Holiday Eating Tips
Oh, the outrageous amount of food and alcohol over the holidays… “It only comes around once a year, so why not indulge completely?” Well, it’s just not a good idea to go crazy with food at every holiday event, especially if you have a lot of parties and social obligations over this joyous season. Pigging out at every party can really add up over the five weeks from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, turning into the unwelcome guest of weight gain that will be difficult to get rid of, and even more so as we get a little older.
I enjoy the holiday season to the fullest and do enjoy some sweets and wine, but I choose my food carefully at every event. With a busy social life, business parties, and a huge multi-faith family, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Buddhist, all in one family (yes, it’s true), I can end up going to 10 parties in the month of December.
Here are some tips for healthy party eating that can make your diet-conscious holiday experience feel like an indulgence. Look over all of the available food choices first, then pick which treats you are going to have. This will stimulate your brain into healthy eating. Then, think about how good the treats are going to be. This is one of my favorite eating strategies and can actually prevent overeating.
Appetizers and pre-meal snacks –
1) Skip them all together. These are often the fattiest and most calorie-laden items at a party. If you just can’t skip them, choose 3 of the best ones, eat those, and stop at that. Do not feel the need to grab at every appetizer if they are being passed around on a plate; this can add up before you know it.
2) Don’t sit by the snacks; this can lead to mindless picking and over-consuming. Go sit next to Grandma — she misses you, and you won’t talk with your mouth full.
3) Pick away at the vegetable appetizers, my personal favorites. I eat the carrot sticks and celery (Go easy on the dips!), and I’ll have just a few chips.
4) Eat the pretzels, low fat and not such a bad snack. If there are sesame pretzels, that’s all the better for your sodium intake.
5) Try the hummus. Yes, it is very high in calories, but hummus is also very high in fiber and protein and can make you feel more full very quickly.
Alcohol equals 100 calories for a glass of wine or a beer, 100-plus calories for a cocktail, and some cocktails can have up to 300 calories each. Keep this in mind when enjoying your holiday cheer.
The lovely Christmas meal –
1) Eat slowly, take the time to enjoy the company and the meal.
2) Try everything, but do so in small, 2- to 3-tablespoon portions. You will be surprised how full this can make you feel, and you get to enjoy all of the dishes at the dinner.
Hanukkah is a celebration of the oil; therefore, it is almost impossible to eat a low-calorie meal at these holiday celebrations. Here are some healthy tips for enjoying your latkes (potato pancakes, fried in oil) .
1) My family mixes low-fat yogurt or kefir into the traditional sour cream to cut the fat content of the sour cream in half (Low-fat sour cream is also available, if you can find it.). With a nice oily latke, you can hardly tell the difference in taste. Greek yogurt makes a great sour cream substitute too.
2) Pile on the applesauce! Remember, an apple a day helps keep the doctor away. Also, you may shop around for lower-sugar applesauce, and if you have time, you can make it at home; it’s fun to do, tastes delicious, and the family members literally eat it up!
3) Just have one or two latkes if you are trying to lose weight — end of story. These babies can have up to 200 calories each.
4) Get into the gym the next day after Hanukkah, burn off those latkes and all that fortified Manischewitz wine. You’ll need at least an hour of cardio exercise to burn off the latkes, but hey, an hour of cardio is the gift to yourself that keeps on giving!
Recently a young personal trainer and entrepreneur named Obidi sent me an e-mail about his new invention.
I looked at his Kickstarter campaign and was very impressed. The Mega Bar is a complete home gym in one compact product. It can be used with resistance bands, weights, suspension straps, and also transforms into a pull-up bar. It’s incredibly versatile and extremely affordable.
‘Wow!’ I thought, ‘I want one of these! This looks great for my own home workouts and for my clients.’
We email occasionally now. I decided to interview him for my blog:
Me: What certification do you have and how long have you been certified?
Obidi: I have AAAI and have been certified for two years.
Me: What made you decide to invent a piece of exercise equipment?
Obidi: I was at the end of my junior year in college. I couldn’t find a job and I was wondering what would happen if I couldn’t find a job after college. I had been looking at ways to improve a pull-up bar and I ended up inventing a totally new product.
Me: How long did it take you to design the product from start to finish?
Obidi: About three and a half months. Even after my idea was completed, I kept adding little touches.
Me: Who is the Mega Bar designed for?
Obidi: It is for anyone who can do resistance training. I designed a versatile product that anyone can use, no matter how experienced or inexperienced.
Me: Is it safe for pregnant women to use?
Obidi: Yes, though of course it depends on the exercise. It’s not as cumbersome as 6 foot barbell. Even if a pregnant woman doesn’t want to train with weight plates, she can use bands with it.
Me: Great! I train a lot of seniors, I have two clients in their 80’s. Is it safe for that population?
Obidi: Yes, this product is for anyone who wants to work on any muscle. It’s important for seniors to do resistance training, not only to prevent osteoporosis but to improve their balance.
Me: What is your favorite exercise to do with the Mega Bar?
Obidi: It might be the front squat. The Mega Bar allows you to front squat comfortably and naturally, without putting any strains on your wrist.
Me: Anything else you want to put out there?
Obidi: It’s on Kickstarter for just a few more days. Act quickly if you want an early bird discount!
Me: When is the product going to be available?
Obidi: As soon as the Kickstarter reaches the 12k goal, it is going to go into production. We expect that it will be available for delivery in March. After that, it will be available exclusively on line.
Obidi loves fitness and working out and he really believes in his product. Keep an eye out for this young entrepreneur; he is going to go far if he keeps up at this pace. I think we will all be hearing about him in the future.
The Microscopic Workout.
Working Out Is Good for Every Cell in Your Body!
Even the biggest fitness enthusiast may think that exercise mainly benefits muscle cells, building them up and stretching them, but exercise is actually healthy for every single cell in your body. You may notice that everyone’s favorite gym rat looks a little young for their age. They have a healthy glow. This is because not just their muscle cells are in top shape but working out actually changes you at the cellular level.
When I first began working out I listened to other trainers who encouraged me to get into the fitness business. I remember telling one friend how great I felt after my rigorous kickboxing class. I said that I felt cleaner on the inside, like every bit of waste and all the toxins were cleaned out of my body after a good workout. My friend told me I was weird and said that I was just getting an endorphin rush, a rush of natural ‘feel-good chemicals’ and by my own growth hormone which is released by exercise. It turns out that I was right. A new study confirms the way I feel after working out; exercise does help clean out your body at the very deepest level.
In the publication Nature, and in the New York Science Times , suggests that exercise helps a long a process called autophagy, by which cells rid themselves of waste products. A recent study was conducted by Dr. Beth Levine, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. The New York Times said, “Dr. Levine and her colleagues concluded that an increase in autophagy prompted by exercise, seems to be a crucial step in improving health.” They termed the findings, “extremely exciting.”
Exercise also increases your mitochondria, or the energy producers in your cells. This means that a person working out can potentially have millions more little energy producers in their bodies than someone who does not. This is one of the reasons why exercise increases your energy level.
Working out also helps your nerve cells, by preserving them and by increasing their power to channel the electrical currents that make the nerves function. As we age, our nerve endings begin to degenerate. This is one of the reasons why senior citizens lose their balance and are prone to falls. Exercise is proven to help preserve the nerve endings and increase nerve-to-muscle communication. A proper exercise program for people over age 50 should include several balance exercises to keep the nerve cells healthy, and help prevent falls. Exercise also helps improve the parasympathetic nerves. These are your involuntary nerves, which, for instance, tell your heart to beat and your lungs to breathe. The increased heart rate and increased respiration brought on by exercise simulate the parasympathetic nervous system to its maximum capacity.
These are just some of the myriad ways through which working out benefits every cell of your being. As medical science continues to prove, as if you couldn’t recognize it on your own, exercise is not just for your muscles anymore.
A highly misleading label claim, because hormones are actually prohibited in raising hogs or poultry. Yet many companies use this label claim to make it appear their products are different from others or that the company is making a special concession to animal welfare. The reality is that ANY pork or poultry product could make this label claim. And although the company is legally required to include text saying “federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones,” this wording often appears in very small lettering at the bottom of the label.