Nutrition Session 2: The Specifics

Grocery Bag With Fruits and Vegetables

Do you need help planning balanced, antioxidant-rich* meals? This small-group session is a follow-up to “The Basics” class. It provides you with specific menus based around centenarian principles and the vegetarian and Mediterranean-style patterns. (The Basics class is not required, but recommended.)

Simple menu plans and plant-rich plates are heart healthy, diabetic friendly, and cancer protective. Ideal if you’re trying to lose weight and want simplicity in the kitchen.

*Note: If you received a low antioxidant test score, i.e., Skin Carotenoid Score (SCS), when we tested you at the Kick-Off Shopping Party, the menus provided in this class will help you boost antioxidant activity and your SCS score.

OBJECTIVE: Learn how to put healthy eating into practice.

FEE: $30 

WHEN: Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 4:00 pm

WHERE: Sports Basement San Ramon – 1041 Market Place, San Ramon, CA  94583

INSTRUCTOR: Karen Owoc, B.S., Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist / Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist

Participants will receive 20% off on all purchases at the Sports Basement on this day.

Sports Basement logo2

How Stress Causes Heart Attacks and Disease

You eat healthy and exercise, but you have clogged arteries or worse yet, had a heart attack. You wonder how that could possibly be. Well, here’s one of the key (and most overlooked) reasons why… STRESS. 

Are You Stressed Out?

Psychological stress can emerge when you’re unable to cope or respond to real-life demands (stressors), e.g.,  unemployment, caregiving for the the chronically ill, family dysfunction, poverty, and/or work, marital, or financial issues. According to the American Psychological Association (APA, 2011), there are two types of stress:

  1. Acute stress – short-term form of stress that stems from the demands and pressures of the recent past and anticipated demands and pressures of the near future.
  2. Chronic stress – long-term form of stress that derives from unending feelings of despair/hopelessness.

Coping with Stress

Coping skills are essential in stress management. How well do you manage your stress? Take this 20-minute Coping and Management Skills Test in Psychology Today and find out. Click here for the 38-question self test.

Various studies have shown that exposure to persistent stress can result in long-term or permanent changes in the way you respond:

  • Emotionally – e.g., increased likelihood of depression
  • Physiologically – e.g., decreased ability to regulate inflammatory responses due to decreased tissue sensitivity to cortisol (your primary stress hormone and regulator of inflammation)
  • Behaviorally – e.g., increased smoking, decreased exercise and sleep, poor medical compliance

These changes can affect your susceptibility to and the development and progression of disease.   Continue reading “How Stress Causes Heart Attacks and Disease”

♥ Daily Dose | Stevia and Sugar Substitutes

Question: What’s your take on Stevia as a sugar substitute? I use a flavored coffee creamer (French vanilla or Irish cream) in my coffee and would like to add some kind of sweetener. From John S., San Ramon, CA

Answer: First, the flavored coffee creamers are already sweetened.  The primary ingredients of commercial creamers are oil, sugar and artificial flavor/color. See my post on Creaming Up Your Coffee for healthier alternatives.

SteviaSecond, almost all of my patients with type 2 diabetes are hooked on calorie-free sugar substitutes, struggling with their weight and have cardiovascular disease. Coincidence? Maybe not. Studies on artificial sweeteners show these compounds contribute to weight gain, sugar cravings and obesity. Also, compared to people who avoid diet or regular soft drinks, diet soda drinkers also appear to have elevated risks for:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease 
  • Metabolic syndrome (the name of a cluster of risk factors that occur together and increase your risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes)

But It’s “Natural”…

Stevia leaf
For centuries, stevia was used medicinally as a cardiac stimulant.

Stevia is a plant native to South America, also known as sweetleaf or sugarleaf, and is processed to produce a calorie-free sugar substitute. Because it’s derived from a plant, food companies market stevia as a “natural” sweetener to appeal to dieters, diabetics and health-conscious individuals who presume it must be healthier and safer than those originating in a lab. But unless you are eating stevia in its whole-leaf or crude form (which is NOT FDA-approved due to possible health effects), it isn’t all that “natural”.   Continue reading “♥ Daily Dose | Stevia and Sugar Substitutes”

♥ Daily Dose | Best Fiber Fix for Cardiacs and Diabetics

For good health, aim for getting in 40 gm of fiber every day — but all fibers are not alike. If you’re a diabetic, cardiac patient or at risk for heart disease, it’s a good idea to know the difference.

Dietary fibers are found naturally in plants. They’re the parts that don’t break down in your stomach and pass through your system pretty much intact. Fiber is separated into two main types: high-viscosity fibers (previously referred to as soluble fibers) and low-viscosity fibers (previously referred to as insoluble fibers). They’re both important, but they have different properties (how they react with water) and have a different effect on your body.

NOTE: Since some fibers absorb water, be sure to drink more fluids as you increase your fiber intake.

Oatmeal
Oat fiber helps lower bad cholesterol and control blood sugar.

High-Viscosity (Soluble) Fiber

  • Dissolves in water and forms a viscous gel in the intestines which slows down digestion.
  • Helps lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol.*
  • Slows the emptying of food through the G.I. (gastrointestinal) tract, so it helps control blood sugar and diabetes.
  • Makes you feel full longer which helps control body weight.
  • May reduce blood pressure and inflammation.

*LDL cholesterol is needed to produce hormones and provide structure to cell membranes, but because excesses can accumulate in the blood vessels and promote atherosclerosis, it’s been branded as the “bad” cholesterol.  

Did You Know…

Soluble fiber acts like a “cholesterol sponge“. It soaks up cholesterol-laden bile salts in your intestine and eliminates them with other waste. To produce more bile acids (compounds needed to transport and absorb fat and fat-soluble vitamins), your liver must use the LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream. That means there’s less to collect and harden on the walls of your arteries!   Continue reading “♥ Daily Dose | Best Fiber Fix for Cardiacs and Diabetics”

Fit Find | Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour

Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal/FlourHere’s a nutty alternative to using white or wheat flour… almond meal/flour. It’s lower in carbohydrates and high in fiber which makes it better for diabetics (won’t spike your blood sugar).

Almonds contain nut phytonutrients and are a good source of fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E. Nut phytonutrients (plant nutrients) have been shown to help fight free-radical damage,  prevent inflammation, and lower blood cholesterol. That is, nuts can reduce your risk of death from major chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. See ♥ Daily Dose | What’s Your Nut I.Q.?

Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour is nothing more than super finely ground whole, blanched sweet almonds. That’s it…. no other additives! But besides being super healthy, nuts are also calorie dense, so almond flour is higher in calories than regular flours. If you want the benefits of the nuts with fewer calories, you can substitute 1/3 of the flour in your favorite healthy muffin or cookie recipe with almond meal/flour.

Compare the nutritional information from a 1/4 cup serving of these different flours:   Continue reading “Fit Find | Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour”