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Elaine Murphy

Elaine Murphy

Thursday, 21 February 2013 10:17

Conquer your Sweet Cravings

Many people struggle with their cravings for sweets yet fail to think of consuming simple fruit as an alternative, which not only appeases the sweet tooth but provides nutrition. Try replacing regular sweets with fresh seasonal fruit. Even though winter may not be your favorite season for fruit there are still great choices out there (and grocery stores are even making summer fruits more of an option these days.) The trick too might be to taste new ones. Try an Asian pear, a Clementine orange, a kiwi, a nutrient dense pomegranite or new variety of a fresh crispy crunchy apple.
 
But you must think ahead and keep fruit readily available to eat on the spot. Grocery stores also make it easy these days by selling it already cut up and ready to eat. Fruit is much lower in calories, carbs, and fat, and has fiber filling capacity. Couple it with a small handful of nuts or a low-fat cheese stick and it won't trigger your blood sugar spikes resulting in more cravings. Fruit benefits your health and appeases the sweet tooth cravings if you give it a chance. Excess sugar depletes your health and leaves you craving for more.
Monday, 18 February 2013 09:30

Vegetables Just as Important as Medication!

Sounds like mom was right again about having to eat your vegetables. Fruits and vegetables might come in first over medication in prevention of second heart attacks according to a five year study from McMaster University's Population Health Research Institute, headed by author and nutritionist Mahshid Dehghan involving almost 32,000 patients (average age 66.5) in over 40 countries. Data indicated that those who ate a heart healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables had a:

  • 35 per cent reduction in risk for cardiovascular death
  • 14 per cent reduction in risk for new heart attacks
  • 28 per cent reduction in risk for congestive heart failure
  • 19 per cent reduction in risk for stroke

This study was recently published by the American Heart Association Journal Circulation. To be clear, a healthy diet in this study consisted of a high intake of fruits, vegetables, limited amounts of whole grains and nuts, in addition to a generous intake of fish compared to meat, poultry and eggs. Lifestyle choices were also considered regarding alcohol consumption, smoking and exercise.

This is actually the first study to report on the protective impact of healthy eating for individuals with cardiovascular disease and those already taking medication to prevent a second heart attack, stroke or death. While medication reduces the risk, dietary and lifestyle choices can impact it even more so.

The important message here, is that it's a very false belief for patients to think they don't need to worry about how they eat as long as they take their medication. The facts clearly indicate that a healthy diet and lifestyle add significant health benefits along with heart medication for cardiovascular conditions. This is especially important to high risk heart patients.

Thursday, 14 February 2013 08:13

Valentine's Day - Give your Own Heart some Love

February 14th is notoriously the month for love, candy, valentine fun and romance. But it should also be the day to remember your own heart, the organ in your body which is all about supporting your very life and the quality of it.

People frequently talk about commitment as an attribute of love. When a couple is committed there is the kind of caring that no matter what happens that special person is always there for you, regardless of any circumstances. The same holds true when applying that same kind of commitment to your heart health too. Commit to loving your own body and the heart beating within it.

What this means is eating right and maintaining a healthy weight regardless of the circumstances. Sure, we do a lot of general socializing around food and we may even temporary splurge, but do we use it as an excuse on every occasion to overeat? A healthy diet does not include excess processed food, white flour starches, high-fat trans fats and high fructose corn syrup all the time. We want to consume whole foods as much as possible, rich in their nutrient dense state full of phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and fiber – all the components that promote health.

Are you committed to exercising regularly, and not just to lose weight ? It's been proven that exercise benefits our bodies in a multitude of ways in controlling most disease conditions, especially heart health and diabetes.

What is your general lifestyle like? Do you have unmanaged stress and what measures do you take to overcome it? Do you drink alcohol in excess? Do you smoke? Are you the hard-driven type A personality type? Even bad sleep habits can make you vulnerable to health problems. Have you altered your lifestyle to alleviate unhealthy habits that work against your health?

Happy Valentine's Day but don't forget your commitment to your own heart.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013 14:39

Raspberry Cream and Chocolate Shake

Since berries and chocolate are considered especially heart healthy foods, here is a shake which combines both of them together in a unique and delicious combination, just in time for American Heart Awareness Month and  Valentine's Day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop of CMWM Whey Protein Powder
  • 1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/8 tsp mint extract
  • Low carb chocolate syrup, to taste, from: http://www.waldenfarms.com/products/syrup_chocolate.html
    Or,
  • 1 tbsp plain unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Sugar-free maple syrup to taste, available at most grocery stores or the above website
  • Approved sweetener, to taste
  • Soft tofu, 3 ounces
  • Water/ice as needed
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp of xanthan gum, optional, but gives it a creamier/thicker texture; available at health food stores or in many grocery stores in the baking section.

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender, except whey powder. Blend well. Adjust sweetener and/or extracts as needed. Always add protein powder last and blend just enough to mix ingredients.
Serves one

Nutrition:

Calories: (140 calories of protein)

Protein: 26 grams

Fruit: one

Monday, 11 February 2013 08:34

Chocolate, Valentine's Day and Heart Health

With Valentine's Day this week many of us think of chocolate. After all what would Valentine's Day be without it? Years ago we did not even realize that quality dark chocolate could even be good for our heart health. It's true that chocolate's positive reputation is on the rise. The main ingredient, cocoa, reduces risk factors for heart disease. The flavonoids in cocoa have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease, especially to help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function. Keep in mind though, it is only the dark chocolate which contains the flavonoids, not milk chocolate.

In fact, Mauro Serafinin PhD, states that, "Our findings indicate that milk (in milk chocolate) may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants and flavonoids.... and may therefore negate the potential health benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate."  So eat only the very dark chocolate and if you are watching your weight, keep your portions small to around one half an ounce. Reality check: most dark chocolate has 170 calories, 12 grams of fat and 13 carbohydrates per one ounce.

The good news is that dark chocolate is so satisfying you only need a little to be satisfied anyway. Then there's always flowers for Valentine's Day. Why not give your sweetie both? But keep the chocolate in line with heart health and a safe calorie range. Instead of regular chocolate give CMWM own special dark chocolate Chocolate Delites (nutrients are all intact but it is calorie/carb reduced with natural ingredients) because they are diet friendly for everyone (even diabetics). In fact you can have this chocolate everyday on the CMWM weight loss program. What diet allows that?

Thursday, 07 February 2013 07:24

Nuts for Heart Health

Frequently patients ask what is the healthiest fat to consume. My suggestions are almonds, avocados, olive oil, olives and most nuts in general. They all provide valuable nutrients and most are already heart healthy anyway, but the walnut seems to be number one nut according to the Joe Vinson, PhD, a researcher at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania who conducted a recent study on nuts related to heart health. Walnuts have more high quality antioxidants than other nuts. These nutrients protect the heart because they lower cholesterol, improve blood flow, and reduce oxidative stress to the cells caused by free radicals.

Tuesday, 05 February 2013 14:54

Eat Breakfast to Keep your Weight Off!

Do you really want to keep your weight off? One simple thing you can do is to simply eat breakfast. And it doesn't have to be eggs! Studies from the National Weight Control Registry show that breakfast can be important in maintaining a healthy body weight. With over 5,000 members, this group has lost an average of 66 lbs and kept it off for 5.5 years. How many times do you hear of that happening? It reports that of all its successful members, 78% of them, eat breakfast every day. And this is only one of many reasons why you want to eat breakfast every day. Here's a recipe you can eat as part of a high protein low carb breakfast or even enjoy as a dessert depending on your tastes.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. Right to the point, it's a big killer. But it doesn't have to be. Most risk factors can be controlled!

Saturday, 02 February 2013 12:50

Super Bowl Sunday Food Challenges

You've had a bit of reprieve from the holiday goodies but here we go again with Super Bowl Sunday. The best way to deal with all the temptation it is to plan ahead. Prepare yourself mentally with a win-win attitude (for yourself as well as your favorite team!) and then set up your own game plan strategy to handle the food temptations so you can at least strive for moderation while enjoying the game. Here's what you can do:

Wednesday, 30 January 2013 16:16

Turkey Chili

Chili has always been a mainstay for big holiday game times such as Super Bowl Sunday. Here's a Turkey Chili without the high carb beans although you can always add beans for half the batch and save them for those not on a low carb plan.

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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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