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Providing Tools and Tips to Live Healthier, Happier Lives

Archive for the month “December, 2011”

Drinking Responsibly into the New Year and Beyond

Guest Post by Miriam Shatzkes, MS, RD from Dietnomics.

This time of year brings many parties and a lot of drinking. While I am not going to tell you not to drink, since I know most of you won’t listen, I will tell you how to drink responsibly into the New Year and beyond. Alcohol can bring out our inhibitions to allow us to have more fun, but it also has many negative effects on the body as a whole. There is a way to enjoy alcohol, yet still be responsible with our alcoholic intake.

Alcoholic beverages can be a substantial source of extra calories. If you drink a lot of any alcoholic beverage, you can pack on the pounds quickly. For moderate drinkers, the choice of beverage can make a big difference.

A serving size for an alcoholic beverage depends on the type of drink. A typical drink is any drink that contains 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol. This is equal to:

  • 12 ounces of a beer or wine cooler
  • 8-ounces of malt liquor
  • 5 ounces of table wine
  • 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits such as gin, vodka, whiskey, etc.

If you choose to drink alcohol, it’s important to do so in moderation. Moderate drinking means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks for men. Generally, anything more than moderate drinking can be harmful to your health.

A mistaken belief is that light beer is like a diet beverage – calorie and fat free. Although light beer does have fewer calories than regular variety, the average light beer still contains upwards of 100 or more calories per 12 oz can, and regular beer ranges from approximately 140-200 calories.

Despite the small quantity of liquid, a single shot of liquor (1.5 oz) can contain anywhere from 115-200 calories. A 4.0 oz glass of wine contains anywhere from 62-160, with 160 being on the high end of the spectrum. Mixed drinks are where the calories really add up, ranging from approximately 280 calories for a gin and tonic to over 800 calories for some of the frozen, creamy drinks.

So although you might be drinking a bit more than usual this time of year, please be aware for the year ahead to drink a bit more responsibly.

Above all, if you know you will be drinking please make sure you have a designated driver to get you home safely.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

About the Author: Miriam is a Registered Dietitian who resides in NYC. Her focus is in weight loss, weight management and diet control. 

Charity of the Month for January 2012 – City Harvest

EatSmart fans will select each Charity of the Month in 2012. Fans will submit short stories about the charity’s mission and why it’s meaningful to them. We began our Charity of the Month donations last year.

For January 2012, loyal EatSmart Fan, Deborah Curran selected City Harvest.   We will be donating 50 cents for every new Facebook Like during the month of January.  (So spread the word!)

Read why Deborah picked City Harvest:
When EatSmart first asked if I’d help chose a worthy organization to receive a donation from them, I was honored and knew right away it had to be an organization that helped feed the hungry. Feeding the poor is something that Eric (my 10 year old son) and I are always conscious of. We’ve made it a policy to never go food shopping for us without also getting something for the food pantry.

I admire the work that City Harvest does. It’s amazing to see how they do it! They find fresh produce that will go to waste (from restaurants, farmers, bakeries), get trucks (even bikes) to pick it up and deliver to over 600 community food programs such as food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters. The volunteers also take time to teach nutrition education programs and hope to begin life long healthy eating habits with fresh fruit and milk available at all times, recognizing that without this the result could be higher rates of obesity and diabetes.

If anyone would like to learn more about them, please visit their website.  And thanks again to EatSmart for your very generous donation to them!

Deborah can be found on Twitter @treetrout1.

If interested in submitting a charity for consideration, please email karen@eatsmartproducts.com. The donation amount will be capped at 500 new likes.

Happy Holidays – And the 2011 Charities of the Month

*Click on the image for a clean view.

Surviving the Holidays – Maintain your Weight and Keep your Sanity

Guest Post by Robert DeVito, President and Chief Motivational Officer of Innovation Fitness Solutions.

Holidays can be hard on your waistline and hard on your mind. We take a normally “busy” lifestyle and add more “business” on top of it. All rushing around and not getting any rest can lead you to make impulsive food choices, feel tired and emotionally drained and end up NOT enjoying much of what is supposed to be a very happy time.

Remembering what your Goals are and Why you are trying to accomplish these Goals will help to keep you on track throughout the holiday season. Temptation is everywhere and “slipping up” only takes a few seconds to consume a few hundred extra calories.

Why are you eating what you are eating?
1. Decide what you are going to eat each day before you start. Have a plan for your food. No one says you can’t have a snack, then dinner a while later and then dessert a while after that. Often we have “soup to nuts” meals multiple times per day.
2. Get some exercise right after you get out of bed. This will help you focus on your fitness and make you aware of how your body feels. Make mini bouts (5 mins) of exercise a priority for the day. Play with the dog, chase your kids, do squats and jumping jacks every 30 -45 minutes.
3. Drink lots of water throughout the day. We all know how important it is to drink water and to stay hydrated. Water will fill you and keep you from feeling hungry throughout the day. Begin by setting a Water Goal for the day. Track your intake and drink BEFORE you eat.
4. Eat a small breakfast to set up a slow eating day. Do not make the mistake of “making room” or starving yourself in preparation for the feast. You will consume substantially more food and calories that way AND feel awful.
5. Load up on the Veggie Tray. Carrots, Celery, Peppers, Broccoli, Cauliflower. If you are not hosting the festivities, find out from who is if they will have a Veggie Tray. If not, bring your own. I guarantee you that if you load up on low-calories veggies first; you will not eat as much throughout the day. Make this choice even better by bringing a low-calorie ranch dip.
6. “Cheat Well”. There are foods that you are really looking forward to and there are foods that you do not really care for. Eat the ones that you really want. Ignore the ones that you don’t. Often, in holiday/social situations we eat impulsively and re actively. Be sure to Stop, Think, ChOose then Proceed with your eating by making a choice that you really want.
7. Go for another walk if the weather is good. The worst thing to me is that after having a great Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner there is no energy outlet so you end up just sitting and almost falling asleep. Why not take a little walk around the neighborhood?
8. Kinect with the Wii. Have an interactive game to play. What you want to do after dinner and dessert is keep away from the regular habit of snacking even though you are full. Set up a tournament with your family to get moving! Have fun and bond together!

About the Author: Robert is the President and Chief Motivational Officer for Innovation Fitness Solutions, a Butler, NJ based Coaching facility focused on Weight Loss and Personal Development. He provides advice on Weight Loss, Healthy Lifestyles and happiness!

Healthy Lasagna Recipe: Gluten Free and Vegetarian “Lasagna”

Guest Post by Jenny Manseau, Culinary Arts/Culinary Nutrition student and author of the blog Creative Cooking Gluten Free.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium-large yellow squash*
  • 6-8 ounces part skim ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces frozen spinach, chopped (after its been thawed and drained well)
  • 8 ounces Pasta Sauce (I prefer homemade, but jar sauce is perfectly fine)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 oz Low Moisture Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese

Preparation:
Slice the squash in 1/4 inch pieces.  Lay them on a paper towel, salt to draw out the extra water/moisture from the squash.

While the squash is “resting”, mix together the spinach and ricotta in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper.

In a baking dish (I used a small 2qt baking dish, for a larger lasagna double the recipe and use a larger baking dish) layer the bottom of the pan with a small amount of sauce. Place the first player of squash down to cover the bottom of the pan (you may have to cut a few pieces to make it fit), evenly spread out the ricotta and spinach mixture, top with sauce. Repeat. You should get about three layers out of these ingredients.

*This can also be done with eggplant (peel, and soak in salted lemon water to retain color and remove some bitterness – then follow the same steps as the squash) or zucchini, again after slicing place on a paper towel and salt to draw out excess water.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes (or until mozzarella is golden brown)

About the Author: Jenny Manseau is a Culinary Arts/Culinary Nutrition student and author of the blog Creative Cooking Gluten Free. Jenny created her website after being diagnosed in 2008 with Celiac Disease and takes many “regular” every day recipes and alters them to the gluten-free diet.

Get a Load of This — A Useful Tool For Traveling

When preparing for a 2 week vacation to Sicily last year, I knew that I would need a substantial amount of clothing but was determined to have no more than one checked bag and one carry on.  Nothing unusual there –only the rare passenger flies overseas without carrying at least one piece of carry-on baggage, and many have to check one or more pieces of luggage as well.  Additional baggage may cost you extra.

Savvy travelers know that you should check the baggage restrictions for the specific airline you will be traveling on—which I did.  What I failed to do was to check baggage requirements for our connecting airline, Alitalia.  You were allowed to check one bag only and the weight allowed was less then we had packed for Continental leaving the US.  So at the Alitalia check in counter in
Rome, I found myself pulling random items out of my suitcase and stuffing them into my carry- on or my husband’s bag to meet the lower weight restriction.  This involved a series of reweighs until I met the allowed weight.  Needless to say, the airline clerk was not too happy with me.  Thank goodness that I was able to pull this off—you do not have the option to pay for additional weight on Alitalia.  Meet the weight requirement or leave it behind.

This all could have been avoided if I had planned better and purchased an EatSmart Voyager Luggage Scale to comply with all weight restrictions, for all flights, both coming and going!  Did I not mention all the beautiful, handmade Italian dinnerware that I wanted to buy and bring home with me.  Again, having already packed to the max, this was not going to work.   By using the luggage scale I would have purposefully left some room in my checked bag (who needs all those shoes) to carry home all clothing, etc. originally packed for the trip.  My carry-on would be free to carry my gorgeous, breakable souvenirs safely home –life long mementos of a wonderful trip.

On all trips that followed my Sicily adventure, I have used the Precision Voyager Luggage Scale and eliminated these luggage issues. It definitely makes for a smoother journey and enhances the travel experience.  For peace of mind, bring it with you on your travels—it only weighs a few ounces.

Story by: Maria Geronimo, Public Relations Director at EatSmart Products

Have you had a similar experience?  Did you have to leave your souvenirs behind?

Healthy Dessert Recipe: Raw Cacao Truffles

Guest Post by Shana Paladino-Ripp, Certified Holistic Health & Wellness Coach and Owner of Balanced Health with Shana

Ingredients:
¾ Cup Raw Cacao Powder
2 Cups Ground Organic Raw Almonds
¾ Cup Raw Agave Nectar
½ Cup Raw Cacao Nibs
Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
1 Cup Dried Organic Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

Directions:
Combine all ingredients except for the coconut flakes in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Roll up your sleeves, take a small amount of the mixture, and roll small balls between your palms. Dip each ball in a separate smaller bowl containing the coconut flakes.

You can freeze or refrigerate the truffles overnight to harden them. Keep cold until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Health Benefits of the Raw Cacao Truffles:
- Raw Cacao has the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world and rich in chromium, manganese, zinc, iron, copper and magnesium- all essential trace minerals. The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology published a study in 2009 wherein they found that chocolate with a high cocoa percentage could help protect skin from UV damage. Cornell University found in a study that cacao has twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times the amounts found in green tea.
- Raw Cacao can lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and promotes healthy blood flow which reduces the risk of strokes, heart attacks and blood clots
- Raw Cacao contains very little caffeine
- Raw Cacao is rich in Flavonoids which is a cancer-fighting antioxidant
- Raw Cacao is high in magnesium (which is essential for maintaining brain function) and contains anandamide and tryptophan which also help with brain functions
- Almonds offer protein, healthy fats and minerals that are great for the body and your skin.

These truffles are a great way to eat a ‘smart’ dessert. What’s your favorite healthy dessert recipe? 

About the Author: Shana Paladino-Ripp is a Certified Holistic Health & Wellness Coach.  As a Health & Wellness Coach and member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, she works with people individually and in group settings to make positive adjustments in their lifestyle and overall well-being to produce real and lasting results. You can also find her on Facebook.

Healthy Soup Recipe: Raw Tomato Soup

Guest Post by Stephanie Merchant, Health Coach, Raw Food Chef and Owner of The Nutrition Mom.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup fresh tomato pieces
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small handful (about 1/4 c) fresh basil
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos and lemon juice, to taste
Directions:
Soak sundried tomatoes in water for about 1/2 to 1 hour to soften.
Place sundried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, water, avocado, and garlic in blender and pulse until smooth (or a little chunky depending on your preference).

Add Braggs, basil, and lemon juice, pulse in blender and serve.

If you’re interested in more raw food recipes, please watch Stephanie’s video on Raw Ice Cream.

How do you make healthy soup?

About the Author: Stephanie is “The Nutrition Mom.” She is a Health Coach and a Raw Food Chef.  Her coaching focuses on simple steps to good nutrition, a healthier life, and a more connected family. You can learn more about her services at The Nutrition Mom.

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