Archive for December, 2016

What do you know about High Fructose Corn Syrup?

It seems that one of the most asked questions these days is high fructose corn syrup worse for you than regular sugar.  Well, according to studies, last year alone Americans consumed 27 pounds of high fructose corn syrup, after all it can be found nearly everywhere including the fruit on the bottom of your yogurt and in many whole wheat breads.

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While that number is down from the 37.5 pounds consumed per person back in 1999, it seems that most Americans are filling in those remaining calories and pounds by adding in good old fashioned sugar.

Normal table sugar is made up of 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose.  But since fructose is sweeter than glucose many manufacturers increased the ratio, to inexpensively hook their consumers.  High fructose corn syrup contains 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose.

Because it is sweeter, people who eat foods high in high fructose corn syrup it may cause overeating and weight gain.  Studies have also shown that high fructose corn syrup may also contain varying amounts of mercury.

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy stated that “mercury was present in nearly a third of 55 popular brand name food and beverages in which high fructose corn syrup was the first or second ingredient on the label.”

It is important to be a good label reader and avoid foods that list high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient on the label. Even if an item is marked “natural” or in the health food aisle, it still can contain high fructose corn syrup as a main ingredient.

Even though table sugar isn’t as bad for you as high fructose corn syrup, it can still wreak havoc on your diet and weight loss goals.  Indulge in sugary items as a treat or only on special occasions, instead of at every meal.

How Fit Are You?

Take this Quiz and Find out!

If you are looking to “get fit” in 2017, take these three self tests to find out how fit you are first!

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  • How are your muscles?  Do some push-ups.  A 30-year old man should be able to 35 push-ups while a 30-year old woman should be able to do 45, while her knees are on the floor.  For every decade after 30, the amount of push-ups decreases by 5 for each gender.
  • How is your flexibility? Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, slightly apart.  Extend your arms placing your one hand on top of your other hand, fingertips forward and reach for the space in between your feet.  Women under the age of 46 should be able to reach at least two to four inches past your feet.

Older women should be able to reach the soles of their feet.  Men under the age of 46 should be able to reach the soles of their feet.  Older men should aim to be within three to four inches of their soles. 

  • What’s your heart rate?  Begin by exercising for 18 minutes at 80 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate – for men, 220 minus your age; for women, 208 minus .82 times your age.  Then exercise all out for three minutes.  Check your pulse.  Rest for two minutes and then check it again.  Your heart rate should have dropped by at least 66 beats.  The faster it drops the more fit you are.

Strange Reasons Why You May be Gaining Weight

So you have been working out and eating right, but you still can’t get that scale to move in the right direction? Well, there may be a “strange” reason why you are gaining weight instead of losing weight.

Here are some strange factors that could cause you to be gaining weight, even though you are doing everything you can to lose weight.

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  • If you are depressed and taking medication for it, you can expect to see about a 5 to 15 pound weight gain, with accumulated weight gain the longer you are on medication. Even if you are not taking medication, if you are depressed you can still be causing unnecessary weight gain because people that are depressed typically turn to “comfort” foods like foods high in fat and calories or they may cut back on physical activity.
  • If you have digestive issues, like having slow bowel movements, you may be gaining weight from that.  Ideally, you should eat and then in an hour or two, have a bowel movement.  To be considered “regular” you should have one to two bowel movements per day.  Staying hydrated is important to become regular and having a diet rich in fiber is also important.
  • If your body is low on vitamin D, magnesium or iron, then your body’s immune system can be comprised, your energy levels may be decreased, or your metabolism may be altered in a way that makes it much harder to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  You can increase your red meat and spinach intake to help improve your iron levels, and improve your magnesium levels by eating more almonds or Brazilian nuts.  Add a supplement of vitamin D to get that all important vitamin.

Winter Motivation Tips

When the weather outside is frightful, it’s easy to get lazy and to lack the motivation to even get out of bed some days.  So how do you stay motivated when everything is keeping you down?   Try some of these tips:

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  • Set goals and document them. By keeping a list you will see this daily and you will feel more inclined to want to check things off this list.
  • Set clear dates of when you need to complete things by, whether they are long term or short term goals. By giving yourself a deadline, you will work harder to keep them.
  • Reward yourself for meeting your deadlines and reaching your goals.  Whether you allow yourself to buy something nice or a day of pampering at the spa, you will work harder to do things when you know there is a reward at the end.
  • Listen to motivational tapes and/or read motivational books to help gain some inspiration to keep going.
  • Learn to breathe correctly.  You will feel more relaxed and when you are more relaxed you will also be more apt to stay motivated than when you are stressed.
  • Keep a positive attitude.  Even though it is easy to be depressed when the long, cold winter months drag on, try to remain positive and you will notice that motivation comes along with being happy.
  • Remind yourself that progress is what is important and not perfection.  This is especially important when you are looking at your long-term goals, as they may seem like the most unreachable.  Remember all of the short-term goals that you have met and you will be more successful.
  • Build a support system of friends and family members that are typically motivated.  By keeping like-minded people close to you, you will become motivated by just being in their presence.

Spotlight on Salmon

  • Besides being an excellent source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, salmon is also full of high-quality proteins and low in saturated fat.
  • Salmon has nearly a third of the saturated fat of lean ground beef and 50 percent less saturated fat than chicken, making it one of the healthiest items that you could eat.
  • Salmon is also low in calories. One serving contains approximately 183 calories, making it one of the lowest in calories among other fish.

 

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Recipe: Smoked Salmon Dip

 

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. smoked salmon, minced

Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudités or crackers.

Recipe: Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon

  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut into four portions
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Whisk scallion, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and ginger in a medium bowl until the honey is dissolved. Place salmon in a sealable plastic bag, add 3 tablespoons of the sauce and refrigerate; let marinate for 15 minutes. Reserve the remaining sauce.Preheat broiler. Line a small baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Transfer the salmon to the pan, skinned-side down. (Discard the marinade.) Broil the salmon 4 to 6 inches from the heat source until cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with the reserved sauce and garnish with sesame seeds.

Stock Up on Superfoods

Holiday Stress 101

It’s the holiday season and for many people that also means it’s the stressful season.  Instead of sweating every little thing this year, try fighting off your holiday stress with these amazing, stress-fighting superfoods.

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  • Avocado – they give you a burst of vitamin B, which will help to keep you alert and awake, while reducing anxiety.
  • Bananas – help to keep you energized and reduce your blood pressure.
  • Brown rice – complex carbohydrates (like those in rice) help to raise your body’s serotonin levels, without the carb crash that is typically associated with eating carbohydrates.
  • Dark chocolate – also increases the levels of serotonin in the body, giving you those feelings of joy and happiness.
  • Fish – the omega-3 fatty acids in fish help to lower adrenaline levels in the body, which can result in a calming effect in your mind and body.