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Eat To Cheat On Vacation

Photo: http://artfoodfriends.blogspot.com/2011/06/vacation.html

 Are you flying the coop this summer? If yes,  you join three quarters of the country. Americans are taking time off and heading to the beach this summer, http://newsroom.aaa.com/tag/summer-travel/.

Spending time at the beach or any vacation spot can set your weight goals back a few weeks easily. The downward spiral starts the minute you set out on your trip. Whether you are on a train, plane or in an automobile the ability to manage your food choices and your mentality to focus on eating as a priority goes right out the window.

Vacation is a time to relax and enjoy life. It is a break from responsibility and this is how it all starts. From the moment you leave the door and step into the car, you have left your troubles and your guard behind.  Travelling does not have to make for a dieting disaster.

Food should always be part of any holiday vacation, or any business trip, it is not your enemy. Food is your friend as long as you manage it. Enjoy eating on your vacation, indulge a little but do not overindulge every day.

Knowing that there will be temptations once you get to wherever you are going, start your trip off on the right foot. Build your confidence from the start of your journey. Panic is a typical feeling that sets in before a trip because you know what temptations lie ahead. Start your getaway off right.  Building your confidence to make better eating choices during your trip is important. Healthy convenience foods are just as easy to keep handy and eat as unhealthy choices.

Try these or think of your own creative ideas that will work for you:

  • Trail mix  or not (you must make your own, it is healthier and cost-effective) mix, shredded coconut, sunflower seeds and cashews or just eat each separately. Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower) and nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pecans…) are great just stick with a 1-2 oz. portion so you do not eat too much.
  • Jerky (organic is minimally processed), is convenient and there are a variety of flavors: there is beef, buffalo or turkey jerky
  • Kale chips can set you back about $5-7 for a 2 serving size bag or you can make them yourself by drizzling some oil and garlic and baking them. Kale is loaded with nutrients (vitamins: K, A, C; minerals: iron and calcium; protein and fiber).
  • Veggies are always a good idea. Keep it simple and enjoy: olives, cherry tomatoes, pickles, mushrooms, edamame, string beans, carrots and celery (best with a shmear of peanut butter).

If you can make a pit stop, most food stores, mini marts or restaurants will carry these so you do not have to pack food:

  • Mozzarella sticks or any hard cheese
  • Cottage cheese (snack size containers are available)
  • Deli items (chicken/tuna/egg salad, sliced deli meat, cucumber and onion or tomato salad) Protein  is always filling.

Having these types of options available during your trip may help minimize the results of potential indiscretions. Do not fool yourself into thinking “diet perfection” during your trip. Cheat sensibly.  Drink your Daiquiri, have an ice cream cone but think of which healthy habits you will maintain during your stay away from home.

Eat up, make choices and enjoy your vacation!

 

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5 Sensational Summer Thirst Quenchers

bev

 

Thirsty? During the hot summer months it is important to hydrate and enjoy tall, tasty drinks. Dehydration is not always apparent. Keep in mind, in the summer heat you need to drink more. Try this calculator to figure out just how much fluid your body needs, http://nutrition.about.com/library/blwatercalculator.htm.

Enjoy your fun in the sun with a thirst quenching beverage that supplies electrolytes and nutrients for taste and well-being. My top summer drink picks:

1. Water will always top my list. Add a slice or two of lemon or lime, cucumber & mint, berries, or any fruit  of your choice to replace electrolytes lost from sweating.  Clear crisp refreshing always and no calories.

2. Make your own vegetable juice or green drink,  this one looks OH SO GOOD!, http://www.betternutrition.com/green-smoothie-drink/columns/askthenaturopath/1166,  or buy an already made powder, greens plus http://greensplus.com/index.php. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants  and fiber play an important role in wellness.

3. Watermelon smoothie, see this simple “pinktastic” beverage recipe http://low-cholesterol.food.com/recipe/watermelon-smoothie-33787, fewer calories than a 100 calorie snack pack with 25 calories and a good dose of vitamin A, potassium and nutrients that promote good bone health, fluoride, calcium, magnesium and even a little choline (see why choline is so important to good health here, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/eggs-are-not-evil/ ).

4. Rooibos tea (pronounced roy-bos) is caffeine free so it is not dehydrating (maintains fluid and electrolytes) and it does not contain tannins (compounds that decrease iron and amino acid absorption).

5. Kefir is packed with nutrients, supports digestion and bone health. It naturally contains good bacteria and everyone should use a good probiotic. One 4 oz. serving contains 75 calories, 4 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbs and 4 grams of protein.

Honorable mentions, because they are processed but much better options than Gatorade or sugar laden drinks, go to:

1. Coconut water (in a can and unsweetened, of course) only 60 calories for 11 oz. and 100% is sugar (coconut is a fruit) and about 700 mg  potassium but if you like it drink 1/2 (about 5-6 oz) along with a protein snack.

2. V-8, although this is a vegetable juice, it is processed so it has higher amounts of sodium; but it does contain vitamins A and C, and the minerals iron and calcium.

Most commercially made items contain at least one addictive substance like caffeine, salt or sugar. Eating these habit-forming substances are not just addictive but they also increase your body needs for more fluid. Please keep this in mind, you are not helping yourself if you typically gulp down sugary fruit or sports drinks and soda, even diet soda is filled with caffeine and sodium.

Use your good judgment and know that drinking is just as important as eating when it comes to good health and hydration. Know to avoid sugar, sodium and caffeine in the beverages you choose. Then find almost any recipe like the ones that are listed and drink. Drinking healthier beverages does not have to be boring. Liven up your

Take on a tall and tasty while staying hydrated and serving your body sensational fluids and wellness.  Fill your glass and make a toast to healthy hydration. Drink up!

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2014 in BEVERAGE, nutrients

 

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Protect Yourself, Screen Your Sunscreen

 

Most people I know lather on the sunscreen before going out in the sun. But are you really doing the right thing by coating yourself with sun tan lotion? Maybe not!

If you think you are protecting yourself from harmful sun rays, skin cancer and lowering associated health risks with a push of the suntan spray nozzle you better think again. Reading the labels on your suntan lotion (just like reading food labels) can help you pick the safest most effective sunscreen options across the board.

Skin cancer effects more than 2 million Americans each year despite the fact that sunscreen is a $1.3 billion industry (IBIS World). In fact, melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) has tripled over the past 45 years.

PROBLEMS WITH YOUR SUN PROTECTION

  1. Active ingredients that are commonly used, such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate may be hazardous to health. Please see the chart provided by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/. Thyroid, sex hormones, endocrine system, skin allergies are all associate with these hormone disruptors.
  1. The sun protection factor (SPF) rating only refers to ultraviolet B rays (UVB) not UVA rays. Blocking UVB rays will protect the skin from a sun burn and squamous cell cancer but not against the other types of skin conditions and cancers.  Protecting skin from UVA rays is not simple because they radiate deeper into the skin tissue. Keep in mind, ingredients that help provide higher levels of UVB protection do not mix well with those that protect against UVA rays so typically they are not used together.
  1. While a higher SPF may block UVB rays, this also means that there are higher concentrations of the controversial ingredients that may affect your health.
  1. Sunscreen additives, like vitamin A (retinyl palmitate or retinoic acid) are there for cosmetic (anti-aging) purposes, however evidence suggests that the combination of sunlight and vitamin A may actually increase free radical damage that change DNA and increase skin cancer risk. The National Toxicology Program (the inter-agency federal research group) and the federal Food and Drug Administration’s National Center for Toxicological Research used retinyl palmitate in lotion that was used on lab animals who were exposed to the equivalent of nine minutes of maximum intensity sunlight every day for a year (NTP 2009). At the end of the study, they found developing cancer and skin tumors “dramatically accelerated”, http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/the-problem-with-vitamin-a/. You can do what you want with the information. You are likely not exposed to “maximum intensity sunlight” for 365 days and certainly you are not a lab animal but I prefer to always be cautious where there may be a question on things that potentiate illness.
  1. When tested by EWG, 4 out of 5 brands tested did not measure up to their skin protection claims. Do not get lulled into a false sense of security just because you use sun screen.

 

MAXIMIZE YOUR SKIN PROTECTION

  1. The best way to avoid health conditions that are associated with sun exposure is to stay out of the sun and plan activities earlier or later in the day. Use the afternoon for a siesta!
  1. Better sun screen options are zinc oxide (yes it is messy and thick but the safest and most effective option) or titanium dioxide with a 30 SFF.
  1. Read the label to screen your sunscreen. Do not just buy UVB SPF, it should also read UVA, broad spectrum, or multi-spectrum protection.
  1. Reapply, sunscreen as directed. Even sports and waterproof sunscreens need to be re-applied as often as directed.
  1. When it comes to sunscreen, it does not always follow the rule, you get what you pay for. Don’t think that a cheaper brand is any less effective than a more expensive brand. Some brands are cheaper and still contain safe ingredients.

Have your fun in the sun but protect yourself. If you would like to know how the EWG rates your lotion or use it to pick the best lotion option, click here, http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/about-the-sunscreens/sunscreen/. Be an educated consumer and enjoy your summer!

WANNA READ MORE? These are interesting links too, http://business.time.com/2013/05/30/5-reasons-youre-paying-too-much-for-sunscreen/ and http://www.naturalnews.com/045825_sunscreen_harmful_chemicals_UV_rays.html#, http://www.realfarmacy.com/scientists-blow-the-lid-on-cancer-sunscreen-myth/.

 
 

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Traditional BBQ Fare vs. Jazzed Up July 4th Cookery

4th of july

Enjoy the 4th! Celebrate the nation’s independence on July 4th, 1776, http://www.history.com/topics/july-4th/videos#jefferson-writes-declaration-of-independence .  If you’re interested in fun July 4th facts, safety tips …check out this website, http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Independence-Day.shtml.

Because this is a Federal holiday, most of us WILL NOT be working and WILL be spending time with friends and family BBQ-ing the day away.

Yes, July 4th is one day and yes it is a day filled with food so I am here to remind you to make choices and select foods and beverages that you really want while passing on those that are not as important.Without much thought the sugar, carbs and calories can add up very easily.

Traditional BBQ Fare

Alcoholic drinks, lemonade, fruit punch, juice and soda (100 calories or more)

Hamburgers and hot dogs on rolls with ketchup

Cole slaw and potato salad

Baked beans

Potato chips

Watermelon

Red, white and blue cake

Just reading this list might send your blood sugar and weight skyrocketing as there is not much in the way of variety most of these foods listed are full of fat and sugar. If you are picturing these foods, you should realize not much color here…no green, orange, a little red, white and blue (strawberries, white frosting, blueberries) on the cake but really not enough to make a difference in balancing out all the junk.

So pick your poison.

If you want an alcoholic beverage say no to the potato and Cole slaw. If you want more than one drink, you have to make another sacrifice.

If you know this is a typical menu at your BBQ, offer to bring a green vegetable salad with oil and vinegar or lemon juice and without excess sugar and fat.

If you eat your dog on a bun with ketchup, do not add more carbs and fat by chomping down on chips. Dip into the salad to offset the calories and carbs.

Half cup of baked beans is approximately 133  calories and 26 g of carbs and 10 g sugar in comparison with 1 cup of strawberries is 50 calories 12 carbs and 7 grams of sugar.

Avoiding sugary or alcoholic drinks and selecting  calorie-free iced tea or water will save you 150 calories each serving. Think about food like fireworks, create an exciting unforgettable meal this holiday.

Jazzed Up July 4th Cookery

Strawberry infused water or a low calorie beer or flavor infused vodka (69 cals) with seltzer

Fresh veggies (sliced cucumber, celery, carrots)

Blue cheese and cherry tomato salad drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette

Burgers, hot dogs, steak or chicken

Grilled mushrooms, peppers, onions, eggplant or String beans

Corn on the cob

Red, white and blue fruit salad (watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, peeled apple)

This menu is full of real colorful satisfying foods compared with the first menu that will keep calories, fat and sugar down. Any change you make to the first traditional but blah menu is a good one as long as your choices are real food instead of commercially prepared sugar fat and calorie laden kitchen chemistry.

Have fun this Independence Day! Take pleasure in healthy foods that will give your BBQ a new bang.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2014 in Food, July 4th

 

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It Is About “Time”: Fat Facts and The Cover Up

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What do steak, eggs, coconut, dark meat, chicken and turkey with the skin on have in common? They are all high in healthy saturated fat and are safe foods to eat.

Bryan Walsh’s report made the cover of Time magazine, “Eat Butter.” His article describes a 43 year “human experiment” using the consumer as guinea pigs to test lowering dietary fat and reducing heart disease risk starting back in 1977; when a senate committee urged Americans to “eat less high-fat red meat, eggs and dairy; eat more carbohydrates and increase fruit and vegetable consumption”.

What happened?

  • Heart disease is still the number one cause of death
  • Obesity now effects 33% of the US  population
  • Type 2 diabetes escalated by 166%

I do not have any statistical analysis but there are many more health conditions caused by excess carbohydrate intake that are on the rise, like metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, polycystic ovarian syndrome etc…

Why did this cover-up happen?

  • The establishment refused to publish controversial research.
  • Unethical researchers cherry picked the data used for analysis
  •  Puppeteers were good at disseminating the low-fat dogma put forth by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).

The research supporting the safety and efficacy of fat and saturated fat exists. In his article, Walsh interviews researchers who explain:

  • “Americans were told to cut back on fat to lose weight and prevent heart disease. There’s an overwhelmingly strong case to be made for the opposite.” –Dr. David Ludwig, Boston Children’s Hospital

 

  • “The argument against fat was completely flawed. We’ve traded one disease for another.” –Dr. Robert Lustig, University of California, San Francisco

 

  • “Willett (Walter Willett, Harvard) found that when high saturated fat foods were replaced with carbohydrates, there was no reduction in heart disease.”
  • “Simple carbs like bread and corn may not look like sugar on your plate, but in your body that’s what they’re converted to when digested.”
  • “Studies (by Eric Westman, Duke University) found that replacing carbohydrates with fat could help manage and even reverse diabetes.”

Mind you this TIME article is not late breaking news. I have blogged on the “BIG FAT” topic before:

  1. Seeking Saturated Fat, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/?s=saturated+fat
  2. Follow The Nutrition Guidelines Or Follow Your Heart, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/follow-the-nutrition-guidelines-or-follow-your-heart/
  1. When It Comes To Saturated Fat Use Your Noggin’, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/when-it-comes-to-saturated-fat-use-your-noggin/
  2. Carbohydrates Are Worse Than Saturated Fat, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/carbohydrates-are-worse-than-saturated-fat/
  3. Andrew Weil: Saturated Fat Is Not Associated With an Increased Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke or Vascular Disease,  http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/andrew-weilsaturated-fat-is-not-associated-with-an-increased-risk-of-heart-disease-stroke-or-vascular-disease/
  4. Eat saturated Fat For Good Health, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/eat-saturated-fat-for-good-health/
  5. Fat Functions To Promote Good Health, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/fat-functions-to-promote-good-health/
  6. Have We Created Our Own Heath Crisis? High Fat Must Have Foods For Good Health, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/have-we-created-our-own-health-crises-high-fat-must-have-foods-for-good-health/
  7. The Low Fat Nutrient Less Diet Cannot Nourish The Body,  http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/the-low-fat-nutrient-less-diet-cannot-fully-nourish-the-body/
  8. Eat Foods With Fat (5): Balance Foods With Fat, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2187&action=edit

So now what?

It is hard to break bad habits and we have been brain washed for a while into believing low-fat foods are healthy. But now it is time, no more cover ups, to open our eyes to the truth about food, fat, carbohydrates, what we eat and how it affects health.

If you want to undo the damage caused by 40 years of eating low-fat refined and processed foods avoid carbs. Eat real meat, natural fats and veggies to let the healing process begin.

 

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Who Said Eating Less Calories Guarantees Weight Loss?

Found on justaddgoodstuff.com

For many years I have said that calories do not always count. Less calorie consumed does not always translate into weight loss.

Zoe Harcombe wrote an interesting blog, “The Calorie Theory – prove it or lose it” on June 8, http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2014/06/the-calorie-theory-prove-it-or-lose-it/. It addresses an important question.

How did we arrive at the calorie theory that states 3500 calories consumed equals one pound of body weight? This formula is used to help practitioners guide clients on weight loss. Each day there is a 500 or 1000 calorie deficit you can lose a pound or two, 500-1000 calories, seven days a week, results in a 1-2 pound /week weight loss.

Harcombe contacted seven national nutrition and health organizations in England ( British Dietetic Association (BDA), Dietitians in Obesity Management (DOM), the National Health Service (NHS), the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), the Department of Health (DoH), the National Obesity Forum (NOF) and the Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO) and none of them had any explanation, scientific evidence or proof backing the calorie formula and why it is used across the board for everyone.

Despite the criticism Harcombe has received, her point is valid.  While I acknowledge there is validity to the calorie theory, it is only a small piece of a much larger pie.

Admittedly,  on a one-dimensional piece of paper,  the calorie formula  may hold some “weight” but people are not pieces of paper. We are three-dimensional, complex efficient living systems and not as simple as a mathematical formula. Point being that there are established factors that interfere with metabolism, fat storage and eating, these factors throw a monkey wrench into the calorie theory over-riding it as a sole consideration for weight loss. Despite this fact, most practitioners use it for all of their clients.

Any short-circuit (for any reason including pregnancy and the natural process of aging) in hormones (insulin, leptin, ghrelin, thyroid, cortisol, estrogen) can affect appetite, weight or fat storage and this challenges the premise of the calorie theory. Medications, i.e. steroids and antidepressants, that are given to correct one health problem can create other problems and also affect weight. Lack of sleep and stress are also powerful factors that poke holes in the strength of the calorie formula.

So why then, is the calorie theory used as the basis of treatment for everyone? For many, it is like trying  to fit a square peg in a round hole. The calorie theory will not easily work, if at all.

Yet this formula continues to be used across the board as a weight loss tool that works “if a person complies” with it. Not true, I have worked  as a registered dietitian for over 20 years. Non-compliance with following a diet is not the only reason a diet does not work.

Is it possible that the reliability and effectiveness of this mathematical equation was never tested? Have practitioners been hasty in using this formula without considering biological and environmental influences? It kinda makes you wonder, huh!

So this leaves me with even more questions. Is there anyone in the U.S., or worldwide for that matter, who can provide detailed information about the calorie theory? Is it possible that, “calories are tiny little creatures that sew your cloths tighter at night”?

 

 

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Take Performance To The Next Level: Ø Carb Loading

 

Low carb ketogenic diets have been shown to help lower weight, reduce blood sugar, triglycerides and much much more. Yet athletes still think they need carbs to perform. Load up on carbs for optimal sports performance, especially for endurance sports.

There is a lot out there saying, ” you should start carbo-loading two or three days before your race and recommendations that include eating about four grams of carbs for every pound of body weight (for a 150 pound runner that’s 600 grams—or 2,400 calories—of carbs per day), including tortillas, oatmeal, bread, pancakes, waffles, bagels, yogurt, juice, white bread and skinless baked potatoes.” See a sample menu here: http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-runners/fill-er?cm_mmc=NL-Nutrition-_-1538548-_-12262013-_-How-to-Carbo-Load.

NOT TRUE!

When metabolically burning carbs as the primary source of fuel, glycogen helps produce energy and it helps access fat stores for long bouts of exercise/activity. A  constant supply of energy, ie carbohydrate calories,  is needed and they are needed intermittently during extended times of activity to prevent “hitting the wall”. Hitting the wall or “bonking” occurs when muscles are depleted of glycogen (stored carbohydrates). When this happens you just feel like crap. Muscles and mental acuity fail.

But WHY? Why would you do that? Why build up glycogen stores just to deplete them, hit  the wall or “bonk” and go through all that mental and physical trauma? Why? It just does not make sense.

There is a better option, a choice that allows you to burn a different source of energy, not glycogen or ATP as the primary fuel. Instead, tap directly into fat stores and burn fat as the body’s primary fuel, seems prudent for anyone who wants to lose weight or for those who prefer not to have to constantly re-supply carbs (snack ) while exercising and to avoid bonking.  Fat provides energy via  ketones ( acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate ).

When you maintain total carbohydrates in a range of 25-50 grams/day (for some it may be higher) as a lifestyle, you become keto adapted (your body adapts to burning fat as its main energy source).

There are athletes who use keto adaptation to train for sports  events and improve performance, http://www.examiner.com/article/endurance-athletes-may-need-fewer-carbs-than-thought-says-sports-scientist.

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Truth is Stephen Phinney has talked about this for years. Here are a few good links that can help get you more comfortable with fat oxidation (ketosis) and physical performance:

  1. The human metabolic response to chronic ketosis without caloric restriction: physical and biochemical adaptation. “Metabolism.” 1983, Aug;32(8):757-68.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6865775

2. Capacity for Moderate Exercise in Obese Subjects after Adaptation to a Hypocaloric, Ketogenic Diet “J Clin Invest.” Nov 1980, 66(5): 1152–1161. http://www.jci.org/articles/view/109945

3. Ketogenic diets and physical performance “Nutrition & Metabolism.” 2004, 1:2, http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/1/1/2.

So what’s it going to be? Are you going to burn fat and take it (sports performance and body composition) to the next level?

 

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