Fats: A Necessary Evil?

April 18, 2014 By: office Comments Off

In the 80s everywhere you went, from the grocery store to your nearest vending machine, that familiar phrase “Low Fat” rang out time and time again. It was almost as though fat was worse for you than the myriad chemicals present in the diet soda or ranch dressing you were consuming. Now, years later, we find things to be quite different. So much so, that a few years back a certain soft drink company rebranded themselves by launching a “Throwback” drink whose singular claim to fame was that it was making use of real sugar again…leaving us all to question, “Well, what was I drinking before?” A return to basics is being touted as the healthiest way toward staying…well, healthy.

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Still, fat has been one of those persistently hounded culprits in the battle of the bulge. And with good reason, I mean…isn’t that what we’re all being told to burn and limit? Fat? Cholesterol? Calories? They are the enemy! Not necessarily. It’s important to stress, as a good part of any diet, the ability to differentiate between good fats and bad ones. So if you’re going to be watching fats as part of your weight-loss regimen, keep these important points in mind to dispel whatever myths you may have been fed about fat in the past.

  • Fats can be divided into two teams…the “hero” fats and the “bad guy” fats. Stick with the hero fats, unless you want to get locked up in a prison of your own creation! “Hero” fats include: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. “Bad Guy” fats include: trans fats and some saturated fats (excluding the aforementioned ones).
  • Never judge a food product by its label alone. “Fat-free” or “low-fat” isn’t an invitation to gorge yourself on whatever it is you’re consuming. In fact, many of these products have been reently found to include ingredients with addictive properties that leave you coming back for more and overeating, as a result, so watch it!
  • Become a fan of the “FANS” acronym. And keep it in mind when deciding which fats you should be eating more of. Fish, Avocado, Nuts and Seeds contain some of the very best complex fats that your body needs to consistently feel and look its very best.

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So to recap, not all fats you come across are out to get you, it’s just important to be aware of the ones that are!

Journey of A Weight Loss Camp For Adults Intern: Post 5

March 25, 2014 By: consultant 1 Comment

As this week comes to a close I am able to look back to when I first started interning at Shane weight loss camp for adults and I feel like I can see a huge difference.  Not necessarily physically (although I can now fit into a new pair of paints that I wasn’t able to a few weeks ago, and my stomach looks a little smaller) but more in the sense of nutrition wise. 

Usually when I go to the grocery store I have a list of all the food that I feel like I could use to make different meals (fruit, black beans, corn tortillas, vegetables, crushed tomatoes, tofu, eggs, etc…). I don’t really have a set meal plan but I can make a bunch of different meals from these random ingredients. And while this system worked for a while, my nutrition was all over the place and it would become really stressful because I would eat really health for the first few days (I try to only go to the grocery store about twice a month) but by day 5 I would run out of vegetables or cheese and then my meals would just be a concoction of whatever was in the pantry.

Now (thanks to our amazing Shane staff) I have realized the beauty that is meal preparation. Yesterday morning I made a small list of all the recipes I would like to make and from that I broke them down into all the ingredients I would need.  After that I went and got all I would need, so the plan for tonight is to do most of my meal preparation for the 10-15 days.

As far as workouts go, I had a great chat with Debbie (our program director) the other day while I was on the treadmill and we talked all about my workouts and I realized that not only do I not track my workouts but also that my workouts are not effective. I shouldn’t be spending an hour doing cardio and then another hour doing weight lifting and not seeing any results. So that day, I went to the store and bought a small notebook and now I am tracking my eating and my workouts. I am still getting the hang out of it but I haven’t missed a day yet.

School is going well but as the semester is in full swing that means exams and projects.  Sometimes it seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. When your day starts at 4:30 am and doesn’t usually end until 10 pm it leaves very little time for homework but since school needs to be my priority sometimes my workouts get put on the back burner.  But like I said in the last blog post, I schedule my workouts and try to always at least get a small workout in.

As the spring slowly rolls into summer, what are some of the struggles that you find with keeping up your workout routine or maybe some struggles that you have in regards to nutrition?

Breaking Down the New Food Label Proposal

March 14, 2014 By: consultant 58 Comments

Reading food labels is a really important part about knowing what is in our food and what we put in our bodies, but let’s face it – they can be a little hard to understand.  Food labels have been around for the last 20 years, and just the other week the FDA announced proposed changes to update and make them more user-friendly.

Here are a few highlights of the proposed changes to the new food label:

  • Updated serving size requirements:  Food manufacturers will be required to change the serving size of a food based on the size of the package.  For example, if a food is commonly eaten as the whole package (such as a bottle of soda), the label would reflect the whole bottle of soda instead of half of it, since most people consume the whole thing.  The idea here is to give people a better understanding of what is in the whole portion they normally eat.
  • Changing the serving size section to say “Amount per ______” which will be listed in common household measurements such as “Amount per ½ cup.”
  • Calories and serving size will be in larger print to make them easier to see and read.
  • “Added Sugars” will be a new required piece of information to be listed under the “Total Carbohydrate” section on the label.  This will make it easier to identify if the sugars in an item are coming from a natural source like fruit or from another form of sugar (such as white sugar, corn syrup, or other sweeteners).
  • Vitamins and minerals at the bottom of the label (such as Vitamin A, C, D, Iron, etc) will be listed in their exact amounts instead of just as a percent daily value.

Here’s what the proposed new food labels would look like:

New Food Label

I’m sure you are wondering when would these changes be in effect? If all of the proposed changes to food labels are accepted, food manufacturers will be required to comply within the next two years.

What does this mean for the consumer, you? Hopefully these changes will help people, including you, have a better understanding about what is in a certain food they eat, and the information will be clear enough to give an idea about how healthy (or not so healthy) that item actually is and how it does or does not fit into a healthy eating plan.

Journey of a Weight Loss Camp for Adults Intern: Post 2

March 3, 2014 By: consultant 39 Comments

“Exercise is your King and nutrition is your Queen. Together they create your fitness kingdom.”

- Jack Lalane

 

As much as I wish I could say that this week was perfect and that my diet was flawless, such deceit is not in my nature. I full heartedly believe there are two battle fields in which the war of physical health are fought on: exercise and nutrition.

As a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and Shane, weight loss camp for adults, intern, most of my day is spent in the gym. Rarely do I have a problem finding the motivation to get in a good workout. My struggle lies on the other battle field, nutrition.

I work (at the gym) and work (at my internship) approximately 50 hours a week. On top of that I am finishing up classes at UTSA so I can graduate in the spring. My typical day begins at 4:45 am and ends around 10:30 pm. I would love to say I have an eating schedule and that my meals are perfectly timed out but that is not true in the slightest.  I, unfortunately, have some eating habits that, to put it nicely, need some help.

There are days where I only get to eat maybe two meals because I am constantly training clients, teaching classes, or doing other things for work or my internship. On the other hand there are days when it seems like for the life of me I just can’t get enough to eat. I’m eating food like it is going out of style.  I’ll be honest,  I do eat healthy food.  When I go to the grocery store, the majority of my grocery bill is spent on fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy products. I typically don’t buy candy, chocolate, pastries, ice cream, chips, etc, because having it in my house means I will eventually eat it.

But, as I am sure we all know, it is possible to over-eat on healthy foods too.  What I really need is to do my grocery shopping on Sunday morning and then meal prep for the week and write out meal plans. My schedule is not going to change so I need find a routine that will work and make that work to my advantage.

I hope y’all had an awesome week and that you were healthy and productive. Just remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Until next week,

Carrie

Portion Distortion Lesson from Weight Loss Camps for Adults

October 9, 2013 By: consultant 1,980 Comments

Did you know that portion sizes have grown significantly since the 1960’s?  At that time, the average American plate was about 9” in diameter.  Since then it has increased to 11-12”, sometimes even larger! Portion Distortion is one of the big lessons we teach at our weight loss camps for adults. Because most people don’t realize that along with the plate itself, the portions that we put on that plate have grown as well, this is one of the contributing factors of the rise of obese and overweight Americans. Did you know that the correct size of a bagel should be similar to a hockey puck, and a serving of meat should be comparable to a deck of cards?  These portion sizes are significantly different than what we are served in a restaurant, or buy in a grocery store.

 Portion Distorition

Knowing proper portion sizes is crucial to staying within your appropriate caloric range and is key in helping with weight loss.  Be sure to familiarize yourself with what is accurate! Use measuring cups at home when you can, and when packing food for work.  Try picking one meal a day where you always measure out your food. Another option is to measure food one week a month- you’ll notice your portion sizes tend to grow a little during that off time.

When eating out, try to use comparisons; such as a pancake should be the size of a DVD or a potato being similar to the size of a computer mouse.  Portions you receive will almost always be oversized when eating out, so boxing up half of what is on your plate will also help to avoid over eating and then you have an already portioned meal for later!

Knowing the proper portions is important for everyone whether you’re trying to lose weight or not. And being aware of how much you’re eating is helpful to keep track of your caloric intake. At our weight loss camps for adults, we know this is the biggest hurdle for anyone to overcome because most adults are used to the portion distortion that surrounds us all. For more tips and tricks to help out with nutrition and portion distortion take a look at one of the many government funded sites or check out our nutrition page.

Incorporate Whole Foods Into Your Diet & Help With Weight Loss: Part Two

June 26, 2013 By: consultant 70 Comments
Food

Wheatberry Salad made by guests at Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts New York location during a cooking demo.

By: Megan Ware, RDN, LD

We’ve all heard of all the studies done that describe the benefits of vitamins and antioxidants when consumed in a food, especially when consumed while working toward weight loss. But for some reason, whenever those same vitamins or minerals are isolated and studied in supplement form, they never seem to show the same positive results. Why is that?

Nutrition science is still in its early stage and we don’t know all of the components that are in a whole food that make it healthy. We are always discovering new components of foods that we didn’t know existed. When there is a health benefit or protection from various diseases that we get from eating certain foods, it could be due to the natural combination and interaction of all of the different and unique nutrients and proteins that each food naturally contains. Attempting to extract a single nutrient and consuming it by itself does not have the same effects. This is one of the best benefits eating whole foods has. By eating a whole food, you’re getting the natural synergy of all of these nutrients together.

Another benefit of whole foods: they’re cheaper! The more processed foods are, the higher the manufacturing cost, therefore making the food cost higher. For example, a whole potato is going to be cheaper than a bag of potato chips. Just remember, processed foods are made for shelf life, not human life! Food manufacturers spend abundant a lot of time, money and research on ways to lengthen the shelf life of their products, with little attention paid to how the processing will affect our bodies.

A lot of people have the misconception that eating healthier means they can only shop at expensive health food stores. But here’s a secret, you do not need to spend a fortune to get whole foods, and you certainly don’t need to shop at health food stores. Visit your local farmers market or buy produce in season from your local grocery. For instance, citrus fruits are cheaper in the winter months because that is their natural season.

You do not need to cut out all processed foods from your diet. The goal is just to decrease the number of processed foods you eat and increase the proportion of whole foods, always keeping in mind the 1st pillar of nutrition at Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts weight loss camp is, balance.

Do Antioxidants Work For Or Against Your Weight Loss Goals?

May 6, 2013 By: office 2,582 Comments

AntioxidantsAntioxidants have been popular in the world of weight loss lately and we have guests at our weight loss camps ask us if antioxidants are as beneficial as everyone is making them out to be. The answer is, it depends. Here are six myths and truths about antioxidants provided by ConsumerReports OnHealth to explain what we mean.

Myth: Antioxidants are all vitamins
Truth: There are thousands of antioxidants and only a limited number of them are vitamins. Antioxidants have the ability to block free radicals. Free radicals are unstable chemical fragments that cause damage throughout your body and can cause abnormal cell growth and reproduction.

Myth: All antioxidants are created equal
Truth: According to Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D. and director of the Antioxidant Research Lab at Tufts University says, “Different antioxidants fight different free radicals.” But what’s nice is that all antioxidants work together like a well oiled machine. For instance, vitamin C recycles vitamin E, meaning that when vitamin E blocks a free radical, vitamin C takes the remaining vitamin E and changes it back to its original antioxidant form.

Myth: Be sure to eat pomegranates, berries and other super fruits
Truth: There is no official definition of a ‘super fruit.’ It can mean whatever someone wants it to mean, therefore it does not hold any significance. All fruits and vegetables have a unique blend of healthy components and some of those include antioxidants. By only focusing on ‘super fruits,’ you are missing out on a variety of other beneficial fruits and vegetables.

Myth: You should amp up your intake with supplements
Truth: Don’t focus on supplements when you can get the nutrients you need from food. Clinical trials have shown that consuming nutrients in supplement form does not produce the same results that found when consuming them in foods. Why waste your money on a single supplement that may work when you can buy foods that can provide multiple nutritional benefits?

Myth: If some antioxidants are good, more is better
Truth: We’ve all heard the saying that “there is no such thing as too much of a good thing,” that saying does not apply to nutrients in supplement form. There has been some evidence to indicate that when taken in megadoses (which many supplements come in) it can cause antioxidants to become pre-oxidents which may actually increase the production of free radicals. The opposite result of what antioxidants are intended to perform.

Myth: Packaged food with labels that promise antioxidant benefits will boost your health
Truth: Just because a package advertises antioxidants, does not mean that they carry a health benefit as well. Since antioxidants are desired by consumers, manufacturers will add vitamin C or E and then advertise that their food contains antioxidants. They do this in hopes to drive up the sales and price of their product but in turn do not yield the benefits that consumers expect. Some products may already contain the antioxidant and the manufacturer is not even adding anything to the product.

We are still discovering more about how antioxidants work within our body so the best advice we can give you to promote a healthy diet and help you achieve your weight loss goals is to make sure that you eat a variety of fruits, veggies, whole grains and legumes every day. Sometimes staying true to eating a balanced diet of whole, natural foods is still the best way to go.

Is The Mediterranean Diet A Weight Loss Diet?

March 14, 2013 By: office 22 Comments

Mediterranean Diet PyramidWe’ve all heard of and maybe have tried the fad diets like SlimFast, South Beach and Atkins to lose weight. But they all seem to have some major nutritional holes in them that aren’t good for you in the long run. Recently, here at Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts, we have received a lot of questions about whether or not the Mediterranean diet is good for weight loss and the answer is, no. But, the Mediterranean diet is good for heart health.

According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, the Mediterranean diet focuses on getting plenty of exercise; eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts; replacing butter with healthy fats like olive and canola oil; using herbs and spices to flavor foods rather than salt; limiting red meat consumption to a few times a month; eating fish and poultry a minimum of two times a week; and drinking red wine, in moderation of course. They found that following this way of eating wasn’t necessarily correlated to weight loss but helped lower heart disease and other heart related problems.

How to get started:

  • Eat your fruits and veggies and switch to whole grains: Your meals should consist of a variety of plant based foods that are minimally processed and bought in season. The goal is nine to ten servings of fruits and veggies a day. Start eating whole grain bread, cereal, rice and pasta products.
  • Get nutty: Almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts are great to have on hand for quick snacks, plus they are filling. Instead of buying peanut butter that has hydrogenated fat, buy a natural peanut butter.
  • Leave butter behind: Use olive and canola oils for cooking instead of butter or margarine.
  • Spice up your life: Instead of using salt to season your food, use herbs and spices. Not only will they help make your food taste good, they contain health enhancing substances.
  • Go fishing: Eat fresh fish a couple times a week. Stay away from fried fish, unless it has been sautéed in canola oil.
  • Replace red meat: Switch red meat for fish or poultry. When you do have red meat make sure the portions are small and that they are lean cuts. Avoid high fat meats like sausage and bacon.
  • Focus on low-fat dairy: Consume more skim milk, fat-free yogurt and low fat cheese.
  • Raise your glass: Having a glass of red wine at dinner has been shown to help lower heart disease. As long as it’s okay with your doctor, it’s okay with the Mediterranean diet.

Approximately 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and fatalities from heart disease could have been prevented in high risk patents if the individuals had changed their diet to follow more closely with the Mediterranean diet.

The New England Journal of Medicine conducted a clinical trial to see its effects on various heart risks. They ended the study early, due to the startling results. They found that the Mediterranean diet did indeed improve the heart health of the individuals participating and that it was not necessary to continue the trial.

The important thing to remember when changing your eating habits, whether if it’s to improve heart health, lose weight or both, make sure you are getting the nutrients you need. Do some research and find some recipes before you start and you’ll have all the tools you need to be on your way to a healthier heart and life.

An Apple a Day

October 17, 2012 By: office 41 Comments

One of the greatest enjoyments of fall is the abundance of fresh, ripe, delicious apples. Apples are a great low calorie snack to help you lose weight, great in a variety of recipes,  a natural mouth freshener, and are very inexpensive.

Why Are Apples Good For You?
Apples are a source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber such as pectin actually helps to prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls, thus reducing the incident of arteriosclerosis and heart disease. The insoluble fiber provides bulk in the intestinal tract, holding water to cleanse and move food quickly through the digestive system. It is a good idea to eat apples with their skin. Almost half of the vitamin C content is just underneath the skin. Eating the skin also increases insoluble fiber content. Most of an apple’s fragrance cells are also concentrated in the skin and as they ripen, the skin cells develop more aroma and flavor.

HAVE AN APPLE TODAY!
Fuel up with this powerful breakfast with fresh fall apples to energize you through the morning!

Fresh Muesli with Apples and Almonds

Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup unsalted almonds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 tbsp honey

Directions:
1. Preheat a frying pan over medium heat. Toast the oats and almonds until aromatic (or  you can smell the nutty scent). Keep an eye on them and keep stirring because they will burn easily. Stir in cinnamon and let cool to room temperature.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the oat mixture, yogurt and milk.

3. Cover and refrigerate until oats are soft. About one hour or let soften overnight.

4. Spoon the muesli into two bowls. Top with a diced apple and a drizzle of honey.

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 283 kcal
  • Total Fat: 7.4 g
  • Total Carbohydrates: 51.2 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 7.0 g
  • Protein: 7.7 g

Nutrition Tips:

  • The German word muesli means “mixture” and can include raw or toasted cereals (oats, wheat, millet, barley, etc.), dried fruits (such as raisins, apricots, and apples), nuts, bran, wheat germ that is mixed with milk and yogurt.
  • Muesli is very versatile and you can create it depending on the ingredients you like.
  • Greek  yogurt has a higher protein content than regular yogurt. If you do not like just plain Greek  yogurt, mix half the Greek  yogurt with the yogurt you are used to eating.
  • In the fall apples are in season. Try going to local farmers markets and get fresh apples. Also, try switching up the variety of apples you use.

Can’t get enough apples?  Check out Julie’s post about what types of apples are best for your recipes.

Simple Swaps for Baked Goods

June 21, 2012 By: office 2 Comments

Most baked goods are often high in fat and sugar. Muffins, often assumed as a healthier choice, can even sometimes be a “cupcake” in disguise. You may think it’s impossible to create a lower calorie, healthier baked good that is just as tasty as the original.

Try these simple swaps the next time you’re baking.

IngredientHealthy Substitution
Whole milk (1 cup)1 cup fat-free or nonfat milk plus one tablespoon of unsaturated oil like canola oil
Heavy cream (1 cup)1 cup evaporated skim milk 

or

1/2 cup low-fat yogurt and 1/2 cup plain low-fat cottage cheese (pureed)

Evaporated whole milkEvaporated skim milk
Sweetened condensed whole milkEvaporated skim milk
Cream cheese, full fatFat-free or low-fat cream cheese, Neufchatel 

or

low-fat cottage cheese, pureed until smooth

Sour CreamPlain Greek yogurt
Butter (1 tbsp)Vegetable oil
OilNatural Fruit Purees (no sugar added) 

Examples: Applesauce, Pumpkin Puree, Mashed banana, etc.

Shortening (1 cup)Earth Balance or Smart Balance
1 Egg2 Egg whites 

or

“flax eggs” = 1 tbsp ground flax seed whisked with 3 tbsp warm water until the consistency of eggs

or

1/4 cup egg substitute

 

Chocolate Chips (1 cup)1/2 cup mini chocolate chips 

or

Carob chips – similar to chocolate chips, produced from a carob plant, with a slightly bitter and nutty undertone, works best with baking when the chips are incorporated in the baked product.

SugarReduce sugar by half and intensify sweetness by adding vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. 

or

Honey, Agave nectar

SyrupPureed Fresh fruit
Fruit canned in heavy syrupFruit canned in its own juices, or fresh fruit
Flour, all purposeWhole-wheat flour for half what the recipe calls for along with the all-purpose flour 

 

*Note: Whole-wheat flour is less dense and works well in softer products like cakes and muffins

Chopped nuts, 1 cup1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts 

* By toasting them brings out their flavor and only need half.

Sweetened shredded coconut1/2 cup toasted coconut + 1/2 tsp coconut extract
Traditional Pie CrustGraham Cracker crust

 

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