Monday, March 12, 2012

No More Swimsuit Phobia!

The sun is coming up more often and the temperature has risen…


All of you boys and girls are probably thinking of the extra kilograms sitting on your belly, definitely not matching your swimsuit! So you run to the supermarkets buying all the diet foods there is; you take out that gym membership you never used; you search the net for some diets: There’s chaos all over the country. Well, I say no need to panic. You still have around 10 weeks to get that super body before swimsuit season!

There’s no magic spell that can turn you into those Baywatch babes. However, a combination of a personalized diet, tailored according to your needs, and the right physical activity can make it happen.

Diet plan

The first mistake people make in this situation is engage in a very low calorie diet: it’s fast and efficient. Well, not really! These types of diet will make you lose muscle mass instead of fat and the weight loss cannot be maintained on the long run. For optimal results, you should go for a balanced diet with the right amount of calories, carbohydrates, fat and proteins.


- Have at least 3 meals a day
- Don’t skip breakfast because it helps you keep a high metabolism all day.
- Have fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They will make you feel full for a longer period of time.
- Go light: when available, choose low fat products such as milk and dairies; go for lean meats; stay away from fried foods; skip fast foods, etc.
- Drink lots of water.
- Have healthy, low in sugar snacks: instead of chocolates, cakes and cookies, go for fruits, yogurts or cereals.

Physical activity

There are two stages for the physical activity

Stage 1: Fat burning
First you need to lose the extra fat by doing cardio training at least 3 hours a week: walking, swimming, treadmill, elliptical trainer, jogging, cycling, lifting light weights with numerous repetitions (15-20) etc.
If you’re a beginner, you can gradually increase your activity from 15 minutes a day until you reach 3 hours a week (at least).
- If you don’t have much time on your hands, you can split your workouts into twice a day.
- Take advantage of the nice weather and the longer days to engage in outdoor activities. They’re much more fun!
- Be active in your daily routine: skip the elevator, park your car a bit far from your destination and walk, help with the housework, etc.

Stage 2: Muscle building
When you increase your muscle weight, your metabolism goes up! So after losing a considerable amount of fat, you can start lifting high weights with low repetitions, doing abs, pushups, etc. This is the best way to maintain the lost weight!

I believe that this is the perfect timing for dieting.
Why? Because you have the motivation you need to stay compliant to your diet. Just imagine how good you will look in that swimsuit! You can picture that every time you reach out for a food item or you decide to skip workout and it will get you back on track.
At times like these, it is always important to have a support system. Choose someone, could be a friend, a family member, a colleague, to help you stay on the right track, remind you of your goals and keep encouraging you. And of course, don’t stress out! It will only lead to binge eating!

If you have the slightest doubt you can’t make it on your own, then don’t waste any time! Call your dietitian NOW, take an appointment, and she will make it happen for you!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Quinoa... My Precious!

“Mother of all grains” is what the Incas called it. And it took us a few thousand years to realize how great of a food it is: Quinoa. You’ve probably heard about it from a few dietitians who strongly recommend it. But what is it exactly? And what superpowers does it have?
Quinoa is a pseudo-grain that grows in South America. I say pseudo because it doesn’t really fit in the same category as grains. It is more the seed of a plant. With 2mm in diameter, it comes in various colors from white, red to black depending on the cultivar.

Just like other grains, it is high in carbs (70%) and fibers. However, it stands out because of its high protein content (15%). In fact, it contains all 9 essential amino acids including Lysine which you can’t normally find in cereals and which are low in legumes. 55-65% of its fats are polyunsaturated or what we usually call “the good fats”. Aside from the macronutrients, quinoa is rich in vitamins and minerals: Vitamin B2, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc and copper.

No need to speculate about its benefits, I will just go ahead and state them for you!

Benefits of Quinoa

1. It loves your heart!
Quinoa contains polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3 and 6). The latter have proved to be very beneficial for the heart. They reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the good one (HDL). They protect you from cardiovascular disease.

Besides, it is rich in soluble fibers which help reduce cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes. In fact these fibers help eliminate cholesterol from the body and regulate blood glucose.
A study conducted at Harvard showed that the high fiber content of whole grain cereals [such as quinoa] can reduce heart failure risk of 29%.

Finally, the intake of magnesium, mineral known for relaxing the body, can help reduce arterial hypertension.

2. Antioxidant
Quinoa can help your body fight free radicals and prevent cellular damage. This is possible thanks to copper (antioxidant) and manganese which is the cofactor of an important antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase.

3. Fights cancer
According to the UK women’s cohort study, a diet rich in fibers can help reduce risk of breast cancer in pre-menopausal women. Yes! It’s true! A high intake of fibers (>30g/day) results in a 52% lower risk of breast cancer for women.
Insoluble fibers also protect against colon cancer by speeding intestinal transit time. Basically, your fecal material will navigate faster through the colon and the impact between the colon membrane and the toxins will be less likely. Conclusion: lower cancer risk!

4. No more constipation
Of course, this is due to the high fiber content!

5. Great for vegetarians
As we’ve discussed in a previous post, vegetarians need good sources of proteins, iron and zinc. And that’s exactly why quinoa is the right choice for them. The quality of its proteins is as good as meat. And even though its iron is not very well absorbed by the body, the addition of a source of vitamin C such as a squeeze of lemon juice can fix that problem.

6. Gluten-free
This cereal does not contain gluten. It is suitable for people who suffer from gluten intolerance or what we call the celiac disease.

It is also believed that quinoa can reduce gallstones because of its fiber content and migraine because of its magnesium. In fact, the latter prevents constriction of blood vessels responsible for that intolerable headache.

How do I integrate it in my diet?

First of all, I’m sure you’re thinking: “It’s such a good food for the body, I’m sure it tastes like…” don’t say it! Because I can assure you it doesn’t! It is very tasty. Even its leaves are edible. However, they’re hard to find on the market.

You can find the grain mainly in organic food stores in forms of flour, flakes (such as breakfast cereals), grains that you can cook like other cereals, milk or powder.
Cooking ideas:
The positive thing (or an extra positive thing) about quinoa is it can be used in sweet and salty recipes.
- The dough can be used to make cakes or muffins; it can also be used to make a pizza or a bread loaf.
- It can replace bulgur in Tabbouleh.
- It can be eaten as such like nuts.
- It can replace rice in all recipes such as risotto or stews.
- You can just sprinkle it on any salad.

Highly nutritious, great taste and let’s say that with your creativity, you can use it almost anywhere! Indeed it is a very precious food. So try it and let us know what you thought of it!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

A glass of milk that tastes like chocolate!

Remember when your mom used to run after you with that glass of milk you just couldn’t stand?
How hard it is for you to hear that, even after 20 or 30 years, you still have to drink milk?
I know it is for me! It reminds me of the bitter moments of my childhood.
But still… milk is good for the body, especially for the bones.

So how about a glass of milk that tastes so much better?
It’s none other than custard!
Yes! Every serving of custard contains on average 1 cup of milk. And I bet you will love it much more.

So here’s the recipe:

1.5 cup of custard powder

3 cups of powder milk

2.25 cups of sugar

It’s very easy. You just mix the three ingredients in a pot and add water (room temperature). You start stirring after placing it on medium heat. And you keep on doing that until you get a thick and homogenous texture. You pour them into cups and leave them to cool down.
When they reach room temperature, refrigerate them.

You will have a 220 calorie super healthy and bone friendly dessert.

W alf sahten :D