Those of you who straddle a bicycle more than a few times a year, have probably heard the ABC rule (always check your Air, Brakes, and Chain). Even if you’re not a cyclist, all sports enthusiasts should follow the DEF rule: Any time you swim, bike, run, walk, hike, or do any form of aerobic activity for more than an hour, always bring snacks that are Delicious and supply Energy and Fluids. Granted, antioxidants, fiber, B vitamins, and minerals aid your overall health and therefore your stamina, but hopefully you’re paying attention to those issues at mealtime by loading the plate with vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and other real food. When facing the 156th hill on a two-hour power walk or are up to your waist in powder half way through a half-day snow shoeing adventure, your body is screaming for glucose and water.
Eat every 45 minutes: Plan tasty snacks that supply about 150 calories for every hour of exercise. Even if you are not hungry, eat anyway!
Plan ahead: Won’t stop to eat? Then open the energy bar wrappers (watch out for the chocolate ones that melt on a hot day) and slice the fruit before you leave, that way the snack is easy to grab without putting on the brakes or taking off the snowshoes.
D ‘n E Snacks: Here are some of the best Delicious Energizing snacks (except for the energy bars, all supply about 150 calories):
Biking: You want no-mess, grab-while-peddling items, such as:
- One-half of a 3/4-ounce can Pringles chips or 1 1 /2 ounces pretzel sticks
- 2 Raspberry fig bars
- 1 ounce or 1/4 cup mix of roasted soy nuts and craisins
- one 2-ounce carrot-raisin muffin
- Your favorite energy bar. Somer recommends – GeniSoy’s Chocolate Mint, Ultimate Fudge Brownie, or Café Mocha Fudge; BellyBars; or Oh Mama Nutrition Bars.
Hiking: A backpack can accommodate the following:
- 1 mini-bagel spread with 1 tablespoon equal parts almond butter, honey, and toasted wheat germ
- Dole 7-ounce Fruit Bowls, it even comes with a fork!
- 2 cups fresh fruit: orange sections, apple slices, pineapple chunks, or 1 large banana., packed in zip locks.
- 1 large oatmeal-raisin cookie
- 1/4 cup trail mix. Make your own from dried cherries, nuts, sunflower seeds, and M&Ms.
Power Walking: Stash any of the following in your fanny pack:
- 1 low-fat string cheese and 1 ounce fat-free crackers
- 1 Fig Newman’s Fruit Filled Cookie-no fat and doesn’t have a melt-down in your pack
- 2 Yoplait Expresse On-the-Go Yogurt. Freeze so it’s cold on the road
- Veggie Wrap: 1 /2 small fat-free tortilla filled with grated carrots and zucchini, cilantro, and low-fat cheese
The F Rule: When it comes to Fluids,
- Drink at least one large bottle of water or other fluids for every hour of exercise, or 4 to 6 ounces – and up to 10 ounces in hot climates – every 15 minutes.
- Drink enough water before, during, and after exercise that your urine is pale yellow.
- Lightly-sweetened and diluted iced tea. Tzao has some great blends, such as Green Ginger or Refresh with a mixture of mints. It might encourage you to drink more.
- Or, include a fluid-replacement drink with electrolytes and glucose if you are exercising vigorously (you are sweating like a pig!) for more than an hour, especially in hot climates.
- Or, dilute fruit juice with equal parts water. Happy trails! Photo credit: Phil Roeder via Compfight.
Just Do This Today
1) Do some form of moderate to vigorous exercise for at least 20 minutes.
2) Drink at least 6 glasses of water, evenly dispersed throughout the day.
3) Add at least one dark green leafy vegetable to the day’s meal to get your daily dose of lutein and zeaxanthin, the two carotenoids that help protect your eyes from vision loss down the road.
Hot Off the Diet Press
1. Live Longer With Whole Grains: Toss out that mistaken belief that carbs are bad for you. If they are 100% whole grain, they could save (and extend) your life. From the mid-1990s to 2009, researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston tracked dietary intakes and health status of almost 370,000 healthy adults between the ages of 50- and 71-years-old at the start of the study. Results showed that those who ate the most fiber-rich whole grains were 17% less likely to die during the study period compared to those who ate the least amount of fiber-rich foods. The whole-grain eaters were less likely to be obese and more likely to follow healthy habits, such as not smoking and eating less red meat. But the benefits persisted when these variables were accounted for. Whole grain intake also lowered the risk of premature death from lung disease, diabetes, and cancer, and reduced total and cause-specific mortality. How much whole grain intake was needed to show improvement in health and life expectancy? For someone eating a 2,500-calorie diet, optimal whole grain intake was equivalent to 5 slices of bread. The researchers suspect whole grains are healthy because they lower overall food intake, reduce blood cholesterol levels, and are anti-inflammatory foods.
Huang T, Xu M, Lee A, et al: Consumption of whole grains and cereal fiber and total and cause-specific mortality. BMC Medicine 2015;13:59. Photo credit: Ernesto Andrade via Compfight
2. DHA to the Memory Rescue: Most people are less concerned about growing old than they are losing their independence. Nothing undermines that independence more than loss of memory. According to a study from EpidStat Institute in Evergreen, Colorado, there is much people can do to protect their brains, starting with the omega-3 fat DHA. In this meta-analysis of studies on omega-3s and memory outcomes in healthy adults aged 18-years and older with or without mild memory complaints, the researchers found that episodic memory was improved with supplements of the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA. Regardless of mental status at the start of the study, more than 1 gram of DHA and EPA improved episodic memory. Semantic and working memory were improved with DHA. The researchers conclude that DHA, alone or with EPA, improves memory function in older adults with mild memory complaints. (Episodic memory relates to how well personal experiences are recalled, while semantic memory reflects past events that are not personal. Working memory is how well a person can process and synthesize new and previously learned information.) Yurko-Mauro K, Alexander D, Van Elswyk M: Docosahexaenoic acid and adult memory. PLOS One 2015; March 18th.
3. A Sad Way to Eat: High-fat diets alter the intestinal microbiome that in turns affects mood and behavior, state researchers at Louisiana State University. In this study, healthy adult mice maintained on normal diets received transplants of gut microbiota from donor mice that had been fed high-fat or control diets. The recipient mice were monitored for changes in mental function and behavior. Results showed that mice who received the microbiota shaped by high-fat diets showed multiple problems in behavior, including increased anxiety, impaired memory, and repetitive behaviors. They also had increased intestinal permeability and markers of inflammation. Signs of inflammation in the brain may have contributed to the behavioral changes. The researchers conclude that, “…high-fat diets impair brain health, in part, by disrupting the symbiotic relationship between humans and the microorganisms that occupy our gastrointestinal tracks.” These changes occur even in the absence of obesity. (The microbiome consists of trillions of microorganisms, many if not most, reside in the intestinal tract. These microbiota are critical for normal physiological function and may contribute to the host’s susceptibility to illness. According to this study and a growing body of research, the characteristics of this microbiota also impact cognition and behavior. )
Bruce-Keller A, Salbaum J, Luo M, et al: Obese-type gut microbiota induce neurobehavioral changes in the absence of obesity. Biological Psychiatry 2015;77:607.
Food & Mood Tip
While there is little research showing that what you eat at dinner makes much of a difference on your mood and energy level (except that a big, heavy meal or a spicy choice can upset sleep patterns, leading to fatigue the next day), the first meal of the day has a wealth of research to support its importance to your mood, mind, and memory. Breakfast eaters reap a world of benefits. They have the best memory, thinking ability, recall, and problem-solving skills throughout the day. Breakfast influences how well you learn new information and remember that information, how easily you grasp complex concepts, and how quickly you react to new stimuli. Breakfast eaters score higher on intelligence tests, are more creative, have more sustained energy throughout the day, are more cheerful, and less likely to battle fatigue compared to breakfast skippers. They also are calmer and less stressed. These benefits are most apparent in children and seniors, but many adults also would benefit from a morning meal. Of course, what you choose is just as important. Skip the doughnuts and have a 1,2,3 breakfast, as outlined in my book. Eat Your Way to Happiness. That means: 1) a whole grain, 2) a protein, and 3) one to two servings of colorful fruits and/or veggies. You can find examples of this breakfast in the sample menus in all my newsletters. Photo credit: Ross G. Strachan via Compfight
Mood-Boosting Recipe of the month-
Spinach & Ham Quiche Cups (from The Food & Mood Cookbook by Elizabeth Somer and Jeanette Williams)
These yummy quiche cups can be served with a slice of whole wheat toast and a big bowl of blueberries for an energizing, quick-fix breakfast. Freeze leftovers and reheat in the microwave for one minute for even quicker breakfasts later in the week.
4 ounces turkey ham, minced
1/3 cup onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups baby spinach, chopped
5 eggs, whipped or use the equivalent in egg substitute
1 cup low-fat cheddar cheese, grated
Before: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray six cups in large muffin pan with cooking spray. Spray non-stick skillet with cooking spray.
Saute turkey ham, onion, and garlic until onion is translucent. Add spinach and toss until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and divide spinach mixture among the six muffin cups.
Whip eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste (turkey ham is salty, so go easy on any added salt) and cheese. Mix until thoroughly blended.
Pour egg-cheese mixture over spinach mixture in cups until nearly full.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until eggs have set. Allow to stand for 2 minutes before removing from muffin cups (you might need to gently separate egg cups from pan with a knife). Place on bed of baby spinach and serve with melon or other fresh fruit. Makes 6 egg cups.
Nutritional Analysis per cup: 126 Calories; 47% fat: (6.52 grams); 2.5 grams saturated fat; 45% protein; 8 % carbohydrate; 0.5 grams fiber.
Answers to “Do you know?” from last issue:
Will taking a zinc tablet help you fight off a cold?
A few studies several years ago showed that zinc lozenges helped subdue bacteria by directly affecting their ability to grow (swallowing a zinc supplement doesn’t appear to have that same affect). There is no evidence that zinc will prevent a cold. In addition, large doses of zinc (more than 40 milligrams a day) are potentially harmful to health, and zinc sprays might cause you to lose your sense of smell.
Does canned food go bad?
When canned foods display an “open date” it usually means “best if used by (or before) this date.” They aren’t safety dates. If that two-year-old can of green beans isn’t bulging or damaged, it’s probably safe to eat. That doesn’t mean it will taste super fresh. A general rule of thumb, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is that high-acid foods, such as tomatoes, retain their peak quality for up to 18 months if stored in a clean, dry, cool place. Low-acid foods, such as fish, poultry, most vegetables, and meats, retain their best quality for up to five years. That said, few companies will endorse eating outdated versions of their products, even if those products are still likely safe to eat.
Do You Know?
Is it true that you don’t need to supplement if you eat healthfully?
It doesn’t matter which fruits and vegetables you eat, and in fact, you can choose the same two or three every day as long as you meet your quota of 8 servings a day. True or false.
Check next week for the answers….
Store brands of foods account for about a quarter of all supermarket products and sell, on average, for about 22% less than national brands. More often than not, store brands are just as good, and almost all chains back their brands with money-back guarantees.
Food Finds/Food Fails:
1. Crunch Pak Apple Slices:
There is absolutely no excuse not to include more fruit into your child’s diet and lunch box when the washing, seeding, cutting, and packaging of these delicious apple slices has already been done for you.
2. Gourmet Garden Pastes: Need a quick way to add flavor to any meal without slicing, dicing, mincing, or peeling? Gourmet Garden has done it for you in its Garlic paste, Ginger paste, Lemon Grass paste, and more. You’ll find them in the Produce Department. Keep them in the fridge for a last-minute shot of flavor to any dish.
1. Franz Bake Shoppe Fruit Pie: Here’s a lunch box special that all kids would do well to do without. The 400 calories in one Cherry pie, for example, comes with 18 grams of fat, almost 2 teaspoons of which are saturated fat, and 340 milligrams of sodium. The fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, and more ingredients are sugar, which explains why there are almost nine teaspoons of added sugar in one pie. Palm oil ranks in the top of the ingredient list, too. Other flavors in this brand, including lemon and apple, fare even worse. In fact, this “treat” almost ventures into the world of food-related child abuse.
2. Glutino Gluten Free Table Crackers: Gluten-free implies something that is good for you, but not when the first ingredient is corn starch, the same extremely processed white goo used to thicken sauces, not make crackers! Palm oil ranks #2 on the ingredient list. Three of these crackers packs 160 calories, no fiber, and 270 milligrams of sodium. Honestly, you’d be better off eating the box, than swallowing even one of these crackers.
The Daily Menu
Put know how into practice with this simple, nutritious meal plan. Eliminate the snacks if you want to cut additional calories. And, with all the menus in my newsletter, feel free to tweak to your food preferences and choices.
1 Spinach & Ham Quiche Cups
1 slice 100 whole wheat toast
1/2 cantaloupe, seeded and drizzle with lime juice
1 cup orange juice
Chicken-salad sandwich: 2 slices 100% whole wheat bread and chicken salad: (3 ounces roasted and cubed chicken breast, 2 Tbsp. diced celery, 1 Tbsp. chopped green onions, 1 Tbsp. low-fat mayonnaise, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, salt & pepper to taste)
Carrot-raisin-apple salad: (1 grated carrot, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1/4 chopped apple, 1 Tbsp. raisins, 1 Tbsp. low-fat mayonnaise, salt & pepper to taste)
Broiled Pepper Steak, 3 ounces
Baked potato with butter substitute, salt & pepper
1 cup steamed broccoli
Sauteed mushrooms: (10 mushrooms, washed and sauteed with 1 tsp. olive oil, 3 minced clove garlic, 1/4 cup white wine, salt & pepper to taste)
2 cups fresh strawberries dunked in 1/4 cup fat-free dark chocolate syrup
2 cups air-popped popcorn
Nutritional information: 1597 calories, 19% fat (34 grams), 58% carbohydrates, 23% protein.
What’s Elizabeth Been Up To?
April 12-14th: She attended the Nutrex Hawaii Conference on Microalgae and Astaxanthin.
April 20th: She was on AMNorthWest, KATU in Portland, OR. Topic: 8 Health Foods That Aren’t That Healthy
April 24th: She spoke at the Star of the North Dental Conference in Minneapolis.