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    What’s For Dessert?

    November 7th, 2012 by

    In these days of trying to balance weight loss with our craving for anything good, the most often cited weight loss failure comes from the question “what’s for dessert.  Many of us have the will power to shun dessert completely but more of us have the inability to give up our scrumptious favorites.  For those of us who still prefer to have dessert now and then, here are four ideas to enjoy while keeping our need under 400 calories.

     Peanut Butter & Chocolate Pudding:  A delicious easy snack to satisfy your chocolate cravings.

    Ingredients:  1/4 cup natural peanut butter, 2 cups skim milk, 1 package low calorie instant chocolate pudding

    Directions:  Mix all ingredients together. Put into a blender or magic bullet. Enjoy!

     Ice Box Cheesecake:  A no bake cheesecake with yummy nut crust.

    Ingredients:  1/4 cup butter, 32 oz cream cheese, 1 cup fluid whipped cream, 1 1/2 cups whole kernels ground almonds, 4 oz splenda.

    Directions:  Cream cheese should be softened, beaten till light and fluffy with mixer. Add 2/3 cup of Splenda and blend in with cream cheese. In a separate bowl whip cream until light and fluffy, volume should double. Add whipped cream to cream cheese mixture, beat together until thoroughly mixed. For crust, chop almonds (pecans or walnuts can be used as well) until texture is finer but still with small pieces of nut. Add 1/4 cup of Splenda and the butter, melted. Spread crust in 8″ x 10″ pan. Crust will be thin but small amount will hold the filling fine, spread cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

     Chocolate Pound Cake:  It doesn’t get much better than making chocolate cake from scratch.

    Ingredients: 3 large eggs, 1 3/4 cups milk, 3 cups sugar, 1 cup softened butter, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract, 3 tsps baking powder, 1 cup cocoa, 1 tbsp icing sugar, 3 cups all-purpose flour.

    Directions:  Pre-heat oven to 350 °F (175 °C). Spray 10″ (12 cup) Bundt pan with non-stick spray and dust lightly with cocoa. Cream butter and sugar together with electric mixer.  Blend in vanilla, then blend in eggs, one at a time. Combine remaining dry ingredients in a bowl, then alternately add to creamed ingredients with milk. Add batter to prepared  Bundt pan.  Bake at 350 °F for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool cake on rack for 15 minutes when done. Turn out of pan to cool completely.  Dust icing sugar lightly over top.

     Pumpkin Almond Spice Bread:  A hearty holiday bread that’s gluten-free and low-carbohydrate.

    Ingredients:  5 large eggs, 1/2 cup butter, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/3 cup dried Cranberries, 1 cup canned pumpkin, 2 cups whole kernels almond meal, 2 oz coconut flakes (1/2 cup), 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, 4 tbsps ground flax seed meal, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 24 servings 1 packet splenda (1 cup equivalent).

    Directions:  Pre-heat oven to 400 °F (200 °C). Prepare a loaf pan by lining it with parchment and spraying with non-stick spray. In a medium bowl combine all dry ingredients, except for walnuts and cranberries, mix well. In a large bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer combine all wet ingredients. Mix well.  Start gradually adding dry ingredients mixing gently until all are incorporated. Mixture should be the consistency of cake batter. Add walnuts and cranberries, fold in with wooden spoon or spatula. Pour batter into loaf pan, cover with foil. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove foil and reduce temperature to 350 °F (175 °C).  Bake for another 35-45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Notes: use unsweetened cranberries and unsweetened coconut. Bake in muffin pan for cupcakes. Top with cream cheese frosting for a pumpkin cake.

     

    Where To Get Good Sugar

    October 5th, 2012 by

    With 25.8 million US children and adults with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), watching your sugar intake means more than curbing your candy habit. So what do you do when you have a hankering for something sweet? Whether you’re living with diabetes or changing your diet to help prevent diabetes, learning about how to reach for “good sugar” is a healthy choice. From honey to agave nectar, get the skinny on these 10 sources of good sugar.

    Apples – Apples have a low glycemic index number based on glucose, which measures how fast a food is likely to cause your blood sugar levels to rise. Crunching on one of these before bed or during mild activity will keep your blood sugar from dropping.

    Honey – Honey is sweeter than refined sugar, which means you may need less to sweeten your food. However, be aware that honey still contains a significant amount of sugar and should be used in moderation.

    Bananas – This on-the-go fruit is a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, and has a medium range on the glycemic index. For those who follow the glycemic index, you’ll have to estimate your glucose intake, since bananas can vary widely in size.

    Agave nectar – Also known as the source of tequila, the agave plant provides a natural source of sugar, and is a great alternative to artificial sweeteners.

    Pineapples – Fresh, frozen or canned fruits with no added sugars are the best good sources of sugar. When you crave something sweet, try a small serving of juicy pineapple, which packs a lot of sugar in small amounts.

    Carrots – Boiled or fresh, carrots pack a lot of satisfying crunch, along with good sugar.

    Beets – Canned beets are easy to prepare and can help you maintain your blood sugar while satisfying your need for good sugar.

    Yogurt – Even though plain yogurt contains some sugar, the healthy benefits of this calcium- and probiotic-rich food make it a good source of sugar.

    Prunes – Another fruit with a low glycemic index, prunes are a great source of antioxidants as well as potassium, giving this chewy snack its “super fruit” nickname.

    Whole wheat bread – Carbohydrates plays an active role in your blood sugar levels, so counting carbs as well as sugars is important. Opt for stone-ground whole wheat bread over its more-processed fine-ground wheat or white bread cousin.

    “We’ve seen that diabetes has been on the rise for quite a while, but the new data from the CDC is a real wake-up call,” says Robert R. Henry, MD, president, Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association, in a recent press release. “One in four Americans living with diabetes is still undiagnosed, highlighting how essential it is for Americans to know if they are at risk and take action, if needed.” So even if you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes, you don’t have to eat diet food to prevent development of this disease; simply managing your glucose intake, exercising and reaching for good sources of sugar can help stack the numbers in your favor — and it’s never too late to start!

     

    How to Help The Health of Your Family

    September 24th, 2012 by

     

    Children are especially susceptible to the effects of refined sugars. The goal of any responsible parent is to slowly start decreasing the refined sugars in your child’s diet and replace them with nutritional sources of carbohydrates with slower releasing sugars.

    Here are some practical tips around today’s topic on sugar that can have dramatic effects, both on a physical and mental level, on your child.

    1. Never skip breakfast. It is not an old wives tale that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. After a period of fasting during sleep, the body needs to replenish vital glucose stocks. Breakfast is the meal that will stand as the nutritional foundation for the rest of the day. Build a poor foundation and don’t be surprised if the walls come down.
    2. Eat a nutritional breakfast. Throw out the white bread and the sweetened cereals and don’t buy into the marketing hype about corn flakes or sugar coated pops (with added vitamins) being a good start to the day. This is rubbish as we will see a little later in an example case study. We will look a little later at glycaemic load of foods and what foods to avoid. For now feed your child some fresh fruit followed by any combination of the following: rolled oats porridge, fish, lightly poached or scrambled eggs (not fried!) and brown or wholewheat bread or toast.
    3. Slowly replace refined sugars with better sugars. Fructose is an ideal sugar replacement and is available in most pharmacies and health shops. Fructose is a more complex molecule than glucose and although it will eventually be broken down into glucose, it will do so slowly creating a better more sustained release. Fructose, in my humble opinion, is also a far nicer sweetener than sugar. Also try and stay away from other high release sugars such as honey and syrup.
    4. Lunch time and Fruit. Limit access to rubbish foods. If your child is at school and does not have the money to buy chocolates and fizzy drinks but rather has a nutritional and delicious packed lunch then that is far better. Rather than giving a jam sandwich offer a whole-wheat one with peanut butter (preferably unsweetened). Give your child fresh fruit and/or vegetables at every meal. A tip here is buying your fruit on the weekend, chop it up, add a little orange juice to preserve it and put it in the fridge. This will act as a very good and convenient source of fruit for your children and takes the preparation time hassle out of supplying the fruit.
    5. Avoid artificial or sweetened drinks. Children very often prefer plain water by choice however if they are hankering for juice then provide pure 100% fruit juice half diluted with water (should be as little preservative as possible – if the expiry date says good until 2010 then it’s a no no).
    6. Watch for signs of glucose imbalance. Children, especially active children do not have the reserves that adults do and as such they are often prone to nutritional dips throughout the day. If your child starts to play up and get irritable an hour or two before meals then top them up with some fruit or a slice of delicious seed bread and natural butter. Very often the bodies’ desire for glucose will leave the child asking for juice or sweets and that is a warning sign.
    7. Top them up after sports. This ties in nicely with point 6, when picking your child up from sports, take a banana or sandwich along – this will help top up the reserves of glucose used up from the muscle and liver reserves and prevent a glucose imbalance related problem.

     

    How Can Obese People Exercise

    September 13th, 2012 by

    We hear a lot about obesity these days, and the usual solutions range from gastric bypass surgery to the inevitable plea for diet and exercise. But with all this attention, there’s one aspect of obesity no one’s really talking about.  Besides the obvious challenges of being overweight or obese in our world, when it comes to exercise, plus-sized people have even more obstacles getting in their way.  Gyms can be scary even for the most experienced exerciser. Walking into a room full of sweaty exercisers, all of whom seem to know what they’re doing, is hard for many of us.

    Those of us who suffer from obesity usually have some other factor to deal with also.  Factors such as knee or feet problems and the weight limits on most exercise machines prevent most obese people from  doing the workout routines used by others.  This means that obese people must find alternative forms of exercise in order to lose weight and try to become healthier.

    Swimming is a recommended exercise for obese people, and while this is wonderful if you have a pool in your backyard, what if you don’t? Walking around in a bathing suit causes instant panic for plenty of people, but even more so if you’re overweight or obese.  Recumbent bikes are another good option for obese people. The problem is, many aren’t built with big enough seats, and climbing onto them can be a real challenge. Walking is a simple exercise that can be done anywhere, right? For people with joint or knee problems, walking isn’t always comfortable, and some of my clients have even experienced name-calling and other rude behavior when they’ve gone out for a walk.

    Being obese and being overweight are two different things. What doctors use to determine which one you are involves your Body Mass Index (BMI). To calculate your BMI you divide your body weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. If you’re mathematically limited, as I am, you can simply use this BMI calculator. BMI is used to track body fat according to your height and your weight, but it doesn’t distinguish between lean body tissue and fat. BMI can be misleading for very muscular people or for pregnant women.  A BMI between 25 and 29 is considered overweight and a BMI greater than 30 is considered obese. If you’re BMI is 30 or greater, see your doctor and get a checkup before you start exercising or dieting.

    Before you do anything, always see your doctor to make sure you can safely exercise without hurting yourself. If you’re taking medication, find out how to monitor yourself since some heart or blood pressure medications can affect your heart rate. Make sure you get details from the doc about exactly what you can and can’t do. If you’ve never exercised, the last thing you want to do is hurt yourself by doing too much too soon.

    September Fruits & Vegetables that are in season

    September 6th, 2012 by

    Nothing is better than enjoying some great fruits and vegetables when they are in season fresh from your local marketplace. Take a peek at some of the fruits and veggies in season this month, and be sure to share some of your favorite recipes with us using these ingredients!

    Is It Better To Eat Before Or After A Workout

    August 24th, 2012 by

    To eat or not to eat… this simple question has a simple yet complex answer. Both strategies (eating before and eating after exercise) are good for performance, fitness, and health. However, how to eat for exercise is dependent on several factors, specifically, how long you exercise, your type of exercise, your exercise experience, and health factors that may play a role in how you process food. Nutrition plays a key role in building fitness, that’s for sure.

    Let’s start with eating before exercise. What you choose to eat before you exercise can make or break your workout. Food is fuel, and it’s important to eat at least something prior to a workout. Eating before exercise serves several functions: it fuels your muscles (both with food eaten in the days before as well as the hour or two before), helps settle your stomach and avoid hunger, helps prevent low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) — symptoms can include dizziness, nausea, and headaches and fortifies your mental state by knowing that your body is fueled.

    What and how much you eat vary from person to person and sport to sport, with no right or wrong choice. The way to learn how much and what to eat is to experiment to see what works for you. Your food preferences may vary with the time of day, type of exercise, and level of exercise intensity. Consider the following guidelines: Eat a balanced diet every day so your body is fueled and ready for action, allow enough time to digest, avoid high fat proteins, eat for the duration of your workout and drink plenty of fluids.

    Now, about eating after exercise: if you are a competitive athlete, what you eat after a workout is just as important as what you eat leading up to a workout, because your body needs to recover and replace glycogen stores in time for the next workout. If you are a recreational exerciser and work out 2 – 3 times per week, you need not worry as much about post-exercise foods because your body will have enough time between workouts to recover. It’s common not to want to eat after exercise, because you may not feel hungry and/or don’t have time. Learning to eat right after a workout, though, has benefits.

    Studies have shown that 15 – 60 minutes after a workout is the optimal time to eat carbohydrate rich foods and drinks (e.g., banana, bagel, orange juice) because that is when enzymes that make glycogen are most active and will most quickly replace depleted glycogen stores in the muscles. Protein also helps with recovery in that it repairs muscle and helps with glycogen replacement. Eat a few slices of turkey on a wheat bagel, or have a large glass of protein fortified milk. The most important nutritional strategy post workout, though, is fluid replacement. Drink water, juice, or carbohydrate rich sports drinks to replace what you sweat out.

     

    Choosing Your Diet Supplementation Regimen

    August 8th, 2012 by

    Last year, herb, mineral and vitamin sales in the United States alone topped $22 billion. Though these products certainly hold their share of benefits, consumers must take the time to educate themselves in order to properly reap them. A great number of these nutrients can be obtained through proper diet, but when it comes to taste, maintaining a healthy intake can be difficult for some.

    1. Keep in mind that you are more than capable of obtaining the majority of the minerals and vitamins your body requires through a varied and balanced diet. Start by incorporating 2 ½ cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruits into your meals. When it comes to supplements, they just as effective as the food items they come in naturally. Take a good review at the old food pyramid to help determine the basics of a healthy diet. In all, fewer than 10% of U.S. citizens adhere to a balanced diet, consisting of the 18 minerals and vitamins our bodies require.

    2. Use the food pyramid to determine which areas are lacking in your diet and choose your supplements based around your findings. As an example, many vegetarians commonly lack the proper amount of daily B12. This vitamin can be taken as a supplement, or found in dairy, cereal, egg, and meat products.

    3 . When it comes to purchasing supplements, name brand products are not necessarily important. Most every generic supplement is going to be just as effective as its name brand counterpart; often saving consumers a bit of cash. Furthermore, the difference between synthetic and natural products is next to nothing, aside from a minor price difference.

    4. Read before you buy! When purchasing supplements, it’s always important to take a good look at the label. Check the expiration date, and keep an eye out of labels that show an NSF, USF or Consumerland logo. These stamps indicate that the product has passed all potency, purity and availability tests.

    5. Search for healthy dietary supplements that offer 100% of the daily value for the nutrient and vitamin it is providing. Taking more than the recommended dose can put you at risk for adverse reactions or side effects. When considering your multivitamin options, inspect the label to ensure it provides 100% of less of the vitamins, A, C, D, E, vitamin B6, niacin, vitamin B12, folic acid, calcium, zinc, selenium, iodine, riboflavin, magnesium and thiamin.

    Interested in beginning your supplement regimen? Visit Slimside.com today! With a full inventory of products to choose from, you can count on Slimside.com’s affordable prices, superior selection, and first-class service to have you feeling great in no time!

    Dietary Supplement Guide For A Healthy Heart

    August 2nd, 2012 by

    Though taking multivitamins is a great step forward in the fight for health, if your diet lacks in some key areas, you may still be missing nutrients your heart needs to maintain optimum health. By creating a heart healthy dietary supplements plan, combined with proper diet and exercise, you will effectively lower the threat of high blood pressure, heart disease and heart attack.

     Fish Oil (Omega 3)

    Recent studies have shows omega-3 fatty acids to be essential to heart health. In addition to preventing strokes and atherosclerosis, they have also proved an essential ally against heart attacks. Omega-3 fatty acids are most commonly found in fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna. If you’re not much of a fish fan, or don’t get quite as much of it in your diet as you’d like, flax seed or fish oil supplements are a wonderful means to even the playing field. When using fish oil supplements, it’s important to keep an eye on the expiration date… as these products can go bad over time. The bottle should also provide you with dosage directions – Though many people do well with 3,000 milligrams per day. If you have doubts, there’s never any harm in consulting your general physician.

    Hawthorn

    Supplements taken from hawthorn have been long used as a means of regulating blood pressure and heart beat, while working to address chest pain. Studies show that regular use of hawthorn supplements is effective in relaxing blood vessels and improving blood flow to the heart. These benefits are due to the plant’s natural antioxidants, which can also be found in grapes. Hawthorn is also commonly used for treatment of individual who have experienced congestive heart failure. Supplements can be purchased in capsules, with a recommended dose of 160 – 900mg daily. And once again… it never hurts to consult your physician prior to use.

    Grape-Seed Extract

    As we mentioned above, the same antioxidants found in hawthorn to improve blood flow and relax blood vessels are also found in grapes. Called procyanidins, these antioxidants are believed by many to be the reason why enjoying a glass or red wine is beneficial in the fight against heart disease.  As such, many people have turned to grape-seed extract in an effort to regulate lower blood pressure. These supplements can also be purchased in capsules, and the recommended dosage lies between 200 – 300mg daily to ensure the best results.

    If you’re searching for healthy and affordable dietary supplements, Slimside.com is the site for you! With a full inventory of quality products to choose from, you can count on Slimside’s competitive prices, superior selection, and commitment to excellence to have you smiling and feeling great in no time. Stop by our online store today!

    How Does a High Protein Diet Work?

    July 19th, 2012 by

    There are hundreds of diets out there just waiting for the next person to come along and try them.  Some are free and some of them, such as weight watchers, Jenny Craig, etc. cost continuing fees.  I have tried many of them in my quest to lose weight and found that most of them work if you follow the meal plan explicitly and complete the required exercise portion of the program.  The exercise portion is usually where we fall off the wagon.

    I started gaining weight about ten years ago when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and started on a regiment of pills.  Of course, the main side effect of all of these pills was weight gain.  I remember talking to my doctor after gaining eighty pounds and him telling me that if I would lose the weight, I would probably not need the pills.  My obvious response was that if I stopped taking the pills, I would lose the weight.  The problem with that theory is that we lose the wrong kind of weight if we stop taking the pills.

    I recently came across a diet that I had not heard of and decided to give it a try, not actually believing the claims that were made. It was presented to me as a high protein diet that consisted of eating some very consistent food choices along with the exercise portion which was only a 30 minute walk every day.  I felt I could handle the walk and decided to give the meal plan week to produce results.  I was told that I would lose 10-15 pounds per week if I followed this exactly as written.

    The main downfall of this diet is the lack of variety but what can a week hurt.  The meal plan consist of the following:

     

    Breakfast

    3 egg whites cooked to desire (I made an omelet)

    1 package of plain Oatmeal or ½ cup dry whole grain cereal (think cheerios)

    1 cup green veggies

    Mid Morning Snack

    1 can tuna

    1 cup green veggies

    ¼ cup raw almonds

    Lunch

    4oz chicken or fish (unbreaded and not fried)

    1 sweet potato (baked in microwave with only spray butter)

    2 cups green veggies

    Afternoon Snack

    Celery

    2 oz natural peanut butter (ingredients: roasted peanuts & salt only)

    1 cup green veggies

    Dinner

    Salad of spinach leaves and leafy green lettuce (no Iceberg or Romaine)

    4oz chicken or fish (unbreaded and not fried)

    Salad dressing made of 1 tablespoon Flax Oil and 1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar

    1 cup veggies.

     

    The results of this high protein diet after one week?  Well, not as good as promised but then I missed the walking for two days and added one slice of fat free cheese to my omelet.  Even with that I dropped seven pounds in one week.  Perhaps more important, before I started I was taking in 100 units of insulin per day and my blood sugar still ran in the 300-450 range most of the time.  After 4 days, my sugar level was down in the 101-117 range and I had to stop wearing my insulin pump and did not require any insulin shots.  The lack of insulin has led me to have more energy than ever and the seven pounds were a plus.  I would recommend this diet to anyone who can handle the lack of variety in their diet and anyone who has blood sugar problems.

     

    What Is Your Fitness Plan ?

    July 10th, 2012 by

    Fitness isn’t just a plan you embark on, along with a diet, to lose weight. It’s a lifelong love of movement that will help you maintain good health and the physique you want. We’ve compiled some workout routines and ideas to help you along your way.

    If you feel uncomfortable going to a gym, a 10-minute walk, twice weekly, is an excellent first step toward better fitness. If you enjoy and can afford it, get a regular massage as well. Consider buying a good beginner’s exercise tape, too.

    Start a walking routine, two or three times a week, for 15 to 20 minutes. If you feel like it, jog for a few minutes during each walk. Do a few jumping jacks, sit-ups, or push-ups — along with stretches — in the morning before work. Jump rope with your kids or buy yourself a Hula Hoop. Take an in-line skating class, or start going out dancing occasionally with friends.

    In addition to formal exercise, there are many opportunities to be active throughout the day. Any activity will burn calories. The more you move around, the more energy you’ll have. Some ways that you can be more active throughout the day include:

    • Walk instead of drive whenever possible
    • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
    • Work in the garden, rake leaves, or do some housecleaning every day
    • Park at the far end of the shopping center lot and walk to the store
    • Walk down every aisle of the grocery store
    • Walk in place or stretch while you watch TV
    • Walk around the house or up and down stairs while you talk on the phone
    • Get up from your desk and take a lap around the office once each hour while you are at work

    The important thing to remember is that you should find a type of exercise that you enjoy.  The key to success in any fitness program is continuity. If you are trying to force yourself into a workout plan that is miserable for you, eventually you will stop your workouts because they will become tedious and tiring to the point that you no longer even attempt them.

    If you like to shop, you can go to your nearest shopping mall and combine a good brisk walk with some window shopping that can give you a source of enjoyable exercise and later you can go back to the store to explore the window items you passed during your walk.

    Exercise is important to everyone, not only those who are trying to lose weight.  Exercise provides your body with a necessary function to keep your body in top working condition.  Working out your joints will help prevent arthritis later in life.  A good cardio workout on a regular basis will strengthen you heart muscle and will help to prevent heart problems down the road.

    Whatever road to exercise you decide to take, just make sure that it is fun and enjoyable and that will enable you to continue your routine for a lifetime of good health.