30 Ways to Cut Fat at Mealtime

Friday, January 20, 2012
Whether you’re eating at home or away, you can shave fat calories by making some of the following smart choices. Bear in mind that simply cutting fat doesn’t automatically mean better nutrition or significant calorie savings unless you also make other smart choices, such as limiting refined sugars, watching sodium content, choosing whole grains and limiting portions. The goal in cutting fat is not to eliminate fat from our diet, but to limit fat calories to the so-called good fats, the fats that help combat the effect of saturated and trans fats, which have been linked to raising cholesterol, heart disease and increased risk of stroke.

10 Ways to Cut Fat at Breakfast

  1. Use nonfat milk in your morning coffee or latte, or use fat-free half and half
  2. Spread your whole-grain toast with trans-fat-free spread or good-quality preserves
  3. Eat lean turkey/chicken sausage or turkey bacon
  4. Choose fresh fruit instead of hash browns
  5. Switch two egg whites for one or more of your eggs
  6. Use reduced-fat cheese in your omelet or breakfast sandwich
  7. Eat low-fat or nonfat yogurt with some sliced fresh fruit
  8. Choose whole-grain cereal with nonfat milk
  9. Top your pancakes or waffles with fresh fruit and a drizzle of syrup instead of cream and butter
  10. Cut portion sizes (two-egg omelet instead of three; two pancakes instead of four, and so on)

10 Ways to Cut Fat at Lunch

  1. Use thinly-cut lean meats such as turkey, and use fewer slices
  2. Make tuna or chicken salad sandwiches with thick Greek-style plain yogurt instead of mayonnaise
  3. Opt for reduced-fat cheese or just one slice of good-quality, flavorful full-fat cheese
  4. Choose low-fat mayo or use mustard or relish in place of fattening dressings
  5. Fill your whole-grain sandwich with salad vegetables such as romaine, shredded carrots, tomato slices, sweet peppers, and red onions
  6. Eat a cup of broth-based chicken, vegetable or bean-based soup and half a sandwich
  7. Select fresh fruit on the side instead of potato chips, or choose a small helping of baked chips
  8. Eat a non-fat or low-fat fruit-flavored yogurt or a fat-free chocolate pudding cup instead of a cookie for a sweet treat
  9. Eat a baked potato with salsa and a dollop of fat-free thick Greek yogurt on top, instead of butter or sour cream
  10. Choose grilled chicken rather than crispy in your sandwich or salad, and skip the fries

10 Ways to Cut Fat at Dinner

  1. Skip appetizers
  2. Opt for lean meat such as chicken breast, turkey, pork tenderloin
  3. Select fish at least twice a week. In this case, fatty fish are a good choice because they contain omega-3 fatty acids, the good fats our bodies can’t manufacture. Salmon is a great option
  4. Go meatless at least once a week. Think vegetable curry, three-bean chili, ratatouille, risotto, pasta and vegetables
  5. Avoid cream and cheese-filled dishes such as gratins
  6. Oven fry instead of pan fry
  7. Flavor dishes with herbs, spices, salsas and fruits instead
  8. Use broth or fat-free milk/half and half in mashed potatoes, soups, gravies and stews
  9. Thicken sauces and gravy with cornstarch
  10. Eat dessert occasionally, not every night, or finish dinner with a piece of fruit

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Healthy Granola Bars

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Homemade Granola Bars

Is one of your new year's resolutions to eat healthier snacks? Instead of reaching for that processed granola bar that seems like a healthy snack, why don't you try one of these homemade granola bars. These bars are loaded with healthy, nutritious ingredients, and make for a healthy and filling snack.

Photo@ Kimberley K. Eggleston, licensed to About.com, Inc


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Baked Pears with Cranberries

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Not everyone likes pie during the holidays, so why not make Baked Pears with Cranberries and Walnuts? If you don't have pomegranate juice, use cranberry juice, red wine or apple cider instead. Enjoy with a scoop of low fat frozen yogurt or whipped topping sprinkled with a little cinnamon or nutmeg.

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe but firm pears, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place quartered pears in a baking dish. Drizzle pomegranate juice over pears. Sprinkle cranberries and walnuts over the top. Bake for 20 minutes, or until pears are tender. Serve with juices and fat-free or low fat frozen vanilla yogurt.

Serves 4

Per Serving: Calories 197, Calories from Fat 44, Total Fat 5g (sat 0.4g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 4mg,, Carbohydrates 36.7g, Fiber 4g, Protein 1.5g


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Low Fat Cherry Turnovers

Thursday, January 19, 2012
These are delicious little fruit pies made with phyllo dough and homemade cherry-pie filling. They're are not hard to make, but be sure to have everything you need at hand, as phyllo dough dries out quickly.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 24 9 X 14 sheets of phyllo dough
  • 3/4 cup cherry pie filling (see link to recipe in instructions below)
  • Butter-flavored cooking spray

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line large cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

Remove 24 sheets of phyllo dough from box. Place dough on a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap. Cover stack of phyllo dough with plastic wrap and a damp cloth on top to prevent sheets from drying out.

Removing one sheet of dough at a time, place six sheets on lined cookie tray, spraying cooking spray between each phyllo sheet. After the sixth sheet of phyllo dough, cut the stack into thirds crosswise so you have three long strips.

In the right-hand corner of the first of the three strips, put one tablespoon of cherry-pie filling, leaving a small border.

Fold phyllo strip flag-style from right to left and place cherry triangle on cookie sheet.

Repeat with remaining two strips.

Uncover remaining sheets of phyllo, and repeat the same process with the next six sheets, covering the rest of the sheets until ready to use. Repeat steps until all the sheets and pie filling are gone.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes

Yield 12 cherry turnovers.

Per serving (1 turnover): Calories 95, Calories from Fat 14, Total Fat 1.5g (sat 0.3g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 114mg, Carbohydrate 18.4g, Fiber 0.6g, Protein 1.8g


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How To Make Oven Fries

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Coat a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Spread the sliced potatoes on the baking sheet in one layer. Be sure not to overlap the potatoes.

Bake the fries for 25 minutes at 425°F. Then, flip the fries over with a spatula, and raise the oven temperature to 500°F. Bake an additional 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp.


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Best Low-Carb Snack

Thursday, January 19, 2012
Question: What is a good snack to have with me when I'm out? It used to be I could find a snack anywhere, but now they all seem to be off limits.

Answer: It's true that we seem to live in a world of carbohydrate snacks. You can comfort yourself with the fact that most of them are processed foods full of empty calories anyway.

If I was going to pick one low-carb snack, it would be raw almonds. You can carry them in your pocket, because they aren't greasy the way roasted nuts are. Because they are raw, you're not as likely to overeat. And they are extremely nutritious and satisfying, containing protein, healthy fats, and significant fiber. One-quarter cup of almonds contains 3 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein, 18 grams of fat and 206 calories.

More Information:


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Broccoli Soup

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Low Calorie Broccoli Cheese SoupKimberley K. Eggleston

Serve this creamy low calorie broccoli cheese soup with a half sandwich or toasted whole wheat bread.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped, peeled potato
  • 1 16 oz. package frozen, chopped broccoi
  • 3 cups 1% lowfat milk
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 8 oz. aged white cheddar cheese, shredded

Preparation:

1. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken broth, potato, and broccoli, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, until the potato is tender.

2. In a separate dish, whisk together the milk and flour. Add the milk mixture to the potato mixture, and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove the soup from the heat, and add the salt, pepper, and cheese, Stir until the cheese is melted.

3. Place 1/2 of the soup mixture in a blender, and process until smooth. Return the soup to the pan, and serve.

Serves 8

Per Serving Calories 235, Fat 12 gm, Carbs 18gm


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Lemon Pudding Cakes

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

These light and fluffy little lemon pudding cakes, which hide a creamy lemon bottom layer, make a wonderful dessert for a special occasion. Perfectly portioned and with very little fat, these make a great no-guilt treat. Dust with confectioners' sugar and garnish with a few seasonal berries.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Zest of one large lemon
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup nonfat milk

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat 6 small ramekins with nonstick cooking spray and place in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Place egg whites in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a second medium bowl, add egg yolks and sugar. Beat egg yolks and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and creamy. Mix in lemon zest and juice followed by flour and milk. Mix until well-blended.

With clean whisks, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until the stiff peak stage.

Gently fold egg whites into lemon batter. It may be a little lumpy, but that’s OK.

Divide batter among the six ramekins.

Carefully pour hot water into the baking pan so that it comes about half way up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake for 30 minutes, until tops are golden and the puddings pull away a little at the sides.

Remove ramekins from baking pan, and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Then either dust with confectioners’ sugar, top with a berry or two, and serve, or invert on to a small plate dusted with confectioners’ sugar, and top with berries.

Calories per ramekin: 149, Calories from Fat 16, Total Fat 1.9g (sat 0.5g), Cholesterol 71mg, Sodium 42mg, Carbohydrate 29.2, Fiber 0.1, Protein 4g


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How to Find Your Body Fat Percentage

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
altYou're losing weight...but are you really losing fat? We tend to think that "the scale tells the tale", but two people can have the same height and weight, but very different amounts of body fat. Especially if you are trying to lose fat, understanding your body fat percentage can be very valuable.

Photo by Sharon Dominick

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How Much Carb Should You Eat?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
scales"How much carbohydrate should I eat?" is one of the most common questions I get. The problem is, I can't really honestly give a quick answer to that question. The truth is that there is no one amount of carbohydrate that works for everyone. This is the way I think of it:

There is a range of carbohydrate tolerance in people. Some people seemingly thrive on high-carb diets (I say "seemingly" because we just don't know what effects this may have in the long run). As we age, more and more of us become at least mildly insulin resistant, which is the beginning of the trek towards diabetes. Once this begins, our bodies simply don't process carbohydrate as easily, and we can gain weight and have other health problems such as abnormal blood pressure, blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol, in addition to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

If you respond at all positively to limiting carbs, that is a pretty strong message! But how do you know how much is safe for you? One way is to experiment, and monitor your own weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar to see what effects different diets have on you. Cravings are another sign that you are eating too much carbohydrate. I have some tips in What Carb Level is Right For You? .

Photo c Karen Struthers

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Pimento Cheese Spread

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
I just love to have this stuff around. It's great as:
  • a dip or spread for raw veggies (such as this stuffed celery)
  • a spread on flax bread or other low-carb bread or crackers,
  • a topping for burgers
  • a topping for cooked vegetables (mix in, and it makes an instant cheese sauce)
  • a quick "macaroni and cheese" with shirataki noodles - just mix in!
Roasted red pepper can be substituted for the pimento.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cheddar cheese (I like to use a combination of white and yellow cheddar)
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 4 oz jar pimentos, or one roasted red pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
  • hot sauce to taste (optional)

Preparation:

Cut cheese into chunks of about 1 inch, and pulse in food processor (or use grated cheese). Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust - if it's a little harsh, try rounding it out with a very small amount of sweetener (such as one drop of a concentrated liquid sucralose sweetener).

Makes about 18 servings of 2 Tablespoons each

Nutritional Information: Each serving has half a gram effective carbohydrate plus 1 gram protein, and 98 calories. Calories can be reduced by using low-fat mayonnaise, but check for sugar in the mayo and adjust carbs accordingly.


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Cutting Back on Fat

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cutting fat doesn't automatically mean better nutrition or significant calorie savings unless you also make other healthy choices, such as limiting refined sugars, choosing whole grains and fresh produce, watching sodium, and limiting portions. Plus, it's worth stating that you do need some fat in your diet, so a very low-fat to no-fat diet is not a good idea, unless specifically prescribed to help with a medical condition. Whatever your reason for eating lower fat, whether it's for medical reasons or to lead a healthier lifestyle, here are some quick and easy ways to do so.


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Banana Blackberry Smoothie

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

 Banana Blackberry SmoothiePhoto c Kimberley K. Eggleston

Smoothies are a favorite healthy treat, and are extremely versatile. This recipe combines blackberries with bananas, but it would work equally well with any type of berry you have on hand.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium banana, peeled
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes

Preparation:

1. Place all four ingredients into the blender. Blend on high for about 15 seconds, or until it is creamy and smooth! Serve immediately.

Serves 1

Per Serving Calories 190


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Broccoli Soup

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Add body to low-fat soups by using potato and some low-fat or nonfat milk, then puree the soup in a blender. This low-fat broccoli soup makes a delicious and satisfying lunch.

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups fresh broccoli, including stems, chopped
  • 2 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk

Preparation:

Heat oil on medium heat in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Gently saute onion and celery for 3-4 minutes, until onion is softened. Add potato and chopped broccoli, followed by the broth and milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Allow soup to cool slightly, then transfer to a blender in 2-3 batches, and blend until smooth. Return soup to pot and heat gently until ready to serve.

Serves 6.

Per Serving: Calories 88, Calories from Fat 16. Total Fat 1.8g (sat 0.3g), Cholesterol 1mg, Sodium 83mg, Carbohydrate 13g, Fiber 3.1g, Protein 4.9g


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Low Calorie Pesto

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Low Calorie pesto may be hard to come by, but by using the appropriate amount of the key ingredients in pesto, it can easily become quite healthy and lower in calories than you might expect. Using a really good parmesan gives you the flavor you need without using a large amount of cheese.

Prep Time: 5?minutes

Cook Time: 10?minutes

Total Time: 15?minutes

Yield: 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed with stems removed
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preparation:

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spaghetti, and cook 8-10 minutes, or until Al dente. Drain, and set aside.

2. In a food processor or blender, combine the remaining ingredients for the pesto sauce, and process until smooth.

3. Toss the pasta together with the pesto sauce, and serve immediately.

Per Serving Calories 250


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Response to "The Fat Trap"

Tuesday, January 17, 2012
manIt's well-known that when people don't get enough to eat, bad things happen to them, physically, emotionally, and cognitively. A lot of these changes (hunger, weakness, grumpiness, food obsessions, and worse) are related to the body needing something which it is not getting, and the attempt by the body to regain what was lost. This is true whether it's a normal-weight person who can't get enough to eat for whatever reason or an overweight person on a diet. When those people are able to eat normally again, they eat a lot, and after awhile, feel a lot better.

One of the main differences between reduced-carb diets and low-calorie diets which have a higher carb content is, interestingly, not so much in the difference in calories -- low-carbers tend to spontaneously lower the calories they are taking in. The difference is that people don't tend to have the negative reactions usually associated with weight loss. In fact, instead of feeling MORE obsessed with food, they often feel much LESS obsessed than before, with fewer cravings, more energy, etc. (after an adjustment period). The theory about this is that lower insulin makes body fat more accessible for use as energy. This essential hormonal change, it is thought, is what makes all the difference, and makes weight loss feel so much easier with carbohydrate restriction.

I think this is why the recent New York Times magazine article by Tara Parker-Pope, "The Fat Trap", has generated some negative reactions in the low-carb community. The article, except for two glaring omissions, is actually a good summary of what we know about body changes from weight loss. She starts with a study I wrote about in November about how changes in appetite hormones brought about by weight loss persist even after a year of weight maintenance, leaving people in a "biologically altered state". She writes about how these changes include a change that leaves dieters needing fewer calories for the exact same activities as their same-sized non-dieting counterparts, including changes in the muscle fibers. There are also changes in the brain's response to food. She also reviews some of the key evidence for a genetic basis for obesity.

Parker-Pope also interviews some people who have been successful keeping off weight long term, and what it takes for them to maintain their weight loss: basically lots of exercise (90-120 minutes per day is what the research says, and her interviewees agree) and obsessively recording, weighing, and measuring their food and themselves every single day for the rest of their lives. One woman admitted that she couldn't have done it while her children were at home. Retirement apparently gives you time for that new full-time job of weight-loss maintenance.

Gary Taubes (author of Why We Get Fat, Good Calories Bad Calories, and several New York Times magazine articles including the 2011 "Is Sugar Toxic?") has voiced a strong objection to issues left out of Parker-Pope's article. He has gone so far as to write (with Peter Attia, MD) an opinion piece that is framed as a petition to the New York Times that we call can sign. One objection is that in Parker-Pope's discussion of hormones there is one glaring omission: insulin, the master fat-regulating hormone, which is also the primary driver of carbohydrate metabolism. The other is that she leaves out any real evidence for what causes people to gain the weight in the first place, basically falling back on "we're eating more and exercising less". Well, obviously we're eating more, but why? Have people suddenly stopped heeding the hunger and satiety signals of their bodies? Or is it some hormonal imbalance such as "too much insulin" that is driving our appetites by making our fat less available as an energy source?

The saddest part of the article to me was that after elucidating all the evidence for the biological and genetic aspects of overweight and obesity, she still blames herself for her overweight state.

One issue I want to bring up, possibly more of a matter of emphasis than disagreement with Taubes and Attia. Certainly there is no doubt that carbohydrate restriction can promote weight loss, and perhaps more important, help normalize blood pressure, blood glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol. However, it is not a blanket "cure" for obesity. (I frankly don't think there is such as thing.) For people who are very overweight, we cannot predict on an individual basis how much weight is likely to be lost, and low-carb eating will very likely will not bring them to their "dream weight". At that point, the mechanisms Parker-Pope elucidates DO most likely kick in. This is something I feel strongly about bringing out into the open. Many low-carbers are still blaming themselves for not losing enough weight, and that is, in my view, totally counterproductive. The main goal should be about health, not looks. I am quite overweight, but thanks to a low-carb diet I weigh less than I once did, and by all other measures I have my health back. That is my focus and I am truly grateful for it.

Photo: Tom Grill/Getty Images

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Right Carb Level For You

Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Anyone who looks into low-carb diets will see that a range of carbohydrate reduction is recommended by different diets. In order to get the benefits of cutting back on carbs, which is the best approach? It certainly can be puzzling for those who are trying to find the best way for their bodies to eat.

The fact is that there is no one carb level that will be best for everyone. Atkins talked about "metabolic resistance", others talk about "sugar sensitivity" or "carbohydrate tolerance". They all essentially are driving at the same thing: Different bodies have different abilities to handle carbohydrate, and the trick is to figure out what is best for your body. Most of the reduced-carb diets try to address this issue by offering ways to better individually customize the diet.

The Goal

The goal is to find the highest carb level where the individual will 1) lose or maintain weight and 2) not have cravings which will drive him or her to overeat. These cravings are a very important marker, and almost every low-carb diet book from Atkins to South Beach talks about it. It is one of the most striking features of low-carb diets -- that people no longer find themselves wanting to randomly munch. Being free of those urges is so liberating that it turns people into devoted followers of carb reduction. Other positive signs of eating the correct carb level are increased energy and mental alertness. Also, of course, people who are diabetic or prediabetic can and should monitor how what they eat is affecting their blood glucose.

Atkins calls the point at which a person can eat the most carbohydrate while still losing weight and getting the other benefits of the diet their "Critical Carbohydrate Level for Losing" ("CCLL") Agatston of the South Beach diet doesn’t have a name for it, but he recommends that dieters in Phase 2 of his plan gradually raise their carbohydrate level until they experience cravings, and then back down.

Getting to the Goal

Atkins and Agatston both require a highly restricted initial phase of their diets. It is these phases that have drawn the most criticism. It is legitimate to ask whether it is necessary to cut carbs this much, even for a short time.

The fact is that we are beyond the realm of scientific research on this point, and are into more of an art that needs to be individually customized. The way I look at it is this: People who are sensitive to carbohydrates are on a continuum. Some will benefit from small reductions in carb, while others need a larger reduction to experience the benefits. If they all go on a slightly carb-reduced diet, a small percentage of them will reap the benefits. If everyone goes on a highly restricted diet, they will almost all get the benefits of carb restriction, but they may also have some negative effects from the diet itself, especially in the first week. So the trick is to find a way to help each person zero in on the best level of carb intake for them. To me, as to Atkins and Agatston, finding the highest carb level where the benefits can be achieved is a good goal. But is cutting back severely first the best way?

Different Strokes...

It probably is the best way for some people. But it seems likely that most people can still receive the benefits by starting at a higher carb level, and avoiding some of the problems. While Atkins starts people at 20 grams of daily carbohydrate, the Eades of Protein Power say 30 grams, Diana Schwarzbein of The Schwarzbein Principle says at least 60, the Zone says 100 to 150, and Sugar Busters would probably be around 140 to 200 grams. All of these are considerably under standard nutritional advice, which is generally around 250 to 300 grams of carbohydrate daily (depending upon calories and other factors), and certainly you hear people on all these plans who are saying essentially the same thing about the positive effects –- decreased cravings, increased energy, etc.

So how do we start? I recommend that people start a little higher than Atkins recommends, and this is why: At 20 grams of carb per day, a significant number of people experience negative effects. It is also difficult to get the full range of nutrients on 20 grams of carbs per day. However, when you raise the carb allowance to 30 or, better yet, 40 grams per day, it becomes much easier to create fully nutritious meal plans. Additionally, at higher carb levels, people are less apt to get bored, because they can eat a greater variety of foods. Then, they can increase from that point, just as Atkins and Agatston suggest. Carb cravings or weight gain is a sign to back down to a lower level of carbohydrate, which give the maximal benefit for the least discomfort. That produces a way of eating that people can live with, rather than a “crash diet.”


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Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

I treated myself to a little comfort food with this tasty cauliflower macaroni and cheese just the other night. I can sit down to a bowl of this macaroni and eat?a serving or two of veggies with the cauliflower without even noticing. Next time you crave a bit of comfort food on a chilly night, try making a batch of this tasty macaroni.

Photo@ Kimberley K. Eggleston, licensed to About.com, Inc


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Chicken Noodle Soup

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rotini noodles, tender chicken, tender vegetables and rich broth are all that is needed for this easy low calorie soup recipe. Serve this low calorie chicken noodle soup with a side salad for an easy weeknight meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cups high quality chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 oz. uncooked rotini noodles
  • 1 cup chopped, cooked boneless skinless chicken breast

Preparation:

1. In a large pot, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, and celery, and cook 5-7 minutes. Add the thyme, dried onion, salt, and pepper and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, and water. Bring to a boil, and add the noodles. Cook 7-8 minutes, until the noodles are tender. Add the chicken, reduce heat, and simmer 2-3 minutes until heated through.

Serves 6

Per Serving Calories 167


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Top 10 Low-Carb Diet Mistakes

Monday, January 9, 2012
wrongWhenever we start on something new, we can assume that everything won't go perfectly smoothly. Even for low-carb "old-timers", bad habits can creep in. I've recently revised my list of the Top 10 Low-Carb Diet Mistakes. Check them out so you can head problems off, hopefully before they start!

Photo c nruboc at Stockxpert

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Monday, January 9, 2012
Definition: Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that is essential for our bodies to function. Recently, it has also been becoming very clear that as a whole, our diets do not contain enough of these fats, especially in comparison to the omega 6 fatty acids. This is due to a number of factors, including a decline in eating foods with omega-3 fats and a sharp increase in omega-6 fats (primarily from sources such as soybean oil, corn oil, and other seed oils). This altered ratio is contributing to a lot of excess inflammation in the human body, which is probably the source of many of our chronic diseases, including arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. It is noteworthy that animals who eat diets “as nature intended” (e.g. cows eating grass) tend to produce meat, milk, and eggs with higher amounts of omega-3 fats than those fed on feeds which have a high omega-6 content (e.g. corn) (which also makes cows sick, and requiring more antibiotics). Some hens are fed enriched feed so that their eggs will have more omega-3 fats in them.

Also Known As: omega-3 fats, good fats, fish oil, flax oil,

Alternate Spellings: omega 3 fats

Examples:

Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel, other seafood such as oysters and scallops, flax seed and flax seed oil, and walnuts.

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Erythritol Information

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What erythritol is :

Erythritol is the sugar alcohol (polyol) that has the least impact on blood sugar. Erythritol has almost zero calories, carbs, and glycemic index. The reason is a bit different that most sugar alcohols, which are only partially absorbed in the small intestine. Most (60-90%) of the erythritol is absorbed into the blood, but is then excreted in the urine. Because of this, erythritol tends to produce much less intestinal distress than other sugar alcohols.

Where erythritol comes from:

Erythritol occurs naturally in small amounts in some fruits, and in greater amounts in certain mushrooms and other fungi, and in fermented foods such as wine and soy sauce. The form used in foods is generally made by the fermentation of plant sugars.

What erythritol is good for:

Erythritol has 60-80% of the sweetness of sugar. Especially when used plain, it tends to have a cooling effect in the mouth. It can be used in baking, where it also has some of the tenderizing effects of sugar (results won't be exactly like sugar, though). It can at least partially replace sugar or artificial sweeteners for most uses. I find it especially useful in combination with chocolate (candy, brownies, etc.) where using purely artificial sweeteners produces unsatisfactory results.

Where to I find erythritol, and what to look for:

Erythritol is not widely available in stores at this time, so most must order it (see below). It comes in both granulated and powdered forms. The powder is preferable for most uses, because the granulated form seems to stay grainy unless dissolved in water. If you end up with some granulated erythritol, just run it through the blender for awhile to pulverize it (the food processor doesn't work for this).

Online Sources:

The best price I've found for the powdered erythritol is at Netrition.

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Overcoming Fat Phobia

Sunday, January 8, 2012

There's no doubt about it: fear of fats is everywhere. We hear in shocked tones about how much fat is in this hamburger or that doughnut. We are told to throw away nutritious egg yolks, buy nonfat dairy products and use fat-free dressings on our salads. I recently heard a news report describing cereals as "larded with fats and sugars." And the adjective "artery-clogging" is often added, especially to "saturated fat."

We are so used to worrying about the fats in our diet that it has become quite an obstacle to overcome when changing to a lower-carb diet, which is usually higher in fats. People have become so used to hearing about the evils of fats that they are sometimes even afraid to eat an olive or some nuts.

Did you know that your body gets fats not just from fats in the diet, but from excess carbohydrate? If our bodies can't use or store all the carbs we eat at one meal, it gets converted to fat. When it comes to sugar (half of which is fructose), this limit is reached fairly quickly. Eating a very high-carb diet, especially one high in sugars, may easily produce as much fat as actually eating the fat itself. Preliminary research shows that much of the fat converted from carbohydrate is saturated fat.

Most Fats are Not Bad For Us

We are so used to hearing about how bad fats are for us, but the evidence does not really show this to be the case. As is documented in Gary Taubes' book Good Calories, Bad Calories and elsewhere, the science used to promote a low-fat/high-carb diet in the 1980's (actually, beginning in 1977) was sketchy at best. Taken as a whole, Taubes says there was at least as much evidence that fats are not a problem as there was for the low-fat position. It was assumed that over time, the science would emerge confirming the value of reducing dietary fat.

Indeed, if it were the case that fats are bad for us, we would expect the evidence to grow ever-stronger as research progressed. However, what happened was actually the opposite. Every large-scale study intended to be "definitive" on the subject showed that dietary fat did not have a negative impact on health (examples here and here). Even with saturated fats, long been thought to contribute to heart disease, the link has been shown to be weak at best, and may not be present at all.

Are some fats bad? Many experts are now saying we should not eat too much soy and seed oil (e.g. corn and safflower), which are rich in omega-6 fats and may contribute to chronic inflammation in our bodies. Artificial trans-fats (partially hydrogenated fats) are definitely bad news. By and large, sticking to natural fats in whole foods is a good guide to follow.

Good Things About Fats

To hear much of the talk about fats in the diet, you'd think they are a source of calories and nothing more, that it all gets stored to be used for energy. But fats are very valuable. Without going into a long detailed list, here are some of the great things about fats:

1) Fats are building blocks. Fats form an important part of the membranes of all of our cells, and nutrients could not get into our cells without those fats. They also make up a good portion of our brains and nervous systems. Some fatty acids (notably omega-3 fats, and possibly others), have been shown to improve brain function in some circumstances, including improvements in cognitive function, mood and behavior.

2) Fats carry fat-soluble vitamins and phytonutrients (such as beta-carotene). Did you know that if you put an oil-based dressing on your salad, you will absorb more of the nutrients? Fats are an important component of our ability to get all the goodness from the foods we eat.

3) Eat more fat to help you eat less carbohydrate. When the low-fat craze started 30 or so years ago, it inevitably led to people eating more carbohydrates. Ironically, this makes some people (those who are sensitive to carbs) more hungry and gives them food cravings as well, leading to more eating in general. We can start to reverse this by simply turning back the clock to a time when fats were not vilified (and we didn't have nearly the rates of diabetes and obesity of today). Many people find they are less hungry and naturally cut back on calories when they add more fats to their diets.

4) Fats are a source of energy that does not raise blood glucose. For people on the diabetes spectrum (probably anyone with a fasting blood glucose over 89), this is very important. Why ingest the carb and then require insulin to convert it to fat, when you can just eat the fat to begin with?

Tips for Adding Fats to Your Diet

1. Eat oil-based salad dressings made with healthy oils - Olive oil based dressings are the best ones, as olive oil is amazingly good for us. More tips of finding and making health salad dressings.

2. Eat fatty fish - Cultivate a taste for salmon, sardines, herring and other fatty fish, which are high in precious long-chain omega-3 fats.

3. Drizzle olive oil on vegetables, seafood dishes and any other foods that strike your fancy.

4. Add avocados to your salad or use them as a side dish.

5. Add nuts like almonds and seeds like flax seed to your diet. (Carbs, Calories and Types of Fats in Nuts and Seeds)

5. Coconut oil and coconut milk have high amounts of a fatty acid called lauric acid, which may have benefits. Contrary to the expectations of some, groups of people who consume a lot of coconut do not have more heart disease.

6. Don't be afraid of animal fats such as those in meats, especially if you are consuming a reduced-carb or paleo diet. Ideally, obtain meats from animals that were eating what they were meant to eat, e.g., grass if they were cows or sheep. This affects the fat content of the meat, as well as being better for the environment and the animals.

7. Eat a balance of fats. As with all foods, variety is better. Despite our perception, all the categories of fats have many different types within them that most of us don't hear about. If we eat a variety of foods, we will be more likely to get a balance of these many fats in our diets.

Sources:

Brown, Melody, Ferruzzi, et al. Carotenoid bioavailability is higher from salads ingested with full-fat than with fat-reduced salad dressings. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 80.2 (2004):396-403

Forsythe, CE, et al. Comparison of Low Fat and Low Carbohydrate Diets on Circulating Fatty Acid Composition and Markers of Inflammation. Lipids. 43:1(2008):65-77

Taubes, Gary. Good Calories, Bad Calories. United States of America: Knopf, Borzoi Books, 2007. Print.


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Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Serve these cornmeal-crusted chicken breasts with your favorite salsa and Mexican-style rice. Adjust the seasoning to suit your taste,

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Pour buttermilk into a shallow bowl. Combine cornmeal, pepper, cumin and chili powder on a plate. Dip chicken in buttermilk, then dredge chicken breasts in cornmeal mixture and place on baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once. Serve with fresh salsa, corn and rice.

Serves 4.

Per Serving: Calories 222, Calories from Fat 25, Total Fat 2.8g (sat 0.8g), Cholesterol 83mg, Sodium 136mg, Carbohydrate 14g, Fiber 1.5g, Protein 35.2g


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Chicken with Artichokes

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Artichokes can be an intimidating vegetable, and if you need more than a few artichoke hearts for a recipe, you'll save a lot of time using the canned or jarred variety, as I do with this deliciously light chicken with artichokes recipe.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 13.75-ounce can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

In a large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, saute chicken breast for 5 minutes, turning once. Remove chicken and place in a glass baking dish.

Empty drained can of artichokes into dish over and around chicken.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add mushrooms, garlic and oregano to skillet and gently saute for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Empty mushroom mixture over chicken breast and bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until the chicken breasts have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve with noodles or rice.

Serves 4

Per Serving: Calories 216, Calories from Fat 18, Total Fat 2.1g (sat 0.5g), Cholesterol 82mg, Sodium 615mg, Carbohydrate 13g, Fiber 4.8g, Protein 36.5g


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Low-Carb Pumpkin Pecan Pancake

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The "flour" for these pancakes is simply ground pecans which you can do in a food processor or blender. They won't grind as fine as flour - the "meal" has even larger "grains" than cornmeal. But it works fine and is yummy. I tried adding more pumpkin, for more pumpkin flavor, but they became a little trickier to cook through - you have to cook them more slowly. These are good, though, and got the "Husband Seal of Approval".

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ? teaspoon nutmeg
  • ? teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • ? cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • ? cup sugar-free ginger ale (or just water and sweetener to taste)
  • Extra sweetener to taste*
  • 2 eggs

Preparation:

1. Grind pecans in food processor. Add spices, salt, and baking powder and pulse until well-blended. Transfer these dry ingredients to a medium-sized bowl or quart-sized measuring cup with lip. (Note: do not try to blend the wet ingredients with dry in the food processor - it makes the batter thinner for some reason.)

2. Combine the rest of the ingredients and mix well (a fork works well).

3. Heat pan or griddle to medium heat and cook pancakes, flipping when brown.

* If you plan to serve the pancakes with sugar-free syrup, no extra sweetener is added. When serving plain, add an extra 1-2 tablespoon of sugar equivalent in a sugar substitute. I prefer liquid forms of sucralose (Splenda) which has no extra carb.

Nutritional Information: Each of six pancakes (about 4" in diameter) has 2 grams effective carbohydrate plus 2 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, and 186 calories.


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Phyllo Dough

Sunday, January 8, 2012
These tissue-paper-thin pastry sheets make a great low fat alternative to regular pastry. Phyllo, or filo, dough has no saturated fat or trans fat, and no cholesterol. Phyllo dough is light, crisp and flaky, and so long as you use butter-flavored cooking spray between layers rather than real melted butter, it's a perfect low fat choice for making savory or sweet pies, tarts and strudels.

Phyllo dough sheets are rolled in plastic wrap and placed in long, slim boxes. The individual sheets are available in varying sizes, such as 12 inches by 17 inches, 9-inches by 14 inches and 9 inches by 28 inches, depending on the brand. You’ll find phyllo dough in the freezer section of most large grocery stores. Fresh phyllo dough is available at Middle Eastern, Turkish or Greek specialty food stores.

The main criticism of phyllo dough is that it’s hard to handle. The phyllo sheets can be difficult to separate if they don’t thaw properly beforehand, and phyllo dough can dry out and tear if you don’t work quickly enough. With a bit of planning, handling phyllo dough needn’t be a problem. Here’s how to use phyllo dough.

More Low Fat Cooking Quick Tips


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Olive Oil

Saturday, January 7, 2012
Olive oil is an ancient food that has been used by humans for thousands of years (olive oil residue has been found in jugs that are over 4,000 years old!). It has been called "liquid gold," and prized for its flavors in addition to being a valuable cooking and salad oil.

Olive oil is one of the primary foods associated with the heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet. Most of the world's olive oil is produced and consumed in Mediterranean countries, especially Spain, Italy, and Greece.

It is only recently that scientists have begun to understand the many compounds in olive oil responsible for a mounting list of health benefits. Many books have been written about olive oil, and so much new information is coming out now that a new book could probably be written each year! First, we will talk about a few of the health benefits, and then how to select and store olive oil, and some of the many ways you can begin to add more of this healthful food to your diet.

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Plugging "olive oil" into the PubMed search engine (a database of medical and health-oriented research) yields over 6,000 studies. Not many specific foods get this much attention in the medical literature, and there are good reasons that olive oil is so well-studied. It is loaded with polyphenols and other phytonutrients (many of which are antioxidants), and is high in monounsaturated fats. Here are some of the probable health benefits of olive oil:

1. Anti-Inflammatory Effects - There is a lot of talk about anti-inflammatory diets these days (many chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis, have been linked to chronic inflammation in our bodies), but few foods have actually demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects. There is mounting evidence that extra virgin olive oil may be one of those foods, with quite a number of studies documenting lower levels of the chemicals associated with inflammation (C-reactive protein and others) when olive oil is added to the diet. One to two tablespoons of virgin or extra-virgin olive oil per day has been shown to produce these anti-inflammatory effects in the body.

2) Antioxidant Effects - Some of the compounds in olive oil (e.g., hydroxytyrosol and one with an even longer name abbreviated to DHPEA-EDA) are among the strongest antioxidant chemicals discovered in food so far. It is thought that antioxidant compounds can protect our cells from damage in a number of ways. Primarily, they combat a type of damage called "oxidative stress," which occurs in the normal course of cell functioning and as a result of other types of wear and tear on the body (e.g., radiation of various types). There is a wide variety of antioxidants in our bodies to control this damage, and a healthy diet provides hundreds of them every day. Olive oil has been shown to be helpful in this way.

3) Cardiovascular Protection - Olive oil probably helps protect our hearts and arteries in a wide variety of ways. At least one of the polyphenols (hydroxytyrosol) may even help protect our arteries at a genetic level. Oxidative stress damages our cardiovascular systems, so the polyphenols and other antioxidants can protect in that way, and the anti-inflammatory effects also help our hearts and arteries. Some of the polyphenols in olive oil can prevent blood platelets from clumping together, which is a cause of heart attacks. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil may have a positive effect on cholesterol profiles and may even help lower blood pressure.

Additionally, substances in olive oil can also protect some of the components of blood itself, including red blood cells and LDL cholesterol (LDL is mostly a problem when it becomes oxidized). Olive oil consumption is also associated with higher HDL ("good") cholesterol. The FDA allows the claim that "eating 2 tablespoons of olive oil each day may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease."

4) Cancer Protection - Since we so often associate olive oil with lowering our risk for heart disease, it may surprise you to learn that there is a fair amount of research showing a lowering of the risk of some cancers as well, particularly those of the digestive tract and breast (although there is preliminary evidence for many others, even leukemia). The mechanism is thought to be at least partly from the antioxidants protecting the DNA in the cells.

Other preliminary research suggests that consuming olive oil could protect us from cognitive decline, osteoporosis, and even the balance of bacteria in our guts.

One important note: Many of the health-giving phytonutrients are present in high amounts only in virgin and extra-virgin olive oil.

What is Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and Why is it Better for Us?

Virgin olive oil is extracted from the olives purely by mechanical means (either by pressing or spinning the olives after they are mashed into a paste). No chemical processing is allowed in producing virgin olive oil. The best of the virgin oil is classified as "extra-virgin," which has superior characteristics, including very low rancidity and the best flavor. It also has the highest level of polyphenols and other phytonutrients. Plain virgin olive oil also has high levels of these compounds and a rancidity of less than two percent.

Other olive oil classifications include refined olive oil, which is chemically processed to remove "impurities," which unfortunately include some of the phytonutrients. The good things about refined oil are that it has a more neutral flavor (valuable when cooking some things) and a higher smoke point. The "impurities" in virgin olive oil begin to burn at 300 degrees F, producing smoke and bitter flavors, as well as lessening the health benefits. A product labeled simply "olive oil" is a blend of refined and virgin olive oils. "Olive pomace oil" is obtained by a chemical process to get the last drops of oil out of the olive paste.

U.S. and Australian studies have previously shown that much of the imported olive oil sold in the U.S. and Australia as "extra-virgin" did not meet those standards (domestic olive oil was far less likely to have this problem). Recently, the USDA has issued voluntary standards similar to those in Europe in the attempt to standardize both domestic and imported oil in the United States.

Selection and Storage

Olive oil goes rancid more slowly than some other oils (presumably due to the high antioxidant content), but it does degrade over time. The oil itself will go rancid and the polyphenols and other compounds will also break down. (Extra-virgin olive oil will turn to virgin olive oil in a glass bottle exposed to light at room temperature.) The main ways to avoid this are to protect the oil from light and heat. Some tips:

- Buy olive oil in dark glass bottles (or harder-to-find metal containers).

- Try to buy from a store that has a rapid turnover -- no dusty bottles sitting on the shelves for months.

- The annual olive harvest is in autumn for most varieties. Look to see if there is a date on the label, and try to get the freshest oil you can.

- Store in a dark, cool cupboard, or (better yet) the refrigerator until ready to use, then transfer the amount you will use in a week or two to a dark glass bottle. Olive oil in the refrigerator will solidify, but will "melt" again at room temperature.

How to Get More Olive Oil into Your Diet

Want to try to get that recommended 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil into your diet? The first thing we think of when using olive oil is salad dressing, which is a great start. Too often, people cover their salads with dressings made with soy oil or other oils high in omega-6 fats. But it's so much better to use an oil with such wonderful health benefits as virgin or extra-virgin olive oil. (See Healthy Salad Dressings for purchasing and recipes).

For other ideas, Greece is a great place to turn, as a Greek person typically consumes 26 liters of olive oil in a year! (Think what this means: those calories are NOT other things that would be less healthful, such as processed foods and less healthful fats. Plus, olive oil is usually eaten with healthy foods, such as vegetables and seafood.) Greeks drizzle olive oil over almost everything -- almost all vegetable, meat, and seafood dishes. They finish a soup or stew by stirring some olive oil into the bowl before eating. They also cook vegetables in it, marinate meats, and preserve vegetables, such as red peppers and dried tomatoes, in it. The foods of other Mediterranean countries, from Spain and Italy to Morocco, and the countries of the Middle East, also use a lot of olive oil in their foods. The rest of the world would do well to emulate them.

Sources:

Berr C, et al. Olive Oil and Cognition: Results from the Three-City Study. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders. 28.4 (2009):357-364.

Bogani, P, et. al Postprandial anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of extra virgin olive oil. Atherosclerosis. 190.1 (2007):181-186

Caponio F, et al. Influence of the exposure to light on extra virgin olive oil quality during storage. European Food Research and Technology, 221.1-2(2005):92-98.

Castaner O. The effect of olive oil polyphenols on antibodies against oxidized LDL. A randomized clinical trial. Clinical Nutrition. 2011 Mar 2. [Epub ahead of print]

Fabini, R, et al. Virgin Olive Oil Phenols Inhibit Proliferation of Human Promyelocytic Leukemia Cells (HL60) by Inducing Apoptosis and Differentiation. American Society for Nutrition Journal of Nutrition 3.136 (2006):614-619.

Frankel, EN et al. Tests indicate that imported "extra virgin" olive oil often fails international and USDA standards. University of California, Davis. 2010 UC Regents.

Kontogianni MD. The impact of olive oil consumption pattern on the risk of acute coronary syndromes: The CARDIO2000 case-control study. Clinical Cardiology. 30.3 (2007):125-9.

Lucas, L et al Molecular Mechanisms of Inflammation. Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Virgin Olive Oil and the Phenolic Compound Oleocanthal. Current Pharmaceutical Design, Volume 17, Number 8, March 2011 , pp. 754-768(15)

Paiva-Martins, F et al. Effects of olive oil polyphenols on erythrocyte oxidative damage. Molecular Nutrition Food Research. 53.5(2009):609-16.

Ruano J, et al. Intake of phenol-rich virgin olive oil improves the postprandial prothrombotic profile in hypercholesterolemic patients. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 86 (2007): 341-346.

Salvinil, S., Daily consumption of a high-phenol extra-virgin olive oil reduces oxidative DNA damage in postmenopausal women. British Journal of Nutrition (2006), 95, 742–751

United States Department of Agriculture. United States Standards for Grades of Olive Oil and Olive-Pomace Oil. United States Department of Agriculture. October 25, 2010

Visioli F, Bernardini E. et al. Extra virgin olive oil's polyphenols: biological activities. Current Pharmaceutical Design. 17.8 (2011):786-804.


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Salmon Salad

Saturday, January 7, 2012

If you are determined to obtain your omega-3's for the day, but are not up to cooking a whole salmon fillet, prepare this salmon salad which uses pre-packaged pink salmon. Serve on a bed of lettuce, or try it on a whole-grain sandwich bun.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 7-oz. pouch boneless, skinless pink salmon, drained
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped (2 Tbsp)
  • 1 green onion, chopped (1 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp low-fat mayonnaise (such as Best Foods)
  • 1/8 tsp dried dill
  • 2 cups salad greens
  • Lemon wedges for garnishing

Preparation:

1. Place the salmon, celery, green onion, mayonnaise, and dried dill in a medium-sized bowl. Stir until the ingredients are mixed well and the mayonnaise coats the salmon.

2. Place one cup of salad greens on each of two plates. Divide the salmon salad into two equal scoops, and place on top of the lettuce. Garnish with lemon wedges.

Serves 2

Per Serving Calories 165


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Minestrone Soup

Saturday, January 7, 2012
I'm still in soup-making mode. It's the perfect winter food, both warming and comforting, and offering a nice change from all the sweet and heavy food of the holiday season. This minestrone soup is naturally low fat, contains fiber-rich beans, and vitamin-rich kale. You can also use whole-wheat pasta for an additional nutritional boost. Just be sure to use reduced-sodium broth, tomatoes and beans, and go easy on the salt shaker.

Minestrone Soup c 2012 Fiona Haynes, licensed to About.com


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Chicken Soups for the Soul

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Nothing beats a warm bowl of chicken soup to banish the winter blahs. This chicken soup has a generous dose of vegetables, principally leeks, mushrooms and carrots. It reminds me of the Cock a Leekie soup I had as a child growing up in Great Britain, only without the traditional prunes! For a filling lunch, enjoy this chicken and leek soup with a whole grain roll.

More Low Fat Chicken Soups

Chicken and Leek Soup Photo c Fiona Haynes, licensed to About.com

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Low Fat Cookbooks

Saturday, January 7, 2012

You've made a commitment to healthy, low fat eating, so which cookbooks should you have to help you on your way?

1. The Essential Eating Well Cookbook

With its emphasis on "good carbs, good fats and great flavors," this book from Eating Well magazine offers a well-rounded package for healthy eating, appealing to those in both the low fat and low carb camps. And while it’s not specifically a diet book, there is plenty of nutritional analysis here. There are more than 350 recipes to choose from, with ample vegetarian choices, too.
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2. Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2009

Marking the 13th year of its annual collection of recipes, Cooking Light magazine brings us more than 1,000 delicious recipes from the past year's magazines, which is good news for those of us who avidly clip recipes from each issue and struggle to find them thereafter. As usual, Cooking Light offers plenty of innovative blends of ingredients, as well as lots of tips, suggestions and menu ideas.
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3. Cooking Healthy Across America

Healthy down-home cooking is not an oxymoron. This collection of more than 300 recipes represents a culinary trek across the United States, featuring classic regional fare made healthy, plus newer, multicultural recipes reflecting America’s rich diversity. The American Dietetic Association has done a masterly job of capturing the essence of old and new, and in bringing a lighter touch to some old favorites. Fried chicken? You bet. Bread Pudding and Bourbon Sauce? Absolutely.
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4. The New American Heart Association Cookbook

Now in its 7th edition, this 700-page tome, affectionately known as "Big Red," has 600 recipes, 150 of them new ones, along with appendixes chock-full of advice about how to change our eating habits, what to look for at the grocery store, how to read food labels, how to practice low fat cooking, and more. The one thing it lacks, however, is photos, except for the back cover and spine. It’s less a coffee table book than a great reference for flavorful, heart-healthy recipes.
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5. Betty Crocker's Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cooking Today

This evergreen classic offers 120 flavorful, easy to follow recipes based on a sound, commonsense approach to eating. Packed with detailed nutritional information, plus tips on how to limit our intake of fat and dietary cholesterol, there is plenty here for us to feast on, both literally and metaphorically. With 50 photographs of recipes plus more to illustrate step-by step instructions, this is always a great choice for your bookshelf.
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Low Fat New Year's Eve Recipes

Thursday, January 5, 2012
If you want to party like it's 1999, or 2009, but worry about all those fattening chips, dips and fondues, try some of these delicious, low fat New Year's Eve party morsels. You certainly won't be missing out on flavor. And remember, have a platter of fresh veggies on hand for scooping up some of these delicious dips, and bake some pita chips or tortilla chips, too.

1. Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Roll-ups

As anyone from New York City will attest, smoked salmon (or lox) and cream cheese are perfect partners. Try this tasty little hors d'oeuvre. All that's missing is the bagel.

2. Potato Skins

Reduced fat cheese and fat-free sour cream are the key to keeping these perennial favorites low fat.

3. Spicy Shrimp Kebabs

These succulent shrimp take just minutes to cook. The spiciness comes from a blend of soy sauce, garlic, fresh ginger and chopped jalapeno pepper.

4. Eggplant Dip

One of my all-time favorite dips is eggplant dip, or Baba Ghanoush. Low in saturated fat and with no cholesterol, this a healthy appetizer to enjoy with whole wheat pita wedges or fresh vegetables.

5. Hummus

This irresistible Middle-Eastern inspired dip makes a great appetizer. Delicious with pita triangles, whole grain crackers or cut veggies.

6. Mango-Black Bean Salsa

A fresh, colorful dip that's perfect for any party. Serve with baked tortilla chips

7. Fresh Salsa

Naturally low fat, this freshly prepared salsa makes a wonderful change from the bottled variety.

8. Low Fat Spinach Dip

This low fat spinach dip makes a terrific appetizer. It's perfect with cut veggies or whole grain breadsticks and crackers. You can spice it up a little by adding a dash of hot sauce.

9. Low Fat Red Pepper Dip

Bottled red peppers make this dip a snap to prepare, although you're welcome to roast your own.

10. Fat Free Black Bean Dip

This simple, spicy fat-free dip works well with fat free yogurt or sour cream.

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Sonoma Diet Summary

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Introduction:

The author is a registered dietitian and professor of nutrition. The Sonoma Diet is named for a region north of San Francisco with a Mediterranean climate. The diet combines some of the principles of the Mediterranean diet with a weight loss diet. It is designed to be simple, with very little counting or measuring.

Author:

Connie Guttersen, Ph.D

Main Books:

The Sonoma Diet, 2005Compare Prices

The Sonoma Diet Cookbook, 2006Compare Prices

Restricted Foods:

Foods high in saturated fats, starches, and sugars are restricted or forbidden. In addition, portion control is emphasized.

Amount of Restriction:

The Sonoma Diet starts out with a lot of restriction in the first phase (called Wave 1), which lasts ten days. The second phase (Wave 2) is somewhat less restrictive.

Amount of Structure:

There is quite a lot of structure to the diet. The idea is to use certain-sized plates or bowls, and fill various divisions of them with certain kinds of foods. For example, half the dinner plate contains low carb vegetables in the first phase.

Individual Variation:

There is almost no variation in this diet within phases. Men eat a few more calories than women, and large men and people who lead "a very physically active life with plenty of exercise" are allowed a little larger snack. Other than that, the rules are the same for everyone.

Learning Curve:

Very easy to learn. There are lists of foods to avoid, and "power foods" which are especially encouraged. You eat what you want within those lists. However the book adds little exceptions to the basic rules here and there throughout the text (usually specifically designed for people who are having trouble), so it's a good idea to read carefully.

Phases (Waves):

Wave 1 lasts ten days, and excludes fruit, some vegetables and dairy products, and most sources of saturated fat. Grains are limited to two servings per day of whole grains. Wave 2 lasts until the dieter has completed weight loss. Some fruit, dairy, grains, and veggies are added back in specific amounts. Wave 3 is maintenance.


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