Archive for May, 2012

How to Get Lean this Summer

 If you’re looking to shed a few winter pounds…  (1) Set a realistic goal.  HOW: “By the 2012 summer outing [or insert your event], I plan to be 5 lbs less (2.27 kgs) [or insert your metric] than I am today.  I plan to get there by losing 0.5-1 lb per week (0.23-0.45 kg) by way of substituting a fruit as a snack in place of my normal serving of [insert offensive snack food] in the afternoon.”  (2) Decrease total calories by at least 10-15% per day.  HOW: if you’re eating a 3,000 calorie diet more or less, drop the 300-450 calorie mocha-choca-coffee-latte (you get the drift).  (3) In conjunction with your new caloric reduction, add additional exercise to your program.  HOW: Add an extra 30-minute cardio and/or strength session or plan a workout with friends over the weekend.  If you have no exercise regimen, start now! (4) Drink less alcohol.  HOW: Drink 1 cup water per serving of alcohol.  Choose drinks that are low in sugar and heavy on the non-alcoholic fluids, like seltzer or diet.  Read more by Marissa at the Full E. Center.


5 Ways to Ruin a Salad

You ordered a salad for lunch, and now you want a medal for being healthy.  Not so fast… Here are five ways to ruin a perfectly good salad.  (1) Douse it with dressing.  The salad should not be drenched like a soggy bowl of cereal.  To fix: drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of a dressing, preferably low in sugar, fat and sodium (such as olive oil with balsamic vinegar).  (2) Load up on shredded cheese.  Cheese is a garnish, not a main course.  To fix: lightly cover with 1 oz (28 grams).  (3) Candied Nuts.  Great way to pack on the sugar, sodium, calories and artificial flavors.  To fix: switch to fresh slivered almonds or roasted walnuts.  (4) Bacon bits.  Talk about extra salt, fat and artificial coloring/preservatives.  To fix: if you like a smoky flavor, add ham or turkey as a protein source.  (5) The lettuce is the only veggie in your salad.  At minimum, you should put about four different types of colorful veggies into your salad (red peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, asparagus, onions, artichoke, radish, carrots – to name a few).  Bon Appétit!

New Recipe App: Edamam

Shimmy (Founder and CEO of was at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference this past week and came across a cool app called, Edamam.  The app aggregates recipes from all over the net, allowing you to search by various nutritional criteria, including calories, daily value, servings, fat, carbs, protein, and cholesterol.  You can filter recipes by calories/servings, and certain nutritional parameters, such as gluten or dairy-free and high-fiber.  It also allows you to take a look at ingredients needed for the recipe with simple check-off boxes next to the item – convenient when buying and/or using ingredients.  For the actual recipe instructions, Edamam has yet to integrate them; however, click on an image and Edamam directs you to the original website from which the recipe was derived.  As the app progresses, I can see it becoming a smarter way to buy and cook foods.  It is available at iTunes.

Charmin Launches Restroom App — where users can rate public restrooms as safe or unpleasant to use.  A few quirky details before using the app, Charmin asks to verify your age (apparently, they need to confirm you’ve been potty trained).  Additionally, Facebook integrates your data if visiting by mobile.  But after those two steps, you can find a clean, free, public restroom in any part of the world (rated by the app’s user-base).  To find a decent spot, enter your current city, after which a map will appear with images of toilet paper rolls shaded in green (thumbs up) or red (thumbs down).  A gray toilet paper roll means the public restroom has yet to be rated (but you can get on that… literally).  Click on any roll and it will show the name and address of the public bathroom.  I can see this app being particularly useful when traveling, but even more so when taking an outdoor workout (a clean pit stop is hard to come by!).  If public restrooms are not your thing — but being super prepared is — I’d suggest buying “Charmin To Go Toilet Tissue” at our Drugstore cat.  I know it is now being sold at Target ($7 Off $70 + 2x WOWPoints) and (20% Off + 8x WOWPoints).

All-Day Energy: Best Foods

No need for caffeine.  These foods help boost energy right away: (1) Melons: 90 percent of melon is water, which keeps you hydrated.  A study in the Journal of Nutrition showed that mild dehydration can zap energy and mood. (2) Green Tea: not for the caffeine but for the “L-theanine,” a non-protein amino acid that might have mood-modulating activity (according to the Nutritional Supplements PDR).  (3) Brown rice: complex carbohydrates are known to deliver slow energy to the body since they are high in fiber, magnesium and B-vitamins.  Magnesium and B-vitamins do not provide energy directly; but, they do convert carbohydrates into energy.  (4) Edamame, beans and lentils: high in fiber and protein, Edamame, beans, and lentils slow down food absorption, and thus, dole out energy to the body in smaller servings.  (5) Cashews, almonds and brazil nuts: rich in protein AND have magnesium/selenium (known to be precursors to boost energy). Read more at the Full Eng. Center.

Why Should I Eat Post Exercise?

Contrary to popular belief, the process of building up endurance, strength, and even losing fat starts immediately after you finish exercising – this process is called, “recovery.”  During recovery, your body slowly rebuilds muscles and replenishes energy stores.  Full repair is only possible with a good meal and adequate rest.  Failure to do both will leave the body feeling excessive soreness, pain and at risk for injury.  On the other hand, consuming both food and fluid within 30 minutes of exercising is the way to replenish and prime the body for its next exercise session.  Within 30 minutes of a workout, eat a combination of both carbohydrates and proteins.  Post-exercise examples include having ONE of the following: (1) string cheese and crackers, (2) low-fat chocolate milk, (3) slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter (or nutella) and sliced banana, (4) yogurt with berries and granola, (5) fruit smoothie with protein powder and milk, (6) favorite cereal with milk, (7) half a turkey sandwich, (8) Kashi or Clif bar.  More sports nutrition articles are at the Full Engagement Center.

Healthy Eating on Vacation: Is it Possible?

You bet it is.  Here are my top tips to eat well while relishing the tastes of a new place.  #1 Sample it. There is no need to pass up on a piña colada by the pool or an exotic dessert inherent to the region.  Limit bites or sips (after all, what’s worse than a warm alcoholic drink?)  #2 Share your meals.  Portions in restaurants are larger – even in foreign countries. Splitting a dish saves calories (and offers extra spending money).  #3 Plan a meal-schedule.  After recovering from jet-lag, develop a decent time for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack.  Grazing on foods wherever and whenever will have you rolling versus strolling around the country. #4 Be active.  Walking, jogging, swimming –  it’s fun to exercise whenever you want versus cramming it into a 30 minute block of time.  Plus, staying active over vacation prevents the detraining effect and burns extra calories (to use toward great food!)  Read more about the detraining effect and other vacation health tips, such as “will one week off kill my body,” at the Full Engagement Center.