Showing posts with label mediterranean diet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mediterranean diet. Show all posts
Friday, February 20, 2015

More Coffee & Eggs, Please! The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Explained

2015 Dietary Guidelines, Eggs are good for me, is coffee good for me
Eggs and coffee can be part of a healthy diet. Whoo-Hoo!
Coffee and eggs are hip. In a big, fat healthy way.

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services assemble experts every five years to study and recommend dietary guidelines. Why? Because it's a dynamic thing. Scientists and experts are continually studying and learning new data. New dietary guidelines will be released at the end of 2015 but preliminary recommendations were released on Thursday.

Among the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee's recommendations:
  • Eggs Are Ok - experts say that dietary cholesterol is "not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption". In English - don't be so worried about the cholesterol in egg yolks or shrimp, for that matter. 
  • Coffee Is Cool - between 3-5 cups of coffee per day can be a part of a healthy diet and can actually reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Don't add extra calories with tons of milk, cream or sugar. Out on coffee? Drink green tea. 
  • Watch Added Sugar - added sugar should be no more than 200 calories a day. Average Americans are getting about 268 calories from added sugar right now. These are completely empty calories.
  • While You're At It, Watch The Salt - stay under 2300 milligrams per day. This can add up quickly. 
  • Eat A Plant-Based Diet - duh. We know we need to do this. 

Read the full 571-page 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report HERE.

So much of what they are promoting is good, old-fashioned common sense: eat more produce and lean protein, enjoy saturated fats and sugar in moderation. The news on cholesterol in eggs is a reversal of what the government told us for years.

Sounds A Bit Like The Mediterranean Diet, Doesn't It? 
Their recommendations sound strikingly similar to the principles that make up the Mediterranean Diet which focuses on produce, lean protein (fish primarily), nuts, olive oil, wine and chocolate. Learn more about the Mediterranean approach to eating (and why it's my favorite) HERE.

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As always, take all this advice to heart but check with a trusted medical professional if you plan on making significant dietary changes.

Image via Justin Leibow
Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Top Diet Trends for 2014

I hate diets.  Okay, that's a lie.  I like learning about them.  

Truthfully speaking, we're all on "diets".  Webster defines the word "diet" as "the food or drink regularly consumed".  See.  We're all on diets. 

The thing is you can consume a healthful diet or a crappy one.  Why not go healthy?  It's much easier to take your medicine in the form of great food that is full of nutrients than it is to take expensive medicine in the form of pills in effort to treat some obesity-related illness.

Remember: it's easier to prevent disease than it is to treat it.  Think about that.  

Okay, on to the fun stuff.  What is on the nutritional experts radar this year?  Today's Dietitian surveyed more than 500 registered dietitians to find out and determined the 14 top diet trends for 2014.  Ancient grains like quinoa that will continue to be cool.  Woo-hoo.  

Quinoa salad
Here is a snippet of the top diet scoop you'll talking about, hearing about and eating in 2014: 
  1. The no-wheat movement: consumers will continue to nix the wheat and adopt Paleo (the most Googled diet of 2013, btw), gluten-free or "wheat belly" diets in 2014. 
  2. Add kale, coconut or chia seeds: throw it them in a smoothie.  You know we love this.  
  3. Low fat no more: thank God.  Dietitians think that the "low fat diet" will be the least discussed in 2014. Low carb remains strong.  For the record, I got fat eating low fat. 
  4. Fruits and veggies are the way to go: did we really need dietitians to tell us this?  You know my thoughts on the thing.  Go Mediterranean or go home. 

So, really, the "top diet trends" of 2014 aren't all that new.  It's still basic, common sense advice that our grandmothers gave us: eat your fruits and vegetables, hold off on the sugar, don't eat too much and get outside to play.  

Sounds like a good plan if you ask me!

Have a wonderful 2014!  Make it your best year yet.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Is Eating a Low-Fat Diet Making You Fat?

When it comes to dieting to lose weight, I believe you ultimately have to experiment to find what's right for you.  Not every diet works for every person. 
Remember these?
Trust me, when I was 50 pounds heavier, I tried the then-popular Atkins diet only feel lethargic, constipated (sorry) and just blech.  Following a fake-food, low-fat diet full of sugar made me hungrier for more crappy low-fat food.
Staples of the Mediterranean Diet
What Helped Me Drop 50 Pounds
Ultimately, no magic diet works for me.  I do enjoy the Mediterranean approach to eating but I try to eat real food, most of the time.  I focus on fruits, vegetables and avoid saturated fats.  I love fish, dark chocolate and wine.  I have a sweet tooth that I am always battling and I enjoy indulging in what I love.  I had my once-a-year basket of Snuffer's Cheese Fries  Sunday after the TX/OU game and loved every calorie of the fat-bomb without an ounce of guilt. 

There.  That's it.  

Snuffer's Cheese Fries

If I want to drop weight quickly or balance out an indulgent weekend, I might juice for a few days or live on watermelon and vegetables.  That is NOT a good way to sustain weight loss but it's a quick fix which I sometimes, yet rarely, incorporate into my regime.  

Does Low-Fat Make You Fat? 
There's an interesting article in Britain's Daily Mail that bucks the theory that all calories are created equal
Friday, August 23, 2013

How to Get Started With Your Hula Hoop

Hula hooping is great exercise.  Really.  The folks in the 50's were on to something.

Hula hooping is not just a retro 50's phenomenon.  It can change your ab game.  It strengthens your abdominal muscles, particularly your obliques, creating a natural corset effect that can create your slimmest stomach ever.  It also works your legs and can be a decent cardiovascular workout if you do it a high intensity for an extended period of time.

I came out of the hula hoop closet last month with my Empower Cardio Core Fitness Hoop but some of you are still struggling to get the hang of it.  Admittedly trying to learn how to hoop isn't automatically easy.  It takes practice.

Here's how to start hooping using a weighted hula hoop:
  • Don't gyrate your hips in the direction of the hoop.  That is mistake #1. 
  • Stand with one foot in front of the other, maybe your "dominant" foot when beginning. 
  • Once you give the hoop that first "turn" around your waist, start rocking your weight from one foot to the other.  No jumping, just think of a pumping & rocking motion.
  • Keep it going.  That's it! 
  • Still need help?  Here's a video. 
Again, practice.  One direction will be easier than the other.  Clockwise was initially easier for me but I focused on getting stronger going counter clockwise and now I'm pretty good both directions.

The great thing about hooping is that you can do it any time of day.  I do it while brushing my teeth for two minutes with my electronic toothbrush (kinda weird but whatever).  Or if I can't get to the gym, I hoop for 30 minutes for a cardio/core workout.  I probably do it for at least five minutes six days a week.

I'm obsessed. 

*Remember: flat abs start in the kitchen.  No amount of hooping, cardio, ab work or spinning will give you a flat stomach if you're eating too much crap every day.  A quality, balanced diet is key.  I'm a huge fan of the Mediterranean diet approach to eating.

Get Your Weighted Hoop Here: 
Thursday, May 23, 2013

How to Win the Weight Loss Game by Focusing on What You CAN Eat vs What You Can't

A debate with a friend turned heated recently.  He is trying to lose weight and get in "fighting shape".  He is incorporating a low calorie weight loss plan that is, frankly, bland and boring.  He also laments the fact that he can't have beer, breads, ice cream, the chips he loves, blah blah blah blah. 

Ice cream chocolate chip sandwich/Courtesy: Bon Appetite
I countered with two points: First, you CAN have those things once in a while as a part of a well-balanced diet.  He thought he had to eliminate them completely.  Wrong.  Think once a week, not twice a day.

Then I presented him with this: "look at the great food you CAN have.  Think fish, chicken, lean steak, sweet potatoes, greens of all sorts, peppers, fresh berries, red wine (HELLO), dark chocolate, blah blah blah blah." 

He couldn't get over the fact that he CAN'T have certain food items.  I maintain that if you focus on what you CAN have while you're trying to drop weight or stay within a healthy range, it will make the sometimes taxing mental process of trying to win the weight loss game more bearable.

Does this sound familiar: "Crap, no 4pm cookie, no afterwork beers, no pretzels during the Rangers game!  This sucks!!!!"

Yeah, it does suck.  The thought of what you can't consume can consume you so much so that you end stuffing your face with all the stuff you swore off eating.

The best, healthiest smoothie ever.
Instead, approach your day this way:
That's not some pollyanna way of thinking.  It works.  Succeeding at eating a healthy diet is as much about mental execution as it is the physical.  We know the right foods to eat.  It's just hard to do it.  Get your mind focused on what you CAN eat instead of what you CAN'T and you WILL succeed.


Looking for a great way to eat a bounty of fresh produce, wine, chocolate, nuts and more, try the Mediterranean "diet".  I hate using the word "diet" because it's much more of an approach to eating that is wonderfully balanced and so inclusive you won't feel like you're depriving yourself of anything.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Weight Loss Guide: It's About Calorie Intake, Right? Sorta

It's simple: burn more calories than you consume.  This is a tried and true formula, yes?

Yes, but.....

Many times those calorie estimates are inaccurate.  You could also miscalculate the serving size you consume (I only had one handful of M&M's, okay three).   Basically calories in vs calories out is akin to being good on paper but bad in bed.
The Mayo Clinic has an OUTSTANDING website that tackles all sorts of health issues, including the calorie conundrum.  Read this excerpt from their Nutrition Wise blog in a post titled "Calories Reconsidered: Old Assumptions Questioned":
Monday, April 15, 2013

Food As Medicine? It's Definitely a Form of Prevention.

"Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food." -Hippocrates.

From acai to mangosteen you have probably seen superfood claims.  The LA Times had an interesting examination in the theory of food as medicine recently.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fall off the Weight Loss Resolution Bandwagon? Here's a Great Meal Plan from Eating Well Magazine to Help You Get Back on Track

How are those 2013 weight loss resolutions going?  With March more than halfway over, this is a great time to reassess your goals.  If you're struggling to stick with a program of eating real food, squeezing in five to six hours a week of exercise and taking time for yourself, then let's REFOCUS.

Today we're focusing on eating well, courtesy of Eating Well magazine.  Its print edition offers outstanding recipes that are practical, affordable and easy to make.  Recently it posted online a 7-day meal plan based on your caloric intake, ranging from 1200 to 2000 calories.  It's an idiot-proof method to help you achieve your weight loss goal.

First, determine the number of calories you need to consume to lose weight.  I always go with the method of multiplying your desired weight by 10.  Want to weigh 130 pounds?  10 x 130 = 1300.  That is the number of calories you can eat to help you reach that goal.  Exercise moderately for an hour?  Okay, a based on a conservative estimate, you can have between 350-500 additional calories on that day you do the exercise.  This is just one method.  It has worked for me whenever I need to drop a few pounds, including the 50+ I lost more than a decade ago.

Courtesy Eating Well Magazine
Look at what Eating Well offers for a middle of the road, 1600 calorie-plan for Tuesday:
  • Breakfast

    • 1 Whole Grain Oat Bran Bagel
    • 1 Cup Skim Milk
    • 1/2 Cup Blueberries
    • 1 Tablespoon Creamy Peanut Butter, unsalted
  • Morning Snack

    • 1 Apple, small
  • Lunch

    • 1 Cup Tossed Salad Mix
    • 1 Tablespoon Vinegar & Oil Salad Dressing
    • 1/2 Cup Cooked Brown Rice
    • 1/2 Cup Fresh Pineapple
  • Afternoon Snack

    • 6 Ounces Nonfat Vanilla or Lemon Yogurt, Sweetened with Low-Calorie Sweetener
  • Dinner

This is a satiating, diverse meal plan that won't have you hungry.  It offers real food options with recipes to help you stay on track. 

Interested in more ways to rock your 2013 weight loss resolution?  Here are a few more tips that work for me:
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mediterranean Diet Recipe: Halibut with Roasted Tomatoes and Balsamic Glaze

Now that we know the Mediterranean diet is quite possibly the best, tastiest and healthiest diet  ever, how about a recipe that you can master in all of about 20 minutes?
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Mediterranean Diet: Possibly the Tastiest and Healthiest Diet Ever (Wine and Chocolate Included!)

This is a diet you have heard about time and again. It's nothing new. In fact, it's thousands of years old. 

IT is the Mediterranean diet. A simple approach to eating that has been for millenia. It also recently landed on top of U.S. News and World Report's "Best Diets of 2019" list as the Best Diet Overall.

A recent study conducted by researchers at Spain's University of Barcelona examined the diet's effect on heart disease. The New England Journal of Medicine determined "the Mediterranean diet as the most likely dietary model to provide protection against coronary heart disease." The study says eating this way reduces risk of cardiovascular disease up to 30%.

The results were so overwhelmingly positive that the study ended early because, according to the New York Times, "it was considered unethical to continue."