Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lost and Found: Losing Weight and Terrific Finds

The battle of the bulge just might be won through small victories-- one portion, one pound and one pair of shoes at a time! While the major health benefits of achieving a healthy weight include reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and osteoarthritis; relatively minor and unexpected changes may provide the day to day motivation needed to maintain weight loss. Dieters sharing thoughts on the Calorie Count pages of listed “Being able to walk in heels a lot longer and a lot easier” and “I can now wear regular-width shoes” among the happy side effects found after losing weight.
Dietitian Marsha Hudnall, of Green Mountain at Fox Run, a women’s wellness retreat in Ludlow, Vermont says, “The rewards go beyond the numbers on the scale. Women tell us they sleep more soundly, have more energy and feel better when they begin to eat more healthfully and learn how to be physically active again.” Hudnall spoke in Atlanta recently at the American Dietetic Association’s annual symposium for registered dietitians who work in the field of weight management.
2011 James Beard Award nominated Atlanta chef Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene spoke to the dietitians about the importance of teaching clients simple ways to add healthy flavor to foods by demonstrating an easy recipe for citrus vinaigrette, “I use fresh lemon in everything. It’s a gift along with fresh parsley and cracked black pepper.” This got me thinking about more examples of “lost and found”- such as losing the habit of adding too much salt or sugar to foods and finding flavors in healthy ingredients. Hopkins deftly cut up a whole organic chicken and tossed the carcass in a pot of water with bits of carrots, celery and onion to quickly create the beginnings of a chicken stock; another healthy kitchen staple, “Chill the stock and the fat rises to the surface. Then skim it off and you’ve got a fat free stock to add flavor to cooked vegetables or grains or make a soup.” But, Hopkins did present a plea to the dietitians on behalf of bacon and his southern food heritage, “I never want to feel that I’m denied. If you take away bacon you take my grandfather away from me.” Not to worry Chef Hopkins or other bacon lovers.
State of the art nutrition guidance from weight management experts includes advice to be mindful when eating by savoring the flavors you love. Another example of ‘lost and found’; lose the notion that eating healthy excludes all forms of fat, sugar and salt and find ways to add a just a bit of sweet, salty and rich ingredients to liven up recipes. For instance, a pinch of salt is only an eighth of a teaspoon. One more tip from Hopkins, “I use Kosher and sea salt exclusively in the kitchen. Season a little at the beginning not just at the end and you won’t need as much.”
While television weight loss competition programs such as “The Biggest Loser” focus on the numbers on a scale as the single sign contestants are heading toward healthier bodies, success can be measured in many other ways.

Lost Weight and Found Surprising Benefits

-I've noticed that as my fingers shrink the diamond in my engagement ring is getting larger!
-My shoes don't wear out as fast (except my gym shoes!)
-Getting in and out of small car easier. I feel much more agile.
- Discovering that I like veggies!
-I am able to jump around and dance and be goofy with my kids.
-I've been told I look anywhere from 10-20 yrs younger than I did when I was heavier.
-So much more energy!
(Compiled from comments posted on Calorie Count page)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Into Action

Green is the color of the month with ‘the wearing of the green’ for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, Atlanta lawns sprouting soft new grass and Spring Break signaling the start of bathing suit season which encourages body conscious diners to add more greens to the menu. Famously clad in green, Peter Pan’s in town this month too flying high over the production of JM Barrie’s Peter Pan at Pemberton Place in downtown Atlanta. Add to that the focus on adding a variety of colorful foods to your diet for National Nutrition Month this March and I’ve got lots of inspiration to go green in today’s column on healthy eating. Even my kitchen’s painted two kinds of green: Acadia Green and Cedar Green by Benjamin Moore.
Anyone who’s ever flipped through a color wheel when choosing the right shade to paint a wall knows that there’s more than one tint and the same goes for the many shades of green in the food world and the nutrition each hue holds within. From dark green kale to golden green avocado to light green celery, Dr. David Heber, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles reveals a rainbow of health benefits in his book, What Color is Your Diet? He singles out the green family of fruits and vegetables as important in two primary areas; promoting healthy vision and reducing cancer risk. No, this does not include green beer unless you’ve colored it green with wheat grass juice.
How Green is Your Menu?
My pre-show dinner with friends at Glenn’s Kitchen before we dashed across Centennial Olympic Park to see Peter Pan was a study in healthy green choices. You can start with fried green tomatoes, move on to The Kitchen Sink Salad which tosses in chopped greens, celery, cucumbers, artichoke hearts and green peppers or enjoy the Farmer’s Market Pasta with spinach and artichoke hearts. There’s even a green theme on the cocktail menu. The Glenntini is made with cucumber-infused vodka, fresh mint and lime juice.
Your Plate Should Wear More Green
The many shades of green nutrition:
Fruit: avocado, apples, grapes, honeydew, kiwi and lime
Vegetables: artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, green peppers and leafy greens such as arugula, water cress, spinach, kale, collards and fresh mint or basil leaves.

Yellowy Green.
These foods are rich sources of plant nutrients called carotenoids including the compounds lutein and zeaxanthin, which contribute to eye health and reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Examples: spinach and other greens, green peas and avocados.
Dark Green.
These foods contain the healthy compounds sulforaphane, isothiocyanate, and indoles, which Heber says break down cancer-causing chemicals. Examples: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Bok Choy and kale.
Light Green.
These foods contain flavonoids that protect cell membranes. Examples: spring onions, celery, pears, endive, and chives.

When green’s not a good thing.
Never eat potatoes that are green below the skin. This green color indicates the presence of a bitter tasting toxin called solanine which is toxic even in small amounts and can cause nausea and headaches. Solanine, which is naturally in potatoes as the plant’s defense against insects, increases in concentration when potatoes are stored in warm temperatures or exposed to light.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Step this way: Sleek and Sassy

Oh my! This is the perfect shoe for staying on your diet in style. Christian Louboutin's "Measuring Tape" sandal is fabulous!! But, at $795 I think I'll have to skip dining out and grocery shopping for a few weeks. So they DO help you cut calories!!
Maybe I can attach a couple of fabric store tape measures to a pair of black sandals and create my own "dieter's delight" whimsical shoe. It's the official shoe of "The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!"

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Baby You Can Drive My the healthiest menus

For National Nutrition Month..........
I wish there was a GPS system for navigating food choices. Let’s say your meal plan for the day directed you to consume 2000 calories nicely mapped out to include breakfast, lunch, dinner and a couple of snacks. But, then you decided to veer off course and grab a couple of mid-morning donuts and a cappuccino. The GPS voice would loudly announce, “Recalculating! Recalculating!” All of a sudden, your edible journey is re-routed to skip the afternoon snack and dessert at dinnertime might disappear, too. This kind of a GPS system- I’ll call it Good Plate Sense – might also reward you for taking a sensible short cut when available such as skipping the cheese slices on your burger at lunch which shaves off about 100 calories. “Recalculating! When you arrive at the dinner destination, you can add a glass of wine.”
Write it if you bite it.
Keeping track of food intake including what you eat, drink and how much of each can be a hassle. But, research shows that spending a little time on self-monitoring adds up to significant gains in weight control success according to a review of 15 studies on dietary self-monitoring in weight loss research programs. The results published in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association found associations in all of the studies between recording what you eat and weight loss. Some weight loss subjects used paper diet diaries to write down their food intake and some used electronic PDA diaries or internet based diaries; but the review found no difference in the amount of weight lost between groups. They did find that the dieters with the PDA diaries were more likely to keep up with daily food intake recordings, but it didn’t affect the weight loss overall. That’s good to know if don’t have a fancy PDA and have to write down what you eat on the back of an envelope or the restaurant receipt.

Are we there yet?
Keeping track of what you eat helps you know when to say ‘when’. Even if it’s not printed on the menu, most chain restaurants share nutrition information on their websites which you can access from a smart phone when dining out. For instance, if you know your daily calorie cap is 2000, then it’s easy pretty easy to figure out that ordering the full rack of baby back ribs at Outback Steakhouse which contains a little over 1,500 calories doesn’t leave you much room for other meals that day! Outback’s Interactive Nutritional Menu Tool on the company’s website helps you steer toward leaner choices such as the 9 ounce steak with a side of green beans for less than 500 calories. Brian Castrucci, Director of Maternal and Child Health within the Georgia Department of Community Health says the nutrition information on the menus at IHOP affected what and how much he ordered, “I saved 50 calories by choosing ham instead of bacon and 500 calories by saying no to a stack of three more pancakes. I never would have thought it would impact my eating habits, until I saw it impact my eating habits.” A recent study by the New York City Department of Health showed that 15% of fast-food patrons in the city who use nutrition information posted in restaurants eat an average of 106 fewer calories than those who ignore the calorie content. I believe access to nutrition information helps us plan our journey just as a car’s GPS system tells us how many miles to go before we get to our final destination.

Fast Foods: The Best and the Worst: