Archive for January, 2014

Myth or Fact…

Growing up in Virginia I always heard people say that snowstorms were good because they “cleaned the air.” As a child it sounded logical to me, but as I grew older I wondered if this was really true. Well it is true (to an extent). Snowflakes form on small dust particles and as they fall from the clouds, pollution can adhere to the snowflake.  So, it in fact does clean the air. But given the considerable amount of air pollution in large cities, it would be impossible for snowfall to really make a significant difference.

Now the pollution caused by the traffic, caused by the snowfall, well that’s another issue!

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Meatless Monday

I often wondered how some vegetarians  become overweight. Then….I began eating slices of stuffed veggie pizza on Meatless Monday and I discovered for myself how this phenomenon occurs!

I read an article from SHAPE magazine really put this issue in perspective for me. Here it is for your reading pleasure.

Going veggie offers numerous health benefits, from slashing the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, to capping blood pressure; and vegetarians and vegans tend to weigh less than omnivores. But done the wrong way, it can be a recipe for weight gain and shortchange you on important vitamins and minerals. To get the most from every morsel avoid these four veggie faux pas:

Overloading on Liquids
Green drinks’ are all the rage and health conscious vegetarians are often fans, but smoothies and drinks that combine veggies and fruits can easily pack 250-350 calories. To put that in perspective, for 300 calories you could eat:
1 cup raw broccoli
1 cup raw carrots
1 cup raw spinach
1 medium apple
1 cup whole strawberries
1 medium orange

The Fix: I often recommend juicing and fruit/veggie exilers for my male professional athlete clients who have a tough time fitting in the 9+ servings of produce their bodies need. But for women trying to lose weight, most feel more full and satisfied — and get better results — when they chew rather than gulp their produce.

Forgoing Protein
Protein is a key factor in weight control because it boosts satiety, preserves muscle and revs up metabolism. Because plant protein doesn’t get digested and absorbed as readily as some animal proteins, vegetarians generally need more, about 15-20 percent of total calories or about 60-80 grams per day.

The Fix: Don’t rely on processed meat substitutes. Instead keep it au naturel — quinoa contains 8 grams per cup; almonds 7.5 g per quarter cup, lentils 17 g per cup and if you do dairy, 1 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt packs about 20 g.

Overdosing on Cheese
Ounce for ounce, cheddar cheese packs four times the calories and nine times the fat of skinless chicken breast. That’s why vegetarians who live on grilled cheese, cheese pizza and mac and cheese often gain weight going veggie (in addition to all those refined carbs, yikes!).

The Fix: If you decide to keep dairy in your diet (preferably organic), limit yourself to one cheesy meal per day with a max of 1 oz of real, fresh cheese, and stick with nonfat milk or yogurt and plenty of meatless proteins like beans and tofu at other meals and snacks.

Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth Vegan Style
There are more vegan sweet treats on the market than ever before, from cookies and cupcakes to ice creams and candies. Goodies made without butter and eggs are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol free, but they’re typically just as high in calories. Case in point:
1 large vegan chocolate chip cookie = 480 calories.

The Fix: Even strict vegans should limit splurge foods to a few hundred calories per day, just like omnivores.

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

drain

Thanks Rebecca Koch for submitting this image!

Meatless Monday

Happy New Year! Now to the long awaited return of Meatless Monday…..

So, my plan was to write a post detailing the health benefits of beans. But while doing some research I came across this paragraph in a Huffington Post article.

“We’ve all heard the expression “shop the perimeter of the store.” But if you skip the middle, you’re missing out on a wealth of wholesome, delicious food choices. Your supermarket shelves are filled with hidden treasures that you shouldn’t pass up. Like beans, one of the most neglected and under-valued items.”

I definitely fall into this trap of trying to shop the outside aisles in the grocery store. This made me wonder what other meatless goodies are lurking in aisles 2-20? Here is my list of “stuff” I venture into the abyss that is the center aisles to secure.

1. Nuts, they’re pretty healthy.

2.  Gluten free cereals like Chex Apple Cinnamon, as good as they taste they are probably not as healthy on paper as they are in my mind.

3.  Brown rice and quinoa, hot or cold, I love quinoa.

4. Frozen fruits and veggies, if you can’t buy them fresh this is a great substitute.

5. Whole kernel pop corn. Popcorn is my weakness and air-popped kernels fills the void when what I really want is the heart attack in the bag they sell at the movie theater.

This is a pretty short list but all that I could come up with that isn’t overly processed and full of ingredients I can’t pronounce. What am I overlooking? What are your center aisle favorites?