, breakfast is really important for busy people to stay well energized and well nourished; and it can even help you lose weigh. When we eat food, carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in our liver and muscles. As we sleep our glycogen stores are depleted and used as energy for our central nervous system, brain, muscles, and for the production of red blood cells. When we awake we are pretty depleted and should eat a healthy breakfast to replenish our supply of energy for the morning.

If we do not eat breakfast our body begins to run inefficiently. We will have less energy since our reserves have been used up. Our brain is missing a fresh supply of carbohydrates so we may not think as clearly. Kids tend to do better in school when they eat breakfast compared to kids who do not. We tend to be more physically active throughout the day when we eat breakfast, and we are less likely to make unhealthy choices later in the day. Studies show people who skip breakfast tend to become too hungry later in the day, consume more overall calories, and select unhealthier foods than people who eat breakfast.

OK......we get that breakfast is important and healthy. So what can we eat when we don't have any time???

  • Single serving yogurt + plastic spoon + sandwich bag with some whole grain low sugar cereal
  • Banana + single serve peanut butter
  • Instant oatmeal in disposable bowl +handful of nuts and raisins
  • Tortilla + low fat cream cheese + piece of fruit
  • Store bought hard boiled eggs + whole wheat toast + piece of fruit
  • String cheese +handful whole grain crackers + tomato juice
  • Store bought smoothie (aim for high protein, high fiber, low sugar)
  • Homemade smoothie-make enough for the week and pour some into a thermos each day
  • Frozen healthy muffins-heat in microwave before eating
  • Fruit cup + plastic fork + healthy granola bar
  • Cottage cheese with fruit + plastic spoon
  • Toasted English muffin + low fat cream cheese + sliced tomato
  • Healthy trail mix with fruit and whole grain cereal
  • Lean turkey and cheese rolled in a tortilla + piece of fruit
  • Microwave eggs mixed with broccoli + whole grain toast
Making a change to any routine can be a challenge, but with a quick trip to the grocery store you can have a healthy breakfast every morning that you can eat on the go. Pick 1-2 ideas and buy enough to last you through the week. Get creative and give breakfast a try; You can do it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Grilled Summer Salad Recipe

This healthy summer salad serves 4, is easy to prepare, and incorporates plenty of seasonal produce.

3 Tbs olive oil + extra
2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs grainy mustard
1 Tbs chopped chives
3 ears of corn
2 hearts of romaine lettuce cut lengthwise
1 cup grape tomatoes cut lengthwise
20 Shrimp
Optional: Pecorino Romano cheese

1. To prepare the dressing, in a small bowl combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and chives. Whisk together until well combined. Set aside and allow flavors to develop.

2. Place corn with husk still attached into a bowl of water and allow to soak for an hour. Drain water and place corn with husk still attached directly onto the grill over medium heat and cook about 25-30 minutes until tender. If you prefer to boil corn you can do this instead, just make sure you remove the husk and silk before placing into boiling water. Which ever method you use, once the corn is cooked you will remove the husk if still attached and use a knife to cut off the kernels from the cob.

3. Mix together tomatoes and corn, divide equally onto four plates.

4. Drizzle shrimp and lettuce leaves with some olive oil and cook over medium heat. The shrimp will take about 2 minutes on each side. The lettuce will take about 2-3 minutes to become slightly charred and wilted. Once finished place a lettuce half on each plate. Divide shrimp between all four plates.

5. Drizzle each plate with dressing and top with optional Pecorino Romano cheese. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

"Clean Eating" Race Fuel

While out for a run earlier this afternoon a fellow runner and I were discussing different race fuel. It seems every running and sporting goods store has a gel, goo, chomp, or juice in every flavor under the sun. Undoubtedly sports supplements are effective and aid endurance athletes in achieving maximum performance.

Also true is the number of "clean eating" athletes that eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. Clean eaters focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. It can be challenging enough finding foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner...even more challenging is finding pre workout, post workout, and endurance race fuel. Below are some ideas on how to stick to a clean eating diet while properly fueling for your race, workout, or endurance event.

Pre Exercise 3:1 carbs to protein
Smoothie with Protein Powder
Bread, English Muffin, or Rice Cake with Peanut Butter
Quinoa with Milk and Berries
Fruit and yogurt
Banana with Almond Butter

During Exercise 30-60g carbs/hour
1/4 cup Dried Dates
1/2 Plain Bagel
Low Fat Crackers
Medium Banana
1/4 cup Raisins
4oz Dried Sweet Potato
2oz Dried Mango
Handful Pretzels

Post Exercise 4:1 carbs to protein
Oatmeal with Walnuts and Fruit
Brown Rice and Eggs
Turkey Wrap
Quinoa and Vegetables
Greek Yogurt and Berries
Protein Shake with Banana
Whole Grain Bread with Hummus

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Control Your Hunger

Whether you are looking to maintain your current weight or lose a few pounds, staying in control of your hunger is the most important step in controlling your weight.

A lot of research out there tells us our metabolism will be destroyed unless we always eat breakfast, never go more than 4 hours without eating, and religiously eat small meals throughout the day. Indisputable evidence to the truth of these statements is yet to be seen, however we do know a lot about hunger and how our body reacts to it.

When we wait too long to eat we become irrational. Our body craves fatty, sugary, salty, high calorie foods to quickly satisfy our hunger. Often people do not feel hungry for breakfast, but by lunchtime they quickly become so hungry they over eat less healthy foods. I think of the times I have felt way too hungry, I certainly have never torn apart the fridge looking for some broccoli or kale. Set yourself up for success, learn to identify hunger and balance meals and snacks to stay in control throughout the day.
What Does Hunger Feel Like?
Some people can literally hear their stomach growl and know it is time to eat. Some people get headaches, feel weak or are unable to concentrate. Others describe feeling nauseous, dizzy, and sick. Some people have dieted for so long, or eat so erratically they claim they cannot feel hunger anymore. Spend a day or two really listening to the needs of your body. Try to maintain your usual routine and eating habits but focus on how you feel throughout the day. If you usually skip breakfast and eat a late lunch try checking in with yourself on the hour and assess your energy level. Look for your bodies hunger signals. Notice how you feel when you do eat, do you feel in control of your choices, or do you feel too hungry and overeat? Do you find your emotions and stress drive your eating habits? Do you find distractions like the TV prevent you from enjoying your food and cause you to overeat?

Separate the Emotional Attachment to Food
Realize not all desires to eat are driven by hunger. We tie food to celebrations, social gatherings, stress, depression, and boredom. Food is everywhere and we need to control our interaction with it. When a coworker brings in cookies we may instantly feel the desire to eat one. We may feel overcome by stress or emotion and turn to chips or sweets to find comfort. We may feel bored and snack on something tasty that is in the kitchen cabinets late at night. These desires to eat are not the same as hunger. It is perfectly healthy and normal to indulge in these desires from time to time, however indulging too often can lead to weight gain and displacement of healthier foods we could otherwise be eating. As you become in tune with your body you will learn to identify real hunger from these other desires to eat. You well feel more in control to decide whether you will indulge in these treats or if you are better off waiting until you are really hungry to eat.

Learn How to Eat
When we are hungrier we are likely to eat more, when we are less hungry we should make a conscious effort to eat less. Eating regular meals helps maintain an even distribution of energy and can help prevent crashes in energy and overeating later. We can use a rating system to help identify our hunger and help us to stop eating once we have consumed enough. When you start to feel your hunger signals rate them on a scale of 1-10. Are you starting to feel a little hungry, or are you so starving your mood changes and you feel sick. Do you eat until your feel pleasantly full, or do you feel so uncomfortable your stomach hurts. Eat when your hunger signals are around a 3-4 and enjoy the food you have to eat. Eat slowly and mindfully until you are a 5-6 on the hunger scale.

1-starving, dizzy, unable to concentrate

2-very hungry, grumpy, low energy

3-rather hungry, stomach growling

4-starting to feel a little hungry

5-satisfied, not hungry or full

6-a little full, satisfied

7-slightly uncomfortably full

8- feel stuffed

9-very uncomfortable, stomach pain

10-feel so full you are sick

Eating healthy, mindfully, and regularly is not easy. You will need to be open to change and dedicated to improving your health and quality of life. Making small changes every day is achievable and you can stay in control of your hunger. You can separate the desire to eat from actual hunger. You can learn to eat healthy and resist the temptation of other desires to eat. Stay positive, stay focused, and stay motivated. You can do it!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Eat healthy and exercise. Simple advice that is much harder to follow. Fit Nutrition 4 Life works to bridge the gap between fitness and nutrition information, and what is practical for everyday life. All information in this blog is suggestive and may not be appropriate for everyone. Always consult a physician before making lifestyle changes.

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