Monday, August 12, 2019

Protein and Vegetables

I'd like to share a quick, easy, and healthy recipe!
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Start with whatever vegetables you have, cut them up and put them into a casserole dish. I used broccoli, red potatoes, and onions. I find that if they're still wet from washing, it adds to the steaminess.
  3. Drizzle some oil, and swirl them around to keep from sticking to the pan. I usually use an avocado oil, or if I'm feeling festive, olive oil with rosemary.
  4. Throw the meat on top. Here I used salmon fillets as an example, but make sure you take them out of the plastic wrap first. I made the veggies to pair with other leftover meat, so didn't end up roasting the salmon. Most meats or meat alternatives would probably work in this recipe.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and roast until you can start to smell it, check and decide how well you want it done. Depending on the size of the veggie bits, and the type of meat, this is usually between 20 and 30 minutes for me and my oven.
  6. The above example usually means 4 meals for me, so have some tupperwares on hand for leftovers and remember to reuse or recycle the aluminum foil.
What are some of your favorite easy, healthy recipes?

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Local Food Regulations: Good or Bad?

Like them or hate them, soda taxes are proving effective at curbing intake of sugary drinks. After the city of Berkeley, California, implemented a penny-per-ounce soda tax in 2014, consumption of sweetened drinks, including soda and energy drinks, plummeted by 21% in lower income neighborhoods. Three years later, city-polled residents reported drinking 52% fewer of these beverages than they did before the tax passed. On the flipside, water consumption rose by an average of 29% over the 3-year period. https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/10.2105/AJPH.2019.304971

In another example of nutrition policy, New York City enacted a much-publicized ban on trans fats in restaurants in 2006. A separate study has now shown that the policy had definitively positive health benefits by causing trans-fatty-acid levels in the blood of New York City residents to fall by slightly more than half in the years after the ban and before a nationwide cutoff came into effect in 2018. Notably, people who ate out more often saw more impressive results, with blood lipid levels dropping by about 62%. https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/10.2105/AJPH.2018.304930

Do you favor government regulations that aim to improve the diets and health of Americans? Do you consider such policies signs of a nanny state and think we should focus on self-regulation of dietary habits? Are there more effective ways than levying taxes and banning certain ingredients to improve what people eat and drink?

Objectively, I feel more comfortable with policies such as the soda tax than I do an with a ban, although I agree that both are beneficial. However, the research against trans fats has been so overwhelming that trans fats have been banned in all US food products since 2018. In this case, I fully agree with it.

Friday, June 21, 2019

New BOSU Balance Trainers!

You may have noticed that we have recently received the newest generation of BOSU trainers at Fit Carmel Mountain. With this purchase, Fit Downtown hosted a BOSU continuing education class for the training staff this past weekend. The new BOSU balance trainers look a little different, but are essentially the same. The BOSU® NexGen™ Balance Trainer features a textured dome surface that significantly increases the functionality. The quadrants and channels help with hand and foot positioning as well as cueing. We learned several different exercise progressions and regressions as well as how to modify the exercise by using tempo, complexity, balance, range, and volume. The biggest surprise for me was that stepping onto the BOSU and doing lower body exercises with the round side up (as pictured below) was more challenging than with the flat side up.

Please speak with me if you'd like a refresher on BOSU exercises to incorporate into your workouts. These balance trainers have been in fitness centers for a long time and yet, I had forgotten many of the exercise possibilities.

I'd also like to remind you of the June Monthly Fitness Challenge! Complete as many Squats to a Box in 2mins as you can. This is with a barbell placed on your back weighing 50% of body weight for women and 70% of body weight for men. Prizes are a free month of membership or a free personal training session. Make sure you have me or another employee witness!


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

"Exercise Snacks"

I've long heard that exercising before a big meal is beneficial because of the metabolic boost we get from exercise. This has now been shown to have added benefits for people with type 2 diabetes, and those with insulin resistance. While a 30-minute workout before each and every meal is daunting, "exercise snacking" takes a lot less time. An exercise snack is a short, intense bout of exercise, shortly before a meal, that can quickly add glucose-storage capacity in muscle tissue and increase insulin response.

How does it work? The "snack" primes muscle tissue to the effect of insulin. A research paper from 2014 looked into the effects of six 1-minute bouts of incline walking a half-hour before each meal. The study found that brief, intense "exercise snacks" before main meals are a time-efficient and effective approach to improving glycemic control for people with insulin resistance. Researchers also found that these short bouts were as efficient as 30 minutes of activity at a moderate intensity.

These 6 x 1 minute bouts of intense exercise can be performed in 10 minutes (including rest). The greatest benefit came from doing this before every meal. Since I don't have a treadmill at home, my "exercise snack" would be 6 x 1 minute of high knees, before dinner. What would be an appropriate exercise snack for you and how could you implement it into your day

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Nutrition Hacks

By now, we know that restrictive meal plans can be difficult to maintain long term. The key to losing weight is to reframe the diet mentality toward healthful living and better nutrition. Here are some tips:

Use the Hunger Scale for More Intuitive Eating
You may have heard about intuitive eating from one of my earlier emails. Intuitive eating means consuming when hungry, stopping when full and not restricting certain types of food. The goal is to stay in the middle of the scale, starting to eat at 3-4 and stopping at 5-6. Routinely overeating to extreme measures makes it more difficult to recognize feelings of fullness in the future.

Make Sure the Calories are "Worth It"
Do you really love dessert? Then we can work together to devise a plan to eat dessert while maintaining a healthy eating plan overall. Before eating a not-so-healthy food, ask yourself, "Is this worth it?" You may decide you don't enjoy eating the food, so the calories are not worth it. This tip is especially useful at holidays and parties.

Don't Drink Your Calories
Beverages are problematic because they do not produce the fullness feeling we get from food that requires chewing. Keep in mind that milkshakes, sodas, and Frappucinos aren't the only sugar-rich offenders. Many smoothies, juices, teas, protein drinks and kombucha beverages may seem healthy, but upon closer inspection, prove to be calorie-dense and full of added sugar.

Eat What you Love, but Add more Vegetables and Fruits
Fruits and vegetables are the real "superfoods". A way to increase your consumption is to chop after you shop. After grocery shopping, spend 15 minutes prepping your veggies and fruits, or buy pre-chopped produce. And don't forget that frozen fruits and vegetables are flash-frozen almost immediately after harvest, which locks in nutrients, keeps them from degrading, and require no prep before heating. 

Flip the Ingredients
Rethink the proportions of the foods you eat instead of giving up foods altogether:
  • Instead of eating ice cream topped with a spoonful of fruit, eat a bowl of fruit topped with a spoonful of ice cream.
  • Rather than filling a dinner plate with steak and potatoes and a side of spinach, eat a large spinach salad with sliced steak and potato chunks.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Fiber May Help Improve Depression

Lifting a your spirits might be as easy as adding more beans and other fiber-rich foods to your plate. A 2018 study found that people who reported eating the most fiber overall (including from cereal grains, vegetables, and fruits) had fewer depressive symptoms. The data came from 16,807 American adults enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

The study suggests that consuming at least 21 grams of fiber daily is the magic mark for reducing depression risk, Americans typically eat only about 15-18g. This mood-boosting benefit could come from fiber-rich foods providing an arsenal of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that improve brain function. Dietary fiber can also improve microorganisms in our gut, and a growing body of research suggests that this gut biome may play a role in brain health.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Moderate-Intensity Exercise Boosts Calorie Burning for an Entire Day

Exciting news that may give you a convincing reason to do a moderate-intensity workout on days when you're tempted to skip! Previous research had only shown high intensity exercise to increase resting energy expenditure post-exercise. A 2017 study has shown that energy expenditure increased for at least 22 hours after bouts of moderate-intensity (50% peak) exercise, leading to an additional 64 (+/-119) calories burned per day. Resting energy expenditure increased 103 (+/-137) calories per day for high-intensity exercise (84% peak). This doesn't include the contribution of calories burned during the actual exercise.

The study authors had adjusted caloric intake to achieve energy balance; they believe this design difference isolated the exercise's specific effects on energy expenditure. Potential mechanisms underlying the extra calorie burning include increases in fight-or-flight system stimulation and muscle damage repair following exercise.

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