Tag Archives: Nutrition

Great smoothie ideas for training:

Most of you will already know that after a hard training session, be it a run, a session at the gym or whatever else you are doing, you need to refuel your body within 30 minutes. This is all well and good in theory but after a hard workout the likelihood is that all you really want is a long cold drink and to hit the shower.

The thought of eating a healthy meal within half an hour of training is very unappealing, and that’s where the smoothie steps in. Easy to make, digest and providing your body with what it needs to recover, they are ideal as long as you make yours and don’t go down the calorie laden and nutritionally lacking ready made route. Without further ado here are some great smoothie ideas to slot into your training regime.

Coffee and Crunch

Into your blender or smoothie maker put;

4oz fat free milk
4oz chilled coffee
1 sliced banana, preferably frozen
2tblsp whole almonds
2tblsp cocoa powder

The coffee and carb combination make this a brilliant smoothie to refuel following a work out, and it tastes great too. The heart healthy fat from the almonds and the potassium from the banana will have you feeling rejuvenated in no time. This smoothie contains 252 kcal, 35g carbs, 11g fat, 10g protein, 6g fiber.

Breakfast on the Go

4oz fat free milk
2oz frozen blueberries
2oz Greek yoghurt – plain and fat free
1oz uncooked natural oats
1tblsp ground flaxseed

This protein packed smoothie is the perfect smoothie to repair the muscles following a long run or hard workout. A recent study has discovered that drinking fat free milk following a workout can actually help you to lose fat and gain muscle. The antioxidants in the blueberries will neutralize those free radicals that have been caused by you exercising and the Omega-3 in the flaxseed will lower cholesterol. This smoothie contains 290 kcal, 41g carbs, 22g protein, 6g fiber, 5g fat and is one strongly recommended by the folks at Vibe Personal Training.

Super Savory Surprise

This recipe was originally devised by a sports nutritionist and is an excellent balance of nutrients that get straight into your body and help you recover quicker.

6oz carrot juice
¼ of an avocado
1tbsp fresh lemon juice
2oz water
1tblsp freshly grated ginger
pinch of cayenne pepper

The vitamin A in the carrot juice replenishes the immune system which is depleted by strenuous exercise. The ginger is known for relieving post exercise pain in the muscles while a silky texture comes courtesy of the avocado as do monounsaturated fats for heart health. Cayenne pepper is added as it has been proven that the capsaicin within the pepper gives the metabolism a temporary boost to burn a few more calories. This super savory smoothie contains only 161 kcal as well as 23g carbs, 8g fat, 5g fiber and 3g protein.

The Healing Properties of Juicing

Juicing can add some variety to your diet while helping you get the necessary nutrients from fruits and vegetables. You can make juice at home with a juicer, try a trendy juice bar, or purchase freshly squeezed juices at the supermarket. Get all the facts about juicing and learn if it’s right for you.

Juicing Cleanse

Juicing typically requires using a machine or equipment in order to turn raw fruits and vegetables into a liquid. Home juicing machines may cost anywhere from $30 dollars to more than $300 dollars. By using special blades, most juicers chop up your fruits or vegetables into tiny pieces and spins them in a way to separate the juice from the pulp, which eliminates the majority of the fiber. You can ask around at local stores or consult Consumer Reports to find the juicer that’s best for you.

There are many health benefits of drinking freshly juiced fruits and vegetables, and it’s a great way to add nutrients from the fruits or vegetables that you normally wouldn’t eat. Fruit and vegetable juices retain most of of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) that would be found in the whole versions of those foods. These nutrients can help protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer and various inflammatory diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis. Valuable compounds called flavonoids and anthocyanins are abundant in a variety of fruits and vegetables and guard against oxidative cellular damage, which comes from everyday cellular maintenance and is exacerbated by exposure to chemicals and pollution.

However, beware claims that juicing is the only way to stay healthy, that you should avoid solid foods, or that juicing is a substitution for a medical diagnosis or treatment. There’s not much research out there that proves that juicing is healthier than eating the whole fruits and vegetables; however, juicing does makes them easier to consume on a regular basis.

Some advocates for juicing may claim that your body absorbs more nutrients from juices than the whole fruit because the fruit’s fiber gets in the way. However, there isn’t much research out there that supports that claim. Your digestive system is designed to handle fiber and extract nutrients from a variety of foods. Plus, fiber is important for digestive function and has a multitude of health benefits.

Juicing Safely

When making your own juice, try to make only as much as you can consume at one time. Juice that isn’t consumed right away can harbor bacteria and cause food poisoning. Exposure of the drink to air, bacteria and other pathogens can not only make you sick but threaten the nutritional value of the juice as well.

Also, before using juicing your desired fruit, you should wash them thoroughly to remove any dirt, pesticides or bacteria. Make sure your cutting board and utensils are clean as well. E. coli is a very dangerous bacteria that can live on your fruits and make you sick. The problem is that it can only be killed with heat, which can also damage the nutritional content of the juice. If you don’t want to boil your juice on the stove, you’ll have to wash the fruit thoroughly before juicing. Learn more about the best ways to wash your fruit.

If you decide to pursue a diet that predominantly consists of juice, like a juice cleanse, make sure you consume at least 2000 calories or more per day depending on your metabolic needs. Don’t starve yourself! It’s important that your body gets a sufficient amount of calories, vitamins, nutrients, protein, fat and carbohydrates.

Also, make sure you eat fiber, to keep your digestive system working smoothly. You can add dissolvable fiber powder to your juices or supplement with a suitable number of fiber-rich solid foods (like prunes or pears) to compensate.

(original post from http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/healing-properties-juicing)

Vegetarian diet: How to get the best nutrition.

A well-planned vegetarian diet is a healthy way to meet your nutritional needs. Find out what you need to know about a plant-based diet.

By Mayo Clinic staff

A well-planned vegetarian diet can meet the needs of people of all ages, including children, teenagers, and pregnant or breast-feeding women. The key is to be aware of your nutritional needs so that you plan a diet that meets them.

Types of vegetarian diets

When people think about a vegetarian diet, they typically think about a diet that doesn’t include meat, poultry or fish. But vegetarian diets vary in what foods they include and exclude:

  • Lacto-vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish, poultry and eggs, as well as foods that contain them. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt and butter, are included.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish and poultry, but allow dairy products and eggs.
  • Ovo-vegetarian diets exclude meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products, but allow eggs.
  • Vegan diets exclude meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products — and foods that contain these products.

Some people follow a semivegetarian diet — also called a flexitarian diet — which is primarily a plant-based diet but includes meat, dairy, eggs, poultry and fish on occasion or in small quantities.

Vegetarian diet pyramid

A healthy diet takes planning, and a food pyramid can be a helpful tool. The vegetarian pyramid outlines food groups and food choices that, if eaten in the right quantities, form the foundation of a healthy vegetarian diet.

Vegetarian Food Guide Pyramid

Vegetarian Food Guide Pyramid

Getting adequate nutrition

The key to a healthy vegetarian diet — like any diet — is to enjoy a variety of foods. No single food can provide all the nutrients your body needs. The more restrictive your diet is, the more challenging it can be to get all the nutrients you need. A vegan diet, for example, eliminates natural food sources of vitamin B-12, as well as milk products, which are good sources of calcium.

With a little planning, however, you can be sure that your diet includes everything your body needs. Pay special attention to the following nutrients:

  • Calcium helps build and maintain strong teeth and bones. Milk and dairy foods are highest in calcium. However, dark green vegetables, such as turnip and collard greens, kale and broccoli, are good plant sources when eaten in sufficient quantities. Calcium-enriched and fortified products, including juices, cereals, soy milk, soy yogurt and tofu, are other options.
  • Iodine is a component in thyroid hormones, which help regulate metabolism, growth and function of key organs. Vegans may not get enough iodine and be at risk of deficiency and possibly even a goiter. In addition, foods such as soybeans, cruciferous vegetables and sweet potatoes may promote a goiter. However, just 1/4 teaspoon of iodized salt provides a significant amount of iodine.
  • Iron is a crucial component of red blood cells. Dried beans and peas, lentils, enriched cereals, whole-grain products, dark leafy green vegetables and dried fruit are good sources of iron. Because iron isn’t as easily absorbed from plant sources, the recommended intake of iron for vegetarians is almost double that recommended for nonvegetarians. To help your body absorb iron, eat foods rich in vitamin C, such as strawberries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, cabbage and broccoli, at the same time as you’re eating iron-containing foods.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are important for heart health. Diets that do not include fish and eggs are generally low in active forms of omega-3 fatty acids. Canola oil, soy oil, walnuts, ground flaxseed and soybeans are good sources of essential fatty acids. However, because conversion of plant-based omega-3 to the types used by humans is inefficient, you may want to consider fortified products or supplements, or both.
  • Protein helps maintain healthy skin, bones, muscles and organs. Eggs and dairy products are good sources, and you don’t need to eat large amounts to meet your protein needs. You can also get sufficient protein from plant-based foods if you eat a variety of them throughout the day. Plant sources include soy products and meat substitutes, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
  • Vitamin B-12 is necessary to produce red blood cells and prevent anemia. This vitamin is found almost exclusively in animal products, so it can be difficult to get enough B-12 on a vegan diet. Vitamin B-12 deficiency may go undetected in people who eat a vegan diet. This is because the vegan diet is rich in a vitamin called folate, which may mask deficiency in vitamin B-12 until severe problems occur. For this reason, it’s important for vegans to consider vitamin supplements, vitamin-enriched cereals and fortified soy products.
  • Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health. Vitamin D is added to cow’s milk, some brands of soy and rice milk, and some cereals and margarines. Be sure to check food labels. If you don’t eat enough fortified foods and have limited sun exposure, you may need a vitamin D supplement (one derived from plants).
  • Zinc is an essential component of many enzymes and plays a role in cell division and in formation of proteins. Like iron, zinc is not as easily absorbed from plant sources as it is from animal products. Cheese is a good option if you eat dairy products. Plant sources of zinc include whole grains, soy products, legumes, nuts and wheat germ.

If you need help creating a vegetarian diet that’s right for you, talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian.

Getting started

If you’re not following a vegetarian diet but you’re thinking of trying it, here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Ramp up. Each week increase the number of meatless meals you already enjoy, such as spaghetti with tomato sauce or vegetable stir-fry.
  • Learn to substitute. Take favorite recipes and try them without meat. For example, make vegetarian chili by leaving out the ground beef and adding an extra can of black beans. Or make fajitas using extra-firm tofu rather than chicken. You may be surprised to find that many dishes require only simple substitutions.
  • Branch out. Scan the Internet for vegetarian menus. Buy or borrow vegetarian cookbooks. Check out ethnic restaurants to sample new vegetarian cuisines. The more variety you bring to your vegetarian diet, the more likely you’ll be to meet all your nutritional needs.

(original source)

Nutrition gains, calories shrink in NYC.

Worried that children were losing the war on obesity, New York City began to slim down its school lunch offerings several years ago, replacing fries with baked potato strips and introducing nonfat chocolate milk, whole grain pasta and salad bars, among other tweaks.

In the process, the city also cut calories. So much so, city officials now acknowledge, that it often served children fewer calories than required by the federal government.

The Bloomberg administration has often found itself stymied by the powers of Albany or Washington in its policy goals, including enacting congestion pricing, erecting a stadium on Manhattan’s West Side, taxing soda or barring the use of food stamps for sugar-sweetened beverages.

But in the case of the 860,000 school lunches served daily, it ignored a set of U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements written in 1994, without seeking permission. City health and education officials said their aim was not to lower calories, but to increase the nutritional value of the foods reaching students’ mouths.

But as it slowly began re-engineering those foods, there was a “secondary response,” said Cathy Nonas, a senior adviser in the city’s health department.

“It dropped the calories and at sometimes below what the USDA had as a minimum,” she said.

In replacing pork bacon strips with the turkey variety, for instance, officials cut 64 calories from one serving. And they saw no need to bulk the trays back up.

“Our mentality is to feed food to children, not nutrients to astronauts,” said Eric S. Goldstein, the chief executive for school support services for the New York City Education Department.

The city officials said new federal guidelines, which take effect this school year, prove they were right all along. The new rules reduce the minimum calorie counts by more than 200 calories in some grades and, for the first time, set calorie maximums as well.

Joel Berg, the executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, called the city’s move “reckless.”

“It is based on politics and personal whims, not nutrition science,” Berg said. “It is based on the city’s absurd belief that hunger no longer exists among children, despite federal data that proves that 1 in 4 New York City children live in food-insecure homes.”

(original post)

Smart Food Choices, Head To Toe

Shopping ideas that’ll give you a healthy boost.

Build a better shopping list (and body) with these healthy foods recommended by Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, a nutrition consultant and author of The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to the New Food Pyramid.


Tufts University researchers have found that the antioxidants in blueberries and salmon may help protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.


Eggs contain two carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) that protect vision and choline, a key ingredient of a neurotransmitter that gives memory a boost. And spinach, kale, and orange bell peppers have eye-protecting carotenoids, and many fruits contain protective vitamins A, C, and E.


Milk and other foods high in vitamin D — shrimp, sardines, eggs — may lower the risk of skin cancer. Plus, studies suggest that the ellagic acid in berries can prevent or slow skin cancer.


An excellent source of protein, pork tenderloin has less heart-clogging fat than a boneless, skinless chicken breast. And extra-virgin olive oil is low in saturated fat and fights inflammation, implicated in heart disease and cancer.


The vitamin D in milk, OJ, and shrimp helps calcium absorption. Broccoli, spinach, and romaine are rich in bone-building vitamin K.

Take a stroll: Walk to the grocery store, and you’ll get exercise while you load upon healthy ingredients.

5 Slimming Secrets

  1. READ FOOD LABELS. At the supermarket, instead of just throwing items into a basket, take a minute to read the labels. Look for high-fiber cereals, granola bars, popcorn, crackers, chips, and pasta. They will fill you up and digest more slowly than foods with less fiber.
  2. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING YOU EAT. Nothing stops me from over-eating faster than looking at a list of everything I put in my mouth that day. It reminds me that things like drinks and peppermints count. Everyone thinks they don’t have time to keep a food log, but it’s pretty easy to throw a journal and pen into your bag. No matter where I am, I can just pull it out and take a couple of seconds to jot down what I’ve eaten.
  3. SET SMALL WEIGHT LOSS AND EXERCISE GOALS. When I first started jogging, I would aim to increase my time by just 10 minutes. At the start of my exersice program, I set a reasonable weight goal. Once I met my goal, I rewarded myself with things like new workout clothes. And then I was able to make a new goal. This allows me to continue to challenge myself long after I acheived what I never dreamed possible!
  4. DON’T CUT OUT ALL HIGH FAT, HIGH CALORIE FOODS. I know that if I deny myself too long, those cravings will just become stronger. Instead, I allow myself to eat the foods I love: muffins, cookies, and ice cream. But I decrease the portion sizes and make sacrifices in other areas of my diet to compensate for the calories. I mentally plan ahead if I know I’m going to be faced with my favorite cheesecake over the weekend. If I decide in advance how much I’ll eat, then I am able to enjoy every bite without feeling guilty afterward.
  5. EAT FRUITS AND VEGETABLES FIRST. I treat meats and starches like the side dishes. The end result is I consume fewer calories and still feel very satisfied. If possible, I buy fresh produce instead of canned or frozen. My body thanks me for the fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants – and I feel great!

Take a 23 Percent Bite Out of Cancer Risk

Veg Out

Good news about the fifth most common cancer in women: Certain compounds in produce may lower the risk of pancreatic cancer, reports a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Scientists examined three flavonolskaempferol (found in spinach and cabbage), quercetin (in apples and onions), and myricetin (in red onions and berries) – by 183,518 people over 8 years. They found that those who ate the most foods containing these flavonols were 23 percent less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than those who ate the least. Scientists aren’t sure why, but flavonols have been found to prevent damaged cells from reproducing and to kill off cancerous cells, lead study author Ute Noethlings, Dr.P.H., explains. It’s unclear how many servings of flavonol-full foods reduce risk, but strive for at least five servings of produce per day.

Good Nutrition and Your Kids : A Parent’s Responsibility

In today’s world of fast foods, packaged and processed snacks, and sugar laden soft drinks, teaching your children about healthy eating habits can be a real challenge. But while it’s true that temptation is all around, it’s still possible to instill a healthy nutritional foundation in your children. In fact, now more than ever parents need to take responsibility to help their children avoid the obesity trap. The key: the earlier you start, the better.

The foundation for teaching kids about good nutrition should be laid when they are babies. Medical editor Dr. Michael Breen in Chicago suggests that parents should expose young children to new foods regularly, but separately.  For example, one week you might introduce your toddler to broccoli, and the next week black beans. Breen also recommends introducing a new food alongside a child’s favorite food.

Children Do As You Do, Not As You Say

Another finding, which may not be what some parents want to hear, is that if you want your kids to eat well, you need to practice what you preach. A March 2000 study presented by the American Heart Association found a strong connection between parents who exhibited impulsive eating and obesity in their children. It’s important for parents to realize that children are being influenced by their own eating habits even if the child is not participating directly in it.

Take for example, a mother who eats a pint of ice cream out of the container while watching television with her 5 year old.  While the child did not eat the ice cream them self, and in fact may only be allowed moderate portions of ice cream on occasion, the behavior of their mother is still indirectly influencing their attitude, opinions, and eventually their own eating habits.

Another interesting point brought up by this study is that parents who scored highest on the dietary restraint scale (which is a scale that measures an individual’s effort to restrict food intake) had children whose body fat was consistently higher than parents who scored lower on the scale. This suggests that parents who attempt to exert too much control over their child’s eating (I.E. “Finish all your pasta before you play” or “No dessert until you clear your plate”, etc.) may cause the child to lose their ability to regulate and recognize their own hunger cues.

So besides starting early, practicing what you preach and introducing new foods regularly, what else can you do as a parent to help foster a healthy nutritional foundation in your child? Here are some other simple tips to get you on your way:

  • Limit soda to special occasions only, and instead offer water and no sugar added juices to drink. One really healthy and fun snack for kids is real fruit smoothies. They pack in the nutritional punch as well as taste so good!
  • Use milk containing no more than 2% milk fat, 1% or skim is preferred
  • Don’t completely restrict foods (unless of course your child has an allergy to that food). Restricting and banning certain foods tends to backfire and cause the child to seek the forbidden food even more.
  • When introducing new foods, don’t force your child to eat it. If they taste it and express dislike, don’t make them finish the food. Instead, put it aside and re-introduce it in a few months, perhaps prepared differently.  For example, if they didn’t like cauliflower the first time around, in a few months make it with a tasty sauce.
  • Breakfast is important! If you have a child that isn’t particularly fond of traditional “breakfast foods”, a small portion of leftover dinner will do the trick. The goal is to get the metabolism going and prevent overeating at lunch or snack time from excessive hunger..

Optimize Your Health With Vitamins And Diet

It’s common knowledge that ideally, for optimum health, people should eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. But the reality is that most people fall short of that ideal, leaving them with a diet that is severely lacking in essential vitamins and minerals. Luckily, there are ways to compensate for a less-than-perfect diet. Vitamin and mineral supplements are a great way to fill the gaps left by your diet, or to provide a potential boost in the vitality and health of anyone.

Most dieticians and doctors will agree that it’s best to consume most of your vitamins through the foods you eat rather than through a pill. One reason for this is that vitamins in healthy foods work in conjunction with other elements in the food that are not found in supplements alone. In other words, the combined effect of the vitamins with other nutrients hold a stronger punch than vitamin supplements alone. But that’s not to say that supplements hold no value, of course.

In certain groups, in fact, vitamin supplements are imperative. It is recommended that all pregnant women, for example, consume folic acid supplements regardless of their diet to help prevent debilitating birth defects like spina bifida. Doctors also suggest that dark skinned people and people lacking regular sunlight should take vitamin D supplements. Senior citizens should take B12 complexes, and the list goes on and on.

While their potential to improve health is great, too much of a good thing can be wasteful at best, dangerous at worst. Certain supplements, like vitamins E and A for example, can be toxic in high doses so care must be taken to keep track of your supplement regimen.

While there are still naysayers who dispute the benefit of taking vitamin supplements when the diet is balanced, the fact is that when taken in appropriate doses, vitamin supplements carry little true risks, yet offer great potential benefits, such as reduced risk of cancer and heart disease.

Proper Nutrition Is A Vital Aspect To Any Athlete

Most physical activity requires a lot of time and physical demand on your body, so taking in the proper nutrients is of the utmost importance. Whether you are Mr. Universe or an MMA champion consuming the proper amount of proteins, fats and carbohydrates will give your body the energy to get through those grueling workouts and, in addition, grant you a healthy lifestyle in the long run.

So what about the different nutrients that your body takes in? Why is it so important? How much and when should you be eating? When devising your daily meal plan always divide up all your nutrients that you should be taking in over the course of 5 meals. You want to feed your body every 3-4 hours. Giving it the nutrients that it needs throughout the course of the day will maximize energy levels and consumption of vitamins and minerals.

Let’s start with protein. Everyone knows the common cliché that protein is only meant for bodybuilders who want to gain muscle. This is totally untrue. The rule for protein intake can stretch across all athletes, particularly MMA fighters. Protein is the one type of calorie that your body does not store for energy. Lack of protein throughout the day will cause you to feel sluggish, weak and in the long run you will lose overall muscle on your body. General rule for protein is that it should be taken in with every meal. Great sources of protein are chicken and turkey breast, lean red meat, fish, eggs and protein shakes. All of these sources are very low in saturated fat and will help you complete your daily protein needs.

Consumption of fats in your daily meal plan is also important and essential. Fats are needed to sustain energy levels in the body and to help in muscle repair after a
grueling workout. Try and stay away from foods that are high in saturated fat such as fried or fast food, really fatty cuts of beef and corn oils. These are the fats that will make you fat and that can raise your cholesterol levels, potentially giving you heart problems. The fats that your body needs to sustain high levels of energy are low in saturated fats but higher in mono-saturated and poly-saturated fats. These fats help you get through your training and in addition will actually help your cholesterol levels. Great fats to eat are nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts or cashews), fish (salmon, tuna, tilapia and cod), eggs, lean cuts of beef (sirloin or fillet), peanut butter, and olive oil. These fats should be used moderately throughout the day with almost every meal to sustain your performance levels.

Carbohydrates are also very important to the body because it replenishes the body of the simple sugars and starches that it needs to function at optimal performance. The two best times to take in starches are in the morning and after you workout. In both cases your body is depleted: in the morning from sleeping from 6-8 hours and not eating and after a workout when your body’s blood sugar levels have been drained from intense exercise. In both instances, carbohydrates are needed to replenish the body and to get it out of a catabolic effect, when your body burns muscle. Great carbohydrates to eat during these times are oatmeal, sweet or baked potatoes and white/brown rice. All of these sources are slower to digest and your body will utilize them throughout the day.

Carbohydrates to stay away from are breads, fast foods, pasta and refined sugars such as cakes and other desserts. These sources will spike your sugar levels in the body, making you feel very lethargic and will be stored in the body as fat. Fruits and vegetables also play an important part in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Vegetables such as salad, broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus give your body lots of vitamins and nutrients. Fruits such as apples, oranges, berries and bananas also provide the body with antioxidants to fight off any sicknesses.

Two of the highlights of this article above are on protein and carbohydrates. Protein is mentioned as a necessity with every meal and carbohydrates are mentioned as a necessity after a work out. For those who are familiar with a smoothie, it is all fruit and juice which is primarily carbohydrates.

A smoothie or protein shake from MixStirs is exactly what is needed after a good workout.