Monday, April 25, 2011

Need To Burn Off a Few Extra Calories?

Did you spent yesterday celebrating Easter with jelly beans, robin's eggs, or Peeps? The tips in this article won't make up for a day of candy indulgence. But I've found that trying something new can help you get back on track with your usual healthy habits -- or inspire you to start living more healthfully. Check out dietitian Leslie Bonci's tips here:

Make Your Body Earn/Burn What It Eats

I'm planning ahead for mixed veggies with hot curry powder for lunch, and a cool glass of iced tea this afternoon. Feel free to post your plans!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Making Carbs Count

Here's an interesting twist in the ongoing debate as to what type of diet is best for weight loss: The journal Obesity published a study in which obese men and women were assigned either a low-calorie diet with carbs spread evenly throughout the day, or a low-calorie diet with fewer carbs for breakfast and lunch, and more carbs for dinner.

While both groups saw weight loss, the group that ate more carbs at dinner saw greater weight loss, lost more fat, lost more weight around their abdomen, and had greater improvements in blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, insulin resistance, and inflammation markers.

I definitely agree with the researchers' conclusion that this study requires more follow-up. The study doesn't appear to have taken any other factors (like exercise, stress, or hydration) into consideration, and that's critical in this study, because it would be difficult to control for the Hawthorne effect -- that is, people behave differently when they know they're being studied, and when they know that their particular dietary manipulation is supposed to "work," they may change their behaviors, often subconsciously.

It's still an intriguing study, though. If you're working with a health care team to balance medications and carbohydrate counting to manage your blood sugar levels, I don't recommend making changes without checking with your team first. The study's abstract doesn't clarify whether people with diabetes were included. However, if you don't have diabetes, you can easily experiment with a little more protein and a little less carb at breakfast and lunch, and less protein and more carbohydrates at dinner.

If you're interested in reading more about the study, here's a link to the Obesity abstract:

Greater Weight Loss and Hormonal Changes After 6 Months With Carbohydrates Eaten Mostly at Dinner

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fruit Tofucotta

We're enjoying a bit of a cold snap here in the desert, but it won't be long before summer's here. When the morning low is in the 80s, a cool, sweet breakfast is the perfect way to start the day. Tofu's mild flavor makes it a perfect dairy-free stand-in for cottage or ricotta cheese. Its high protein content provides a perfect counterbalance for fresh fruit. And, of course, tofu is loaded with isoflavones, the phytochemicals in soy that offer a wide variety of health benefits. All my family cares about is that it's delicious and easy to prepare!

Some of our favorite fruit combinations are canned, drained pineapple (fast and easy!); fresh mango and strawberries; halved grapes (especially pretty if you use two colors of grapes); or frozen berry mix.

Fruit Tofucotta

If you prefer the texture of ricotta cheese, drain the tofu overnight. The easiest way to do this is by using the inner bowl of a coffee maker and coffee filters, balanced on a large mug. You can also secure several layers of cheesecloth to the top of a small bowl with a rubber band or string. Place tofu on the cheesecloth, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator at least 12 hours, or overnight. Reserve the drained tofu and discard the whey. This process makes the tofu drier, and the final product more like ricotta cheese.


1 (12-ounce) package Mori-Nu tofu, chilled overnight
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons sugar or sugar substitute
2 cups fresh fruit, as desired


Place tofu in large bowl. Using a fork, crumble tofu until it resembles cottage cheese or ricotta cheese. Add vanilla and sugar, and stir well to combine. Add fruit and mix to combine.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Stress, Sleep, and Successful Weight Loss

It's Monday -- time for a pop quiz! Don't worry, it's just two questions. First, how are you doing with managing stress? And second, are you getting enough (but not too much) quality sleep?

I recently ran across an article on HealthDay regarding stress and sleep, and I'll be honest: It caught my eye because it validates my overall perspective on weight management. One of the doctors quoted in the article notes, "People...tend to be healthy and vital not because of any one factor, but because of many." I couldn't agree more! It may be easier to focus only on calories, but at the end of the day, you're a human being, not a calculator.

The studies quoted in the article point to the necessity of focusing specifically on stress management and quality sleep -- two areas of weight management that tend to be overlooked. That always strikes me as strange. Think about it: Do you make better decisions about what to eat when you're relaxed and well-rested, or when you're frazzled and exhausted? Are you more likely to exercise when you're tired? When are you most likely to wrangle with food cravings -- and when is it easier to stick with your goals?

That said, managing stress and getting to bed earlier can be challenging. If you need a little boost to encourage you to set a goal this week to better manage stress or get more rest, here's the article on HealthDay:

Less Stress, Better Sleep May Help You Lose Weight