After a tough workout, you deserve to enjoy a slice of pie; pizza pie that is. Try out my fresh spin to this delightfully healthy margarita pizza and tell me what you think.
Ingredients: 1 bag – fresh pizza dough 1 cup – flour 1 – fresh mozzarella ball, sliced 3 – plum tomatoes, sliced 1 cup – fresh basil leaves, rinsed 1/2 cup – tomato sauce 1 cup – shredded mozzarella cheese 2 Tbls – extra virgin olive oil 2 tsp – garlic powder (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread flour on counter top. Roll out dough to desired thickness and shape.
2. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese around the pizza. Pour the tomato sauce on top of the cheese and using a ladle, spread sauce to cover the cheese.
3. Lay the basil leaves on top of the sauce to cover the pizza. Next, arrange the tomatoes to layer the pizza. Finish off the pizza with fresh mozzarella slices.
4. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil and garlic powder together. Then using a brush, brush on oil mixture along the edge of the crust.
5. Place in the oven on a pizza pan or pizza stone for 18 – 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Last week, CNN wrote a post indicating that the mayor of Cambridge, MA, Henrietta Davis, took steps to adopt the sugary drink ban that was proposed by New York City’s Mayor, Michael Bloomburg. Not only did Mayor Davis want to prevent oversized drinks sales (greater than 16 oz.), but she took it one step further by proposing to ban free refills on soft drinks at restaurants. “Our environment is full of way too many temptations,” Davis said. “This is one temptation that isn’t really necessary.”
This is a very bold move and some Americans will complain (mainly restaurant owners and those losing their free refills). However, with obesity rates and diabetes still on the rise, bold actions must be taken. Amid the studies and warning signs of inactivity and overeating in America, the majority of Americans are unwilling to make the healthy change. An action to restrict people from inflicting harm on themselves should not be looked upon as a governmental takeover, but rather a change to allow us to live longer. When the government decided to ban smoking in restaurants, there was an outcry from smokers complaining that their freedom was being taken away. However, after a few months, those who smoked went outside as usual, very little complaining occurred, and everyone was able to breathe easily again.
America Weighs In
Limiting the amount of soft drinks someone consumes in one sitting may be a good start in fighting obesity and diabetes. However, the other part of the equation is not just quantity, but also quality. How much sugar is in that 12 oz cup? Sugar is the key ingredient in all soft drinks, and is a factor in the epidemic of obesity. The sugar content in drinks can be difficult to estimate, so we need to turn to the nutrition label on a product.
This is where a startling realization hits those who know how to read the label. The amount of calories within many products are not accurately represented! That’s right, those calories are not what they may appear. A search for an answer was prompted when I was explaining to my wife how one calculates the amount of calories in a product. To figure out the total calories in a product, the three macronutrients are summed up by their respective caloric value. In all foods and beverages, calories are calculated by adding the total amount of fats (1 g = 9 kcal), carbohydrates (1 g = 4 kcal), and proteins (1 g = 4 kcal) in the product. Sometimes alcohol is also added (1 g = 7 kcal). An example was presented using a can of Coke (see picture). When we take a look at the three Macronutrients, we see that the only one that has a value is carbohydrates. This made it easy…so I thought. When we multiply the amount of carbs in the beverage (39 g.) with its corresponding caloric value (4 kcal), we get 39 * 4 = 156 calories. But wait, why does the calories of the can state 140 cal? This is not a rounding issue as you will read below. The extensive search led me through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (who regulates the food label) to get to the bottom of the fiasco. Scrounging through the FDA guidelines for proper labeling of nutrition facts was daunting. I came across a plethora of jargon and redirections that made it hard even for the product manufacturer to adhere to the guidelines.
The following were some questions relating to the problem, but there was nothing in my search that could explain why Coke was able to misrepresent their caloric value by 16 calories!
N8. Should a value of 47 calories be rounded up to 50 calories or rounded down to 45 calories? Answer: Calories must be shown as follows:
50 calories or less–Round to nearest 5-calorie increment: Example: Round 47 calories to “45 calories”
Above 50 calories–Round to nearest 10-calorie increment: Example: Round 96 calories to “100 calories”
21 CFR 101.9(c)(1) Also see Appendix H for rounding guidelines.
N18. What is meant by sugars on the Nutrition Facts label? Answer: To calculate sugars for the Nutrition Facts label, determine the weight in grams of all free monosaccharides and disaccharides in the sample of food. The other nutrients declared on the nutrition label are defined in 21 CFR 101.9(c). 21 CFR 101.9(c)(6)(ii)
N16. How is total carbohydrate calculated? Answer: Total carbohydrate is calculated by subtracting the weight of crude protein, total fat, moisture, and ash from the total weight (“wet weight”) of the sample of food. 21 CFR 101.9(c)(6)
When I was able to find the section on carbohydrates and caloric measurement requirements (see references), there was nothing that mentioned how accurate the manufacturer had to be when producing a number. They did state that a certified chemical testing company had to weigh all amounts of nutrients before producing the label. So my question is, what scientist doesn’t know how to do basic arithmetic? Before banning the extra-large cups and refills, we might want to figure out how much sugar we really are consuming.
In my last installment of the series, I provide some important and interesting statistics about tobacco use and overeating. Don’t try any of this at home.
Tobacco - According to the CDC, the last statistics published in 2010 in regards to smoking in teens and adults showed a steady decline beginning in 1965. The study showed that in 2010 adult smokers had dropped 29.3% (19.3% current) compared to the 1965 percentage. However, tobacco has no health benefits. Smoke it or chew it and you’re still putting your health at risk. Any questions?
Overeating – Sometimes we get so hungry that we begin to gorge. When we finally put our forks down, we hear our stomach yell back at us and it feels like that last slice of cake is trying to bust through our belly button. However, for some, this agonizing feeling never occurs. Place food in front of them and they will be happy to make it disappear. We give these people nicknames: “Black Bole,” “The Disposal,” “Trash Compactor,” “The Abyss,” and even “The Terminator.” Yet despite their names, these individuals all have a health condition called “overeating” or “binge-eating.” Overeating is a very common occurrence. We all have had a second or third helping at one time or another. If you didn’t, you might have piled your plate larger than the recommended portion size and thus still managed to overeat. Overeating becomes a serious problem when someone begins to frequently binge and then finds trouble stoping. The MayoClinc writes, “when you have binge-eating disorder, you may be deeply embarrassed about gorging and vow to stop. But you feel such a compulsion that you can’t resist the urges and continue binge eating.” The causes of this disorder include, family history, biological factors, long-term dieting, and psychological issues. A study by Dr. Diann Ackard and her colleagues, looked at the relationship of overeating among 4746 adolescents. The study reported that girls (17.3%) were more likely to engage in overeating than boys (7.8%). The study also showed a significant relationship between binge-eating and low self-esteem and body satisfaction. The study also associated overeating with a higher risk of suicide.
Overeating is a serious disorder and preventative measures and remedies can be taken to help reduce the chance of binge-eating. If you or someone you know is binge-eating, speak with a doctor hear about treatment plans. Seeking additional guidance from a counselor or psychologist may be needed. If you or someone you know is overeating, try the following to help slow down your rate of consumption:
Put the fork down between bites
Consume more fiber
Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day
Consume the right nutritients
Don’t stock up your fridge or pantry
Eating can be fun, but when we begin to indulge in the greater commodities of life, we begin to lust over that of which we consume to much. These seven addictions can be fatal when consumed beyond their limits, but within limits, they can be a “non-sinful” bliss. Be mindful of what you consume (not just foods either) and know when a piece of Mrs. Jones’ homemade double chocolate, rum cake becomes a guilty pleasure.
If we could only drink water for the rest of our lives, we might actually live a little longer. But where’s the taste in that? So man created two special substances to add to water (besides loads of sugar and artificial flavoring) to make our beverages more enjoyable and practically irresistible. Take a sip of the next two addictions.
Caffeine – Need energy? In the past, our only options were Gatorade, coffee, tea, and Coke. Now-a-days, you find people downing a Red Bull, Rock Star, Amp, Monster, or even a little potion commonly known as 5 Hour Energy Drink. And this is after a Venti dark roast coffee from StarBucks in the morning. Turn to the fitness scene and you have caffeine in many of the common sport-enhancement supplements. Caffeine is most consumed psychostimulant substance in the world. The benefits of caffeine are heightened mental awareness and increased energy. I must note that according to reports, caffeine is not addictive, however, there is evidence that people react similarly to caffeine as they would to other psychostimulant drugs such as, cocaine. And even though caffeine is not a leading contributor to US mortality, many drinks containing caffeine also include large quantities of sugar. Other health risks associated with caffeine include, increased heart rate, anxiety, insomnia, osteoporosis, and tremors. News reports back in 2010 (CNN) investigated the connection of energy drinks consumed with alcohol, and the related hospitalization and deaths among college students. The American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs states that moderate consumption of caffeine (three 8 oz. cups of coffee (about 250 milligrams of caffeine) per day and 5 servings of caffeinated soft drinks or tea per day) pose no negative effects on a person’s health. Also, those who consume caffeinated drinks probably aren’t drinking enough water.
Alcohol - Have wine, don’t have wine, have only red wine; wait, liquor’s good too? In the early 2000′s research began to introduce alcohol as a health-promoting substance. Going back in history, we know that alcohol was used as medicine to treat different ailments. However, now we’re told that having a glass of red wine a day can promote heart health. So everyone goes out, orders a glass of wine, and smiles knowing that they just fought off heart disease. Not so much. Studies that produced findings associating red wine with the reduced risk for heart disease might be basing their conclusions on the wrong component, reports the American Heart Association. Many of the health benefits from red wine comes from the flavonoids and antioxidants that can be found from red grapes and grape juice. So, instead of ordering a glass of wine (which is normally more than the daily recommended) the next time you dine out, shoot over to the kids menu and order a fresh glass of grape juice. In case you think that goblet you have in your cupboard is a healthy serving, the AHA states that one drink is the following; one 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits. Due to body weight, height, and frame size, the limitations for men are 2 drinks a day, while women are 1 drink a day. Have a good time, but do it responsibly. Period.
In the last part of the series I explained the sweet effects of sugar. The second part of the series weighs two other highly consumed ingredients. Follow the guidelines and you’ll have your body working for you instead of against you. Reading the food labels will help with this part. If you never understood the label on the sides and backs of packages, the American Heart Association can help you out: Reading Food Nutrition Labels.
Fats - According to the American Heart Association, coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease. Fats, along with cholesterol, are the key factors for clogging up the body’s arteries. Yet, we love them so much that we have to have them in every meal. Now don’t get me wrong, there are benefits from the healthy fats that raise your high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and we do want to continue consuming recommended doses of that fat. The problem American’s are facing currently is the amount of saturated and transfats in our diets. The American Heart Association recommends anyone over the age of two to limit their saturated fats to less than 7% of their total daily calories, and limit their trans-saturated fats to less than 1% of daily total caloric intake. The CDC reported in 2007-2008 that Americans (males and females) were consuming 11% of saturated fats. In recent years, the media and FDA have helped reduce the amount of trans-saturated fat found within products by exposing the health risks associated with this fat and requiring companies to show the amount on their nutrition labels. Kudos to them, but the FDA can still be better at regulating what companies print and “claim” on their packages. “Low fat” doesn’t always mean that the fat content is lower than everything else. For a good idea of how many calories are made up from fats, multiply 9 by the number of fat grams (1 gram of fat = 9 kcal). Then subtract that from the total calories in the food to see how much fat you’re actually consuming.
Salt- Sodium has a number of functions in our body. It is an electrolyte that exchanges with potassium within our cells to maintain fluid balance, blood pressure, and acid-based balance. Our muscles also need sodium to contract and move. Lastly, sodium assists in the absorption of certain nutrients such as glucose. While our bodies need salt to maintain homeostasis, we tend to consume larger quantities than we actually need. According to the Institute of Medicine, the Adequate Intake (AI) for the majority of Americans is 1,500 mg of sodium per day. One should not exceed 2,300 mg/day. Yet, the CDC has reported that the average American consumes roughly 3,436 mg/day. That’s twice as much as the AI! I understand that we have evolved from our Neanderthal ancestors, but really, have we evolved so much that we can no longer tolerate bland foods? Let’s just toss out the main purpose for eating in the first place. Our primary focus now is to make sure that whatever we consume tastes delectable. To accomplish this, throw a dash (or a heaping) of salt on it. I know people who will reach for the salt shaker even before tasting the food and make it snow on their food like a blizzard came through. Too much sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure. This in turn leads to, you guessed it, heart disease! Help yourself out by drinking enough water throughout the day to keep your fluid balance in check. Then switch over to some lower sodium foods. Even though the front of the package says “low sodium,” read the nutrition label and make sure it’s not going to put your salt levels through the roof at the end of the day.
One time or another we’ve all been there. The trip to Taco Bell or the late night pantry run. An impulse fires off in our brain that craves a certain substance and we’re suddenly controlled by that impulse to search out and conquer. Once we start consuming, we just can’t let it go. We know where we stashed the Double Chocolate Heath Bar Crunch ice cream from the night before and it’s still going to be there when we look. And sometimes, you regret that urge that came over you. You tell yourself that you can’t do it again. However, days or even a month pass and suddenly that craving strikes again. How do you handle it this time?
In just the last few days, I have heard and seen on several news broadcasting outlets the damaging impact that obesity has created within the US. Since an article on the cost of obesity was published in Reuters last week, there has been numerous reports following up on how people are getting so big. I can’t blame media for capturing this epidemic, however, why is it only surfacing now? According to an article that came out in this week’s publication of NewsWeek, obesity in America can be traced back to the 1930′s. As I read Gary Taubes’ article in NewsWeek and Sharon Begley’s in Reuters, I begin to connect the dots. We are now seeing more coverage on obesity because the cost isn’t just affecting the obese. It’s now also affecting tax payers and the actual government (due to the health care reform) because of the amount of money we need to spend to help out those who are overweight and obese. A quick price figure to get a scope on the problem: it costs $190 BILLION in excess medical spending a year to provide services for those overweight and obese. Now what do you think the medical services does to help leverage this cost? You got it, everyone (even the non-obese) pays for it with higher insurance premiums. Find out more about the cost of America’s waist line by clicking on this article, As America’s Waistline Expands, Costs Soar, and read what else is going on as we become the world’s real Big brother.
However, we can’t judge our health based solely on our waistlines. Let’s face it, there are some other substances that we can’t stay away from that are also affecting our health. The question is, why are we slowly (maybe quickly for some) jeopardizing our bodies for that brief moment of pleasure? I refer to these pleasures as the Seven Deadly Sins, I mean Addictions. Studies have shown that the following, when exceeding normal amounts, can cause detrimental effects to our health.
7 Deadly Addictions
Many of these addictions have contributed to the top causes of mortality in America. And, these addictions are catching on around the world too. Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in America, with 599,413 deaths per year. Cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke are the other three causes that make up the top four in America. What and how much we consume is all linked to the increase in mortality in our country. Understanding how these addictions impact our health and lives can help prevent further increases of adult mortality in the future (not to mention for children). In this four part series, I will touch on each addiction. Hopefully by the end, the information will allow you to yield to temptation and further your success in a healthy life.
Sugar – “Oh how sweet it is to be loved by you,” to quote James Taylor. You can’t resist it and it’s everywhere. I call it a love-hate relationship. We love it when it goes in, we hate it when it sticks around–around our love handles. Walk down any aisle of a supermarket and you’ll find a form of it in the ingredients of any container or bottle. And don’t be fooled, pure cane sugar, maltodextrin, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and even carbohydrates are still sugars. (I’ll speak more about carbs in another article.) NewsWeeks’ columnist Gary Taubes pounces on the idea that this is the real factor that is causing most of the world to be overweight. He has a valid point too. The majority of Americans still consume too much of this granulated crystal even with the vast awareness of obesity. In the past decade, our world has consumed more sugar and processed foods than every before, thanks to the convenience of the fast food industry explosion. China, one of the healthiest countries in the world has slowly lost footing for the top rank as their childhood obesity rates jumped by 25% in the last decade. One article states that the influx of fast food chains in Shanghai has caused many children and adults to convert to lower quality of eating. Too much sugar leads to obesity, diabetes, and ultimately heart disease. Don’t forget the adverse effects that come with these diseases, which include, orthopedic problems (swollen ankles, knee pains, and back pains), sleep apnea, and lots of medication. Reduce the intake of sugar by consuming foods without added sugar and stick with fresh produce to get the sugars that will keep you going throughout the day.
It’s Thursday and my client is warming up on the treadmill before our training session. I review my notes and memorize the workout she needs to do today. Functional movements and weight loss are her goals, which in my line of work, are the goals for the majority of my clients. She comes to meet me and we begin our workout.
We’re working hard and we discuss her progress. Then she comments about her nutrition. “I’m so tied up with guests and dining out, but next week everyone will be gone and I’ll be able to start my diet.” I lift my eyebrow and give her my typical quizzical stare. “You know how it is. You don’t want to offend anyone by not eating what they serve,” she responds. “How convenient,” I think to myself.
How would you like to lose five to ten pounds a week without changing your diet. In addition, you never have to worry about where you are, who you’re with, or what you’re eating. I have the diet for you and you don’t have to pay too much for it. Just stay on my diet plan and I’ll have you seeing results in 30 days and you’ll feel better than ever. All you need to do is eat whatever you want and only exercise for 30 minutes s day. If you don’t have time to get in that exercise, don’t worry, you can take a little break and start back up when the time’s right for you. Just take one super pill a day to keep you on track while you take a little vacation and you’ll be fine. Tell your friends about this brand new diet called, The Sham Diet.
What does South Beach, Atkins, Low carb, Nutrisystem, WeightWatchers, smoothies, cabbage, and even the Sham Diet all have in common? A lot, but one thing’s for sure; They’re all convenient. They give you the ability to start, stop, and start again whenever you want. As Americans, we all want convenience in every aspect of our lives. From Netflix subscriptions to reading the NY Times on a Kindle, we want to be able to know that when we’re satisfied, we can take a little break and then come back to it at any time. These diets also boast big results within a short time frame. We love the quick fixes. We want to do as little as possible and still expect the same results. Remember the time when you actually had to vacuum the house yourself? Now we just turn on little Roomba and relax on a couch with a diet Coke. Diets have followed the same suit and has become outrageously unpractical, but people will do anything to reach their goals to look better for beach season or a long awaited cruise. Some might even take up my diet in hopes that it will work. Lose those few extra pounds to make it through the summer then we’re back to Wendy’s for a late night Frosty.
All the diets, including the Sham Diet have one flaw; they don’t work if you fall outside of their guidelines. Even the Sham diet that says that you can still lose weight just by taking a pill can give you false hope if you skip a dose. The other problem that my client ran into is believing that the only way to lose weight was to follow a fad diet. Whatever the product, all fads expect you to do one thing; follow their advice. We believe that we can’t look good unless we are decked out with the latest fashion fad, or we aren’t doing something right if we don’t own a smart phone. What happened to washing your car by hand? Too time consuming, however it might keep your car looking newer than the car wash (how many times have you gone through the car wash and come out on the other side with bugs still plastered to your front bumper?).
So, let’s stop with the excuses and the whining when you’re not seeing your mid-section get any smaller. Be accountable for what you’re putting into your body as well as what you’re doing to burn off what you ate. Stop making up excuses for not eating well yesterday or this weekend. Know that you’re going to fall off track once in a while and have the honesty and courage to admit that you did it. Then fix the problem by working a little hard to put yourself back on track, and continue improving your health. There is nothing convenient about your health. Your body doesn’t wait for you to come back from vacation or the weekend to start processing what you eat. If you eat it, you’re going to have to burn it. Yes, you have to move to burn anything that you eat. If you eat a lot, you have to move a lot. This also will take time. You didn’t put on your weight overnight. It takes half the time to put on weight as it does to lose weight. If you know you’re going to eat poorly because you have an unavoidable situation, give yourself options. Either eat a smaller portion, get a little more physical activity in the days leading up, or do both! It’s that simple ladies and gentlemen. Don’t fall for the shams and believe that you have to follow a specific restriction diet. Count everything you eat; don’t lie just to satisfy yourself. Your body will still know that it had a burger and a beer over the weekend. Don’t tell yourself that you’ll start tomorrow. Start yesterday.
Weakening Your Bones As we age, our muscles and bones begin to wear. Without consistent physical exercise and proper nutrition, the marrow in your bones begin to deteriorate and/or stop forming. This condition is called osteoporosis (meaning “porous bone”). It is a condition where the marrow in your bones become brittle, leaving larger spaces within the bone. Osteoporosis affects half the population of women in the world, while affecting only one in every four (1:4) men. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) states that today in the US, ten million individuals are effected by the disease while another 34 million are estimated to have low bone density which increases their risk for osteoporosis and broken bones. The two sites that are most commonly identified as osteoporosis is the lumbar (lower) spine and femoral neck (hip). When these two sites become too brittle, the risk of fractures increase and life expectancy decreases. Another condition may occur in the spine due to osteoporosis. As the vertebral discs weakens, a forward curvature of the upper spine will occur known as the “dowager’s hump”. Someone with a dowager’s hump can have balance problems, which will increase the risk fractures from falling, while at the same time subjecting their internal organs to a lot of overbearing pressure.
There are several risk factors that increases the chances for osteoporosis. These include:
Age - anyone can get osteoporosis but it is more common to see it in older adults
Gender - females are more susceptible than men
FamilyHistory - genetics play a role in the predisposition of osteoporosis
Menopause - Females going through or have gone through menopause have a higher risk
Low Body Weight or Small/Thin Framed - People with small bones increases their risk of osteoporosis
Poor Diet - lack of calcium and vitamin D slows down and can stop bone growth
Alcohol - consuming excessive amounts will reduce the formation of bone
Sedentary Lifestyle - inactivity can lead to lack of strength, poor balance, and reduced bone growth resulting in falls and fractures
Get Tested The only way to diagnosis osteoporosis is to get a bone density test. Other methods like ultrasounds, blood tests, and normal x-rays are used as quick estimations, not accurate data and can cause a false sense of security in individuals who actually have osteoporosis. The most common bone density test or scanning method is a DEXA or DXA (Dual Energy X-Ray) scan. The two most common sites tested are the left hip (Femoral Neck) and the lower spine (lumbar spine). Other sites that can be used are the right hip, ankles, and wrists if surgery or injury was prevalent in one of the other sites (e.g. hip replacement, spinal fusion). The results of a DEXA scan will show three possible outcomes: Normal (T score ≥ -1), Osteopenia (T score between -1 and -2.5), and Osteoporosis (T score ≤ -2.5). Your bone density scores are critical when talking with your physician about treatment plans.
If you are diagnosed with either osteopenia or osteoporosis, your physician will probably discuss medication options with you to help treat your condition. There are a number of medications currently available for patients with osteoporosis and osteopenia. However, each medication may not be suitable for you, so you might not want to take what you’re next door neighbor is taking. Read up on the medications so that you are as informed as your doctor about the medication that you are prescribed. Sometimes, the physician is not as knowledgable about your treatments, so be a team and know your information. The NOF has a great listing of the current medications and information on each one (click here for medication listing).
Strengthen Your Bones Another way to prevent fractures and reduce the risk of further deterioration of bone is to follow a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and dairy rich in calcium and vitamin D. Adding a little bit of sun exposure (vitamin D) can help improve absorption of calcium. For those of you who are concerned about skin cancer, all you need is 15 minutes of sun exposure to absorb enough vitamin D to get health benefits. Note that applying sun block while outside will prevent you from getting the vitamin D that you need. While you’re outside, do some weight bearing exercise (e.g. walking, jogging, jumping) to strengthen your muscles and also increase the density of your hip. To build up the density in your spine, resistance training should be done. A creditable, certified personal trainer can help you identify the correct resistance training for you. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 3-5 days a week of moderate intensity weight bearing cardiovascular exercise for 30 minutes. Supplement that with 2-3 days a week of resistance training. Those with osteoporosis should also implement a daily balance and stretch program to prevent possible falls.
References: American College of Sports Medicine, Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription , 8th ed.
So you’ve just finished your hard workout and you’re trying to figure out what to consume to bring those muscles back from the dead. You know that protein is the key essential nutrient that your body needs for muscle repair. But before you pick up that powder mix that you normally swig down with your shake, try this alternative that packs more punch and comes from a natural source.
Quinoa (KEEN-WAH) has been around for over 5,000 of years. Native to the Andes Mountains, this grain-like seed is known to be a complete protein. Complete proteins contain all 8 essential amino acids that your body does not produce by itself. All proteins that are found in meats and fish are not complete. The only additional way to get all 8 amnio acids would be to buy protein supplements that contain all amino acids. But why put a processed substance into your body when you can get the same benefits from this power food? Prepare this recipe the next time your muscles are starving to repair themselves.
Peppers Stuffed With Quinoa and Spinach (From Better Homes and Gardens New CookBook 15th ed.) Serving size: 4
Prep time: 25 min
Cooking time: 63 mins
1 – 14oz can vegetable broth
1/4 cup quick-cooking barley
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 med)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
1 – 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 of a 10oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1.5 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (6oz)
4 large red sweet peppers
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a medium saucepan bring broth to boiling. Add barley and quinoa. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cook, covered, about 12 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving cooking liquid; set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. add onion and garlic. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Add mushrooms. Cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes more or until mushrooms and onion are tender. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper, undrained tomatoes, and spinach. Stir in quinoa mixture and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Remove from heat.
3. Cut peppers in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds and membranes from the peppers. Sprinkle insides of peppers lightly with additional salt and pepper. Fill pepper halves with quinoa mixture. Place peppers, filled sides up, in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Pour reserved cooking liquid into dish around peppers.
4. Bake, covered 35 minutes. Uncover; top each with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered, about 10 more minutes or until peppers are crisp-tender and cheese is brown.
Nutritional Information: 415 calories, 22g total fat (10g sat. fat, 0g trans fat), 45mg cholesterol, 1,206mg sodium, 39g carbohydrates, 9g fiber, 19g protein
E.A. Oelke, D.H. Putnam, T.M. Teynor, and E.S. Oplinger. (2012) from http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/afcm/quinoa.html
There are times when I hear a member give nutritional advice to another member based upon what has worked for her. This upsets me because I know that even though the member has lost weight and wants this other person to lose weight too, the tips she suggests doesn’t work long-term. Getting the right nutritional advice for weight loss should come from someone who specializes in this area, such as a Licensed (LD) or Registered Dietitian (RD). I know this sounds common sense, but I’ll let you in on a secret, not many people see a dietitian when it comes to weight management. Even when the studies show that incorporating a registered dietitian into a weight loss program increases success rates, we steer clear from making an appointment with one. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) conducted a multi-year study in 2010 to research the benefits of adding a RD to a health promotion program for weight loss. The results showed programs with a RD had participants losing at least 5% of their current body weight. Yet we feel like we know enough through what we read and hear from books, media, friends, and other professionals, that we go on these crazy “instant diets” only to succumb in the end to hunger and eventually weight gain.
The worst of all is that you justify the misfortunes of gaining back all your weight by telling yourself that you did it once and it was easy, so you’ll go back on the same diet and start back on phase one. The other option that I’ve seen is that it didn’t work and this shouldn’t have happened because the books were written by doctors, fitness professionals, or celebrities. Then we go out and pick up another book off the shelf because some top-rated talk show host told you to buy it. This leads to more depression when you find out that the next “quick fix” book leads to another quick turn-around and the weight is back on.
I just received the latest issue (April 16, 2012) of Newsweek in the mail and on the cover was Dr. Phil (Click on photo to read the article). Now, I want to know how many people think that because he has the title “Dr.” in front of his name it suddenly makes him a physician or registered dietitian? The article is now one of my favorites because it exposes what celebrity talk-show hosts will do to get something sold. The whole article describes how Dr. Phil McGraw used his show to promote not just one, but two diet books that his son published. The craziness of it all is that Dr. Phil opposes diets! In a show back in 2010, he states, “Do you know that people that go on diets gain more weight during the year than people who don’t?” This is coming from a person who suddenly flips the switch later that year to promote extensively (the article claims that Dr. Phil pushed the book in 17 episodes and mentioned the book 27 times in one episode!) a diet book that claims to lose 10 to 15 pounds in just 17 days. This just doesn’t seem like a person who you’d want giving you nutritional advice.
Now I need to give Dr. Phil some credit, he is not a M.D., but he is a Ph.D psychologist who too had troubles with weight. He’s worked his magic by understanding how the human mind works and finding ways to profit from his knowledge. After leaving the clinical psychology gig, he hit a gold mine representing Oprah in a court case when he cofounded Courtroom Sciences, Inc. He was able to network with Oprah to become “one of the wealthiest and most powerful figures on television” describes Forbes magazine. So he’s able to get his own television show and get people to listen to him and suddenly everyone’s trying to lose weight quickly. That’s how it goes with all quick fix diets. Just read about your fad diets like Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers or watch the commercials for Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, and any other infomercials on Saturday mornings. You’ll lose weight in a jiffy, but what they don’t tell you is how quickly those pounds come back.
Weight management is really about keeping your calories in balance. Calories in verses calories out. If you eat more than you burn off; weight gain. Eat less than you burn off; weight loss. Very simple idea, but so many people have a problem with this concept (hence the 33% of Americans who are overweight). One reason is because people don’t want to wait for the results. They want everything quick. Just ask yourself, “how long did it take you to get to your current weight?” Most likely it didn’t happen overnight. Therefore, the only way to lose weight long-term is the slow method. Losing one to two pounds a week by having a deficit of 3500 cal/wk is the only healthy and known long-term plan for weight loss. Know what you’re eating so you can stay one step ahead. This is where a dietitian or nutritionist can help to teach you which foods you should eat to maintain the energy level you need without stacking on the extra calories. Even your general physician will not be able to tell you what to eat and will refer you to a dietitian. The other component to this equation is the physical activity. I do not require people to join a gym to obtain their cardiovascular exercise. However a facility that provides resistance training will help keep your muscle strength while you lose the weight. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 45 to 60 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise to lose weight. Studies have shown that exercising five to six days a week at 60 to 80 minutes a day leads to scientifically significant results. Biking, walking, running, kayaking, hiking, and playing sports can all count for cardiovascular exercise. Combine exercise with a well-balanced meal and you’ll be shedding those pounds for good in no time.
ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 8th ed. (2010), Weight Management
American Dietetic Association, ADA Foundation 2010 Annual Report, p. 4
Wingert, P. & Roston, A. (2012). All in the Family. Newsweek, 28-33