Tuesday, December 24, 2013

How to Prevent Weight Gain During the Holidays

Image result for holiday eating
Source: https://hhp-blog.s3.amazonaws.com/2018/11/holiday-dinner-with-familyiStock-498303430.jpg

Over the next week many people will have several holiday gatherings to attend, such as Christmas Eve parties, family gatherings,and New Year's Eve galas. Certainly we look forward to fun parties and seeing friends and family, but these holiday parties involve lots of eating and drinking. Do not fret! There are two simple ways to stay slim during the holiday season: don’t lag on your workouts, and practice self-control when it comes to eating and drinking.

When faced with endless amounts of hors d’oeuvres, sweets, and cocktails, you should educate yourself so that you can determine those that are good choices and those that are not. In order to ensure that there will be a healthy food choice at a party, offer to bring something that you can make yourself. Consequently, you will know exactly what is in the dish and whether it is healthy or not. A good word of advice is that anything wrapped in pastry, deep fried, containing ground meat, or loaded with cheese (cream cheese included) is probably not the best option for your waistline.

When it comes to cocktails, try mixing in a calorie-free beverage (club soda, diet Sprite) into your cranberry/vodka or choose “light” beer. Drink water WITH and in between cocktails and stray away from calorie-laden ciders, any specialty drinks like “holiday punch”, and especially egg nog. On average, one serving of any alcohol will have about 120-130 calories (5 oz wine, 1.5 oz liquor, 12 oz beer)- of course that calorie number depends on the % alcohol of whatever you are drinking (1 gram of alcohol has 7 calories).

Here are my main tips to avoid overdoing it at any party:

1. Stay away from the food trays- it is true: out of sight, out of mind. Humans are naturally lazy creatures, so if you have to walk an extra few feet to get more food, you are less likely to. Furthermore, you will have more time to think about whether you want it or not (mindful eating).

2. Only put 2 pieces of food on your plate at any one time. The first two bites of any food taste the best, so you get in trouble if you load your plate with 10 mini appetizers. Place 2 on your plate and if you are really hungry for more, go back and get 1-2 more.

3. Use small plates and serving utensils. We eat with our eyes, so if you have a small plate, the food will look like more than it is. If you  use a small spoon, you will eat less at each bite which will slow down your eating.

4. BE THE TALKER! If you are talking, you can't be eating (unless you have no manners whatsoever). People tend to migrate to the food table if they have no one to talk to. So, get out there and make friends; your waistline and social life will thank you.

5. Enjoy foods you like, but don't eat unnecessary items. Surely you can eat a good meal over the holidays, but avoid eating foods just because they are there. Only eat things that are nutritious or that you rarely have access to and really appreciate.

By no means deprive yourself during the holidays, just be conscious of what you are eating and how much you consume.


Friday, December 20, 2013

My Five Holiday Party Tips

1.   Make sure you get in some form of cardiovascular exercise EVERY DAY. MAKE THE TIME!
A study published December 15th showed that a group of people who exercised for 45 minutes on mostly sedentary days filled with overeating did not experience the negative effects the completely inactive group did (decreased blood sugar control, modified gene expression in fat cells leading to unhealthy metabolic changes of genes and hormones and altered metabolism).
          Reference: December 15, 2013 The Journal of Physiology, 591, 6231-6243.

2.   THINK before you eat!
Assume each cookie or small bite-sized fancy appetizer is at least 100 calories. Choose your intake wisely and make sure it is worth those calories.

3.   Bring a healthy dish.
People enjoy when you bring something to a gathering. So, bring a low-fat vegetable-based dish that you know you can eat and rely on in case there are no other healthy dishes available.

4.   Drink water WITH and IN BETWEEN each alcoholic beverage to slow your intake.
Each drink (1.5 fl oz liquor, 5 oz wine, 12 oz beer), on average will run you at least 100-150 calories… calories increases as %ABV does. Try to choose beverages that are lower in calories like 1 shot vodka + club soda or a light beer. Try to increase volume and decrease calories.

5.   Stand AWAY from the food table.
At parties you will be more inclined to eat food if it is staring at you. Try to stand at least 6 feet away and be social- you can’t be eating if you’re talking.

        Throughout the holidays you must still be mindful of portion size, healthy eating, and exercise. You can’t just give up now and think you’ll start January 1st. Eating one large and unhealthy meal can do significant damage to your system… so just think about your food and beverage choices and try to be mindful. You should enjoy a special holiday cookie, but there is no reason eating 5 will make you feel better than eating just one. Happy Holidays! :-)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

NEW! Kelly's Pantry Reading Recommendations

Check out my new blog where I will try to post a new and exciting news article every day (or every few days). This is intended for all of my blog followers and my clients to keep up to date with the latest nutrition/fitness research and recommendations. Be sure to become a follower of "KELLY'S PANTRY - RECOMMENDED READING MATERIAL" so you are notified every time I post a new article.

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Guest Blog Post: Benefits of Flax Seed with Ways to Incorporate it in Your Diet

The following is a post by guest blogger Kishana Sainte with some quick grammar editing done by me, (Kelly). For any questions about this blog, please visit http://www.mydochub.com to contact Kishana directly.
Picture source: http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/806978/flax-seed-recipes

Are you looking for a way to boost your health and help your body remain vibrant and energetic? 

Have you heard of flaxseed?

Flaxseed is bursting at the seams with goodness. Just take these characteristics as an example: flaxseed is made of two-thirds protein and one-third oil, one tablespoon has 40 calories, nearly 2,000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids and 2.4 grams of fiber. All of these positive attributes make flaxseed a healthy food to incorporate into your daily diet for optimal health. For example, flaxseed helps regulate blood sugar, stabilizes blood pressure, reduces symptoms from rheumatoid arthritis, decreases menopause symptoms, and it helps prevent some types of cancer. Not to mention, it also is known to lower cholesterol levels.

How much should you take, exactly? Health experts agree that a daily dose of one to three tablespoons is optimum. So, what is the best way to digest these little guys? Luckily for all of us, flaxseeds are small and easily adapt to all different ways of consuming it. Here are some ways that you can enjoy flaxseed in your diet:

Ground (aka: milled) Flaxseeds: If you want to get the ultimate benefits out of flaxseed, then the best approach is to grind it up prior to using it. The grinding action helps dissolve the outer shell, releasing the beneficial essential fatty acids that are contained within. There are a few ways to grind flaxseeds, you can either grind them in a coffee grinder or purchase pre-ground seeds in any health food store. Be sure to refrigerate and ground flaxseed as it loses its positive healing properties quickly if exposed to light. One way to know if the flaxseed has gone bad is to smell it. Good flaxseed smells like a yummy, sweet nutty flavor. When flaxseed starts to go rancid it smells more chemically.
Kelly's Note: Your body absorbs flax best in it's ground/milled state

Baking: Another great way to consume flaxseed is by baking it into your favorite muffins, breads or other baked goods. Flaxseed can replace around 25 to 50 percent of the normal flour amount in almost any recipe. Stay away from adding too much as it will make your baked item hard to chew and heavy in texture.

Smoothies: Try to incorporate flax into your diet by adding it to your favorite smoothie recipe. The flaxseed actually has benefits for the drink: it makes the drink a little thicker. Try adding whole flaxseed to your mixture at the end of the blending process, adding about a half tablespoon of flaxseed for every cup of liquid.

So on your next shopping trip, be sure to purchase some flaxseed to incorporate into your diet!

About the author: Kishana Sainte writes on health & lifestyle, fitness, and food & recipes on behalf of MyDocHub, a trusted online doctor reviews and medical information website. For more information visit http://www.mydochub.com


Friday, December 13, 2013

My Ode to Oat Bran!

I searched through all my old blogs and was SHOCKED that I hadn't written one dedicated to the food I recommend the most: oat bran. I have certainly referenced oat bran in numerous blogs, but I have never given this amazing food it's own blog article, which was very upsetting to me!
Anyway, I don’t like the term “super-food”, since no one food is a complete source of everything you need. However, oat bran is one food that I recommend to every one of my clients (except for the person with an oat allergy), and if I had to choose one food to eat the rest of my life for health, it would be oat bran. I eat oat bran pretty much 7 days out of the week and honestly love it. Not many people are familiar with oat bran, or may only know about the cold cereal called oat bran. The oat bran I eat and recommend is a hot cereal that cooks just like instant oats, about 2 minutes in the microwave or on the stove!
I first learned about the powers of oat bran in college when I was researching cholesterol-lowering foods. Study after study shows that oat bran is fantastic for lowering cholesterol levels in those individuals with high cholesterol, especially the bad LDL cholesterol, because of the high levels of soluble fiber. Oat bran is made from outer layer of the oat kernel where most of the fiber and healthy fats reside.

          Oat bran works to lower cholesterol and even out blood sugar levels because of its high level of beta-glucan (soluble) fiber. When ingested, it is estimated that oat bran absorbs 25 times its volume in liquid, which is one reason why people feel so full after eating it. Personally, on days I eat oat bran I could go 4-5 hours without being hungry, whereas if I eat a high fiber cold cereal or a Greek yogurt with whole wheat toast I feel hungry about two hours later. Another benefit of oat bran is that once in the stomach, the oat bran forms a gel-like bolus that helps to absorb extra glucose and fats that are roaming around your stomach. This bolus then makes its way through your system without all the sugar and calories being absorbed.
          Ounce for ounce, oat bran is higher in fiber, protein, most B vitamins, healthy fats, iron, and many other vitamins and minerals when compared to old fashioned rolled oats. Personally, I like the texture better since it is finer and more like a cream of wheat consistency (which basically has no nutritional value!). Oat bran is also super cheap, especially if you buy it in bulk. You will be saving lots of money by subbing cereal boxes for the oat bran, and may save even more money by potentially lowering the dose of your cholesterol meds (or preventing the need to go on them!).

Below are some facts and suggestions about oat bran:

Nutrition facts (based on 1/3 c dry or 40 g): 130 calories, 3 g fat, 24 g carb (3 g soluble fiber & 3 g insoluble fiber), 1 g sugar, 7 g protein
Where to buy: The bulk bins at Whole Foods (my preferred source) or Wegmans,  or the cereal aisle of most supermarkets (check the natural food aisle if you can’t find it). Trader Joe's unfortunately has discontinued it! Common manufacturers of oat bran include Bob’s Red Mill, Hodgson Mill, Quaker, Arrowhead Mills, Mother’s, and Old Wessex.
Cooking directions: Basically, you need to add enough liquid for the oat bran to cook, so the total amount of liquid you add is up to your texture preference. I usually recommend making 1/3 c dry oat bran with 1 cup of liquid. Stick in a large bowl and microwave for about 2- 2 ½ minutes (can also cook on stove). Be sure to watch the oat bran as you may need to stop and stir it halfway through.
How to prepare: I usually make my oat bran with unsweetened almond milk, unsweetened vanilla hemp milk, or light vanilla soymilk. I always incorporate at least ½ cup of fruit which is usually a mixture of banana, apples, and some form of berry (strawberries, blueberries, or cranberries). At times I have mixed canned pumpkin into my oat bran. I always add spices such as cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, honey or agave, and some form of nut or seed (usually hemp or chia, but sometimes walnuts). Recently I have also been adding vanilla or unsweetened protein powders (like Garden of Life RAW).
Other uses: Oat bran can be added to any baked good, and there are thousands of oat bran muffin recipes out there on the internet. You can also add oat bran to smoothies, yogurt, and really wherever else you would add a cereal or seed.
Summary of benefits: First and foremost, oat bran is great for lowering cholesterol (total & LDL) cholesterol, and especially for those with already high cholesterol. Second, oat bran is great for diabetics because of it's ability to slow blood sugar absorption. That being said, it is great for everyone, because it keeps your blood sugar from rising and crashing, which can lead to hunger, irritability, and food cravings. Similarly, oat bran is fantastic for weight loss since it is VERY filling, so should keep you full and satisfied for hours after eating. Overall, oat bran is great for everyone- not just those looking to lower cholesterol or lose weight- since it is an excellent source of fiber, protein, healthy fats, and many vitamins and minerals. 
So this weekend, I recommend you go out and buy oat bran. Begin incorporating that into your diet so you know you are starting each day of this holiday season off with a healthy start!!! Because of oat brans powers, you shouldn't be craving the carbs as much in the afternoon, so hopefully it will work to help you avoid those Christmas cookies! ;-)


Picture sources:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How To Snack Like A Victoria's Secret Model

View my contribution to an article on Philly.com about how to snack like a Victoria's Secret model... and why those are healthy choices. Enjoy!