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 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 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

Comments Off on February’s Fitness & Food Challenge

February’s Fitness & Food Challenge

Category : Upcoming Events

February’s Fitness & Food Challenge

Designed to help you make heart healthy lifestyle changes

 

How?

 

ACCOUNTABILITY!

 

EVERY DAY:

Complete the Fitness & Food Tracking Sheet

 

EVERY WEEK:

Hand in Fitness & Food Tracking Sheet at the front desk

 

What do you need to do?

 

Register no later than January 31st!

Pick up your Fitness & Food packet at the front desk

Cost: $10

Includes cardio membership, Fitness & Food Log, chance to win great prizes!

 

Fitness Challenge

4 week challenge…turn in fitness log weekly for prizes!

(You can exercise with us or on your own.)

Complete 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days per week

 

OR

 

Complete 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise 3 days per week

 

AND

 

Complete at least 2 days per week of strength training

 

Food Challenge

Eat 4-5 meals/snacks each day including breakfast for 4 weeks

and complete the weekly challenges listed below!

Turn in Food Log weekly for prizes!

Week 1

Drink a glass of water with every meal/snack

Week 2

Eat a Vegetable or Fruit at each meal/snack

Week 3

Eat a Protein at every meal/snack

Week 4

Avoid fast food & processed foods

Challenge begins February 1st

Register no later than January 31st

 

Comments Off on Protein Quality and Quantity

Protein Quality and Quantity

Category : Healthy Eating

I’ve been a big advocate of protein over the years and have written plenty of articles about the benefits of protein and how to get more protein into your diet. There’s always more to learn though, so I wanted to share what I recently read in this month’s IDEA Fitness Journal called “Tapping the Power of Protein” by Christopher R. Mohr, PhD, RD. This article emphasizes eating high quality protein at least three times per day.

Here’s what I learned:

Be sure to eat protein throughout the day, but particularly at breakfast.

Americans tend to eat most of their protein later in the day, however we should really be eating in for breakfast. According to Stewart Phillips, PhD and professor at McMaster University, “It’s a good idea to aim for around 20 g of protein if you’re younger or 30-40 g if you’re older.” Also, in a 12-week study conducted by Heather Leidy, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri it was discovered that a high protein breakfast (35 g of protein) reduced daily hunger and  led to voluntary reductions of about 400 calories in daily food intake.

Also, not all protein is created equal…

I learned about an amino acid called leucine. When this amino acid is present muscle protein synthesis will occur. So which foods that are high in leucine? IDEA fitness journal’s article mentions the following: cottage cheese, chicken breast, ground beef, wild salmon, whole egg. I searched online for more options because I felt that list was very limited for vegetarians. Here are some good choices: soybeans, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, and white beans. The goal is to eat 2.2-3 g of protein with each meal.

Comments Off on Nutritional Benefits of Watermelon

Nutritional Benefits of Watermelon

Category : Healthy Eating

by Karin Jennings
I recently read a very interesting article about the nutritional benefits of watermelon. I have always been a fan of this fabulous fruit because it’s refreshing and sweet, but I learned there are even more reasons to enjoy watermelon!

Why eat watermelon?

  • First of all, it’s a great source of vitamin C, Vitamin A and potassium.
  • Secondly, it will help you stay hydrated because it is 92% water.
  • Also it contains citrulline and lycopene, according to Penelope Perkins-Veazie, a professor of horticulture in the Plants for Human Health Institute at North Carolina State University. (She has been studying watermelon nutrients for 15 years!!)

How does citrulline benefit your body?

I hadn’t heard of this non-essential amino acid prior reading about it last week, but here’s what found out: It is involved in producing nitric oxide which relaxes blood vessels and lowers blood pressure which benefits the both the brain and heart. It also helps to flush the kidneys.

How does lycopene benefit your body?

The tomato industry has been touting the benefits of lycopene for a while now (I see it on every bottle of ketchup), but it turns out that lycopene is more abundant and easily absorbed from watermelon than from tomatoes. (That’s good…I like watermelon better!) Lycopene reduces plaque build up in arteries and helps prevent prostate cancer.

For those of you who prefer lists…watermelons will improve the following:

  • muscle pain after workouts
  • blood pressure
  • plaque build up in arteries
  • inflammation of the prostate
  • erectile dysfunction
  • menopause symptoms
  • acid reflux

Watermelon is a very healthy snack…here’s the nutritional information:

Two cups of watermelon contains:

  • 80 calories
  • 21 grams of carbohydrates (mostly sugars)
  • 0 grams of fat
  • 0 grams of protein

What about all the sugar?

Don’t worry, according to Perkins-Veazie there is an enzyme present in watermelon which regulates the glucose. It is much healthier than any pre-packaged, processed snack you can buy off the shelf!

Go ahead, enjoy your watermelon!!