Archive for January, 2012

IS YOUR FISH OIL SAFE? (**MUST READ**)

Fish oil supplements, also known as omega-3 fats, are one of the most popular supplements, with more people buying it than ever.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise — with over 15,000 studies, fish oil is powerful for reducing the risk of heart disease, triglycerides, and maybe even helping with weight loss, among tons of other benefits.

But not all fish oil is created equal. 

Let’s first get something straight. 

  1. All fish oils are NOT created equal.  
  2. You shouldn’t burp up fish after taking capsules (and, no putting them in the freezer isn’t the answer — they shouldn’t taste rancid in the first place).
  3. Quality fish oil should provide a high concentration of the “good stuff” EPA and DHA.  These are two of of the three omega-3′s that are tied to most of the benefits of fish oil as a whole.

Quality fish oil products should be regularly tested for oxidation — in other words, is the fish oil spoiled or not.  There are a handful of measures for oxidation.  The question is how do you, as a consumer, look for oxidation in a product.Consumer Reports Fish-Oil Pills vs. Claims

Ask … don’t ask the person running the supplement store you’re buying from … ask the company if they have 3rd party, independent lab tests to prove this to you.  All companies have websites.  Look up their contact information and call — if they don’t offer 3rd party testing that they are willing to share with you, I’d suggest finding another brand that does.

After all, I don’t think you want to be taking mercury, PCB’s and other toxic ingredients when you think you’re doing something good for your body.  Do you?

Here is something else to look for when you’re picking and choosing among the dozens of products…

The EPA and DHA content.  These are two acronyms for very long words that aren’t important for this piece … they are two of the three omega 3 fats.  For other nerds like us, the third is ALA.

You get EPA and DHA from animal sources (e.g., fish and fish oil) and you get ALA from plant sources.  There are a few exceptions to that rule … but few and far between. 

When you are deciding on a fish oil product, you want to look past the number for Total Omega-3′s and instead add up the DHA and EPA.  These two numbers need to add up to the dose you’re looking to take.  And the EPA/DHA should make up at least 50% of the total number.  At least. 

What is the overall dose? 

A MINIMUM of 500 mg EPA/DHA per day for general health.  Considering omega-3 insufficiency is the second leading cause of preventable death (of factors related to diet), we are comfortable and confident in personally taking higher doses (1000-2000 mg/day).  

If you have heart disease or family history of heart disease.  1000-2000 mg EPA/DHA

High triglycerides.  2000-4000 mg EPA/DHA.

Mohr Results Bottom Line. 
Call the company you’re looking into and ask for 3rd party tests.  Next, the EPA and DHA in the product you’re taking should add up to you should be getting a MINIMUM of 500 mg EPA/DHA per day.  Eat fish, yes, but supplementing with a high quality fish oil product, like Nordic Naturals (what we use), is a wise move as well.

Want to hear the truth on even more dietary supplements?  Check out Dietary Supplement University and you won’t waste another dollar on useless dietary supplements in the confusing world of dietary supplements.

Do me a favor and spread the love — please share this with your friends on FB by clicking the like button below.

Please Eat Farmed Fish (SERIOUSLY!)

YES, I’m serious … we just suggested you EAT FARMED FISH.

This is no joke.  Watch this video I created. 

 

If you enjoyed this video, please click the like button below to share this important information with your friends on Facebook!

 

Health Benefits of THIS Fat

Recently, celebrity chef Paula Deen announced she has type 2 diabetes.  If you aren’t familiar with her, she’s known for using one ingredient in pretty much all foods: butter.

Her strong Southern drawl and warm personality has engaged audiences for her popular cooking shows.  Her love affair with butter (and sugar, among other less-than-stellar ingredients) has certainly raised a few eyebrows though among the critics.

Now this news came out and many aren’t surprised.

This blog isn’t about Paula Deen though (aside from wishing she used her announcement to suggest she is making some lifestyle changes since that’s the biggest driver of type 2 diabetes).  It’s about heart disease.  But I bring up Paula because people with diabetes are at an even higher risk for heart disease.  In fact, two-thirds of people with diabetes die from cardiovascular disease. 

So how can you prevent or at least reduce the risk of heart disease (and diabetes, for that matter)? 

Yes, sure — eating well and exercising regularly.  Let’s get specific.  And since Paula Deen and her affection towards butter was the start of the blog, let’s continue.

Butter is primarily saturated fat.  While some saturated fat is OK — healthy, in fact — most of the science suggests there are much better options, like canola oil, to eat more regularly.  Canola oil is 93% healthy unsaturated fat.  That’s a good thing. 

Canola oil has the least saturated fat of any edible oil.  In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a qualified health claim that  “… eating about 1 1/2 tablespoons of canola oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease…” when consumed in place of unsaturated fat.

The key there is replace versus simply add.
  Oil still has a lot of calories per tablespoon, regardless of the type.  It’s just making smarter choices for the oils and fats you DO use.  And doing so can reduce the risk of heart disease.Here’s another way to help others fight heart disease, too — send them a Valentine’s e-card, through this link.  For every card sent, CanolaInfo will donate 20 cents to the American Heart Association up to $20,000  The money will support the association’s goal of improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% while reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20% by the year 2020.  You let someone know you’re thinking of them AND support a great cause

While we’re talking heart health — check out this recipe from the CanolaInfo Dude Food recipe collection.  I like this because it combines healthy fats from both the canola oil and tuna. 

Grilled Tuna Steaks with Cilantro and Basil

3 Tbsp light soy sauce
3 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp dried pepper flakes
6 tuna steaks (6 oz/170 g each), rinsed and pat dry
canola oil cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp minced garlic

In small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, canola oil and pepper flakes. Place tuna steaks and 2 Tbsp of soy sauce mixture in large, resealable plastic bag. Turn bag several times to coat tuna steaks. Refrigerate no longer than 30 minutes.

Preheat grill. Coat with cooking spray over high heat. In another small bowl, combine cilantro, basil, lime juice, vinegar and garlic. 

Remove tuna from bag, discarding any leftover marinade, and grill tuna for 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until very pink in center. Do not overcook tuna or it will become tough. Serve with remaining soy sauce mixture and top with equal amounts of cilantro mixture.

Yield: 6 servings. Serving size: 4.5 oz tuna, 2 Tbsp cilantro mixture. 

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:
Calories     210
Total Fat     10 g
Saturated Fat     2 g
Cholesterol     45 mg
Sodium     240 mg
Carbohydrates     1 g
Fiber     0 g
Protein     27 g

Reduce Belly Fat with these 21 Fat Loss Tips

Fat Loss doesn’t have to be as complicated as many people make it out to be.

It really takes small, baby steps, for permanent weight loss success.  Here are 21 tips to virtually guarantee success — no weight loss pills, no bogus fat loss scams, or other infomercial quick fixes.  Just tried and true belly busting strategies.

1.  Find a support partner.  Someone who can keep you on track and accountable to stick to it.  This person will ONLY give you positive feedback and never shoot your goals down, or try to steer you in the wrong direction (e.g., you look GREAT, don’t worry about eating X)

2.  Replace all liquid calories with water and real tea (green, black, or white — not fake prepacked junk).  

3.  If you bite it, you must write it — record your intake either by hand in a journal or on a online source, like FitDay.com or Sparkpeople.com

4.  Stay positive — always remember progress, not perfection.  This way you will continue to make progress.

5.  Eat smaller, more frequent meals — including protein, fruit and/or veggies with each meal.  These will keep your appetite in check and energy levels high.

6.  PLAN AHEAD — sit down one day for 30 or so minutes and plan the week ahead food wise.  This will allow you to make the best choices.

7.  Check in with others — social support is key.  This is your accountability partner from #1, but maybe even logging into forums or in person groups too.  It’s easy to let yourself down, but no one wants to let others down!

8.  MOVE MORE — structured exercise is great, but you can’t just be "an active couch potato."  If you move for 30-60 minutes/day, that means you might be sitting or laying for the other 23 hours.  Play with the kids, walk the dog, get up from your desk regularly and walk around.  Movement is necessary!

9.  Eat more fruit.  Add 1 piece of fruit each day … then build on that each week until you’re getting upwards of of 5 servings daily.

10.  Eat more veggies.  Add 1 vegetable each day … and build on that each week until you’re getting upwards of 5-7 servings daily.  You can’t eat too many veggies!

11.  Try a new fruit or veggie.  We get stuck in a routine, eating the same foods over and over again.  This week eat a unique fruit and vegetable for you — if you only turn to apples and bananas, try berries, grapefruit, or some other fruit.  Same with veggies — expand your horizons!

12.  Eliminate trans fat — there’s not many foods/ingredients I’d say "eliminate" — but this is one of them.  Man made trans fat is horrible!

13.  Drink enough water so that your urine looks like pale lemonade.  It may or may not be 8 cups daily … use your urine color as a guide.  When it’s warm, drink more. :-)

14.  Check the number of calories you are consuming. We always stress that all calories aren’t created equally, but at the same time, we can’t avoid calories all together.  They still matter.

15.  Focus on quality, not just quantity.  Calories do matter, but an apple and raw nuts for about 250 calories is much different than a 16 oz soda for the same number of calories.  "Fill up" on nutrients, not junk foods.

16.  Put the focus on fiber — recommendations are up to 35 grams/day.  Don’t worry about carbs, worry about fiber.  Fruit and veggies are great for this.

17.  Write down your goals.  Don’t just think about them, write them.  The act of putting them on paper increases the likelihood of achieving them.  

18.  Replace 1 meal each day with a large salad that’s loaded with veggies and topped with lean protein.

19.  Use fruit, veggies, and beans are your 3 primary forms of carbohydrates — loaded with fiber, loaded with nutrients, yet not filled with any junk.

20.  Stick to foods that have no more than 5 ingredients.  Max.  HINT — you won’t find it with pre packaged foods, so leave those on the grocery store shelf.

21.  Review your goals daily, commit to these 21 habits, and you’ll virtually guarantee success.

What did we miss?  We’d love to hear what tips YOU use to stay lean and healthy!

Football Friendly Foods (that include beer!)

We were recently watching some of the NFL Playoff Games.  We had a whole crew here this weekend to visit — 13 of us, in fact — and Kara’s family are die-hard Steelers Fans. 

Since they played the Denver Broncos on Sunday, we of course had to watch the game, which included lots of yelling and lots of cheering.  And a game that went into overtime, which the Steelers then lost in the first play when Denver scored. 

But outside of the game itself, one thing people always associate with football — particularly the Super Bowl, which is around the corner — is food.  And lots of it. 
Usually wings.  Beer.   Chips.  Dip.  Pizza.  You know, the foods that have left 75% of the country with their new years resolutions behind them.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m all for those foods (outside of wings, which I hate) — the key is that these are once in awhile foods, not every day foods.  But what if you could have your “football friendly” foods that were actually good for you and, maybe even more importantly, taste great? 

Not to rain on your football food parade, but cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of U.S. men and women. But it is preventable 80% of the time.

You know what can save you?  Changing what you eat.  Yeah, exercising is important too — of course — but let’s focus on nutrition today.
First, low fat is not the answer.  There was a point where we all thought it was.  In fact, back in high school when I was trying to lose weight, I had a goal of eating as absolutely little fat as possible. In my mind, if less was good, MUCH less was even better!  And I still have my food journals from that time with one day where I logged just 3 grams of total fat. TOTAL. 

Did I lose weight?  Sure thing, I ate less calories.  Was it the best approach and the healthiest approach?  Not a chance.

Here’s the deal — fat is fantastic for you.  It’s picking the right ones that’s the key.  And we’ll go into some other quality food choices in future blogs.
One fat I’m often asked about is canola oil.  I spent some time up in Saskatoon, Canada last year, actually, seeing where canola oil comes from (most is grown in that region) and seeing the entire process – from how it’s grown (imagine fields and fields of yellow flowers blooming) to how it appears on your store shelves.

Pretty interesting — the more we can find out about the source of our foods, the better .  Happy with what I saw and learned, I partnered with CanolaInfo.org to help bring you truthful info.  

Interesting stuff — canola oil has the least saturated fat and most omega-3 fat of any cooking oil.  And with little flavor but a high smoke point (meaning you can heat it to higher temperature without it smoking), it’s got a ton of uses.  

Getting back to football last Sunday, we needed some grub to go with the game.  And wings and beer weren’t going to cut it.  CanolaInfo put together a “Dude Food” Recipe Collection that was perfect for game days (or anytime you want it).  Since one of the recipes actually has beer in it, that made it even more awesome (and football-friendly). 

Try this:

Deep, Dark and Stout Chili
Ingredients:
2 Tbsp canola oil 30 mL
1 1/2 lb/750 g extra lean ground beef (or 1 lb/500 g extra lean ground beef and 15-oz/426 mL can kidney beans, rinsed and drained)
2 cups diced green bell peppers 500 mL
1 cup diced red onion
3 cans (14.5 oz/412 mL each) no-salt-added stewed tomatoes
1 bottle (12 oz/341 mL) dark stout beer
3 Tbsp chili powder 45 mL
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin 20 mL
1 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika (optional) 20 mL
1 Tbsp sodium-free beef bouillon granules 15 mL
1 tsp salt 5 mL

Toppings

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves 125 mL
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion 125 mL
1 medium lime, cut into six wedges


Instructions:
Heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) canola oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, brown beef, about 3-4 minutes per batch, stirring frequently. 

Meanwhile, in a sauté pan heat remaining 1 Tbsp (15 mL) canola oil and cook bell peppers and onions 4 minutes or until onions are soft, stirring frequently. Stir into cooked beef. Add stewed tomatoes, beer, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and bouillon. Bring just to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in salt.

Serve chili with choice of toppings placed in three small bowls.

Yield: 8 servings. Serving size: 1 1/3 cups (325 mL) chili. 
Cook’s note: Like most chili recipes, the flavors are more blended if the chili is served the next day. This dish freezes well, too.

They have a ton more great recipes on CanolaInfo.org, perfect for Superbowl Sunday or any other day …

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