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Midtown Athletic Club in Willowbrook, IL Registered Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer, and Certified Personal Coach Nicole Polus takes over the blog today to discuss how to incorporate superfoods into your active lifestyle, so you can maintain a healthy weight during the calorie-laden holiday season of eating.
You’ve heard the phrase “superfood” in health and fitness magazines, on afternoon talk shows, and all over the Internet , but what truly makes a food “super”? Superfoods contain powerful amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that help people fight disease and live healthier lives.
There are many foods that can positively impact overall health and wellness, so I recommend that you eat a variety of healthy foods every day to get the best nutrition for your body. But adding in one (or more) of these superfoods each day can deliver the boost you need to stay healthy during the cold winter months.
Everyone’s favorite tuber around the holiday season is jam-packed with fiber, helping you maintain good cholesterol while keeping you fuller longer, which is beneficial for weight loss or maintenance. Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of potassium and vitamins A, B6, and C. Studies have shown that incorporating sweet potato into the diet is not only good for heart health, but also helps with glucose control and insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes.
For Thanksgiving this year, add to your plate an extra serving of sweet potato casserole (as long as it isn’t loaded with butter, marshmallows, and brown sugar, of course). Looking to bring your own healthier version of sweet potato deliciousness to the Turkey Day feast? Try this recipe or you could always think outside the box and try a new recipe like this sweet potato hash.
You used to watch these seeds grow out of of a pottery planter in the shape of your favorite animal. Now, try eating them instead! Like other noteworthy seeds and nuts, chia seeds are high in fiber (about 10 grams per 1 ounce serving) and also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help improve heart health (about 5 grams per 1 ounce serving, which is double the amount found in the same serving of walnuts). Additionally, these seeds are good sources of copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.
Chia seeds are flavorless, so you can add them to any snack or meal. Sprinkle some into your morning oatmeal, swirl some into your afternoon yogurt snack or homemade smoothie, or sprinkle them on top of your dinner salad. If you enjoy baking, you can incorporate these seeds into most breads, muffins, and even cookies, so start experimenting. You can find chia seeds in most grocery stores.
This dark green, bitter-tasting vegetable is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, especially when cooked. It is also a good source of calcium, fiber, vitamin B6, phosphorus, and iron. It’s a true superfood. Studies show the many health benefits, which include raising HDL (good) cholesterol, lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, and decreasing the risk of both breast and prostate cancer.
Try this delicious Barley Kale Salad, which is one of my favorites. I have brought this dish to two family parties, and have come home with an empty bowl both times. Tip: do not add too much of the vinegar dressing all at once to prevent over-dressing the dish. If you prefer your kale cooked, try this easy side dish recipe made with simple ingredients found in the pantry and fridge.
Eggplant and Kale Sauté
1 medium eggplant, chopped into cubes
3 cups of kale, rinsed, chopped, and stems trimmed off
1 cup of fresh mushrooms (or 8-ounce can)
8 ounce can of no-salt-added tomato sauce
Spices for extra flavor (I used a little garlic powder, chili powder, black pepper, a sprinkle of oregano, and some sesame seeds, but use what you like.)
Spray a medium to large sauté pan or skillet with cooking spray. In the pan, cook the cubed eggplant, covered on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Next, add the chopped kale and mushrooms into the pan. Cover and cook the vegetables about 5 minutes more or until the kale begins to wilt and the eggplant begins to brown. Lastly, slowly add the can of tomato sauce and stir to coat all the vegetables. Cover and cook on low for a few more minutes. Season with spices for extra flavoring.
This mighty whole grain, known for its protein-packed body (6 grams per 1/3 cup serving), is an excellent source of folic acid, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. Compared to wheat, barley, or corn, it is higher in calcium, copper, zinc, potassium, and iron. Quinoa is also a great source of dietary fiber, which promotes satiety or fullness.
Technically, quinoa is actually a seed, but it is usually considered a whole grain because it is prepared like other whole grains, including rice and barley. Nutritionally, it is also a complete protein (contains all 9 essential amino acids), which is very rare for plant-based foods. Research has shown that eating this grain decreases the risk for gum disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and inflammation.
When cooked alone, quinoa has great flavor. It takes about 15 minutes on the stovetop, and each individual grain should turn clear with a ring around it when finished. After cooking, you can season it with spices, olive oil, or a splash of lime juice. It is also great served alongside vegetables, as shown during of my latest dinners, which was delicious.
If you want to experiment with a quinoa recipe, try this recipe, which is a quinoa spin on mac-n’-cheese. Tip: It is best to buy pre-rinsed/pre-washed quinoa, which is sold in most grocery stores. That way you can use the quinoa straight from the box or tub when cooking with it. Got a sweet tooth? Try this recipe for sweet potato quinoa, which combines two of our superfoods.
So, if you have wanted to pump up the nutrition in your cooking, or simple add some healthful recipes to your usual holiday meal plan, now is the time. Head to your favorite grocery store and add these superfoods to your cart.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Retrieved October 21, 2013, from www.eatright.org.
Grotto, David, RD, LDN. The Best Things You Can Eat. Boston: First Da Capo Press, 2013
Midtown Athletic Club in Willowbrook, IL Personal Trainer Nicole Duval takes over the blog today to discuss how to navigate the muddy (and calorie-laden) waters of the holiday season and still maintain a healthy weight and an active lifestyle.
Ahh, the holidays. Such a joyous time: themed parties, family get-togethers, surprise presents.
But all of these “fun” times can wreck havoc on waistlines. So how do you stay within your happy weight range and still have fun through the new year? Here are a few tips to help you stay an active and smart party-goer!
This holiday is fast approaching and the biggest temptation is not the candy your kids get when they trick-or-treat, but the candy you buy to give out!
The stores advertise their HUGE sales weeks in advance, so not only are you tempted to buy candy at these stores, but you’ll buy it, eat it all, and have to buy more. So wait until the last minute and it won’t be sitting in your cupboard calling your name when you sit down to watch that DVR’d episode of Parenthood. I promise, it will still be on sale.
If you must have a few pieces, steal them from your kid’s loot. Just don’t tell them I told you to do that.
Another idea is to buy candy you don’t really enjoy. Nerds and Smarties just don’t do it for me so I’m not going to eat half a bag before the doorbell starts ringing. If you buy candy you’re not crazy about, you’re less likely to pig out when you’re giving the candy away.
Use this tip throughout the season. If you stock-up on hostess gifts such as boxes of candy or tins full of nuts just in case you have a last-minute event to attend, buy treats that you won’t eat by the handful. If you’re not a popcorn person, buy three-flavor tins of popcorn for hosts, or if you prefer red wine, buy a few whites to have in your stockpile. You’ll be less likely to open one of these “gifts” if you don’t like them.
So now Thanksgiving is drawing near followed by Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s. Your calendar is filling up with parties to attend and you can already feel your pants getting tighter.
How do you enjoy your friends and family without having to buy new clothes next year? Your first step is to check your calendar every Sunday for the upcoming week and see what function(s) you’re attending. Plan your “cheat” meal to be that event. That way you’ll have something to look forward to when you’re eating ”good and clean” all week.
When you arrive at the event, scan the party for the entire spread before you start noshing. Pick one or two treats that you’ll indulge in (such as mini beef wellingtons or chocolate chip cheesecake) and fill the rest of your plate with vegetable-based appetizers, shrimp cocktail, and anything without puff pastry.
Pick a lower-calorie beverage such as wine (100 calories per 4 oz. serving), or a light beer; preferably one that has the amount of calories in the name, such as Budweiser Select 55 or MGD 64, so you can easily track your alcohol calories.
It’s also best to stop after one alcoholic beverage, not only for the calorie count or to be a safe driver, but because the more tipsy you get, the more your inhibitions go down and the more mindlessly you’ll end up eating. You don’t want to ruin your entire week’s worth of workouts on a whole bottle of wine and in turn eat the entire bowl of chips!
Lastly, if there is dancing at any of these events, then bust a move! Getting some cardio in will help you burn off your extra treat pounds so when 2014 comes, you can slip back into your skinny jeans just like it’s 2013. Or maybe 2001 if you REALLY break it down!
So what are your holiday healthy tips? Do share!
Struggling for ideas on what to pack in your kids’ school lunches that will give them the energy and brain power to last through a full day of classes and after-school sports? Sarah Guilbert, the Nutritionist from Midtown Athletic Club in Rochester, is back to demystify the healthy lunch packing process with some great recipes to help your children have a productive year in school.
You’re not alone if you’re having trouble coming up with creative, healthy ideas for your kids’ packed lunches and snacks. There are many misleading kid-friendly “health-food” products on the market that are actually anything but, and wading through the front-of-the-package marketing claims is sometimes difficult.
By ditching the processed, prepared foods and making lunches and snacks yourself you can ensure that your child is eating healthfully. It is also a fun way to give your kids a little food education, as you teach them the preparation skills necessary to one day take over the job for you.
The following recipes will help students power through the school day with enough energy to perform well academically as well as on the sports field, track, or swimming pool.
Whole Grain Pita Pockets with Harvest Chicken Salad
This recipe shows the versatality of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt. Tip: substitute regular walnuts for the candied walnuts in this recipe to lower the amount of added sugar.
Whole Wheat Bread, Natural Peanut Butter, and Banana Slices. Pack Milk in a Thermos.
This is a potassium-rich variant on traditional peanut butter and jelly.
Spaghetti Squash with Grilled Chicken and Low-Sodium Marinara Sauce
Spaghetti squash is a healthy and fun substitute for refined pasta. You can easily pack this dish in a thermos or a container like this. Have your kids help prepare the squash so they can see the fascinating inside of this vegetable.
Greek Yogurt, Banana, and Low-Fat Granola Parfait.
Add your child’s favorite side dish to round it out. This meal is packed with potassium and protein.
Healthy Grilled Cheese Paired with a Side Salad in an Edible Bowl
Make a grilled cheese sandwich using whole grain bread with reduced fat cheese, tomato, and spinach.
Fill a pepper with spring mix, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and an olive oil-based salad dressing for a fun way to do a side-salad.
This recipe is a good source of fiber and plant protein for the adventurous eater. Make this on a Sunday night, as it requires more preparation time than the other other recipes.
Step away from the Twinkies and Chips Ahoy. A lunch box dessert doesn’t have to be filled with calories and chemicals. Try these instead:
Homemade Pudding Made with Nonfat Milk
Pears with Nutmeg
This is a great way to introduce your kids to delicious, healthy desserts. Fruit sugar is sweeter than table sugar and comes with many other beneficial nutrients that help to fuel your loved one.
Apple Slices with Cinnamon
This idea came from a devoted Midtown member who uses this as a snack on her bike rides.
Vanilla Greek Yogurt Mixed with Peanut Butter
Trail Mix with Nuts, Raisins, and Homemade Popcorn.
Find great recipes here.
Carrots/Celery with Peanut Butter
Ants on a log. Why? This snack has healthy fiber and two heart-healthy ingredients. Plus, they are fun to prepare and eat!
Fruit and Veggie Skewers
Have your child pick out his/her favorite fruits. Try to incorporate at least three different colors. If making a veggie skewer, add a yogurt-based salad dressing or homemade hummus for dipping.
Freshly Cut Vegetables with Homemade Hummus
Find a great recipe for hummus here.
Homemade Energy Bars
Here’s a recipe I developed out of frustration after reading the suspicious ingredients on just about every store-bought energy bar I’ve picked up. Energy bars shouldn’t have 30 ingredients. Here’s my simple and healthy alternative with ingredients you know and recognize.
Nutrition before a workout or an after-school activity involving exercise should be low in fat and fiber and provide a moderate amount of carbohydrates and protein.
String Cheese and an Apple
Banana and 1 Tbsp Natural Peanut Butter
Aim for higher carbohydrates and less fat than a typical trail-mix type bar.
You can find even more healthy lunch and snack ideas by following our Healthy Kids Pinterest board here.
Mark Levine, Personal Trainer from Midtown Athletic Club in Bannockburn, IL, is back to talk about overcoming the dreaded fitness plateau, one of the most challenging parts of meeting a fitness goal.
In the outdoor cycling world, reaching a plateau often gives you a needed break before you ascend another gradient of incline. However, if your goal is to get stronger or lose weight, then reaching a plateau is an obstacle that you need to overcome and not embrace.
A fitness plateau happens when your progress toward gaining strength or losing weight stops and levels out. This can affect you both emotionally and physically, and can become a critical time in your fitness journey, as some people tend to quit as the effort they’re putting in no longer shows results.
Here are four techniques to ensure you don’t get stuck on a fitness plateau:
When you flip the calendar page to the next month, change your workout. I often see people lifting the same amount of weight and performing the same number of repetitions each time they visit the club. When you work out this way, your body is smart enough that it operates more efficiently and doesn’t need to burn as many calories as it used to and the body doesn’t work as hard to gain as much strength.
You can also make changes on a weekly basis. For example if you are weight lifting, you can lift heavy twice a week with fewer reps and lift light once a week with increased reps. The following week you would switch it up so you lift light twice a week and lift heavy once. Your body doesn’t know what to expect, and therefore it won’t operate on cruise control.
I cannot stress enough the benefits of cross training, or regularly switching up your workouts. Cross training allows you to keep your body guessing as to what it will need to do. For several days last week, I worked out for thirty minutes in an anaerobic (almost breathless) mode. Then, I went for a 2.5-hour bike ride. At some point during the ride, my body began to suffer. I had been training it for thirty minutes of hardcore work and not an endurance workout.
The bottom line is to keep your body guessing. For any economists out there, cross training is the macro version of calendar training.
Whether you’re doing cardio or weight training, you need to increase the intensity to prevent plateaus. If you are doing cardio, mix up the workout by either increasing the incline, adding speed, or both. Don’t stay at the same speed or incline for the entire session. If you plan on running for thirty minutes at 6.0 mph, then your body will get used to this and you won’t get as much from your workout. Also, if you are weight training, always remember to add weight and reduce the repetitions. Even if you work out intensely, make sure one of your workouts is easier or reduce the weight. Engage in the same type of workout, even an intense one, and your body will get used to those types of workouts.
When weight training, take some rest days. Rest days allow your muscles to grow. Even bodybuilders build in a rest day or two during their weekly training schedule. If you currently break your weight training into upper body one day and lower body the next, then you are giving your upper body a rest on the day that you are working your lower body. If you are doing a total body workout, then take a day off and feel those muscles grow.
Not sure if you’re overtraining? Here’s how you can tell:
Most people don’t like change and tend to stay with what they feel comfortable. It is easy to hop on that treadmill and run 3 miles followed by some abdominal work. However, when you keep your body guessing, you’ll avoid plateaus and meet your fitness goal more quickly.
What’s your tip for avoiding a fitness plateau?
Too hot to run outdoors? Mark Levine, Personal Trainer from Midtown Athletic Club in Bannockburn, IL, takes over the blog to share some ways to turn an indoor run on the treadmill into an exciting workout.
Does this sound familiar?
You wake up early, excited for your morning run. You put on your running gear and shoes, grab your water bottle, and step outside.
And it feels like someone hit you in the face with a shovel and you can barely breathe.
Welcome to summer!
You immediately head back inside, grab your car keys, and head to the gym for an air-conditioned run on the functional, but often boring, treadmill.
Running on the treadmill, or “dreadmill,” doesn’t have to be an exercise in frustration.
All you need to do is play around with the speed and incline. Running or walking on a treadmill set with a 2% incline is equivalent to running on the street, and running without any incline makes you feel as if you’re running slightly downhill.
So, don’t be afraid to increase the incline significantly.
Here is a sample workout that will turn the dreadmill into a fun run. Feel free to adjust the intensity of this workout based on your capabilities and fitness level.
|Time (In Minutes)||Speed||Incline|
|23-25||3.0-3.5 (Cool down)||2.0|
This is only a 25-minute run, during which you’re warming up for five minutes, and cooling down for two minutes.
However, given the speed and incline adjustments, it’s a fantastic workout that will leave you feeling great once completed.
Mark Levine, Personal Trainer from Midtown Athletic Club in Bannockburn, IL, takes over the blog today to discuss the benefits of combining cardio and strength-training into a single workout, especially during the busy summer months when you might have less time to devote to staying fit.
Summer schedules are packed with activities, from weekend graduation parties to weddings to serving as your kids’ camp taxi. If you’re finding it difficult to squeeze in both cardio and strength-training workouts, your best bet is to combine the two into a single workout in the weight room.
#1. Circuit Train
The best way to burn fat is to build muscle with strength training. Train in a circuit versus completing a single exercise.
An example of a single exercise is sitting on the Lat Pulldown machine and knocking out three sets of 10 repetitions, and then moving on to a Chest Press machine. The problem with this approach is that you are working a single muscle and also incorporating too much rest into your workout. This type of workout takes time and doesn’t stoke the metabolism as much as circuit training.
Here is an example of a workout circuit:
Complete Four Rounds with No Rest Between Exercises
Seated Row or TRX Row (12 Repetitions)
MB Squat with Overhead Press (12 Repetitions)
Seated Chest Press, TRX Chest Press, or Pushups (10-to-12 Repetitions)
Standing Forward Lunge with Dumbbell Curls (12 Repetions)
#2. Add a Cardio Station to the Circuit
Try adding a 250-meter row, a one-minute run/jog, or a one-minute bicycle sprint at the end of your circuit. If you have the capabilities and knowledge, you can do 6 burpees or 12 kettlebell swings.
#3. Less Talk, More Walk
One of the main reasons circuit training is a great way to get a cardiovascular workout is that there is no rest between exercises. You don’t rest after every minute on the treadmill, so why should you rest between exercises? By reducing the rest period, your level of cardio will increase.
#4. Add a Finisher to Your Workout
After you’re done with four rounds of the circuit or two different circuits, end with a “finisher.” A finisher is an exercise that will keep the heart rate in the aerobic level. Depending on your fitness level, you can choose one of the following, and perform the exercise for ten minutes:
Beginner- Rowing quickly for 30 seconds and then have 30 seconds of recovery time (or whatever is needed).
Intermediate- Rapidly walking/jogging for 30 seconds, followed by a 30-second recovery period.
#5. Always Have A Plan
When you walk into the weight room, always make sure you have a plan. In the example circuit workout provided above, you’ll notice that you are working the upper body, followed by a lower-body exercise. This plan allows you to rest the upper body while you’re working the lower body. It also incorporates compound exercises (where you work more than one body part at a time), in the forward lunge with a dumbbell curl.
The next time you’re at the club and heading toward the treadmill or elliptical, try circuit training in the weight room instead. It’s a great way to get your cardio, burn fat, and build muscle in a single workout.
“What do you do for fun?”
If you had asked me that question at any point during the past 10 years, I would have said running without giving it a second thought. Running is a convenient, healthy, goal-oriented activity. It’s also pretty popular these days. Like many of my Facebook friends, I enjoyed posting about my next race and took pride in tackling greater distances and finishing in faster times. My collection of race t-shirts was on pace to outgrow my closet.
This spring, however, I started thinking that maybe I had been pounding the pavement for long enough. It’s not that I wanted to give up running completely. I just wondered what else might be out there for people like me – a fitness enthusiast looking for a new challenge.
That’s when I decided to take “Tennis in No Time,” Midtown Athletic Club’s three-week beginner tennis program. All you have to do is show up, and your coach will give you a racquet and teach you to play tennis in six lessons. It turns out it really was that simple, but more importantly, it was a lot of fun.
It didn’t take long to figure out that Tennis in No Time isn’t just a standard tennis class. With a small class size (just 5 players in my case), we each received a good amount of individual instruction from our coach, Jim, and we left each day feeling more confident in our skills and knowledge of the game.
From grips, shots and footwork, to singles and doubles rules and scoring and strategy, we quickly learned what we needed to do to win points on the court.
We used foam balls on a half court the first week, and eventually progressed to higher compression balls on a regulation-size court throughout the program. This is another way Tennis in No Time (TNT) helped us build on-court skills because this innovative approach allowed us to slow down the game without slowing the pace of the class. As someone looking for a new way to stay fit, I was psyched that standing around and waiting in line were not part of the lesson plan.
Each class concluded with a wrap-up session in the Paddle Tennis Hut, where another coach would review the concepts we practiced that day. We also heard some great tips on how to practice. My favorite piece of advice came from coach Mike, who taught us how to use the ball machines in the club’s complimentary practice lanes. He reminded us to “always have an intention for your practice,” and to “always practice at your highest level of success,” which were principles that were applied consistently throughout the program.
All that said, the real highlights of Tennis in No Time were the parties, where we were introduced to the social side of the sport. The first party was a Cardio Tennis theme, which included high-energy cardio & tennis drills accompanied by heart-pumping music from a DJ. With endorphins flying around the courts as fast as the tennis balls we were hitting, everyone was wearing a smile.
The second party was a doubles mixer, featuring warm-up drills followed by fast-paced tennis with coach instruction (and raffle prizes!). Both parties concluded with food and drinks, and more time to hang out with our new tennis friends.
So the question is, can a runner really become a tennis player in three weeks? In Tennis in No Time, the answer is yes, in less than three weeks. We were having fun playing tennis on the first day and every day throughout the program. And with the added benefit of tennis being a great workout (I’m even starting to develop my own set of “Michelle Obama arms”), the result is that I’m developing quite a crush on the sport…a crush that might just become a lifelong love affair.
Want to know more about TNT? Head here for another Tennis in No Time testimonial.
Ready to sign up? Click here for more information about TNT.
Have you tried tennis? What do you like about it?
The Mediterranean and Paleo diets both have their strong devotees and their fervent critics. Midtown Athletic Club in Rochester Nutritionist Sarah Guilbert takes over the blog to compare two popular diet patterns to help you discern which, if either, is the healthiest option for you.
The word “diet” tends to be associated with negative self-image and restriction (“I can’t blow my diet” or “I need to go on a diet and lose these love handles”). It also implies that eating habits are temporary when healthy eating should be an enduring and sustainable lifestyle.
An “eating pattern,” however, is comprised of lifestyle eating habits that serve as a guide to how many servings of different foods you should have each day. Both the Mediterranean Diet and the Paleo Diet fall into the “eating pattern” category.
Before we dive into the specific aspects of each diet, keep in mind that I never recommend one specific eating pattern for everyone. There are benefits and drawbacks to every way of eating. It’s important to find one that is balanced, sustainable, enjoyable, and tailored to your specific needs.
Now let’s take a closer look at these two popular eating patterns.
Longitudinal evidence has demonstrated that the Mediterranean eating pattern lowers your risk of many developing several diseases, including cancer and heart disease (1, 2, 3).
The Mediterranean eating pattern pyramid divides foods into ones that you should eat at every meal, foods that you should eat every day, and foods that you should eat weekly. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olives/olive oil, nuts, and seeds. It encourages limiting starchy vegetables, red meat, and processed meat. White meat, fish, and legumes fall in the middle, with approximately two servings per week of each recommended.
The Mediterranean eating pattern is a good choice for many other reasons. It promotes whole/natural foods, increased fruit and vegetable intake, and it does not restrict any major food groups. It emphasizes cardio-protective fats and encourages limiting the types of fats that have been shown to negatively affect your health (saturated fat and trans fat). The eating pattern promotes the consumption of healthy fat and fiber, which will help promote satiety, and includes potassium-rich food, because it is primarily plant-based and includes many fruits and vegetables.
One criticism of the Mediterranean eating pattern is that it can be low-to-moderate in protein, which is a concern for athletes. It limits white meat to two servings/week and places fish/eggs higher up on the pyramid, which implies that they should be eaten less frequently (although it recommends having at least two servings of fish/week).
For the sample breakdown menu shown below, lunch was low in protein (14 grams). Athletes who require 25-30g protein per meal may need to add more protein to their plates.
The Paleo Diet boasts that it is the “world’s healthiest diet, based on wholesome, contemporary foods from the food groups that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have thrived on during the Stone Age” (5). It aims to improve overall health, promote weight loss, and lower disease risk (6). It is a relatively new diet and does not have the longitudinal data that other eating patterns have to support it.
Let’s look at the breakdown of a typical day. The Paleo eating pattern encourages meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, and fruits (mostly berries and melons). It excludes grains, dairy, legumes, added sugar, and salt because people living in the Paleolithic age would not have eaten those foods.
The Paleo eating pattern has many benefits. Natural foods and limited processed foods are a big part of this eating pattern, which helps to lower empty calorie intake and reduce sodium intake. It also emphasizes vegetable consumption and is higher in protein than the Mediterranean Diet. This combination will increase satiety and may promote weight loss. The Paleo eating pattern promotes the consumption of lots of fiber (the sample menu below has 47 grams), which can help healthy gastrointestinal function and lower cholesterol levels.
However, this much fiber may be a shock if new followers of the eating pattern try to increase their intake too quickly. Fiber intake should be increased gradually and should be coupled with increased water intake. The typical Paleo eating pattern is also high in potassium, which helps prevent hypertension. By encouraging nuts, the Paleo eating pattern also includes many heart-healthy fats, like the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in almonds.
On the negative side, this eating pattern eliminates multiple key food groups (dairy, grains, legumes). In a study of over 75,000 women, Harvard researchers showed that including 2-to-3 servings of whole grains per day correlated with a 30% lower risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart disease (8).
This study took place over ten years (compared to the ten days that some of the Paleo studies were conducted). Yes, Americans tend to eat too much processed grains; however, this does not mean that grains should be eliminated from the diet completely.
Another negative aspect is that this diet is excessively high in protein. Based on the 1,800-calorie plan outlined below, a Paleo eater would be getting 151g protein/day on the low end (there is an optional added 3 ounces of fish if protein intake was not satisfying for the day).
Generally acceptable protein intake ranges from .8-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram that you weigh. For example, a 130 pound person would have an upper limit on protein intake of 118g protein/day. This diet also excludes the major source of calcium in the diet: dairy products. Inadequate calcium intake can lead to developing osteopenia and can also be detrimental to heart health (9).
The Mediterranean eating pattern is a much more established, balanced way of eating for lifelong health. I would recommend it to most clients, but would also recommend increasing protein slightly at mealtimes. Is the Paleo diet the worst eating pattern out there? No. However, I would not recommend it unless it was modified slightly to reduce protein intake and include at least three servings of whole grains and two servings of dairy products daily. This would ensure that followers of this eating pattern obtain adequate healthy fuel and calcium sources while not overdoing it with protein.
In a future post, I will compare two diets: Advocare and The South Beach Diet. If you would like me to examine other eating patterns and diets, leave a comment on this post.
|Mediterranean||Paleo (menu from bodybuilding.com)|
|Breakfast||6 oz Greek yogurt
½ cup strawberries
1 tsp honey
1 slice WW toast
½ mashed avocado
|4 slices lean ham
2 cups mixed berries
|AM Snack||None||Low sodium beef jerky
|Lunch||1 WW pita
2 Tbsp hummus
1 cup fresh greens
2 slices tomato
1 cup minestrone soup
1 medium orange
|4 oz salmon
2 cups salad
1 T olive oil
2 cups melon
|PM Snack||1/8 cup sliced almonds
1/8 cup peanuts
|3 oz grilled chicken
1 serving raw vegetables
|Dinner||3 oz salmon
1 tsp tarragon
1 tsp mustard
½ cup couscous
½ cup zucchini
4 spears asparagus
Salad with ½ cup arugala, ½ cup baby spinach, 1 T shaved parmesan cheese, 1 T vinaigrette dressing
5 oz red wine (optional)
|3 oz grilled lean steak
2 cups steamed broccoli
|Dessert/PM Snack||Small bunch grapes
½ cup lemon sorbet
|1 handful walnuts
3 oz grilled fish (optional)
|Calories: 1621 with wine, 1491 without
Carbs: 194g (50.5%)
Fat: 53g (31%)
Protein: 71g (18.5%)
Sodium: 1746 mg
|Calories: 1796 without fish
Carbs: 176g (39%)
Fat: 77g (39%)
Protein: 151g (34%)
(1) Couto E, Boffetta P, Lagiou P, & Ferrari P et.al. Medierranean dietary pattern and cancer risk in the EPIC cohort. April 26, 2011. Br J Cancer 104(9): 1493-9. Retrieved March 11, 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21468044.
(2) Mitrou P, Kipnis V, Thiebaut A, & Reedy J et al. Mediterranean dietary pattern and prediction of all cause mortality in a US population. December 24, 2007. Arch Intern Med (3) 167(22): 2461-2468. Retrieved March 11, 2013, from http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=770019.
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This May, Midtown will begin its 41st year of Tennis in No Time®, our patented 3-week program that has turned more than 100,000 beginners into tennis players. While our instructional methods, courts and equipment have changed over the years, one thing has not: the program’s personal and social impact on its participants.
Many past participants began their journey toward better health and fitness with Tennis in No Time®. Many more formed networks of friends that developed into close relationships that are still maintained on Midtown’s tennis courts. At Midtown, we believe that tennis is more than a sport; it’s a passion. And we want to know how Tennis in No Time® brought passion into your life.
Maybe you became closer to a family member, or met a future business partner, best friend or spouse. Or maybe you gained the many benefits of a fit and fun lifestyle that continue to positively impact your life.
We invite you to share your Tennis in No Time® story with us by emailing Dave Silbar at firstname.lastname@example.org. Select stories will be featured on Midtown’s social media channels, and all submissions will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a series of 3 one-hour private tennis lessons.
On behalf of the entire team at Midtown Athletic Club, we thank you for your participation in Tennis in No Time® and your continued support of our club.
Now, send us your story!
March is National Nutrition Month, and today is Registered Dietitian Day, which was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to increase the awareness of registered dietitians as indispensable providers of food and nutrition services and to recognize them for their commitment to helping people enjoy healthy lives.
To celebrate, Midtown Athletic Club in Rochester Nutritionist Sarah Guilbert is back to talk about how to properly fuel up for your workout, and what you should eat post-workout as well.
Pre-workout nutrition is important for ensuring that you have adequate energy stores (through carbohydrates) to fuel your workout. Consuming a moderate amount of protein before your workout is thought to increase muscle mass and strength performance.
Post-workout nutrition is important for repleting your carbohydrate stores (glycogen) in your muscles, repairing muscle damage, and helping to synthesize muscle mass through protein.
The number of carbohydrates that you’ll need will vary slightly depending on whether you are trying to lose/maintain weight (30g carbs/10-15g protein) or build more mass (40-50g carbs/15g protein). If you have a long workout day, try to get slightly higher carbohydrate repletion so that your glycogen stores are refueled optimally for the next workout.
Pre-workout snacks should be eaten 30-60 minutes before you begin exercising. Post-workout recovery eating is optimal within 30 minutes of exercise completion. Note that liquid nutrition will get into your muscles faster than solid food because solid food has to be broken down more and has a longer transit time through the GI tract.
Whey protein is quickly absorbed by muscles and has also been shown to have a greater effect on stimulating muscle protein synthesis than casein and soy. However, slower-absorbed proteins do have their benefits for providing repletion to muscles for a longer period of time after a workout.
Here are some appropriate pre- and post-workout snack options, whether you like to add protein to your shakes, have cottage cheese and fruit, or go old-school with skim milk and fruit smoothie. Try one and let us know what you think!
Strawberry protein shake
12 oz skim milk
1 cup strawberries
1 cup ice
177 calories, 13g protein, 30g carbs
Tropical fruit smoothie
4 oz vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt
1 cup mixed tropical fruit (frozen)
4 oz vanilla almond milk
½ cup ice
195 calories, 10g protein, 38g carbs
½ large banana
8 oz chocolate soymilk
1 T peanut butter
1 cup ice
276 calories, 10g protein, 38g carbs
Berry Vanilla Smoothie
¾ cup blueberries
¾ cup blackberries
4 oz light vanilla soymilk
½ scoop vanilla protein powder
1 cup ice
193 calories, 15g protein, 34g carbs
6 oz flavored fat-free Greek yogurt + ½ banana
201 calories, 15g protein, 36g carbs
6 oz vanilla yogurt + ¼ cup granola
228 calories, 11g protein, 39g carbs
4 oz 1% cottage cheese + 1 cup mango
187 calories, 15g protein, 32g carbs
1/4 cup egg whites + 2 slices toast
187 calories, 12g protein, 30g carbs
*The fat in peanut butter will delay gastric emptying and may cause GI distress if you have a sensitive stomach. This one is better to have post-workout.
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