Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Superbowl Recipe Ideas that are Heart Healthy?

80 million.  That’s the amount of pounds of avocados estimated to be eaten on Superbowl Sunday.  Enough to fill a football field, 11.8 feet deep. 

30 million.  That’s approximately the number of pounds of five popular snack foods (potato chips, tortilla chips, pretzels, popcorn, and nuts) Americans will eat on Superbowl Sunday.

2.5 million.  That’s how many nuts will be eaten on Super Bowl Sunday.

1,200.
That’s the approximate amount of calories people will eat on Superbowl Sunday in snacks alone.  Not counting the meals (or drinks)!

20%.  That’s the increase in sales of antacids on Superbowl Sunday alone. 

Startling facts, huh?  Think we overdo the high fat, high calorie foods and alcohol a bit too much?

Is it possible to still be “heart healthy” and enjoy the Superbowl?

OF COURSE!  

Here are a few ideas…

We talked about avocado earlier in the week – well with 80 million pounds eaten on Superbowl Sunday, it’s one food we do pretty well with.  Here’s a recipe for homemade guac – a favorite Superbowl snack at the Mohr House (even Ella loves mashed avocado)!  

Guacamole

We won’t revisit the nutrient benefits of avocados – check out our article on the health benefits of avocado here.

Instead, here’s a super simple guacamole recipe you can try for the game tonight:

Ingredients

2 fully ripened Avocados, halved, pitted and diced
1 tsp salt
1 TBS fresh lime juice
2 TBS, chopped cilantro
Dash cayenne pepper (optional if you want some added kick)

Directions:

In a bowl, combine all ingredients.  Cover and chill until ready to serve (NOTE: the avocado might get slightly brown in the fridge.  No problem, just stir it up.
Prep time: 5 minutes.  Yields 1 ½ cups

Nuts

Nuts can be fantastic for you, but at the same time they can be way too easy to overeat.  

That’s where in shell pistachios come into play – take off the shell, enjoy the pistachio, but then don’t discard the shells.  Leave them visible in a bowl – research published in the Journal of Consumer Research showed that when people saw the “residue” of foods they’d eaten, they ate 27% less overall! 

That’s an incredibly simple way to eat less fat and calories.  

Pizza

It’s estimated that at least 58% of Americans order pizza on Game Day.

Save some money.  Save the hassle.  And save a ton of fat and calories by making your own – with a tortilla base rather than a thick, doughy, fiber free crust.

Try this super simple recipe – or watch our video on how to lose fat eating pizza!

Ingredients

Sprouted grain tortillas
Favorite tomato sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Favorite toppings (ideally choose veggies over meats)

Directions
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees
Top each tortilla with sauce, cheese, and your favorite topping
Place in oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese starts to brown.  Enjoy!

Moral of the story – enjoy the game, eat foods you love, and may YOUR team win!

Practical, yet still healthy.

 

Does Barbecuing Cause Cancer?

It’s GRILLING Season!

But there’s some controversy about grilling — is it TRULY healthy?

Is there truth to the thought that barbecuing and grilling can be unhealthy?

Well, yes and no.

We grill regularly — most days of the week from spring – fall.

Not just for the flavor, but it’s a healthy way to cook from a fat and calorie perspective too.  You don’t have to add oil, butter, or other ingredients like you do if cooking indoors.

And there’s little to no cleanup, which might be one of the best reasons of all!

But there has been some talk and controversy — do barbecuing or grilling cause cancer?

Here’s the deal.

Barbecuing at higher temperatures can produce a couple cancer causing compounds.  We’re not saying if barbecue on occasion you’re going to get cancer.  But stick with me.

The two compounds that can be created by barbecuing are long words that have acronyms — heterocyclic amines (HA’s) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s.)

The first one, HA, is created when meat is overcooked or charboiled (burned).  And it’s been shown to cause cancer in animals. 

Then there’s the other — PAH — that comes from the smoke off a barbecue, like when fat drips from the meat onto the hot grill and smokes.  The cancer causing compound, PAH, then can be absorbed back into the food.

Cancer experts suggest that occasional grilled food is safe, but not excessive intake.  The other thing to consider is how you cook your foods on the grill, considering options to minimize any potential dangers of barbecuing or grilling.

Here are 5 Tips to Make your Grilling/Barbecuing Safer (but just as tasty!)

  1. Grill at lower temperatures to reduce the likelihood of charring meat.  On a charcoal grill, wait until the flame dies on the charcoals.  On a
  2. Trim the visible fat off meats before cooking to reduce drippings
  3. Try grilling veggies and fruit – using these as the bulk of your meal vs. meats.  Using skewers is a great way to do this.  Less charring, more nutrients is a true win win!
  4. Marinate meats.  Some have suggested marinades with vinegar, in particular, may "protect" the meat in a way and produce less carcinogens. 
  5. Clean your grill grates regularly – these removes any charring between uses.

Coconut Oil — A Healthy Saturated Fat?

We’ve recently been BOMBARDED with questions about coconut oil … it is HOT and getting a ton of attention.  So, being that it’s my birthday, it was time to take a day off of blogging … and repost an earlier one that will hopefully answer many of the questions that we’re getting.

___________________________________

Last week we spent some time in California.

A little work in the Santa Cruz area and then ALL play in Sonoma.  Some wine tastings, olive oil tastings, beautiful weather and great for a little R & R.

While we were in Santa Cruz, I was giving a talk on omega-3 fats and healthy fats in general.  We were at the Nordic Naturals HQ (the #1 omega-3 fish oil company) and at the end of the presentation, I was asked about the health benefits of coconut oil.

Last week we talkedcoconut oil health benefits about the potential health benefits of coconut water.  Now, we’re moving on to coconut oil.

Coconut oil has traditionally gotten a very bad wrap because it is mostly saturated fat.  And it’s been shown through research that saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease.  Put those two sentences together … and in the most simplistic terms, it means too much coconut oil can cause heart disease.

But then some research started to emerge, looking more closely at the type of saturated fat that is in coconut oil (primarily lauric acid, for other nerds like us).  And proponents started to point at the longevity of some populations in tropical areas who have been eating coconut oil for centuries as evidence that it should be part of the diet.  Others, not surprisingly, also started to suggest coconut oil has some magical "cure all" health properties … of course there’s always two sides to every story. 

We’ll let the research do the talking instead of what you’ll find with a simple google search.

We’ll save you the complicated biochemistry, but just know that the different types of saturated fats seem to make a difference in terms of their health properties.  This hasn’t given governing bodies the "go ahead" however to start recommending coconut oil.

Many still suggest it’s saturated, so it’s therefore "bad."  

From our point of view and scouring over the research, though, we like coconut oil.  But here’s the most important point of this entire email …

we like it as a replacement for less healthy, processed saturated and trans fats.  We’re not suggesting you buy tubs of coconut oil and eat it by the spoonful.  It’s not about "adding" coconut oil to a junky diet.  It’s about replacing.  That’s the key.

And when we’re talking coconut oil, it’s the unprocessed, extra virgin coconut oil we’d suggest.  Processed or partially hydrogenated coconut oil is just as bad for you as other processed fats (or any sugar, for that matter, but today we’re focusing solely on fat).

So the general recommendations still stand ring true — keep saturated fat to under 10% of your overall fat calories.  But then within that recommendation, focus on the saturated fats that aren’t processed, which is exactly where unprocessed, extra virgin coconut oil falls into play. 

Yes, it can all be very confusing.

Here are 3 take away points from ‘Coconut Oil — A Healthy Saturated Fat.’

  1. Stick to unprocessed, extra virgin coconut oil.
  2. REPLACE less healthy processed and trans fats with unprocessed, extra virgin coconut oil.
  3. Coconut oil is not a magical cure all like some suggest.  It’s a healthier saturated fat.  That’s it.

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WHERE You Eat Can Cause Weight Gain!

It’s not just what we eat that matters.

It’s not just how much we eat that matters.

But even WHERE we eat matters! 

A recent report came out showing that around 43% of total calories are from eating out!  That’s nearly half of all our calories being eaten outside of the home.

Sad.  Scary.  And it’s a quick fire way to gain some serious weight!

We first wrote about the report that came out last year showing restaurant food labels are "wrong" in the sense that the calorie values aren’t quite correct … the labels don’t meet the actual values (sounds almost like Dietary Supplements!).  

Now, let’s make it VERY clear that we definitely do not believe restaurants are the "cause" of the obesity epidemic, even if some of their more popular meals are packed with more calories than an adult should eat in an entire day (Cheesecake Factory, anyone?). 

It all boils down to personal responsibility, regardless of the outrageous calorie, fat, sugar and sodium counts at popular sit downs.  Eating out at restaurants should be kept to a minimum anyhow — but of course there will be times when it’s inevitable.

That being said, it’s estimated that on average, Americans get around 43% of total calories from restaurants!  Crazy.

Anyhow, recently many restaurants started sharing their nutrition information…

…on their websites, at the restaurant itself, and sometimes even on the menu.

In fact, a recent law went into effect in New York City that all chain restaurants must include the nutrition info front and center for customers to see.  I know I’ve done a double take when traveling to NY — some of those numbers can really shock you!

But what if they were ALL WRONG?  Can we trust them?

What if the companies we were putting our trust in to give us at least a little help were lying?

On average, restaurant foods contained 18% more calories than stated, with some providing over twice as many calories than reported!

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TAKE HOME POINTS
***********************

  1. Eat out less often.  We know those who eat out more often weigh more.  Even when you make the better choices on the menu, it’s still not the same as eating at home! 
  2. Make Eating out a special event.  Go to more expensive restaurants less frequently vs. less expensive restaurants more frequently.  Even if Applebees, Chilis, or similar restaurants are less expensive, when visiting places like this almost half the days of the month (according to the previously mentioned study)…you’ll be spending more anyhow!

Stick to those few nutrition basics and others belly fat fighting strategies we’ve discussed — you’ll be guaranteed to reach your physical goals!

For more information on permanently losing belly fat, check out how your thoughts can help you lose weight .

12 Fruits and Veggies With the MOST Pesticides!

Last year we published a blog about The Environmental Working Groups "Dirty Dozen" list … well, they’re at it again with an update … with the 12 fruits and veggies you SHOULD make sure to buy organic, as these 12 are highest in pesticides.

We’ve talked about organic vs. conventional foods in previous blog posts. 

Basically the "Dirty Dozen" list are the 12 foods that have been found to be highest in pesticides when a random sample is taken from a the grocery store shelves.  In other words, since these are highest in pesticides, it’s suggested that if you’re picking and choosing which foods should be organic, focus on these 12 first. 

This shouldn’t come as a surprise with the recent headlines suggesting the pesticides in foods, namely many berries, like blueberries, are linked to ADD in children

That being said, here is the updated Dirty Dozen list of foods from the Environmental Working Group.  Again, these are the 12 foods you should go organic with if you’re picking and choosing.  As an easy rule of thumb, notice all of those are ones you’d eat the skin/leaf. 

As a general rule of thumb, if you peel it (banana, avocado, melons, etc) there’s less concern over pesticides since you’re not eating the part that would be sprayed. 

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines – imported
  7. Grapes – imported
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries – domestic
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/collard greens

Maybe even a MORE important message, though, even more than focusing on those 12 higher pesticide foods … is that conventionally grown fruit and veggies is STILL better than none. 

Next, if you ARE picking and choosing organic or not, focus on these 12 to spend the extra money.

Do you choose organic?  Let us know!


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