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Health & Food

Biggest Loser Review, and Dinner #1!

Good morning! I hope everyone is having a great week.

Here are some updates since last time:

– I got a call on Tuesday, randomly, and was asked to do a segment for NBC4 on healthy snacking, and making realistic nutrition goals in the new year. I will hopefully be able to post the clip soon.

– I realized that you are very interested in meals and snacks that center around exercise. Therefore I will be doing another “Nutrition Tidbit” on pre-workout meals/snacks sometime soon.

– I updated my “About Me” page. You may have seen it posted yesterday (and thank you for the sweet comments, they meant so much to me). If not, you can look at it now, or whenever you want, I just thought I’d let you know!

NEW DINNER
Last Friday I made my first dinner for my 2010 cookbook! As I explained in my post (see link to the left) I will be creating two new dinners each week. They will be simple, healthy dinners for busy parents, or just busy people! As I make these dinners I will be compiling a list of about 30-4o ingredients to keep in your house at all times, which can be used to make these meals. I hope to have a stock-pile of over 100 simple and healthy dinners that you can create using 30-40 ingredients (obviously not each ingredient per recipe).

Recipe #1: Curried Chicken Cheesy Mac

Ingredients
Pasta of any kind, or a boxed Mac and CheeseBiggest Loser Review, and Dinner #1! 2I used Annie’s 25% reduced sodium Mac and Cheese. 430 mg sodium per cup is not low, but it is low compared to other brands.Biggest Loser Review, and Dinner #1! 3Ingredients, continued…
3 ounces cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup broccoli and green beans
4 slices avocado
1 t curry powder
1 t ground pepperBiggest Loser Review, and Dinner #1! 4Instructions
After you cook the pasta, or the mac and cheese, put the chicken, vegetables, and avocado on a plate. Heat for about 2 minutes (or until desired hotness). Then add the mac and cheese on top (if you just do pasta, add the pasta, and sprinkle your favorite cheese on top). Top with curry and ground pepper, or any other spices you desire.

Nick’s rating: 8 out of 10

Nutrition

  • About 700 calories(if using 2 cups of the mac and cheese)
  • Almost 950 mg sodium (yikes) ** probably less if you just use pasta and cheese **
  • About 12 grams fat(including some healthy monounsaturated fat from the avocado)
  • 1 serving of vegetable

Possible Modifications

  • Use any spices you would like
  • If you prefer beef, or even tuna, those would be fine too
  • Use whole wheat pasta if you’d like
  • Add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, if available
  • Add more, or different vegetables

Other Uses
The leftover mac and cheese (about 1 cup for Nick) can be used the next day for a packed lunch or lunch at home. You can add any vegetable you would like, to make it healthier.

Biggest Loser ReviewBiggest Loser Review, and Dinner #1! 5Likes
The initial weigh in was in their hometowns, in front of everyone in their city (or at least a lot of people). I think this made them feel guilty and ashamed. I truly believe that it helped give the contestants motivation. And I hope it inspired some viewers at home to become motivated as well. It’s sort of harsh, but I think whatever will help someone survive is necessary.

I loved the first challenge. I wish they would have explained the fact that riding a bike, especially a stationary bike, is much different than a 26 mile marathon. Overall, it was a heck of a workout, and a great way to jump start the season. Some of them were going faster than I would go!

I liked to see doctors on the scene. I know I’ve only been watching for one season, but until last night, I’d never seen a Biggest Loser doctor (or dietitian for that matter).

I like that Jillian and Bob provide “key pieces of advice” throughout the season. Even though the had to mention “Brita” and “Walmart”, it was still a good tip and good information about water and staying hydrated.

Dislikes
Of course I have to say, I hate the commercials for the stupid Biggest Loser products.

They act like the reason the contestants are getting “bigger each year” is because of the obesity epidemic. That’s not 100% true though, in my opinion. The show picks the contestants, obviously, and they are picking larger contestants each year simply to make it more dramatic and interesting.

Is it realistic to sit at a computer and input all of your calories consumed, each day? Maybe for some, but not for others. I mean, it gets old, really fast. In the real world it’s just not as easy as the show makes it out to be. The BL contestants get nice new computers, breaks in the middle of the day, and not to mention a fairly limited amount of food to input! Yeah, that’s easy. Try doing it in the real world, in the middle of your everyday hectic life, it’ll be a little different…

The weigh-ins take forever. It’s incredibly annoying. Thank goodness for Tivo.

Why is it such a feat for the “heaviest guy in BL history” to have had “the biggest first week weight loss in BL history”? Shouldn’t that cancel out the feat of being the heaviest player? I mean, there is nothing to celebrate here. I would hope the largest player looses the most weight!

Giveaway Update

Emily of The Health Nut

Coming Up
Tonight Nick is off from work, yeah! We’re planning a nice and relaxing evening. Stay tuned for my next post, which will feature information on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and a new dinner for the 2010 cookbook! Thanks for reading, and have a great day.

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Health & Food

Holiday Weight Managment, and a Coffee/Tea/Caffeine Update

Earlier in the year I confessed to drinking about 600-800 mg caffeine per day. My goal was to cut this in half, and so far, so good. As of now I am consuming around 300-400 mg caffeine per day, which is a huge improvement. I recently learned that the average daily consumption of caffeine in the USA is 1000 mg, so perhaps I wasn’t doing so bad after all. Yikes!

An article I recently Tweeted about made these claims regarding caffeine:

– Prolonged administration of caffeine is not associated with a significant elevation in blood pressure.Holiday Weight Managment, and a Coffee/Tea/Caffeine Update 7

– Caffeine consumption does not result in water-electrolyte imbalance (mainly a concern of athletes).

– Although the above has been shown in studies, be aware that side effects could include anxiety, jitters, inability to focus, gastrointestinal distress, insomnia, irritability, and with higher doses possible heart arrhythmia.

Source: NCSA’s Performance Training Journal, volume 8, Issue 6

Speaking of caffeine, here are some excerpts from an article found in BBC news regarding yet another possible benefit of tea and coffee!Holiday Weight Managment, and a Coffee/Tea/Caffeine Update 8Researchers looked at 18 separate studies involving nearly 500,000 people.

The analysis revealed that people who drink three or four cups of coffee or tea a day cut their risk [of diabetes, type II] by a fifth or more, say researchers.Holiday Weight Managment, and a Coffee/Tea/Caffeine Update 9 The same amount of decaffeinated coffee had an even bigger effect, lowering risk by a third.

If the findings prove true, doctors may well start advising people to put the kettle on as well as take more exercise and watch their weight, say the researchers.

When the authors combined and analyzed the data, they found that each additional cup of coffee consumed in a day cut diabetes risk by 7%.

Compounds in coffee and tea – including magnesium and antioxidants known as lignans or chlorogenic [which have been shown to slow down the release of glucose into the blood after a meal] acids – may be involved.

NBC4, Columbus News Segment

If you don’t already know, I’m the local NBC4 news “Health and Nutrition Expert”. I got lucky because my friend is the producer of the show  For the month of December I was asked to do a segment on “how to maintain your weight over the holidays”. Sorry there isn’t a clip of my news segment, but if you want to see my last one (about vitamin D) look on the side bar, I added it! Here are some of the points I made:

1) Increase your exercise, even just a little. Add 5-10 minutes to your normal routine, or include some cross training and/or intervals. If you don’t workout, start walking around the block after dinner, or lifting small weights to build a bit of muscle and make up for those extra calories inevitably consumed.

2) If you have a party to go to at night, remember it’s not good to skip meals during the day (many people do this so they can “enjoy” the party and eat whatever they want). This is a bad idea because your metabolism slows down and you usually end up eating a lot more than you should, because you’re so hungry! Just eat normally throughout the day and don’t go to the party overly hungry.

3) Plan ahead. Make a goal of a specific number of treats to allow yourself at any holiday party. I like the goal of 2 or less treats, which includes alcoholic beverages. Another treat might be a piece of fudge or 2 small cookies. If you plan ahead, you are more likely to stick to your weight management goals.

4) Modify traditional, higher calorie holiday foods/drinks. Check out the eggnog I made on camera here. It’s not me, just the recipe. Leave a fun comment if you feel like it!

Update

I hope everyone has a fun week ahead of them! I have a tiny bit more shopping and a lot more wrapping, plus a lot of actual work to do before Thursday. Nick and I got a lot done this weekend, but I feel like the “to do” list is never ending. Alright, deeeeep breaths…in….out….. Off I go! Pepperoni bread and my new favorite iPhone application coming up on my next post. Everyone, have a great Monday and thanks for reading!

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Health & Food

Label Mania

Did you see this blog post by the New York Times? It made me so happy! Basically, the food label may be getting a makeover soon. If I had to name one thing/person who needed a makeover the most, it would be food labels (and of course a few others that I have in mind, but I won’t mention names….I’m on the top of that list!).

Here is what the article says they are proposing for food labels:

1) Put calorie and serving size information in larger type at the top of the label so it’s immediately clear how much you are eating.Label Mania 11

 My thoughts: This is a grea

t idea. Currently the print is so small, it gets lost with everything else. Take this label (above), for example, the serving size is first, but it’s not highlighted, people may not even notice it! 150 calories doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you knew it was only 7 chips that provided those calories, that may be a whole other story.

2) Make the ingredient list easier to read by printing it in regular type instead of all capital letters. Use bullets to separate ingredients rather than allowing them to all run together.

My thoughts: I had not even really thought about this before, how about you? Now that I think about it this is a great point, they do all run together. Check out the food label below, yikes!

3) List minor ingredients and allergens separately from the main ingredient list. Highlight allergy information in red.


My thoughts: I have often struggle to find if products contain wheat (FODMAPS diet says no wheat). Check out the label above, the allergens blend right in with the ingredients. If the allergens were highlighted in red it would make my life, and many others’, easier. Plus I could tell clients what to look for. I think the label below does a great job of making the allergens easy to find. They are listed separately and in bold, but if they were red it would be even easier to find for those who have to look for this information on EVERY SINGLE LABEL.Label Mania 124) List similar ingredients together and show the percentage by weight. For instance, sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and grape juice concentrate are all forms of sugar and should be listed in parenthesis under the catchall heading “sugars”.

My thoughts: This may confuse people who have already gotten used to seeing the ingredients listed in order of percentage by weight. However, I think it’s a great idea, as many people don’t understand that corn syrup, and many concentrates are just another word for “sugar”. The label below is a great example. Some people might not understand that corn syrup and HFCS are just another way of saying”sugar”, and so “sugar” is actually the second ingredient in this product.

Label Mania 135) Use red labeling and the word “high” when a product has more than 20 percent of the daily recommendation for fats, sugars, sodium or cholesterol.

My Thoughts: This is by far my favorite recommendation. This would even help me! When is 5% good and when is it bad? Which nutrients should I look to see if there is at least 20% DV or less? Does anyone else get confused about the percent daily value (DV)? This would make life so much easier. Why didn’t they think of it before??

6) Make it clear which sugars are added to the product versus those that occur naturally.

My thoughts: For those who really watch their sugar sources this could be helpful. This is also good for dairy products, and juices. Looking at the kefir label below, it may be unclear for some people where the sugar comes from, but in fact it occurs naturally in the milk that is used to make the kefir. It’s in the form of the disaccharide lactose (glucose and galactose). Looking at the ingredient list, however, you really can’t tell where this 8 grams of sugar came from! It’s confusing.Label Mania 146) Display prominently the percentage of whole grains contained in a product.

My thoughts: This is another one that I find incredibly important! They say we should all be making at least half of our grains “whole”, but we never even know what percentage of whole grains our products contain. How are we supposed to make half our grains whole? When I’m buying cereal, or telling clients what to look for when buying cereal, I’d love for them to look for a whole grain percentage, rather than having to decipher all this junk.


7) List caffeine content.

My thoughts: Can I tell you something? They don’t even list the caffeine content on my Maxwell House coffee!! I had to do some research and sort of deduce a guess for the amount of caffeine I have been consuming each day. For all I know, I’m way off! This would be so nice, and about 100 years too late.

Question: Which changes would you make?

I would change the trans fat law, which says if a product contains less than .05 grams of trans fat per serving, it can be listed as 0 grams trans fat! That’s ridiculous. Nick and I were eating that Cool Whip (label above) by the spoon full, until I noticed it had hydrogenated vegetable oils! Bummer.

Five RANDOM Things I’ve Learned This Year
(Continued from previous posts)

Spaghetti squash is the reason I love fall and winter. I can’t believe I never used to buy spaghetti squash on a regular basis.

Taking a moment to just relax and breath really helps when I am starting to get stressed.

Drinking my water threw a straw everyday was not the best idea. It was causing me to take in way too much air, and thus I was uncomfortable.

The lotion in the green bottle from Garnier Fructise causes me to breakout, MAJORLY.

Update

This weekend has gone by just as fast as the week, which means I’m super behind on what I wanted to accomplish! Today I’m doing some baking and tons of errand running (isn’t that what Sundays are for?!). Stay tuned for my next post, which will showcase my new breakfast of champions, and provide some hints for planning ahead and being healthy at home. Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

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Health & Food

Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating

On Monday night Nick and I listened to Christmas music, drank hot cocoa, and put up our fake tree. Yeah, you read that correctly, FAKE! This was our first year doing fake, but our apartment won’t let us have a real tree  We were both pretty disappointed, but we figured fake is better than nothing at all.Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 16Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 17

 

 

 

 

Here are some of our favorite ornaments…..Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 18Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 19Of course we have OSU Buckeye ornaments, and some other fun ones from vacations and family friends.Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 20Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 21I love this one, it’s Santa on a gondola in Italy. My father and his mother are from the same part of Italy, and her maiden name is Casa, while my last name is Casagrande!Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 22Finished product! This tree is currently packed with tons of gifts, all from me. Nick works a lot more so he does all his shopping at the last minute. Not me!Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 23What is Clean Eating?
Source: Today’s Dietitian Magazine

– Main principles focus on choosing whole fruits and vegetables, in their natural state, and also lean meat, fish, and poultry; beans and legumes; low fat dairy products; and whole grains from a variety of food sources.
My thoughts: This just sounds like a healthy diet plan to me, no? I think most “clean eaters” don’t eat frozen vegetables. I couldn’t live without my frozen veggies. Who says frozen vegetables are any less clean than fresh anyway? They are just boiled, blanched, froze, and put into a bag!Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 24– Meals are high in fiber, low in fat, calories, and sugar
My thoughts: again, isn’t this just eating healthy?

– Some off limit ingredients include high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, margarines, trans fat, artificial colors and flavors, and unnecessary food additives such as salt, sugar and corn syrup.
My thoughts: I hate the words “off limit” when it comes to food. This is when I would get in trouble. When I was anorexic, many foods were “off limit”, but then when I brought them back into my life I couldn’t get enough! Secretly I wanted them so bad. Now I know how to choose those “off limit” foods in moderation, and enjoy them when I want to! Plus, how fun is it to live life knowing that you can’t eat any food with added salt or sugar? No going out to eat for you!

Give up having a piece of this every once in a while? No thanks.Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 25– Clean eating does not permit fried foods or foods that are covered in olive oil, honey, or salt
My thoughts: Same as above, the “off limit” thing just doesn’t appeal to me. If I want to get a side of fries with my sandwich every once in a while, I will.

What’s wrong with eating a salty restaurant meal every once in a while? I gave myself props on this particular night out, for ordering fish and having a vegetable with my meal. It was salty, but a much better choice than some of the other options.Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 26– Clean eaters usually eat frequent meals, dividing them into five or six daily occasions.
My thoughts: I think this is a great strategy. This prevents people from eating too much at one time, which can have a negative effect on hormones, bloating, and mood in my opinion.Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 27– The clean eating philosophy maintains that regular physical activity, about 5-6 times per week, is necessary.
My thoughts: Obviously I can’t argue with this one

There are many benefits of clean eating, says the article, such as environmental benefits, saving money (buying fresh can be much cheaper than those processed, pre-cooked, packaged foods), focusing on quality rather than quantity, and improvements in health. But I’m not sold on the “Clean Eating” philosophy. I think many of the ideas behind it are great, but personally I don’t want to have to think that much about my food choices. I already read the labels fairly closely and pay a lot of attention to what I put in my mouth, but I think this is somewhat extreme. I like my frozen vegetables and canned soups on occasion! And, who could give up fried food 100%? Who would want to do that? Not me!

What are your thoughts on clean eating? Would you stick to such a strict regimen, or would you rather do what I do and try to eat healthy and “Clean” as much as you can, but not let rules hold you back all the time?

Special thanks to the Foodie over at Fab and Delicious Food for my giveaway prize! I am planning on being nice and stress-free from the spa package I received. Also, thanks to Rebecca of Chow and Chatter for my blog award

Stay tuned for my next post, which of course will be my LAST Biggest Loser review of the season. Did you watch?! Thanks for reading everyone, and have a great day!

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Health & Food

Biggest Loser Review and Division One Training Center

Hey everyone! I hope you are all having a great week. I’ve been super busy, but made time to write this post, and have been trying really hard to read as many blogs as possible. Please bear with me, I promise I’ll catch up sooner or later  Sometimes life just takes over!

Biggest Loser Review

Dislikes
Bob didn’t mention the unpleasant side effects that come from chewing sugar free Extra gum all day. Yeah, diarrhea, flatulence. Good times

Amanda sounded like she had disordered thinking going on. What do you think? She said she struggles just waking up, and thinking about counting calories and watching her weight. She basically said it causes her stress. That makes me sad, and I hope she can talk to someone after the show.

Subway, AGAIN?!

I’m not against the fact that they ran a marathon, but come on, 60 days to prepare? That may be doable for someone who has done a marathon before, but for the contestants on the BL I thought it was a little ridiculous.

Danny lost 59 pounds in 60 days. That’s 1 pound per day. He looks AWESOME, but what the heck is going on in his body biologically, and metabolically? Who knows?! The safe amount of weight loss is 1-2 pounds PER WEEK. This is not good for the public to see, in my opinion.

Likes

They went back home for 60 days, to see if they could do this at home. That’s fantastic. I love that they do this. Losing weight on a catered and scheduled ranch, is much different than losing, and maintaining weight in the real world.

Loved how realistic the contestants were. They knew about the “honeymoon stage” and they talked about it, and made peace with it. They talked through their plan, and their goals. I think their goals sounded so real and achievable. I was so proud of them!

The Take Home Chef. That’s all I have to say  I love Curtis Stone. I wish I had “Smell0vision”!

This one deserves a “LOVE”, and it’s Danny! I love him. I hope his wife realizes how much he loves her too. She will.

5 Random Things I Have Learned This Year

I am incredibly lucky, no matter how many times I have a moment of sadness

I LOVE cheese! Especially Swiss

I love my job, but actually having a job and living in the “real world” can really be as difficult as they say.

85% dark chocolate tastes gross when eaten after a piece of milk chocolate, but when eaten alone it’s amazing! Especially Lindt’s.

Many of the foods I eat contain a lot more sodium than I ever imagined. This was a good lesson learned, as I’m making some serious changes now!

Life Update
I’ve been working almost 12 hours the past two days, which I’m not used to at all, but it’s been a lot of fun. Here are some pictures of the Division One Training Center with whom we have partnered:

They train “every day people” who are just looking to lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight. They do this in the form of a boot camp. Wednesday was their testing day, where they were weighed, measured, and their sprint times were recorded. They use this data as a base fitness assessment, or to compare with past assessments to see if there have been any positive changes.Biggest Loser Review and Division One Training Center 29Biggest Loser Review and Division One Training Center 30

They also train young athletes in middle school and high school, and of course some college aged athletes. GO BUCKS!Biggest Loser Review and Division One Training Center 31We will be in charge of providing the nutrition consulting, in order for the participants to learn how to balance athletics with a healthy diet. They are both important, obviously, so I think we’ll make a positive difference and people will hopefully notice a change in their strength, energy, and motivation.Biggest Loser Review and Division One Training Center 32Biggest Loser Review and Division One Training Center 33Biggest Loser Review and Division One Training Center 34

Giveaway
Kelly is giving away a 20% off coupon and free bride t-shirt from Cake by Inkbox Design

Stay tuned for my next post, which will include some product reviews, and some of my own tips on how to get kids to eat healthier. I may even throw in a restaurant review, we’ll see. Thanks for reading! Have a great day

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Health & Food

Food EEEEEK! Review

Nick and I watched Food Inc. on Thanksgiving (after we ate our meals). Like we expected, the movie was fantastic and it really put things into perspective. Was it a good perspective? Not so much, but boy am I glad we watched it.

What’s scarier?

THISFood EEEEEK! Review 36OR

THIS?Food EEEEEK! Review 37Don’t answer that please.

After watching Food Inc., my vote would have to be for A (the obese man chowing down on a fast food burger). I already knew the crap we buy at Taco Bell, McDonald’s, KFC, etc. was exactly that, CRAP. But what I didn’t know was how the animals were treated and how unsanitary and unethical the farming practices were. It’s so sad, to say the very least. And our government is actually so greedy and pathetic, they are doing nothing about these practices, in fact they are enabling them!

I’m not anti-government, but this movie really made me wonder what really goes on in here…..

Bottom line: This movie taught me that there is more than just health-related reasons to not eat fast food and many of the junk we find at grocery stores, there are also moral and political reasons not to do it, and I don’t want to pump any more money into those companies. I’m not going to promise never to eat some of those products ever again, but I am going to be more cognisant of my decisions.

The information regarding the feeding practices of the cows (Ruminants) was very interesting. I don’t know that we should assume that all grass fed animals are more safe and healthy, but they did provide an excellent argument. I’d like to read more about this. Keep in mind, however, there have been foodborne illness outbreaks in Organic foods as well (Salmonella in organic peanut butter) and also local stores that we’d assume were “safe” (Trader Joe’s beef was recalled just about a month ago).

Bottom Line: I’ll continue to buy the protein products that I buy (non grass fed) but I am not against looking into some grass fed, local protein products. I would be more willing to give it a shot now that I have learned more about the potential benefits of grass fed animal products.

The statistic that literally shocked me the most was that; “Of all the people born after the year 2000, 1 in 3 Americans will have Type II Diabetes, and 1 in 2 minorities will have Type II Diabetes”. We’ve got a serious mission to conquer here. Let’s make sure that statistic turns out to be false. Who’s with me??

One of my favorite segments was with the man who worked for Stonyfield. He said something really fantastic. Basically their initial goals for their business was to sell their products to those who weren’t necessarily interested, simply to get them to like it. After some struggles they realized that in order to “reach the masses” they needed to start marketing towards those who were already sold on the product. Building business by word of mouth is the best way to go. Eventually other people heard about their great product and started trying it for themselves. Same thing with organic products, in general. You can find them now at Walmart! Why? Word of mouth caused people to start buying them and now they are being requested!

Bottom Line: Buy organic when you can. I know it’s expensive, trust me, but if you see a sale on an organic item that you would like to try, buy it! Every purchase helps make organic foods a bigger, and cheaper business. And that’s what I do. I don’t let the high prices hold me back, I just don’t waste my money on other junk so I am able to make those purchases.

I would like to end this little review with a quote from an article in the LA Times. This article, which isn’t available online anymore, focused on how a healthy diet can have a tremendous positive effect on your immune system.

“The human body doesn’t have to be starving to suffer malnutrition. Studies show that obesity, in addition to its other health risks, may also make people more susceptible to infections like the flu. A diet heavy on processed and fast foods may be low in the vitamins and minerals important for health.”

If you didn’t read this post, I am going to be posting 5 random things I learned this year as part of every other post, from now until January. I know I skipped it last time, just pretend I didn’t….

Five Random Things I’ve Learned This Year

– Wierd is spelled Weird

– Becomming is spelled Becoming

– Buying bagged popcorn is a waste of money, the kernels last longer and are much cheaper

– My IBS actually effects my mood and my life in a negative way, therefore I am doing something about it.

– Trader Joe’s is the best grocery store ever (I just started shopping there this year!)

Thanks for reading everyone! Have a fantastic day.

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Health & Food

The Low FODMAPs Diet and Biggest Loser Review

I know it might sound crazy, but Monday, November 16th, 2009 was my FIRST experience eating a pomegranate. I automatically assumed I wouldn’t like it because it was “seedy”, you know? But just look at it:The Low FODMAPs Diet and Biggest Loser Review 39

Not only are they delicious, but they are beautiful. I already knew that, but boy am I glad I discovered their goodness before they went out of season! Why didn’t any of you tell me?! haha, I know, YOU DID!

THE FODMAP DIET

Recently I was informed of a diet for IBS, called the low FODMAP diet, by a blogger named Kristen over at Simply Savor. This diet is low in many of the things I already knew I needed to be avoiding, such as fructose, oligosaccharides, lactose, and polyols. Click on this link to learn more about the diet, and more specific details about what to avoid if you have IBS. There was a helpful table that was part of the PDF supplied by this site, which listed all of the specific foods that are best to avoid. Reading this list made me cry, as many of the foods were some of my favorites. Some of them weren’t too shocking:

Grapes
Dried fruit (and dried fruit bars!)
Asparagus
Cabbage
Brussel sprouts
Beans
WHEAT (I’ve been avoiding gluten)
Artificial sweeteners
Lactose

But some of them were very shocking, and actually quite depressing:

Apples (I think cooking will help!)
Honeydew
Watermelon
Peaches
Artichoke (tear)
Honey (triple tear)
Coconut

Source: Practical Gastroenterology, August 2007

My plan is to stick to this FODMAPS diet while continuing to monitor my sodium intake. Something else I am doing is cutting out the gas-causing foods from my diet (the foods that cause ME gas, that is). I’ve been doing a little experiment to find out which foods cause me the most gas, in an effort to save money (I spend about 20 dollars a month on Beano!!). From what I have learned this week, aside from the FODMAPS foods, I also need to limit these:

Eggplant
Mushroom
(two of my favorite veggies)

But before you feel bad for me, here are the veggies and fruits I CAN eat!

Pomegranate
Oranges
Blueberry (any berry really)
Spaghetti squash!The Low FODMAPs Diet and Biggest Loser Review 40

 Pumpkin!The Low FODMAPs Diet and Biggest Loser Review 41Greens (collard, kale, spinach)The Low FODMAPs Diet and Biggest Loser Review 42

Green beans, carrots, zucchini, tomatoesThe Low FODMAPs Diet and Biggest Loser Review 43

This list is still in the works, by the way, as I am finding more and more fruits and veggies that I can eat as the days go by.

Question: Are you sick of my gassy posts yet?! Please, don’t answer that

BIGGEST LOSER REVIEW

Dislikes
It’s great that they are trying to get people to donate to Feeding America, however, it’s pathetic that they have to use that as a way to get people to go to their website. Lame.

Who is going to spend their money on these zip lock bags that are made with “wind power”? I mean come on, stop making us poor people feel bad about buying the $.99 baggies that are made with electricity, instead of $5.00 to help save the planet. Let’s be green and good at saving money.

Likes The “surprise” (I won’t say it in case people haven’t see in it) definitely made the speech easier! Great idea to do that, as giving a speech like that even scares ME! And I enjoy giving speeches more than most people, I think.

The speeches were a great way to motivate America. I gotta give it to the Biggest Loser! Heck, they even even motivated me to make a positive change. Although I felt bad for eating a rice cake and peanut butter while listening to Liz say she used to eat ice cream while watching the weigh ins

The person who got kicked off (I won’t name names here) is such an inspiration! I couldn’t even do what he/she was doing in the last 2 minutes of the show, SO IMPRESSIVE!

Next Post
Stay tuned for my next post, which will include some new food products and creations, plus some information about a better way to monitor your health status! Have a great day, and thanks for reading

***Stop by Coco’s blog, Balance, Joy, and Delicias, to enter her PopChip giveaway! And, check out Naomi’s Chocolate and a Coffee giveaway! ***

Categories
Health & Food

Probiotics; The Healthy Bacteria

Today I have an blog post agenda. The agenda includes clearing up a few things about my last post, sharing with you my favorite part about the holidays, a little probiotic review session, a giveaway update, and my life update! Alright, here we go…..

Sodium and “Bloating”

It became clear to me, after reading all of your comments, that I did not make myself clear when I said that sodium causes me to be bloated. Here are two definitions of “bloat”:

  1. To cause to swell up or inflate, as with liquid or gas.
    1.A swelling of the rumen or intestinal tract of cattle and domestic animals that is caused by excessive gas formation following fermentation of ingested watery legumes or green forage.

The bloat that I get from consuming too much sodium is the first definition. It just causes me to retain water to the point that I am extremely uncomfortable. It does NOT give me gas and cause me gassy bloat, like many of you believed from my post. I apologize for that confusion. With IBS, many foods can cause gas and bloating, therefore the water retention caused by sodium just adds to the uncomfortable feeling.

Why I Love the Holidays

Although I’m a total Scrooge when it comes to starting to celebrate the holidays early, I became a fan of the early holiday celebration on Monday night when Nick and I walked to Kroger and found THIS:Probiotics; The Healthy Bacteria 45
Great Lake’s Christmas Ale has been a favorite of ours since we worked together at an Irish Pub that used to sell this on tap. It’s the best beer in the world, no joke. If you enjoy a good beer, you’ve got to try this stuff, and grab it while you can, it goes fast! We were tempted to buy an entire case, as we could remember last year when everyone had run out. But instead we only purchased two six packs. We walked home fast, and poured ourselves a cup of holiday cheer.Probiotics; The Healthy Bacteria 46

Beer is one of the worst things for my IBS (the gluten, the carbonation….) but sometimes you just gotta make an exception and live through that uncomfortable feeling.

Dietary Change #2; Probiotics

My diet already includes plenty of prebiotics (the food for the probitoics) so now I include probitics as well. They actually have a synbiotic relationship. The perfect product, which contains both pre- and probiotics, is kefir. I recently decided to start drinking Kefir again.

What is Kefir?
Wikepedia:
Kefir (alternately kefīrs, kefir, kephir, kewra, talai, mudu kekiya, milkkefir, búlgaros) is a fermented milk drink that originated in the Caucasus region. It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep‘s milk with kefir grains.

How can kefir help?
(Source: Lifeway Kefir)

Dietary changes are often suggested as a first-line defense against IBS.
Many studies show that adding certain types of yogurt – specifically, those containing the bacteria (genera) lactobacilli and bifidobacteria – to your diet may alleviate the symptoms of IBS. These “good” bacteria, also known as probiotics, are normally found in the large intestine, but adding them to your diet can help with gas, pain and bloating, while reducing the time it takes for food to move through the intestine This, in turn, may be helpful in people with constipation; probiotics may also decrease the frequency of loose stools, improving IBS-related diarrhea.

My Extra Thoughts
** When you purchase a product that claims to provide helpful “probiotics”, make sure it lists the type of probiotic, which is usually written with the genus abbreviated, and the species written out (ex: L. Lactis). If you purchase a probiotic supplement it should also disclose the amount of probiotic in the product, as well as the species. The species will tell you more specifics about the health benefits of the product, and the amount will disclose whether the product is even worth taking, as 1 to 10 billion units is what is necessary for clinical effects. If the product does not say, be sure to call the company to confirm.**

I bought this kefir the other day. Check it out, not only does this provide probiotics, but also more PREbiotics (inulin in this case) to feed the probiotics. Do you notice another important component of this product??Probiotics; The Healthy Bacteria 47

VITAMIN D!! Now vitamin D is more important than ever. Have I mentioned that before ??

Both of my dietary changes have made me a happier girl. I rarely get that uncomfortable bloat, or feeling that my food is stuck half-way through its absorption process, and I rarely have bad gas (Nick likes that part). The reduction in gas may have to do with the fact that probiotics are said to produce some beneficial enzymes for digestion. It’s quite nice. Also, check out the post by Stephanie or “The Skinny Plate”. She reviewed LifeWays probiotic bars, which is another great way to get your daily dose of probiotics.

If you would like more specific information about probiotics and prebiotics, click on this link. It will hopefully answer all of your questions that I could not describe in this post (or it would have been a mile long!)

Giveaway Update
Jessica of How Sweet It Is is giving away a Cusinart Food Processor! Check it out.

Life Update

Well I’m still really busy with the new job. Our company is growing, very slowly, but surely. We’ve decided to create some webinars and maybe even write a book! I will also be including an option for some personal and group dietary consulting within the companies we are working for.
All together, I still love the job and I can tell it’s only going to get better!

Stay tuned for my next post, which will include my Biggest Loser review! Thanks for reading, and have a great day.

Categories
Health & Food

Label Lies, Crappy Foods in Disguise

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Yeah, I know this is a repeat picture, but I had to post it on Halloween!

Today and tomorrow I will be talking about food labels. They are a big issue right now, and I believe you can never know too much about them.Label Lies, Crappy Foods in Disguise 49Would you feed your child, or yourself for that matter, bagel-fuls for breakfast or a snack, and think to yourself “I’m making a healthy choice, or a “better” choice?” . With 200 calories, 2 grams of saturated fat, and very few health benefits (10% calcium and 10% iron among them), these Bagel-fuls are just glorified junk food if you ask me. Yet, they proudly display the “Smart Choices” logo on the front of the box, providing parents, adults, and children a false sense of security. If this is a smart choice, what isn’t smart choice?Label Lies, Crappy Foods in Disguise 50

Another example is Cocoa Puffs. The first ingredient, whole grain corn, does a nice job of providing the consumer with a whopping 1 gram of fiber. The second ingredient, sugar, does an even better job of providing the consumer 12 grams of sugar. Personally I like to look for no more than 10 grams of sugar for my morning meal. Let’s not forget the serving size is 3/4 cup, which is not much. So I’m confused, what makes this a “Smart Choice”?

If you haven’t read about the smart Choices controversy yet, click the link and enjoy. For a review, the Smart Choices program uses “science-based” guidelines and criteria to select the foods on the market that are “smart choices”. This program was designed to help consumers make better choices at the grocery store. While the concept is great, it seems to be a bit misleading.Label Lies, Crappy Foods in Disguise 51

My last example is the new Fruit Loops, with FIBER! Check out the ingredients;

Ingredients

SUGAR; WHOLE GRAIN CORN FLOUR; WHEAT FLOUR; WHOLE GRAIN OAT FLOUR; OAT FIBER; SOLUBLE CORN FIBER; PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (ONE OR MORE OF: COCONUT, SOYBEAN AND/OR COTTONSEED OILS)†; SALT; SODIUM ASCORBATE AND ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C); NIACINAMIDE; REDUCED IRON; NATURAL ORANGE, LEMON, CHERRY, RASPBERRY, BLUEBERRY, LIME AND OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS; RED #40; BLUE #2; TURMERIC COLOR; YELLOW #6; ZINC OXIDE; ANNATTO COLOR; BLUE #1; PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6); RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2); THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1); VITAMIN A PALMITATE; BHT (PRESERVATIVE); FOLIC ACID; VITAMIN D; VITAMIN B12.

I actually made note of the fact that SUGAR is the first ingredient to the lady at the FNCE conference in Denver. She was flustered, to say the least. And if you go to the website you’ll notice some fun recipes they have provided for you to create with your Fruit Loops. More Smart Choices here; crispy ice cream sandwich sundaes, crunchy pudding squares, fiesta cookies, lovely!

I’m not going to turn into some really strict RD who says no to everything, but the thing that really makes me mad is that these claims are misleading. Most of you are very good at reading labels and understanding what is “healthy” and what is not, but the lay public may not know much about food labels, which is why programs such as Smart Choices were created! Unfortunately when a program is created by a food company, it will be created in a way that will allow it to include many of their own products. Too bad.

Question: What are your thoughts on the Smart Choices program? Do you think there is a better solution? Personally I think cereals and other products should be required to highlight the “good” and the “bad”. This way people could actually learn what to look for. If ALL companies did this, it wouldn’t hurt anyone’s sales. The companies could also provide advice such as, “mix this cereal with a small handful of bran flakes to add more fiber to your breakfast!”, for their products that are lower in fiber, like the Cocoa Puffs. Or, “Add some fruit to your cereal to add more vitamins and minerals!”, etc.

Coming Up: Stay tuned for some foods that may be in YOUR cabinet and which may be tricking YOU (they tricked me!).

Giveaway Update: Check out the blog makeover giveaway over at the Zesty Cook ! I hear he does an amazing job, plus I’ve seen some of his work and it’s very impressive.

Tonight Nick and I are taking his mother out for dinner, as it’s her 35th wedding anniversary (and Nick’s dad passed away a couple years ago). Everyone have a spoooooky GOOD DAY! Thanks for reading.

Categories
Health & Food

Do You Weigh Yourself?

Yesterday I spent the entire day re-creating many of my lost files, but I’m very much aware that many of them are gone for good, including all of my statistics from my research (if my adviser ever finds that out….I’m in trouble!!). Anyway, before I get started on my work for the day, I thought I would post the “Top Ten Reasons Not to Weigh Yourself”, as I know many people weigh themselves often and I truly believe it’s not the best idea. Why? I used to weigh myself all the time back when I had an eating disorder, and I really believe it made things worse. This is not to say that anyone who weighs themselves will get an eating disorder, but I do think that it puts the focus on the wrong issue and it causes one to become pre-occupied with a number, rather than an overall sense of health and well-being.

The Top Ten Reasons Not To Weigh Yourself

  1. Weight fluctuates from day to day, which is not a significant indication of overall weight change.
  2. Daily weight changes often are due to water weight, which naturally rises and falls.
  3. Seeing a change we don’t like on the scale may make us feel negative about ourselves and our bodies.
  4. Focusing on weight tends to correlate with other negative behaviors that we want to avoid.
  5. The scale will never say what we want it to say.
  6. How we feel about ourselves is more important than the number on the scale.
  7. The scale does not consider body composition (the ratio of muscle, fat, and other tissues). For example, as we exercise and gain muscle, we might look trimmer and more fit but actually weigh more, as muscle is heavier than fat.
  8. We should not let a machine determine how we feel about ourselves.
  9. Weight is not a measurement of self-worth
  10. YOUR reason

Source: NutriFit, Sport, Therapy Inc.

Bottom Line: I do think it’s ok to weigh yourself every once in a while to keep yourself on track and to prevent gradual weight gains/losses throughout your life. I usually weigh myself about once a month, just to keep myself on track (and also to make sure I have not LOST weight). I encourage you to take this list seriously and really think about how the scale effects your emotions.

Today I leave you with the only mountain view I had while in Colorado. This was the view from the convention center in downtown Denver!Do You Weigh Yourself? 53Do You Weigh Yourself? 54HAVE A GREAT DAY!