Category: Food

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The LeBron James Diet

by Michele Scheck

If LeBron can do it so can you.  When the best athletes want to preform even better, what do they eat?

This past summer LeBron James treated himself to a classic elimination diet.  He eliminated gluten, dairy and processed sugars for 67 days.  The results are a leaner, stronger, overall more fit LeBron James, right in time to start training for the upcoming NBA season.

We will miss him in Miami, but can learn from his lead.

Feed your body what it needs and it will respond.  For the average person, a 2 month elimination diet will reduce inflammation and cravings, optimize metabolism and boost your immune system. Starting an elimination diet is not easy, be prepared to feel not so great for the first 72 hours as you detox your body.  A mild headache, moodiness is to be expected.  Certainly consult your doctor before starting any new health program or if any of these symptoms persist.

Consider trying an elimination diet with a friend.  Research finds that your results will be better if you buddy up with someone as you try to make changes. You may not be ready to play for the NBA, but you will certainly feel the difference and will be well on your way to being your best you.

 

Michele Scheck, DO is a family practice physician who embraces functional medicine with each of her patients.  Dr. Scheck graduated from Nova Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2000 and is licensed by The American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.  After eleven years of practicing traditional family medicine, Dr. Scheck went in search of a more complete way to treat her patients and her family.  It is this search that led her to continue training at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.  Through a Functional Medicine approach, Dr. Scheck partners with her patients to uncover the underlying cause of disease rather than suppressing the symptoms.  Dr. Scheck also believes wholeheartedly in a preventive medicine model.  She is committed to educating this community on the benefits of a well-balanced healthy lifestyle.

3 Signs You Might Be Deyhydrated

by Michele Scheck

With summer weather still upon us, being conscious of our water intake is so very important.  A good rule of thumb is to consume half your body weight (in lbs) in ounces of water a day.  For example a 130 pound women should consume at least 65 ounces of water a day.  This rule does not necessarily apply to our children who are running around outside in the hot sun.  Their needs will be in excess of half of their body weight in ounces.  For them, teach them to look at the color of their urine.  Dark yellow means they need more water.  If your kids are anything like mine, they will think checking the color of their urine is a little bit gross. However, when they notice the more water they drink the lighter the color becomes, they will think it is cool.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE no Gatorade or Powerade. Water is still the best sports drink on the market.  Thanks to our friends at Liveinthenow for this great article.  –MBS


With up to 75 percent of your body made up of water, it’s no wonder that when the proper balance is thrown off, you’ll feel the effects.It’s normal to lose water daily through routine bodily functions–such as sweating, urination and breathing–but certain factors accelerate the process, including warm temperatures, physical activity, fever, or gastrointestinal distress. When your water loss exceeds your intake, dehydration sets in.

Dehydration ranges from a mild problem to a life-threatening condition, and can be more dangerous for babies, small children and elderly persons.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a few telltale signs of mild to moderate dehydration.

3 Signs You Might be Dehydrated

1. Feeling of thirst and dry mouth

2. Decreased urine output

3. Headache or lightheadedness, dizziness

At this stage, the problem is easily corrected by consuming frequent, small amounts of water or clear fluids, such as oral rehydration solutions or sports drinks (but be sure to look for one’s with no added sugar or chemicals).?  If proper fluid replenishment doesn’t occur, dehydration becomes much more severe.

6 Signs You May be Severely Dehydrated

1. Little to no urination, any urine is darker and concentrated

2. Muscle cramps

3. Nausea, vomiting, feeling of weakness

4. Heart palpitations

5. Loss of skin elasticity – doesn’t rebound quickly from a pinch

6. Sunken eyes

 

Another way to determine whether or not you’re properly hydrated? Just take a look!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michele Scheck, DO is a family practice physician who embraces functional medicine with each of her patients.  Dr. Scheck graduated from Nova Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2000 and is licensed by The American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.  After eleven years of practicing traditional family medicine, Dr. Scheck went in search of a more complete way to treat her patients and her family.  It is this search that led her to continue training at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.  Through a Functional Medicine approach, Dr. Scheck partners with her patients to uncover the underlying cause of disease rather than suppressing the symptoms.  Dr. Scheck also believes wholeheartedly in a preventive medicine model.  She is committed to educating this community on the benefits of a well-balanced healthy lifestyle.

Back to School, Back to Nutrition

by Amanda Kaytes

It’s that time of year again….Back to School!  More than likely the sound of these 3 words will either bring tears to your eyes or music to your ears.

The long days of letting the kids run around in bathing suits and flip flops, skip a bath and stay up way too late has come to a screeching halt.  Doesn’t it always happen so quickly?

Before we know it, we’re running around like mad, gathering school supplies, finalizing car pool schedules and deciding which extracurricular activities the little ones will participate in this year.

If your family is like most, your kids have a ton of pressure when a new school year begins.  New classmates, new teachers, academics, clubs, sports and chores.  As I’m sure you know, you can help by providing support, love and the resources they need to succeed.  What you may not know is that you can also help by ensuring that they are eating a diet full of foods to nourish their brains and bodies.

For starters, let’s consider the ideal scenario.  Either your child’s school would serve fresh farm to table food options or you’d have all the time in the world to pack them gourmet lunches.  We know that neither one of these options will come to life (at least not right now), so we must play with the cards we’re dealt.  If packing a lunch for your child seems like a daunting task, consider the benefit to your child.

Proper nutrition will help keep your child’s energy levels up to get through the school day, sports, homework and chores without crashing.  Eating healthy foods will help children stay focused and learn, while reducing certain symptoms of learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and other developmental and behavioral disorders.   Eating whole foods and avoiding processed “junk” foods will help stabilize your child’s mood so that the home can be a more peaceful place, and I don’t know who wouldn’t want that?!  Still groaning at the idea of packing lunch?  Try these tips to make it less-stressful and fun:

-Plan Ahead- Spend some time on the weekend doing a little meal prep.  Cook some turkey or  chicken, slice up fruits and veggies, do some healthy baking, or whatever the family enjoys.  Also, prepare and pack your child’s lunch the night before.  Have everything ready to go so that all you have to do is seal the bag in the morning and you’re out the door.

-Get ‘em involved- Get them to buy in!  Make sure to include them in the grocery shopping, meal planning, food prepping and packing their own lunches (while choosing from a list of foods that YOU have chosen.)  Getting them invested in the choices will keep their lunchtime fun and enjoyable and odds are, they will actually eat it!

-Good lunch supplies are Great- There are so many amazing container options available to us now that actually keep hot food hot and dry food dry.  This will help keep the food you’ve packed appealing to them.

-Freeze ahead and use leftovers- Leftovers often make a delicious lunch, and are much more exciting than a boring sandwich option.  Also, making a huge pot of soup, stew or even a tray of muffins and freezing in individual servings makes lunch a no brainer.  Take it out of the freezer the night before, stick it in the refrigerator and voila…you have a perfectly defrosted meal ready to go by morning.

-Make it fun- Have some fun with it!  Allow those creative juices to flow.  Add a little note or a joke for your child, make silly shapes, add in a homemade surprise dessert.  Treat lunch as a way to feed your chid’s soul, not just their body.

 

Here are some cute ideas for school lunches.  Click here and check them out!

 

Do you have ideas for great lunches?  Please share with us!

 

 

Amanda Kaytes, Certified Holistic Health Coach

For more information on reclaiming your health or for a free consultation, please send an email to info@soulheartedfitness.com

www.soulheartedfitness.com

 

Reading Food Labels 101

by Jacqueline Stone

If knowledge is power, then learning and understanding how to read a food label will grant you that ability to make the appropriate choices of what food products you decide to buy and eat. We’ve all fallen victim to buying food products because of their colorful packaging or enticing messages like “low fat” or “calorie free”. But what does all of this really mean? I will share a fool proof way of reading food labels that will ease the anxiety of having to decide between two products and hopefully make grocery shopping a bit easier. 

Step 1: Look at the serving size. Once you know what the serving size is, notice the amount of servings per container. Multiply the amount in one serving size and the servings per container to get the amount of total calories in the package.

Step 2: Look at the total calories per serving. Ignore how many calories come from fat, carbs, or protein because they’re already added up to the total calories per serving. Now ask yourself how many servings you are likely to eat.  If you eat double the servings, then multiple the amount of calories per serving by 2. Same is true if you eat 3 servings of the product, multiply the total calories and nutrients by 3.  

Nutrient Claims:

  • If a food claims to be ‘calorie free’ then it has less than 5 calories per serving
  • A ‘low calorie’ food has 40 calories per serving 

Step 3: Look at the type of fat, not the total fat. A healthy dose of fat in the diet is crucial and it’s key to know the source. Ideally, monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fats should make up most of your intake. But we don’t live in an ideal world. It’s suggested that saturated fats be limited to 10% of intake and trans fat to a bare minimum. 

Nutrient Claims:

  • Products that read ‘Fat Free’ have less than 0.5 grams (g) of fat per serving
  • ‘Low fat’ is 3g or less per serving
  • ‘Reduced Fat’ has 25% less fat than the original product
  • ‘Low in saturated fat’ is 1g of saturated fat or less 
  • ‘Lite’ means the product has 1/3 fewer calories & 1/2 the fat of the regular product
  • “0 g” of trans fat means the food contains less than 0.5g of trans fat per serving. Consume fewer products with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredient list.

Step 4: Look for key ingredients that may affect your health status like sodium, cholesterol, fiber and added sugars. For relatively healthy people, daily intakes of sodium should be 2300 milligrams (mg) or less, 300 mg of cholesterol or less and about 24-38g of fiber. This of course varies depending on existing health conditions that may require more or less of individual nutrients.

Nutrient Claims:

  • ‘Cholesterol Free’ means the product has 2mg of cholesterol and 2g of saturated fat or less
  • ‘Low Cholesterol’ products have 20mg of cholesterol and 2g of saturated fat or less
  • ‘Sodium free’ or ‘no sodium’ means the product has less than 5mg of sodium per serving
  • Per serving, ‘Low sodium’ means 140mg of sodium and ‘very low sodium’ means 35mg of sodium or less
  • ‘Sugar free’ products contain less than 0.5g of sugar per serving
  • ‘High fiber’ products have 5g or more of fiber and a ‘good source of fiber’ contains 2.5-4.9g of fiber per serving

Step 5: Check the amounts of vitamins & minerals as individual needs vary. Currently, food labels list the amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron. In the near future, the FDA will also require labels to include the amounts of vitamin D and potassium in a product. 

Step 6: Lastly, but certainly not the least, is to read the list of ingredients. It’s completely natural to mispronounce some of the ingredients but know this; ingredients are listed in order of predominance. Meaning the first ingredient is the most prevalent in the product and the last ingredient is the least.

Remember, food labels base the daily values off of a 2,000 calorie diet. Everyone has different needs based on age, race, activity level and gender. Hope this “cheat sheet” served to help understand what to look for on a food label so that shopping for various products is just a little bit easier.  Questions??  Write us at LifeMeisters.

Jacqueline Stone, MS believes that health and wellness is achieved when adequate hydration, nourishment, and sleep is balanced with body image satisfaction and mood. With everyone dancing to a different song in efforts to reach optimal well being, Jacqueline is glad to provide the required instruments to keep up with life’s ever changing rhythm. All questions or comments are happily invited.

 

Packed Lunches Made Easy

by Jacqueline Stone

Schools and their cafeterias are making more of an effort to serve up an array of different foods. They now offer a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, grab and go items, and pre-packaged foods that are low in sodium, saturated and trans-fat. But, are your kids choosing these foods? Probably not. I remember dreading lunch time at school and not liking the food at all. I would have loved some home cooked love in the middle of the day and was so excited when I finally got to high school and was able to bring my own food.

Packing your own lunch is not only healthier but also comes out to be more economic in the long run. I do admit, it’s quite time consuming and it’s difficult to come up with different lunch options every day! In that case, even agreeing to packing lunch 1-3 times a week can provide the benefits of a home cooked meal. Allow your kids to be part of the decision making process. Ask them what foods they want to eat and see if they have any interest in helping you out with the preparations.  Give them the opportunity to be hands on. By being part of the lunch making process, it might make them more excited to bringing and finishing their food. They can even take the weekend to make it a do-it-yourself lunch box or decorate and paint an ordinary brown paper bag. Also, when your kids come home from school, have a conversation with them about what they ate. Make it a point to talk to your kids about the meals and foods they enjoy eating. Use the foods they like and make new recipes to keep them interested.

Food safety is important. Make sure to keep cold foods cold with ice packs or in an insulated lunch box. Make sure warmed foods are kept warm in a thermos or microwaved before eating to prevent potential food borne illness.

Get Packing:

  • Dinner Leftovers: The easiest thing to do is box up last night’s dinner for tomorrow’s lunch. You can either enjoy it as is or remix it by using the same ingredients towards a different recipe. Chicken, fish or meat can be easily added to a tortilla and made into a wrap. Just throw in some beans, avocado and veggies and voila you have a brand new meal.  Warm chicken curry from the previous night can be enjoyed as a cold chicken curry with crackers the following day.
  • Wrap it up. There are various ways to make a sandwich. Start by choosing a bread. Are you in the mood for sliced bread, a bagel or a wrap? Spreads like hummus, plain Greek yogurt, mustard, mayonnaise, or tapenade can provide moisture and flavor. Add a source of protein like eggs, tofu, chicken, fish, turkey, tuna salad, etc…Toppinga are fun. Fill your wrap with flavors like chopped olives, nuts, seeds, veggies, sliced fruits and cheese.
  • PB&J Makeover: This classic sandwich can be a lot of fun to make over and is easy for your kids to do alone. Chose 2 slices of bread and add some peanut butter, jelly and real sesame seeds. Version 2: 2 slices bread with almond butter, honey and cinnamon. Version 3: 2 slices bread with peanut butter, sliced apples and flaxseeds. Version 4 on 2 slices of bread spread crunchy peanut or almond butter with thin slices of apples and a pinch of cinnamon.  Version 5: Almond butter spread on 2 slices of bread topped with pretzel sticks and chopped pecans. You can mix and match any which way you like.
  • Finger Foods: You can’t beat the ease and joy of eating foods with your hands. Homemade potato wedges pair nicely with pecan encrusted chicken skewers. Tofu or fish fritter with veggie chips or turkey and cheese slices rolled up in spinach leaves are easy to make and fun to eat. String cheese, granola bars, trail mix, pretzel rods, and pita chips are all fun finger foods.
  • Tossed Salad: A salad is light, portable and easy to make. It can be prepared the night before by adding you greens, tomatoes, carrots, peppers into your Tupperware. On the following morning, add some toasted sesame or pumpkin seeds, olives, dried fruits and chicken or tuna salad. Put crunchy toppings like croutons and dressing in separate containers to prevent the salad from getting soggy.
  • Warm lunch options: For a warm comforting lunch put soups, pastas or stir-fry in a thermos. If the school’s cafeteria has a microwave to heat up the food than that’s a plus. If not, you can preheat the thermos by filling it up with hot water before adding the food. Let the hot water stand in the thermos for a couple of minutes then empty out the water before adding the food.  When your kids sit down for lunch, the food should still be warm.
  • Hydrate:  Remember that keeping our bodies hydrated throughout the day keeps us cool and energized.  Drinking water over soda and juices will promote healthier bodies and fewer cavities. You can make an activity out of flavoring your water by adding tea bags to hot water and letting it cool to an appropriate temperature before refrigerating it. Explore other ways to add a hint of flavor to water by adding slices of lemon, lime, strawberries, oranges, mint leaves, cucumbers and more.

 

Jacqueline Stone, MS believes that health and wellness is achieved when adequate hydration, nourishment, and sleep is balanced with body image satisfaction and mood. With everyone dancing to a different song in efforts to reach optimal well being, Jacqueline is glad to provide the required instruments to keep up with life’s ever changing rhythm. All questions or comments are happily invited.

Food for Fuel

by Jacqueline Stone

I’ve been noticing a trend in middle school to high school aged boys drinking protein shakes and taking supplements to bulk up and improve athletic performance. My 16 year old cousin and 15 year old brother are always on the hunt for protein rich foods to feed their insatiable appetites and to get buff. In the fitness world, athletes, body builders and even your average Joes have been using supplements pre and post workouts for years and the fad is quickly leaking out to the younger generation. At such an age when growth and development is still so crucial, it’s important that these boys get their nutrients via foods rather than powders and pills.

In some cases it is necessary for the body to receive more protein. Our needs increase during pregnancy and lactation or wound healing. The elderly, strict vegetarians/vegan, and people with certain health conditions may also require more protein in their diets. But here in the great U.S. of A., our diets are already protein rich and don’t need much of the extra supplementation otherwise. The most fundamental nutrient these guys between the ages of 0-18 need is calories. Sufficient calories will continue to promote normal growth and offer the energy needed to function all day in school and after school activities.  A balanced meal plan with food – real food – is by far the best choice to improve athletic performance.

Daily protein needs in grams:

  • 0-6 months: 9.1 g                                                  7-12 months: 11 g
  • 1-2 years: 13 g                                                         3-8 years: 19 g
  • 9-13 years: 34 g                                                      4-18 years: 52 g males & 46 g females
  • 19+: males – 56 g males & 46 g females          Pregnancy & lactation: 70-75 g
  • Protein needs are based on total body weight (0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight). To individualize your needs, divide weight in pounds by 2.2 to convert it into kilograms and then multiply by 0.8 to get the number of protein grams needed per day. Ex:  A 140 pound women, 140 lbs/2.2 = 63.6 kg x 0.8 g = 51 g of protein per day.
Protein is found in a variety of foods. It’s typically associated with meat, chicken or fish but is also substantial in shellfish, eggs, nuts and seeds, milk and dairy products, tofu, beans, vegetable and whole grains. Just to give you an idea, a 3-ounce portion of meat has about 21 grams of protein, 8 ounces of plain Greek yogurt has about 17 grams and 1 cup of dry beans has about 16 grams of protein.

Ideas for pre and post activity meals/snack:

  • 1 whole fruit like an apple, banana, pear, etc… These snacks are easy, portable and can fit into any backpack
  • Grilled or marinated chicken skewers – Have some chicken skewers in the fridge already cooked and ready to eat. Your kids can just heat them up in the microwave and use their favorite dipping sauce to give it some flavor.
  • Shake : 1c fruit or 1 whole fruit + 2/3 cup raw oats + 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • Hard boiled eggs or egg salad with crackers/toast. Hard boiled eggs are also a snack you can keep in the fridge for your kids to graze on throughout the week. Keep a can of egg, tuna or chicken salad ready in the fridge –another convenient way a sandwich can be put together in minutes.
  • Apple slices and almond butter
  • 1/2 or 1 whole turkey sub
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. A nice twist on the classic favorite is swapping out the jelly for banana slices. You can add cinnamon and flax seeds for added flavor and crunch.
  • Bean and spinach quesadilla. Quesadillas are fun and easy to make. They can be filled with a variety of colorful veggies, chicken, fish, meal or tofu.
  • 1-2 cups chocolate milk. Good as a recovery beverage on it’s own or can be added to a fruit and yogurt shake.
  • 1 handful of trail mix. Making your own trail mix can be a great activity and way a for your kids to feel like they have control over their own food choices. Mix in a variety of unsalted nuts like pecan, walnuts, almonds. Then choose one salted seed like sesame or pumpkin seeds to provide the saltiness for the mixture. Let your kids add their favorite dried fruit or yogurt covered raisins.
  • Fluids. Hydration keeps the body staying fresh, clean and balanced. Drinking water throughout the day helps to flush toxins and waste products that build up from physical activity like lactic acid.  Sports drinks like coconut water and Gatorade help replenish the electrolyte that are lost via sweat and urine.

Jacqueline Stone, MS believes that health and wellness is achieved when adequate hydration, nourishment, and sleep is balanced with body image satisfaction and mood. With everyone dancing to a different song in efforts to reach optimal well being, Jacqueline is glad to provide the required instruments to keep up with life’s ever changing rhythm. All questions or comments are happily invited.

Flexibility Is Key

by Jacqueline Stone

As a nutritionist, I find it overwhelming to be constantly surrounded by advertisements in the media that try and dictate how I should invest in my health. Nowadays we are flooded with health articles and fitness magazines that always seem to know the latest slim down secret or the newest food for anti-aging. There’s no doubt that I encourage a life with healthy habits but the idea of maintaining a “perfect” diet and exercise routine while trying to keep up with the ever changing health trends is exhausting.

Flexibility is key. When you invite flexibility into your routine, you begin building a healthy relationship with your food and your body.

No matter where you are in your life, take the time to get reacquainted with your body and its cues. Familiarize yourself with how your body feels when it’s hungry and what kinds of tastes or flavors it’s asking you for. Stay present during meals and check in with your fullness levels often. Distinguish whether you’ve been able to fulfill your body’s nutrient needs while satiating your taste buds.

Remember to stay flexible….

  • Don’t make rigid rules like, ” No carbs past 4:00 PM” or ” I can have that brownie only after a 60 minute spin class”. It’s within our human nature to want what’s forbidden so work on legalizing all foods in your diet. Our bodies often tell us what we need through cravings so allow yourself the 1 or 2 chocolate chip cookies you’ve been eyeing instead of eating through the entire box two or three days later.
  • Try to balance eating for nourishment with enjoyment and pleasure. This is particularly important to do without feeling guilty or shameful afterwards. Take your kids to the park and pack a picnic basket or walk your dog along the ocean while enjoying a smoothie or some ice cream.
  • Embrace spontaneity because diets and schedules are never perfect. Fortunately, or unfortunately, gatherings and events usually revolve around food. These situations can cause anxiety  to those who find it difficult to eat in social settings. Go to the party because it will be fun. But, be mindful of what foods you’re eating and make sure to check in every so often with your level of fullness.
  • Never exercise to earn food or punish yourself for eating.  Physical activity is an important part of life. Instead, choose an exercise that makes your body feel good and replenish your needs before, during, and after the activity. Pick an exercise that connects your mind with your body. Set an intention that doesn’t involve exercise for the purpose of weight loss like improving mood or meeting new people in a fitness class.

Jacqueline Stone, MS believes that health and wellness is achieved when adequate hydration, nourishment, and sleep is balanced with body image satisfaction and mood. With everyone dancing to a different song in efforts to reach optimal well being, Jacqueline is glad to provide the required instruments to keep up with life’s ever changing rhythm. All questions or comments are happily invited.

What is 200 Calories?

Best said by this video.  Great way to visualize.

How do you balance your daily eating?  And your children??

Click here to visualize 200 calories!

 

 

 

THE ABSOLUTE WORST HOLIDAY FOODS!

I am taking this final opportunity to remind you that this holiday season and the celebration of 2014 should be filled with family, friends, fun times, laughter, and making memories—these are the objectives of celebrating. Though we always include food in our celebrations, perhaps we could treat food just a little differently as we ring in this new year. Enjoy your favorites, make your favorite recipes a bit healthier, choose smaller portions, and go for a walk every day in this beautiful South Florida weather.

CAUTION: here are the worst holiday foods!

1) Turkey skin and brisket. Enough saturated fat to choke a horse.
2) Stuffing cooked in the bird. Enough grease to choke a horse. At least cook stuffing separate from the turkey; cut some of the fat or oil from the recipe.
3) Sweet potato casserole. Sorry. Go easy on the marshmallows and decrease the sugar content!
4) Pigs in the Blanket. Perhaps you could try a low fat hot dog wrapped in a reduced fat crescent roll. Give it a try and let me know.
5) Pecan Pie. Corn syrup. Butter. Sugar. About 500 calories per slice. Need I say more?
6) Finger appetizers. Little quiches, canapés, spinach in phyllo. The flakier the crust, the more unhealthy fat in the food. Try shrimp cocktail, goat cheese and whole grain crackers, and fresh fruit skewers.
7) Caramel Popcorn. Though one of my favorites, butter and sugar once again. Low fat kettle corn is a great substitute.
8) Eggnog. One cup–about 340 calories and 19 grams of fat. There is a low fat version. Make it a ½ cup!! Yikes!
9) Milk Chocolate. We have a fairly healthy, anti-oxidant-rich alternative. Make it dark!
10) Cakes and cookies. It’s a holiday….indulge….A LITTLE.

I wish you the most merry holiday season and beautiful New Year. With every new year comes greater challenges and obstacles in life. I wish you love from family and friends, courage and much good health.

 

Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author.  Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.

MY HEART IS STILL BEATING…FOR THAT, I AM GRATEFUL!

by Ronni Litz Julien

So many of us have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Being in the medical field, I really take a serious look at my body and the fact that it is in decent shape as I enter my next decade. Coming from two parents with weight issues, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, late-in-age diabetes, cataracts, autoimmune disorders and serious arthritis, wow–am I lucky. Now, mind you, I keep all that in my head every day, and act (and eat!) accordingly!

Hence, I am extraordinarily thankful that with all of those above conditions, my family is in generally good health, as well (those parents included). To be honest, the cliche works right about here–if you are in good health, you have everything.

Now of course, I could run down the list of friends, extended family, and acquaintances whom have not been quite so lucky, in fact, you too, most likely have a list of your own, unfortunately. However, I would rather focus on reminding you this holiday, that YOU are the one in control of much of your “medical risks”–the chronic conditions that we have today that are absolutely preventable, somewhat preventable, and absolutely manageable: Type II diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, overweight, obesity, lung cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, low blood sugar, constipation, and esophageal reflux.

Diabetes, heart disease, and cancer now cause more deaths worldwide than all other diseases combined, according to the World Health Organization. Frightening! And imagine, we are in charge of a whole lot of this.

So perhaps you could keep this in mind as you reach for that second serving of stuffing, sweet potato casserole and pecan pie–for this is not your last supper.

Happy Everything. Be grateful your heart is still beating!

 

Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author.  Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.

THANKSGIVING RECIPES

SAVORY CORNBREAD STUFFING (adapted from NY Times Martha Rose Shulman)—serves 8

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal, organic stone ground
  • 1/2 cup King Arthur’s whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T Baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain LF yogurt or buttermilk
  • ½ cup low fat milk
  • 1T honey
  • 2T Smart Balance margarine
  • PAM cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place the cornmeal in a bowl, and sift in the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir the mixture with a whisk. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, yogurt (or buttermilk), milk and honey. Whisk the cornmeal mixture into the liquid mixture, just until blended.

3. Melt margarine and add to the batter.

4. Spray a heavy 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

5. Pour all of the batter into the pan, and place in the oven. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. It will be quite brown on the edges. Allow the bread to cool in the pan, or serve warm.

GUILTLESS GRAVY (adapted from the National Turkey Foundation)

  • 4 cups turkey stock and defatted pan juices
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1.  In a large saucepan, over medium heat, bring stock and pan juices to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, blend the cornstarch and water until smooth.
  3. Whisking constantly, slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the boiling pan juices.  Continue to stir until thickened.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

SWEET POTATO PANCAKES/LATKESmakes 24 pancakes

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (see above for brand)
  • 3 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cups low fat milk
  • ¼ c Smart Balance Margarine
  • 1-2 T canola oil

Directions:

  1. Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan of boiling water, and cook until tender but firm, about 15-20 minutes. Drain, and immediately immerse in cold water to loosen skins. Drain, remove skins, chop, and mash.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Mix mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, milk and margarine in a separate medium bowl. Blend sweet potato mixture into the flour mixture to form a batter.
  3. Preheat a lightly greased griddle over low-medium-high heat. Drop batter mixture onto the prepared griddle by heaping tablespoonfuls, and cook until golden brown, turning once with a spatula when the surface begins to bubble.

 

APPLE AND CRANBERRY CRUMBLE TART

  • ½ cup whole wheat flour (see above for brand)
  • ¼ cup plus 2T sugar
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Smart Balance margarine
  • 6 cups Granny Smith or Red Delicious or Fuji apples (peeled, cored, and sliced)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • PAM cooking spray

Directions:

1)     Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2)     Combine flour, ¼ cup sugar, brown sugar and margarine in a small bowl.  Mix with a fork, until crumbly.

3)     In a large mixing bowl, combine apples and cranberries, remaining 2T sugar, orange juice, vanilla, and cornstarch.  Mix well.

4)     In a square baking dish, spray PAM cooking spray.  Pour the fruit mixture into the baking dish, and top with flour mixture.

5)     Bake for 40-45 minutes.

 

FESTIVE “WHITE” TRIFLE

  • 1 box (4 servings) vanilla pudding (sugar-free fat-free)
  • 14 oz. can fat free sweetened condensed milk
  • 14 oz. can water (same as above can)
  • 16 oz. container Cool Whip Lite
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Low Fat Pound Cake (i.e. Sara Lee Light ‘n Dreamy), sliced thinly
  • ½ pint fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2-3 bananas, sliced

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, prepare the pudding mixture.  Mix sweetened condensed milk with pudding powder and can of water.  Add vanilla.  Mix well.  Fold in Lite Cool Whip.  Refrigerate for one hour.
  2. In a trifle bowl, place slices of pound cake at the bottom.  Layer with pudding mixture, then cover pudding with strawberries and banana.
  3. Layer once again, cake, pudding, fruit.  Decorate final top layer with fruit.

Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author.  Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.

THANKSGIVUKKAH RECIPES — BALANCED!

 Incredibly, this year, Thanksgiving Day and the first day of Chanukah fall out on Thursday, November 28th—the same day!  These holidays will not coincide on the same day again for another70,000 years.  That is a fact.  Therefore, it is time to perhaps cook as unique as this particular holiday time!  Of course, this column is going to have a healthy twist to it, so I begin with a few tips of keeping that “holiday balance”—hopefully not having to change into a larger pair of pants after the evening —and perhaps not having to make that New Year’s Resolution–again!

FIVE WAYS TO DINE: DON’T UNDERMINE YOUR WAISTLINE!

1.  Make your holiday grocery list with your heart health in mind (…and your family’s!).  Go through your holiday recipes, and replace ingredients with lower fat and lower sugar versions.  Send me an email if your guests notice the difference in taste (they won’t)!

  • King Arthur’s or 365 Whole Wheat Flour
  • Low fat cottage cheese and sour cream and mayonnaise
  • For sugar, use ½ sugar and ½ sugar substitute in your recipe
  • Use trans-fat-free margarines instead of butter
  • Use Lite Cool Whip instead of whipped cream
  • Low fat milk instead of whole milk

2.  Though it is already “holiday time”, do not give yourself permission to “start later” with your healthful eating habits—like January 1.  Don’t do it!  You can still maintain some good control through the temptations of the holidays. Pick out what you are willing to do.

3.  Give yourself some holiday confidence.  Do some pre-planning of your holiday meals: “I want to eat the sweet potatoes and the stuffing—so I will just have small scoops of each!”; “The desserts look incredible—so maybe I will skip tonight’s wine/cocktails and have dessert instead!”  Isn’t life made up of trade-offs? So is this….

4.  Keep moving!  This part, as I have said over and over, is NOT negotiable.  If you get “too busy” to participate in your regular exercise regimen, use those little tips i.e. break up the exercise into 10 minutes, 2-3 times per day; continue to park at the back of the Publix parking lot and walk in; take stairs when possible; walk a couple of extra laps in the mall while shopping, and get back into your regular routine as soon as you are willing.

5.  After your meal is over, invite your guests into your living room for conversation, music, family games, whatever!  The longer you sit around your holiday table filled with goodies, the more you will eat!  Does that sound familiar??

ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAYS AND THESE RECIPES!

SAVORY CORNBREAD STUFFING (adapted from NY Times Martha Rose Shulman)—serves 8

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal, organic stone ground
  • 1/2 cup King Arthur’s whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T Baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain LF yogurt or buttermilk
  • ½ cup low fat milk
  • 1T honey
  • 2T Smart Balance margarine
  • PAM cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place the cornmeal in a bowl, and sift in the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir the mixture with a whisk. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, yogurt (or buttermilk), milk and honey. Whisk the cornmeal mixture into the liquid mixture, just until blended.

3. Melt margarine and add to the batter.

4. Spray a heavy 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

5. Pour all of the batter into the pan, and place in the oven. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. It will be quite brown on the edges. Allow the bread to cool in the pan, or serve warm.

GUILTLESS GRAVY (adapted from the National Turkey Foundation)

  • 4 cups turkey stock and defatted pan juices
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1.  In a large saucepan, over medium heat, bring stock and pan juices to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, blend the cornstarch and water until smooth.
  3. Whisking constantly, slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the boiling pan juices.  Continue to stir until thickened.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

SWEET POTATO PANCAKES/LATKESmakes 24 pancakes

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (see above for brand)
  • 3 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cups low fat milk
  • ¼ c Smart Balance Margarine
  • 1-2 T canola oil

Directions:

  1. Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan of boiling water, and cook until tender but firm, about 15-20 minutes. Drain, and immediately immerse in cold water to loosen skins. Drain, remove skins, chop, and mash.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Mix mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, milk and margarine in a separate medium bowl. Blend sweet potato mixture into the flour mixture to form a batter.
  3. Preheat a lightly greased griddle over low-medium-high heat. Drop batter mixture onto the prepared griddle by heaping tablespoonfuls, and cook until golden brown, turning once with a spatula when the surface begins to bubble.

 

APPLE AND CRANBERRY CRUMBLE TART

  • ½ cup whole wheat flour (see above for brand)
  • ¼ cup plus 2T sugar
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Smart Balance margarine
  • 6 cups Granny Smith or Red Delicious or Fuji apples (peeled, cored, and sliced)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • PAM cooking spray

Directions:

1)     Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2)     Combine flour, ¼ cup sugar, brown sugar and margarine in a small bowl.  Mix with a fork, until crumbly.

3)     In a large mixing bowl, combine apples and cranberries, remaining 2T sugar, orange juice, vanilla, and cornstarch.  Mix well.

4)     In a square baking dish, spray PAM cooking spray.  Pour the fruit mixture into the baking dish, and top with flour mixture.

5)     Bake for 40-45 minutes.

 

FESTIVE “WHITE” TRIFLE

  • 1 box (4 servings) vanilla pudding (sugar-free fat-free)
  • 14 oz. can fat free sweetened condensed milk
  • 14 oz. can water (same as above can)
  • 16 oz. container Cool Whip Lite
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Low Fat Pound Cake (i.e. Sara Lee Light ‘n Dreamy), sliced thinly
  • ½ pint fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2-3 bananas, sliced

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, prepare the pudding mixture.  Mix sweetened condensed milk with pudding powder and can of water.  Add vanilla.  Mix well.  Fold in Lite Cool Whip.  Refrigerate for one hour.
  2. In a trifle bowl, place slices of pound cake at the bottom.  Layer with pudding mixture, then cover pudding with strawberries and banana.
  3. Layer once again, cake, pudding, fruit.  Decorate final top layer with fruit.

Enjoy!!

Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author.  Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.

 

 

 

 

 

PRE-HOLIDAY HEALTH AND NUTRITION WARNINGS!

Bang! The holidays of 2013 are upon us with Thanksgiving, Chanukah and Christmas almost touchable!  There are 50 or so shopping days left until Christmas and just 21 days until Chanukah.  Some of us are beginning to pull out our most fattening and delicious Challah Stuffing and potato latke recipes!

Thus, as we approach the typical five to 10 pound holiday love handles, perhaps we could talk about some potential health issues earlier than last year, see what we should be more aware of.  Firstly, one of the most prevalent conditions in America is not always realized.  I am speaking of Type II Diabetes.

  • About 10% of the US population is diabetic.
  • 79 million people are considered “pre-diabetic”.
  • 7 million people remain undiagnosed.

Type II Diabetes continues to be one of the most serious health issues of today, and before you head into the next holiday season, perhaps you want to be aware of the following symptoms, some often difficult to recognize:

  • Having to urinate more frequently.
  • Having excessive thirst.
  • Having unexplained weight loss.
  • Experiencing blurred vision.
  • Experiencing increased hunger (without gaining weight).
  • Feeling numbness in the hands or feet.

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your medical doctor immediately.  This does not necessarily have a genetic component, although that certainly increases your risks.  Most diabetics diagnosed as adults have overweight or obesity issues.  Hence, my “caution” prior to the holiday eating!

Next, there is a phrase known as the “holiday heart attack”.  It’s the worst time of year for heart trouble, with heart-related deaths peaking in late December and early January. The deadliest day: December 25, according to one study.  Several reasons prevail: holiday stress, heavy meals, quick weight gain, and ignoring signs so as not to disrupt the holiday festivities.  Again, beware of these symptoms, for men and women:

  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Discomfort spreading to the back, jaw, throat, or arm
  • Nausea, indigestion, or heartburn
  • Weakness, anxiety, or shortness of breath
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats

And for women, who often may not experience true chest pain:

  • Heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Coughing
  • Heart flutters

Thus, as we approach this delicious time of year, perhaps take a look at it a little differently this year.  Stay tuned for next week’s article, as I attempt to give you some tools and alternatives to those five to 10 pounds!

Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author.  Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.

 

 

 

NUTRITION AND BREAST CANCER: IT’S A LIFESTYLE

by Ronni Litz Julien

As Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to a close, I know I have certainly seen many more activities in our community and nationwide than in past years.  From the community walks, to the school club fundraisers, to the NFL-sponsored pink sneakers and accessories, it appears we have made a dent in creating awareness.  However, we cannot just stop at awareness.  We, especially as women, must “own” the lifestyle changes in order to prevent breast cancer.

“By the end of 2013, more than 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S.  Of those cases, approximately 40,000 individuals will not survive”, said Isabelle Mercier, PhD, a research assistant professor at University of the Sciences (a well-known Science College in Philadelphia).  Shall I repeat that sentence to get your attention…..

I want to give you a short follow-up to my 49-year-old best friend’s journey through her double mastectomy back in June.  Thank goodness, she did not have to have any lymph nodes removed, her surgery was successful, and she did not have any metastasis (spreading) of the cancer.  She did not require any chemotherapy or radiation.  She did, however, have a complication while healing, and had to go back for an additional surgery in July.  And, then, one more surgery two weeks ago to complete the reconstructive process.  Not quite done, a final procedure to perfect her new breasts by the end of this year.  I am forever grateful she is still here, and still so beautiful.  My life would never be the same without her…..but a most grueling process for her, her family and her loved ones.

So, I ask, if we have any part in controlling this deadly disease, don’t you think we must act?  I will review with you below the nutrition changes that address prevention, but this goes way beyond food, for it’s the lifestyle habits, too.

THE LIFESTYLE

  • Start talking early.  Even college-aged girls today are advised on the risk factors that increase their breast cancer chances (smoking, alcohol, poor eating).  Enlighten your children.  The boys, too.
  • Examine your family tree.  A family history, particularly in a mother or sister, can increase the chance for developing breast cancer. There is genetic testing now recommended for young women with prevalence of breast cancer in their families.
  • Get to your best weight.  According to Dr. Mercier, “obesity is responsible for up to 20 percent of cancer-associated deaths in women. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer by creating a cancer-friendly environment through fat cells”.  Eating high fat foods, a low-fiber diet, insufficient color-rich fruits and vegetables, and eating excess total calories enables cancer cells to grow.
  • Do your research.  Pay close attention to the true scientific evidence before you make your changes.  Do not omit food groups because you think they will make you cancer-free.  The word is still out on: organic foods, preservatives and nitrates, and gluten increasing cancer risk.
  • Eat less red meat.  Eat more plant foods.   That research is pretty clear with regard to many cancers, not just breast cancer.
  • Limit alcohol and avoid tobacco.  That research is pretty clear, too! 
  • Exercise is non-negotiable.  We may not love it, however, it has been well studied to prove decreased risks of cancers, heart disease, overweight and obesity, diabetes, and need I go on?

I think it is our obligation as women, as moms, as wives, as sisters and friends, to help ourselves:  be educated, be the lifestyle, be the one who is not the statistic.  Go on and do your best!

 

Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author.  Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.

Week of October 7th

MONDAY:

FAMOUS CAPRESE SANDWICH:

  • WHOLE GRAIN ROLL
  • 2-3 OZ. MOZZARELLA CHEESE
  • SLICED TOMATO

1 SERVING SPECIAL K CRACKER CHIPS

FRESH ORANGE

BOTTLE OF WATER

TUESDAY:

 SMALL WHEAT BAGEL (OR SANDWICH THIN)

2 TSP LOW FAT CREAM CHEESE (TEMP-TEE!)

2 OZ. SLICED NOVA

SLICED CUCUMBERS (USE A MOLD FOR FUN SHAPES!)

100 CALORIE PACK

FRESH PEACH OR NECTARINE

BOTTLE OF WATER

WEDNESDAY:

PITA POCKET: FILLED WITH 2 SLICES OF TURKEY BREAST AND 1 SLICE LOW FAT CHEESE

CHOPPED CUCUMBERS AND TOMATOES (IN SANDWICH IF DESIRED)

4-8 OUNCES FLAVORED GREEK YOGURT

15 RED GRAPES

BOTTLE OF WATER

 

THURSDAY:

Soft Taco Day!

In compartmentalized lunch box:
3 slices cold cuts or 3 oz. tuna (1T LF mayo)
2 whole wheat tortillas/soft taco
1/4 cup shredded low fat cheese

3-4 tablespoons shredded lettuce (avoid iceberg)
1/4 cup guacamole (fresh store-bought)
1/4 cup salsa (fresh store-bought)
1-2 tablespoons low fat sour cream or plain low fat yogurt

Sugar-free fat-free pudding

Fresh pear

Bottle of water

FRIDAY:

Pesky Shrimp Skewers:

2-3 skewers

4-6 cooked shrimp

2-4 grape tomatoes

2-4 cucumber chunks

1-2 colored pepper chunks (optional)

Cocktail sauce for dipping

 KIND Snack Bar

1 cup mixed fruit chunks

Bottle of water

 

 

Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author.  Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.

 

 

 

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?

by Ronni Litz Julien

 

4 TIPS FOR A HEALTHIER SUNDAY

You know how that song goes—and it is that time of year again when NFL and college football take over our living rooms on Saturdays and Sundays, whether we like it or not! That means goodies, appetizers, the best of our fried foods, chips and dips, chicken wings, high calorie beverages; all loaded with humongous amounts of calories, fat and sugar. Perhaps—just perhaps–there is a better way. Could we still have a “ball” on the weekend, without having to feel the guilt at the end of the day?

Here’s how:

  1. Consider serving less. Create some “portion control” in how you serve. Avoid putting out large amounts of the high calorie goodies. Even the bowl of nuts—make it a small bowl!
  2. Substitute low-fat and/or lower sugar ingredients in your favorite recipes (see below for a few good ones). Your guests won’t even know the difference, trust me—baked chips and salsa, calorie-free beverages (Crystal Lite and flavored waters), low fat favorite dips, baked drums (not wings!) and chicken tenders, turkey sub sandwiches on whole wheat sub rolls.
  3. Leave the healthier foods out for the life of the game, and pack up the artery-clogging foods at halftime! Serve crudite, cut up veggies, and low fat dip. Leave out the low fat popcorn and the small bowl of nuts. Refill the fruit bowl! Let them eat salsa and baked tortilla chips! Serve water throughout! Give them a little dark chocolate!
  4. Balance the remainder of your day! Choose a light breakfast, and if game time is 1 pm, plan a mild-to-moderate dinner—or vice versa.

Now try some of the lighter, yet savory and fun, ideas:

• Guacamole and baked crackers (Special K Cracker Chips or multi-grain crackers)
• Salsa and Baked Tostitos
• Edamame
• Low fat or air-popped popcorn (sprinkle with parmesan cheese)
• Cheese and cracker platter (higher fiber crackers)
• Veggie platter to include more interesting veggies: olives of all colors, peppers of all colors, beets, avocado slices, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, pickles!
• Turkey breast, turkey pastrami, and low fat cheese slice roll-ups
• Health(ier) bean dip
• Health(ier) artichoke dip
• Hummus and whole wheat flatbread
• Brown rice sushi rolls
• Low fat hot dogs (Hebrew National) baked in low fat crescent rolls

A few cool recipes to try:

LAYERED BEAN DIP

• 1 16-ounce Old El Paso fat free refried beans
• 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 1/2 cup prepared salsa (spicy optional)
• 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
• 1 cup shredded low fat cheese
• 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
• 1 1/2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
• 1 medium tomato, chopped
• 1 medium avocado, chopped
• 1/2 cup canned sliced black olives (optional)

Directions:
1. Combine refried beans, black beans, onions, salsa, and chili powder in a medium bowl. Transfer to a shallow 2-quart microwave-safe dish; sprinkle with cheese.
2. Microwave on high until the cheese is melted and the beans are hot, about 3-5 minutes.
3. Spread sour cream evenly over the hot bean mixture, then scatter with lettuce, tomato, avocado and olives.
4. Serve with high fiber chips or crackers.

CHEESY CHILI DIP

• 12 ounce container low fat cream cheese (whipped preferably)
• 1 can meat-less or turkey chili (canned)
• 1 cup low fat shredded cheese
• Sprinkle of paprika

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a shallow round casserole dish, spread layer of cream cheese evenly.
3. Layer the chili.
4. Top with shredded cheese.
5. Sprinkle with paprika.
6. Bake for 30 minutes.
7. Gets served with Baked Tostitos

OVEN-FRIED VEGGIE STICKS/PATTIES

Ingredients
• Canola or olive oil cooking spray
• 1 cup Panko or Wondra coating
• 2 T cornmeal
• 1 tsp salt (optional)
• ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
• 1 ½ pounds zucchini (3 medium), cut into ½ x 3-inch sticks OR 16 oz. cooked and mashed broccoli or cauliflower
• 2 eggs, beaten

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Combine Panko/Wondra, cornmeal, salt and pepper in a large bowl. If using zucchini, dip in egg, coat and arrange, not touching, on the baking sheet. Coat all exposed sides with cooking spray. For the mashed broccoli or cauliflower, form into patties, dip in egg, coat and then arrange on baking sheet.
3. Spray again with cooking spray (top of the vegetables).
4. Bake on the center rack for 10-15 minutes. Continue to bake until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes more, if necessary. Serve hot.

Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author. Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.

Lunch Menu

Monday

Peanut Butter and Banana Roll-up*

Sliced cucumbers and low fat Ranch dressing

½ cup Chex Mix (Low fat version, of course!)

Fresh peach or nectarine

Bottle of water

 

*Peanut Butter and Banana Roll-Up:

Spread 2 tablespoons of peanut butter on a whole-wheat wrap, drizzle with 1 teaspoon honey. Place slices of small banana in the wrap, then roll up!

Tuesday

Waldorf Chicken Salad Sandwich in a Pita**

Baby carrots

100 calorie popcorn/sprinkle with parmesan cheese

2 small tangerines

Bottle of water

 

**Mix ¼-1/3 cup shredded rotisserie chicken (skinless), 1-2 tablespoons each of chopped apples and celery, chopped walnuts, raisins, and 1 tablespoon low fat mayonnaise.  Place into a medium-sized whole wheat pita bread.

Wednesday

½ cup tuna salad (made with low fat mayonnaise)

1 serving whole grain crackers

Chopped tomatoes and black olives

Kashi Layered Granola Bar

10-15 grapes

Bottle of water

Thursday BBQ

1 Hebrew National 97% Fat Free Hot Dog (heat and wrap in foil)

Whole wheat hot dog bun (Nature’s Own—and pack it separately)

Pickles

1 serving or small bag Baked Lays

Fresh apple

Bottle of water

Friday “Lunchable”

1-2 ounces cubed low fat cheeses

1-2 ounces turkey breast roll-ups

1 serving whole grain crackers

Grape tomatoes

Small baggie of trail mix: 1 tablespoon of each: nuts, raisins and chocolate chips!

Melon chunks

Bottle of water

Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author.  Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.

 

IT’S NOT A “SEXY” WEIGHT LOSS DIET….BUT EATING TO PREVENT INFLAMMATION IS CRITICAL TO YOUR HEALTH

by Ronni Litz Julien

 

Today, whether we are reading up on how to get off those few extra pounds, or what nutrients we need to increase in our diets, or what “bad” foods we need to eliminate, we can count on very accurate research, fairly new to us. The food we eat, in this day and age, is responsible for certain types of inflammation in the body, and some foods perhaps actually fight inflammation. It’s a crazy thing: we used to only talk about limiting certain foods to fight disease (fat and heart disease); today, we talk a lot about foods to include in order to fight those same diseases.

Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response. It is defined as: when something harmful or irritating affects a part of our body, there is a biological response to try to remove it, the signs and symptoms of inflammation, show that the body is trying to heal itself. Inflammation does not mean infection, even when an infection causes inflammation.   Infection is caused by a bacterium, virus or fungus, while inflammation is the body’s response to it.

According to Russell Greenfield, MD, a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “constant or out-of-control inflammation in the body leads to ill health, and that eating to avoid constant inflammation promotes better health and can ward off disease”. As an example, it is my belief that five years from now, high cholesterol levels will be somewhat passé, or secondary, and that inflammation within our arteries (the walls of the arteries) will be more significant to disease.

Today, vast scientific research tells us that there can be inflammation in the vessels of our heart (detected by simple lab tests—check with your MD); when our immune system rejects our gastrointestinal cells, that becomes inflammation in the GI tract, causing Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis; when the immune system rejects our joint cells—this is rheumatoid arthritis; and finally, poor immunity toward our skin cells creates psoriasis. Yes, our bodies rejecting our own immune systems, cause inflammation, too. Dr. Scott Zashin, clinical professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, claims “…. causes overactivity in the immune system, which can lead to joint pain, fatigue, and damage to the blood vessels.”  And when we see inflammation externally, we typically know we need ice, elevation, rest …

So, what are the “culprits” that may cause inflammation inside the body?

 

  • High sugar foods
  • High fat foods (including red meat)
  • White flour products
  • Alcohol
  • Imbalance of omega-6s (flaxseed) to omega-3s (fish and nuts)
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Being diabetic

…and here are the foods that can reduce inflammation in our bodies—start now!

 

  • Fish, fish and more fish (I suggest having fish once per day)
  • Avoid: shark, mackerel, albacore white tuna, yellowfin tuna, and swordfish (high mercury levels).
  • Lots of fresh fruits and veggies (what else is new!?)
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Low fat dairy (NOT a cause of inflammation)
  • Ginger, turmeric and curry

And there you have it! The latest information on keeping you and your family healthy!!! It’s not that hard….really!

 

Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author.  Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.

 

 

OMEGA-3S AND FISH OIL? WHO NEEDS ANOTHER SUPPLEMENT? WE DO.

by Ronni Litz Julien

Several weeks ago, a study emerged warning men over the age of 50 to avoid fish oil supplements—there seems to be a new correlation between fish oil supplementation and prostate cancer. Big news. So, it gave me a good reason to do a double-take on my recommendation of fish oil, which is often.
Just what is a fatty acid and what are omega-3s? They are merely a long-chain molecule of primarily fat! Omega-3 fatty acids are considered “essential” fatty acids. Anything that is named “essential” in our diets (also “essential” amino acids), the body cannot make itself and we need to ingest it.
We need several types of fatty acids for our bodies to work normally. Omega-3s have a number of health benefits. They are thought to play an important role in reducing inflammation throughout the body — in the blood vessels, the joints, and elsewhere. They may lower triglycerides and blood pressure. And there are studies showing that omega-3 fatty acids may help with other conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, depression, and many more conditions. So, it seems to me, omega-3s are critical to our health and longevity!
Most experts say that DHA and EPA (I won’t complicate things with the long names—just know these are the primary omega-3s) – found in fish and fish oil have better established health benefits than the omega-6s we find in flaxseed and krill oil.
The Omega-3s: A Family of Their Own
• anchovies
• bluefish
• herring
• mackerel
• salmon (wild has more omega-3s than farmed)
• sardines
• sturgeon
• lake trout
• tuna (especially the white albacore)

Other Omega-3s: Plant Sources
The following are also decent sources of omega-3s, however, they need to be “converted” in the body in order to be functional; therefore, you need to consume a lot more of each food (Caution: some foods like nuts and oils can be very caloric).
• Walnuts
• Canola/Olive/Soybean Oil
• Flaxseed
• Leafy Greens
• Seaweed
• Soy products

I’M A GOOD FISH EATER: ISN’T THAT ENOUGH!?  NO WAY. Though my global suggestion is to incorporate some form of fish in your daily diet (that’s all types of fish and shellfish), the amount of fish oil doesn’t match up to what the research shows. Therefore, experts usually recommend 1-2 grams (1,000-2,000 milligrams) of DHA and EPA combined from fish oil daily for those with heart disease. People with certain health conditions may take doses of up to 4 grams a day — but only under a doctor’s supervision. Caution: high doses of fish oil can cause bleeding; hence, talk to the doctor.
CATCH OF THE DAY
A few caveats:
• Remember certain fish contain higher mercury levels, so limit them: white albacore tuna, shark, king mackerel, and swordfish.
• Children and pregnant women should avoid the high mercury fish altogether (white albacore tuna once a week).
• Farm-raised fish tend to have higher contaminant levels. Wild is safer.
• Grill, bake and pan-sear. Fried fish defeats the whole purpose!

 

Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author.  Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.

LUNCHES FOR THE WEEK

by Ronni Julien

Monday

The Deconstructed Lunch Box:

Compartmentalized Tupperware filled with:

2-3 ounces of cubed low fat cheeses

1 serving whole grain crackers (Wheat Thin Fiber Selects)

1 cup watermelon chunks

½ cup snap peas

1-2 cups low fat microwaveable popcorn

Bottle of water

 

Tuesday

Nova and low fat cream cheese on a wheat Bagel Thin

Or a Whole Wheat Flatbread

Small baggie filled with green or black olives

1 cup fresh pineapple chunks

Kashi Granola Bar

Bottle of water

 

Wednesday

Pizza Muffin (see recipe)*

Small romaine salad with low fat dressing

Small peach or nectarine

1-2 oz. cashews and raisins mix

Bottle of water

 

*Pizza Muffin:

Low fat Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

3-4 oz. jarred tomato sauce

3-4 oz. low fat mozzarella cheese

 

Lay each piece of dough in a muffin cup.  Top with tomato sauce and low fat mozzarella cheese (and optional spices or veggies your kids like).  Bake as directed per Crescent Roll directions.  Makes 4 pizza muffins!

Thursday

Apple Cartwheels:

Cored and sliced apple

2 Tablespoons Skippy Natural Peanut Butter

(Make a hole horizontally through the apple, slice and fill with peanut butter)

 

1-2 low fat string cheeses

KIND Bar

Bottle of water

 

Friday

Chicken breast slices in a whole grain wrap

Chopped lettuce and tomato

1 Tablespoon BBQ sauce

15 red or green grapes

Baked Tostitos and salsa

Bottle of water

 

Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author.  Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.

LUNCH MENU FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY:

Lean Roast beef sandwich on Whole Wheat Roll

Mustard or ketchup

1 serving Baked Tostitos with Salsa

Grape tomatoes

½ cup berries

Bottle of water

 

TUESDAY:

Thermos of Pasta Fagioli soup (click here for recipe)

1 serving whole grain crackers

100 calorie pack

Baby carrots

Fresh watermelon

Bottle of water

 

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY:

½ cup hummus

Small whole wheat pita

Ziploc baggie of whole grain cereal (Kashi or Special K with Berries or Cheerios)

Sliced cucumbers

Favorite fruit!

Bottle of water

 

THURSDAY:

½ cup tuna (low fat mayonnaise)

Whole grain wrap with lettuce/tomato

Single serving bag of baked chips

Clementines

Bottle of water

 

 

 

FRIDAY:

Almond butter sandwich

Whole grain bread

Add sliced almonds and dried cranberries to sandwich!!

100-calorie microwave low fat popcorn

Cut-up raw veggies

Small banana

Bottle of water

 

 

Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author.  Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.

 

 

 

 

 

5 NOT-SO-HEALTHY SNACKS

We’re tryin’ to make choices that are healthful. We’re tryin’ to snack healthy, and bring home snacks for the kids that are better than potato chips and ice cream. Is that energy or granola bar really healthier? Here are five of those “not necessarily good for you” snacks that food marketers want you to think are the picture perfect healthy choice:

Energy/Granola/Protein Bars: These manufacturers aren’t really sure who their target audience is! Athletes, kids, healthy eaters, chocolate lovers? First developed for the athletes that needed that extra energy boost, bars have turned into an extraordinarily successful business. Many of these bars over the years have reduced the amount of “bad” (trans or saturated) fats that they had in them, and perhaps increased their fiber.  However—a big however—so many of them are still loaded with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, calories, and ingredients that are un-pronounceable! For instance, a Clif bar contains 230 calories and 23 grams of sugar! Wow! You better be running the IronMan competition before consuming that!

Healthier favorites: KIND Bars, South Beach Bars, Larabar, Vega (for vegetarians), Detour Low Sugar Bars and Balance Gold for the athletes, and Fiber One 90 calorie bars.

Smoothies: Yes, you read it right! Not so healthy! Oh, but it’s all fruit! That’s part of the problem. Smoothies are certainly healthier than a full-fledged milkshake, but they are still jam-packed with calories and sugar. Smoothie King’s Activator Strawberry and the Acai Adventure smoothies—490 calories and 105 grams of carbohydrates each. Even the low fat Cranberry Cooler smoothie—a whopping 540 calories. These are meals in themselves.

Healthier favorites: make your own! Use low fat milk, a cup of berries or a mango or a medium-sized banana, add 4-5 ice cubes, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and perhaps a Splenda for a little more sweetness. Blend it! If you must go to Smoothie King, then share a low fat low sugar smoothie with a friend!

Trail Mix: What could be better than nuts and fruit? Generally, I use these for my clients who want to gain weight. Again, great for the physically active. The dried fruit certainly provides wonderful nutrients, iron, fiber and potassium, and the nuts are terrific for us—iron, protein and healthy fats. However, this is yet another snack that is exorbitant in calories. Most of the dried fruits are drenched in sugar and the nuts are salty and high in fat and calories, though they are filled with healthy fats. Many also contain high calorie add-ins like chocolate M and M-type candies, and/or coconut. And those yogurt-covered raisins are actually sugar-and-fat-coated fruit. One handful of trail mix alone can easily set you back 300 or more calories, and in a snack-size bag, there’s typically 2 to 3 servings. Skip that trail.

Healthier favorites: grab a handful of nuts (about 10-15) and have them with a piece of fresh fruit.

Your neighborhood frozen yogurt: I’m not arguing that YogurtLand, PinkBerry and YogenFruz are a better choice than Cold Stone.  I am saying that based on serving size and add-ins, you might as well eat the high fat Cold Stone ice cream in a waffle cup! No question that frozen yogurt alone is a lower fat treat, but sometimes the sugar content is higher than ice cream and certainly those chocolate chips and Heath Bar add-ins are a big problem.

Healthier favorites: take half the serving you normally would, and add fresh fruit, such as strawberries or bananas. You have just dropped from 300 calories to 100. Now that’s worth it.

• Granola: ahh, yes, a healthful grain. Better than eating Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes, for sure, as granola at least contains some fiber. Made from rolled oats, honey, nuts and dried fruits, it is quite yummy. But, be ready to take in lots of calories, sugar and some fat. A popular breakfast food or snack here in the US, we often-times think granola is really healthy. In a serving of commercial granola (1 cup), there are approximately 600 calories and 30 grams of fat. Good fats and good fiber.

Healthier favorites: measure out ½ cup and put it in a small cup. When you’re done, you’re done! Frankly, if you need a snack to gain weight, double your portion, and enjoy every bite!

Check daily at LifeMeisters for lunch box healthy snacks and great planning for the weekly menus for school.  Stay tuned!

 

Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author.  Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.

BATHING SUIT SEASON STILL HERE

 

Freezing temperatures, skiing, and “snow days”—not in our Florida vocabularies! Though kids are back to school within the month, our hot weather remains for many months thereafter. More trips to the pool and the beach are in our future. I hope the summer has afforded you lots of fun, lots of physical activity in the sun, and continued healthful eating! To stay in shape for our sun-bathing days, consider the calories you give away each day on snacks. Are you often stopping for fast food on the way to the beach? Are you drinking enough water in the Florida heat?

 

TWENTY TIPS FOR STAYING COMFORTABLE IN YOUR BATHING SUIT—

  1. First and foremost, drink plenty of water and other fluids during the day. Though water is the absolute best for hydration, feel free to drink sugar-free flavored waters, seltzers, Crystal Lite, iced coffee and tea. The recommendation for Floridians is 8 ounces fluid for every 20 minutes in the sunshine.
  2. Limit the fast food stops.
  3. Be sure to have something for breakfast each morning—it gets the “motor” running in the morning.
  4. Include protein at every meal to regulate blood sugars and energy levels.
  5. Take stairs instead of escalators and elevators.
  6. Do plan plenty of outdoor activities between rain drops—it’s summertime!
  7. Choose low fat low sugar products, in lieu of high sugar, white flour, high fat products.
  8. Start your meals with a small salad or cut-up colorful raw veggies—a good “appetizer”, and will begin to fill you up!
  9. Calories are calories are calories—with butter and oil. Avoid butter and use small amounts of heart-healthy canola, olive and polyunsaturated oils (150 calories per tablespoon no matter which type you use).
  10. Watch the fluid calories: less beer (order Lite) and fruit juices, and absolutely OMIT all regular sodas.
  11. No more white products: white rice, white pasta, white bread, no-fiber cereals—it’s like eating a Snickers bar.
  12. Get sufficient sleep. Less than 7 hours per night impairs your judgment and offers you more chances to overeat. We don’t make great decisions when we’re tired.
  13. Add some strength and resistance training to your workouts. More muscle means better calorie burning.
  14. STOP and consider your choices: shoot for the 80/20 deal—80% healthful choices and 20% your indulgences.
  15. Eat only in kitchen or dining area. Do not eat in bedrooms or in front of the television.
  16. Am I eating mindlessly? Am I really bored or stressed or tired?
  17. Switch to whole grains only, so you get more fiber (more fiber means less colon cancer, better bowel habits, improved blood sugar levels, and more feeling of fullness).
  18. Pay attention to portion sizes at all times.
  19. Eat and exercise as a family. All the research points to good things when we’re together.
  20. Take baby steps in making habit changes. Never give up!

Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author.  Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.

It’s Monday Again

Does anyone else ever get on the scale on Monday and wonder how they let their guard down yet again?  Ending the week feeling good, great, toned and ready to tackle the weekend with success.  And the scale stares at you on Monday and you are deflated yet again.

The message from every plan, both diet and exercise, are consistency, lifestyle, keep going, etc.

What are the answers?  How do you keep going?  How do you participate in the festivities of a great weekend, but still keep to your plan?  How do you….

So this is a short and sweet….  Please share your secrets.  What is your diet plan?  What is your “live-it” plan?  What exercise do you do?  What do you love vs not love?  How do you motivate yourself to keep going and how do you get back on?  School starts in a couple of weeks and the relaxation of summer is coming to a close.  What are your “back to routine” plans?

Time to share and get some new ideas for success.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.