Thursday, April 23, 2015

Looking for a sweet creamy treat? Try my Choco PB Banana Smoothie!



Below is a recipe for something I make quite often as a dessert. It's creamy, tastes indulgent, and is actually pretty healthy- what a winning combination!


INGREDIENTS:

¾ c unsweetened chocolate almond milk (can sub regular or soy milk)
2 tbsp PB2 (available at Whole Foods and Giant... Wegman's has Betty Lou's brand which is similar...)

½ frozen banana

2 tsp honey or agave (optional- can use stevia too)

½ c ice cubes

DIRECTIONS:

Put all ingredients in a blender (I like the Magic Bullet) and pulse until smooth. Enjoy! Makes 1 serving.

Nutrition Content Per serving w/ agave (analyzed using DietMaster Pro): 177 calories, 4 g fat, 35 g carb, 6 g protein


Picture Source: Bell Plantation website: http://www.bellplantation.com/4-pack-chocolate-pb2-powdered-peanut-butter-6-5-oz-jars.html

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Which to Eat First: The Chicken or the Egg?


After all of the Easter egg hunts coming this weekend, I’m sure many people will have leftover hard boiled eggs and are curious as to how many hard-boiled eggs they can safely eat. Eggs have confused people for decades, since the research and recommendations waver back and forth as to if they are healthy or not. Much of the controversy stems from the fact that they are high in cholesterol, which was previously thought to raise blood cholesterol levels. However, over the past decade, more research has come out showing that dietary cholesterol doesn’t seem to be much of a concern when it comes to the risk for heart disease; saturated fat and components in foods that are high in saturated fat, seem to be the stronger link. The thing is, most foods that are high in saturated fat are also high in cholesterol, so they typically go hand in hand. Cholesterol is only found in animals, and typically fatty animal products tend to have higher levels of cholesterol. However, foods like shrimp, which are virtually fat-free are high in cholesterol… which is okay! 

So, the question remains, how many eggs can one eat in a week? The American Heart Association now says it is okay to eat one egg per day, so seven per week. I am okay with people eating eggs, as long as the eggs are a way to consume lots of vegetables, and not served with bacon, butter, and lots of cheese. One large egg has 70 calories; an egg white has about 16, and is mostly pure protein.  So, I often recommend for my weight loss clients to eat one egg with two or three egg whites with TONS of vegetables as a meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner). Quiches and egg, bacon, cheese croissants are not the recommended ways to get in eggs since they are loaded with saturated fats and other unhealthy components (not to mention calorie dense!).

Eggs are actually quite nutritious and the yolk is one of the most antioxidant and nutrient dense foods that exists. The yolk is full of omega-3’s, Vitamin E, choline, biotin, Vitamin B12, phosphorus, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D. Eggs are especially high in choline, which is essential for fetal development, but also important in brain (i.e.: memory) and liver health.  In addition to being a great source of all of these vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, one egg contains about 7 grams of high quality protein, which can help prevent muscle breakdown associated with aging. Furthermore, a new study which followed the dietary habits of men in Finland found that men who ate 4 eggs/week (on average) had a 37% lower risk of developing Type II Diabetes over the 19 year follow-up period compared to men that only ate 1 egg/week (on average). More eggs did not translate to a lower risk.


My recommendations:  Feel free to eat your eggs with lots of veggies! Just be aware that when you eat out at a restaurant and order an omelet, it will typically be three eggs (210 calories) with added butter/oil and salt (another 100 calories)… and most likely cheese, which will contribute at least another 100 calories and more sodium and saturated fat. That doesn’t even include the processed fatty meats or hash browns that many people get with their omelets. And Don't even get me started on hollandaise sauce! So, best to eat your eggs at home or eat hard boiled eggs as a daytime snack. Try to buy eggs off of a farm or pasture-raised eggs if you can find them, or if not, stick to organic, which allow more free roam for the chickens and typically the yolks will be more packed with nutrients due to their healthier feed (compared to conventional eggs). To answer my question above, I feel that both eggs and chicken are healthy sources of protein. The egg has a greater diversity of nutrients and fits into a ovo-vegetarian meal plan, so I would choose 1-2 eggs plus egg whites as a meal option over chicken.

References:
1. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=92
2. http://www.incredibleegg.org/health-and-nutrition/egg-nutrients
3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-berardi-phd/egss-and-health_b_3499583.html
4. Jyrki K Virtanen et al. Egg consumption and risk of incident type 2 diabetes in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition., March 2015 DOI: 10.3945/%u200Bajcn.114.104109
5. Picture Souce: Yelp Review, Eggs Benedict at Nudy's Cafe in Wayne, PA: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/nudys-cafe-wayne#uPz2ny1Gwat6OZPmv7M8tw

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Improve the Quality of your Diet, Improve the Quality of Life!


March is National Nutrition Month and a time where everyone should look to their diet and evaluate the quality. Most of my clients come to me and say that they “know how to eat healthy” and think they “eat pretty healthy.” However, if you think you have a pretty poor diet, even one small change can have measurable effects and I can guarantee you will notice significant improvements. Some people come to me without consuming one vegetable or fruit on any given day. By just adding half a cup of fruit and vegetables per day you will see noticeable benefits. Add more, and you will experience even better results.

If you already think you eat healthy, it’s time to zone in on what you are missing, or maybe overdoing. When I perform a diet analysis for a client who believes they eat pretty healthy, there are always things I point out that they can improve upon. I have never seen anyone with a “perfect” diet, and I admit, not even myself. With just small tweaks in your diet, my clients generally notice an increase in energy, better sleep, improved immune function, and eventually they notice their mid-section getting smaller. Do not underestimate the power of diet. According to a research article published in 2008, it is estimated that as many as 30-35% of cancers are linked to diet. Certainly added sugars and refined grains in the diet have been linked to obesity and diabetes risk. Now, there is incredible research showing the link between diet, gut microflora, and disease risk (including Autism, obesity, Alzheimers, diabetes, and more). What you eat affects how you feel, how you look (see my blog on attractiveness), speed and endurance, mental clarity and performance, and so much more! At this time, I encourage everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables, less processed foods, more whole foods, and less meat. 

Also, look into your health insurance [Independence Blue Cross, Aetna, BCBS, Highmark, AmeriHealth, etc.] and see if nutrition counseling is a covered benefit as most plans do offer this under the new healthcare law. Even if you think you eat healthy, you can always learn more and improve something about your diet. Take this time to invest in yourself and your future!



References: 

Anand, Preetha et al. “Cancer Is a Preventable Disease That Requires Major Lifestyle Changes.” Pharmaceutical Research 25.9 (2008): 2097–2116. PMC. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.
https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/spotlight-gut-bacteria-brain-connection-autism
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jalz.2014.11.009
Consumption of whole grains and cereal fiber and total and cause-specific mortality: prospective analysis of 367,442 individuals
Tao Huang, Min Xu, Albert Lee, Susan Cho and Lu Qi BMC Medicine 2015 doi:10.1186/s12916-015-0294-7