Tag Archives: diet

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Month of June!

For the last several months, I’ve been weaning myself off of dairy products–milk, cheese, ice cream, butter–all of it! And I’ve felt tons better! (And I mean TONS!) For instance, normally, I have horrible seasonal allergies, and this year was supposed to the worst in three years for our region–but being off dairy, my body was able to fight the allergens and I only had to take an allergy pill about three times all season! On top of that, my stomach has felt better. I didn’t even realize I felt bad, but those couple of days that I would add it back in as a “test,” I definitely felt it. So, I have noticed a beneficial difference, and–as much as I can–I’m going to try to stay off of dairy for good.

I thought I would miss cooking with butter, but between olive oil and coconut oil, I really don’t miss that too much. I thought I would miss cheese, but I’ve noticed that I am enjoying the flavors of different fruits and vegetables and grains on their own without it. Having said that, the one thing I’ve missed the most is probably mac-n-cheese…but I only miss it when I see someone else eating it. So, I found this recipe that is pretty much like it but uses cauliflower, dijon, nutritional yeast and garlic for the flavor instead, and I used soy milk instead of milk. It’s not quite the same, but it’s enough the same that I don’t feel like I’m missing out…and it’s has quite a bit fewer calories than its original counterpart!

In the meantime, I’ve also had quite a few friends find out they are not only allergic to dairy but also allergic to gluten. So, rather than go to an allergist, I thought I’d run my own experiment. This month, I’m going to try to be dairy-free AND gluten-free, and see how it goes. Now, for the record, I have nothing against dairy or gluten or wheat, and I believe God gave us all things richly to enjoy! But, we also live in a fallen world–and that means our bodies have weaknesses, including allergies for some. Plus there is research that suggests the nutritional content of our food is significantly different from that of our Old Testament ancestors. Needless to say, I am one of those flawed, fallen creatures with a weakened body. No, I’m not sickly or anything. In fact, I’m pretty healthy, but I want to be as healthy as I can be and be a good steward with the body God’s given me–flawed as it may be. So, I’m trying to fuel it with the type of fuel it needs and runs best on (kind of like not putting gasoline in a Mercedes Benz when it needs diesel to run best).

One thing I’m learning is that having allergies doesn’t have to be a death sentence…or a death sentence to enjoying good food! I love pure, raw, unadulterated produce! As close to the earth as it can come! And I’m not sure I would have figured that out without experimenting with these foods apart from the common allergens. I’ve also learned that cooking for those with food allergies can be a means of hospitality and care for my brothers and sisters in Christ or as a means of showing love and grace to unbelievers I come in contact with.

So, I’m starting by compiling recipes! One list I came across that seems to have a good smattering of recipes in different categories like breakfast, breads, side dishes, desserts, etc., is from Gluten Free Goddess’s blog. It has quite an extensive assortment. Another thing I did was create a board on Pinterest for GF-DF (gluten-free, dairy-free). Feel free to follow it, as I’ll keep adding new recipes as I come across them.

Screen Shot 2013-06-02 at 10.22.48 PMJust look how colorful some of these recipes are!! Yum! I can’t wait to try them!

Screen Shot 2013-06-02 at 10.23.20 PM

And I found these helpful, snapshot, meal-planning ideas on Pinterest too:

Do you have a favorite gluten-free, dairy-free recipe? Share in the comments, please! And enjoy the journey!

Book Review: French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano is a fabulously simple concept of enjoying quality over quantity in whatever you eat…or do. With over 265 pages of tips, tricks, recipes and hilariously helpful stories, Guiliano shares the secrets of her healthy heritage, while convincing you to drop whatever fad diet you might be most recently deceived by.

Guiliano is a high-power, working woman and best-selling international author, who grew up in France and is at the top of her game as the CEO of an American branch of a French company. She talks about being an exchange student in high school and coming to America, where she picked up much of the typical American high school food fare, along with the pounds to go with it. After returning to France, she worked with a Dr. Meyer (whom she refers to as “Dr. Miracle” throughout the book) to regain her ideal body weight and lead a healthfully satisfying life of enjoying food, fitness, friends and family.

She talks about basic concepts like eating smaller portions of higher quality ingredients, making sure you have a good variety (recommending at least 20-30 different types of food each day, so you get a full gamut of nutrients), not depriving yourself, eating slowly and mindfully, and shopping daily and at local markets as much as possible, so you get the freshest, in season, local ingredients.

She also recommends drinking plenty of water, keeping moving (even if it’s just walking, stairs, and a few light weights), getting proper sleep (not too much, not too little), and adding yogurt to your daily menu. And over and over again she says, “Faites simple,” meaning, “Keep it simple.”

Here are some of my favorite moments from the book:

  • “Consider all the things you consume regularly. Which of them is giving you real pleasure and which are you having to pointless excess? One thing French women know is that the pleasure of most foods is in the first few bites; we rarely have seconds” (p. 31).
  • “Part of living like a French woman, then, will mean searching out and paying a bit more for quality, whether at the open-air market or at least a good grocery shop with market suppliers. …French women live on budgets, too, but they also understand the value of quality over quantity” (p. 77).
  • “Visual variety, color, and presentation are underestimated factors in food pleasure” (p. 119).
  • “French women know any regimen you can’t maintain for long stretches of life is bound to fail you, just as they know that boredom, not food, is the enemy” (p. 206). “For me, walking remains the ultimate time for freedom of thought” (p. 210). “The body spends about 60 calories an hour sleeping; if you swim, you’ll do better at 430 calories; but climbing stairs consumes a stunning 1,100 calories per hour. Vive l’escalier!” (p. 211).
  • “The only purpose of withholding some pleasure is so we can more fully enjoy everything else for having it in proper balance” (p. 224). “Our troubles with weight have as much to do with our attitudes toward eating as they do with what we are ingesting. We are seeing a growing psychosis that I believe actually adds stress to our already stressful way of life. It is fast erasing the simple values of pleasure” (p. 225).
  • Speaking of laughter: “It’s both a physical and psychic pleasure: it is relaxing, stimulating, liberating, and sensual. It’s a pleasant response to emotion that heightens the emotion itself” (p. 228). “Marcel Pagnol believed that God gave laughter to human beings as consolation for being intelligent. I prefer to believe he made us intelligent so we could appreciate a good laugh” (p. 229).
  • “The answer is never ‘dieting’ in the American sense, but rather little alterations made steadily over time. So when we do lose the excess weight, not only does the effort seem painless, the results are much more likely to last. If my fellow Americans could adopt even a fraction of the French attitude about food and life (don’t worry, you don’t have to sign on to the politics, too), managing weight would cease to be a terror, an obsession, and reveal its true nature as part of the art of living” (p. 252).

I highly recommend this book if you are trying to lose weight for the first time…or if you have given up and need this to be the last time you lose weight…or if you just want a few good tips and recipes to spice up your weekly menu repertoire. Fortunately, I took French in high school and still remember un petit peu (since she likes to throw in some of her native phrases), but even if you don’t know French, she translates most of her phrases for you…and then, there’s always Google translate for the ones she doesn’t. A quick read, and a relief to the typical American trying to become healthier. So, pick up this book, adjust your attitude about food, and then adjust your lifestyle and start enjoying the good gifts of fabulous cuisine. Bon Appetit! 

2013 Journey Journal: Days 1 and 2

Day 1: January 1, 2013

Wow! Is it really already 2013?! Where did 2012 go? Today, we slept in. Brunch was a Multi-Grain Cranberry Pecan Pancake recipe from my aunt, with a tiny bit of pure maple syrup, a handful of fresh blackberries, and a tablespoon of whipped cream, with a cup of coffee and a small glass of orange juice. No lunch today, as brunch wasn’t until noon. Set off for our first 3.1 mile walk! Made it in less than an hour, despite the freezing rain, so that’s encouraging on the first day back. Dinner was homemade egg rolls, filled with lean pork, shredded brussels sprouts and carrots, garlic, salt, pepper, and ground ginger!  Read Genesis 40, as I continue studying the Biblical View of Food and Drink in Scripture. And in bed by 11PM!

Day 2: January 2, 2013

Yesterday went so well, that I’m motivated to not give up yet today! Ate 2 small multi-grain pancakes again (thankful we made a batch big enough to cover breakfasts for the rest of the week). Had a cup of iced coffee this morning. Went for a walk with my friend Shannah and her dog Mr. Sanders over lunch break today–another 3.1 miles! Had 2 leftover egg rolls for lunch with plenty of water. Dinner will be a slice of pork loin, a large leafy salad with some carrots, and a baked potato with just a bit of butter and sour cream. I plan on finishing Genesis in my study tonight…we’ll see how far we get before my hopeful bedtime of 10PM. Hoping to shift my bedtime up, so I can rise early to walk before work.

The China Study Diet…Day 5

Beginning January 1, I began following the Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet highlighted in The China Study. I determined to follow the plan for 12 weeks and see how it goes. The research is very convincing. The basic tenets include:

  • Lots of Fruits and Vegetables
  • Plenty of Whole Grains
  • No Processed or Refined Products (white flour, white sugar, corn syrup, etc.)
  • Plenty of Legumes
  • Only 5% of Total Calories from Animal Products and Byproducts (Meat, Seafood, Dairy, etc.) – this figures out to either two meals that include the items or about 100 calories per day.

The hardest part so far has been avoiding the dairy – namely cheese – but that’s also probably the most beneficial part for me. I’ve known for a while that dairy affects me negatively – sinus congestion, etc. And since I’ve been off it even for only 5 days, I’ve noticed less congestion. So, I’m using a splash of soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk in my coffee and on my Kashi cereal. And I’ve actually started drinking coffee sans sugar over the last couple of months.

Monday was a little challenging. We both had a day off, so we had lunch at Copper River Grill, since we received a gift card for Christmas. Trying to eat no meat, seafood, or dairy was nearly impossible! I almost gave in and let it be one of my two meals I’m allowed to have meat, but it was only day 2, so I was determined to wait. I had a cheeseless pizza with mushrooms, red onions, kalamata olives and banana peppers, and a side salad with balsamic dressing. It was actually really good (and the leftovers made for a great workday lunch the next day). For dinner, we joined friends who have followed this plan roughly for the last year or so. They served us vegan spaghetti over whole wheat pasta with whole wheat bread, and I brought a spinach salad with mushrooms, carrots, walnuts and strawberries. It was all delicious.

I’ve enjoyed creating new meals with all kinds of fresh produce and whole grains. If nothing else, I’m having fun being creative. I’ve only had one real flop of a meal – curried portabello mushroom over baked potato. It might sound good, but it definitely needed some work.

If you haven’t seen Forks Over Knives, it’s the documentary that explains The China Study research and benefits, and clinical proof how the diet can affect the risks for and even reverse cardiac disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc. It’s now available for viewing on Netflix Instant Queue! Or you can order your own copy at ForksOverKnives.com.

Today, Day 5, was my first day to have meat since Saturday. We had a working lunch at Larkin’s downtown, and I indulged in a small filet with sweet potatoes and grilled asparagus. Yum! I could tell that it took a little bit more for my body to process the meat – for the first time all week I felt a little sluggish after a meal. It was an interesting observation. I’m wondering if maybe the 100 calories a day might be a better option in the long run.

Tonight I made vegan blueberry pancakes with whole wheat flour, freshly rolled oats, applesauce and soy milk. They were quite good and I’m going to keep playing with the recipe. That might be a regular meal around here.

My mom gave me her old pasta machine over Christmas, so I’m looking forward to making some whole wheat pasta, including some pierogies.

5 Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s

The following post is information from Stacy’s blog at Stacia222.wordpress.com.  Great information! Read below and check out her “150 of the Healthiest Foods Challenge” blog here. From Stacy:

image found on Stacy's blog

“Over five million people have Alzheimer’s disease and it affects over 10 million women as the primary caregivers, advocates and caregivers. Alzheimer’s is currently the 7th leading cause of death and mortality rates will continue to rise as the baby boomer generation ages.  Alzheimer’s is particularly challenging because it is a progressive disease, in which the symptoms gradually worsen over time and there is currently no cure. Research has come to light in recently that show treatments that can temporarily slow the worsening of symptoms and improve the quality of life for both those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

“Unfortunately there is not a clear-cut prevention strategy for Alzheimer’s, but recent studies do show certain foods, diet and lifestyle that can be therapeutic for treating Alzheimer’s and contribute to prevention. Here are the top five things you can do to help prevent and even treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s:

1.       Eat a Mediterranean diet

“Researchers found that people who regularly consumed a Mediterranean diet were 38 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. A Mediterranean diet is rich in nuts, healthy fats (from salad dressings, avocados), tomatoes, fish, cruciferous vegetables, dark and leafy vegetables and fruits. A Mediterranean diet is also known for being low in red meat, organ meat, butter and high-fat dairy.

2.       Quit smoking

“A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that smoking is directly linked to dramatic increase in dementia in later years. The study found that those who reported smoking two packs of cigarettes a day had a 100% greater risk of dementia diagnosis than non-smokers.

3.  Eat celery and green pepper

“Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign looked at the effects of luteolin on the brains of mice, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Luteolin, which is found in celery and green pepper, was found to reduce brain inflammation caused by Alzheimer’s and can ease symptoms of memory loss.

4.       Drink coffee

“The European Journal of Neurology found that those with an increased caffeine intake had a significantly lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those who with little or no intake of caffeine. Another study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that caffeine significantly decreased abnormal levels of protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease and 50 percent reduction in levels of beta amyloid, a substance forming sticky clumps of plaques in the brain of those with Alzheimer’s. This means that not only have these studies found that caffeine can be a critical in preventing Alzheimer’s, but it can actually be a therapeutic treatment for those already diagnosed with the disease. This is a huge development! This is also a great excuse to continue your daily latte habit.

5.       Exercise

“Several studies have shown the benefits of exercise in persons with Alzheimer’s. The Journal of the American Medical Associatepublished a study that found that exercise training for patients with Alzheimer disease not only improved physical conditioning and extended their independent mobility, but it also helped improve depression. Independent mobility is important as we age, especially for those with Alzheimer’s, because one symptom of Alzheimer’s that is often not discussed is the lack of balance, falls and tripping. This leads to injury and the need for constant supervision in Alzheimer’s patients. By incorporating 60 minutes of exercise on most days of the week, and “active” days of rest, one can greatly improve their mobility as they age.

“While there is not a “cure” for Alzheimer’s today, that does not stop researcher’s from working hard to find new ways to prevent, treat and cure the disease. I am passionate about contributing to finding a solution to this rapidly growing diagnosis. I am walking in the Memory Walk in Charlotte, NC on Saturday, November 13 to help raise money to fight against this devastating disease. Visit Memory Walk 2010 to find a Memory Walk in your area. You can also find out more information about Alzheimer’s disease and prevention at Alzheimer’s Association.”

Meatless May

With all these fresh fruits and vegetables in season, I’m going to try something. As it is May 1st, I figured it’d be a good time to start. I’m going to try going without meat for one month. I’m allowing myself fish and dairy for May. I tried tofu stirfry for lunch. The vegetables were delicious. The tofu, on the other hand, was not my style. I found this resource on How to Go Vegetarian here: http://www.wholeliving.com/article/vegging-out-a-strategy-guide?page=2.

Here’s an excerpt:

“For vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy (lacto-ovo vegetarians)

  • 1 percent milk (1 c.): 8 g
  • Yogurt (6 oz.): 6 g
  • Large boiled egg: 7.5 g
  • Cheddar cheese (1 oz.): 7 g

“For strict vegetarians who eat no animal by-products (vegans)

  • Lentils (1 c. cooked): 18 g
  • Black beans (1 c. cooked): 15 g
  • Veggie burger: about 13 g
  • Chickpeas (1 c. cooked): 12 g
  • Quinoa (1 c. cooked): 8 g
  • Peanut butter (2 Tbsp.): 8 g
  • Almonds (1 oz.): 6 g
  • Soy milk (1 c.): 8 g
  • Bulgur (1 c. cooked): 5.5 g
  • Wheat bread (2 slices): 7 g
  • Cooked spinach (1 c.): 5 g
  • Cooked broccoli (1 c.): 4 g
  • Tempeh (4 oz.): 41 g
  • Seitan (3 oz.): 31 g”

Why am I doing this? Partly as a personal challenge, and partly to see if there’s any value to what some of my vegetarian/vegan friends say. They talk about losing weight and having more energy. And they talk about our bodies having a hard time digesting meat, comparing our digestive systems to those of bovines. Hopefully it will be a good cleanse and maybe even help me lose a few extra pounds.

Maybe for June I’ll try to live without dairy. I have a feeling it would help me feel better overall (not that I feel bad, but I’m pretty sure no dairy would make me feel great). And I have too much cheese in the house that needs to be eaten (and I will have a really hard time giving up my morning Greek yogurt). So, for May, it’s sans meat. I think they call it a pesco-lacto-ovo vegetarian, which isn’t really a vegetarian, but anyway, we’ll see if it lasts the whole month. It’s definitely going to take some thought. Wish me luck!

Eat to Beat: Foods That Heal

I recently found ABC Good Morning America Health on Hulu.com! Check it out here! There are nearly 100 clips with wonderful health tips. Here’s one:

This clip of Erin Hobday, Self Magazine’s Nutrition Editor, talks with Good Morning America about some foods that help you feel better and target certain health concerns. More info on Self.com.

Feeling Down? Pasta and Dark Chocolate boost level of serotonin, which makes you feel happy.

Headaches? Pumpkin seeds (2 oz. per day for daily recommended amount of Magnesium) and WATER!

Want to boost your memory? Try a Mediterranean Diet: high in antioxidants and heart healthy. May reduce risk of Alzheimer’s.

PMS? combo of calcium and Vitamin D (3 servings of soy milk, skim milk, or vitamin D rich dairy products daily)

Want to keep wrinkles at bay? Beta Carotene and Lycopene (1 c. Cantaloupe, a few chunks watermelon) and Vitamin C rich foods to produce collagen in skin (1/2 red pepper)

Want a healthy heart? Peanut Butter (1 Tbsp./5x per week) and whole grains (2 servings per day)

For a full list, check out http://www.self.com/fooddiet/2010/04/foods-that-make-you-feel-good. Very cool!

Boost Your Brain: Boost Your Body, by Daniel G. Amen, M.D. (Mar. 15, 2010)

So, I’m sick, and stuck in front of the TV between favorite shows, and the only channel that’s coming in clearly is an educational program called “Change Your Brain, Change Your Body” by Dr. Daniel G. Amen of The Amen Clinic. This one caught my interest though. Primarily, he talks about taking fish oil supplements and exercising daily. Here are his top 10 subjects from his book (and his seminar):

1. Boost Your Brain to Lose Your Belly. When it comes to the brain, size matters.

2. Know Your Motivation: have a burning desire to be healthy — family, friends, etc. No amount of cheeseburgers, double fudge brownies, etc., is worth losing time with my family. Sugar and fat act on the brain’s addiction center.

3. Know Your Brain Type:

  • The Compulsive Overeater (stuck on thought of food, feel no control, worry, trouble sleeping, night time feedings, lower levels of serotonin), Help: exercise and 5HTP or St. John’s Wort, Nix NIght Time Eating after dinner to boost serotonin.
  • Impulsive (Poor Impulse Control, Easily Distracted, Common in ADD, Low Dopamine levels, short attention span, disorganization, inconsistent), Help: Boost Dopamine levels, Strengthen Prefrontal, High Protein, Low Carb, Green Tea, calming meds make this type worse.
  • The Impulsive-Compulsive Overeater (too much activity in attention region, stuck on negative thought, too little prefrontal cortex activity, trouble with sleep behavior), Help: increase dopamine and serotonin, exercise, combo of 5-HTP AND Green Tea.
  • The Sad Overeater (to medicate feelings of sadness, depression, low energy, low self esteem, tend to gain weight in winter, pain symptoms, high limbic activity, low vitamin D level), Help: boost vit D, exercise, fish oil, SAMe supplement.
  • The Anxious Overeater (medicate anxiety with food, headaches, stomach problems, high basal ganglia activity, low GABA chemical), Help: sooth brain with meditation and hypnosis, B6, Magnesium and GABA.

Note: It is common to have more than one brain type. Work on most bothersome area first, then move on to the next one.

4. Use Brain Specific Supplements to Boost Your Body: 91% of Americans do NOT eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Recommend Multivitamin and Omega-3 supplement daily. Low Levels of Omega-3 linked with heart disease, strokes, depression, ADD, Obesity, Suicide. Good for heart, eyes, skin, joints, hair, ad brain. Also decreases appetite and cravings. 1-2 grams of high quality fish oil daily. Low levels of Vitamin D associated with MS, Diabetes, cancer, obesity, alzheimers, depression. Typically, get boost from sun, but our levels are falling. Recommends asking doctor for a 25 Hydroxy-vitamin D test. Take Vit D3 if levels are low.

5. Get Your Cravings Under Control.

  • Keep your blood sugar balanced. Substitute fruit for simple sugars.
  • Decrease artificial sweeteners in your diet.
  • Reduce Stress
  • Manage Food Triggers: mall, advertisements, vendors, home for the holidays, etc.; know your vulnerable spots and plan ahead.
  • Hidden Food Allergies can trigger cravings. Wheat gluten and milk allergies can decrease activity in your brain.

6. Kill the ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) that Steal Your Health. Need an internal ANTeater. Lies: I can’t control it; It’s in my genes.

7. Eat Right to Think Right.

  • Think High Quality Calories In vs. High Quality Energy Out.
  • Drink Plenty of Water and Not too many of your calories.
  • Eat High Quality Lean Protein throughout the day.
  • Eat Low Glycemic, High Fiber Carbohydrates (Whole Grains, Vegetables and Fruits like Blueberries and Apples). “The whiter the bread, the faster you’re dead.” Sugar increases inflammation, and recently linked with aggression.
  • Healthy Fats, especially Omega-3 fatty acids. Fat stores toxins, so any fat you eat from an animal is giving you any toxins that the animal ate.
  • Eat from the rainbow: natural foods of many different colors to boost antioxidant levels.
  • Cook with brain healthy herbs and spices. Saffron as effective as anti-depressant, cinnamon helps with attention.

Dr. Amen’s Average Daily Diet:
Breakfast: Protein/Fruit Shake
AM: Fruit and a few Nuts
Lunch: Chicken, Avocado, Veggie Sandwich on Whole Grain
PM: Fruit and a few Nuts
Dinner: Large Salad or Soup, Lean Protein, Veggies
Dessert: Frozen Blueberries with Greek Yogurt

8. Know Your Important Numbers

  • BMI – Body Mass Index – normal between 18.5 and 25
  • Calories
  • Fruits & Veggies per day – strive for 7-10
  • Sleep Hours – at least 7, preferably 8
  • Vitamin D Level
  • Know Your Inflammatory Levels
  • Know Your Hormone Levels: Thyroid, DHEA, Cortisol, Testosterone, Progesterone, Estrogen
  • Cholesterol Levels
  • Blood Pressure
  • Blood Sugar Levels
  • 5 Things You’re Most Grateful for

9. Hypnosis and Meditation Can Boost Your Brain. Recommends at least 12 minutes daily.

10. Start Today.

  • How Can I Love Others?
  • How Can I Take Better Care of Myself So I can Love my family and do the work I love for as long as possible, despite my genes?

Note: if you’ve been bad to your brain, you should start seeing results within 2 months of following this plan.

More information can be found on his website at http://www.amenclinics.com/.

Top 50 Best Brain Foods: I like 45 of them. My husband likes 23. But that’s still almost half of them! I can deal with that. How many do you like?

  • Almonds, raw
  • Almond milk, unsweetened
  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Beans (black, pinto, garbanzo)
  • Bell peppers (yellow, green, red, and orange)
  • Beets
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cheese, low fat
  • Cherries
  • Chicken, skinless
  • Cranberries
  • Egg whites, DHA enriched
  • Grapefruit
  • Herring
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi
  • Lemons
  • Lentils
  • Limes
  • Oats
  • Olive oil
  • Olives
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Peas
  • Plums
  • Pomegranates
  • Raspberries
  • Red grapes
  • Soybeans
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Tea, green
  • Tofu
  • Tomatoes
  • Tuna
  • Turkey, skinless
  • Walnuts
  • Water
  • Whole wheat
  • Wild salmon
  • Yams and sweet potatoes
  • Yogurt, unsweetened

I’m not a 100% believer at this point (first off, not a big fan of the BMI because it doesn’t take enough factors into account), but this does have a lot of helpful information that can help boost our brains and lose those pesky pounds that are still hanging around. I am 100% convinced that exercise and sleep are directly correlated to energy levels and emotional health. Diet and water intake are just as important. Happy researching!

Active Metabolic Rate – How Many Calories Do We Need? (Feb. 18, 2010)

You here it on The Biggest Loser, it’s all about the science: Calories in versus Calories out.

I’ve started changing my lifestyle in 2008, really paying attention to what I eat and getting back on track with exercise. A healthy lifestyle is sometimes a tricky balance to maintain, but it is possible! Lots of people do it, and I want to be one of those! I did really well for about a year, then last fall, I hit a plateau and haven’t been able to break it. I was exercising 4-6 days per week and limiting my calories to 1200-1550 calories each day. Apparently, that wasn’t enough. That’s right, I actually wasn’t eating enough calories and my body kicked into a conservation mode, trying to maintain my weight versus shedding pounds. I recalculated my metabolic rates and realized I needed to increase my calories by several hundred calories daily!

So, what’s the science? The Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR) is how many calories you need for your height/weight/age just to survive in normal life. Then you have to adjust for your activity level, which is your Active Metabolic Rate.

For women, your BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in lbs.) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years).

For men, your BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in lbs.) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years).

As your weight and age changes, you’ll need to adjust your caloric intake.

Activity levels range from Sedentary (little to no activity) to Extra Active (very hard exercise 6-7 days per week).

To MAINTAIN your current weight, calculate using the following formulas to figure out your Active Metabolic Rate:
Sedentary (Little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2 = AMR
Lightly Active (light; 1-3 days per week): BMR x 1.375 = AMR
Moderately Active (moderate; 3-5 days per week): BMR x 1.55 = AMR
Very Active (hard exercise; 6-7 days per week): BMR x 1.725 = AMR
Extra Active (very hard exercise; 6-7 days per week): BMR x 1.9 = AMR

To LOSE Weight (at a healthy rate of about 1 lb. per week), take your AMR and subtract 500 calories. This is the science that when your calories out is more than your calories in, you will lose weight.

It’s working for me! I increased my calories and actually lost weight and inches! (Sorry, not revealing numbers.)

Also, just a reminder to make sure your calories are coming from the right places. The FDA recommends 55% of your calories coming from carbohydrates, 15% coming from protein, and 30% coming from good fats. Remember, Carbohydrates and Protein yield 4 calories for every 1 gram consumed, while fat yields 9 calories for every 1 gram consumed. If you need help with all of this, check out http://www.sparkpeople.com for a free online tracking tool. You may need to adjust your calories manually instead of going with their recommendations. Mayo Clinic came out with a study a couple years ago that showed people who keep a food diary are more successful at reaching their weight goals. Personally, I know I maintain and lose better when I’m tracking what I eat, then when I’m just guessing.

Let’s do a quick run down as an example:

Let’s say you have a 130 lb. woman who is 5′ 6″ tall and 25 years old.
BMR = 655 + (4.35 x 130) + (4.7 x 66) – (4.7 x 25)
BMR = 655 + (565.5) + (310.2) – (117.5)
BMR = 1413

If she’s lightly active, BMR * 1.375 = AMR of 1943
If she’s moderately active, BMR * 1.55 = AMR of 2190

Now, if she likes her weight and activity level, she should eat between 1943 and 2190 calories each day. But if she wants to lose weight and stay at the same activity level, she should reduce her intake by 500 calories each day, which means she’d eat between 1443 and 1690 calories each day.

Assuming she wants to lose weight, her calories should come from the following categories:

Carbohydrates = 55% of AMR = 794 calories (198 grams) to 930 calories (232 grams)
Protein = 15 % of AMR = 216 calories (54 grams) to 254 calories (63 grams)
Fat = 30% of AMR = 433 calories (48 grams) to 507 calories (56 grams)

I know this is a lot of numbers, but I do hope it’s helpful. Please be sure to verify any medical information with your doctor. Every one is different, but this is a good calculation for generic purposes.
Also, remember a healthy lifestyle = healthy eating + exercise + water + sleep! Happy, healthy day to you!

Mediterranean Food Pyramid (Feb. 17, 2010)

I get regular emails about Nutrition from Nutrition.Guide@About.com. One of the emails today was in regards to the Mediterranean Diet, and by “diet” I mean a food lifestyle, not some crash course.

It gave me a link to this website, which provides information on how people in the Mediterranean region eat. Below is a picture of the Mediterrean Food Pyramid. It’s rich in vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, and leans on seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy products for its protein. Notice that its primarily whole fruits and vegetables and not juices. Also, notice that you don’t see sodas or other calorie dense beverages; you’re limited to water and a little wine (check with your doctor first on this one; wine is optional).
Finally, notice that the base is a physically active lifestyle! So, get active and enjoy healthful food choices!

Feb. 17, 2010: Blankenship said…”Also, the countries around the Med have their biggest meal of the day around 2pm instead of late in the evening when the calories just stick to your body. =) And they eat 5 times a day, don’t eat out as much as Americans do and the portions are a lot smaller!” (She grew up in Spain.)