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Information about fitness, health, nutrition and weight loss

Do you know of a new diet or fitness routine that you'd like us to review? Or perhaps you want to write a review yourself and see it in print! Got a great recipe you want to share? Let us know at

In this Section....

Third Annual Holiday Cookie Recipe Exchange - Click Here

This year's cookie recipes includes a few from our beloved food editor and some from our managing editor and her family. Give some of these a try, and make your Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah special!!

December Recipes - Click Here

It's Christmas again (already???) and there is no other time like this to get together with friends and family and have a great holiday feast. Invite the in-laws AND the out-laws, for this is the season for giving, and if you can forgive your outlaws, you can certainly do the same for everyone else. :) LOL Make this Christmas special with an easy but elegant dinner that everyone can enjoy and you can be proud of making. And don't forget to leave the cookies and milk for Santa - we've got the recipes for those too!!! Merry Christmas to everyone and happy celebrating!!!!

We'd love to feature one of your favorite recipes in any one of our monthly issues, just send them on to us at Hope to hear from all of you in the following months!

New Feature! Each month we will feature a simple exercise you can do at home and without buying fancy expensive equipment. Click here to view this month's exercise.

What Makes a Healthy Protein So Healthy?

There are three nutrients in nutrition known as fats, carbohydrates and protein. You will easily find all three of these nutrients in your diet every day, but not always the healthiest versions. You might already have a good idea about what a good carbohydrate is (complex carbohydrate with lots of fiber) verses a bad carbohydrate (table sugar or high fructose corn syrup). And bad fats (saturated fats and trans fats) verses good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats).

So what makes a protein a good protein? Unlike fats or carbohydrates, which can be good for you or bad for you based on their natural biochemistry, all dietary proteins are about equal. The quality of a protein mostly depends on how the food is prepared or what fats naturally accompany the protein.

It may help to understand a little protein biochemistry first. Proteins are made of different combinations of 20 tiny building blocks called amino acids. Of those 20 amino acids, your body makes 11 of them. The other nine amino acids need to come directly from your diet, so they are called essential amino acids. When you eat, your digestive system breaks down the proteins into the individual amino acids, absorbs them, and your body uses them to make new proteins that you need for muscles, organs and components of your immune system.

Complete and Incomplete Proteins

All proteins that come from animals are called complete proteins because they contain some combination of all nine essential amino acids. Plant-based foods, except soy, are called incomplete proteins because not all amino acids are present in each type of plant. Soy is actually a complete protein. If you eat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products or soy, you will easily get all the amino acids you need every day. If you are vegans, you need to eat a variety of plants to be sure you get all of the amino acids you need.

Making Good Protein Choices

All animal products contain a large amount of protein and some plant foods such as legumes, nuts and seeds, do as well. Fruits and vegetables generally donít have as much protein, but they still contribute to your overall protein intake. Most of us only need 50 to 70 grams of protein every day, which is about what you would find in eight ounces of beef. It really isnít difficult to get all of the protein you need each day -- the difficult part is choosing the healthiest protein sources.

When you choose your proteins, you need to think about how the protein source is prepared or what fats are naturally found with that protein. Fish, like salmon or tuna, is a terrific protein source because the fats that accompany the proteins are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for good health and often deficient in western diets.

An example of a poor protein choice would be a chicken-fried steak. Steak, as a red meat, has a large amount of artery-clogging saturated fats and the style of cooking (breaded, fried and drenched in gravy) adds more unhealthy fats and extra calories.

Here are some tips for choosing healthy protein sources:


Submitted by: Maria Albus

'Tis the Season to Eat with Reason

The holidays seem to be designed to make us gain weight; from family feasts to food-laden parties, to the gifts of food and drink, to the stress of social gatherings and the pressure to be as happy as everyone else around us seems to be. Indeed, for many, the holidays are viewed as a time of unavoidable indulgence, and subsequently, unavoidable weight gain. What can a health-conscious person do? The best strategy is to try to maintain your current weight while still enjoying the season. How can you do this? The following suggestions may be helpful.

Exercise! While we always suggest regular exercise, it is particularly important during the holiday season. Probably the worst mistake you can make is to use the excuse of a ďhectic holiday scheduleĒ to avoid your exercise program. According to an American study of people who have successfully lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for an average of five years, a key factor is exercise. Therefore, maintaining or even increasing your exercise regimen is a good way to allow yourself some indulgences without having to fight the battle of the bulge later on!

Think before you eat:

An ounce of prevention may well be worth a pound of cure. It can be helpful to devise a holiday eating plan. Some strategies include the following:

Go easy on the alcohol:

Alcohol is chock full of calories. For example, 2 ounces of alcohol contains approximately 140 calories, not including the mix. An 8 ounce glass of rum and eggnog contains 400 calories! Research suggest alcohol calories are stored as fat as opposed to being used for energy. In addition, alcohol tends to increase our appetites. You might try club soda with lime, a non-alcoholic bloody Mary, or diet soda. And as always, drink lots of water.

Food is not the only part of the holidays. Enjoy other things such as being among family and friends, the giving of gifts, and the spiritual aspects of the season. When it comes to food, forget the all or nothing mindset. Depriving yourself of treats or feeling guilty after eating them isnít a part of a healthy eating strategy and certainly isnít a part of the holiday spirit!

You can do it. Success truly is there for the ones that never ever give up trying.

Submitted by: Dr. Doug

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