Comments Off on >3 great summer recipes: Pesto, Hummus & Fresh Salsa

>3 great summer recipes: Pesto, Hummus & Fresh Salsa

Category : Healthy Eating

>Summer always brings opportunities to savor vegetables fresh from the garden and enjoy them with friends at a backyard gathering. Here are three of my favorite recipes that either use fresh farmers market ingredients (pesto, salsa) or are my favorite to bring to a party (hummus & salsa). Let’s start with Pesto since it is packed with Omega 3’s:
  • 1 bunch Fresh Basil: Washed, Stems removed and Chopped coarsely.
  • 1/4 to 1/2c Olive Oil (Omega 3’s)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/3c Walnuts (Omega 3’s) or pine nuts or raw peanuts
  • 1/2t Salt
Blend 1/4c olive oil, salt and garlic in blender. Slowly add chopped fresh basil. Blend coarsely, adding olive oil as needed to create a thick paste. Blend in nuts. Salt to taste and freeze any extra in small containers with little air gap. Pesto is good on Barilla Plus Pasta (more Omega 3’s!), but have you ever made a salad by simply mixing pesto, fresh mozzarella balls and halved cherry tomatoes? Wow! It’s extraordinary and a real spotlight of a meal. Hummus is a favorite food of mine and it is SO simple:
  • 1 can chick peas (AKA garbanzo beans) drained (liquid reserved)
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 T sesame tahini
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3+ t lemon juice
  • optional: chopped fresh parsley
Coarsely mash the chick peas with a fork or potato masher. Then mash in all the other ingredients, adding some of the reserved liquid to achieve a thick paste. Finished hummus is naturally a bit lumpy, so don’t worry about getting it perfectly smooth. Experiment and enjoy. Salt to taste. And Finally, Fresh Salsa. Possibly the best blend of all that fresh goodness of the Farmer’s Market.
  • 4-6 tomatoes finely diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, rinsed, stems removed and finely chopped.
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (careful, raw garlic can add serious heat!)
  • 1 jalepeno pepper, seeds and veins removed. Finely chopped
  • 1 bunch green peppers, thinly sliced or finely chopped
  • 1/2 to whole lemon juice (3+ tablespoons)
  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • 1 T vinegar (cider, wine or rice vinegar)
  • 1/2 t salt (salt to taste)
Mix ingredients together and allow to rest for at least 1/2 hour before serving.  

Comments Off on Dairy Pros and Cons

Dairy Pros and Cons

Category : Healthy Eating

by Karin Jennings

 

June is Dairy Month, and at the risk of being thrown out of Wisconsin, I will say that dairy has its pros and cons. Contrary to what the USDA recommends you do not need to consume dairy products daily. Some people can enjoy dairy as part of a healthy diet, but many others cannot and should not consume dairy products.

 

Here are some frequently asked questions about dairy:

 

Do we need dairy in our diets?

It really depends upon who you ask. The USDA recommends three servings of dairy daily, but many nutrition experts will tell you dairy is optional or that you should avoid it completely.

 

Check out the difference between the Harvard Plate and the USDA Plate and you can see they are quite similar, but Harvard has left out the milk. Why? According to the Harvard School of Public Health website: The Harvard Healthy Eating Plate is based exclusively on the best available science and was not subjected to political or commercial pressures from food industry lobbyists. Read full article

 

Harvard School of Public Health

Harvard School of Public Health: Milk is NOT included as part of each meal They recommend one to two servings of dairy daily

   
USDA plate

USDA plate: Recommends 3 servings of dairy per day and implies drinking a glass of milk with each meal.

 

Dr. Mark Hyman, author of Ultra Metabolism argues against daily milk consumption: “From an evolutionary point of view, milk is a strange food for humans. Until 10,000 years ago we didn’t domesticate animals and weren’t able to drink milk (unless some brave hunter-gather milked a wild tiger or buffalo!). If you don’t believe that, consider this: The majority of humans naturally stop producing significant amounts of lactase — the enzyme needed to properly metabolize lactose, the sugar in milk — sometime between the ages of two and five. In fact, for most mammals, the normal condition is to stop producing the enzymes needed to properly digest and metabolize milk after they have been weaned. Our bodies just weren’t made to digest milk on a regular basis. Instead, most scientists agree that it’s better for us to get calcium, potassium, protein, and fats from other food sources, like whole plant foods — vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seaweed.”

 

How do I know if I should give up dairy?

Try an elimination diet. Cut dairy out of your diet completely (no milk, cheese, yogurt, or ice cream) for two weeks and see if you feel better.

 

You may notice improvements with the following: · acne · sinuses · post-nasal drip · headaches · irritable bowel syndrome · body weight

 

After two weeks start eating dairy again and see how you feel. If you feel worse, you should try to give it up for life. If you don’t see any changes after eliminating dairy (except for craving ice cream) and you don’t note any difference when you add them back into your diet then you can probably continue to eat dairy on a limited basis.

 

Should I eat/drink low-fat or no-fat dairy products?

Here’s an excerpt from TIME magazine, March 2015: “In terms of obesity, we found no support for the notion that low-fat dairy is healthier,” says Dr. Mario Kratz, first author of the review and a nutrition scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Of the 25 studies included in his team’s review, Kratz says 18 reported lower body weights, less weight gain, or a lower risk for obesity among full-fat dairy eaters. The other seven studies were inconclusive. “None of the research suggested low-fat dairy is better,” he says.
According to Michael Pollan in his book In Defense of Food: “To make dairy products low fat, it’s not enough to remove the fat. You then have to go to great lengths to preserve the body or creamy texture by working in all kinds of food additives. In the case of low-fat or skim milk, that usually means adding powdered milk. But powdered milk contains oxidized cholesterol, which scientists believe is much worse for your arteries than ordinary cholesterol, so food makers sometimes compensate by adding antioxidants, further complicating what had been a simple one-ingredient whole food. Also, removing the fat makes it that much harder for your body to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins that are one of the reasons to drink milk in the first place.”

 

How much dairy should I eat?

As mentioned earlier, it depends upon who you ask. The USDA recommends three servings; Harvard School of Public Health recommends one to two servings and many other experts will say to skip it altogether. That leads us to another good question…

 

What is a serving?

At XO Fitness we have adopted Precision Nutrition’s advice and advise clients to use their hand to judge their serving sizes. Some dairy products are considered a protein such as cottage cheese so a serving would be the size of you palm (Men can have two servings while women should have one). Others are very high in fat (such as butter or cheese) so the serving size is one to two thumbs. In most cases, we recommend referring to the label on the package. Milk (skim & 1%) is not are considered a protein, but instead it is classified as a carbohydrate because is has a lot of sugar (lactose).

 

What are some good milk alternatives?

Lisa Leake, author of 100 Days of Real Food, suggests that if you drink milk alternatives you should be sure to choose those that are unsweetened. Her top choices would be either unsweetened full-fat coconut milk or almond milk…or even brown rice milk. She does not recommend soy milk because soy is already an additive in so many packaged foods.

 

Do I need dairy for healthy bones and teeth?

No. If you want healthy bones, get plenty of weight bearing exercise and supplement with 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily. In fact, some parts of the world with the lowest incidence of osteoporosis also have very low consumption of dairy.

 

What about getting enough calcium?

Dr. Hyman recommends getting your calcium from foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, sesame tahini, sea vegetables, and sardines or salmon with the bones.

 

So, here’s my two cents worth:

When it comes to dairy, the health effects seem to vary greatly between individuals. If it negatively affects you there is no harm in cutting it out of your diet. If you like dairy and it likes you then go ahead and enjoy it, but keep in mind the portion sizes mentioned earlier! Personally, I am able to consume dairy without any negative side effects. I avoid low-fat and no-fat dairy products, but eat cheese, cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, and use butter and half-and-half (coffee without it just isn’t the same). I choose not to eat meat, so I utilize dairy to help me get enough protein.

 

Brief Disclaimer: XO Fitness, LLC and employees do not claim to be dietitians and cannot render specific nutrition advice related to a medical condition or provide detailed nutritional analysis.  Individuals seeking these services should see a registered dietitian. The information in this article is meant to help the reader become more aware of the wide range of opinions on the consumption of dairy and encourage individuals to decide what is best for them.

Comments Off on >Great ideas from clients

>Great ideas from clients

Category : Healthy Eating

>Great Idea #1: Frozen Grapes
Thanks to Denise K. this is now one of my kids’ favorite treats. Just put some grapes in a ziploc baggie and freeze them. They come out like little frozen popsicles with alot less sugar. Grown-ups like them too!

Great Suggestion #2: A substitute for ice cream
Lyn recommends this recipe from “The South Beach Diet”

Mocha Ricotta Creme
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. sugar substitute
dash espresso powder
5 chocolate chips

Mix together the ricotta, cocoa powder, vanilla, and sugar substitute in a dessert bowl. Serve with a dusting of espresso powder (if you’ve got it) and the chocolate chips.

Calories: 261
Protien: 15 g
Carbohydrates: 17 g
Fat: 14 g

Comments Off on Spring Clean Your Pantry

Spring Clean Your Pantry

Category : Healthy Eating

Now is the time to spring clean your pantry!


  • Want to lose weight?
  • Want to have more energy?
  • Want to feel good about what you are eating?


Cleaning out your pantry and changing your shopping patterns may seem like a lot of work up front, however once you have adopted the whole foods lifestyle you will feel much better about what you and your family are eating, have more energy and most likely lose weight.

You can do it…click here to find out how!!

Comments Off on New Year’s Resolution Success

New Year’s Resolution Success

Category : Exercise, Healthy Eating

A University of Scranton study suggests that only 8% of people achieve New Year’s Resolution Success.


How can you make 2017 a success?

  • Set behavior based goals
  • Track yourself on a daily/weekly basis
  • Reward yourself for sticking with it
  • Forgive yourself if you’re not perfect
Read more New Year Resolution Success 2017

Comments Off on Holiday Survival Guide

Holiday Survival Guide

Category : Exercise, Healthy Eating

Get through December without putting on the pounds read our Holiday Survival Guide!


It’s hard to stick to a healthy eating and exercise plan during the holidays. Everywhere you turn there are tempting foods and drinks—from treats at the office to your traditional family favorites. When you add in a busy schedule filled with shopping and social events that make it tough to squeeze in exercise, you have a recipe for disaster as far as your scale is concerned.


Read Holiday Survival Guide  

Comments Off on Healthy Strong Skeleton

Healthy Strong Skeleton

Category : Active Living, Healthy Eating

Do you have a healthy strong skeleton?


If you are a woman, you have a 50/50 chance of suffering a fracture related to osteoporosis according to the National Institutes of Health. As for men, one in eight are expected to fracture a bone due to this disease. Osteoporosis affects women more than men because women have less bone mass and begin to lose bone at a younger age.

Are you at risk for osteoporosis?


Some risks are beyond your control such as being female, post-menopausal & Caucasian. Women can lose 20 percent of their bone density during the 5-7 years following menopause. Beginning at menopause women should have their bone density checked every two years.
Men in their fifties do not experience the rapid loss of bone mass that women do, however, by age 65 or 70, men and women lose bone mass at the same rate. Whether you are a man or woman your lifestyle is very important to your skeleton’s health. You can reduce your risk with appropriate exercise and diet; not to mention smoking cessation.

Exercise for a healthy strong skeleton


The muscles and tendons attached to the bones pull on them stimulating them to produce more bone cells. The best exercises for prevention of osteoporosis are those described as “weight-bearing”: walking, running, aerobic dance and weight training. In fact, “high-impact” exercises such as running and jumping are very beneficial if you are fit enough to do these activities without injuring yourself. Non-impact exercise such as biking and swimming will not help with bone density. Keep in mind that only the bones being stressed will get stronger, so performing an exercise such as running will strengthen the bones in your lower body, however your upper body will still require some attention.

skeleton-walking

What if you already have been diagnosed with osteoporosis?


Many people are afraid to exercise once they have been diagnosed with osteoporosis because they are concerned that exercise may cause a fracture. However, exercise can be very beneficial even after diagnosis. MayoClinic.com recommends three kinds of exercise: 1) strength training to improve your posture; 2) low-impact aerobic exercises such as walking, elliptical trainer and step aerobics; and 3) flexibility exercises to improve your posture and balance. Those with osteoporosis should avoid high-impact exercises (such as jumping or running) as well as exercises which require bending forward or twisting at the waist such as touching your toes, using a rowing machine, golf, tennis, bowling and some yoga and Pilates movements. Be sure to get your doctor’s approval before you begin an exercise program.

Eating for a healthy strong skeleton


Caffeine, alcohol, sugar and salt cause more calcium to be lost than absorbed. Also, a diet high in animal protein can contribute to bone loss because animal protein leaches calcium from the bones. A series of studies from the Cornell-China-Oxford Project on Nutrition, Health and Environment, by nutritional biochemist T. Colin Campbell and his colleagues, suggests that increased levels of animal-based proteins, including protein from dairy products, “almost certainly contribute to a significant loss of bone calcium while vegetable-based diets clearly protect against bone loss”.
A conservative interpretation of the report is that you definitely shouldn’t increase animal protein intake to get your calcium. In other words, don’t add several glasses of milk per day to your current diet. Instead, replace low calcium protein sources with high calcium protein sources such as: beans (navy, white, soy & black-eyed peas), fortified breakfast cereals, soy products (tofu, soy-based beverages), calcium-fortified orange juice, and some dark green leafy vegetables (collard greens, turnip greens, bok choy, mustard greens).

bones-best-foods

Calcium & Vitamin D


Getting enough calcium, whether through diet, supplements, or both, is essential to maintaining bone strength and can prevent osteoporosis-related fractures. Vitamin D plays a major role in calcium absorption and bone health. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) recommends adults under age 50 need 1,000 mg of calcium daily and 400-800 IU of Vitamin D. For adults age 50 and over 1,200 mg of calcium daily and 800-1000 IU vitamin D are recommended.

Be good to your skeleton and give it the exercise and nutrients it needs to stay healthy and support you throughout your life. I hope you and your skeleton have a fun and safe Halloween! –Karin.

Comments Off on Halloween Candy vs. Burpees

Halloween Candy vs. Burpees

Category : Healthy Eating

It’s the second week of October,

stores are well-stocked with trick-or-treat candy,

but does that mean you need to stock your pantry?!


Be realistic, if you buy Halloween candy now will it actually be around on October 31st when the kids come knocking?

Leave the candy in the store until just a few days before Halloween….

otherwise, stepping on the scale might get a little scary!

 

Burpee Calculator source: saratogamama.com

This might help put things in perspective…you love burpees, right?

Comments Off on How Skinny is your Kitchen?

How Skinny is your Kitchen?

Category : Healthy Eating

Is your kitchen helping or hurting your weight-loss efforts?

Did you know that the average woman who keeps a box of breakfast cereal visible anywhere in her kitchen weighs about 21 pounds more than her neighbor who doesn’t? How about that having potato chips or crackers  in plain sight causes you to weigh 8 pounds more than your neighbor who puts them out of sight (or better yet don’t keep them in the house!)

Recently I read an article by Brian Wansink, PhD author of “Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life”. In his book he provides a 100-point checklist to evaluate your kitchen. However in the spirit of “taking baby-steps” and not trying to change everything at once I wanted to start by sharing the 10-point checklist he offers in his article “Food-Related Behavior Change Made Easy”.

How many of the following are true in your home?

  • Salad and vegetables are served first before the entrée and starches are brought to the table.
  • The main dish is pre-plated and served from the stove or counter (not family style).
  • Your dinner plates are 9-10 inches in diameter.
  • You eat sitting at a table with the TV turned off.
  • There are two or fewer cans of soft drinks in your refrigerator at any one time. (Doesn’t matter if it’s diet or regular soda).
  • Your kitchen counters are organized (not messy).
  • Precut fruits and vegetables are now on your middle refrigerator shelf.
  • At least 6 single servings of protein are in your fridge: Hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, string cheese, tofu, etc.
  • Your snacks are kept in one inconveniently located cupboard.
  • The only food on your kitchen counter is a fruit bowl.

How many did you check? If you checked seven or more, congratulations, you’re doing great. If you scored less than seven which ones can you change in the next week?

You eat what you see first, so the ONLY food that should be on your kitchen counter is a fruit bowl!

You eat what you see first, so the ONLY food that should be on your kitchen counter is a fruit bowl!

P.S. Learn more about Dr Wansink’s book “Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life” at www.slimbydesign.org

Comments Off on Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

Category : Healthy Eating

Who knew mashing avocado on toast was trendy? Certainly not me…I’ve been making avocado toast for years because it’s quick, easy, delicious and nutritious.

I was very surprised to learn from a client (who travels a whole lot more than I do) that avocado toast is “a thing” on both coasts and here in the mid-west we’re missing out!!  I accidentally invented avocado toast (for myself) years ago because it’s a great substitute for some less desirable condiments such as mayo or butter.

Please, don’t worry about how many calories are in an avocado. The health benefits of the avocado far outweigh any concern you may have about the fat content… it’s monounsaturated fat which is “heart healthy” plus a little fat goes a long way toward helping you feel full longer so you will actually consume less calories throughout the day.

What’s so great about avocado?

  • They have more potassium than bananas
  • They are high in monounsaturated oleic acid, a “heart healthy” fatty acid that is believed to be one of the main reasons for the health benefits of olive oil.
  • A 100 gram (3.5 ounce) serving of avocado contains 7 grams of fiber, which is 27% of the recommended daily amount.
  • Numerous studies have shown that eating avocado can improve heart disease risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, as well as blood triglycerides.
  • Avocados are high in antioxidants, including Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These nutrients are very important for eye health and lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • They are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as B-vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E and vitamin C.
 
  • One of my favorite breakfasts...avocado and egg sandwich

    One of my favorite breakfasts…avocado and egg sandwich