Archive for » May 14th, 2012«

The Mediterranean Diet: The Secret to a Longer, Healthier, and Fuller Life


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MICHIGAN, May 14, 2012 – Celebrities are promoting what are intended to be revolutionary dietary regimens that are supposed to be your prescription for health.  “Ripped in 30 Meal Plan,” “Dr. Oz 90-day Meal Plan,” and “The Ultimate Weight Solution” are all authored by celebrities who use colorful, magnetic language to market their products.  On the other hand, we have the Mediterranean Diet, named after the Mediterranean Sea, which is rich in tradition, and supported exhaustively by research and clinical studies which suggest that it increases longevity while warding off chronic disease.  More important, for centuries, those residing along the Mediterranean coast have adhered to this diet, and have enjoyed the best health among all people in the world.             

Did you know that the word diet originates from the Greek word diaita meaning “a way of life, a regimen”?   The Mediterranean Diet is exactly that – a mixture of lifestyle habits, eating patterns and cooking techniques used by these countries.  Greece, France, Spain, Italy, and parts of the Middle East constitute the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea.  The land inhabited by these countries have some of the oldest cultures on Earth, so the diet has evolved over the years, but the basic staples of the diet remain unchanged. 

How does the Mediterranean Diet Differ from the American Diet?

Differences between the lifestyle habits of the European and Middle Eastern countries adhering to the Mediterranean Diet and that of the modern western world respectively is vast. 

We love processed foods; the aisles at our supermarkets are filled with canned soups, microwaveable meals, cereal, bread, and bottled beverages.  These manufactured foods are often replete with preservatives, artificial flavors, salt, and sugar.  Our food labels depict ingredients that are foreign to us-they sound like chemical compounds concocted in some alien laboratory by a bunch of tawdry scientists in lab coats. 

Common preservatives include Butylated Hydroxyanasole (found often in cereal), Sodium Nitrite (used to preserve meat), Sodium Benzoate (found in soft drinks). Although preservatives protect the food from mold and bacteria giving food a longer shelf-life, they are deleterious to our health.  Some potential side-effects of consuming these and other preservatives include cancer, allergic reactions, and nerve damage.

“Natural” is what the Mediterranean Diet promotes.  Those who reside along the Mediterranean coast rarely eat foods with chemically based preservatives or artificial flavors.  Instead, they eat fresh, whole foods.  The key components to the diet are fruits and vegetables (5-6 servings per day), along with olive oil (3-4 servings per day), as well as moderate intake of whole grains (from breads and cereal, rather than pasta).  They also frequently snack on nuts, such as cashews, walnuts, and almonds.  The residents of these countries also eat meat rarely, consuming about 3-servings of fish per week, and largely refraining from red meat all together.         

It is also noteworthy that a glass of red wine per day is common as well. That sounds a bit enticing, doesn’t it? 

With regard to cooking techniques, they generally do not use salt when preparing meals and they rarely fry foods.  We, on the other hand, frequent restaurants and fast-food joints that serve a hefty array of fried foods and high sodium -containing foods on their menu.  The insidious pleasures of fried foods are exploding waist lines around the country. 

You have probably now deduced some fundamental differences in our diet and the Mediterranean diet.  We eat red meat, they hardly do (they eat fish and seafood primarily).   We consume processed foods, they eat fresh foods.  We snack on chips and sweets, they snack on nuts.  We eat pasta regularly, they don’t.  We use salt to give flavor to our meals, they use herbs and spices.  We use vegetable oil, they use olive oil. 

But the Mediterranean diet is a way of life, as it should be, so it’s not confined to food, but stresses physical activity and social life as well.  Regular physical activity is something common among those residing in the Mediterranean countries.  In fact, many use walking or biking as their primary mode of transportation.  The cumulative effects of walking, biking, or even standing can prevent obesity, and help you get the recommended daily activity to help prevent illnesses.     

Read more about this here: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/life-line-healthful-habits-made-simple/2012/mar/31/how-commuting-revolution-could-help-counter-high-g/

Also, rather than wolfing down their food, they chew slowly, and appreciate their food.  Their meals are leisurely and long; social gatherings with family and others during meals are common and help them break away from daily stressors.  Eating slowly has numerous beneficial effects, with the largest benefits being that satiety signals are triggered in time to prevent you from overeating, and that food is digested much more efficiently. 

Read more about this here: http://voices.yahoo.com/how-eating-slowly-healthier-10849059.html?cat=5

Does the Mediterranean Diet Work?  How So?

Countless studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet increases longevity, and reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.  In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) sought to see how the Mediterranean diet would affect mortality rates in a cohort of elderly individuals aged 70-90 over a 10-year period.  This was one of the few studies to look at how the Mediterranean diet affected mortality rates associated with numerous maladies such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.  They determined that participants adhering to the Mediterranean Diet had a significantly lower rate of mortality (by 50%) in each of these categories.

Simply looking at the rates of heart disease in these Mediterranean countries and comparing them to the rates here in America is compelling enough to contemplate adopting the Mediterranean diet.  Fatalities from heart disease in America are nearly double that of the Mediterranean countries.  In the U.S., the rate is 106 deaths per 100,000 people, while in Greece, Italy, and France the rates are 68 deaths (or less) per 100,000.     

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing nearly ¼ of Americans annually.  The two biggest risk factors for heart disease are inactivity and obesity.  Heart disease is often caused by a build-up of fatty deposits which causes a blockage that prevents blood from flowing to the heart or brain.  If the blockage prevents blood from going to the heart, you will have a heart attack, whereas, a blockage that prevents blood going to the brain leads to a stroke.  Both are fatal, yet preventable consequences.   

Just looking at some of the individual components of the Mediterranean diet will help illuminate how it can prevent heart disease while improving health.      

Fruits and vegetables, for example, are a great source of Vitamins A and C, and also have nutrients such as beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene.  These are known to be rich in antioxidants-they protect the body from harmful free radicals, which have been shown to be linked to cancer and heart disease. The key to getting all of these in adequate amounts is to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables, with the notion that their color bears on how much of each vitamin and nutrient they possess.  

Nuts are high in Vitamin E which is also an antioxidant.  They also have good fats, better known as mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats, which have been shown to increase HDL (good cholesterol) and reduce LDL (bad cholesterol).  A little secret about nuts that people do not know (and probably explains how those residing in these Mediterranean countries can eat smaller portions) is that they contain oils which help keep you feeling full.  That’s right-if you snack on them, chances are your appetite won’t be as ferocious.    

Fish is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids.  The benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids are that they keep the blood from clotting and reduce inflammation in the body.  Thus, fish reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, cancer, hypertension, and cholesterol elevation.  Omega-3 fatty acids are also considered “brain foods,” since they have been shown to improve memory, concentration, and attention, hence reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  This is because fish, or specifically Omega-3 fatty acids, are a rich source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a fatty acid that is found in high concentrations in the brain.

There are numerous diets on the market, the promoters of which make intriguing claims in their creative advertisements while using reputable people to advance their cause. But just as we should never judge a book by its cover, we should never judge a diet by who promotes it. 

The staple of the Mediterranean diet is its fresh foods packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber working collectively as a line of defense against heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses.  Let the Mediterranean Diet act as your fortress-make it a way of life that supports your desire to live a longer, healthier, and fuller life.  A diet rooted in tradition and practiced for thousands of years with success most definitely will be the surefire way to better health.    

 


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Diet Chef launches in-home fitness plan to help you shape up for summer

Blitz your way to a perfect beach body. The clocks have gone forward, spring has sprung and it feels as though summer is well and truly on its way.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / PRURGENT

Blitz your way to a perfect beach body. The clocks have gone forward, spring has sprung and it feels as though summer is well and truly on its way. However, for women (and men) up and down the country those first rays of summer sunshine are joined by a familiar sense of trepidation; the dread of swimwear, specifically the bikini, and baring all (including those lumps and bumps) on the beach.

Home delivery diet brand, Diet Chef, is making it easier than ever to gain that summer body confidence with its Beach Body Blitz Summer Diet Hamper. Delivered directly to your home or office, the 28 day hamper priced at £240 includes chef-prepared main meals, snacks, lunches and breakfasts (subscriptions available from £195). To complement the calorie controlled eating plan, Diet Chef has come up with an easy 20 minute exercise plan created exclusively by top personal trainer, Kyle Andrews, which is available www.dietchef.co.uk/beach-body-blitz

Kyle says: “I’ve created a basic exercise regime that aims to strengthen, shape and tone the body in tandem with the Diet chef meal plan. The programme has been created with the beginner in mind and so all exercises can be carried out from the comfort of your own home – it really is that simple.”

Beach Body Blitz Workout Programme

Equipment: Exercise mat (optional), dumbbells (or substitute with a tin of beans or bottle of water from your kitchen cupboard)
Frequency: 3 x 20 minute workouts per week
Repetitions: 12-15 (of each exercise)
Circuits: 2-3 / no rest between exercises or circuits

1) Warm Up – walk on the spot for 60 seconds while clapping your hands above your head and behind your back
2) Jog on the spot for 10 seconds then walk for 10 seconds, repeat 5-8 times
3) Standing Squats – feet hip width apart, sit down to 90 degrees, stand back up (do not lock your knees)
4) Russian Chair – lean with your back against the wall, sit down to 90 degrees and hold for 20-60 seconds
5) Dumbbell Bent Over Rows – bend over and place one hand on the arm of a chair, lower the weight down until your arm is straight then pullback up
6) Dumbbell Shoulder Press – standing or sitting, push the dumbbells above your head then lower to just below your armpits (do not lock your elbows and breathe out when you push)
7) Lunges – take a big step forward lower your body down until your trailing leg nearly touches the floor, push off the front foot back to where you started then alternate legs (do not let your knee pass your toes)
8) Dumbbell Bicep Curls – standing up straight with your arms down by your side keep your elbows still and lift the weight up to your bicep
9) Tricep Dips – place your hands behind you on a chair or step. Keep your bottom close to your hands, sit down to 90 degrees then back up (do not lock your elbows)
10) Dumbbell Side Bend – standing up straight, reach down one side of your body as far as you can and then the other (do not twist your core)
11) Basic Crunches – lying on the floor with your legs at 90 degrees and your hands on your temples sit up and stop just before the small of your back comes off the floor. Lower back down until your shoulder blades touch the ground
12) Reverse Crunches – lying on the floor with your legs at 90 degrees then slowly bring your knees into your chest and gently lower your back down and repeat
13) Back Extensions – lying face down with your hands on your temples, slowly lift your upper body off the floor and back down.

Make sure you’re not stiff the day after exercising by completing your programme with these simple stretches:

1) Quad Stretch – holding on to your foot, pull one leg into your backside
2) Hamstring Stretch – with your legs straight, reach for your toes
3) Calf Stretch – stand with the balls of your feet on a step, legs straight and allow your heels to drop down
4) Lats Stretch – reach above your head and lean over to one side then the other
5) Chest Stretch – with your hands on the small of your back (palms of your hands turned in) push your elbows together
6) Triceps Stretch – bend your arm above your head and use your other arm to pull the bent arm towards your head
7) Rear Deltoid Stretch – place one arm across the body and using your other arm, pull into your body
8) Neck Stretch – gently lean your head to one side and use your hand to gently pull in the same direction
9) Lower back – lie on your back and pull your knees into your chest and hug them

The Diet Chef Beach Body Blitz Summer Hamper is perfect for anyone with a busy lifestyle, the diet and exercise plan is very simple to follow and all of the meals are easy to prepare. For more details or to sign up to a trial, visit http://www.dietchef.co.uk/

[Ends]

Notes to editor:
Diet Chef carefully counts the calories of all meals so dieters on the plan will be averaging less than 1200 calories per day. The daily menu delivers a tasty and varied healthy balanced diet allowing dieters to lose weight at a healthy pace.

Price of £5.57 per day price is based on the Diet Chef 1200 programme on Pay Monthly

Green Box Coaching offers an Online Membership that will give you instant access to exercise programs, exercise demonstrations, and personalised online support. For more information visit www.greenboxcoaching.co.uk

For further information, please contact:
Three Sixty Communications
0207 240 2444
dietchef360team.co.uk

Visit the website: www.dietchef.co.uk
Become a fan: www.facebook.com/DietChef
Follow: www.twitter.com/dietchef

Julian Bakery Offers Healthy, Diet-Friendly Breads With Zero Net Carbs


LA JOLLA, CA, May 14, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) –
In a recent article by Forbes, the story behind a popular
infographic created by Massive Health and Column Five Media is told.
Called “A Tale of Two Meals,” this graphic depicts the differences
between the body’s digestion of fats and carbohydrates. Ultimately,
the graphic asserts that carbohydrates lead to weight gain much more
often than fats. Julian Bakery, a California-based bakery that is
centered on healthy choices, knows that many of its customers
understand this consequence of carbohydrate consumption. As a result,
Julian Bakery has taken to providing low-carb and carb-free options
for its customers.

The information used to create the aforementioned infographic came
from the Department of Health and Human Services, Livestrong.com, and
Anne Collins — all reliable sources. This information reveals that
carbohydrates signal for the body to store elevated amounts of fat.
This occurs because carbohydrates create a spike in blood sugar,
resulting in elevated insulin levels. Insulin contributes to fat
storage in not one, but two ways. First, it collects fat from the
blood. Second, it prevents fat cells from letting go of fatty acids.
As a result, the body stores all the fat it possibly can.

This understanding of digestion has sparked a low-carb diet frenzy.
Despite the popularity of a low-carb nutrition plan, few individuals
stick to this diet because it is extremely restrictive.

Bread and other carbohydrates are the most common of staples among
traditional cuisines. As a result, many people find it difficult to
live without them.

Julian Bakery has developed a way for dieters to consume the breads
they love without the carbohydrates they avoid. “Our Carb Zero Bread
is compatible with any diet plan,” commented Heath Squier of Julian
Bakery. “Regardless of if you are trying to lose weight, maintain
previous weight loss, or simply live a healthier lifestyle, Carb Zero
Bread will help. Better yet, it is delicious and allows dieters to
eat the sandwiches, toast, and other foods they love without
sacrificing their dietary achievements.”

But Carb Zero Bread is more than a low-carb option. This bread is
gluten-free, high in protein and fiber, and low in calories with no
sugar, yeast, or preservatives. After three years in development we
have achieved an amazing naturally zero net carb bread that has an
equal amount of carbohydrates and fiber. This equal blend of
carbohydrates and fiber makes Carb Zero Bread an ideal choice for
celiac and diabetic customers. As a result, it is one of the many
extremely healthy offerings that Julian Bakery provides to its
countless loyal customers.

ABOUT:

Once a small bakery on the outskirts of San Diego, California, Julian
Bakery now provides carb-free and other healthy bread options to
customers across the nation. With a storefront and an online shop,
Julian Bakery is able to reach a variety of customers who want
healthy, delicious products made from reliable ingredients. In
addition to low-carb offerings, Julian Bakery provides gluten-free
and other specialty products. Among its catalogue of healthy foods
are: Zero Cookies, Smart Carb Bread, Carb Zero Gluten-Free Bread, The
Paleo Bread, protein bars, supplements, and vitamins.

For more information about Julian Bakery, visit
www.julianbakery.com .

SOURCE: Julian Bakery

Copyright 2012 Marketwire, Inc., All rights reserved.

How To Get Paid To Lose Weight

BOSTON (CBS) – Shedding pounds is a reward all on its own. But, what if you also had money to motivate you to stick to your weight loss goals?

With HealthyWage.com, people are now dieting for dollars.

Erika Johnsson and Jason Coy of Waltham lost nearly 80 pounds combined and gained $1,200. The couple teamed up with 3 other family members to compete against more than 100 other groups and took the third place prize.

“I needed to lose weight. I wanted to be healthier and have a better life,” says Erika.

Healthy Wage is a unique competition to jump-start weight loss. Dieters pay to be part of the program. If you don’t hit your weight loss target, you lose your money. If you succeed, you’ll get your own money back and then some.

Jason Coy found out about the program through his job.

“I immediately thought this is perfect. This will get me into gear to lose weight to get myself healthy,” said Coy.

Jason and Erika placed a $60 wager and came up big.

But, you don’t need a team to try Healthy Wage. For $100, anyone can sign up for the challenge.
You’ll make double that back for losing 10 % of your weight in six months.

Sean Geddes, a personal trainer at Wellbridge Athletic Club, thinks it’s a great idea, but worries the money may only be a short-term motivator. Geddes hopes the personal investment will be enough to get people hitting the gym.

“You invest money, you become attached to something, you’re going to keep doing it,” said Geddes.

Using money as a weight loss strategy may be a good bet, especially for men. Of the men competing in the Healthy Wage program, 63% were able to hit their weight loss goals and win the cash prize compared to just 15% of the women.

Jason admits the reward was key to getting him involved.

“I think the money was the biggest part of it,” said Jason.

While the money also motivated Erika, she knows it really kept Jason on target.

Along with hopeful dieters, hospitals and government agencies also ante up some money to the program. They’re betting that people, like Erika and Jason, will make healthier choices when chasing a cash reward.

Carol Fenster’s Tips for Eating Whole Grains on a Gluten-Free Diet: May is …

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Whole Grain Sorghum Salad

“Most people eat various forms of wheat, barley, and oats, but celiacs need to know what gluten-free grains to choose and how to prepare them,” says Fenster, author of 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes.

Denver, CO (PRWEB) May 14, 2012

In celebration of May as National Celiac Awareness Month, gluten-free cooking expert Carol Fenster offers tips for preparing whole grains that are safe for celiacs because they must avoid gluten, a protein in wheat and related grains.

Only about 40% of all Americans eat whole grains. Worse yet, they only eat one serving a day―far short of the 3 to 5 servings recommending by the USDA and the Whole Grains Council. “Most Americans eat various forms of wheat, barley, and oats, but celiacs need to know what gluten-free grains to choose and how to prepare them,” says Fenster―whose recipes in her cookbook 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes use every gluten-free grain on the market. Eating whole grains is particularly important for people with celiac disease―an autoimmune condition that hampers absorption of nutrients from food―because the protein, fiber, and vitamins in whole grains is vital for good health.

Grains are considered “whole” if they include all 3 parts―germ, endosperm, and bran―but can also include the seeds of plants. So we lump amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, and teff together when discussing whole grains. Oats are inherently gluten-free, but can be contaminated when grown and processed in proximity to wheat so always look for oats labeled “gluten-free”.

Fenster suggests 4 ways to incorporate more whole grains into a gluten-free diet:

[1] Eat cooked whole grains as main dishes, breakfast cereal, and side dishes.

Cooked whole grains can star in grain salads, which are basically assembled like a mixed green salad and tossed with a vinaigrette dressing. For breakfast, cook a batch of whole grains ahead of time (on the stovetop or in a slow-cooker) and store in the fridge. Topped with honey and cinnamon, cooked whole grains― such as amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, or sorghum―make a quick, hearty breakfast with important nutrients that other people get from wheat-based cereals. Dressed up with savory herbs and spices, those same cooked grains can replace white rice as a side dish with dinner entrées.

[2] Incorporate cooked whole grains into main dishes and sides.

Small amounts of leftover cooked whole grains can be tossed with gluten-free pasta, sprinkled over mixed green salads, or mixed with black beans or pinto beans in Southwestern dishes. Adding these grains not only boosts the nutrient content of these dishes but they also add interesting texture. “These amounts may seem small, but a serving of cooked whole grains is only 8 tablespoons, so a tablespoon here and there really adds up throughout the day,” says Fenster, who co-authored a guide to eating gluten-free whole grains.

[3] Add cooked whole grains to baked goods.

While gluten-free flours provide the backbone of gluten-free baked goods, cooked whole grains―such as amaranth, buckwheat, gluten-free rolled oats or oat bran, quinoa, sorghum, and teff―can be added in small amounts to bread, cookie, or bar dough without upsetting the delicate balance between liquid and dry ingredients. Fenster adds about ¼ cup to ½ cup per recipe and then judges whether more liquid is needed on a recipe-by-recipe basis. Other seeds that are very nutritious include chia, hemp, or kańiwa (baby quinoa) and Fenster adds them to yogurt, granola, or smoothies.

[4] Purchase ready-made gluten-free foods made with whole grains.

“You can also get whole grains from ready-made gluten-free products,” says Fenster. Look for the yellow Whole Grains Stamp on a variety of products such as gluten-free cereals, breads, and crackers. Eating three whole grain food products labeled “100% Whole Grain”–– or six products bearing ANY Whole Grain Stamp––satisfies the need for 3 to 5 servings per day.

“Given all these creative ways to add whole grains to the gluten-free diet, everyone should use National Celiac Awareness Month as a catalyst to increase our intake of gluten-free whole grains,” says Fenster.

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200-pound Ohio boy loses weight, goes back home to mother’s care

Ohio social workers sparked a national controversy last fall when they placed an 8-year-old boy weighing more than 200 pounds in foster care until he slimmed down. The boy was returned to his mother in March after losing weight, and on Thursday, the family supervision was lifted.

But the controversy might not be over.

“The reality was he was never in immediate danger — he was overweight,” James Hardiman, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio, told the Los Angeles Times. He represented the boy’s mother, who fought the action in court.

“I’m a little upset with the way the county handled this case and that it might set a precedent for other overweight kids to be removed from their homes,” Hardiman said.

Obesity as a custody issue first caught the public’s attention in July, when an obesity expert at Children’s Hospital Boston wrote an opinion piece in the Journal of the  American Medical Assn. arguing that some parents should lose custody of their severely obese children.

“State intervention may serve the best interests of many children with life-threatening obesity, comprising the only realistic way to control harmful behaviors,”  Dr. David  Ludwig said in the editorial, which he co-wrote with Lindsey Murtagh, a lawyer and researcher at Harvard’s School of Public Health.

The editorial had been spurred, in part, by similar cases elsewhere. Soon, the issue became real in Ohio.

Social workers there had been alerted about the 8-year-old boy after his mother, concerned about his weight, registered him for a healthy eating program at a local hospital, Hardiman said. The mother was heavyset, but the boy had an older brother who was thin, making it unclear how he gained so much weight, Hardiman said.

The Cuyahoga County family services agency worked with the Cleveland Heights family for more than a year before the boy was removed from the home in October.

In December, the boy was placed with an uncle in Columbus. During the four months he was away from home, he lost about 50 pounds through exercise and healthy eating, according to an attorney appointed to act as the boy’s guardian in court.

“This was an unusual situation — no one was claiming the mother did anything abusive. Nobody was saying she was a bad mother,” that attorney, Cleveland-based lawyer John Lawson, told The Times.

Since the boy returned home in March, he’s gained back some weight, Lawson said, adding: “Hopefully, he’s stabilized.”

Social workers still plan to check on the boy and have offered nutritional and health counseling, he said.

“We’ve got a big brother involved as well now who can take him to the gym,” Lawson said. “A lot of community people came forward to help.”

But Hardiman said the county can’t take credit for mobilizing community assistance. It was the family and its lawyers who marshaled support from the YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the NAACP, which donated weights and a scale for the boy, who is African American.

Meanwhile, Hardiman said, the boy — an honor student — had to attend four schools this year as he moved from foster care to his uncle’s house and back home.

“There was no concern for his emotional stability,” Hardiman said. “It was just ‘lose weight, lose weight.’ ”

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molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com