HEALTH / FITNESS
Information about fitness, health, nutrition and weight loss
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In this Section....
- December Recipes
- Exercise Videos
- 'Tis the Season to Eat with Reason
- What Makes a Healthy Protein So Healthy?
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 email@example.com. Hope to hear from all of you in the following months!
Exercise Videos - Click Here
In previous issues we have featured simple exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home and without buying fancy expensive equipment. You can view these videos on our Youtube channel.
'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 “hectic holiday schedule” 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:
- If you are tempted to overeat at parties, eat a low cal snack before you leave the house. Chances are, if you arrive at a party ravenous, you will overeat.
- Don’t vow to eat nothing. You will be setting yourself up for failure. Instead, limit your selections to foods you don’t usually eat and keep your portions under control.
- If you are to take food, take something low in calories and high in nutrition such as veggies and dip, sliced fresh fruit, or a low cal, low fat dessert.
- If attending a buffet, make only one trip to the buffet table. First, survey all the foods, then try small portions of a variety of foods, particularly those that you don’t typically consume. After you have selected your foods, move away from the table or even go to another room. This will minimize the temptation to go for seconds as well as limit nibbling. Remember, if you take something that you don’t like, you don’t have to eat it!
- It takes 20 minutes after you have eaten for your brain to register that you are full. Therefore, before going back for seconds, wait at least 20 minutes.
- If the party is at your house, have some disposable containers available for your guests to take home leftovers – a good way to get tempting foods out of your house!
- My favourite strategy is to have some sugarless gum with me. When I feel that I have had enough, I pop some gum in my mouth. The mint flavour deters me from eating more.
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 isn’t a part of a healthy eating strategy and certainly isn’t a part of the holiday spirit!
You can do it. Success truly is there for the ones that never ever give up trying.
Originally posted December 2009
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 don’t 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 isn’t 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:
- Drink low- or non-fat milk, which provides plenty of calcium along with the protein.
- Roast, bake or grill meats, poultry and fish so that you don't need to add extra fats.
- Choose lean red meats to decrease the amount of saturated fats.
- Try a vegetarian main course once or twice a week.
- Don’t fry fish, it just adds extra fat and calories.
- Enjoy a handful of nuts as a snack –- nuts contain healthy fats as well as protein.
- Buy poultry and remove the skin and fat, or pick out a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.
- Eating on the run? Choose a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a breaded chicken sandwich or greasy burger.
- Stay away from processed, high fat lunch meats, hot dogs and sausage.