Archive for November, 2010

Bread Week

Team UK has been eating bread. Here’s a Happy Bread Week note from Kevin, Alice and Team Scando:

You might have experienced that Emma and I have asked for good bread as a Friday treat.  Just to make it very clear – according us, good bread doesn’t include bagels, white bread, toast:

Based on numerous of misunderstandings, this week we have decided to take a closer look at the bread culture and what we define as good bread – low fat, wholegrain and artisan bread.

Looking at research, Mintel found that consumer consumption of various bread types in UK is changing – in the period 2004 – 2008, consumption of white bread has decreased by 10.6%, while more

consumers are eating brown, wholemeal and granary breads instead. Mintel’s surveys also revealed that UK consumers who eat bread on a daily basis for health reasons consider white breads to be a “sometimes treat” (Mintel Oxygen report – “Bread and Morning Goods – UK– Feb 09”).

This entire week, the UK team is serving a homemade Danish rye breadRugbrød (Danish rye bread).   It is a very commonly used bread in Denmark. Sourdough is almost always the base; the bread may be made exclusively with rye and wheat flour or contain up to one third whole rye grains. Variants with whole sunflower or other seeds also exist.

The bread is almost always very low in fat, its content comparable to most other varieties of bread. It contains no oil or flavouring (except salt). It is rich in whole grain and dietary fiber and contain little or no sugar, and is thus considered by many Danes as a healthy alternative to whiter types of bread.

Happy Bread Week!


“Full vs. Sick”

On the hunger-fullness scale, Americans generally feel stuffed or sick after Thanksgiving.  The goal is to feel a 7 (see chart below), i.e., completely satisfied.  More often than not, it is easy to feel anywhere between an 8 (full) and 10 (sick).  Here are three tactics you can employ to feel a comfortable 7 at tomorrow’s feast.

1. Sip versus Chug

Unless the goal is to be drunk (although, not a bad idea if you join my Thanksgiving Dinner), you can try following the one-drink-max-per-hour rule.  Additionally, sipping versus chugging will help avoid extra calories.  Most festive holiday cocktails include sugar cane or syrups, which can add 100-200 calories on top of the 100 calories from alcohol.   For diet-friendly alcohol choices read a previous DHB.  Not in that post: if you enjoy champagne, it is easy to sip slowly (due to the fizz) and low in calories (80-120 per glass).

2. Skip Seconds

What’s worse than one piece of pumpkin pie?  Two.  The real flavor and pleasant surprise to the tongue comes within the first few bites.  Second helpings of hors d’oeuvres (+300 kcal), appetizers (+300 kcal), the main course (+500 kcal) and dessert (+400 kcal) will account for consuming two times the normal caloric intake for the day.  This is how one teeters the scale from feeling full to sick.  Skipping seconds saves those extra 1500 calories, across the board.

3. Say No

Just because ‘Aunt Whoever’ baked a home-made version of green bean cream-filled casserole does not mean you need to eat it.  A simple, “it looks delicious,” is enough to satisfy the baker without satisfying your belly.  Plus they never actually watch you eating it (unless they are the food police, in which case, that’s just freaky and wrong!)  Better to save the calories on foods you wish to savor.

Pre-Thanksgiving Action Plan: Healthy Foods

Regardless of what you do with the calorie-slashing and exercise action plans, there are still major nutrition benefits to be grateful about at your Thanksgiving table.  This particular holiday’s foods are among the healthiest types–most are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  Read on to learn about some unexpected benefits in popular and traditional foods.

Get a load of vitamin A. Pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C and particularly, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene).  Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that works to eliminate free radicals, which are chemicals that damage cells and are associated with the development of conditions like atherosclerosis, diabetic heart disease and colon cancer.

A little cranberry goes a long way. Sure cranberries go well as a garnish for the turkey, but their ability to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections is even better!  They may also promote gastrointestinal and oral health, prevent the formation of kidney stones, lower LDL and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, and help prevent the risk of certain cancers.  Great berry.

Chestnuts and walnuts and almonds oh my. You might think it is an oxymoron that a high-fat food is good for your health – but it’s the good kind that our bodies need!  These nuts are all high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. Walnuts in particular are high in alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid, protective to the heart and circulation. Almonds are a very good source of manganese and copper, trace minerals that protects your cells from free-radical damage, maintains normal blood sugar levels, and helps synthesize fatty acids and cholesterol, to name a few.  Chestnuts are an excellent source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium (which helps your muscles and nerves function properly) and folate, which is needed for protein synthesis in all cells.

Turkey (obviously). No one needs to explain why Turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving, but here are some health benefits: a four-ounce serving of white turkey meat provides 65.1 percent of the daily value for protein, without being loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol.  Turkey is also a good source of the trace mineral selenium, great for immune function, and high in niacin and vitamin B6, another cancer-protective nutrient.

Enjoying the bounty of foods available at your table is a great idea, and hopefully it will not be at the expense of your pant button popping off.

Pre-Thanksgiving Action Plan: Exercise

Exercising the day of Thanksgiving can suppress appetite AND boost metabolism.  Exercising vigorously for 30-45 minutes the day after Thanksgiving can burn at least half of the calories consumed.  If you are like most Americans, you will consume 3,500-5,000 calories on this fabulous holiday. Yes, most of those calories will be stored as fat unless you are Michael Phelps.

Not to fret.  If there is no chance of resisting the 15 desserts on your Viennese Table — there is a way to have your cake and eat it, too.  Follow these simple exercise guidelines and go guilt-free to your Thanksgiving meal.


If you are up for a challenge, most states have the annual TURKEY TROT, which is a scheduled local race the morning of Thanksgiving.  The races are usually three to five miles in length.  A five-mile Trot in Salem Mass called, the WILD TURKEY 5 MILE RUN, is supposed to be a lot of fun. Registration is still open for that race.  Unfortunately, my favorite Trot in Prospect Park Brooklyn is closed out; but other races can be found at

If you cannot find a race near you, you should still exercise that morning.  Anything you choose to do will be better than nothing, whether it is a hard workout of Weight Lifting, Hiit Training and/or Cross Training or something more relaxed, such as walking or jogging. Any physical activity you choose will increase the feel-good hormone (serotonin) and boost metabolism — important for braving your feast of kings.


Cardio is the name of the game.  At least 30-60 minutes of continuous aerobic activity will help blast through your (topped off tank of) glycogen stores and burn through those excess calories from the meal.  Circuit training or weight training is also calorie-blasting, if done vigorously for at least 30 minutes. Take a look at some exercise ideas below:

  • Spin studio: 45 minutes of hard cycling.  [Places in NYC include: Soul Cycle, Flywheel and TheStudioCycle]
  • NxJ gym: 10 minutes rowing, 10 minutes elliptical, 5 min jump-rope, 5 minutes ab crunches and push-ups.
  • Outdoor time: 5 minutes jogging, 20 minute run, 5 minutes jogging.  Or, time your own 3.5 mile run (like we did for the JPMCC).
  • Total body circuit: Squats (1 min); Jump-rope (1 min); push-ups on knees or toes (1 min); plank with leg extension (1 min); lunge with bicep curls (alternate 1 min). Repeat 2-3x.

Comment below to offer some of your exercise ideas to fellow NxJ’ers!

Pre-Thanksgiving Action Plan: Cutting Calories

Looking to NOT overeat this Thanksgiving?  Well, good luck with that.  (Kidding!)  Here are my top five tips with commentary that might help slash calories without feeling deprived of your family’s preposterous cornucopia:

#5: Don’t mound it up. Your plate does not need to measure several kilograms – aka, the size of a small satellite dish.  Take one scoop of the items you want to try–think molehill, not mountain.

#4: Put down your fork. Between bites, try to place down the utensil.  It takes at least 20 minutes for the body to feel full.  Hard to savor the stuffing if you cannot spend two seconds enjoying the flavors in your mouth.

#3: There is something called chewing. “Total mastication,” which means complete chewing of the contents in your mouth, is an excellent way to slow down food intake and slash calories.  It is easier to wolf down more servings when you have whole morsels in your mouth.  From a nutrition stand-point, total mastication will allow for the most absorptive potential of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

#2: It is not the last supper – really. Apologize for the religious reference — the point is that there is plenty more time to enjoy Thanksgiving Day foods.  Although it might feel like you need to line your pockets with saran wrap, there is a better way to make the most out of the meal without gorging.  If you are hosting, you will have the opportunity to enjoy many of the dishes over the next couple of days, which means you do not have to try everything that evening.  If you are a guest, many hosts wish not to keep their leftovers and are more than willing to give you a doggy-bag.

#1: Eat a normal to light breakfast and lunch. Starving yourself before the big meal is a sure way to overindulge – if you are famished before your Thanksgiving meal, eat a snack that will not ruin your appetite, like an orange.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s “Pre-Thanksgiving Action Plan” on exercise.

All of NextJump Drinks

“NextJump drinks” in New York, Boston and the UK.  The three translucent fridges supply a handful of staple drinks.  Write in or comment to suggest new ones or provide feedback on the current:

What are some options?


Chocolate milk, Boost or Zico Coconut water

All have electrolytes.  Boost and Choco milk have the carb and protein necessary for rapid muscle recovery.

THIRSTY (But not for water)

Club soda

Club soda is an excellent way to satisfy a “soda craving,” sans calories, sugar, artificial sweeteners and chemicals.  If you’re looking for a touch of sweetness, a splash of cranberry or orange in your club soda goes a LONG way.


Diet Pepsi, Fresca, Diet Coke, or Diet Green Tea Ginger Ale

Drinking a reasonable amount of diet soda a day (a can or two) is not likely to hurt you.  BUT – save diet soda for an occasional treat.  This is because there are artificial sweeteners and other chemicals.  Even though they are considered safe when consumed in moderate quantities, it’s important to recognize that the human body is not supposed to take in these types of chemicals.  There is a tad amount of caffeine in these beverages, hence the “pick me up.”

A note on diet: diet soda is NOT a health drink.  When in doubt, drink water or club soda since there are NO additives.  The benefits of drinking diet is if you are in the process of switching from regular soda – this alone will save you at least 200 calories, plus help with weight loss.  Still not convinced?  Many studies have shown that drinking more than one regular soda a day can raise the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.


Honest Tea, Apple and Orange Juices

Honest Tea is USDA Certified Organic, which means the ingredients used are grown without the use of pesticides or “inert ingredients,” which are a group of pesticide products that are manufactured for soil use and can range in their level of toxicity.  Yes, the foods we eat everyday (unless stamped with a USDA ORGANIC seal) can be grown in soil that has semi-toxic pesticides in it. Honest tea only uses USDA CERIFIED ingredients, plus has antioxidant compounds coming from the tea leaves.

Chewing Gum Can Help Cut Calories

Chewing gum has been shown to help curtail mindless eating, says a study (funded by Wrigley, might I add).  The study showed that people who chew gum post-meal reduced their desire to eat sweet snacks as compared to those who did not chew.

First, the study volunteers ate a healthy lunch, then spent the afternoon chewing sugar-free gum (15 minutes an hour for three hours).  The gum chewing crowd chose fewer sweets and consumed 40 less total calories than those who were not chewing.  The gum-chewers also said they felt less hungry and had fewer cravings.

Note: do not start chewing gum if you do not already.  Incessant chewing has been linked to temporal mandibular joint issues and sugar-free substitutes are not tolerated well by everyone.


1. Hetherington MM, Boyland E. “Short term effects of chewing gum on snack intake and appetite.” Appetite. 2007; 48(3):397-401.101.3