PEANUT BUTTER AND WEIGHTLOSS?

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On September 6th, ABC published an article titles “Can You Slim Down on Peanut Butter Diet?” Considering that peanut butter is my favorite food and I consume it daily I found this topic quite intriguing. According to the source, individuals actually lost weight when they centered their meals around this energy and nutrient dense food.  Holly McCord, nutrition editor of Prevention magazine and author of The Peanut Butter Diet suggests that the reason for this is due to high satiety of the food. In other words, dieters did not feel deprived and thus were more likely to stick to their meal plans.

Her book was based off of research conducted at Harvard and Penn State where researchers concluded that diets high in monounsaturated fats helped to prevent heart disease and promote weight-loss in conjunction with exercise. At Harvard 101 individuals, weighing 200 pounds each divided into two groups. The first was put on a low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet and the second was given the “peanut butter diet,” where they were aloud 35 percent of their daily caloric intake from monounsaturated fats, 50 percent from carbohydrates, and 15 percent from protein. The researchers found that while initially both groups lost an average of 11 pounds, after 18 months the dieters on the peanut butter diet continued to maintain their weight loss, while the dieters in group one regained an average of 5 pounds each.

The article went on to explain the importance of portion control and that this diet was by no means a “free for all” to polish off a jar of peanut butter. If done properly, the peanut butter diet results in the loss of half a pound a week, with a total of 25 pounds a year for those who stick with it. This may seem like a long term solution to weight-loss, but the article stresses again that the reason this diet is maintainable is because it does not deprive individuals, causing them to falter and regain lost weight like most current diets do. Although critiques argue that the high fat content will promote weight-gain studies have found the opposite. Advocates point out that the peanut butter diet draws many similarities to the “heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet.”

The Mediterranean Diet promotes monounsaturated fats, which are considered to be the healthiest type of dietary fat. As a side note, without going off on a tangent, it is important to understand that fats are essential to a healthy diet because they help your body absorb nutrients (fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K)!!! They also provide us with insulation and energy, they cushion our organs, help maintain vibrant hair and skin, and provide high satiety-keep us feeling full!!

Monounsaturated fats contain double-bonded (unsaturated) carbon in the molecule and are typically liquid at room temperature. They can be found in olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, avocados, peanut butter, and nuts and seeds! The health benefits of consuming monounsaturated include decreased levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, lowered risk of heart disease and stroke, and also provide our bodies with vitamin E.

Peanut Butter 101
Regular-processed, contains hydrogenated oils and added sugars
Natural– contains 2 ingredients, peanuts and salt. No sugar.
No stir Natural– same as above but contains palm oil.
Organic– contain ground organic peanuts: produced without pesticides, bioengineering or irradiation.
*Reduced Fat– replaces healthy fat with maltodextrin, a carbohydrate used as a filler in many processed foods. “This means you’re trading the healthy fat from peanuts for empty carbs, double the sugar, and a savings of a meager 10 calories (Mens Health).”

Toss up between natural and organic peanut butter is widely debated. I personally tend to chose the natural, but if consuming a completely organic diet is of great importance to you, than that would be the way to go. At the very least avoid the reduced fat!!

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ROSEMARY CHICKEN ALFREDO

1) Preheat oven to 475.
2) Carefully jab a knife into the spaghetti squash, making sure to leave a generous amount of wholes to allow for the vegetable to steam.
3) Bake whole for 30 minutes then cut in half and out scoop seeds. Add 2 tsp of olive oil, garlic powder, and pepper to each half and bake face up for another 20-30 minutes.
4) In a pan sear, bake, or grill 1 chicken breast seasoned with garlic powder, rosemary, and pepper.
4) Scrape out one half (for 1 serving) and add one laughing cow light swiss wedge..mix and micro for 20 seconds to melt.
5) Slice chicken into strips and add to squash with a little parmesan (optional)!

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EXERCISING AFTER AN OVERNIGHT FAST

As an aspiring professional in the health and fitness world, I am constantly critiquing, questioning, and experimenting with nutritional and exercise advice given to the general public. For years, health and fitness professionals have discouraged us from exercising on an empty stomach. However, after years of varying the times of day I choose to workout, I find that I am generally at my peak performance first thing in the morning, after an overnight fast. I sweat for an hour to ninety minutes every single morning after consuming only 8 ounces of coffee. I don’t feel as though my blood sugar levels compromise my performance in any way or experience excess hunger throughout the day, which many health and fitness advocates claim. In fact, over the years, I have seen the most improvement in my body composition when I am following an early morning workout routine. I advocate exercising first thing in the morning because I think it not only sets the mood for your day, but it also sets a precedent for how you choose to treat to your body-one healthy choice, leads to another. After my morning workouts, I look forward to my post workout meal, where I get to replenish depleted energy stores and begin repairing my muscles.

I was thrilled to see that the British Journal of Nutrition recently published a study indicating that exercising first thing in the morning on an empty stomach did not cause participants to consume excess calories or experience increased hunger later in the day. I read that they also discovered that individuals who workout after an overnight fast, burn 20% more fat than those who consume a preworkout meal (The Nutrition Society), which made sense based on my own body composition findings. In this field, it’s important to never just take things at face value. No study or doctor can prescribe nutritional and/or exercise guidelines that are going to work for everyone. As you strive to live a healthier lifestyle, learn to be a more critical enthusiast. Look at the research and studies that prove something before you adapt your diet or workout plan. If you are convinced, try it out, but always remember how our individual bodies react varies. It’s a constant trial and error to find what works best for you.

SMOOTHIE HEAVEN

Smoothies are a quick and easy way to fuel your day on the run!

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2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 frozen banana
2 tsp of natural peanutbutter
1/2 cup nonfat pla

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2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 frozen pineapple ring
1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt

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2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 frozen banana
1 frozen pineapple ring
1/2 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt

MINDFUL EATING

Over the past year, the concept of “mindful eating” has become overwhelmingly asserted for in the health and fitness world. I am constantly looking for broaden my own horizons so I decided this would be my next conquest. What I love about mindful eating is that it gets rid of all the calorie counting, weight/body image focus, food restrictions, and other popular “diet” concepts that have ruined our relationships with both food and our bodies. The following information is copy and pasted from Green Mountain at Fox Run. However, I think it one of the best comprehensive explanations of what mindful eating is.

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is about:

  • a peaceful eating relationship with food according to your body’s needs
  • eating to support your body’s natural healthy state
  • balance, choice, wisdom, and acceptance
  • eating consciously in a way to make our bodies feel well
  • being aware of our surroundings, mind, body, and spirit
  • being “in the moment”

Mindful eating is NOT about:

  • dieting
  • measuring or weighing food
  • restricting or avoiding foods
  • counting fat grams or calories
  • worrying about body size or “ideal” weight

3 Strategies for Success in Eating Mindfully

These three steps can help you better understand your role in eating mindfully. Eating with intuition is different for every person, but the general aspect of listening to your body remains constant.

  • Eat when you are hungry. Watch for your body’s hunger cues as your signal that it is time to eat. Eat enough to feel satisfied and comfortably full, not stuffed. For most of us, this means eating every 3-5 hours or so. Balanced meals that include grains/starchy vegetables, protein foods, and vegetables and/or fruits promote satisfaction and satiety.
  • Eat what you want. If you don’t, you’ll likely find yourself overeating out of deprivation. Restricting ourselves from certain foods may also keep us searching for food whether we’re hungry or not. If what we want is always the richer choice, we may still be caught up in diet deprivation. Compromise by using richer foods in smaller quantities. For example use foods such as blue cheese or bacon bits as a garnish on a green salad.
  • Eat until you’ve had enough. If we’re used to eating until we’re uncomfortable, we may want to work on redefining our definition of how much is enough. Being comfortably full after a meal may be necessary to feel satisfied for some people. On the other hand, consistently eating until we’re stuffed is not ideal for healthy eating as it may mean we were not listening to our bodies’ signal of fullness. Occasionally overeating is normal; it’s the habit that we want to avoid.

http://www.fitwoman.com/fitbriefing/eating-mindfully/

Over the next week, I am going to keep a journal of what and when I eat, as well as write a little reflection at the end of each day. I truly believe that we need to refocus our so called  “healthy dietary strategies” into habits that can be maintained and practiced long term, and mindful eating seems to do just that.