Posts Tagged ‘Fat’

ID-10061999Please take a look at my first article written for Examiner.com about 5 diet myths that are not entirely true. <—(just click on the link)

I would love to hear your thoughts so please let me know what you think and if there are any food related topics you would like me to write about!

ID-100128822You can hit that gym for 3 hours burning over 2,000 calories, or walk your dog around the block…depending on your fitness level, you still need to think about what to eat to recover after intense activity so you can keep yourself in top shape without turning into a zombie the following day.  It is recommended to have protein for muscle recovery and carbs/fat to replenish energy storage 30 minutes after activity.  Don’t assume that because you have SOME protein you will ‘bulk up’ as it is just as important for recovery as it is for muscle building. Here are a few good options for post workout recovering, or to recoup after shoveling all that snow:

  • Eggs – 1 large egg contain only 70 calories with almost 7 grams of protein. Pair some eggs up with kale, tomatoes, onions and avocado, and you have a super nutritious meal that will fill you up, and is surprisingly healthy.
  • Hummus and Pita – Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) have both protein and carbs, plus when blended with olive oil and tahini, you have a very dense mix of protein, carbs, and healthy fats.  Remember that this is a bit calorically dense, but since you just used up a bunch of energy, this is the perfect time to add energy back.
  • Trail Mix – Nuts for protein and fats, fruit for carbs, trail mix is natures candy! It also has the benefit of being portable…so mix your own and take it with you.  Pairing nuts with dried blueberries and banana will also keep your immune systems in tip-top form.
  • Quinoa – It is super trendy AND super healthy with even more nutrients than brown rice, plus the added fiber will keep you fuller longer.  It can be eaten hot or cold and can be snuck in meals anytime of the day.
  • Protein Shake – You may or may not consider this an option, but protein shakes have been specifically formulated for muscle growth, recovery, and storage.  However, make sure you do not overdue it, as you may be gaining weight in either muscle, or fat form.  You need no more than 20 to 40 grams depending on the type of activity you just finished.  Also make sure you have carbs in the mix to replenish your energy as well.
  • Stir Fry – Many people are very hungry after workouts, but as stated before, don’t assume you can eat truckloads of food. For those of us who like the ‘full’ feeling, its a good idea to bulk on on the low calorie veggies, with the addition of protein (shrimp, chicken, tofu…) and some whole grains.  Sodium is an electrolyte that needs to be replenished if you worked up a good sweat, so a little soy sauce doesn’t hurt either.
  • The Salad – Maybe not smothered is super high fat dressing or made with 50% cheese, but a well planned salad full of colors, crunchy nuts and seeds, and even some dried fruit would be an excellent choice after raking up all those leaves.
  • Sandwiches – Protein and carbs in sandwich form.  Easy to make, easy to carry, but tasty to eat!

There are 1,000’s of other options, so comment with your favorite post-activity meal or snack!

ID-100142619The American diet as it relates to calories has actually changed very little over the past 80 years.  There has been a switch from a high carbohydrate and animal fat diet in the past, to a high vegetable fat based, higher protein diet in more recent years.  We also have the addition of increased fiber, understanding of healthy fats, as well as an increase in raw vegetable and fruit consumption.  This shift, specifically over the last 40 years, does not proportionally match the increase in the obesity problem. So what is the cause?

Due to the breakthroughs in technology, the average calorie expenditure of individuals has DRASTICALLY decreased, especially starting in the 80’s.  A reduction in jobs requiring manual labor, new modes of transportation, and a huge increase in the tech. industry has wiped out the need for the population to get their hands dirty, focusing more on computer skills and less on physical activity, as well as the use of things like the internet, TV, and video games.  (For the record, I love the internet, TV, and video games.) This basically means that the diets of the average person has remained relatively unchanged (with a slow and steady caloric increase,) while our way of life has drastically reduced general physical activity.  In the 60’s over half of the private jobs required some kind of manual labor, but now it is less than 16%.

Although red meat still reigns supreme in the US diet over the past years, chicken consumption increased drastically since the 1970’s as did the average fruit and vegetable daily intake.  Although the vegetable and salad oil use has increased a good amount over this same time period, most likely due to the availability of fried foods and snacks, the use of butter and margarine spreads at meal times has decreased along with a huge swing from whole milk to lower fat varieties.  There has been an obvious increase in carbohydrate consumption over the years due to things like HFCS as well, but as stated before, this does not proportionately reflect the skyrocketing obesity rates. Also, the diets of previous years had a larger portion of calories coming from carb. sources like breads, pasta, white rice and potatoes.

Americans have drastically increased in eating out as opposed to cooking at home, but the options available at restaurants have shifted to healthier options, even if a good portion of consumers still do not choose them.  The American consumer also forged the path to larger portion size.  They demanded greater value and their purchasing habits reflected this, however the actually content of the food has remain steady of the years, which supports the fact that the food industry should not be directly to blame for this obesity epidemic, but the US lifestyle should.  Just like any industry, it reacts to the purchasing habits of its consumers, and the food industry is no exception. That being said, the food industry could defiantly do a better job in promoting low calorie, fresher foods.

I just want to leave you with one more interesting fact…the average person is now 33 pounds heavier then they were in the 60’s and also burn almost 200 less calories a day, which can account for almost 60% of those extra pounds.  Add just a bit more of physical activity, we can start shedding the weight.

 

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This post will not involve lining your pockets with bricks or chugging water right before your initial weigh-in.  If you are planning on doing a weight-loss challenge at work, school, gym, or just for yourself, why not try and do it right.  I will also not be talking about tricks for your final weigh-in to nudge past your competition.  That being said, here are a few points to have a successful and healthy weight-loss competition:

  • Have fun and be a team – Even though you want to destroy Sally in HR or make Steve in Accounting cry, you will not be successful unless you and your fellow participants are working together to achieve the goal for the greater good.  Some appropriate, motivating smack talk and competitive strategy is great, but if there are people lagging behind in the contest, motivating them will be beneficial for them AND for you.  Leading a weight-loss charge makes a fun and exciting challenge right through the final weigh-in and beyond.
  • Plan ahead – Do you have a big lunch meeting scheduled and feel obligated to eat? Plan ahead by reviewing the menus online to find an appropriate meal that fits within your diet restrictions.  Will you not have time to run out for lunch tomorrow?  Make sure you have a supply of healthy and readily available foods at home to bring for lunch or if you are traveling.
  • Read your food label or menu – Nutritional callouts like ‘low-fat’, ‘low-carb’, or ‘cholesterol-free’ don’t necessarily mean LOW-CALORIE.  Make sure you are eating the appropriate type of foods for whatever your dietary goals might be.  Do a little research into the ingredients used to make your choices.  Understand what a real portion size is as it relates to the ‘per serving’ ingredient and nutritional labeling.  Some choices may be better than others in some circumstances, however it might not be appropriate for YOUR diet.   For instance, olive oil has more health benefits compared to butter, however both are fats which contain about 9cal/gram, meaning they both have the same amount of calories, and if you are on a calorie restrictive diet, supplementation is not as good as reduction.
  • Keep Eating – Metabolism is a tricky thing, however if you don’t eat enough calories, your body will shut down and you will not lose any weight.  Take a look at my previous post on metabolism to understand how  it works.
  • You have time to work out – Anyone who says they have no time to workout is lying.  In the morning before work, at lunch, right after work, while traveling, with your family or co-workers are all possible as long as you plan accordingly.  When you have limited time, a quick, high intensity workout is going to separate the losers from the real-losers.
  • Weight-loss diet is temporary, weight-maintain diet is permanent – There is nothing worse than losing a whole bunch of weight, only to put it back on after the competition.  You have to remember that once you reach your weight-loss goals, your diet needs to evolve into a weight-maintain diet.  Read my previous post about the weight-maintain diet and make sure you adjust accordingly so you don’t bounce back.
  • Write it down – Keeping track of your food and beverage consumption can really put into perspective what your calorie and nutrient intake is like.  Writing down meal plans, exercise schedule, or list of appropriate foods for your diet allows you to stay on track without losing focus on your goals.
What are some of your tips for a successful weigh-loss challenge???

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For those who are just starting out on their diet adventure, unlike what most personal trainers and nutritionist say , your restrictive diet and exercise plan is only temporary! Too often, people do not adjust their plans after achieving their goals.  After you have shed those unwanted pounds or even start to see the outlines of what almost could be a six-pack, you have to adjust your eating habits and exercise schedule for your next goal.

I recommend that starting out (assuming you are in the weight/fat loss stage,) you consume a low fat/lower calorie volumetric diet as well as an exercise plan based around using your fat stores as energy.  You will want to eat a lot of low calorie but nutritionally dense foods to keep you full and energized (chicken, lean fish, vegetables, whole grains…) along with more frequent, smaller meals.  You will want an exercise regiment consisting of 30 to 45 minute activities followed by a small intake of calories.  If you like to spend a lot of time at the gym, make sure you are still consuming calories every 30 to 45 minutes which will keep your body using some of your stored fat along with the protein/carbs you are consuming (see my previous metabolism post.)

The wonderful part about this plan is when you do finally hit your target goal…lets say you lose the 30 pounds of fat you didn’t want, you can now switch your diet to more of a weight maintain version of your previous plan.  Along with adding back some of the fat you removed, you can now be a bit more lenient overall and increase some of your portion sizes.  At this point you will also be increasing the difficultly of your workout (same routine but faster paced or increased weight and reps).  This ALSO means that you will have more muscle mass, and will be burning more calories, which ALSO means you can eat more calories throughout the day and still maintain your current weight!

This applies to both men and women.  Women do not have to be bulky to increase there muscle mass and benefit from this type of diet plan.  I feel that this system overall help with those fluctuating dieters who try to stick to a super intensive plan only to fall off the wagon and have to start over again.  This plan rewards you by allowing you to eat more food as time goes on.  It also stresses more of the exercise portion to be the buffer when you feel like a sunday afternoon BBQ feast.

Do you have any tips or trick for anyone looking to follow this type of diet/exercise plan?

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If it’s first thing in the morning
Or the last thing at night,
Bacon will make life better
Even if it’s just a bite

You might bake it in the oven
Or crisp it in a pan,
Salty, smokey, fatty goodness
Brings the joy only bacon can

The aroma will fill a room
instantly gathering a crowd,
Your bacon will magically disappear
as if ascending to a cloud

Bacon has found its way
into many culinary creations,
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts,
Even some odd libationsSo if you need a tasty snack
the ultimate in food inventions,
Grab a slab of bacon
You’re welcome, with good intentions

Here is another list of fancy food terms explained so you can impress your foodie friends…

A LA CARTE – The fancy version of this is a menu broken down into separate parts so you can order whatever you want for your meal, as opposed to all together…for us normal folks, just think of it as a ‘dollar menu’ for expensive stuff.

MINCED – Just cut any food item to heck and back…basically minced.  One step above pulverized with a laser.

CANAPEAS – Think of a Ritz cracker with a piece of cheese on it.  Now change the cracker to a slice of artisan bread, and change the toppings to a red onion marmalade, torched Bree, and crispy lardons.  Can-of-peas.

CARAMELIZED – A fancy way to say, ‘I almost done burnt it.’

NAPPE – Confirming your sauce is thick enough by its ability to coat the back of a spoon.  You don’t want paste, and you don’t want water.  Nappe is that sauce sweet spot.

APERITIF – Pre-gaming to get the mouth party started.

UMAMI – If you taste meat-like-flavor in something without having the confirmation of actual meat being present, verbally state you get a strong ‘umami’ profile from the dish.

AU JUS – The natural juice of whatever food item you just cooked.  If you cook a shoe and juice comes out, you can serve it with shoe au jus. Don’t cook a shoe. Gesundheit.

CONFIT – Cooking a food items in its own fat. If you cook a shoe its own fat, you can serve shoe confit.  F.Y.I. shoes don’t have fat unless your foot is in it, but that wouldn’t be shoe fat…it would be you fat.

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