Nicki Anderson
Archive for the ‘Nutrition for Health vs. Weight Loss’ Category

Save Your Dollars and Sense- The Real Scoop on Weight Loss

By Nicki On January 6, 2014 6 Comments

 

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O.K, I have to admit that every January I cringe when I see the ads for weight loss. The miracles abound and the “real” answer to weight loss woes are simply a click away. Too  much belly fat? There’s a program for that.  Excess holiday weight gain? There’s a drink for that.  Get abs of steel with 4 simple steps. My response to all of those secrets to success is bull$&@*!  After 30 years in the health and fitness industry I ask that you read the rest of this post knowing that what I’m sharing with you is fact. No hype, nothing earth shattering simply the honest to goodness truth about weight loss, why people are overweight and ultimately what the ONLY solution is.

First, let it be said that I made the conscious decision to sell my fitness business and walk away from the industry after 30 years. I was fried, frustrated and felt it was time to move on and find my passion and purpose somewhere else. I’m sharing that with you so that you understand I have no ulterior motives other than to motivate you to walk away from any “too good to be true” ads and prevent you from parting with good money for bad solutions. So, here we go.

1. Diets don’t work, period. Yes, yes, yes, we’ve all lost weight on them, self included but for the long-term they do not work. What works is CHANGING your diet. Each day,bit by bit, small change by small change.

2. Say good-bye to fried food, fast food and fake food. You can’t expect to make these changes over night, but I can assure you, if you get rid of the 3-f’s your body will respond in kind, i.e. you’ll drop some lbs. and feel significantly better.

3. Ignore the television ads and 3 minute solutions in magazines. Here is what you should always remember, if there were truly a drug, vitamin, piece of equipment that really helped you lose weight successfully, it would be on every news program, on the front of newspapers, etc.  There isn’t one so the next time you see an ad that shares “Millions of people have already bought our product and been successful” they’re likely lying.

4. Here are the ONLY things you need to know to reach a healthy weight, reclaim your health and potentially get off of medication:  Eat less, move every single day (even if it’s only 15 minutes), drink more water, limit alcohol, get a decent amount of sleep and love yourself.  That’s it, that’s the secret, that’s the miracle.

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Books, magazines and ads can spin weight loss any way they want to, but the truth is #4 is the ultimate solution. Of course, your expectations need to be in line with your lifestyle. In other words, if you like having that occasional glass of vino, you know that exercise daily may not happen and you still love your Friday night pizza, don’t expect miracles. But if you’re still eating better, drinking more water, moving more consciously (even if it’s getting up from your desk every 30 minutes to grab a drink of water) you’ll be ahead of the game by years end.

O.K. I feel better. Do you?

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it. Happy 2014!!

 

Nicki

 


Kevin Trudeau is a microcosm of what’s wrong with the diet industry

By Nicki On November 14, 2013 2 Comments

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Much to my satisfaction, Kevin Trudeau is headed where he belongs, jail. I know he’s got some fans out there, but I’ve been following this guy for years. Kevin Trudeau is a perfect example of what’s wrong with the diet industry.  He is a consummate swindler.

Run-ins with the law are nothing new for Trudeau. In the 90′s he was convicted of larceny and credit card fraud. He was also sued by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for misleading claims about his book. He settled with the FTC in 2004 and agreed he wouldn’t try and promote any of his products, other than books.  In 2011, he broke his agreement and a suit was filed against him. Eventually, his entire BS caught up with him and this week after only one hour, a Chicago jury found Trudeau guilty of contempt for misleading infomercials about weight-loss.

Not only have I have followed Trudeau’s shenanigans, I’ve followed hundreds of other scam artists promising desperate dieters the “secret” to losing weight. Kevin Trudeau is not a lone ranger in the world of weight loss.  The difference with Trudeau is that he was an easy target vs. the faceless ads that pitch their diet pills, potions and creams out to the public promising thinner thighs, flat bellies and a life filled with happiness simply because you chose their product.

I was a trainer for over 20 years. I saw the heartache of men and women who fell victim to Trudeau’s false promises and a myriad of others. People came to me broken, frustrated, hopeless. That is what Kevin Trudeau and so many other BS diet programs have done to the population and continue to do.  They have put out products enticing people to try and if they do, they will find the “secret” to the perfect body. If they don’t, it’s not the product that failed, it’s them.

I liken the diet industry to a carnival. We know that most of the games are rigged, yet we still pay money hoping to win big and when we don’t, we blame ourselves.

Sure, there might be the 1-2% of people that find marginal success, but the reality is that the stuff Trudeau pushed along with so many other diet programs is nothing more than a ploy to separate people from their cash – carnies.

Over 35 years ago I lost 50 pounds, the old fashioned way. I changed my diet, gave up fast food, started riding my bike and walking. Within a year I had lost 50 pounds. Folks, there’s no magic, there’s no “secret”, there’s nothing except the decision to change your lifestyle, period. It isn’t always easy, but it’s the only thing that works long-term without any side effects.

There are times when I am just exhausted trying to tell people about practical steps to weight loss, sadly I’m often trumped by some new program promising a fast and easy way to the perfect body. Television and magazine advertisements prey on the fears of aging, especially menopausal women.

I can’t tell you the number of infomercials I have viewed asking the question, “Are you suffering from bloating, fatigue and depression?”  Guess what? Thanks to the American diet millions of people are suffering from those things. No magic pill or potion will do anything to change it. Unless of course you’re suffering from some lifestyle related disease. But even then, moving more and eating better is pretty cheap and a very effective alternative to medicine.

I am convinced that part of the obesity issue is a direct result of ineffective diet programs. Every time someone loses weight with a fad diet, they eventually gain it back and more and the cycle continues. It’s exhausting both mentally and physically.

I am glad Kevin Trudeau is heading to jail. I wish the same fate for the countless others that continue to sell bogus programs and products all claiming they have the “secret” to thinner thighs in 30 days.  FTC, are you listening?

(Reprinted from MoMentumNation 11/14/13)

So what do you think?

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!

Nicki


All healthy fats step forward- not so fast trans fat

By Nicki On November 9, 2013 4 Comments

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It was almost 20 years ago when I started reading about the dangers of consuming foods containing trans fat. I was raised in the age of Crisco and fake butters. My Grandmother used Crisco freely knowing that as long as it was homemade it was good for you. That’s what the ads said, so it must be true.

This week the FDA made it official, trans fats are in fact bad for your health. Well, it’s preliminary, so we’ll have to wait for a solid decision. ‘sigh’

By the time I started studying nutrition, I discovered some of the foods that I fed my children were in fact harmful to their health. Wait,  you mean to tell me that fruit roll-ups aren’t made with real fruit? And, McDonalds isn’t serving my family good-for-you foods? Outrageous I tell you!

Yep, when I started digging in to the truth behind the foods being  pushed, advertised and promoted to our country and kids, I was shocked. I couldn’t understand how it was o.k. to push food that clearly caused heart disease, obesity and diabetes. I understand all too well now, M-O-N-E-Y.

Given that smoking (though it took years) is finally  recognized as dangerous and banned in restaurants and the workplace, it seems foods that cause death and disease should have the same red flags. But you know and I know there’s not only money to be made in the world of food, the pharmaceutical companies are making out like bandits.

Do you know that the United States and New Zealand are the only two countries that advertise prescription drugs on television and in magazines?  And we wonder why prescription drugs are so ridiculously expensive. Don’t blame the pharmacies, blame the big advertising pharmaceutical budgets.

Any way, back to trans fats. So this week, the FDA as made a preliminary decision that a major source of trans fats– partially hydrogenated oils– is no longer “generally recognized as safe.” Apparently, if the preliminary decision is deemed final, than foods cannot contain partially hydrogenated oils without approval.  In  my humble opinion, if a food is not safe, what would ever constitute approval?

Healthy fats supporting good health.

Healthy fats supporting good health.

If you look at any snack food, basically anything in a box, anything processed it will contain trans fat. And beware of labels touting “No Trans fats” as there is a formula that companies can get away with and still use trans fat.  Although over the last few years, manufacturers and restaurants have  made small strides in reducing trans fats in their food, it’s still out there and it’s still a health concern.

I have to go back to what I’ve been preaching for a long time. The closer your food is to nature, the healthier it will be for you. Frozen fruits and veggies are fine for those that don’t have access to fresh.  And there are plenty of healthy options for busy, on-the-go people.

Read your labels and start cutting out processed foods in your diet. The truth is that our country, a very advanced, smart country is extremely  unhealthy. Poor diet is the norm. After 30 years in the fitness industry, I saw the bodies of women change. I saw their health issues change and I feel very strongly that it was mostly food related.

Just like smoking, the truth is finally coming out about trans fat.  For years the nutrition experts have warned against consuming trans fats and they were dismissed as fanatics.

When things sound too good to be true, they often are. “Eat all you want and don’t gain weight.  Cookies that are only 10 calories each! 100 calorie snack packs.”  All of those likely carry trans fats and are not a natural source of food that your body can digest and utilize properly.

There are some great websites to learn more about healthy nutrition. Remember, changing your diet doesn’t mean deprivation. It  means paying attention to the foods that work well with your body and make you stronger and healthier. The current American diet only serves to weaken our body and house disease. You can be a catalyst for change not only for yourself but for future generations.

What do you think?

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!

Nicki

 


The Evolution of Exercise

By Nicki On October 24, 2013 6 Comments

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Recently, a friend of mine wrote a post about exercising as we get older. The gist of her piece was realizing that you don’t have to kill yourself to be in shape.  But when does that realization hit? Is it triggered by the pain following an overzealous workout? Or simply an internal conversation reminding you that pain isn’t necessarily the conduit for a fit body.  For most of us, it’s likely the former versus the latter.

At this stage of my life I’m no longer interested in working out to be a mean, lean fighting machine. I work out to feel good and to fight gravity as much as possible. I work out because it’s my medicine of choice. I can either pop pills or exercise. I exercise because I feel better mentally and physically. I work out because exercise keeps me young, agile and strong. I work out because I’m a very responsible person and working out is being responsible not only for myself, but for those I love.

So why is it that many people still don’t exercise? During my 25+ years in the industry,  the following were the most popular reasons people didn’t exercise.

1. It’s too time consuming

2. I’m too old and the pain is not worth it.

3. It’s too hard

4. I don’t get results

5. I can just change my diet and I’ll be fine.

 

Here is my response to the above.

1. It’s too time consuming.  According to research boomers spend about 27 hours a week on the internet. Yes, 2-7. My friends, that’s a part-time job!  Exercise requires 30-60 minutes a day. If you can carve out time for the internet, favorite television shows, etc. you can make time for exercise. Use the internet as incentive. “After I walk for 30 minutes I can then check out the internet.”  Remember, too much sitting can be deadly.

2. Too old and painful- Not buying it. I know hundreds of men and women well in to their 70’s and 80’s that exercise every single day. Some suffer from arthritis, some from old sports injuries, but they swear that if they didn’t exercise the pain would be significantly worse. They also shared that because of exercise they are medication free. You’re never too old to move. 

3. It’s too hard. You should never exercise to the point of pain. Exercise should be energizing. If you’re a beginner, please don’t take an advanced class thinking it will be more effective, it won’t.  Start off with baby steps. If you take it slow and easy, you’re likely to stick with exercise. If you beat yourself up, you’ll quit. Use common sense, don’t let ANYONE tell you how hard to push yourself. You know your body, honor it and challenge it appropriately.

4. No results. The greatest revelation I had a few years ago was the understanding that exercising for unrealistic expectations (perfect body, perfect abs, legs, etc.) is an exercise in futility. I have seen more people give up exercise because they weren’t getting the results they wanted. Nine times out of ten, the expectations of my clients was completely unrealistic. Here’s the best reason of all to exercise, it’s good for your health. If you feel better you’ll look better.  Magazines or television shows that make promises or show incredible  results are not to be believed. No two bodies are the same and the truth is, the older we get, the more realistic we have to be about exercise. Realistic expectations are key in maintaining a healthy, rewarding relationship with exercise.  I exercise to be engaged in life and live more fully. I owe my energy to exercise. IMG_0073

5. Change your diet. Granted, 65% of weight issues with people are nutrition based. However, exercise is absolutely vital. I’ve seen many people just diet and never exercise. They have terrible muscle atrophy, brittle bones and many problems that come from too little movement. A combination of a healthy diet (not deprivation) and regular exercise is the secret to good health.  Personally, I get in about 7-8 hours of exercise a week. And that’s not all in the gym, it might be mowing the lawn, intense yard work, etc. If I’m active above and beyond walking out to get the mail, it counts.

Please note, there are days when I don’t feel like working out, my life will not end, it will go on with or without my workout. I’ve learned to cut myself some slack when I skip a day here and there. However, missing more than 2 or 3 days is a warning sign, pay attention. Unless of course you’re sick.

There really is no reason to skip exercise. I always used to tell my clients that a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing. Don’t compare, don’t create unrealistic expectations. Treasure your body, marvel at it’s potential and treat it with the respect it deserves. That my friends is the secret to a beautiful relationship.

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, but making the most of it.

Nicki

 

 

 


A Different Perspective on Food

By Nicki On June 5, 2013 4 Comments

IMG_1430I had the good fortune of attending an event in Chicago, Farms to Forks which is three days full of lectures and food demonstrations geared to  educate attendees about the power of health-promoting foods and the reality of health-harming foods.

During the course of the weekend I was able to hear Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Doug Lisle and Jeff Novick, R.D.  , Ann Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn

Eating well has become more and more difficult. Our society makes it easier to eat poorly vs. healthy.

Even after 30 years of studying food, at times I still find myself overwhelmed with information. However what I heard over and over with every speaker, (obviously I’m simplifying), is that you can’t dispute that fresh fruits and veggies are better than processed, fried or fast-food. It’s hard to disagree with the fact that whole grains and legumes are better for you than a McDonalds breakfast sandwich or other boxed foods.

With every diet that comes along there’s always a catch, always a list that must be adhered to for proper weight loss. Most often diets are temporary as there’s no autonomy.  Although the speakers at the event have their opinions along with science to back it up, they are all vegans, a strict way to live. However,  I walked away with a different perspective.  I got the impression that education comes first, realization comes second and implementation comes third. A sound approach to healthy eating.

Rip Esselstyn, Host of the event, son of Dr. C. Esselstyn and author of Engine 2 Diet.

Rip Esselstyn, Host of the event, son of Dr. C. Esselstyn and Ann and author of Engine 2 Diet.

When I owned my fitness business, I would tell my clients, “Start with one change, maybe adding breakfast to your diet or stop eating ice cream before you go to bed. As you master that change, add on another.”  I felt the same way after walking away from this conference. I didn’t feel I had to be perfect, I simply had to be aware and then change what made sense for me .

I’m not sure I’ll ever adopt a vegan diet, but I know that I have already made some changes that I know will be permanent. The manufacturing and marketing of bad-for-you food is out of control. I thought it was bad when my kids were young, it seems to be worse now. Young mothers are confused but I simply remind them, “There are no labels to read on fresh, whole foods. Stick with them as much as you can.

One of my favorite parts of the conference was listening to Ann Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn, mother and daughter duo full of enthusiasm and passion for a plant-based diet. Ann(in her latter 70’s) shared her tips on plant-based eating while Jayne shared some fantastic recipes that even a carnivore might consider. I’ll share those recipes in my next blog. But for now, here are some take-aways from the  event. I hope you find them interesting.

 

Ann Esselstyn explaining how to strip kale.

Ann Esselstyn explaining how to strip kale.

1. Chronic disease is a result of a poor diet, period. – Dr. John McDougall

2. There are no adverse effects of clean water and clean food. – Dr. John McDougall

3. Alcohol doesn’t turn in to fat, it simply lowers inhibitions and increases caloric intake. – Dr. John McDougall

4. The U.S. does 1.2 million stents per year and mortality is 2%. – Dr. C. Esselstyn

5. Red meat increases the risk of heart disease. – Dr. C. Esselstyn

6. Carbs- It’s not about glycemic index, it’s about fiber, density and calories. – Jeffrey Novick, R.D.

7. CRAP= Cut, refined and processed foods. – Jeffrey Novick, R.D.

8. If people eliminated liquid calories from their diet, they could lose 40 pounds in a year. (The avg person gets 400 cals from liquids). – Jeffrey Novick, R.D.

9. Never believe anything on the front of any pacakge, EVER! Always read the nutrition facts label AND ingredient list. – Jeffrey Novick, R.D.

Here’s to healthier eating for you and your family!

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.

Nicki

 

 


Incredible Tempeh Dolmades

By Nicki On April 5, 2013 No Comments

These are so delish. I wanted an alternative to the meat/lamb filled dolmades and these were so tasty. You might want to add a little lemon sauce if you prefer. Me, I like ’em straight up!

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1 pkg tempeh (I  used tempeh w/ flaxseed), 1- 1/2 tsp canola oil, 1/3 c grated carrots, 3 medium scallions chopped fine, 2-3 dates chopped fine, 8 oz vegetable broth, 1/2-3/4 c cooked bulgur, 2-3 TBSP oregano (fresh is ideal), 1/2 tsp lemon zest (approx 1 lemon), 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice, 12-16 grape leaves, 4 TBSP fresh parsley

In food processor, pulse tempeh to coarse meal. Heat saucepan over medium heat and add oil. Add tempeh and cook until lightly browned, 5-7 minutes. Set aside.

In same saucepan, saute carrot and garlic in 1/4 c of veg broth until softened. About 5 minutes.

Stir in scallions and 1/4 c broth cook stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Stir in remaining broth, bulgur, tempeh, oregano, dates, zest and lemon juice. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes covered.

Arrange grape leaves in a single layer. Spoon the bulgur/tempeh mixture onto the stem side of each leaf and sprinkle with parsley. Fold in sides of leaf and roll (like a burrito).

Place the dolmades seam-side down in a large skillet. Pour 1/2-3/4 c of water into skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, covered about 30  minutes.  Let cool to room temp.

These are great as an entree or snack.  IMG_0249

Enjoy!

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!

Nicki


The Frightening Truth About Obesity

By Nicki On April 1, 2013 No Comments

IMG_1135Last week I attended and lectured at IHRSA(International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association) 2013 Trade Show. IHRSA is a trade organization serving the health and fitness club industry with over 14,000 club members from 80 different countries. If you want to know what’s going on in the health and fitness world, you’ll find it here.

I shared the platform with my co-presenter Lisa Taylor. Lisa is from the U.K. and owns an organization called Momenta. Momenta is probably one of the most practical, medical and science based weight management programs I’ve ever seen. It’s not in the U.S.yet, but Momenta plans to seek out pilot sites in the U.S. this fall. (If you’re a fit pro interested in piloting a program, visit their website).

Our presentation was, Reducing the Global Weight Epidemic: Delivering Successful, Evidence Based Weight Management Programs. The gist of our presentation was to provide insight in to the obesity crisis and what we’re missing. The really interesting thing is although I was co-presenting with Lisa and she’s from the U.K., she shared some of the most startling information about obesity in our country. Below are just a few of the stats she shared. Some may surprise you.

  • 2011- 65% of US citizens overweight or obese, by 2018 -75% of US citizens overweight or obese . The US has the highest rate of overweight and obesity in the world.
  • Obesity is affecting our national security- *Since 1995, the proportion of recruits that failed their physical exams because they were overweight has increased by 70%.
  • *27 percent of 17 to 24-year-olds in the United States are too fat to serve in the military. That’s 9 million potential recruits!
  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Ironically, health clubs and diet programs have also grown dramatically.

The bottom line is this, as someone who spent 30 years in the health and fitness industry we don’t seem to be improving the health of our country. In fact, the healthy are getting healthier while the obese are not being properly educated, inspired or invited in to health clubs. Clearly, the health and fitness industry is missing something. Don’t you agree?    IMG_1147

As someone who lost 50 pounds over 30 years ago, I never felt welcome when I walked in to a health club. I still hear that from people today. I have always purported that the health and fitness industry turns away the exact people they need to attract. Again, how can health clubs continue to proliferate right along with obesity? It doesn’t make any sense.

I encourage you to keep an eye on Momenta. It is the first program that takes in to consideration, not only the nutritional and physical aspect of weight loss and weight management, but the psychological component as well. A triage for success.

In my humble estimation, something has got to change and it needs to start with how we’re educating and inspiring those that are not naturally active nor has access to practical, honest education about health. What do you think we’re missing? I have my thoughts but would love to hear yours.

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time rather making the most of it!

Nicki

 

(*Too Fat to Fight- A Report by Mission:Readiness)

 

 

 


Superbowl Sunday never tasted so good!

By Nicki On February 6, 2013 No Comments

11871_10151429076470929_966758054_nI’m a minority in my house.  I’m a pseudo vegetarian amongst die hard carnivores. However, out of my four children, one is vegan and one is vegetarian. When they’re home, they are my partners in crime! We’re always trying to find ways to sneak in vegetarian dishes to dyed-in-the-wool carnivores. Not an easy task.

Super Bowl Sunday like Thanksgiving is an open invitation to overeat and melt in to a comfy chair watching football. To me that’s a fate worse than death. Bloated and sitting. Where’s the joy in that? Am I missing something?

So, this year I decided to sneak in some vegetarian style goodies along with the traditional junk food that defines Super Bowl.

I posted these creations on my FB page and had an overwhelming response asking for the recipes. O.K. maybe not overwhelming, but enough to prompt this post.

So here you go. A couple of the vegetarian dishes that actually made the Super Bowl more exciting than Beyonce and almost as exciting as the blackout!

Mushroom Sliders  –  Makes about a dozen.

For patties:

24 oz. mushrooms (I mixed button, crimini and portobella) / 1 TBSP canola oil / 2 TBSP sliced shallots/ 2 TBSP sliced garlic / 3/4 c cooked brown rice / 1/3 c dry bread crumbs / 2 egg whites / 1 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce / 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce / 1 TBSP stone ground mustard / 2 TBSP chopped flat leaf parsley / salt and pepper to taste

For Sliders:

2 TBSP canola oil / Slices of Swiss cheese (I quartered the slice of cheese and places 1/4 on each patty) / 10 cocktail buns (I used whole grain) / 1 avocado, pitted and peeled and sliced lengthwise and then across.

Saute mushrooms in large nonstick skillet until nicely browned. Add shallots and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat. Darin mushroom mixture in colander and let cool.  Once cool, place on paper towel and squeeze out moisture.

Pulse mixture in a food processor until minced, 2-3 times. Add rice, bread crumbs, egg whites, soy sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, parsley and salt and pepper. Pulse to combine.

Use about 1/4 c. mixture and shape patties. Cover and place in fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 200

Heat oil in same skillet and cook patties until nicely browned on each side. Remove and place on cookie sheet. Place cheese on top of each patty. Put in oven until cheese is melted.

Meanwhile, toast buns in griddle (I buttered half the batch of buns, other half I left plain). Place patties on browned buns and top with a couple of slices of avocado.  Serve warm.

 

Banh Mi Spring Rolls

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Makes 4-6 rolls

Rolls-

6 oz. firm tofu /2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce/  1/2 c. thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps /3 -4 TBSP of your favorite Thai peanut sauce/ 1 TBSP canola oil / 2 TBSP minced fresh ginger / 2 TBSP minces scallions / 1 TBSP minced fresh garlic / 1 /2 matchstick-cut carrots / 1/2 c shredded romaine lettuce / 1/2 c matchstick-cut cucumber / 2 TBSP minced fresh cilantro / 2 TBSP minced fresh mint / 6-8 spring roll wrappers (8-inch)

Brown tofu and and mushrooms in soy sauce and oil in a nonstick skillet breaking up tofu with spoon until it’s like ground meat and lightly browned, about 5 minutes or so.  Add ginger, scallions and garlic. Stir-fry about 1 minute. Remove from stove and let cool. Mix tofu mixture with carrots, lettuce cucumber, cilantro and mint and thai peanut sauce. (Avoid any sauce with HFCS).  Mix well.

Soften wrappers one at a time in hot water until soft, about 15-20 seconds. Place 1/2 c tofu mixture in the center of each wrapper; roll like burritos and slice in half. Serve w/ sauce. I add sriracha on the side.

Both of these recipes were inspired by Cuisine Lite- Fresh and Fabulous

Enjoy!

Nicki


Why We Overeat and Why Obesity Won’t Go Away

By Nicki On August 2, 2012 3 Comments

While I was traveling last month I was sitting in an airport and watched a family finish off hamburgers and fries. One of the younger kids about 5 or 6 asked his Mom, “Do I have to eat all of it?” She responded, “Just eat it and be quiet.”  Hmm, my heart sank for 2 reasons. One, she really never answered his question and two, how will he ever learn what good food tastes like and how enjoy it? My hunch is that   more people simply eat for satiety while dismissing  flavor, nourishment, and enjoyment.
We can all agree that family dinners are not like they used to be. When I was a kid, unless my folks were going out to eat, we always ate together. When my kids were growing up, I tried to do most of our meals as a family, but when sports season rolled around that became tough. The bottom line is that we grab and go never thinking about what’s actually going in to our body, and how it may positively or negatively affect our health.
I read t his quote recently and it sums up my thoughts, “If we looked at eating as an activity to relish rather than as an invitation to gluttony, we’d all be not only healthier but happier.” –  Michelle Stacey
I have to admit, I have not always been passionate about food. When I was 50 pounds overweight, I ate for satiety, nothing more. But once I realized the way I was living wasn’t serving me well, I not only set out to change my habits, I set out to educate myself.  Learning has been a process. There’s rarely a day that passes, that I don’t learn something new about nutrition and the foods that serve to fuel positive health vs. foods that take away from health.
 Diets, weight loss pills and drinks are not the secret to anything healthy, including weight loss. I have always believed that a healthy weight is the result of a healthy diet, and I mean diet in the sense that it’s what you put in your body. Simply acknowledging that nature provides everything we need to be healthy and strong. Solid, whole nutrition can’t be found in a box or in a fast-food restaurant. The closer your food is to natural, the less you have to worry about fat, sodium and calories. Most “natural” foods are impossible to overeat, and are naturally balanced when it comes to fat, sodium and calories.
The next time you feel dissatisfied with your weight, look beyond that and instead address what you’re eating. What percentage of the foods you eat are natural, whole foods, veggies, fruits and grains? How much of what you’re eating is processed? Boxed? Fast-food? By simply making small changes each week, perhaps start with including 1 extra whole veggie per day in your diet. Once that happens, add another and so on. Instead of fries, experiment with grains, brown rice, couscous, etc.  It takes time, and changing your palette is often the hardest part of it. But you can do it.
Why is obesity such an issue? Because we ignore body signals (disease, bloating, indigestion, etc.) and continue  our addiction (fat, sodium and sugar) which takes over and rules food choices. As long as we continue to overfeed our body the wrong foods, we will never gain control over our weight, pure and simple.
Remember that just one small change today can be the positive difference in your health tomorrow.
Here’s to your health!
Nicki

Getting Back to Basics Best Strategy for Weight Loss/Management

By Nicki On July 15, 2012 2 Comments

Fresh fruits and veggies should be eaten all the time, not as a diet strategy, but as a health strategy.

I had a discussion with a friend of mine last week, and she shared her newest strategy on getting healthy, and losing some unwanted weight. Her approach? Major restriction during the week, and pig outs on the weekends. When I shared my concern about that strategy, she said, “It’s what works for me!” Hmm, it may work now, but what about 1 year from now?

According to research published in the journal Obesity, splurging even just two days out of the week can add up to an almost nine-pound weight gain over the course of a year!

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis followed 48 overweight adults for a year, tracking daily food intake and weight. Even from the beginning, they found a striking difference in what people ate during the week compared to the weekend: On Saturdays, people ate well over 2,200 calories, while Monday through Friday, the average calorie intake was about 2,000 calories. The amount of weight they were gaining based on these extra calories—about .17 pound a week—could translate to about nine extra pounds a year.

Lead researcher, Susan Racette, PhD, and her colleagues divided participants into three groups: 19 subjects were put on a calorie-restricted diet, 19 were instructed to follow an exercise regimen, and 10 were asked not to change their behavior at all. Over the course of the year, members of the caloric restriction group lost an average of 17.6 pounds, the exercisers lost about 14 pounds each, and the healthy-eating control group lost just two pounds. Upon closer inspection, however, the weekends still posed a problem and thwarted weight-loss efforts.

“Those in the calorie-restricted group would have lost over .6 pounds per week, but because they overate on the weekend, their weekly weight loss was about .5 pounds per week,” Racette says. And those in the exercise group actually gained weight over the weekends.

Even though they were asked to keep food diaries, many people in the study didn’t realize that they were consuming more calories on the weekends. This could be because of the types of food they’re eating (high-calorie on-the-go options), the lack of structure in their days, or the laid-back mind-set that many of us adopt on our days off. Whatever the explanation, this study suggests that one reason why people who go on diets often don’t lose weight as fast or as easily as they first predicted is due to overeating on the weekends.

If you think weekends may be sabotaging your weight management efforts, here are some suggestions:
* Try to stick with the same meal patterns you follow midweek on the weekend.
* If you know you are going out for dinner find ways to get in a bit more exercise that day and  be  mindful about your food consumption during the day. Further, you don’t have to “splurge” when out to eat. There are plenty of healthy options that taste fantastic.
* Limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a diet double-whammy; it’s not only rich in calories itself, but it also reduces inhibitions and causes mindless snacking.
* If you exercise, don’t reward yourself with food. This common practice is the reason so many people are unable to lose weight and keep it off. Stay hydrated and stay on top of healthy food choices. On the flip side, some people blow exercise off on the weekends because it’s their rest time. Bad move, especially if you’re consuming more calories. Make exercise part of your everyday life, not just when you feel like it.
* Pack fruit and healthy snacks (nuts, chopped veggies) if you’re going to be out of the house all day. This way you won’t rely on food-court selections that are loaded with garbage.
These suggestions are pretty basic, but often forgotten. It’s typically the little things that can make a big difference. It’s up to you if you want that difference to be positive or negative.

 

Here’s to Your Health!

Nicki