Category Archives: Weight Control

Coconut Oil: Is It Healthy or Hype?

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Not a day goes by that I’m not asked about the latest and greatest health benefits of coconut oil. Due to its “good” saturated fat, coconut oil is being promoted as a cure-all for heart disease, weight gain, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, and Alzheimer’s disease (to name just a few). But is coconut oil and its powerful medicinal properties all that it’s touted to be?

Saturated Fat

Coconut oil is a saturated fat. These types of fats are generally concentrated in animal products, but are also present in tropical plant-based oils. Saturated fats can increase your LDLs (“bad” cholesterol) and increase your risk of atherosclerotic plaques, coronary artery disease, and stroke. That fact alone should be enough to put coconut oil on the “No Go” list of any healthy eating plan.

The Skinny on Sat Fat

Saturated fats are stable fats, that is, they’re not as sensitive to heat and light like other oils. That’s why they are solid at room temperature, can withstand high cooking temperatures, and have a long shelf life. Here’s how coconut oil compares with the other artery busters.

  • Beef fat = 40% saturated fat
  • Lard = 40%
  • Butter = 64%
  • Coconut oil = 92%

It’s All In the Acid

Not all saturated fats are created equal. Oils are made up of different types of fatty acids and in different percentages which impact how they react in your body. For example, chocolate contains 60% saturated fat. Stearic acid is its most common saturated fat which is why chocolate raises your LDLs significantly less than butter.

On the other hand, coconut oil contains about 65% of its saturated fats from lauric acid. The lauric acid may be what’s responsible for raising your HDLs (“good” cholesterol). But… don’t run out and buy a gallon of it just yet unless you plan on rubbing it on your skin!    Continue reading

Fit Find | Evo™ Oil Sprayer

 

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The Evo™ oil sprayer is my newest and absolute favorite gadget in my kitchen. I love it so much that I give it a “Must Have” for every health-conscious kitchen! Yes, really! It’s great for cooking, baking, sautéing, grilling, you name it.

What I Love About It

When pouring oil straight from the bottle, I would usually end up with more than I need and with oil in concentrated doses on my food or sauté pan. What I like about the Evo is that it sprays in what they call a “fan spray pattern” which is why it dispenses the exact amount of oil that I want and where I want it (great for portion control). It’s also refillable and reuseable, so it’s economical, as well as easy to clean.

I really like the trigger design because it feels good in my hand, that is, it’s ergonomic. If you have arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, the Evo is much easier to handle than the aerosol types. I suggest getting a pair of them — one for your favorite oil as well as balsamic vinegar. I spray fresh fish, veggies before roasting (much better than ‘drizzling’ oil all over them), and salads as well as my waffle iron, sandwich grill and baking pans. I plan to get another one to use for my own oil and vinegar dressing!

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18-oz Evo

The BPA-free Evo Oil Sprayer comes in different sizes. I have the smaller 8-oz. size (in the photo at the top) which is perfect for my cooking needs and is great for portability. They also have a large 18-oz. size (left) for the commercial cook or someone who cooks a LOT of food at home. Check out their blog for videos.

Commercial aerosol cooking sprays are horrible. They contain propellants and chemicals and they’re messy. Their inevitable overspray left a sticky hard-to-remove residue on my wood cabinets and cooking surfaces. Ugh. I also never cared for the ‘mister’ types for spritzing oils because they clogged up and were hard to clean.

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: Evo is perfect for taking on picnics, BBQ’s or camping trips. I took my Evo on our last camping/fishing trip for grilling and cooking. It was so convenient to grab my Evo and go. Just be sure to lock the sprayer before you pack it up! It was so much more convenient than trying to fill up a travel size bottle of olive oil or packing up the entire bottle of oil (plus a basting brush) as I usually have had to do. Happy spraying! 🙂

How to Ignite Your Metabolic Furnace

Tired employeeYour metabolism is the rate at which all the chemical reactions in your body work as a whole to create the energy you need to thrive. Think of your metabolism as the engine in your car. Sometimes it can be a high performance machine, but without good care, it can run like a slug. Here are some tips to keep your body working at optimum speed.

Signs of a Sluggish Metabolism

The most obvious signs that your metabolism has plummeted are:

  • Weight gain
  • Inability to lose weight despite restricting calories
  • Fatigue
  • Not feeling hungry

Causes of a Deaccelerating Metabolism

The main reasons your metabolism may be slowing down:

  • Age: Your metabolism is thought to slow about one to two percent per decade.
  • Low percentage of muscle mass: When your muscle mass diminishes, your basal metabolic rate (the number of calories you burn while at rest) diminishes as well.
  • Not eating enough food! Insufficient calories can cause you to go into “starvation mode” which can slash broccoli on plateyour metabolic rate. Severely restricting your caloric intake is one of the key reasons that diets don’t work and wind up making you fatter in the end.
  • Lack of exercise and physical activity: In a UC Davis study, they found that the resting metabolic rate in highly trained runners was reduced by 7 to 10 percent when daily exercise training was stopped.
  • Dehydration: Your organs need water to function every day. When you don’t get enough water, your organs will slow down and can eventually shut down.
  • Hypothyroidism: The main purpose of the thyroid hormone is to keep your engine running. When your thyroid isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone, your metabolism will slow down.

How to Preserve Your Metabolism

To ensure a healthy metabolism:    Continue reading

Fit Minute | The New Definition of Being Fit

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Being “fit” is no longer about how much time you spend working out, but how much time you spend sitting as well. A study by the American Cancer Society compared people who sat less than three hours per day with those that sat more than six hours per day. The results were quite dramatic.

If you’re physically active and sit more than 6 hours per day, you are:

  • 18% more likely to die if you’re a man.
  • 37% more likely to die if you’re a woman.

If you’re NOT physically active and sit more than 6 hours per day, you are:

  • 48% more likely to die if you’re a man.
  • 94% more likely to die if you’re a woman.

Over 123,000 individuals (53,440 men and 69,776 women) were studied and none had a history of cancer, heart attack, stroke, or emphysema or other lung disease at the start of the study.  Here are the results after 14 years:    Continue reading

Fit Find | Wasa® Flaxseed Crispbread

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If you’re looking for a cracker for spreading your Nuttzo™ and Fiordifrutta™ or for diving into a bowl of Aubergine® Fire-Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Spread (my favorite!), I haven’t come across any that are healthier than Wasa® Flax Seed Crispbread.

One thing though… you can’t compare this cracker to a salty, buttery club cracker or any other cracker processed with oil and salt. In fact, you may even say Wasa® Flax Seed Crispbread tastes like ‘sawdust’. Yes, really. But don’t go away yet!    Continue reading

10 Ways to Lose Weight Without Sweating

If you’re trying to lose weight, join 69% of American men and women over the age of 20 who are also overweight or obese. Don’t fret. Here are 10 things you can do that’ll shed some pounds AND don’t involve walking on a treadmill, riding a bike, or running around the block.

Of these 10 things, how many do you do now? DO YOU…

☐ Stop eating when distracted by the TV, computer, phone, or a magazine/book?eating at work_dollarphotoclub_51568892_600x469

 

☐ Eat on a smaller plate? Do you eat on a 9″ dish versus an 11-12″ hungry man dinner plate?

Use smaller utensils or chopsticks and take smaller bites of food?

☐ Always sit down to eat?   

Chew slowly and steadily? Do you chew until your food has lost all of its texture or is liquefied?

☐ Finish chewing and swallowing completely before taking another bite of food?     Continue reading

How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind

Red apple with calories count label isolated on whiteLosing weight should be simple, but it’s become so darn complicated. You’re constantly COUNTING. You’re counting your ‘points’, carbs, calories, and even how many strawberries you’re allowed to eat.

From the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep, you are on a rigid dietary budget. Eek. What could be more exasperating. If you’re like most people, restriction and restraint bring about stress — a precursor to emotional eating. No wonder dieting is a great way to gain weight. What ever happened to the simple pleasure of eating?

Math Made Easier

If you used to break out into a cold sweat when you walked into your math class, brace yourself… because losing weight now is ALL about the math. But thanks to the hundreds of apps, calculators and products on the market, you no longer have to tally every calorie you buy, burn, chew, and crave… it’s all done for you. Does that make it better? NO. It’s made weight management a technological obsession. It’s now easier than ever to get an up-to-the-minute score on your “perceived” success — or failure.    Continue reading

Motivation… What Makes You Move?

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If you have trouble sticking to your exercise program, and it’s not due to a lack of desire to get fit, then it could be because the exercise doesn’t fit your personality. Everyone has their own exercise goals and needs, that is, everyone has their own ‘fitness personality’.

Here are five distinct fitness personality types:

  1. Predictable
  2. Methodical
  3. Competitive
  4. Social
  5. Dynamic

#1 – Predictable

  • Thrives on routine
  • Is a reliable, independent and stable exerciser
  • Goes to the gym and develops rigid schedules and regimes

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: Due to the lack of variation in your exercise program, you may hit a plateau by doing the same routine and become frustrated. By incorporating resistance, circuit or high intensity interval training and/or adding new activities each week, the positive physical changes may help reboot your enthusiasm.    Continue reading

Fit TV | Undersleeping and Overeating


VIDEO: If you’re running on too little sleep, here’s how it can affect your waistline. Karen Owoc, The Health Reporter, hosts this compact segment of men’s health and fitness news in The Men’s Health Minute.

♥ Daily Dose | Eat Your Way to a Trimmer Waist

Beer Belly_istock_000015992739xsmall_A large waistline (abdominal obesity or “having an apple shape”) puts you at risk for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes — all of which can affect your longevity. Belly fat is also one of the risk factors for metabolic syndrome. See Daily Dose | Why Metabolic Syndrome Matters.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Katcher, H.I. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2008; vol 87: pp 79-90), found that a calorie-controlled diet* rich in whole grains decreased extra fat from the waistlines of obese subjects with metabolic syndrome compared to dieters who ate refined-grain foods.

*Daily energy needs minus 500 calories per day were calculated to produce a calorie deficit needed to achieve weight loss.

The Whole-Grain Diet

A grain product is whole grain if a “whole grain” is listed as the first ingredient on the food label. By following the whole-grain eating plan, participants lost more abdominal fat than another group that ate the same diet, but ate refined grains instead.

To replicate the study, eat the following daily for 12 weeks (the participants lost 12-14 pounds):   Continue reading