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Elaine Murphy

Elaine Murphy

Monday, 25 March 2013 16:26

Just Move More!

You may have heard that small bursts of physical activity adding up to 30 minutes throughout the day all add up and really do count! Things like mowing the lawn, and of course, the infamous taking the stairs instead of the elevator, count as exercise just like going to the gym.  All you do is simply plan on working these and other similar things into your daily lifestyle. In other words, just move more!

The American Journal of Health Promotion states that this is beneficial in improving numerous health conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. This was all based on a study with over 6,000 people, ages 18 through 85 and part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2003 and 2006.

Do you need some other easy ideas to get going? Here are some other things you can do:

  • Pace while you are talking on the phone.
  • Walk around the block when you come home from an errand.
  • Rake the leaves in your yard and/or pull a few weeds.
  • Take your children for a walk (instead of watching TV) or just go outside and "play" with them like a kid.
  • Suggest a business meeting while walking.
  • Take a walk while waiting for a doctor's appointment.
  • Take a walk while you wait for your kids at a sports or dance practice.

Make your list from your own personal lifestyle activities, especially for those times when you are forced to wait for something or someone. The idea is just to find a few activities that you can do that take 10 minutes every day. What things need to be done around the house? What errands do you do regularly that you can work some activity into? Readers what ideas can you offer?

Saturday, 23 March 2013 16:35

Foods that Suppress Hunger

The other day I started discussing special foods that suppress hunger. Today I'm continuing that topic.

Green tea is a long revered beverage and is another appetite and even a fat burning tea which contains an amazing phytonutrient called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) which increases the hormone CCK (cholecystokinin), responsible for creating the feeling of satiation. And it gently stimulates metabolism. As a bonus it contains L-theanine, a natural amino acid for calming the nerves and reducing anxiety. And we all know how this kind of emotion can affect our dieting efforts, right? Green tea doesn't stop with all that, it helps reduce cholesterol and heart disease, along with fighting breast cancer.

Simple apple cider vinegar, with acetic acid, the active ingredient in vinegar, helps keep food in the stomach longer, so the release of the hunger hormone called ghrelin is delayed. It can help you feel full faster and for a longer period of time. Make an evening salad dressing with this vinegar or just take 2 tablespoons of vinegar, and dilute it with water 20 minutes before a meal (add a bit of stevia if it's too tart for you). It also has been clinically proven good for diabetes and control blood sugar.

It's good to know these items not only fight hunger but they also impact health in a positive way!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013 18:28

Foods that Suppress Appetite

Hunger always seems to be an issue when it comes to dieting. So make it easier on yourself when you diet – include foods that satisfy better. You don't have to depend on willpower alone! They may not be like a strong medication in terms of appetite control but they can certainly help when included regularly in a diet plan on a daily basis. Based on some recent studies here are a few foods that fight hunger most effectively:

Pine nuts: These little nuts (that are actually seeds) contain pinolenic acid, a polyunsaturated healthy fat which contains the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) into the body, an appetite-suppressing hormone. In fact there are even supplements made from them for this purpose. Or simply enjoy a tablespoon of fresh pine nuts on a salad. Again not the magic diet pill but they can manage hunger.

Apples: Apples contain a unique soluble fiber, called pectin. This pectin helps ward off hunger, reduces the amount of sugar and calories that get absorbed into the bloodstream after a meal and is particularly filling. Apples also contain numerous other great beneficial antioxidants important to health. (What's that they say about, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away?") And, when our bodies get the nutrients we need there are less cravings.

There are other great foods that suppress the appetite and they will be outlined later in the week. Readers what foods do you find particularly satisfying, yet are low in calories and just plain good for you?

Sunday, 10 March 2013 14:16

Willpower and Focus

How's your willpower around food? Do you give in to temptation easily? Here's one solution if you say you do not have willpower. Make it a point to stay really aware, "in the moment" and question what you are doing. It's really all about focus. Just like walking on a tightrope, it takes this ongoing focus.

Get into a daily habit of frequently asking yourself, "Why am I doing what I'm doing?" "What is the underlying reason for eating something which is not on my food plan?" You might take this even a step further and ask, "How will I feel afterwards if I choose to eat this? How will I feel if I don't eat this?"

With any goal, and particularly with weight loss goals, your focal point on your motivation is core to the end result you will have. First it's about knowing exactly why you want to lose your weight and then making it a point to maintain your focus on that motivation at any given moment. It's amazing how many people I see who cannot even give me any specific reason why they want to lose weight, let alone focus on it! So be specific about the "whys" and then keep your focus on them.

Readers how do you keep your focus on what you really want when you are tempted to eat something off plan?

"A good intention clothes itself with power." –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, 06 March 2013 15:08

Snow Pudding

There are numerous recipes out there claiming to be a "Snow Pudding." This one has been adapted for both low carb and low calorie diets. And it's a perfect, light, anytime dessert or snack. And it's mostly protein!

Snow Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp plain gelatin powder
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Approved sweetener to equal a cup of sugar (Splenda or Pure Via)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup pure lemon juice (not bottled)
  • 3/4 cup egg white substitutes (do not use real egg whites)

Directions:

Mix the gelatin with the cold water in a large mixing bowl. Let mixture sit for about 2 minutes to soften. Add boiling water and stir to dissolve. Add the sweetener, salt, and lemon juice. Place the mixture uncovered in refrigerator to cool. Stir every 10 minutes or so, until it begins to thicken (this could take up to an hour. It can also be put in the freezer to hurry things up but be careful not to let it actually freeze). When thickened, beat gelatin mixture on high with a mixer until fully frothy, one to two minutes.

Then add egg white substitutes and beat until stiff. Transfer to other individual serving bowls or a single mold. Refrigerate. You can serve it any time, but it will set up well in about 15 minutes. Keeps well for several days. Serve with a dollop of Cool Whip, sugar-free jam, or fresh pureed fruit if desired.

Nutrition:

The entire recipe, without other topping condiments is only about 110 protein calories!

Monday, 04 March 2013 09:36

March is National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, "It is a campaign month dedicated to nutrition education and information created annually in March. It focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits to reap the great benefits health brings. This year is its 40th anniversary."

Friday, 01 March 2013 18:58

How Much is Too Much Sugar?

The other day I discussed how high sugar consumption and heart disease are so related. So how much would be safe to consume? According to the American Heart Association it is suggested that women should consume no more than 100 calories of added sugars a day or six teaspoons of sugar a day. Men should limit their intake to 150 added calories a day, or about nine teaspoons of sugar a day.

This is hard for consumers because of a few things. Unfortunately the public consumes too many processed foods containing sugar (and often in disguised forms). A food label only lists grams of sugar. At the very least, choose products with only a few grams of sugar per serving.

Also review the actual ingredient list. Sugar and all its forms should be at the end on the list. Be aware though now manufacturers list sugar and its various forms throughout the entire ingredient list. The good news is if there is that much sugar you probably should avoid it anyway. The best option then is to choose whole unprocessed foods as much as possible over refined foods. And then limit or even eliminate sweet treats in your normal day-to-day diet and save them for special social events.

With processed food manufacturers could help by listing sugar content in terms of teaspoonfuls rather than grams of sugar. The sad news is, this is probably unlikely to occur because they really do not want us to know how much sugar we are consuming so we will keep buying their products. All in the name of profit, never mind our health.

More studies are coming out regularly confirmig the the dangers of high carb and sugar intake being associated with heart disease. HealthDay News also reported a study: the high sugar/carbohydrate content contained in processed foods are a threat to cardiovascular health. They lower the good HDL cholesterol and raise triglycerides. This was according to Dr. Miriam B. Vos, from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, who reported the finding in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study, based on interviews and measurements of 6,113 adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study from 1999-2006, found a significant increase in sugar consumption  - from 10.6% of daily calories consumed in 1977-78 to 15.8% presently. This is equal to 3.2 ounces or 21.4 teaspoons (359 calories) of added daily sugar!

The effect on cholesterol and other blood lipid levels, (major factors in cardiovascular disease), was obvious in the study. For those who consumed 10 percent or more of their daily calories from sugar, the odds of low HDL cholesterol levels (the good cholesterol), were 50 percent to 300 percent greater than for those getting less than 5 percent of their calories from sugar.

Although most sugar comes from sodas (8 teaspoons of sugar per can), all processed foods contain sugar of some kind (processed carbohydrates are basically the same in the way they convert to sugar in the body). Later I'll go into exactly how much sugar is safe to consume and how to figure that out on a food label.

High carbohydrate and sugary food intake is no longer just about just diabetes. News has finally been leaking out how these foods are also a big link to heart disease, despite the fact people and the medical profession still cling on to the old school theory that it is high fat and cholesterol that cause heart disease. New research from Tel Aviv University (as well as other reliable sources) now shows us specifically how high carb/sugar foods increase the risk for heart problems.

Dr. Michael Shechter of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine and the Heart Institute of Sheba Medical Center, along with the collaboration of the Endocrinology Institute, determined exactly what happens inside the body (particularly the arteries) when certain foods, those especially high in carbohydrates, are consumed. They found that these foods literally expand the arteries causing an enormous stress on the artery walls. Dr. Shechter termed this "brachial reactive testing."

When this expansion occurs over and over it reduces the elasticity of artery walls, which then can cause heart disease to the artery walls. The results were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. This kind of clarity on how specific foods affect heart health clearly reflects a very strong correlation between high carbohydrate/sugar intake and heart health.

Sunday, 24 February 2013 12:33

Low Carb, Low Calorie "Pasta"

Most veteran carb watchers are already familiar with Sharatiki noodles. Even though they aren't exactly like the traditional flour version they can taste quite good. You can use them to replace almost any pasta that calls for noodles. Thoroughly rinse the noodles as they have a bit of a sour smell which is characteristic of them when you first open them up. Then cut them up with scissors as they are very long. They are available in Asian markets and most grocery stores usually in the tofu section. Note they require no cooking. Add them in your recipe at the very end and heat lightly.

And, as a bonus there is evidence that Glucomannan, the fibrous root of Amorphophallus Konjac plant, which this noodle is made from, can play a positive role in blood sugar control, as well as improve cholesterol.

Here are a few starter recipes you can easily implement in your food plan:

Spaghetti and Asian noodles: Use lean turkey or beef with low-carb marinara sauce and season with Italian herbs like regular spaghetti, using the Shirataki noodles instead of regular noodles.

Fresh Cabbage Asian Salad: Make a a bowl of chopped cabbage, snow peas, water chestnuts, fresh grated ginger, and protein of choice. Simply add the noodles and low-carb Asian salad dressing, then mix well. Top your salad with toasted almonds or sesame seeds.

Chicken Noodle Soup: Gently cook some shredded cabbage, onions, water, favorite seasonings, and noodles and add chicken bouillon for flavor. You can add celery, tofu or chicken.

Nutrition:

Noodles are mostly fiber and essentially calorie-free, so you can consume generously. Count your vegetables and protein according to how much you consume.

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*Disclaimer: Results are typical but not guaranteed. Your actual results may vary. Real CalMWM patients shown with permission.

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