Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday Edition: What's for Dinner?

Sorry to give you a kink in your neck trying to view this dinner pyramid, but I gave up on trying to rotate the darn thing. A medley of fresh summer veggies (lovin the raw crudite and hummus versus cooked veggies during these warm days) with hummus, sauteed chicken with my own herbacious medley (rosemary, basil, oregano, and garlic powder), and sweet potato chips made in the microwave with cinnamon and nutmeg. Pretty tasty and colorful dinner, if I do say so myself.

A Week in the Life of Training . . . (per request)
Sunday: 9 miler run outside!!!
Monday: Spin and Stair Mill (AM) and strength circuit a la moi (noon)
Tuesday: Outside Boot Camp Class (thanks Kelly!) and 1-hr walk with Director Doc
Wednesday: Spin and Stair Mill (AM) and strength train on my own (noon)
Thursday: Cardio Circuit Class (my favorite!) and mow lawn :)
Friday: Spin (AM) and swim (afternoon by the pool!)
Saturday: Active Recovery Day ;)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Diet Review

Fad diets claim to help you drop pounds, but do trendy eating plans really work? We took a look at some of the crazy ways people are cutting calories. There's the cabbage soup diet, the baby food diet, there's 'Master Cleanse,' a lot of cleanse and detoxes that you hear about all the time on the radio and television. For a nation that loves to eat, we seem to put some strange effort into eating less and not necessarily eating well. Even a university professor in Kansas lost more than 27 pounds eating Hostess snack cakes. The baby food diet, for example, is 1,000 calories a day and it's developed for babies, not adults. It doesn't have enough calcium, vitamin D, fiber. It doesn't have taste, it doesn't have texture, and it's not something you are going to be able to stick with. You are going to get bored really fast. We are meant to have texture, we are meant to have taste, we are meant to enjoy our food and enjoy the spices and flavors that enhance that experience.

The Twinkie diet is a great example of limiting your calories and portion sizes. No matter what you eat, you will lose weight. But it's a horrible diet in terms of your health, and it's not something you want to stick with. And you're not going to be a very nice person to be around. There was one guy who lost over 60 pounds tweeting what he was eating,. I know that some people have actually gone on to use a scale, where they weigh themselves and their weight goes straight to Twitter like a modern-day food journal. It makes you accountable for what you are eating.

But there is no structure or guidelines for a Facebook diet or the Twitter diet. So really you are going to need some sort of a guideline to follow or a meal plan to follow. Otherwise, I think some people who don't know how to eat right and want to lose weight could still be kind of in the dark. There's no surprise that what does work isn't exactly sexy. Your best bet is to keep calories to no less than 1200 a day eating three meals plus two snacks that contain lean protein, whole grains, and of course lots of colorful produce.

Monday, June 27, 2011


“So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.”

Love this quote!

Monday, June 20, 2011

3-2-2 and Taste the Rainbow

3-2-2 entrees a week

As part of the "new" My Plate recommendations for daily intake, an emerging theme has developed to address the issue of meal make-up. It is called the 3-2-2 concept: The idea is to serve a lean meat or poultry entrée three days a week, fish entrees on two nights a week, and two nights a week of vegetarian main dishes that include beans, soy or whole grains. Eating dinners along the lines of 3-2-2 emphasizes more plant-based foods. Research concurs that a diet high in plant foods is highly nutritious and can help in weight management while decreasing the risk for many chronic diseases.

The My Plate tool can also help in determining adequate portion sizes without the need for weighing and tediously measuring every meal component. You don't need a measuring cup to determine what a half-cup is if you look at the plate and aim to fill 1/4 of of it with a whole grain or other complex carbohydrate.

If you know that half of your plate should include fruits and veggies, and you look at your plate and don't see any vegetables, then you know something is wrong!

I was feeling a simple stir fry for dinner. I had some leeks from my recent trip to Whole Paycheck and decided to use them instead of my usual onions (leeks are also in the allium family and have similar antimicorbial properties and health benefits as onions). A trick to ensuring that they are dirt-free is to slice them and place them in a bowl of water. The cleaned leeks rise to the top while the dirt settles on the bottom of the bowl. Strain and toss into a sautee pan with my "taste the rainbow" medley: zucchini, yellow pepper, and red cabbage. Spray with olive oil and lightly sautee (I don't care for wilted veggies-- they need some crunch!). Add some garlic powder at the end.

I cooked the cubed chicken breast separately with low sodium soy sauce, ground ginger, garlic powder, and fresh ground pepper. So delicious and colorful-- you know this is good for you :) I also had some leftover brown rice that went unpictured and polished off 3/4 of a mango for dessert . . .I'll just tell Director Doc that there was a moldy piece and that is why I only left him a small sliver.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friends and Family Friday

Today was a better day [thank goodness!]. I had a productive lunch meeting, shopped at my favorite health food store (I found the Veganaise at Whole Paycheck!!), and had a lovely dinner with my parents.

On the grill, courtesy of The Healthy Dad, turkey hot dog (Applegate Farms), saurkraut and onions (try them grilled--amazing!), slice of grilled mango, and fresh sweet corn on the cob. A delicious dinner and fun family Friday (I like my alliteration). The Healthy Sis is coming home from NYC to celebrate Father's Day, and we are planning some quality pool time this weekend :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Venting (you were warned)

One of the reasons I created this blog, was to develop an outlet that would allow me to [healthfully] get some frustrations aired and hopefully resolved [or at least not pent up and allowed to fester]. I really love what I do for a living. I realized that I tend to expect the worst while I was on my way to meet a patient this morning. I missed the last BodyPump class at the gym [which is closing next week, don';t get me started on that drama]. I realized 20 minutes into my drive that I forgot to bring my sneakers to do my own weight training session after the consult. [You better believe I made an illegal U-turn and high-tailed it home for the treads.] I was almost the victim of 2 automobile accidents, both of the drivers were texting while driving, coincidentally. I forgot my ipod (maybe I need to invest in some gingko). It rained for the 10 minutes I decided to mow the lawn. I contracted a rash all over my legs from said lawn-mowing. I am convinced my neighbors are growing illegal substances which are germinating our backyard [more like rear Kilaminjaro, if you ever need a calf workout just climb our backyard a few times]. I went to Harris Teeter (mistake #1) for 2 items: veganaise and jicama. I left with $40 of who the hell knows what (mistake #2) and decided to put the bags in the front seat (mistake #3). New car= not so new smell anymore. Anyone want a pickle? I had a craving . . . Ok, I think I am done. I will leave you with a positive thought, and thank you for bearing with me on that crazy journey:

"Hope is important
because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear.
If we believe that tomorrow will be better,
we can bear a hardship today."

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday Tip

Healthy Lifestyle Tip: Exercise May Be the Best Appetizer
In a study at the University of Campinas, heart-pumping activity was actually found to decrease appetite by upping protein levels in the hypothalamus; tricking your brain into thinking you're full. It appeared to make brains more sensitive to key chemicals that play a role in appetite communication.
Researchers witnessed some key chemical changes in the brains of overweight animals that began getting regular exercise. The levels of two types of proteins, interleukin-6 and interleukin-10, increased in the hypothalamus. These proteins served as a type of appetite control within the part of the brain that receives signals from important hunger hormones like leptin and insulin. As a consequence of these protein increases, researchers found that the animals' brain cells became more sensitive and receptive to hunger signals. End result? The animals started to eat less.
It's not the first study to support the theory that turning up your physical activity level can dial down your appetite. This is one of the first studies to highlight a possible underlying mechanism for the effect. More research will need to be done to determine whether exercise has exactly the same effect on humans. But for now, we already know lots of other great health reasons to crank up our physical activity levels.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Mini turkey meatloaf muffins

Sweet potato with pumpkin pie spice and Smart Balance

Sauteed zucchini, onion, and yellow pepper with shredded mozzarella cheese

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Plate

USDA's Food Plate: Looks Great, Less Filling

When the USDA last week unveiled a new plate logo to replace its iconic food pyramid, some specialists in data presentation said the new image was too slimmed down.

The food pyramid, introduced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1992, spelled out how many servings of various food groups should be included in Americans' daily consumption, with the biggest components at the base of the pyramid. MyPlate, the USDA's new logo, strips away much of the information and data, instead depicting a plate divided into sections labeled vegetables, fruits, grains and protein. The vegetables and grains sections of the plate both are slightly larger than a quarter-plate, and fruit and protein sections are a bit smaller. A circle off to the side signifies dairy intake. None is labeled with percentages and amounts.


People who present data for a living say that the USDA's new plate icon is stuck uncomfortably in between an abstract icon and a graphic that conveys quantitative information.

The plate is intended to help reverse high obesity rates by spurring consumers to eat the right amount of food in healthy proportions. Whether people will get the message is unclear.

"On its own this graphic is pretty light fare," says Jeremy Shellhorn, assistant professor of graphic design at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. "As an information graphic, it simply doesn't give us much information."

The gripe of Prof. Shellhorn and others who present data for a living is that the new, multicolor plate icon is stuck uncomfortably in between an abstract icon and a graphic that conveys quantitative information. For instance, the different sizes of plate segments suggest relative proportions of food groups that should fill up consumers' plates, but USDA officials say these aren't meant to indicate actual proportions. And indeed they don't: According to USDA recommendations, a man age 31 to 50 is supposed to consume six ounces of protein daily, such as a six-ounce fish fillet—which would be dwarfed on a plate by the recommended seven units of grain, such as seven slices of bread or three and a half cups of cooked rice.

The USDA counters that the old pyramid conveyed too much information. "The intent was to get every piece of nutritional advice on the icon," Robert C. Post, deputy director of the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion," says of the pyramid. "That, I think, is too complicated. We can't get proportionality, balance, variety, portions and physical activity in one icon. One icon cannot do it. It is just an impossible task."

Instead, Dr. Post hopes that the new icon will catch Americans' attention and lead them to the website designed around the icon, where they can learn the suggested daily amounts from each food group. The icon itself "suggests proportions, because it has the uneven segments, but it isn't the end of the story on proportions," Dr. Post says.

While the USDA hopes that consumers will get all the details from its website, some nutritionists doubt many consumers will take that step after seeing the logo. "The people who will look at the website are the ones who need it least," says Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University.

Proportions, it turns out, are tricky to standardize on an icon when USDA nutritional recommendations vary according to age and gender. For example, a man between age 19 and 30 needs 60% more grains than a girl between 9 and 13 does, the USDA says. But both groups should have three cups of dairy daily.

Michael Wirth, assistant professor of new media design at Queens University of Charlotte, N.C., acknowledges the tough task faced by the USDA, which was seeking a design that could connect with consumers of all ages and multiple languages. But he would have preferred that the image included more data. "I wasn't sure if the actual slices…meant anything," Prof. Wirth says.Also complicating matters: Some foods are difficult to categorize. Consider ice cream. It is listed at among the foods that contribute the most empty calories for Americans. But one and a half cups of ice cream also are listed elsewhere on the site as counting for one of the three daily cups of dairy most people need. "This is not a good idea," says NYU's Prof. Nestle, noting the large number of calories in ice cream. And on the accompanying website, quantities of recommended food generally are listed in ounces or cups, not in calories, which some nutritionists say would make more sense.

Some designers, though, say the simplicity is a virtue in this case. "The important concepts are easy to grasp and to remember," says Marcia Lausen, director of the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Art and Design. "Specific data is an additional help for those seeking exact information, and it can be easily accessed online. Most of us, when eating, cooking, or food shopping, are not thinking statistically."

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Friday, June 10, 2011

Busy Week

So here it is Friday again . . .where did the week go? I guess that is a good sign in that it has been pretty busy in the Haas household. One goal that I have been working towards achieving is reading at least 3 journal articles weekly as a means of staying"abreast the latest medical and nutritional developments and research." Even with my hectic schedule, I was able to reach my goal and wanted to share one of the article's abstract with you. I work with clients of all ages, but find that adolescents and even preteens can be difficult to counsel depending on their family situation. Most do not cook and rely on their parents (who often do not sit down to eat regular meals let alone home-cooked fare) for food. This latest article discusses the importance and direct correlation with healthy eating behaviors linked to family mealtimes. I wholeheartedly agree and am pleased that the findings of the study support this practice. On that very note, I am prepping to have my parents over for dinner this evening and the house needs some cleaning . . .

Is Frequency of Shared Family Meals Related to the Nutritional Health of Children and Adolescents?

  1. Amber J. Hammons, PhD,
  2. Barbara H. Fiese, PhD

+Author Affiliations

  1. Family Resiliency Center, Human and Community Development, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois


OBJECTIVE: We used meta-analytic methods to examine the frequency of shared family mealtimes in relation to nutritional health in children and adolescents. The primary objective was to determine consistency and strength of effects across 17 studies that examined overweight and obese, food consumption and eating patterns, and disordered eating.

METHODS: The total sample size for all studies was 182 836 children and adolescents (mean sample age: 2.8–17.3 years). Pooled odds ratios were calculated. A random-effects model was used to estimate all outcomes.

RESULTS: The frequency of shared family meals is significantly related to nutritional health in children and adolescents. Children and adolescents who share family meals 3 or more times per week are more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier dietary and eating patterns than those who share fewer than 3 family meals together. In addition, they are less likely to engage in disordered eating.

CONCLUSIONS: Educational and public health initiatives aimed at promoting shared family mealtimes may improve nutritional health of children and adolescents. Clinicians may advise their patients about the benefits of sharing 3 or more family mealtimes per week; benefits include a reduction in the odds for overweight (12%), eating unhealthy foods (20%), and disordered eating (35%) and an increase in the odds for eating healthy foods (24%).

Key Words:
  • Accepted February 4, 2011.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fit Friday

So I have decided to do a "Fit Friday" series that details ways to incorporate fitness into a daily lifestyle. Today I am going to speak about beating cardio boredom, as I have developed some amazing strategies that have helped me overcome hours on the treadmill, bike, elliptical, etc. The main aide I employ is the magazine. . . as does my other gym buddy ;) Our gym does not offer magazines, so I have found another equally eager fitness enthusiast to share her stash of mags as I do with her. We bring them in periodically (pun intended) and keep the topics varied and selection diverse in nature to provoke new thoughts and ideas that we can later share during our "walking and talking" [therapy] sessions. This is an economical way to provide some new educational and often entertaining material to be disseminated. We are starting to do the same with books, though the font size and length of the novel can be troublesome when factoring in a body in motion.

I will leave you with a new addition to my home gym- a spin bike!! It is always a good idea to have backup workout plans so having a few key pieces of equipment at home helps me stick to my goal setting plans and prevents excuses.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Recent Eats

We shall travel back in time . . . this is tonight's dinner: salmon with lemon juice and rosemary covered in spinach (after cooking the fish) and served with raw carrots and yellow peppers, strawberries, and quinoa pilaf with garlic hummus. Easy, tasty, and of course, nutritious-- my kind of meal!
Last night's dinner: stir fry chicken made with Ken's low sodium sesame ginger sauce and served with steamed zucchini, mushrooms, and yellow peppers. Much cheaper than take-out and much better for you.

Tuesday night I went over to my parent's house for dinner and a sweaty walk (it was 96 degrees-- HELLO summer weather!): [unpictured] barbecued chicken served with homemade hash browns and grilled onions and pineapple (everything tastes better on the grill) along with plenty of dad's famous guac and unsalted tortilla chips.

Monday night's dinner: shrimp (I found some in the freezer and figured they defrost quickly by placing in cool water for a few minutes) thrown in the saute pan with olive oil, garlic powder, ginger, and low sodium soy sauce along with a massive veggie load (broccoli, chinese cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and baby corn). I served it alongside steamed brown rice and called it a day . .. short for a day's worth of fiber and antioxidants in one meal, go me :)

Well I think we are all caught up. Back tomorrow for some "Fitness Friday" tips. Speaking of fitness, I have a meeting tomorrow as the Head Coach for GOTR Fall 2011!!