For more information regarding the St. Elizabeth Weight Management Center, please call (859) 212-GOAL (4625)
Importance of Exercise
Fitness guidelines by the World Health Organization recommend that adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity 5 days a week. This can include brisk walking, bike riding, water aerobics, etc. Exercising regularly helps reduce the risk of disease, builds muscle and promotes overall physical and mental well-being. Although a half-hour of exercise is the standardized recommendation, any fitness professional will tell you that something is always better than nothing!
Tips to Stay Healthy Despite a Busy/Active Lifestyle?
In hectic times, healthy habits often take a backseat to other responsibilities. Eat right with a busy lifestyle by:
- Keeping healthy snacks like baby carrots, string cheese, granola bars, and apples on-hand at home, work or in the car.
- Stocking your freezer with veggies for healthy side dishes at dinner and unsweetened fruit for fast, nutritious additions to breakfast smoothies.
- Spending 15 minutes before your grocery trip planning quick, healthy meals to prepare on busy nights, to avoid fast food runs.
- Baking or grilling extra chicken or lean beef one night to add to salads or tacos later that week.
What is a Gluten-free diet?
A gluten-free diet excludes gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale. Gluten can also be found as an additive in many processed foods. Patients with celiac sprue or gluten intolerance need to avoid these common foods as well as foods that use it as an additive.
Foods that are naturally gluten-free are unprocessed beans, seeds, nuts, eggs, fresh meats, fruits, vegetables and dairy.
If you are following a gluten-free diet, read labels, avoid certain grains, check oral medicines/supplements, use naturally gluten-free foods and grains and investigate the wide variety of gluten-free specialty foods for a balanced diet.
Organic vs. Natural
Picking out produce, poultry and prepackaged goods in the grocery story is no longer as simple as checking the firmness of a plum or the label for the number of calories. Now it’s a matter of debating between organic, natural or your everyday, processed product. So what’s the difference? Will your decision affect the health of your family?
Here’s what you need to know:
Product labeling regulations are overseen by The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Due to an increase in interest in natural and organic products, the government has begun to regulate the use of these terms.
An organic food must be grown without the use of any synthetic fertilizer or pesticide, antibiotics, irradiation, genetic engineering or growth hormones. When it comes to prepackaged products:
- They may only be labeled certified organic if 100% of the ingredients are organic.
- If the product contains 95% organic ingredients, it is labeled organic.
- If the product is only 70% organic, it is considered “made with organic ingredients.”
Natural foods have no legal or federal supervision, nor are they defined by any law or criteria. Generally, a natural food is an item that has not been altered chemically or synthesized – except for poultry and other meats. Meat and poultry labeled natural cannot contain:
- Artificial flavors
In addition, processing must be kept to a minimum. When purchasing meat labeled natural, you will find an explanation of why that product classifies as such. However, it does not indicate anything about the raising, feeding or caring of the animal. In regards to other products, a label of natural may be seen as containing less preservatives and chemicals, but there is no way to be sure.
Making the Decision
So what’s the bottom line? Currently, there is no evidence to support that organic foods are healthier than non-organic. So, your decision is unlikely to affect the health of your family. But, be conscious of what you’re buying and read the label to make an educated decision – look for artificial ingredients and excessive processing.
October is "Eat Better, Eat Together" Month
In honor of Eat Better, Eat Together month, make time to focus on family meals. Hectic schedules often keep a family from gathering at the dinner table. However, studies show family meals promote healthy eating and provide time to catch up with one another.
This month, why not turn one family dinner into a fiesta? Prepare black beans, lean ground beef or turkey with a bit of taco seasoning and serve it with whole wheat tortillas or romaine lettuce for a taco salad. Offer a variety of chopped veggies like tomatoes, onions, black olives, and bell peppers as well as low fat cheddar cheese and salsa to use as toppings. Parents, set a good example by loading up on veggies and practicing portion control!
Not only is this a tasty and healthy meal idea but it is also a great way for all to customize their meal, so everyone gets what they want. Also, parents can share the experience of preparing the meal by supervising the little ones while they help. Kids can learn new skills by measuring and adding a bit of seasoning and tearing the lettuce, and chances are better that they will want to sample foods they helped prepare.
What are you Drinking?
Want to eliminate one thing from your diet? Take a look at what you are drinking every day. Sweetened beverages – soda, sweet tea, coffee drinks, fruit drinks, sports and energy drinks – contain many extra calories and little to no nutrients. These calories can lead to big time weight gain over time.
Studies show Americans consume about 150 more calories from beverages each day than they did 30 years ago. This adds up to over fifteen pounds during the course of a year! Certainly something to consider the next time you are looking for a way to quench your thirst.
Food Safety Practices
When menu planning, it is important to remember to use good food safety practices.
Cold or Chilled Items
It is important to keep cold items, such as salads or chilled buffet items at or under 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When packing lunches, include a frozen gel pack and use an insulated lunch carrier to keep food safe until lunchtime.
- At home or parties, keep cold items refrigerated until just before serving and use a cooler with ice to transfer items when taking them to a get together.
- Place serving dishes on ice when it is time to eat. Also, serve cold items in smaller serving dishes to help maintain temperatures.
For hot foods, keep temperatures at or above 140 degrees Fahrenheit once the food has been cooked.
- At home, plan on serving foods just after they are prepared. If this is not possible, keep them in the oven to stay warm until the rest of the meal is ready to serve.
- When tailgating for the big game or at parties, use slow cookers, food warmers and chafing dishes to help keep food at a safe temperature.
- Follow the 2-hour rule: food should not remain at room temperature beyond 2 hours. Keep track of how long items have been out. After the two hour mark, discard remaining items and set out fresh food if your party is still in full swing.
Raw or unwashed food items may carry dangerous bacteria that can be transferred to surfaces, other food items or hands.
- Avoid risk of cross-contamination by thoroughly washing food and preparation tools like knives and cutting boards.
- If possible, use separate cutting boards for meat and produce.
- Always make sure food is cooked to the proper temperature before tasting or serving.
Applying these food safety tips can help ensure the health of you and your loved ones!
Watch Your Sodium Intake
According to the American Heart Association, those who consume less salt reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. The recommended daily intake of sodium is 1,500 mg or less.Convenience foods (fast foods) and processed foods (prepackaged meals, snack foods) contribute significant amounts of sodium to the American diet.
Here are 5 tips to help you decrease your sodium intake:
- Eat whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fresh lean meat
- Do not add salt at the table or while cooking
- Experiment with herbs and spices
- Review nutrition facts label and choose items that contain less than 200 mg sodium/serving
- Cook at home!
Does green tea really boost your metabolism? Why?
Does green tea boost your metabolism? Caffeine might stimulate thermogenesis, which is producing heat and energy from the food you are digesting. A very small study showed that participants who drank green tea saw small increases in thermogenesis. But the small calorie losses were probably not enough to make a weight loss difference in obese people.
Plus, there is insufficient evidence showing that taking a weight loss pill containing green tea extract will increase fat metabolism, and it can lead to some nasty side effects.
But, drinking green tea has antioxidant benefits that may help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and may decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer, and possibly Parkinson’s disease.
5 Tips for Packing a Healthy Lunch
It is smart to start by brainstorming foods and snacks that your kids would like to eat. If you include your child in their lunchbox decisions, you will not only be promoting responsibility & independence, but they will probably get excited about their healthy creation.
Healthy Packing Tips:
- Let your child be involved in choosing their food items and preparation style (i.e. your child may love apples sliced thin like fries, but they may not get excited about a whole apple)
- Go beyond the traditional. Instead of peanut butter and jelly, occasionally pack a wrap with grilled chicken or stuff a pita with fresh veggies.
- Try soups and salads by utilizing thermoses and ice packs
- Do not forget about last night's leftovers as an easy lunchbox filler
- Implement a lunch box makeover by following these tips!
Even nutritious foods can cause weight gain when eaten in excess. Practicing correct portion sizes can have a profound effect on the number of calories eaten. When at home use smaller glasses, salad plates and cups instead of bowls and measure foods prior to eating. For times when you cannot measure compare the size of the portions to standard items such as CD's, dice, softballs or items that are readily available such as your palm, thumb, or fist. Study labels to be aware of the portion size of labeled foods and do not eat out of the box or bag. Use these tips and you can eat what you love and save hundreds of calories.
Treadmill vs. Elliptical
Which of these popular exercise machines are better for you/will help you burn more calories? The answer may surprise you.
It’s a tie! While everyone’s bodies are different, the calories burned from running on a treadmill vs. using an elliptical are similar. However, walking on the treadmill will burn fewer calories than when using an elliptical, especially with some resistance.
When deciding which one to use, go for the one you like the best. Hill lovers might enjoy the incline on a treadmill, while others prefer the lower impact of the elliptical.
Consider incorporating both machines into your exercise regimen to reap the most benefits.
Do's and Don'ts of Dieting
When trying to lose weight, the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Weight Management Center recommends that you follow these simple tips.
- learn how to overcome a lapse
- practice mindful eating
- downsize portions
- limit sugars, trans-fats, sodium and refined grains
- look for a quick fix or engage in fad dieting
- look at foods as good or bad
- overlook the importance of daily exercise
- expect to be perfect, lapses are normal
Diet vs. Regular Carbonated Beverages
Is it "better" to drink a "diet" soda as opposed to "regular"? The answer isn't as simple as you may think. Both contain carbonation.
Carbonation (carbon dioxide dissolved in a beverage producing carbonic acid), is effective in removing the corrosion from the battery terminals on your car. Many believe there is a similar effect on the sensitive hormone receptors within your stomach and duodenum (the beginning of your small intestine), which only worsens over time (the more you consume, the more "erosion" takes place).
Additionally, some researchers believe there is a correlation between diet soda intake and increased rates of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. The relationship between the two remains circumstantial for now, but some experts in the field do think this is likely even though the exact cause is not yet known.
The bottom line is this: While the large helping of empty sugar calories found in "regular" carbonated beverages is never good, the negative effects of carbonation are not offset by artificial sweeteners in "diet" marketed drinks.
If you are drinking these carbonated beverages for the caffeine, hot or iced tea is a better choice.